Reviews

ONE PIZZA

Location: 169 King St. East, Toronto, ON
Price point: $-$$

IMG_6195When I first heard of this gem…I mean One Pizza, the shop that serves up individual, flatbread style pizzas with an all-you-can-eat buffet of fresh toppings to select from, I knew it had to have been too good to be true!

But I was mistaken…I was joyfully mistaken! This place is like a candy shop for pizza feens, and that’s me…I’m a pizza feen! You walk in to this beautiful rustic meets new world ‘take-out’ style pizzeria that smells better than your wildest dreams! It’s decked out with communal tables, industrial fixtures and a large, open-style kitchen/countertop!

I knew going in I was ordering a create-your-own, but for those that find themselves overwhelmed with such pressure, there’s also 8 signature pizzas to choose from!

How does this work you ask?

IMG_6112Well, the ordering counter is divided into 4 stations; base, toppings, garnish and the bar.

Naturally you flock to the sign that reads “Order Here,” where you can also grab a clipboard menu to get a better feel of the options that lie ahead!

First you select the dough and sauce accompaniment…

Station 1 – Base

Classic dough, Whole wheat, Gluten free (extra charge)
Classic tomato, Spicy tomato, Pesto, BBQ, Roasted red pepper hummus, Béchamel 

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Station 2 – Toppings

 Need I remind you that you can choose as many toppings as you’d like? All of which are either made in house or brought in from the St. Lawrence Market, that just so happens to be located around the corner…how convenient! Might I also add that that this only costs $11.86? So guys, go wild!!

IMG_6110

Veg

Artichoke Hearts, Caramelized Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Garlic Confit, Kalamata, Olives, Pickled Red Onions, Pineapple Salsa, Pitted Dates, Rapini, Roasted Red Peppers, Sautéed Mushrooms, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Wild Mushroom Blend, Zucchini

Protein

Chorizo Sausage, Falafel, Farm Eggs, Fennel Sausage, Lemon Marinated Chickpeas, Napoli Salami, Pepperoni, Smoked Bacon, Chicken

Next comes the cheese…

Fresh Mozzarella, Shredded house blend, Ricotta, Blue, Feta, Goat cheese, Daiya Mozzarella (dairy free/extra charge)

After you’ve carefully selected your smorgasbord of toppings, and by carefully I mean carelessly, they pop it in their pizza oven for what I calculated was approximately 4-6 minutes.

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Once the crust is crisp, the cheese is melted, and the yolk is slightly baked, they’ll call your name and it’s time to garnish! With a selection of gourmet oils and fresh herbs to choose from, this is the time to perfect your masterpiece!


IMG_6113Station 3 – Garnish

Chili Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Oil, Rosemary Oil, Balsamic Glaze, Arugula, Basil Leaves, Capers, Cilantro, Cracked Black Pepper, Crushed Chilies, Fresh Parmesan, Lemon Wedge, Oregano, Prosciutto (extra charge), Sea Salt, Tzatziki

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The toppings I selected were in hopes of making a somewhat coherent flavour profile, and I think I did a pretty good job at nailing it (thanks Food Network)! Although in the hangry state that I was in, I probably would have enjoyed just about anything!

IMG_6108 I chose…

Classic dough with spicy tomato sauce, caramelized onions, jalapeños (lots of them), kalamata olives, spinach, wild mushrooms, chorizo sausage, farm eggs, fresh mozzarella and goat cheese! To top it off, I selected basil, arugula and rosemary oil (although the garlic oil is to die for as well!)

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Station 4 – The Bar

 Not many ‘take-out’ style pizzerias serve booze…but what have I already told you about this place? It’s a GEM!

Beer – 16oz

Beau’s Lug Tread or Beau’s Festivale

Vino – 5oz

Vineland Cabernet or Vineland Pinot Grigio

Oh but if you’re not into the whole drinking alcohol thing, then they also have classic glass pop bottles or fountain drinks available!

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IMG_6115After obediently restricting my date from eating prior to my typical 3.5-minute photo-shoot, we finally dug in…insert silence.

The crust was the perfect texture, light and crispy, and the semolina gave it the perfect, dusty grittiness!

The spicy tomato sauce had just enough of a bite to detect that it was there (although I wouldn’t mind if someone had been a little heavier handed in the kitchen that morning), because the sauce mixed with the creaminess of the goat cheese and mozzarella made the spice obscure (hence my need for extra jalapenos).

The caramelized onions gave it the perfect sweetness, the olives just enough salt, and the mushrooms/chorizo sausage gave it the perfect meatiness without having to go overboard with proteins! I won’t lie though, when I saw the woman in front of me requesting raw egg yolks I was a little freaked out, so naturally I followed suit! Low and behold, the farm eggs ended up being the star topping for me! The creamy yolks were a little too over cooked after sitting in the pizza over, but certainly not enough to leave me disappointed! They were still runny and gave the entire pizza this creamy, rich depth that I otherwise wouldn’t have known I was missing!

The basil was the other star of the dish! I could eat basil like people eat spinach, no lie…I do sometimes! But this basil in particular was massive, and they didn’t go chincy like most pizzerias do with a Margherita! So to get 2 big leaves per slice is heaven!

IMG_6109The rosemary oil gave it this subtle aroma that you could more or less smell as opposed to taste, which was a nice change actually!

I wouldn’t have been able to detect the rosemary by taste through all the other overpowering ingredients anyways, so smelling that hint of pine/mint gave the pizza another dimension!

Overall this place is superb! The service has been impeccable both times I’ve been, the place always appears to be clean, their work stations are spotless and organized and to boot they serve some of the best pizza in town!

Thank you Raffaele Esposito for pizza, and thank you Andrew Hay & Tim Gordon for One Pizza! Not only have you changed my life, but also my waistline!

xoxo

Editor’s Note: Now called True True

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Reviews

La Carnita

Location: 501 College St, Toronto, ON
Executive chef: Andrew Richmond
Price point: $-$$

LCMy stomach grumbled and the giddy shakes began as I approached College and Bathurst…mmm, it was as if I could smell the street corn from a mile away!

09I saw the light bouncing off a small sign that displayed one simple, but creative sugar skull outlined with taco favourites; hot peppers, cilantro leaves, pigs heads, etc. and I knew I had arrived! That, and I’d only been there 100 times…too busy stuffing my face though to ever think clear enough to write an article!

It was a Monday night, and the place was bumping…obviously! I can’t imagine there’s any better way to cure the Monday blues than with tequila (or gin, spoiler alert) and of course tacos…right? Even better than ‘Taco Tuesday’ because the hopeful thought of having tacos a second day in a row gets my heart racing (could very well be the cholesterol, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one).

gordoWe were even lucky enough to snatch a communal right away…score! That’s about as rare as Gordon Ramsay following me on Instagram (very slim…but then it happened…and I just needed to openly talk about it again).

We were sat next to the famous neon La Carnita sign, which at times was probably photographed more than the food. I don’t know what lit up the room more…the flash from people’s iPhones or the neon sign itself…either way the room was lit just enough to make you blissfully aware of what was about to go down!

Our hip little server came over with menus and a cocktail list…although I already knew what beverage I was having. Of course it’s no longer on the menu though (just my luck) but their kickass staff aim to please regardless!

04“I’ll take an Astroturf please!!!” I spit out before our server even had a chance to open her mouth! She giggled at my abrupt rudeness but knew it came from a place of sincere excitement, so she brushed it off! Dillon’s gin, Cointreau, lime juice, Bittermens Celery Shrub, agave and soda…1 astroturf, 2 astroturf, 3 ass on the turf! They’re potent but delicious! Definitely worth that micro Tuesday morning hangover!

We started with a couple of the classic staples…guacamole and the famous Mexican street corn!

06Chips were fried to perfection but seasoned almost a little bit too much this time. The guac on the other hand was a completely different story…it was spectacular! Creamy and velvety, not too chunky but far from being a puree! I always request a little extra ancho chilli powder with mine as well because anytime I can opt for an extra dose of heat, I do!

08Now I’m about to get corny…ha ha…ha…ok fine it was a terrible joke! The char-grilled corn topped with Mexican crema, queso anejo and again, ancho chilli could nearly pass as a steak! For the vegetarians out there…this is your chance to trade in that fake soy garbage for what could easily pass (flavour profile wise) as a slab of juicy, tender meat…hold the meat of course!

I won’t lie, I’ve never seen anyone look good while eating this, and yes, I’m also talking about myself! Maybe I could pitch an expose to Buzzfeed on the many faces of Mexican street corn eaters? It has viral potential in my opinion!!

07Then it was taco time!!! I ordered my two favourites, In Cod We Trust and the Tostada de Ceviche! I may have also ordered a third one just for good luck…the Crispy Cotija!

In Cod We Trust is, you guessed it, battered cod loaded with a lime crema, cilantro and green apple salad, pickled red cabbage and a Tamari (richer, gluten-free soy sauce) based condiment better known as “Voltron” sauce! It’s such a simple but well-balanced dish that always has me yearning for more! The savouriness from the battered cod, paired with the refreshing lime infused crema and tartness from the apple and cilantro salad was more than enough to deem it a killer dish! But thennn they went ahead and topped it with pickled red cabbage and the salty/spicy “Voltron sauce” which tied every carefully selected ingredient together!

01Then I decided to try the Crispy Cotija for my virgin time! What if I didn’t like it? Then I certainly had to play it safe and save my favourite for last! The “star” of this dish was the fried cauliflower, pinto bean and cotija cheese stick? I don’t know how else to better describe it? But to be honest, it was no “star”…I couldn’t even finish it! The texture of the stick was incredibly off-putting, dense and almost soggy on the inside! However there were still other memorable components in the taco! The chipotle sauce was the perfect ratio of smoke to spice and the pickled carrots were divine! At first glance, I didn’t even realize they were carrots! They had this deep red-orange hue to them, but the orange had gone completely undetected under the dimmed lighting! It wasn’t until I took a bite that the natural sweetness made it prevalent as to what I was eating! I could have eaten an entire taco filled with just those pickled carrots though, mmmm!

10But when I locked eyes with my favourite menu item, it was game over! The earlier part of the evening was but a distant memory because the Tostada de Ceviche was calling my name, and I wasn’t about to be rude! So I attacked it…in a loving, respectful way of course!

I’m a sucker for crunch…and mess…so tostadas are the perfect combination! This one in particular!

The crunch from the tortilla with the creaminess of the guacamole and coconut milk made for the perfect base! Then came the habanero tuna ceviche, which it read on the physical menu…but online read swordfish? Though I’m afraid I’ve never tried swordfish before so I wouldn’t be able to decipher it from chicken…although fish compared to chicken should be an easy assumption!

Either way, the ceviche was out of this world! The subtle heat with the coolness of the “fish” beautifully enhanced each of the flavour profiles! It was like the heat and the coolness took turns making an appearance, leaving you wanting more! But if I didn’t think there was enough texture from the tostada shell alone, it was then topped with fresh, crisp sprouts that once again, just completely rounded out the dish! I could eat 11 of these bad boys regardless of how full I got…and still want more! Because sometimes great food just trumps all etiquettes…including unbuttoning your pants…no shame!

Unfortunately this time around I wasn’t able to complete a full three-course meal wrapping up with dessert! Although my evening could have been classified as a 5-course meal if you counted the 2 appetizers and 3 tacos I devoured…but who’s counting!

I will however briefly speak about the desserts I have had in the past though, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love dessert?

churrLet’s start with the churros, because they are truly some of the best I’ve ever had! Light, moist and paired with the most amazing cajeta (a Mexican sweetened caramelized milk) that is just to die for! Although contrary to my earlier statement (and by earlier I mean 3 sentences prior), I’m actually not a big sweets fan! I’m all for the salty or savoury desserts, which is why churros are such a big hit in my books! The cajeta is sweet, don’t get me wrong, but the caramelization gives it just enough depth to subtly counteract it!

02Then there are the paletas! House made Latin-American style ice pops featuring fun daily specials such as banana split, lemon meringue pie and cereal milk…to name a few! They’re incredible and are always something to look forward to ending the meal with (how ironic of me to say that this time around).

If you haven’t been to La Carnita yet…GO! If you have been…GO AGAIN!

Muchas gracias!

Reviews

Thinking outside the box: Toronto’s most unique street food and retail market

Proud to share my first published article as the Social Media and Blogging Intern at Savour Toronto!

Market 707With spring finally here, and the remnants of this lingering winter being swept off the sidewalks, Toronto’s most unique street food and retail market is bustling yet again.

What is Market 707 you ask? Imagine a food truck and a food cart having a baby and Market 707 is the product of that wild, but amazing circumstance!

NomNomNom CrêpesLocated at the corner of Dundas and Bathurst alongside the Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC), the year-round, outdoor market has become a fixture in the neighbourhood and a focal point for a once desolate intersection.

CrepesThe original idea came about after the SCCC’s very own executive director, Kevin Lee, found himself inspired during a youth exchange trip to Ghana in 2009. Lee had noticed the innovative use of businesses operating out of recycled shipping containers, and decided to bring the idea back to Toronto which eventually led to the opening of Market 707 the following year.

ShinjiToday, the market is a tight-knit community of small business owners who are able to take part in a social movement that encourages the use of economical space and resources. “Business out of a box,” Lee likes to call it.

The market offers up an array of delicious bites from Montreal-style crepes, to one-of-a-kind mac-n-cheese, to Japanese-style poutine, people are bound to leave with full bellies and tingling taste buds.

Gushi OriginalAn interesting perk to Market 707 is that for those who are on a tight schedule or want to avoid the outdoor elements, many vendors are able to take orders via text message, to save people from standing anxiously and hungrily in line!

And although the market will soon be celebrating its fourth birthday, it is still considered one of the city’s greatest hidden gems. I highly suggest you go see what all the fuss is about!

Toronto

The Guild

Location: 1442 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON
Price: (Brunch) $-$$
Executive chef: Mani Binelli

photo-17 It was quite the hike to get down to Dundas and Dufferin for a Sunday brunch, especially traveling all the way from the boonies (Pickering), but based on the number of raving reviews I’ve recently read…I knew it was going to be well worth it.

Parking was difficult as per usual in the city of Toronto, but it was a gorgeous day, so walking a couple of extra blocks wasn’t an issue. As we were getting closer to 1442 Dundas St. W, the aroma of smoked bacon was overwhelming and we couldn’t possibly walk any faster.

photo-10We arrived to a long narrow entranceway leading to the hostess stand, where I couldn’t help but notice a wall, separating the entrance way and the dining room. In the summer it wouldn’t quite matter, but in the winter it protects the guests from the cold Canadian winter breeze. Brownie points.

We were then greeted and informed by the hostess that there would possibly be a wait-time regarding dishes coming out, because staff were unable to prep early enough in the morning. Without hesitation I said it’s OK…my mind was set on dining at The Guild.

photo-9However I was unaware at the time that we could have made reservations and were forced to sit at a narrow wooden bar top along the street-front window. It was kind of cramped and kind of awkward for the three of us, but we were able to chat and people watch, my favourite combination of pass-times.

photo-11As my eyes scoped out the restaurant, the décor was mesmerizing…every thing had its place. Scattered along the wooden bar top were various sized mason jars filled with beautiful exotic plants, moss, and a unique miniature dinosaur figurine hiding deep within.

The stainless steel paneled ceiling with impeccable detailing against the exposed brick wall was breath taking, and the rustic wooden tables with burlap, upholstered seating gave it that country feel.

photo-14Our server came over, politely introduced himself and asked what we cared for to drink, I ordered an Americano, my mom ordered an Earl Grey tea and my sister stuck with her water. With the Americano came a precious miniature glass milk bottle, and the Earl Grey tea bag came perched up like a little pyramid in the cup. Simplicity transformed into something unique…again more brownie points.

photo-16Out of nowhere, three on the house, fresh-baked beignets topped with icing sugar were placed in front of us. After being informed our food might take a little longer to arrive, the beignets were a great customer service tactic and I was impressed…not to mention starting off the Sunday morning with decadent fritters for breakfast was amazing! I will also add in that I am officially off of my crazy, no-wheat diet! I am no longer torturing or constraining myself from indulging in delicious food, so without further more, I cannot wait to dive straight into these delicious treats!

photo-18They were warm and fresh out of the oven…crunchy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. The icing sugar lightly dusted on top gave it just enough of a kick to wake up my taste buds first thing on a Sunday morning. Most of all, it made us completely forget about waiting.

photo-15Shortly after we inhaled the beignets, our dishes arrived. Well my mom and sisters I mean…mine trailed a few minutes behind. Both my dates ordered the thick cut maple-dipped bacon, sous-vide eggs with Yorkshire puddings and a goat cheese yam gratain. The smell was unreal and beautifully plated.

I ordered the celeriac potato pancake with house trout gravlax, sous vide egg, spinach, creamed goat cheese and what I believe was salmon roe caviar.

photo-12It too was beautifully plated, and my eyes ate it up quicker than my mouth could. The smoked trout was overpowering, but then again trout normally is. However paired with the creamed goat cheese, the sous vide egg which was like butter, the bitter spinach and the dense potato pancake, it was delicious! Then every once in a while I would get a mouthful where the salmon roe would pop in my mouth and it was divine…salty, but very tasty. Every ingredient had its purpose, marrying the dish and making me feel like I was in heaven…a heaven I was sure to come back to.

I then had the privilege of tasting the smoked bacon…unbelievable. Hands down the best bacon I have ever eaten! Thick cut so each bite was a substantial one, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside with a settle hint of maple…my mouth is watering thinking about it. The goat cheese yam gratain was smooth and melted in my mouth, solidifying the need to come back again. Safe to say, when I do return to The Guild, I will most definitely be indulging in the maple-dipped bacon dish…it is literally to die for.

Although it took a little while for our dishes to be cleared, it was a full house, and I’ve learned to look past that minor detail when staff are overly busy…so no complaints. In which case all of my high expectations were met, from the food, to the décor, to the service. After a $46 bill for three people, The Guild stands as one of the best, reasonably priced brunches I’ve had…kudos! I will absolutely venture back!

 

Pickering

Pig Out BBQ

Location: 6&7 790 Kingston Rd, Pickering, ON
Price: $-$$

pigoutThe name ‘Pig Out BBQ’ determined exactly what I intended on doing…and that was pigging out. I pulled out the stretchy pants and some loose change from my wallet and I was ready to go. I have been many times before from dining in, to take out, to delivery, and have never once been disappointed.

The amount of food is astronomical, especially in comparison to the price. For $10.95 I got a spicy pulled pork sandwich, with coleslaw, sweet potato fries and an iced tea. It’s authentic, house smoked barbecue with menu items such as ribs, wings, barbecued chicken, brisket, and good ol’ mac-n-cheese all for dirt-cheap.

From the outside it looks like a take out, fast food kind of place. But there is actually a small dining area consisting of nine tables and a window front bar top. It’s fairly nice for a barbecue joint, although I usually order take-out since I tend to suffer from extreme itis after eating.

photo-48The way this place works, is you order from the main counter and they bring the food to you when it’s ready. While I was waiting, the smell of barbecue was so strong I could taste it and it just made the wait, which wasn’t long at all, excruciating. Then my pulled pork sandwich came and it was massive. It was easily enough food to feed two people, and it was sloppy…just the way I like it.

photo-52When I went to take the first bite, juices started running down my hand, pulled pork was everywhere and there was barbecue sauce all over my face…there is no such thing as eating barbecue and being lady like at the same time, it’s scientifically impossible. The spicy barbecue sauce (you have the option of sweet/spicy) has that authentic smoky barbecue flavour with enough spice that made my body temperature rise and nose start to run. The bun gets a bit soggy from all the juices, but I’d easily rather have a soggy bun then have a pile of dry pulled pork.

photo-53The sweet potato fries were great as well…golden brown and extremely crispy, just how they should be. But what always stands out is the coleslaw; it is literally to die for. It’s cream based and crunchy, and mixed in with the spiciness of the pulled pork, softens the kick just enough.

One of the only complaints I have is the service. It’s usually spectacular, but this time…not so much. From what I could see, two people were working. I was the only customer at the time, but felt as if I was invisible. Once I ordered and had my food delivered to the table, almost immediately the two staff members made themselves at home. One started eating at the table next to me and the other was sat down reading a newspaper. If there really wasn’t any work that could have been done, at least “relax” in the back. That’s all I’m asking.

Other than that, the place is great. And when I need a good barbecue fixing, I head to Pig Out’s to truly pig out. Make sure to check it out!

Toronto

Gusto 101

Location: 101 Portland St, Toronto, ON
Executive chef: Daniel Mezzolo
Price point: $-$$$

photo-64What can I say, dining at Gusto 101 has been a long time in the making. From their popular Arancini, to their dollar an ounce wine, to the new retractable rooftop patio, where better to celebrate my champagne birthday? That’s a rhetorical question…

When I arrived with three of my best girlfriends, it was 9 p.m. on a Saturday and there were people everywhere. It was buzzing, and electric and as I overheard a woman tell guests it was a two hour wait, I instantly knew this was one hell of a hot spot. We were then greeted by a woman who plugged the name of my reservation into her nifty little iPad, and with much thanks to owner Janet Zuccarini for the reso, we were escorted to our table in a mater of minutes.

Yes, that man photo bombed and posed for this photo...
Yes, that man photo bombed and posed for this photo…

As we walked through the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, I couldn’t help but be mesmorized by the rustic, industrial décor. It was a sight for sore eyes, especially knowing it was once an auto body shop. Everything from the draping lamps, to the cinder block and exposed brick walls, to the clipboard menus were unique and had its rightful place.

Once seated, our server came over with a complimentary bread basket, a bottle of flat water, and highly recommended a couple of their most popular appetizers. With that being said, we started the evening off with the Mozzarella di Bufala, which is a fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato and arugula salad, drizzled with basil oil and topped with a smoked paprika and Parmesan crisp. To accompany the salad, we also got the Arancini, which are mini deep-fried risotto balls made with Arborio rice, wild mushrooms and Fontina cheese, placed in a tomato sauce.

photo-59To drink, was Gusto’s very own Gusto Rosso, a Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec designed by winemaker Alejandra de Miguel. It was delicious and best of all, it was only a dollar an ounce…now that’s raising the bar, pardon the pun. But Gusto offers two house wines on tap, the Gusto Rosso and the Gusto Bianco, which is a Pinot Grigio all for a dollar an ounce, something not too many restaurants offer…brownie points! We too had a glass of the Gusto Bianco and it was great, not overly dry like a lot of pinots so it was refreshing.

Then after a couple glasses of wine our apps came, and by no means am I insinuating we were waiting for a long period of time, we were just thirsty.

photo-55The Arancini was beautifully plated and literally to die for! The warm, crisp exterior was immaculate but the wild mushroom risotto paired with Fontina was the star of the dish. The earthy and predominant flavour of the wild mushrooms was mouthwatering but somehow subtle, and then dipped in the tomato sauce gave it just enough sweetness and freshness to balance out the dish.

photo-58Next was the Mozzarella di Bufala, it was fresh and subtle, and a perfect pallet cleanser. The basil oil gave it the zing it needed, and then paired with the smoked paprika and Parmesan crisp, it brought the dish to life and added much needed texture.

After devouring our appetizers, and carefully inspecting the rustic clip-board menu’s, I finally decided on the Spaghetti Chitarra allo Scoglio, which is a house made spaghetti with shrimp, baby scallops, mussels and clams in a white wine, tomato sauce.

photo-56When the dish arrived, the aroma made me weak in the knees and the presentation was beautiful. Digging in, the pasta was much thicker than the average spaghetti noodle, making it extremely filling. At first it was slightly too al dente for my liking, but after a couple bites I quite enjoyed the texture. It was authentic spaghetti, not something you get to indulge in everyday, and that on it’s own was marvelously enjoyable.

The white wine tomato sauce was spectacular, seasoned perfectly and complimenting the richness from the seafood quite beautifully. In terms of the seafood, the shrimp were way too well done and in all honesty, uneatable. I’m also not a fan of baby scallops so I knew I wasn’t going to care for them, but on top of them being miniature, they were gritty and much like the shrimp, uneatable. The clams and mussels were beautifully cooked, and of a good substantial size, making up for the disappointing shrimp and scallops.

photo-69Unfortunately, there were some downfalls in regards to the service department. One being when our server cleared all of my guest’s dishes while I was still eating…forcing me to either hurry up or eat alone, both of which completely put me off. My second issue was when another server brought over my main course, I was taking photos of the other dishes, which really isn’t too uncommon in this day and age, and the server made a comment regarding “Instagram,” in a sly, ditsy manner. I brushed it off the first time, but when he said it a second time while placing down our dessert, it was obvious he was mocking me…again, completely putting me off.

photo-68However, there were many more memorable moments during the evening than the downfalls, in which case I let them go. When it came time for dessert, we got the Dolci Platter, and in substitution of the house made biscotti, we got decadent macarons. In the Dolci Platter we got limoncello with lemon air, pop rocks and candied celery, a chocolate sponge toffee cake, and a hazelnut coffee mousse. Everything was delicious, but the limoncello with pop rocks and candied celery was some crazy ‘Chopped,’ style creation that I couldn’t get enough of. Although I’m typically not much of a sweets girl unless macarons or creativity are involved, this dish made one happy camper!

Overall my evening was spectacular. I ate great food, drank great wine, and it was all in the company of great friends. Not too mention the shot of Grappa that I was so privileged to have received for my birthday got me feeling pretty good, and was certainly a great way to wrap up the night. I cannot wait to return and bask in the ambiance of the new retractable roof-top patio while drinking Gusto Rosso and indulging in authentic Italian pizza. It was a pleasure Janet, until next time.

Oshawa · Toronto

Urban Smoke – Fusion BBQ

Location: To be announced
Price: $

usfbWord on the street at Durham College was that an “Eat St.” style food truck from Toronto was coming to campus for a couple of days. Beyond excited, I knew I was in for a treat…but the day I had planned to indulge, they had to cancel due to unexpected spring-time flurries. I missed my chance…or so I thought.

After finishing my final exam of the semester, I was joyfully leaving the campus in hopes of not returnng for five gracious months, but from the corner of my eye, I spotted something big, black and truck-like in shape. My heart skipped a beat and I knew I was going to be hanging around campus just a tad bit longer…the truck was back!

photo-30My tummy was grumbling and I was giddy upon arrival, instantly being drawn to the red carpet style waiting line, where I skimmed over the delicious, but small menu. It read items such as a classic pulled-pork sandwich, a brisket sandwich grilled cheese style, a portabella mushroom burger and brisket poutine. I was seriously tempted to try one of everything but settled for ‘The Dirty Bob,’ also known as the brisket grilled cheese.

When my name was called, I swooped up my take out box, which was made of cardboard NOT styrofoam…a much healthier and environmentally friendly choice might I add, and I tore it open like a kid on Christmas morning.

photo-34In front of me was a massive, perfectly grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with juicy barbequed brisket, Swiss cheese, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. The caramelized bark on the brisket was to die for, and they sure did not chince out on the quantity of meat. It was fully loaded and enough for two, maybe even three sittings. My only complaint would be the amount of cheese, or lack there of. When I think of grilled cheese, I think of a big gooey mess, but there wasn’t an adequate amount to give it that true grilled cheese feel. None the less, it was delicious!

For $8, the amount of food proves you really get a good bang for your buck, and in fact I wish I wasn’t such a broke student so I could have tried a couple other items as well. Although it’s hard to always track down the truck because its constantly on the go, they do keep an up-to-date Twitter feed as to there daily whereabouts. https://twitter.com/UrbanSmokeTruck