Although I moved downtown almost 1 year ago, I still find that I rarely venture out of the downtown core. I just don't have any reason to. But when I started seeing pictures on Instagram and hearing about how delicious food is at Ufficio, I decided to make it out to the west end of Toronto to taste it for myself.
When I got the chance to attend a tasting of one of the world's most mysterious whisky, my FOMO kicked in and I had to go check it out for myself. The Glenlivet released a new mysterious single malt with no cask info or tasting notes: The Glenlivet Cipher. What a beautiful, opaque bottle to match such a mysterious whisky!
We were greeted at SpiritHouse with three puzzles that we had to solve before we could go enter into the tasting room. Although it was a rough start, we ended up solving all three puzzles with 8 minutes to spare - woohoo!
Walking into the tasting room, we were greeted by Ian the Guardian, who walked us through the tasting. We were given iPads that got us to choose the first 6 aromas that we smelled and the 6 flavours that we tasted. After choosing what we thought The Glenlivet Cipher was made up of, we submitted our answers and was scored accordingly. I got... 51%! I'm happy I just passed, and was also very happy we were rewarded with another dram and some bites to eat.
What a very interesting tasting! Instead of a huge discussion where everyone discussed their thoughts on the liquid at hand, I really enjoyed the fact that this tasting was more personalized. Everyone got to enjoy it on their own terms and your taste buds weren't influenced by anyone else's thoughts. This is indeed a very mysterious whisky and I can't wait to compare my notes to the tasting notes when it is released!
The Glenlivet Cipher is available at a select number of LCBO stores with limited quantity. If you see it on a shelf, I would suggest picking it up! For now, brb. I will be on a hunt to get my own bottle.
Brunch with booze is just a late lunch. And there is nothing I agree with more. But honestly, I wouldn't mind just having a super late lunch at The Commodore because their food is just unbelievable. If you know me, you will know that I eat very slow. I eat so slow that I typically have to microwave my food (when I'm at home) while I eat because the food is ice cold before I'm done eating LOL no joke. But at The Commodore? I don't think I've ever inhaled food as quickly as I did. It was a little scary, tbh.
Located in way west on Queen Street, we ventured over to that side of town on a lovely autumn day. Having only been open for 6 months, I made it a mission to visit because I saw so many photos on Instagram (the power of social media, guys)! We sat in the little nook at the front of the restaurant next to the big windows.
We start off with coffees, because coffee first - always - even if we were getting cocktails!
And here is our lovely brunch spread, with our cocktails below.
Our brunch spread was almost too good to eat (and drink)! Almost...
In terms of what we ordered, here is what we decided on:
• Reuben Eggs Benedict ($16) - Russian style hollandaise, smoked pastrami, sauerkraut, gruyere cheese, poached eggs, english muffin
• Octopus Frittata ($15) - caramelized onions, romesco sauce, spicy chorizo
• Truffled Scrambled Eggs & Prosciutto ($15) - On a housemade crumpet, crème fraîche
But of course, photos first! To be honest, if I had known the food here was going to be that good, I probably would not have taken my time in taking photos.
My favourite dish out of the three has to be the octopus frittata. It was hard to choose because everything was so good, but it was also an easy decision because this was that good. I absolutely loved the frittata with spicy chorizo and the texture of the thin slices of octopus on the top. I've never had a dish like this before! I am drooling just thinking about it. The truffled scrambled eggs topped with proscuitto was so good. The eggs were so fluffy and creamy, and I just love anything with truffle. I don't think I've ever had truffle scrambled eggs, now that I think about it. I might just start adding a little truffle oil when I make my eggs in the morning! :O
Whenever I go for brunch, I always gravitate towards ordering the eggs benny. Why? I don't know. I just feel like it is the perfect brunch dish to have. This was no exception. On smoked pastrami, the poached eggs sat on an english muffin with cheese and hollandaise sauce poured over it. Such a delicious combo!
Besides delicious food, The Commodore is very aesthetically pleasing. Look at these little booths, and the gorgeous bar (photo above)! If I could sit here all day and eat, I totally would.
It's not hype, guys. This place is actually as good as it looks. Trust social media, like I did, and visit The Commodore for brunch soon. I know I will be back, and I hope to also come back to try their dinner service soon!
If I am given the choice of going out or having a night in, 80% of the time I will choose to stay in. As the temperature drops, the more I want to just cozy up at home and have comfort food. Italpasta sent me a package earlier this month to feed this little anti-social habit of mine, and I definitely put it to good use.
Great cocktails need to be paired with great bar snacks, don't you think? - Last week, I got to visit East Thirty Six for an exclusive tasting of their new fall / winter cocktail menu. East Thirty Six spot near the downtown core that focuses on craft cocktails and shareable dishes. As mentioned, I was here to taste out this new cocktail menu created by one of Toronto's top mixologists, Julien Salomone. Specifically, we got to sample 4 cocktails while nibbling on snacks from their food menu.
Here are the four cocktails that we got to taste:
• The St-Germain: Beefeater gin, st-germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, syrup, and cava
• Apothecary: Hayman's london dry, Hayman's sloe gin, tonic syrup, lemon juice, rosemary tincture, and perrier
• Nutcracker: Lot 40 rye, drambuie, house spiced rum, walnut bitters, and black cardamom
• Night Capp: coffee vanilla infused bourbon, macadamia nut syrup, and espresso
In addition, we were able to share a couple of their dishes among each other. From the fries with crispy chicken skin to oysters to octopus to a charcuterie board and burrata. Everything was delicious, and all I wanted was more, more, more! Out of the four cocktails, I enjoyed The St-Germain and Night Capp the most. The St-Germain was very easy to drink although you could tell that it was quite a strong drink. It paired really well with the charcuterie board, burrata, and oysters. I also really enjoyed the octopus dish that was served with a smoked fingerling potato, tonnato, olives, and charred onions. I was advised that it paired the best with the Nutcracker, but I found the Nutcracker to be a little too strong for my liking and it would wash out the delicious taste of the octopus. The Night Capp was like a soothing way to end off my night. It was a warm drink and just smelled (and tasted) like a warm hug that I forgot it had alcohol in it, ha.
Taste of Iceland has returned to Toronto for November 11 to 13th, and I couldn't be more excited! Last year, I got to dine at Luma where I got the chance to feast and meet Chef Ylfa Helgadóttir. You can read about that here. And earlier this year, I actually visited Iceland (travel guide here) and had so much fun that I am already planning for a trip back!
On November 3rd, I got a chance to visit Niagara Parks to attend the annual Apprentice Cooks & Chefs Showcase Dinner. This dinner is hosted every year to give Niagara Parks Apprentice Cooks an opportunity to demonstrate their talent and passion in food alongside some of Niagara Parks Culinary experts. It is a very exciting time for these young chefs to showcase their talents, and I couldn't wait to taste it!