Sunday, January 29, 2017

Square Fish

If you haven't noticed, Toronto's sushi scene is stepping up it's game in the past couple of years. We've already had a number of delicious sushi spots, but things are getting more interesting now! Square Fish is one of the new sushi spots in town serving up something other than the regular nigiri or makis that you typically would order.

Located on Queen West, Square Fish is a quick service restaurant, with only a couple tables inside. They serve a number of items including sushi squares and sushi burritos. But what I love about this place is that besides their sushi squares and burritos being absolutely delicious, they have sushi DONUTS. Yup, I said it. A sushi donut, or a doshi.

What is a doshi?

Well, let me break it down for you. The bottom layer is a fried rice cake stuffed with cheese, and the top is a ring of sushi rice with your choice of sashimi (salmon, shrimp, tuna, or veggie). In between the two, you'll find a delicious combination of seaweed salad (best), edamame, corn, lettuce, sauce, and your choice of sashimi. It is absolutely delish, and you will be surprised as to how filling it is!

I highly recommend you give it a try. It's quite messy to eat (especially if you don't like eating with your hands like me), but Square Fish recommends that you wrap it up with the paper and eat it like a burger. For me, I just took it apart and ate it piece by piece with my fork haha. Both ways work!

The other item that I love and want to talk about are the sushi squares. We ordered the signature set, which includes a little bit of everything they offer. You get salmon, veggie, california roll, tuna, shrimp, random, etc. Haha, I don't actually remember exactly what is what, but I remember loving the salmon, cucumber and avocado, & the square with beets on it! The combo is definitely very interesting, and worth a try.

I found that despite Square Fish catering towards take out (they only have about 4 seats for dine-in customers), the quality of their ingredients is on par with a restaurant. In the 1.5 hours I was eating there, I saw 2 or 3 people just walk in because they were interested to see what Square Fish was and what they had to offer. I would suggest to go visit them and try the doshi and sushi squares before they get too popular with huge lines!

On another note, the people at Square Fish are absolutely lovely! To celebrate my birthday, they partnered with me and provided me with sushi squares to create the birthday cake of my dreams. HOW AMAZING IS THIS SUSHI CAKE?! Nothing else will ever compare. Thanks Square Fish!

(Happy 25th birthday to me, hehe)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Would you believe me if I found out about this place by just googling, "brunch leslieville"? Rated 4.3, and having seeing many pictures of their avocado benny, I was in. We ventured over to the east side (haha yes, I still think going past Church street is an 'adventure') and found Yaya with no problem. Walking in, we were greeted by a cozy little spot that was actually quite packed. We opted for a window seat (obviously hehe) and noticed that the decorations for the window sill were avocados - a win for me already!

Yaya only supports local Ontario farms, and their eggs and meat are all free range, antibiotic, and hormone free. They have been open for just over a year now, and am happy to have finally made a visit! Besides serving up the regular breakfast/brunch menu that you find at other brunch spots in town, they also serve sandwiches, soup, gourmet salads. They also have a separate kids menu and a menu for babies! How adorable! We actually saw two tables dining there with liddo cute babies hehe.

We were recommended to order the stuffed french toast and the avocado benny. Funnily enough, those were the two dishes that we had wanted to order - perfect. The stuffed french toast was a thick piece of challah bread stuffed with mascarpone, ricotta vanilla bean, and lemon lime zest. As for the avocado benedict, it was two sunny eggs on a bed of avocado, potatoes, and spinach with corn tortilla chips and salsa on the side with arugula. Pair this with a cup of coffee, you've got yourself a lovely Sunday morning!

YAYA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, January 09, 2017

Jules Bistro

Taking a look online, you will find many photos of the above photographed platter of meat, salad, and fries. Côte de Bœuf is the most popular item to order from Jules Bistro's menu, and I can see why.

Jules Bistro serves French cuisine with the hopes that you will feel right at home. They recently opened up a new location on Queen West, and although you are in the middle of Toronto, you will feel as though you've stepped into a family friend's living room. The atmosphere is cozy, and with an open kitchen, it really feels like you're at home. And as we started off our meal with a glass of red, I really did feel at home!

While looking around the restaurant, what caught my eye instantly was Jules' côte de bœuf. I mean, look at that platter! How could you not order that? This board is meant to be shared between two people, which gave us room to order a couple other dishes. We opted with one of the chalkboard specials of the day, and also their salmon tartare.

The chalkboard specials include dishes made from some of Jules Bistro's freshest ingredients. At the time that we went, they had scallops, beef bourguignon, and grilled octopus - which was what caught my eye. And oh my my, am I ever glad we ordered it! It was perfectly grilled on the outside with that crisp, but the inside was soft and tender. The tentacle was not slimy or rubbery like you might find some octopus dishes at other restaurants - an overall win. Our other starter was the salmon tartare, which was the best on top of lightly toasted baguette. It is also good to note that everything here is made in-house, even their mayo. The only thing that isn't made in house is their ketchup, because as David the owner stated, "Heinz is the best."

As for our main, there was no competition with what we were to order. I stated this above already, but yes, we did order the côte de bœuf. And yes, we did eat all 24 oz. of it! As a main for two, it also comes with a side of a spring mix salad, fries, and grilled veggies. Cooked to a medium rare, you can see the juicy, pink center with the charred outline. With a bit more pepper and salt added, each little bite was tender and delicious. I would highly recommend following the footsteps of what Instagram shows and order this when you visit Jules Bistro.

To end off our dining experience, we each had a serving of their crème brûlée. I don't remember the last time I had a good crème brûlée - oh wait, I do. It was a Jules haha. But before this, I really don't recall! It was definitely a sweet ending to our meal here, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I also mentioned that it was my friend's birthday, so they brought out the dessert with a candle (and the whole restaurant proceeded to sing happy birthday) - that was awesome haha. Overall, we both had a really great dining experience at Jules Bistro. As mentioned above, the ambience was very cozy-like and made you feel like you were right at home, which I found to work perfect with the type of food we had (i.e. sharing our dishes). The service was great, and we really hit all aspects of food here (seafood, meat, dessert). I'm already planning for my next visit, and I think you should too :)


Thursday, January 05, 2017

Comfort Zones

"Do one thing a day that scares you,"

has been one of my favourite quotes. I have been attempting to live that quote out on a daily basis for the past couple of years, especially when I set out on this blogging venture. I mean, this blogging thing in itself has always been something that scared me.

If you told me 2 years ago that I would go out alone to events to converse and dine with strangers,
I would not believe you.

After mustering up all the courage I had (which wasn't a lot tbh),
& pushing myself out of my comfort zone,
I can now say goodbye to the timid, shy girl who was unable to speak up for herself!

It is actually kind of crazy to think back to how different life would have been if I never forced myself to attend that first media event. I definitely would not be where I am now!

Where the magic happens, outside your comfort zone

Sure, it is easy to stay comfortable and avoid things that scare you, but how boring would that be?!
To face your fears and do something you aren't comfortable with - is it scary? Hell yes.

You've heard that life happens outside your comfort zone. But, you need to "decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
The first step is always the hardest. But once you gain momentum, it gets easier.
It becomes 'normal' to be scared.

'Cause I mean, "if you're not scared, then you're not taking a chance. And if you're not taking a chance, then what the hell are you doing anyway?"

So, get the heck out of your comfort zone.

Do something that scares you.

Go ahead, take a chance.

It'll be worth it.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

3 Ways to Grow Your Instagram

With 2016 coming to an end & as we welcome 2017 with open arms, I found myself randomly thinking about how my blog got to where it is right now. As per my archives, I've been blogging since 2013. Some would say that is quite a long time - although I agree, time passes by while you're having fun, amiright?!

I don't think I've ever really talked about this before, but I started Sincerely, KN as a personal journal to record my thoughts and write about what I did on a daily basis. Why? Because I have a horrible memory and I needed a way to force myself to take photos to remember things haha no joke. Often times, I surprise myself with what I've done (or, mainly ate since that's all I do) when reading back on old posts.

Fast forward to summer 2015 when I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended my first media event at Barque Butcher Bar. Oh how things have changed since then!! I have this odd sense of confidence now and have grown so much as a person (lol this sounds so cliche to say). I've also met some of the coolest people through Instagram and am so glad to be able to have this as my little side gig and creative outlet with the support from all of you - thanks guiseeee!

With that all said though, I've been asked by a lot of people how my Instagram got to where it's at today. So I thought I'd share with you three things I've learned about growing your Instagram over the past year.

1. Consistency

Consistency is key. I'm sure you've heard of that saying before, but it is very applicable when it comes to your online presence on Instagram. I didn't really think about it, but everyone is unique and we all do what we do best. It's very important to stay true to who you are when producing content. I.e. For me, my biggest passions are food & travel. If you take a look at my account, I am sure you will see that immediately!

2. Relatable

A comment I get a lot is that they love reading my posts because I write exactly like how I talk. I don't omit any 'LOL's and 'hehe's, and if you know me, you will know that I say those things a lot in real life. Companies have actually worked with me because of how my personality shines through my writing. Through that, I've realized that it is very important to be relatable & let them relate to you. People follow you because they like your content and the person behind that content. When they are able to relate to you (be it through a personal caption or a witty comment), people are more likely to stay. And guys, what better way to relate to people than through food?! Haha.

3. Engagement

The third way to grow your brand goes goes hand in hand with point #2. Build a relationship with your audience. Showing people that you aren't just an Instagram account is important. After all, you are just another human being taking photos and sharing them with the internet! Like, comment, and engage in conversations to grow a personal connection with your followers. Talk about things you like, and that in turn will help you grow an audience that also shares the same interests as you do.

And there you have it! It is rather simple, so don't sweat it ;) don't forget to have fun with your account as well! Thanks again for such an awesome year, and I wish you all the best in 2017! Cheers!
© Sincerely, KN | Toronto Food & Lifestyle Blog | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig