Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Figures Toronto

When comic books and food join forces, they become an un-beet-able duo.
...Ha ha ha, *slow clap*. Okay that was a bad one, but you guys loved it. Don't lie.

Figures is a new restaurant located in Yorkville, where you have to call Captain America (unfortunately, I don't mean literally. You just need to press a button that looks like his shield) in order to open the door and enter. Walking in, you'll find that the interior is stunning. It's covered with locally commissioned art, and am very sad to say that I wasn't allowed to take any photos for you guys. It's just another reason for you to visit for yourself though, just sayin' ;)

After taking in the art work, we ordered our cocktails and let the chef send out dishes for us to try. Figures' bar is headed by one of the best mixologists in the city, James Bailey (from Furlough), so it's easy to say that we were not disappointed with our drinks.

As for the food, we got to taste the following items:

Beet | Chevre, Truffle
Beef Carpaccio
Octopus | Escabeche, Black Garlic
Lump Crab | Watercress, Old Bay
Oxtail | Plantain, Red Stripe
Coho Salmon | Sunchoke, Dandelion
Beignet | Nutella, Blood Orange
Mexican Chocolate | Fleur de Sel, 22 Carat Gold

First, I must say that I have nothing negative to say about any of the dishes we tried. Everything was so good, and I honestly ate way more than I should have. The beet tower was one of my favourites. I only recently started eating beets, believe it or not, and happy I did or I'd miss out on this dish! You also can't go wrong with beef carpaccio. It was very flavourful, and it came on a bed of greens which was a nice compliment to the carpaccio.
The lump crab cake was another favourite, and it was just so good when dipped in the sauce! Out of the warm dishes, the oxtail was my favourite (I was also told by the people that worked at Figures that this was their favourite dish as well). The flavours were there, and the meat was just so tender. Gah, I'm getting hungry just typing about it! Continue to scroll if you want to see photos of it (obvs you do ;) haha).

The menu at Figures changes on a daily basis, based on what is in season. So I hope you visit Figures soon before they change some of my favourite dishes mentioned above!


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Stop What You’re Doing & Book Your Flight to Dubai Right Now

Platinum Heritage Safari • Source: Karen Ng, @SincerelyKN
If you need 1 reason to put Dubai next on your travel list, here are three. As one of the fastest developing cities with an abundance of activities and never-ending options for food, you won’t be disappointed.

1. Architecture & Views

The Emirate Golf Club in 1993 • Source: David Cannon @ Getty Images
Can you believe that less than 40 years ago, Dubai’s population was a mere 370,000? As of January 2017, the population has grown 576% to 2.5 million.

Starting in 1980, Dubai started building their city one building at a time with the mentality of “Built it, and they will come”. In present day, Dubai is now home to some of the most extravagant buildings, such as the world’s tallest tower (Burj Khalifa), the world’s largest mall (The Dubai Mall), & the world’s largest fountain (The Dubai Fountain). As if that isn’t enough, Dubai is planning to build another tall tower that will supersede the Burj Khalifa and a brand new airport, which they are hoping for it to become the biggest airport in the world! However, this should come as no surprise with Expo 2020 coming up in a couple of years.

The Emirate Golf Club in 2008 • Source: David Cannon @ Getty Images
In addition to expanding the city into the desert, Dubai is also known for the world’s largest island built on the water. The Palm Jumeirah was built on the Persian Gulf with over 10.5 million dump trucks worth of sand (and looks like a palm tree leaf, hence the name). Dubai has also commenced building another island in the shape of the world map, where locals can purchase a piece of, for example, “North America” to live on.

The Palm Jumeirah + The World Map Islands • Source: Google Maps 2017
New buildings and areas are being built every single day in Dubai. With Dubai having the most active tower cranes than any other city in the world, it comes with no surprise that if Dubai doesn’t have something, they will build it. It is definitely worth the sight.

2. The Food & Overall Dining Experience

What’s a city if it doesn’t have good food?

The quality of food in Dubai cannot be described as anything else but amazing. With a variety of cuisines that range between your typical steakhouse to a local Arabian tea house, you will be sure to find a spot in the city to satisfy any culinary cravings.

Traditional Arabian breakfast • Source: Karen Ng, @SincerelyKN
Ranging from high-end restaurants in rooftops of luxurious hotels to a local spot on the side of the road, the number of places to eat are endless and ever-growing. Particularly, the food truck scene is currently on the rise, with many events held open to the public like one by Truckers DXB for the Dubai Food Festival. On the other hand, many high end restaurants fly in ingredients, such as seafood, to ensure that they can serve you the best of the best.

Truckers DXB • Source: Zee Tv Middle East
Besides ensuring ingredients being used are of top quality, Dubai also places importance on the overall customer experience. The first thing that comes to mind is having a champagne brunch at Coya on Fridays. With all food and drinks included, you are also presented with dancers, entertainment, and the best service. Another great example of enhancing customer experiences is #saltbae’s restaurant at the Four Seasons Dubai. When dining at Nusr-et Steakhouse, the waiters put on a show as they present you each dish. You can see an example of what I mean here.

Nusr-et Steakhouse’s Rack of Lamb dish • Source: Karen Ng, @SincerelyKN
Can’t forget the local hidden gems of the city too, though! A survey was conducted in 2016 where the locals were asked what they thought were hidden gems in every cuisine throughout Dubai. At these smaller establishments, you are able to meet the owners and taste their passion in each dish you taste. You can find this list here.

3. Activities for the Adventure-Driven

There are a number of activities for those that are addicted to adrenaline.

Source: Skydive Dubai
One of the most popular activities to do in Dubai is skydiving over the Palms. You’ll be able to get an aerial view of Dubai as you jump from 12,500 ft AGL. Dubai’s Kite Beach is perfect for water activities, such as kite surfing and paddle boarding to name a couple. There are also family friendly areas for children, a 14-kilometre soft track boardwalk for the active individuals, and food trucks to indulge in when hungry.

You may think it’s odd to want to have fun in the snow when you’re in Dubai, but it’s no doubt a popular activity when it is 120°F in the summer! Dubai has you covered (literally, because you’re indoors) at Ski Dubai in The Mall of the Emirates. You can go skiing, snowboarding, zip lining, and snow tubing and then stop in to see the penguins.

Source: Ski Dubai
On the other end of the spectrum, you can also go out into the desert on a Platinum Heritage safari tour to ride in the back of a 1950s Land Rover or a camel! Looking for something even more exhilarating? There are also sandboarding safari tours, where you can slide (or roll) down a sand dune.

Source: Desert Rangers
Trust me, you won’t run out of activities here in Dubai.

Basically, Dubai has it all.

If you want good food, you will find a wide range of cuisines – from affordable to fine dining. If you want to relax in the sun, Kite Beach is just one of the many beaches you can park yourself for an afternoon with an impressive boardwalk and activities. If you want to go shopping, The Dubai Mall is home to 1,200 stores and counting. You will be able to find anything you are looking for – from luxury retailers to local Emirati stores. If you want to learn more about their culture, you can visit Old Dubai and attend a session at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Looking to bargain for some good deal, you can cross the Dubai Creek and check out the spice and gold souks.

Whether you are looking to explore the city or for a cultural experience, the first step towards either is to book your flight now. What are you waiting for?
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