EVENT: T&T Waterfront Night Market

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 0 comments



I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday evening than attending one of Toronto's most popular food festivals. The T&T Waterfront Night Market made 3rd annual appearance to the ever growing Toronto food scene. For those who are not familiar with T&T Supermarkets, it is essentially Loblaw's Asian division specializing in a wide variety of specialty Asian produce and products. T&T Supermarkets can be found in Toronto, Ottawa, Alberta and British Columbia. With the core of the GTA consisting mostly of Chinatown, its no doubt that this is one of the busiest events around. 

Pretty much everything was served on a stick at this market
Hosted in partnership with NAAAP (North American Association of Asian Professionals) Toronto, the night market is designed to treat attendees to a unique outdoor culinary experience showcasing an array of Asian themed street food and general merchandise. This night market ultimately unites different cultures together in such a unique social event which highlights Canada's multicultural mosaic.

Accompanied by my friend Geraldine (also a Windsor native!), we set off to the TTC bus destined for Cherry beach with several other hungry festival-goers. After a bit of a wait for transit to arrive, we arrived to a very, very, VERY packed festival. Upon arriving on location, we were greeted by something iconic to the night market: Stinky Tofu...  A little background information on this heavily pungent, borderline vile Asian street food staple, stinky tofu is a dish well known in Taiwan. Traditional methods for preparing this odorous dish is to prepare a brine made from fermented milk, vegetables and meat and can take as long as several months to ferment. Some say that the more it smells, the 'better' its flavour. Sorry folks, I didn't get a chance to try some nor get any pictures as this stuff hit me like I was running full sprint into a brick wall. I'll try it one day...maybe. 

AHHHH So Many people!! 
Anyways, aside from the stinky tofu sending putrid haymakers to my nostrils, it was almost impossible to even walk into the festival itself!! It was sooo crowded, some areas were just shoulder to shoulder traffic and it was moving VERY slowly. Thankfully it was a cool Saturday and it wasn't too hot, otherwise I probably would of passed out between all the people and you guessed it.. The wonderful smell of stinky tofu!

Pretty much I saw Tornado and tempura so I just jumped in line
After adjusting to the massive flurry of crowds of people, Geraldine and I jumped into a line to try some of this highly anticipated street food! There was no strategy here, I saw a sign for some treats that looked tasty and we stumbled into the moderately long line. After about 15-20 minutes and 
several Asian elders butting in line and taking all the freshly ordered food a couple of times, Gee and I split a Tempura Shrimp Tornado and an order of Tofuyaki. 


The tornado was essentially tempura battered shrimp wrapped exaggeratedly in an absurd amount of potato shoestrings and then deep fried. This thing was huge (get your head out of the gutter... ) and there was no good way to approach it except just take a big bite out of it. Aside from the mayo drizzled on top, this was pretty dry and bland and pretty much tasted like a bunch of hickory sticks wrapped around breaded shrimp. Ah well, kind of a let down. Next up, tofuyaki. This version of tofuyaki was essentially breaded fried tofu which was then drizzled with teriyaki and mayo (Asian's really loved mayo with their fried food) and fried shaved onion. It was tasty with the teriyaki adding a nice sweetness to the crunchy exterior and soft tofu center. 


nothing like eating skewers of meat from a paper bag!
After a greasy start, we ventured over to the Philippines (Gee who is a Pacific Islander herself was quite excited) We get in line for a Filipino grill stand named Kamayan (basically meaning shake hands or in regards to food, eating with your hands). We decided to go for some Filipino marinated pork skewers. Simple but so delicious! At only 2 dollars a skewer, it was easy to order a whole bag full, which we did!! I could probably have eaten 20 of these skewers easily. The marinade had the perfect harmony of savoury and sweet which paired with the fattiness of the pork gave it a true umami experience!


After a pleasant visit to the Pacific Islands we moved back to a Japanese street food favourite: takoyaki. Popularized in Osaka Japan, takoyaki is a ball shaped dumplings made of a pancake style batter that are typically filled with grilled octopus and cooked in a special half spherical takoyaki pan. Once carefully cooked all around, takoyaki is then either skewered on a stick or served on a disposable platter and topped with an endless combination of Asian condiments (bonito flakes, diced nori, green onions etc). 


Shrimp, corn and cheese takoyaki
traditional octopus takoyaki
The line for these magical Japanese balls was huge!! So much so, a girl was coming out to the line and taking orders for us to prepay so once we got up to the pass, our food would be ready immediately. Having never tried this Japanese favourite before, I went with the shrimp, corn and cheese and the traditional octopus takoyaki. After about 25 minutes in line I was given to plates of these freshly made battered balls. I'm not sure if takoyaki is meant to be as mushy as it was, but my guess since it was in such high demand, they really didn't have much time to set. The clear favourite was the traditional octopus takoyaki topped with Japanese mayo, nori, bonito flakes and what tasted to be like sweet soy or teriyaki. 


After all these tasty treats, it was all washed down with some nice coconut juice straight from a coconut!


In the end, the T&T Waterfront Nightmarket is an experience that you should try at least once if you are ever in the area for it. Aside from the huge crowds and the extreme funky smell of stinky tofu, the nightmarket is an excellent way to get your feet wet in the Asian world of street food. If its this crazy in Toronto, I can only imagine what it would be like in Asia!




REVIEW: The Squirrel Cage

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2 comments

The Squirrel Cage
1 Maiden Lane
Windsor, Ontario Canada
Phone: +1(519)252 CAGE (2243)




TYPE OF RESTAURANT: Modern European-Style Cafe
ATTIRE: Business Casual
PRICES: $7 Panini $5 Soup/Salads
$$$
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Cash, Mastercard, Visa, Debit/POS

HOURS: 
            Monday - Friday 8am -8pm
            Saturday 1-9pm
            Sunday CLOSED         
RESERVATIONS? Yes. walk-ins welcome
HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE? Yes, fully available
VEGETARIAN? Yes
VEGAN? Limited.
GLUTEN FREE? No.

RATING:


Quality of Food: 4/5 
Service: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Atmosphere: 5/5

About time! That is the best way I can describe this new addition to Windsor and Essex County's culinary scene. The hype was heightened by a Windsor Star article showcasing the future opening of this unique cafe in Windsor's barren downtown. I couldn't wait to give this place a try. A co-worker of mine went opening day for lunch and couldn't stop ranting and raving about it. I definitely had to give it a try.

And try I did, once a week since the day it opened. :) This place is simply incredible. A caliber of cafe, nearly non-existent in Windsor. Walking through the patio, you can instantly tell this place is a whole different experience. The patio adorned with enough potted plants and trees to make you feel you are in a courtyard. As soon as you enter the front door, this place is instantly placed into a league of its own. You would never know this place used to be a hair salon. Owners John Ansell and Steven Thompson have definitely kicked this place up a few notches with their own renovations showcased on their Facebook page. The environment is incredibly welcoming, the music well selected, and every last detail is covered. From the reclaimed barn wood that composes the tables, to the organic soap and dual-flush toilets this place brought true urban modern feeling to the old-fashion, stuck in their ways local scene. The local art showcased on the walls is an especially cool touch.

While the food is somewhat limited to panini, soup and salad; the quality and combinations are delicious. In my many recent visits, I've tried: the Veggie Panini, The Italian, Cream of Spinach (soup of the day), and a sesame bagel with cream cheese for my morning breakfast run. Difficult to choose a favourite, but the aioli in the Italian was so tasty. Their cafe lattes are pretty decent too.

What truly takes this place to a whole different caliber is the service. Each and every time I enter the place, I am always greeted with a genuine smile and the friendliest service. Both these things are something missing from most establishments in the area. 

Overall, I would highly recommend the Squirrel Cage to anyone in Windsor's downtown core. I heard rumours that there are plans to apply for a liquor license, which could definitely secure this place as my new local. Sorry Twisted Apron, there is a new kid in town ;)

SUMMERLICIOUS ROUND 2 REVIEW: Frank Restaurant @ AGO

Monday, July 23, 2012 0 comments

Frank Restaurant @ AGO
317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Phone: +1(416) 979 6688


TYPE OF RESTAURANT: Contemporary Comfort Cuisine
ATTIRE: Business Casual
PRICES: $20 Lunch / $45 Dinner Prefixe (for the duration of Summerlicious)
$$$
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Cash, Mastercard, Visa, Debit/POS

HOURS: CLOSED Monday
            Lunch: Tuesday-Friday, 11:30AM - 2:30PM
            Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30PM - 10:00PM
            Brunch: Saturday-Sunday, 11:00AM - 3PM

RESERVATIONS? yes available via Open Table; Walk-ins welcome but reservations strongly recommended
HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE? Yes, fully available
VEGETARIAN? Yes (menu depending)
VEGAN? Kinda. 
GLUTEN FREE? Possibly (menu depending)


RATING:


Quality of Food: 5/5 
Service: 4.5/5
Originality: 4.5/5
Atmosphere: 5/5

I couldn't let the Summerlicious season go without trying at least one more restaurant from the 180 participating establishments in the GTA. This time around, it was my friend Kasia's 25th birthday and due to conflicting schedules, we had to opt for a celebratory quarter century lunch. After reviewing dozens of Summerlicious restaurants and menus, reservations at Frank were made.

Now I haven't heard much about this place except that one of their sous chefs, Elizabeth Rivasplata was a contestant on Top Chef Canada Season 2 which was just aired back in February/March. Let's just say I wasn't really a fan of her and I'm sure others who agree, she was very abrasive and wasn't much of a team player. After watching the season, I told myself I would never eat at the AGO because of her. Yeah... About that, I totally didn't realize it until after I made the reservation and am I ever glad I did. I'm not even sure if she even works @ Frank anymore since I couldn't find her anywhere on Frank's culinary management page on their website. 

Anyways, as we walked over to Dundas street on a beautiful sunny afternoon, we walked into a very chic, contemporary and extremely busy restaurant. The crowd was a mixture of business people on lunch, art gallery perusers (identified by their AGO badge on their clothing which I'm assuming gets them back into the art gallery) and people coming in directly from the street. A line was formed at the hostess booth and one by one, parties of hungry customers were either shown to their tables or were notified of an extremely long wait time without the presence of a reservation. Semi grinning, I walk up to the hostess to tell her of my reservation when to my left, there is this short elderly woman who totally butts in front of me and tells the hostess of her reservation!!! WTF?! That kinda rubbed me the wrong way, but I can't yell at old people, who makes a reservation for 1 anyways?!? (that was Kasia's chime in) 

As we were escorted to our seats, I observe the very busy dining room that was given a ton of natural light from the overhead transom windows. I took a gander into the kitchen as we walked by it and it was bustling but very calm and organized. Props to whoever was running the pass that day. We get seated at a table for two in one of the side dining rooms  that had bright red coloured walls and various paintings on the walls. I got seated facing the red wall which made me utterly ravenous (even more so since it was a later lunch) 

About 8 minutes passed as we viewed the menu and still no server in sight, we were slightly getting agitated and I began making slow service notes in my head. Suddenly, our waitress appeared cheery and full of useful information about the menu. She instantly high lighted what was still available on the drink menu as Frank menu (and apparently drink menu) is very seasonal which tells me how fresh their product is and how much they value local sustainability of ingredients. She even recommended some of her personal favourites and what has been popular with her other customers which tells me that she is very attentive to what people order as well as trying items off the menu herself. I love hearing that staff at restaurants get fed family style meals before services because it means they get first hand experience of what the food tastes like which gives them a better appreciation and understanding of what they are serving. This Summerlicious menu in particular, was very Spanish influenced as you will see below.


Watermelon Salad
King Mushroom Salad
After a slow start to our meal, I renounced the bad service card and we were off to starters before we knew it. For myself, I went with the watermelon salad, heirloom radish, queso fresco, basil and radish sprouts and minted-lemon vinaigrette. Kasia started with the grilled king oyster mushrooms with marinated asparagus cucumber salad, chive and chervil vinaigrette. First bite verdict: Amazing. there was a perfect balance of sweet from the watermelon, salty from the queso fresco, sour from the vinaigrette and texture and aromatics from the radish and sprouts. Definately far superior to the watermelon and feta salad Gio and I had at Windsor Epicure a couple of last year (link to the blog page here). Kasia's Mushroom salad was tasty but we both agreed that the mushrooms were a little off, it had an aroma that I couldn't explain better than that it had a taste of Chinatown (fishy tasting) and it wasn't a good taste to linger on your palette. As she got further in, she did mention that the stalks of the mushroom were much better than the cap (perhaps poor preparation of the mushrooms?). Regardless, watermelon salad was the clear winner for both of us in the starter section.


Steak Coca 

Saffron Honey Roasted Chicken
Next up, mains. Kasia went for the steak coca: spiced grilled steak on house-made grilled flatbread with charred corn salsa, ricotta salata and piquillo peppers. It was a very tasty dish, steak was cooked to a perfect medium with no juices oozing out profusely which means they rested their meat correctly allowing the juices back into the steak instead of on the plate (a huge pet peeve of mine at steak houses), and the charred corn salsa gave it a nice contrast of sweetness. Flatbread was a little tough on the bottom from it being toasted on the grill but I can always appreciate when they make the extra effort to make it from scratch. I opted for the saffron honey roasted chicken with golden raisins & capers served with patatas bravas. The star of this dish was clearly the chicken, the flavour profile was off the charts! The waitress added that she was very jealous everytime she serves this dish because at staff meals a dish using the marinade would be made but not the actual chicken and it was also delicious. She also mentioned that the chicken was marinaded for about 3 days for the flavours to set in and it was clearly obvious that it worked wonders! My palette went for a ride with everybite of tender, juicy fall off the bone chicken with sweet notes of honey and golden raisins contrasted by the saltiness capers and perfected with the subtle hint of saffron.

Get your hands away from my CHURRO YO!
Onto the grand finale: dessert. The decision here was a no brainer and Kasia and I were both unanimous in our decision, CHURROS!!! For those who do not know what a churros are they are essentially tube shaped deep fried fritter donuts that are often rolled in cinnamon sugar and are absolutely HUGE in Spanish cuisine. These wonderful fried sticks of heaven were served with dark chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. Kasia had two simple words can describe this dessert: "SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOD!", and I whole-heartedly agreed. The churros were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and it was absolutely just delightful with every dip into the dark chocolate and caramel sauces. I felt like a kid again eating Dunkaroo's or something except 1000X tastier. We were done before the waitress came back to ask how the dessert was! 


In conclusion, our experience at Frank was quite pleasant and enjoyable. Frank @ AGO really captured the essence of what Summerlicious is all about: showcasing some your finest creations from the kitchen to have customers coming back for more! I think I can speak for Kasia when I say Frank did exactly that and I would recommend this fine establishment to anyone who is looking for some well prepared, delicious food to go with some fine art! 


Exciting Things Brewing in Walkerville

Saturday, July 21, 2012 0 comments

Windsorites are waiting in eager anticipation for the re-launch of a historic Windsor landmark-- Walkerville Brewery.


The original Walkerville Brewery Company dates back to 1885, where it operated in a five-storey building in the area that is now Walker Road. It operated until 1956. 



In 1998, the brewery was reincarnated in a former Canadian Club blending house on Argyle Road. The reincarnated brewery made a name for itself winning numerous awards including a bronze medal at the 2006 World Beer Cup, a gold at the 2007 Canadian Brewing Awards, and even took the Canadian brewery of the year title in 2004.  The popular microbrewery however declared bankrupcy in 2007 citing increased demands and competition in the market.

Well, the Walkerville Brewery is back.... well almost. They have yet to officially launch, but under the new ownership of Chris Ryan and Mike Brkovich, the Walkerville Brewery is on track for a comeback at the 525 Argle Road location. They've launched their social media presence via their website just this past week. Their first edition of their newsletter also announced that they are now officially brewing:

Over the next 10 days, our proprietary yeast will be busy converting our wort to beer before it will be allowed to mature for approx 2-3 weeks to attain the desired flavour profiles of our initial styles.

(Walkerville Brewery Newsletter, Vol. 1 Issue 1)
 Next up, taste testing. Ryan and Brkovich are asking for help from the general public. Anyone who would be interested in being part of the taste testing groups, who will ultimately choose the Walkerville brews, can sign up via their website. Random subscribers to their newsletter will be emailed to participate. My fingers are crossed for my invite to would be an amazing highlight for the summer.


Either way, the relaunch of Walkerville Brewery is an exciting, and historic event for Windsor and Essex County. Bring on the beer :)

REVIEW: Amaya Indian Room

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 0 comments


Amaya The Indian Room
1701 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Phone: +1 (416) 322 3270


TYPE OF RESTAURANT: Indian
ATTIRE: Casual / Business Casual
PRICES: See Menu
$$/$$$ Affordable/Pricey
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Cash, Mastercard, Visa, Debit/POS

HOURS: 7 days a week 5PM-11PM

RESERVATIONS? yes via phone and Open Table; Walk-ins welcome
HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE? Kinda.. (washrooms are located downstairs)
VEGETARIAN? Yes
VEGAN? Yes.
GLUTEN FREE? Could be??
RATING:



Quality of Food: 4.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Originality: 3.5/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5


Summer is in full bloom and for the GTA area it means a whole slew of summertime festivities, most of which include you guessed it.. FOOD. More specifically Toronto's annual Summerlicious which began July 6th and runs until the 22nd. What originally began in 2003 as a modest 35 restaurant event has now blossomed into 180 participating GTA dining establishments. Every participating venue creates a special three-course prix-fixe menu for this viral event to showcase their best creations from the kitchen. 

This review actually came up by total chance as I was on my way to work in the morning, www.meetup.com . I began using this social meetup website just after I moved to Toronto. Being the new kid on the block from the county, I was finding it a little difficult to meet new people with similar interests in such a fast paced, on-the-go city. Meetup helped me find several social circle's with similar interest's to mine and I have met a  wide range of new friends; many of which I now interact with outside of Meetup. 

Anyways, back to my story, I received an email on my way to work  Friday morning from one of my Meetup groups; Joy of Eating, (if you can't tell, this is a foodie group :P) mentioning that there is a last minute opening for a Summerlicious meetup that evening. Thanks to the wonder's of modern technology, within minutes, I was slated in for the final spot to dine at Amaya Indian Room

Indian food and massages??
Now I have seen this bright orange elephant logo all over Toronto as the Amaya Empire (referrered to by many in T.O. as the 'King's of Curry') and was a bit skeptical at first as it almost appeared to be a national franchise. However, the Amaya group is solely based in Toronto and certainly makes its presence known with 2 full size restaurants (Indian Room and Bread Bar), over 6 express and food court locations as well as a gourmet sauce line; sold in specialty grocery stores and even a complete catering division. Needless to say, this orange elephant gets around but it scored a 26/30 from Zagat, so I'm anxious to see what this Indian cuisine heavyweight has to offer.

Upon my arrival I enter the East York establishment, I was politely greeted by an army of black clad Indian servers and I quickly found some other members of the meetup group in the corner of my eye since the cozy place seats about 40-45.  As I venture to my table, I take note of the very modern and elegant interior with a very bold colour palette of warm orange accent walls and red chairs (both of which simulate hunger which is always a good thing for a restaurant). This was all accented with several pictures of scenery and abstract photos of India which added a very nice touch, nothing crazy like a Bollywood musical. 

As the remaining members of the party were arriving I took a look at both the Summerlicous menu as well as the regular menu. To be honest, nothing on the Summerlicious menu really stood out and it just felt like it was slightly modified dishes from the regular menu with a smaller portion size. One thing that really left me perturbed was the server explicitly explained that the entire table had to make a decision of whether we wanted Summerlicious or regular menu, no mixing and matching was allowed. This stirred some debate of why they were adamant about this. I'm not sure if a reason was explained but we made it easy and all decided to order off the regular menu. 

Jazzed up Indian street food 
For myself I began with the savory chaat. I'm still a neophyte in Indian cuisine but my take on this dish was kind of a bread/wafer/potato salad, only the flavour profile slapped me right in the face with its vibrancy and acidity getting that lip pucker you get after eating a bag of salt and vinegar chips. Soon after I dove into this dish, the others at the table told me that chaat is a well known street food in India and is often served in paper cones for more portability. Savory, tarte and a hint of spice with the coolness of the yogurt really took my palette for a spin. 





For my main, I played it safe and went with a staple in Indian cookery, butter chicken! Traditionally named Murgh Makhani, butter chicken is made by taking tandoori chicken (chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon juice and an array of spices resulting in its iconic red hue and then cooked in a clay tandoor oven) and stewing it in pureed tomatoes, cream and fried fenugreek (herb commonly used in Indian cuisine). This healthy portioned bowl of butter chicken made its entrance with a plate of fresh, warm and delicious order of garlic na'an (flatbread cooked in a tandoor oven).  The butter chicken itself was very tasty; creamy, and full of flavour with the richly spiced tandoori chicken. I immediately began attacking the bowl of delicious sauce with my garlic na'an, soaking up as much saucy goodness as I could with every bite. 

dum means cooked in low heat




Lamb Vindaloo
Accompanied with this splendid dish, I also got to sample some lamb vindaloo (one of India's spiciest curry's)  and dum chicken biriyani (basmati rice that is cooked with several spices over low heat). The vindaloo as its reputation proceeds itself did indeed pack quite a punch though I only had a couple bites of it, and the biriyani had a comfort food feel to it. Kind of gave me the kitchen sink, 1 pot meal deal. Though the flavours are textbook Indian, the layout of the dish reminded me of this loaded sticky rice my mom makes with Chinese sausage, scallions, and Chinese mushrooms. Something you just stop when you eat it and just say "mmmm..."


We opted to skip desserts at Amaya since it was so hot out and ice cream or gelato would of been a nice finish to a bold and spice driven meal.







My final thoughts of Amaya are for the most part positive. Ironically set on going for a Summerlicious meal, I am glad that I ordered off the regular menu. Price's were a bit higher, but in return we received hefty portions perfect for sharing and indulging in a excellently executed Indian family style meal. Even though this is my first time here, judging by the number of locations Amaya holds in the GTA, I can bank that the food is consistently this good. Encountered a bit of a communication block with the ordering, but I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to dine in an inviting and pleasant atmosphere with a eye popping and mouth pleasing (and/or possibly burning depending on what you order) experience! JAI HO! 



Amaya the Indian Room on Urbanspoon

EVENT: Fork and Cork... the update

Saturday, July 14, 2012 0 comments

Well, it happened. As mentioned previously, Festival Epicure was a no-go this year and was replaced by an all new food festival-- Fork and Cork on July 6th, 7th and 8th.

The food festival couldn't have happened on a better weekend. After a heat wave lasting several weeks overtook Essex County, the weather was back to seasonal expectations. On Saturday July 7th, Some coworkers and I decided to make it an early dinner.

Many of the same vendors from Festival Epicure's past were present including Chanoso's, Mastronardi Estate Winery, Thai Palace, Koi Sushi, Thai Palace, and Mezzo's. But there were even more new vendors including Cooper's Hawk Vineyards, The Tecumseh Roadhouse, The City Grill, Sweet Temptations, Walkermole, and the Dominion House.

The Chork-- sans Armadillo.
I had a couple of delicious dishes including Chanoso's Green Armadillo, which consisted of fresh slices of avocado over a ball of seasoned rice (resembling an armadillo rolled into a ball), on a bed of sweet pepper salsa. It was served with some fried- wonton like "crackers" and one of the coolest foodie inventions I have ever seen-- a Chork (Chopstick and Fork combined). My second dish was The Tecumseh Roadhouse's Smoked Turkey Breast. The think was ENORMOUS and incredibly tender and delicious! For just $6, I got a drumstick that weighed so much that my arms actually got tired of holding it. Honestly, a meal in itself.

Tecumseh Roadhouse's Smoked Turkey Drumstick
All this went down with about four drinking cups of Mastronardi Estate Winery's Sangria (if you have never tried it, check out your local LCBO for some. If they don't have it request it because it is an amazing summertime red wine). I also finished off the dining experience with a glass of rose from Cooper's Hawk Vineyards.

One think I particularly liked about this festival is how they offered table service when it came to ordering mixed drinks and beer. Their serving staff went well with the environment and were incredibly friendly and sociable. One thing I think needs to improve for next year is the music, or at least the schedule. Having an evening meal accompanied by rock music was a first for me. I mean, I love my rock and roll but to have it blaring during dinner was all too strange. Some lighter music  for the evening would have been much more enjoyable. The sentiment was shared by several tables in our vicinity. 

Overall, with the short amount of time the organizers had to put this event together it was a great success and I look forward to seeing the Fork and Cork festival as an annual part of Windsor and Essex County's Summer Festival and Events schedule. 




INTRODUCTION: 1st Official Diner's Dish Contributor!!

Friday, July 13, 2012 0 comments

Hey everyone!! Adam here, making my debut post. You may have seen my name pop up in some (or a lot ) of Gio’s review and event blogs. Ever since moving to the big city for a taste of the real world after college, I’ve been immersed in a culinary wonderland and instead of me texting and sending him pictures of all the amazing food and event’s I’ve seen, heard and/or been to, he came up with the brilliant idea of me being an official contributor to Diner’s Dish!!

So here I am, Adam Hoang, the Ragin’ (Can)Asian here to report to you all the incredible gastronomic adventures of the GTA  (and hopefully beyond) !!

Much like Gio’s family (swap Sicilian-Canadian to Viet/Chinese-Canadian), food is what the Hoang’s are known for. As mentioned already, I grew up in the restaurant business in Leamington with my parents owning and operating Wong’s Dining Lounge for nearly 3 decades now.

Being a 1st generation Viet/Chin-adian, I’ve gotten to experience some of the best Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine by 2 of the best cooks I know; my parents. From bold and hearty Cantonese to fresh and vibrant Vietnamese flavours, “what’s for dinner?” is always an adventure at the Hoang household.

Furthermore, ever since my family immigrated to Canada, excellent Western cuisine was also mastered. Some of you may be skeptical but next Thanksgiving, be sure to find me in the back yard of my parent’s house preparing a southern fried turkey and you won’t question it twice!
Anyways, I hope my added contributions to this flourishing blog add another point of view and give you an enjoyable reading experience. Thanks to Gio for having me a part of the Diner’s Dish Collaboration!

'til next time…

食飯/Chúc ngon miệng !!

Adam Hoang
Twitter: @ad5ter

Meet and Greet with Celebrity Chef David Rocco

Thursday, July 12, 2012 1 comments

This post is a bit delayed, but had to happen nevertheless. Of course I would have to boast about meeting one of my Canadian culinary idols-- Chef  David Rocco.


Rocco was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario and is known around the world for his television series David Rocco's Dolce Vita.


Rocco was in Windsor as part of the 2012 Carrousel of Nations at the Riverside Festival Plaza. He did a cooking demonstration of Pollo (Chicken) Saltimbocca, Beetroot Risotto, and a simple (but delicious) strawberry with balsamic vinegar and black pepper dessert.


Growing up in an Italian household where the women seemed to be doing all the cooking Rocco has allowed it to be acceptable for a young Italian-Canadian to love to cook. Considering my nonno can't even boil hot dogs, we have come a very long way in just 3 generations.

The Recipes (Courtesy of DavidRocco.com)