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Outside view from Toula

On the 38th Floor of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toula has the picturesque view of the beautiful Toronto harbour. With a 360 degree view of the waterfront, this restaurant was one of our picks for Summerlicious 2019!

Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Onions with crusty Bread and fresh Mozzarella

Panzanella

As Friday, July 19th was one of the hottest days of the summer thus far, Toula’s Panzanella appetizer was the perfect refresher! The creamy Mozzarella on top of the Heirloom Tomatoes complimented each other very well. I made sure to get a bit of everything: Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Onion and Crusty Bread on to my fork and can I tell you that it was like a party in my mouth! The Balsamic drizzle was the icing on the cake for this bright appetizer.

Lobster on top of Mussels with fresh Peas and Roasted Garlic sprinkled with Parmesan cheese

Mussels & Lobster

Not only was this appetizer appealing to the eye, but the Lobster on top of the Mussels almost stole the show. The Toasted Breadcrumbs were beyond delicious and can we talk about the Mussels! They were smooth and buttery pairing rather exquisitely with the Fresh Peas. Our waitress made a great suggestion of dipping our house-made bread into the sauce that the Mussels & Lobster were in and that was one of the best suggestions that we could have gotten. We honestly cleaned the bowl with the house-made bread. I think it is safe to say that we REALLY enjoyed this appetizer!

Atlantic Cod with Artichoke Chard, Tomatoes, Capers, Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Atlantic Cod

Now to one of the main courses. When you think of Atlantic Cod, hopefully the first thought that comes to mind is a flaky cut of fish. This Atlantic Cod dish did not disappoint. This cut of fish was flaky and vibrant with a glistening sheen that shone through with every slice of the fork. The Capers added a nice balance of salt to the dish, while the Roasted Potatoes were the starch element that brought the dish together. We loved the Chard Tomato and we found that Tomatoes were showcased in quite a few of the dishes on the menu. This was a well balanced dish for non meat-eaters and meat-eaters alike!

Sliced Flat Iron Steak with Rosemary Garlic Arugula and mixed Vegetable

Steak Tagliata Tuscana 

Now you know that I can not go to a restaurant without trying their Steak dish. Since we do not necessarily cook Steak at home, anytime I go out I order a Steak dish as a treat to myself. With this dish, I was not expecting the Steak to have already been sliced when brought to the table. I did not mind this because my Steak was cooked exactly how I requested…Medium well! I mixed the Balsamic drizzle from the Steak with the Arugula salad and the taste was impeccable. I can admit that I am not a fan of Peppers in my food but I really appreciated the way that the Peppers in this dish were not overcooked, which meant that they still held their crunch. After this course, we were ready for dessert!

Cheesecake with a Blueberry Compote and fresh Blueberries and Strawberries

Cheesecake

This is how I knew that Toula was special. Initially when we were deciding what we wanted to order for Summerlicious, our waitress informed us that we can order the Cheesecake even though it was not on the menu. We thought that was a fun idea. We ordered the Cheesecake and it looked mouthwatering. The Blueberry Compote cascading near the top of the plate was minding blowing. The Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries was that bit of sweetness that paired marvelously with the Cheesecake, as it was not that sweet.

Mango, Raspberry and Lemon Sorbet with an added piece of Strawberry

Sorbet Trio 

Knowing that we had to brave the heat after dessert, we decided to cap off the evening with the Sorbet Trio. With the 3 flavours of Mango, Raspberry and Lemon, we were excited to try the flavours all at once. We are not big Ice Cream fans but when Sorbet is offered on the menu, we jump at the opportunity to try the flavour(s). Puckering our lips with each spoonful, we could not get enough of the Sorbet and nearly licked the bowl! What a way to complete our Summerlicious experience of 2019!

For more information on Tula, check out www.toularestaurant.com

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The outside of Speakeasy 21

Located in the Scotia Plaza between Adelaide Street West and Bay Street sits one of the vivacious hotspots in the Financial District. Speakeasy 21 was our top choice for this year’s Winterlicious food adventure!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Olive crumble, Feta Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes. Naan Bread is garnished on the side.

Red Pepper Hummus

We began our Winterlicious experience with some Red Pepper Hummus. We felt that this appetizer signified how accommodating Speakeasy 21 was. This dish was not on the Winterlicious fixed menu but our lovely server offered the Hummus to us after we asked if we could possibly have other appetizer options. We can say that we LOVED the Hummus and the Naan bread was delicious. The Fete cheese really complemented the roast of the grounded Chick Peas. Now if you loved the look of this Hummus, wait till you see what the Brussels Sprouts looked like! Check it out below.

Smokey Brussel Sprouts with Sesame Miso Mayo, Shallots, and Chili

Smokey Brussels Sprouts

Now at this point, we had figured that our waitress was spoiling us. The Brussels Sprouts was another dish that is not on the fixed Winterlicious menu. We really had to question how we got so lucky! Let me personally say that I am a huge fan of Brussels Sprouts and these had to be my favourite. The smokiness of the Brussels Sprouts intermingled with the Red Chilis gave an excellent kick, which was accompanied by a slight cool down by the Sesame Miso Mayo. As I think about it, I could really go for some of the Brussels Sprouts right now!

Crab Cakes with Chipotle Mayo & Grilled Lemon

Snow Crab Cakes

I will admit that there were 3 of us that dined at Speakeasy 21 and we each wanted the Snow Crab Cakes. Our waitress told us that they had one more serving of the Snow Crab Cakes left. We decided to order the last serving of them as well as asked for other appetizer options. This is how we got so lucky and had the chance to choose our other apps. We were sooo excited to taste these cakes and they were beyond scrumptious! They were just melting like butter and was just smooth. I am a Chipotle Mayo enthusiast so I was in bliss with this particular one.

Fish & Chips with Coleslaw & Tartar Sauce

Fish & Chips

By looking at this picture, you can tell that the coating on the Fish was succulent and crispy. The flakiness of the Fish and the crispy coating were exuberant with the Tartar sauce. The Chips (or French Fries) had just the right amount of seasoning that made us want to continue to nibble on them even after we claimed that we were full. Lastly, that Coleslaw. My goodness! That was some of the best Coleslaw that I had ever had. I literally finished the whole thing and when I got to the end I was starting to taste a punch of heat which I enjoyed with the sweetness  of the slaw.

Grilled Striploin with Brown Butter poached Shrimp, French Fries and Green Beans

Surf & Turf

Speakeasy 21’s Surf & Turf included a Grilled Striploin with Brown Butter poached Shrimp. This meal comes with Smoked Mashed Potatoes but being the French Fry lover that I am, I asked to substitute the Mashed Potatoes for the French Fries. For the Striploin, I asked to have the cook on it medium-well and I was not disappointed. Very delicious!

Carrot Cake served with Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake

Time for dessert! We began with the Carrot Cake. I hadn’t had Carrot Cake in a very long time so I was anticipating the taste of this particular one. We loved the Cream Cheese icing on top of the Carrot Cake because it had a tangy twist that gives you the right amount of pop in your mouth. We were looking forward to the next desserts that we’re coming.

Dark Chocolate Cake with house made Mint Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Cake

This time we moved on to a different kind of cake. We ate the Dark Chocolate Cake and it is a MUST that you have each bite with the House-made Mint Ice Cream. With every bite, the cake and ice cream just kept getting better. I really appreciated the fact that the mint from the ice cream was not overpowering or overwhelming. I think that it is safe to say that we have a major sweet tooth.

Bailey's Cream Caramel served with Chocolate Chip Biscotti pieces

Bailey’s Cream Caramel

We all agreed that we saved the best for last. We all fell in love with this dessert. The Bailey’s Cream Caramel was light and airy. We also kept eating the Chocolate Chip Biscotti, which to my surprise was not at all hard. We were pleased to complete our 2019 Winterlicious experience with such a memorable sweet treat.

For more information on Speakeasy 21, check out www.speakeasy21.com

 

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Outside view as sun is setting

On the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion Centre building on 66 Wellington St. W., Canoe Restaurant and Bar not only has one of the most breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline, but the food has the freshness that our great city is known for. We had the pleasure of visiting Canoe for Summerlicious and all of our food selections were right on the money!

Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes, Parmesan custard, charred Chicory, and crispy Wild Rice lavash

Ontario Burrata

One of the appetizers that we started with was the Ontario Burrata. When this dish was placed in front of us, we felt that it was too beautiful to eat. The Parmesan custard that the Heirloom Tomatoes and charred Chicory sat on top of was smooth, rich, and creamy. The crunchy component of the Wild Rice lavash brought balance to this light, opening course.

Smoked Salmon mousse, Sumac Creme Fraiche with a Maple Vanilla vinagrette

Cured West Coast Salmon

Usually when you think of Salmon, you do not think of an appetizer. Well this Salmon was the perfect portion and consistency. Even the Salmon mousse had a refreshing vibrancy that brightened up the dish. We loved the fact that the cut of Salmon was just melting in our mouths, which has us salivating for more.

Short Rib with a Beef strip loin on top of Buttermilk whipped Potatoes topped with Glazed Lettuce and Burdock Chips

Beef Strip Loin + Short Rib

Now you know I LOVE my beef! I honestly fell in love with this entree because there were 2 variations of beef… Definitely my kind of meal. The Beef Strip Loin had the perfect medium cook that was to die for. The caramelization on the Short Rib had an earthy touch that partnered well with the Beef Strip Loin. I am a fan of Mashed Potatoes so these whipped, Buttermilk Potatoes were surpassed my standards. I also enjoyed the glazed Lettuce. With the Balsam Fir Jus, the glazed Lettuce tasted like a warm salad, which was a lovely difference to your normal toasted salad.

Walleye on top of Potato Ecrase and Caper crumbled with Sourdough croutons

Great Lakes Walleye

We will admit that before we came to Canoe, we had never heard of a Walleye fish. This fish has a similar taste to a Snapper but it is not as meaty as Halibut. We are believers of trying new foods and we can say that the Walleye is a must try! The Capers that were crumbled on top of the Walleye added a salty touch that did not overpower the dish. We also had much appreciation for the Sourdough Croutons because the flavours came alive with just the right amount of Olive Oil.

Wild Blueberry Panna Cotta with Cinnamon Tuile and Milk crumble

Wild Rose Panna Cotta

What we really enjoyed about this dessert was that it was not overly sweet. We can admit that we have an admiration for sweets and this dessert hit the spot. The Cinnamon Tuile was reminiscent of Maple Sugar with each bite. The innovation of Canoe was evident with the Milk crumble that was cascaded on top of the Panna Cotta. This Blueberry dessert was worth the wait!

Strawberry Shortcake with Sumac Meringue, Wild Ginger Chantilly and Cheesecake Mousse

Strawberry Shortcake

Having a deconstructed Strawberry Shortcake was a new concept for us. The Strawberries were juicy and embodied bold flavours. The Sumac Meringue had a solid exterior and a soft, pillowy interior. This dessert was great to the last bite! Extremely delicious.

Night View

We had such a great time at Canoe Restaurant & Bar. We were very excited to have our 2018 Summerlicious experience at this beautiful establishment. With a view like this, we could not help but admire how gorgeous our city truly is!

For more information on Canoe Restaurant & Bar, check out www.canoerestaurant.com

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Outside of Sidebar

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your restaurant right next to a well-noted concert hall? To be able to rub shoulders with up-and-coming acts as well as some of your favourite established musicians. Sidebar, located beside the Danforth Music Hall, can attest to this experience. With their opening 6 months ago, Sidebar has been able to host countless after parties for a wide array of bands spanning various genres. Their after parties may be well noted but their food is definitely brought to the forefront.

Fried Brussel Sprouts with a side of smoked Bacon placed in a cast-iron pan

Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

We came to Sidebar for a business meeting and were pleasantly surprised that we were able to pick our seats. After receiving our specialty drinks, which were an Arnold Palmer (an Ice Tea and Lemonade mix) and a Lemonade with a splash of Grenadine, we were ready for our appetizers.

We started with fried Brussel Sprouts with smoked Bacon. Typically this appetizer comes with the bacon integrated into the brussel sprouts but since we had a vegetarian in the group, we were provided the option of having the smoked bacon on the side (because we all know that I LOVE BACON). The fried brussel sprouts were so flavourful and we could definitely taste the natural oils from the vegetable. And please do not get me started with the bacon… Can you say MOUTHWATERING! This appetizer set the tone for the night so we knew that our meals could only get better from here.

Roasted Cauliflower placed in a cast-iron pan

Roasted Cauliflower

Next up was the Roasted Cauliflower. We loved the way that both the fried brussel sprouts and the roasted cauliflower were presented in small cast-iron pans. It gave the appetizers a rustic feel with a warm sense of home. The spice blends of chili flakes and garlic were light, which kept the true essence of the cauliflower. The roasted cauliflower still contained that beautiful, refreshing crunch that you know and love. With a cascade of parsley on top of the cauliflower, this was another home run for Sidebar’s appetizers!

Chili and Garlic Shrimp

Chili and Garlic Shrimp

Now these were not your average shrimp! Continuing with the chili theme, we had the Chili and Garlic Shrimp. We appreciated the fact that we each had a shrimp (4 people) to try and still had an extra shrimp to spare (don’t worry, we ate the last shrimp!). The shrimp were juicy and succulent. The shrimp were cooked to perfection, as they were buttery and didn’t give off that overcooked, rubbery texture. The smell of the shrimp also awakened all of our senses. Now let’s us get to our main course dishes!

Crispy Chicken Sandwich with Onion Rings on the side

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Chef Andrew Bennett put his special touch to Sidebar’s signature fried chicken. Now when you put that fried chicken into a sandwich, you have a match made in Heaven! We were blown away at how crispy the coating of the chicken was, but yet how tender the chicken actually was.The kale and swiss chard slaw was a much needed change from the typical lettuce that you find on a burger or sandwich. We decided to have onion rings accompany the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. These golden, crunchy gems were some of our favourites (and I’m not a big fan of onions). I was even sneaking a few onion rings off the plate because they were that great.

Grilled Sea Bass with a piece of Grilled Lemon on the side

Grilled Sea Bass

We were served the entire Sea Bass and it was deboned. Although it was grilled, you would think that it would be dry but that was far from the case. The flakey sea bass married well with the citrus of the lemon, which was grilled and placed eloquently on the plate. The hint of smokey flavour didn’t overpower the sea bass with an overly smokey taste. With salt and pepper along with parsley, we couldn’t have asked for a more decadently prepared fish.

Southern Fried Chicken with a side of Coleslaw and house made Hot Sauce

Southern Fried Chicken

Can we just say that we had fried chicken 2-ways! Sidebar spiced up their fried chicken by adding their signature hot sauce, which I might add that we asked for extra because it was that delicious. With every bite, we utilized that southern-style hot sauce.The coleslaw made you feel as though you were in a southern restaurant. I can say that I’m a huge fan of coleslaw so I was chowing down on that side dish.

10 oz. Steak with Shoestring Dill dusted Fries

Steak Frites

As we don’t make a lot of steak at home, we try to order steak at the restaurants that we visit if available. This particular Steak Frites was beyond exceptional. We requested the cook on the steak to be medium well and Chef Bennett certainly delivered. We also admired that the fries were tossed with fresh dill. The dill was different and we respected the fact that Sidebar was willing to push the boundaries of the average salt that is added to fries. I can admit that I continued to nibble on those fries even after I was “full.”

Khephra, the Assistant General Manager, and I

Khephra, Assistant General Manager (left), and I (right)

We would like to thank Khephra and her staff for their AMAZING serves during our dinner at Sidebar. Even though this restaurant is still new, we definitely predict that it will have longevity. If you are checking out a show next door at the Danforth Music Hall or just want a place that will cater to your eclectic food cravings, we suggest you give Sidebar a try. You will not be disappointed!

Yellow flower on the table

Flower on the Table

For more information on Sidebar, check out www.danforthsidebar.com

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Outside of Alleycatz

When our Creative Director, Scott, made the suggestion for us to go to Alleycatz for Winterlicious, we were beyond excited. We have wanted to go to Alleycatz for a while now and the opportunity finally presented itself. Located near Yonge Street and Englinton Avenue East, Alleycatz is the Jazz lounge that always has the party going, not matter what day of the week!

Grilled Tiger Shrimp with garlic butter and tossed greens on the side

Grilled Shrimp Salad

Can we start off by saying that we had some of the most comfortable seats at Alleycatz. When Alleycatz is referred to as a lounge, the place is nothing short of the word. The relaxing booth seating were perfection at best and the wooden dance floor was a nice added touch.

When we were seated, the waiter took our orders and we all agreed on having the Grilled Shrimp salad for our appetizers. The Tiger Shrimp drizzled with a Spanish garlic butter sauce was so succulent and cooked impeccably. We also loved the tossed salad on the side with its tasty Balsamic vinaigrette. This salad set the tone for a perfect dinner as we were excited to see what entrées we had next.

Prime Rib with Sweet Potato mash and mixed vegetables

Prime Rib

I will admit that this was my first time trying a Prime Rib and I am so glad that I chose it! We ordered the Prime Rib cooked medium well done and the cut of the roast was smooth like butter and it melted in all of our mouths. We all fell in love with the Sweet Potato mash and it was an elevated version of your typical mashed potatoes. The mixed vegetables were seasoned well and I made sure that I took a little bit of everything with every forkful.

Mushroom stuffed Raviolis in a tomato cream sauce with ricotta and parmesan cheeses sprinkled on top

Giant Wild Mushroom Ravioli 

I will be the first to admit that I am not a big fan of mushrooms because of its texture, but I definitely had to eat those words when it came to this Mushroom Ravioli dish. The ravioli had a particular freshness that married well with the tomato cream sauce that was cascaded on the plate. The Ricotta cheese was that bit of salt that hit our taste palates exquisitely along with the drizzle of truffle oil, and of course, we could not forget about the Parmesan cheese that the waiter brought us for the finishing touches of the dish. More cheese please!

Grilled Salmon with Sweet Potato mash and mixed vegetables on the side

Grilled Atlantic Salmon 

How could you go wrong with Grilled Salmon! That’s right, you can’t and we learned that by ordering one of the best salmons we have ever tried. The char marks on the salmon were so eye-catching and beautiful. The roasted Cherry Tomato and Kalamata Olives made for a light gravy that coated the salmon immaculately. We decided to substitute the Basmati rice with Alleycatz’s Sweet Potato mash and of course, we ate the entire entrée!

New York style Cheesecake with berry compote drizzle on top

New York Style Cheesecake 

When we saw New York Style Cheesecake on the menu, we absolutely had to try it for ourselves. To say that we were not disappointed is an understatement. The Berry Compote was so unbelievable that it was like a burst of excitement in every bite. For me, what makes a great cheesecake it the graham cracker crust and this crust was luscious. The consistency all around for this dessert made this a must-have treat.

Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla ice cream on the side

Classic Chocolate Ice Brownie 

When you think about brownies, you automatically think about ice cream. Well we had the pleasure of having both for dessert. With every spoonful of the Chocolate Brownie, we made sure to have the Vanilla Ice Cream accompany it. Just thinking about this dessert is making our mouths salivate. We guarantee that this chocolately delight is sure to please all of your senses.

A slice of Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting on top

Red Velvet Cake 

I know that I should start by referring to how decadent the Red Velvet Cake was but I would like to acknowledge the Cream Cheese frosting on top of the slice of cake. My goodness…It was so creamy and was a great union of the smoothness of the Cream Cheese frosting with the moistness of the actual Red Velvet Cake. We wanted to continue to eat the cake but unfortunately there was no more left. To put all the flavours and textures into words would be a difficult task. All we can say is, go out and try this cake for yourselves!

 

Our 2018 Winterlicious experience at Alleycatz was definitely one to remember! From the comfortable lounge seating to the Salsa lessons after hours, we would say that Alleycatz is that hidden gem that you have to show your family and friends no matter the occasion.

Check out Alleycatz at www.alleycatz.ca 

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When Fall arrives, I always find myself preparing dishes that warm me up on the inside and “sticks to your ribs” so to speak. So with that in mind, I thought sharing my quick pasta sauce method would be a great recipe that anyone can make quickly and at the same time enjoy a freshly made rich tomato sauce. The great thing with my tomato sauce recipe is it adapts well to different flavour accents like basil, white wine, mushrooms, etc; the additions are numerous, so get creative!

This method requires diced tomatoes either fresh or canned, your choice, tomato paste, and various aromatics – diced onions, garlic and green pepper. You can add some dried or fresh herbs. I commonly use dried oregano, basil and thyme. Rosemary can be an excellent addition as well. Its robust aromatic flavour really permeates the entire sauce adding a great taste.

Spaghetti Sauce

The other fantastic thing that I love about this dish is that it is very quick to put together. Start by sautéing your aromatics and herbs in a little oil. If you are going for the full experience you can use olive oil, but you can use whatever your preferred cooking oil is; however, I would avoid using coconut milk.

Once your aromatics and herbs are cooked down, add your tomatoes. If you use fresh tomatoes add a little water as well to help create your sauce for a chunky texture, or puree your tomatoes for a smoother finish. Simmer the sauce for about 5-10 minutes and then add some tomato paste. Add your salt and pepper and a touch of sugar to help balance the acid of the tomatoes. Cover and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. I normally let it simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes while I tackle something else.

Mushroom stuffed Ravioli

Once your sauce is ready you can serve it with your favorite fresh or dried pasta of any kind. I love to eat it with capellini or tortellini pasta, but whatever you fancy will work. You can also add meat or leave it as a vegetarian sauce. Either make meatballs on the side or brown off the ground meats while sautéing your aromatics and herbs.

And there you have it, a quick simple homemade tomato sauce that you can enjoy on any night. This sauce freezes well and is one of those dishes that gets better the next day!

Capellini Pasta

 

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Fire from the grill at Uncle George

Now we could not complete our Barbados trip without grabbing a bite to eat at the famous Uncle George! Our last Friday on the island, we went back to Oistins for their Friday Fish Fry. Everyone and we mean EVERYONE told us that we had to stop at Uncle George. The way that the cooks were working the grills it definitely looked like works of art. Mind-blowing and jaw dropping!

Shrimp with Rice and Peas, Macaroni Pie and Grilled Potatoes

Grilled Shrimp with Rice & Peas 

Even though Uncle George had a long line, the food is worth the wait we promise. The shrimp were grilled to perfection and the rice and peas was smooth like butter. We also had grilled potatoes, which was a nice touch to the already amazing meal. Now can we talk about Uncle George’s signature sauce… Creamy goodness that made us continue to go back for more. The look of the sauce reminded us of tartar sauce but minus the tangy taste. There was a hint of sweetness to the sauce that complimented the shrimp, which was the star of the dish.

Lobster and Shrimp with Macaroni Pie

Grilled Lobster Tail & Grilled Shrimp

We know that you can see the size of this lobster tail. When we opened the container of food, we all looked at each other in silence. The lobster tail practically took over the whole container. And did we mention that we also ordered shrimp with this dinner too. We were in seafood Heaven! Shrimp, lobster, and macaroni pie…What more did we need? Since this was going to be a our last meal out, we had to make sure that we went out with a bang!

Uncle George himself

Uncle George himself

We had such an amazing time in Barbados. The people, the nightlife, and of course the food were nothing short of spectacular. We can not thank this beautiful island enough for its hospitality and we hope to be back in the near future. Until next time Barbados!!

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Menu from Rude Boyz Restaurant

Next stop on our Barbados food adventure was a place that was right across from our villa. Rude Boyz was a Jamaican hotspot that served authentic jerk specialties with a Bajan twist. We were not expecting to find a Jamaican eatery but no one was complaining!

Fried Shrimp with fries, side salad, and coleslaw

Meela’s Shrimp

Whomever Meela is, we would like to personally thank you for your Shrimp! The batter was perfect and lightly coated the shrimp evenly. With fries, this dish was just right. Rude Boyz put their signature touch on this meal by adding a side salad, which consisted of fresh lettuce and peppers along with a vibrant coleslaw. We even got a little adventurous and mixed some of the side salad with the coleslaw. It sounds a bit different but boy did it taste excellent.

Jerk chicken breast with fries, toasted salad, and coleslaw on the side

Rude Jerk Dinner

We could not go to a Jamaican restaurant and not order Jerk Chicken. The plating was beautiful with the amazing colours of the side salad and coleslaw. We substituted the rice and peas for fries because you know we love some fries! We had the option of having our Jerk Chicken spicy. Just in case the jerk sauce was too spicy, we had the sauce on the side. The jerk sauce was spicy but not overwhelming. We were even using it as a dipping sauce for our fries. And of course the fried plantains were to die for!

Noodles with vegetables and fried Shrimp. Fried plantains on the side

Rasta Pasta with Shrimp

We can admit that we love shrimp!! Another shrimp dish that we had the pleasure of indulging in was the Rasta Pasta with Shrimp. You can never go wrong with a pasta dish that has seafood. The vegetables in this dish were sautéed with the right amount of crunch that we were looking for. Rude Boyz signature fried plantains were delicately place on the side of the dish as an added garnish. This Rasta Pasta definitely put Rude Boyz on the map!

 

The menu from Guang Dong

We were recommended a Chinese restaurant called Guang Dong. When we walked into the restaurant, we noticed that it was bright and lively. Little children were running around playing and we instantly discovered that this eatery was a family owned establishment.

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein

One of the staples in Asian cuisine is Chow Mein. There are many variations of this popular dish, but we chose the Chicken Chow Mein. Finding the pieces of chicken in the meal was like finding gems that we got the chance to eat. Cabbage and bok choy were just a few of the vegetables that made this particular Chow Mein one to remember.

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice 

Another dish that is very famous in Asian cuisine is Fried Rice. There is nothing like a Fried Rice that has the ability to just melt in your mouth. The carrots were the perfect match with the chicken. We also admired the family size portions for each meal. We could share each dish without having to feel guilty about how much we indulged in a particular one.

Pepper Shrimp with Carrots and Broccoli

Pepper Shrimp

Can we honestly say that the way that this dish was dressed looked so appealing. We could tell that the placement of the broccoli and carrots were well thought out. Now you know spice is our thing and this Pepper Shrimp gets 2 thumbs way up! The seasoning was top notch and what more can we say about the shrimp in general aside from…Wow!

Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken

When the waitress brought out this dish, we automatically knew what it was before she told us. We could see those sesame seeds a mile away, which caught our eyes. With a mixture of sweet and sour, we ate the Sesame Chicken on top of our Chicken Fried Rice. Both dishes were beyond great together!

Shrimp and Broccoli

Shrimp & Broccoli

We know that you have heard of Beef and Broccoli but have you heard of Shrimp and Broccoli? Well we had to try it for ourselves. Trust us, we were very glad we did! The Teriyaki sauce that the Shrimp and Broccoli was made in enhanced the flavours of the meal. There were also pieces of carrots that accompanied the dish. We would certainly say crunchy goodness!

 

Stay tuned for the conclusion of our Barbados trip…

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So this month I thought that it would be good to cover some tips on layering and filling a cake. Sometimes this can be tricky, and for some bakers it’s at the last moment when they start to see that it was their layers that have created a problem. That leaning cake, or the bubble belly, and what about that seeping cake.; these are just a few of the most typical issues that can be caused when layering and filling a cake.

It always helps to have the tools that will make your job easier. Some of my go to tools that I use when I have to layer and fill a cake are my sharp serrated knife, my piping bag fitted with my round tip, a small offset spatula and my cake.

The first step to layering and filling a cake is…that’s right, layering the cake. This step involves you cutting your cake into even layers if you have a taller/thicker cake. Some bakers who like thicker layers choose to layer or stack whole cakes as opposed to cutting through cakes to create the layers. Cutting a cake that is not warm is key. Warm cakes break very easily! In fact the colder your cake the less likely it is to break while you are cutting through it. I often cut through my cakes why they are still slightly frozen.

Using a sharp knife helps reduce the amount of crumbs and helps you achieve clean layers when you have finished slicing though. For this example we will be using round cakes. Using a turntable while you cut helps to keep the knife level and achieve layers that are oftentimes more even. When beginning to cut, lightly mark around the cake where you would like the thickness of your first layer to be. While making a sawing motion and allowing the knife to do the work, spin the turn table as you gradually cut through the cake. Once you reach the centre the layer should lift off cleanly. You can repeat this step for the required number of layers you want out of your cake, just remember don’t make them too thin as they will be incredibly fragile and try to keep them as even as possible. We don’t want any leaning cakes

Next is filling and stacking.

Depending on the consistency of your filling or icing that you would like to sandwich between your cake, you can either use a piping bag or an offset spatula. Thicker fillings can be used in a piping bag. If you are using a piping bag, pipe a ring around the perimeter of the cake about 3-5 mm inward from the edge of the cake. Then pipe inside your rim with the remaining filling and smooth it out with your offset spatula. If your are not using a piping bag gently spread your filling on the top layer of your cake leaving a 3-5 mm rim around the edge. Try not to put too much filling as this is what causes oozing after the layers are stacked on top of each other.

Once you have covered the top with filing, lightly place your next layer on top and gently press down. Pressing down will make the filling move to the edge of the cake and the space that was left helps to prevent leaking. Continue this process until all your layers are stacked. The higher you have your cake you may want to consider adding structure to ensure it doesn’t start to lean as you build up.

And there you have it… layering and filling basics! Hopefully this helps with tackling some of those pesky filling and stacking issues.

Happy baking y’all!

Chef Sam's September Photo

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Outside of Mojo

As our trip continued, we wanted somewhere to go that was not your typical island eatery and we, without a shadow of a doubt, found that at MOJO’s. We felt as though we were eating in a friend’s backyard. Their tagline was “Music For The People” and we can say that every genre was playing throughout the night. MOJO’s was a paradise within a paradise!

Fish Cakes with Spicy Aioli sauce

Fish Cakes

Now anyone that does not like a dish that consists of a crispy coating is crazy! These Fish Cakes were some of our favourites as they were bite sized. We ordered this appetizer and we loved every bit of it. The spicy Aioli dipping sauce was nothing to mess with. You could not have asked for a better appetizer that packed a punch.

Chicken Pasta in a creamy pesto sauce with Parmesan sprinkled over top

Chicken Fettuccine 

For the creamy lovers, we have something special for you. This Chicken Fettuccine meal was one for the books. The consensus that we all agreed upon was that MOJO’s did not skimp on the size of the chicken. The pieces of chicken were a healthy size, so you did not feel like you had to dig to find them. Fresh Parmesan cascaded on top of our exquisite entrée.

Shrimp Pasta in a Tomato based sauce

Seafood Pasta in Tomato Sauce

So remember when we told you that Barbados has some of the freshest seafood… Our point was proven once again with MOJO’s Seafood Pasta. We had the option of trying their Tomato Sauce and we could not be more happy! We admit that the dishes that we had at MOJO’s always had that added spice that played an important role in the background. Seafood and spice… 2 words that marry extremely well together.

Chicken club sandwich with Bacon, Mozzarella cheese, and Lettuce

The Club

First things first, we were in awe of this presentation of this meal. From the rustic, wooden board that the sandwich was placed on to the fancy canister the ketchup and fries (see image below) were held in, we had to admire The Club for a little while. Chicken and Mozzarella cheese were double stacked with our ultimate favourite…BACON! A little piece of Heaven in each bite.

Seasoned Mojo Fries

MOJO Fries

These fries were so good! When you think about fries, you automatically assume that they would just have salt sprinkled on them and that is it. These fries went above and beyond your average fries. Again, MOJO’s signature spice was sensed in each fry. When we say that we fell in love with these fries, that would not even touch the surface. These fries exemplify MOJO’s on a plate. MOJO’s has something that everyone, whether it be the locals or tourists, can connect with.

 

Wait until you see Part 3 of what Barbados has to offer…

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