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The Old Spaghetti Factory sign lit up in red, neon lights outside.

When you see that bright red neon sign lit up in Toronto, you know you could only be one place…The Old Spaghetti Factory. Located at 54 The Esplanade, this eatery has been a fixture in the city and there’s no denying that once you enter the restaurant, it definitely comes alive.

The Old Spaghetti Factory menu is a folded, white pamphlet.

The Menu

As we were escorted to our seats, the menus were placed on the table. I have always loved the menus from The Old Spaghetti Factory because it makes you feel at home. The pamphlet-style paper menus were easy to read and less cumbersome and bulky like your usual menus. I also appreciated the paper placemat that accompanied the menus. The placemats were a guide as to were to put your forks, knives, spoons, glasses and plates. It made for a fun and excellent learning tool.

Artichoke dip with corn, red and black tortilla chips.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Looking through the menu, my mother wanted us to start off with the Spinach & Artichoke Dip for our appetizer. Lightly salted Corn, Red & Black Tortilla chips accompanied the dip. The flavours of the dip were excellent because it was warm, smooth & creamy.

Seafood fettuccine containing shrimp, scallops and clams.

Seafood Fettuccine

Camille ordered the Seafood Fettuccine. The Seafood Fettuccine contained Shrimp, Scallops & Clams marinated in a Marinara and Cream sauce. She enjoyed the size of the shrimp and how decadent the seafood was with the fettuccine.

Spaghetti with meatballs.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

My sister, Candace, and I had the Spaghetti with Meatballs. We had the option of having our spaghetti with a spicy meat sauce, so we had to choose that! The meatballs were made with all beef and to no surprise, they were extremely tender. We didn’t have to use our knives to cut through the meatballs because they were easy to slice with our forks.

Lasagna covered with cheese on top.

Lasagna

My mother ate Lasagna for dinner. As I looked over at her plate, I was mesmerized by the thick layer of cheese on top. I was temped to get my fork and take some of her lasagna. Her lasagna was made up of The Old Spaghetti Factory’s Famous Meat sauce, Mozzarella & Ricotta cheeses. My mother also got Parmesan cheese shredded on top of her lasagna.

Lasagna eaten half way. Parmesan cheese is on top.

THE AFTERMATH (P.S. You can see the Parmesan cheese better in this picture)

Ribs with a side of french fries and a small container of ketchup.

Baby Back Pork Ribs & Fries

My father had the Baby Back Pork Ribs & Fries. He was sitting beside me so I got a chance to steal some of his fries, which I continued to eat with my meal (sorry Dad). He loved the Smokey Barbeque sauce that was used on the ribs. He said that is enhanced the charbroiled ribs nicely.

Ribs with a side of grilled baby onions, peppers and zucchini.

Baby Back Ribs & Vegetables 

My aunt also ordered the Baby Back Ribs but decided to get grilled vegetables instead of fries. Her grilled vegetables were Baby Onions, Peppers & Zucchini. She opted for a smaller portion for the ribs rather then getting a full size. She fell in love with the vegetables because its sweetness wasn’t lost in the grilling process.

Check out the Old Spaghetti Factory online at www.oldspaghettifactory.net

 

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Neon La Carnita sign

We got the chance to visit La Carnita Taqueria located at 501 College Street. We loved the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant. The authentic street artwork on the walls were an excellent contrast to the dimly light ambience of La Carnita. Not to mention, we fell in love with their neon sign! Just brilliant.

Tortilla Chips with 3 selected dips. 1. Guacamole 2. Corn Salsa 3. Spicy Bean & Queso

Tortilla Chips

We began our meal with an appetizer. We decided on tortilla chips with your choice of any 3 dips. We wanted to try all 3 dips so from left to right, there’s Guacamole, Corn Salsa & Spicy Bean with Queso. The chips were lightly seasoned and crisp to perfection. As soon as this appetizer came, we couldn’t wait to dig in as you can see!

Corn on the cob with crema & ancho chili powder

Mexican Street Corn

Next was La Carnita’s Mexican Street Corn. This is not your average corn on the cob. It has an added kick that has the right amount of spice to keep you coming back for more. I’m a corn lover so ordering this was a no brainer for me. The char marks on the corn elevates the corn’s sweetness to heighten your taste buds.

Cod taco with pickled red cabbage, green apple & cilantro

In Cod We Trust

Camille enjoyed In Cod We Trust. The cod was juicy and the batter was light and crispy. The balance of the green apple and pickled red cabbage made the dish flavourful. Lime crema was perfect for the cod as it added the exact amount of acidity to the taco.

Crispy chicken thighs with peanut mole, Rossy's hot sauce, green cabbage & salsa fresca

Pollo Frito

The Pollo Frito was to die for! The chicken thighs were so unbelievably tender it was literally melting in my mouth. The peanut mole and honey worked well with Rossy’s hot sauce. The impeccable placement of the salsa fresca on top of the green cabbage was exactly what the dish needed. I made sure to take one of the tacos home.

Braised beef, lime avocado, green cabbage, pickled jalapeño & shallots

Beef Cheek

One of our friends had the Beef Cheek. The beef was ancho braised for that smokey, savoury taste. Green cabbage and cilantro gave the meal its freshness. Pickling the jalapeño peppers was a great idea because the heat from the peppers weren’t overpowering or overwhelming. Lime avocado still gave this dish the remnants of the guacamole that everyone knows and loves.

Albacore tuna, guacamole, habanero, tomato & cucumber

Tostada de Ceviche

This was Camille’s first time having Ceviche and she couldn’t stop raving about it. She loved the smooth, creaminess of the coconut milk and the Albacore tuna. We make tomato and cucumber salad on a regular basis so both ingredients were a superb fit with the habanero peppers. I believe this was her favourite meal of the night.

3 pieces of churros dipped in cinnamon sugar placed in a metal canister

Churros

For dessert, we shared churros. We’re big fans of churros. We’ve even made them at home, but La Carnita’s are incomparable. The cinnamon sugar on these churros were beyond great. I have a major sweet tooth so this was right up my alley. When you visit La Carnita, you have to order the churros. It’s a must!

La Carnita Taqueria has 2 other location at 780 Queen Street East & 106 John Street. Check out La Carnita at www.lacarnita.com

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This year I was able to celebrate not only 1, but 2 Thanksgivings! With a mix of traditional American standards, such as Mac & Cheese and String Beans, as well as Caribbean dishes, such as Curry Chicken and Roti. Dinner was a special treat!

Table with curry chicken, stuffing, asparagus and candied yams

Clockwise: Baked Chicken, Spring Beans with Corn & Ham, Candied Yams, Roasted Pork, Stovetop Stuffing (Don’t judge me), Curry Chicken, Roasted Asparagus, Eggplant Parmesan with Meat, Spinach Rice, Mac & Cheese, Pesto Pasta, Curry Beef, Veggie Eggplant Parmesan, Roasted Yams, Fried Rice and Stuffing with Apples & Cranberries.

 

 

Kitchen table with string beans & corn, baked chicken, pesto pasta, curry beef and mixed mango salad

Clockwise: Baked Chicken, Spring Beans with Corn & Smoked Ham, Pesto Pasta, Curry Beef and Salad (Mangos, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Carrots, Celery and Red Onion)

 

Kitchen table with candied yams, fried rice, spinach rice, eggplant parmesan, salmon and mac & cheese

Clockwise: Salmon, Eggplant Parmesan, Candied Yams, Fried Rice, Spinach Rice and Mac & Cheese.

 

Turkey wings

These were the BBQ Turkey Wings that were prepared for dinner. Are those big enough for you?

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Lou Dawg's Outside

Between King Street West and Portland Street sits one of the locations for the southern style eatery, Lou Dawg’s. From the outside, Lou Dawg’s has a rustic yet modern feel. Initially, I walked by the restaurant but I happened to turn back around because I wanted to discover what was inside. Thank God I did!

Lou Dawg's Wall

As I went inside Lou Dawg’s, I noticed the restaurant’s logo on the wall. It was nice and big, which I can definitely appreciate. I loved that the light was highlighting the logo in a way that brought warmth to this establishment.

Lou Dawg's Menu

The warmth was one of the themes of Lou Dawg’s because the waiter was very inviting and friendly. He asked me if it was my first time at Lou Dawg’s and I told him yes. He offered me a menu and suggested the pulled chicken sandwich. I decided to go with his recommendation and he asked if I wanted to make it a Po’ Boy. I accepted.

Pulled Chicken Po Boy

I know you guys are probably wondering what a Po’ Boy pulled chicken sandwich is. Well the Po’ Boy element of the sandwich consisted of coleslaw being placed on top of the pulled chicken similar to condiments. The tanginess of the coleslaw with the sweetness of the barbeque pulled chicken made this sandwich mouthwatering. The slow cooked pulled chicken was so tender and their original southern BBQ sauce is incomparable. The freshness of the bread just made me want to eat the sandwich even faster. You guys are just going to have to get one for yourselves and you better make it a Po’ Boy!

Lou Dawg’s also has a location at 76 Gerard Street East. Check out Lou Dawg’s at www.loudawgs.com

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Scallops

Scallops
One of our appetizers were the pan seared scallops. FYI, this was my first time having scallops and I loved them. I enjoyed the sear on the bottom because it added the perfect caramelization to my taste palate. The sweet elements of the truffle oil made this experience even better.

 

Calamari

Calamari
My sister Camille and Scot, my Creative Director, ate the calamari as the second appetizer. The aroma of the calamari was very enticing. I can honestly say that the shape and cut of calamari reminded me of onion rings.

 

Onion Soup

French Onion Soup
Scot delved into the French onion soup. He had been talking about French onion soup from Morgans all day and it was sure to please. The Gruyere cheese crouton added a salty, savory taste that uplifted and enhanced the soup’s flavour.

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries
The sweet potato fries were light with a crispy, coating. Morgan’s spicy aioli gave a spectacular balance to the sweetness of the fries and the salt sprinkled on top.

 

Korean-Fried-Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken
I had the Korean fried chicken. I’m a fan of chicken breast so this meal worked perfectly for me. I received 2 chicken breasts and the skin on these breasts was a glistening, golden brown. The chicken breasts were very tender and decadent. The meal typically comes with kimchi fried rice and sautéed bok choy but I substituted those sides for fries and cornbread. All in all, my meal was pleasing to the eye and my taste buds.

 

Sticky-Toffee-Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
After we were stuffed from our meals, our waiter asked if we wanted dessert. We each looked at each other in silence. The waiter laughed and brought us each dessert menus. We knew that we were full from dinner, but you could never be too full for dessert. I suggested that we order one dessert and share it. We got the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. The pudding was velvety and warm. We scooped the ice cream with the pudding to ensure a smooth texture on the tongue.

 

Christine with Anna

Anna Sorrenti
When we were leaving the restaurant, we noticed a sign that read “Congratulations Chef Anne Sorrenti: Chopped Canada Champion.” We went back inside and I asked our waiter if I could meet Chef Anne. The waiter went to the kitchen and about 5 minutes later, Chef Anne came out to meet us. I complimented her on the exquisite food that she made for us. She was feeling under the weather but she still took the time to take a picture with me. This was one of the highlights of my food experiences.

Check out Morgans On the Danforth at www.morgansonthedanforth.com

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For Asha’s (Chef Sam’s sister) birthday, Chef Sam made chocolate themed pastries to die for.  Here are the savory sweets that she created for the big day.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Chocolate Strawberries & Clusters

Dark Chocolate covered Strawberries with Dark Chocolate covered Cornflake Clusters sprinkled with golden flakes (in the middle)

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Dark Chocolate covered Salted Pretzels

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Italian Swiss Meringue Butter Cream and a Dark Chocolate Ganache

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