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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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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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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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Oistins' Sign

We were lucky enough to have the chance to vacation in the beautiful island of Barbados. The people as well as the food were the many highlights of our 2 week trip. Our first stop was at Oistins where they have their Friday Fish Fry.

Outside Chillin & Grillin

Chillin & Grillin

We had the pleasure of checking out an eatery called Chillin & Grillin. This was one of the hot spots at Oistens as the lineup was literally out the door and around the corner. We also had a front row view of the chef grilling the seafood.

Grilled Shrimp with Macaroni Pie and Coleslaw

Grilled Shrimp

Now Barbados is one of the key places to get some of the freshest seafood. We had the grilled Shrimp and the size of the Shrimp were no joke! They were beyond succulent plus the Macaroni pie, which is a staple for each meal in Barbados, was just the way we like it. We are big fans of Coleslaw and this particular one does not disappoint. We were very glad that this was our introduction to this island.

Inside of Lemon Arbor's bar area

Lemon Arbour

Now when we arrived on the island, we were told that we MUST go to Lemon Arbour especially on a Saturday. Thankfully we arrived midday because the tables were filling up very quickly. This was absolutely the place to be.

Fried Pork with Macaroni Pie & Pasta salad

Fried Pork

We discovered that one of the most popular dishes on the menu was the Fried Pork. I can definitely speak for myself when I say that I LOVE PORK! So when I heard about the Fried Pork I knew that it was a must try. The amount of flavour in the Fried Pork was unreal. Even when I saved some for later I kept picking at the pork, even though it was room temperature, because it was that great. And of course, you know we had to have our Macaroni pie on the side. Not too creamy which worked for us.

Scenery outside of Lemon Arbor

Scenery outside of Lemon Arbour 

 

Now we know you want to see more so stay tuned for Part 2 of our Barbados getaway!

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The outside of Cinebistro in Atlanta

Going to the movies in a theatre with popcorn is a thing of the past. If you are not having a main course while watching the latest flick, well then you have not had the full cinema experience. Where else could you go to get a meal that looks like it had been served by Wolfgang Puck himself! Cinebistro in Atlanta makes you feel like royalty as soon as you walk in the front doors… Or should I say… They make you feel like a real movie star.

Cobb Salad with Chicken, Bacon, Chopped Eggs, Avocado and Blue Cheese

Cobb Salad

I know what you must be thinking. Atlanta loves Cobb Salads! The surprising twist of the Blue Cheese in this Cobb Salad definitely separates it from the rest. The smokiness of the Bacon with the woodiness of the Chicken Breast on top of these leafy greens gave the main courses a run for their money. The Lemon-Basil dressing was light and we appreciated the fact that it was not drizzled on the salad for us. We could add as much dressing as we wanted without it overpowering the salad. We liked!

Atlantic Salmon with Shrimp on a bed of Collards and whipped Potatoes

Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon

Now just take a look at this dish. The construction of how organized and how detailed this plate looked was remarkable. This is what we are talking about when we refer to eating with your eyes. The Salmon could not have been more flakey. And do not get us started with the Shrimp! The Shrimp and Whipped Potatoes were very reminiscent of the Southern classic, Shrimp and Grits. We could never have enough Bacon and we are pretty sure that Cinebistro knew that, as the Collards had Bacon infused in them. Can you say YES PLEASE!!

Ribeye Cheesestake with Sweet Potato Fries and ketchup on the side

Ribeye Cheesesteak

Nobody said that you have to go to Philly to enjoy a Cheesesteak. Case in point the Ribeye Cheesesteak. The shaved Ribeye was roasted to perfection and stole the show. Everything tastes better with cheese, which is proven with the silkiness of this particular American Cheese. But the Sweet Potato Fries were to die for! We are big fans of seasoning and with each Sweet Potato Fry, it was as though there was a party in our mouths with every bite. Who knew Sweet Potato Fries could do that to you.

If you are looking for a place that will give you Movies With Taste, you must head over to Cinebistro. We are going to keep you in suspense on the movie we saw, but all we can say is that similar to our meals, we were nowhere near disappointed. Dinner and a movie never looked so good in the Atlanta Brookhaven area. Check out Cinebistro at www.cinebistro.com/brookhaven

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The Captain's Boil logo in black and white

I have seen the many pictures from The Captain’s Boil and I knew I had to see what the hype was all about. Located at 476 Yonge Street, Camille and I had to go in and check it out.

The 3-Step menu on how to choose your catch, flavour and heat.

 

On the back of the menu are your choices of sides and drinks.

The Captain’s Boil Menu

We walking into The Captain’s Boil and the first thing that we commented on was the aroma. We could automatically tell that we were going to be getting some real authentic seafood. Not only was the aroma infectious, but the menu was eye-catching. I loved the fact that they included pictures of the seafood options on the front. The 3-step ordering process was beyond helpful because it made everyone’s lives easier. On the reverse side of the menu, we had the chance to pick our sides and drinks. Not too bad for a seafood joint!

Cajun style mussels in a plastic bag.

Mussels

Camille ordered the Cajun-style Mussels. We love spicy food so she chose the “fire” option for her mussels. Every bit of these mussels were looking good enough to dig in to. Before we did any eating, we put on the plastic gloves and bib that the restaurant provided. Camille was digging into the mussels with a permanent smile. At that point, I knew that my food was going to be AMAZING!

Cajun style snow crab legs in a plastic bag.

Snow Crab Legs

Anybody that knows me knows that I LOVE CRAB! My family usually makes Curry Crab, but I’m open to try crab cooked different ways. I got the Cajun-style Snow Crab Legs and I fell in love. Of course I added “fire” to my crab legs and it packed the right amount of heat. When I cracked the crab legs, I would dip some of the crab meat into the juices left in the plastic bag in came in. By the way, that plastic bag is sheer GENIUS! These crab legs were so perfect that I declined adding any sides to my dish. Trust me, it didn’t need any.

Cajun style crawfish in a plastic bag.

Crawfish

Camille and I shared the Crawfish. I have always wanted to try crawfish and now I had the chance. To me, the texture of the crawfish was a mixture of crab and lobster. It was sweet and fresh. I felt like I was down South enjoying one of their crawfish boils. (pun intended!) I’m glad I got the chance to try something new and I didn’t have to travel too far to get it.

Cajun style crawfish in a plastic bag.

When you visit The Captain’s Boil, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. (not literally!) It’s more than a restaurant…It’s an EXPERIENCE! They have everything you could possibly want.

The Captain’s Boil has 3 other locations at 5313 Yonge Street, 10A-865 York Mills Road & 1620 Bayview Avenue. Check out The Captain’s Boil at www.thecaptainsboil.com

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