I was completely ecstatic to check out Pizzeria Via Mercanti (@Via_Mercanti). I’ve heard great things about this pizza joint over the years. After a workday, my friends and I headed over to Kensington Market (which is probably one of my favourite areas to grab food!) to check out this pizza joint! I simply love pizza and especially with all the competition going in the city, its nice to see how each one differentiates. Did I mention they were voted as Toronto’s best pizza of 2014?

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The restaurant is divided into 2 sections – a “L” shaped bar that sits around the pizza oven.

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The other side sits tables for larger groups.

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Bread to Start:

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Potato Croquette ($4.00)

  • Crispy breaded mashed potato with mozzarella, parmesan
  • These were the best little crispy croquettes I’ve had for a while! The potato inside the croquette was very soft and buttery – oh so good

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Close up shot:

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Bocconcini di Pizza ($1.50 each) Minimum of 4

  • Pizza Balls; fior di latte, ricotta, hot soppressata, proscuitto cotto
  • These pizza balls were delicious but after a few more bites – it was a tad salty

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Close up shot:

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The menu offers 2 types of pizza: Pizze Rosse with tomato sauce and Pizza Bianche with olive oil

Pizze Rosse: Funghi ($14.00)

  • fior di latte, mixed mushrooms

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Pizze Bianche: Romolo’s Pizza ($15.00)

  • half tomato sauce, half olive oil, fior di latte, prosciutto cotto, mixed mushrooms
  • I decided to opt for the half tomato sauce and half olive oil base just so I can get a feel of both bases
  • fresh flavours thought a little heavy to the stomach
  • i personally though the pizza dough was a little salty for my liking so I ate mostly everything except for the crust

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Pizze Rose: Margherita ($11.00)

  • fior di latte, basil

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Pizza Bianche: Pollo ($17.00)

  • fior di latte, goat cheese, chicken, mushrooms, roasted red peppers

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Everyone enjoyed their pizzas a little bit more than I did – perhaps I walked in with higher expectations. Don’t get me wrong – I liked everything but just didn’t expect the dough itself to be salty. The appetizers were really memorable and addicting. I wouldn’t mind revisiting Via Vercanti to give it another try since I’m always in the Kensington area :) I always hear good things – perhaps I visited them on an off day?

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Pizzeria Via Mercanti on Urbanspoon

It’s not too often I get a chance to leave the financial district and trek all the way to Harbord Street during my lunch hour. This amazing opportunity happened last month over the Christmas holidays when coworkers suggested we visit Dessert Trends Bistro! Located in between Bathurst and Spadina, this restaurant serves not only sweets and pastries but also a take on Chef Don’s vision of different cuisines. My first visit was years back when I came from desserts – which was amazing! So I totally knew what I was in for :)

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Once you walk past the doors, a galore of sweets welcome you! It’s totally worth your while to make a trip just for desserts.

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Behind a set of curtains is the main eatery which I want to say is so inviting and relaxing. I couldn’t help snapping photos in every corner of this gorgeous space.

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Vegetable Spring Rolls($6.00)

  • rice paper, tofu, taro and mushroom

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Five-Spice Short Ribs Noodle Bowl ($15.00)

  • House Noodles, Mushrooms, Scallions, Ginger, Cucumber, Carrot, Black-Rice Vinaigrette

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Daily Special
Coconut Curry Shrimp ($14.00)

  • Vietnamese curry, coconut milk, onion, plain naan, side green apple salad

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(From their Dinner Menu)
Beef Bourguignon ($20.00)

  • Red wine, Mushrooms, Green beans

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Chicken & Gouda Sandwich ($14.00)

  • Asparagus, Sundried Tomato with Salad or Frites

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This was such an amazing lunch experience. My favourites include the vegetable spring rolls (lightly deep fried – served pipping hot on a bed citrusy veggies that almost reminded me of a ceviche). In fact all the appetizers and everything I sampled during lunch was consistently good. Everyone enjoyed the things ordered – actually my coworker loved the coconut curry shrimp naan, she ordered one for take away to savour alone for dinner! The flavours here were simple and easy on the palette. DT Bistro also offers high tea on the weekends (which I am looking forward to try!)

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DT Bistro on Urbanspoon

There are probably a million Hong Kong style Restaurants in Richmond Hill that you can choose from – whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner it almost gets overwhelming when it comes to picking just THE ONE to go too (especially if you’re driving all the way from Oakville!). My family and I usually go through phases when it comes to our “go to restaurants” in uptown but lately we’ve been obsessed with My Wonderful Kitchen. Regardless what time of the day it is – whether it’s lunch, afternoon tea or dinner – my family always end up here. There’s probably a combination of 3+ visits in this post.

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Hot Milk Tea 

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Stir Fried Turnip Patties in Curry Sauce ($5.95)

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Deep Fried Chicken Wing with Honey Garlic – 6 pieces ($5.95)

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BBQ Pork and Roasted Duck with Rice ($8.95) 

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Rice with Beef Brisket in Curry Sauce ($7.95)

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Baked Rice with Pork Chop in Bread Loaf with Tomato Sauce ($8.95)

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Close up shot:

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Baked Rice with Pork Chop in Tomato Sauce ($8.49)

  • I just want to mention that I rarely eat rice when I’m dining out just because rice generally fills you up quickly so I tend to lean towards other dishes
  • The baked rice here is my only exception because the tomato sauce is amazing. I’m highly addicted to it and order it every time – haven’t gotten sick of this yet.
  • Its the exact same thing as the item above minus the loaf!

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Noodle Soup with Beef Tendon & Brisket ($4.99)

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Sizzling Beef Chow Mein

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Braised Snow Pea Sprout with King Mushrooms ($13.99)

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Pumpkin Steam Rice Noodle Roll

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Roast Duck (Half – $11.50)

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Ice Cream Waffle * Free Dessert with your afternoon tea

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Mango Sago *Free Dessert with Dinner

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I’ve been to My Wonderful Kitchen a handful of times and I love everything I order everytime! Must tries include their baked rice with honestly any kind of sauce but I personally love their tomato sauce. Another one of my favourites include their honey garlic wings – they make it so incredibly tasty! Lastly – order the stir fried turnip – its fried to a perfect crisp! My pictures don’t really do it justice but the portions are incredibly large – do yourself a favour and come check this place out =)

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My Wonderful Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Say a BIG HELLO to Nam Sandwich Shop (@NamSandwichShop) – a friendly little addition to the Queen West / Trinity Bellwoods area. Being opened to the public since last summer, this shop specializes in well of course sandwiches – specifically Vietnamese street food and other delicacies to their ever changing menu. During my visit, I quickly established that patrons mainly stopped by to do a quick grab and go.

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Love the exposed brick walls and wooden tiles in the ceiling. This sandwich shop sits around 20 people. Few tables around and a bar along the front

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Sandwich Menu – Unfortunately, their fryer wasn’t working the day I visited so I was unable to check out their yam fries!

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Bao / Rolls and Beverages menu

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Here’s what we ordered:

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{Left} Minty Lemonade $3.00 / {Right} Thai Iced Tea $3.00

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Pork Belly Bao (Steamed Bun) $4.00

  • comes with hoisin sauce, cucumber and scallions

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Grilled Beef Bao (Steamed Bun) $4.00

  • comes with hoisin sauce, cucumber and scallions

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Tiger Shrimp Sandwich ($9.00)

  • Shrimp, coconut flakes, pickled daikon radish, carrot, cilantro & cucumber

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Lemon Grass Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($6.00)

  • Soy lemon grass grilled chicken, pickled daikon radish & carrot, cilantro & cucumber

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Overall, there were some things we enjoyed more than others. For a starter, my friend loved the grilled beef bao but didn’t enjoy her tiger shrimp sandwich which she thought was dry and I could see why with the shrimp being deep fried and having a lot of bread  (with not much sauce going on).  I on the other hand enjoyed my fatty pork belly bao (come on!) and the grilled chicken sandwich on a freshly baked and lightly toasted bread. They added a sauce to the grilled chicken along with all your hearty veggies! I even packed the grilled chicken sandwich for my mom that evening and she enjoyed it as well!

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This meal was complimentary but Foodinthecitytoronto.com remains unbiased in our content.

Nam Sandwich on Urbanspoon

So I think I may have a slight obsession with Indonesian Food now… I honestly never had Indonesian food before my visit last weekend at Little Sister (@LittleSisterTO). Thanks to my co-worker’s recommendation and non stop raving about this tucked away gem, I never would have made my way to visit this place mid-town. I’m not sure what it is (I’m thinking its the coconut curry sauce + additional of cilantro to everything that makes it so darn addictive!) but I can’t get enough of this place! – I’ve already made reservations to visit next week =)

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So this may sound slightly insane – but Little Sister is fully booked 99% of the time. I made reservations 3 weeks in advanced and the only time slots available were 5:30PM or 8:00PM – and if you go on their website and check the reservations times now – you’ll probably find the same time slots…I’m guessing they save a bit of tables for walk in.

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{LEFT} Indo Punch Cocktail / {RIGHT} Red Moon Cocktail 

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Balinese Shredded Chicken Taco ($4.75/taco)

  • lettuce, pickled cucumber, crispy shallots, sour cream

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Rendang Taco ($4.75/taco)

  • Beef, coconut crema, lettuce, pickled red onion

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Satay Lilit ($6.00 for 3 skewers)

  • Balinese Spiced Chicken

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Satay Babi ($6.00 for 3 skewers)

  • Pork, Peanut Sauce

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Sumatra Spiced Beef Croquettes ($6.50)

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Udang Kari ($15.25)

  • Shrimp Coconut Curry

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Sambal Daging ($11.75)

  • Tamarind braised beef

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Nasi Goreng – Fried Rice ($5.25)

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Ikan Bumbu Bali (Market Price)

  • Arctic Char

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Coconut Pudding ($5.00)

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Highlights of the evening were the tacos! – The Balinese shredded chicken taco & Rendang Taco were delicious! Although they were a little messy to eat (what tacos aren’t messy to begin with?) – it was the perfect amount of goodness and kick to each one. I have zero to little amount of tolerance for spicy foods but these just hit the spot! The skewers were done quite well – perfect amount of spice – chicken was not dry at all. I do recommend both the spiced chicken and satay (peanut sauce) pork skewer.

The coconut curry shrimp was probably the most memorable item for me. I’m 99.9% sure the coconut curry sauce did it for me – although I was feeling the heat of the spiciness – the sauce tasted so good I was still determined to eat it with the fried rice (which btw is amazing). My friend who has tried Indoniesan food commented that the fried rice is really sweet (I thought it was spot on because I loved the additional of coconut) We ended up asking the owner about this (and about the braised pork – it was quite lean) – it was simply the owner and husband’s take on Indonesian food when they were travelling around the world.

Last but not least, the coconut pudding is to die for (no exaggeration). The pudding at the bottom reminded me of panna cotta. Texture was quite similiar with the exception of the shredded coconut pieces – oh so good =)

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Little Sister Indonesian Food Bar on Urbanspoon

There’s not too many coffee shops in Oakville besides your typical Starbucks, Timmies  etc. So when Aroma Espresso Bar (@AromaEspresso) opened up their first location 3 months ago  in Oakville I was quite ecstatic! Located in the heart of downtown Oakville, Aroma serves an array of healthy selections of soups, salads and sandwiches.  I’ve actually visited this cozy spot a few times since their Soft Opening back in August (read post here). As I have mentioned in my previous post – this location in Oakville is Aroma’s first every 2 story location. Their second floor is such a perfect spot for quiet reading / studying.

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Matcha Green Tea Latte ($4.35)

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Soup of the Day – Quinoa Soup ($5.25)

  • Served with bread and butter

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Quinoa Salad ($6.95)

  • quinoa, tomato, cucumber, grilled eggplant, red onion, fresh mint served with herb dressing

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Aroma Premium Steak Sandwich ($10.95 – whole sandwich)

  • steak, sauteed onion, sauteed red pepper, swiss cheese, and aroma sauce
  • Choice of Bread: White, Whole Wheat

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Aroma Premium Ace Sandwich ($5.95 – Personal size)

  • grilled chicken breast, avocado spread, egg over easy, arugula, aroma sauce

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I’ve been to this location quite a few times – not just because its a few minutes from where I live but also because the foods produced are really consistent and hits the spot every time! I’ve been ordering the Aroma Premium Ace Sandwich everytime and honestly cannot get enough of me. Do yourself a favour and go check it out =)

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This meal was complimentary but Foodinthecitytoronto.com remains unbiased in our content.

Aroma Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

It’s that time of the year again – TIFF 2014 is happening again from Sept 4 – 14, 2014. And what better way to stalk your favourite celebrities then to pay a visit to LUMA (@OliverBonacini) (located inside TIFF) in hopes to “accidentally” bump into a celebrity. With no reservations made on  a Friday evening, I was utterly surprised we still managed to grab a table in the lounge area.

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Chimichurri Shrimp Tacos ($15.00)

  • cherry tomatoes, charred corn and avocado
  • a delicious starter for the evening – the heat of these shrimp tacos doesn’t kick in until the very last bite.

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Lobster Salad ($22.00)

  • butter lettuce, roasted corn, avocado, smoked bacon, sweet onion and tarragon buttermilk dressing

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Steak Frites ($34.00)

  • wellington county strip loin, five onion gravy, northern woods mushrooms and truffle parmesan fries

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Seared Scallops ($30.00)

  • curried cauliflower, kamut cashew pilaf and raisin jam

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Brasied Rabbit Cavatelli ($26.00)

  • swiss chard, zucchini, peas, asparagus, and kale pesto
  • This was my entree for the evening and It wasn’t intentional that I tried to order something healthy. In fact, whenever I dine out I pretty much go all out. So it was unexpected that I enjoyed this healthy pasta. Despite the fact that there’s so much green in this dish, the kale pesto, zucchini peas, asparagus really went well together. The cavatelli were cooked perfectly and paired perfectly with the braised rabbit.

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Truffle Parmesan Fries ($9.00)

  • How can you NOT order a side of truffle parmesan fries as a side to go with your healthy pasta right?

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LUMA Chocolate Bar ($10.00)

  • soft dark chocolate, banana and peanut butter ice cream

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Steamed Banana Pudding ($9.00)

  • burnt marshmallow ice cream
  • Honestly, any dessert menu that contains “burnt marshmallow ice cream” literally screams out at me and the foodie in me MUST order it
  • This dessert was no exception and LOVED it. The steamed banana pudding served hot was so soft and pillowy – contrasted so well with the ever so slightly burnt marshmallow ice cream and banana slices.

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I like my spontaneous visits to LUMA. I don’t visit LUMA too often not because I don’t enjoy my  visits but there’s just so many choices in the King West area. But when I do get a chance to visit LUMA, their seasonally changing menu always lures me to enjoy my comfort foods.

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Luma on Urbanspoon

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