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 fine 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

I can’t say that I’ve tried EVERY taco place in Toronto but I had some pretty darn good tacos here at SEVEN LIVES (@SevenLivesTO) 2 weeks ago. To be honest, I’ve made several attempts to visit SEVEN LIVES before, but every time this place was either closed or extremely packed (line up outside the door) type of deal.

It was a week night around 6PM when a few of us headed over to Kensington Market to attempt to visit the place. Thankfully, it was only busy but not incredibly packed.

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Menu is hung behind the counter on the chalkboard. We all tried to order something different just a little variety. Depending on the type of taco you order, they range from $4-$5 per taco.

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Open kitchen area so you watch them make it fresh!

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Closer shot of the menu:

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My friend is vegetarian so she opted for the only thing that was available to her:

MUSHROOM AND CACTUS ($4.00)

  • with grilled cheese

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I was the pig of the group and ordered 3 tacos in one shot. Please note that SEVEN LIVES do not cheap out on ingredients and each taco was extremely packed with goodies.  I was probably full halfway through the second taco but  couldn’t resist ordering the 3 tacos that really caught my eye.

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BAJA FISH ($5.00)

  • Battered & Deep fried Mahi Mahi with their house sauce. (Contains Gluten)
  • Each of the tacos comes with 2 soft shells – the combinations of the flavours from the deep fried mahi mahi to their house sauce wow the palate from the very first bite.
  • The battered mahi mahi was deep fried perfectly. Perfect crispiness that didn’t take away any flavours of the fish.
  • Although the baja fish was a little messy to eat – this taco was uber good and I highly recommend for any fish lovers out there!

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CARNITAS ($5.00)

  • Slow Cooked Pork
  • The flavours of the carnitas taco was quite delectable. Slathered with lots of green peppers, salsa, and cilantro – I quite enjoyed my first bite to the last. However, I would have preferred if the slow cooked pork to be slightly less dry.

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GOBERNADOR ($5.00)

  • Smoked Tuna, Shrimp and Cheese
  • This was another favourite of the evening – tuna and shrimp were marinated and cooked to perfection.
  • The sauce was sweet plus the presence of the veggie component provided a backdrop of crunchy freshness.

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I’m really hitting myself for taking so long to give SEVEN LIVES a visit. My friends and I all walked out pretty darn satisfied with our choices. I’m already thinking about ordering 2 BAJA fish tacos for myself next time. I would suggest to come before peak dinner hours or else it’ll get extremely packed. We arrived right before 6PM and barely found a place to stand. But there’s probably a reason why this place is packed all the time right? =)

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Seven Lives on Urbanspoon

 @smilingmango_TO

Congratulations Wendy! You are the lucky winner of this $50 Giveaway to Elephant & Castle (@elephantcastle) @ King Street. I will contact you shortly via email to gather your contact information so Elephant & Castle can mail you your gift card =)

Fish n Chips

Thank you to all those that entered this contest. There were a total of 54 entries. Entries were tracked in chronological order as they arrived in my comment box and bonus tweets on Twitter. The winner was selected randomly using the “True Random Number Generator” via Random.org. Please see below.

elephant castle random org

Congratulations once again! Please visit my website for future giveaways.

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Post published by Penny Pong {Intern @ Foodinthecitytoronto.com}

The only way to describe how I got to meet and cook with Susur Lee is, serendipity.

When Grace asked me to attend the Veggielicious 101 event at Bent (@BentRestaurant) with Susur Lee (@SusurLee), I was excited and scared all at the same time. But how could I pass this up? I’m a vegetarian and the event was called Veggielicious 101. I live in the neighbourhood (about 2 minutes away) and it was with Susur Lee! My decision was further validated when I went to practice yoga a few days before and who was in my class? Susur. It was a sign.

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When I arrived at Bent I instantly fell in love with the look and feel of the space. I adore nostalgia and when you are there, you can feel the sense of how much family means to them. From the old aquarium up-cycled into a desk, to the wall of little treasures collected over the years by the Bent/Lee family, to the blown-up old school pictures, it is a place where you feel at home.

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Chef Lee met and greeted each of us as any good host would. He then served some appetizers: chicken dumplings for the non-vegetarians and avocado and goat’s cheese tacos for the vegetarians.

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He engaged us in a conversation about health and why many people think vegetarian dishes are tasteless and boring. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 15 years and to hear Susur speak so passionately about creating delicious and healthy dishes was inspiring. This is the reason why Susur is who he is. He has led the way in making Toronto a world-class destination for food. He does this by doing what no one else does. When everyone is doing meat, and more meat, he’s trying out a new vegetarian tasting menu…and what a menu it is!

Singapore Slaw

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Dip Three Ways – served with Baked Garlic Lawash

  1. Hummus of Romano Beans w/Salted Chilies & Sherry Vinegar
  2. Spicy Mustard Seed Tomato Stew w/Walnut & Curry Leaf
  3. Caribbean Eggplant Babaganoush w/Cilantro

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Each had such unique and amazing flavours. The combination he comes up with is his specialty and shows it in something as simple as dips.

Tingly Chilled Soba

Made with vegetables grown in the garden behind Bent, this dish is one to relish. We got to tour the garden and I can tell you that garden is full of love. Because I ride by almost everyday, I see the man who tends the garden and he plays beautiful Chinese music to his very healthy and happy vegetables. The fusion of the cold soba noodles with the vegetables and confit of Shitake really does create a ‘tingly’ sensation on your taste buds.

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Chickpea Tempura Tofu

  • This tofu dish will change your mind on tofu. While lightly crispy on the outside, the soft tofu inside melts in your mouth.

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Wild Mushroom Quinoa Risotto (vegan option available)

I eat A LOT of quinoa. So, I know my quinoa, and some how I still never thought to use it in risotto. It’s a delicious, complete protein. This version with roasted cauliflower, Romano Parmigianino emulsion and tempeh crouton was divine.

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French Meringue with Golden Licorice

A highlight to the afternoon was to actually see Susur in action. We got to see him make his famous French Meringue. He encouraged us to give it a try. I had so much fun trying to make my own perfect pastry. Can you tell which one I made and which one he made??

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I’m a dessert fiend. No matter how much I have eaten, there is always room for dessert in my books. The meringue is perfect. It’s light and sweet, and balanced exquisitely with tart lemon curd, blueberry, peach, passion fruit sauce and finished with raspberry coulis.

We were also treated to some of the signature cocktails available at Bent. We watched and learned to make the “Asian Caesar” and “Karate Kid II”

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It was an amazing afternoon spent learning, cooking and talking with the other bloggers and Susur. It’s encouraging that he is using his influence to start the conversation about how wonderful and tasty vegetarian dishes can be. He has brought the beauty of fruits, vegetables and grains into the limelight in a bold and masterful way with this tasting menu. I’ve been raving about it so much; I already have 2 reservations set with friends.

The 5-course tasting menu is available from September 9th through until September 20th and is well worth the $45.

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

Bent on Urbanspoon

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