Monday, 27 May 2013

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

100 Foods to Eat Before You Die

Recently, there's been a list of 100 foods to eat before you die that has been circulating on the Internet. Being a self-proclaimed food-lover I was super stoked to see how many of these I have eaten and which foods I'm missing out. What I'm really curious is - who made this list?

Let's see how well I do (or how well I don't!)

1. Abalone 
2. Absinthe {Isn't this what rotted the guts of the French artists in the 1800's? Maybe I'll skip this...}
3. Alligator 
4. Baba Ghanoush*
5. Bagel & Lox  {My regular whenever I go to Cora's!}
6. Baklava
7. BBQ Ribs
8. Bellini {Girl's Night!!!}
9. Birds Nest Soup
10. Biscuits & Gravy {Separately yes, not together though...}
11. Black Pudding
12. Black Truffle
13. Borscht*
14. Calamari
15. Carp
16. Caviar
17. Cheese Fondue
18. Chicken and Waffles {Together? Nope.}
19. Chicken Tikka Masala
20. Chile Relleno*
21. Chitlins {Googled this and it's pig intestines - yup!}
22. Churros {Can't believe I haven't eaten one yet!}
23. Clam Chowder {Yup, even had the infamous Boston Clam Chowda when I was in Boston!}
24. Cognac
25. Crab Cakes
26. Crickets {I had the chance to... but I decided to skip}
27. Currywurst*
28. Dandelion Wine {I've had plum wine though! :p}
29. Dulce De Leche
30. Durian
31. Eel
32. Eggs Benedict
33. Fish Tacos {The best one I've had so far are in Bellesvue!}
34. Foie Gras
35. Fresh Spring Rolls
36. Fried Catfish
37. Fried Green Tomatoes
38. Fried Plantain
39. Frito Pie*
40. Frogs' Legs
41. Fugu {I really want to try this though!}
42. Funnel Cake
43. Gazpacho*
44. Goat
45. Goat's Milk {I'm going to count this one since I 've cheese from goat's milk}
46. Goulash {I told my co-worker I was going to try this soon! He's Hungarian so he was super floored when I haven't tried this yet!}
47. Gumbo
48. Haggis*
49. Head Cheese*
50. Heirloom Tomatoes
51. Honeycomb {Honeycomb cereal! - yes}
52. Hostess Fruit Pie
53. Huevos Rancheros
54. Jerk Chicken 
55. Kangaroo {Maybe - not sure...}
56. Key Lime Pie
57. Kobe Beef 
58. Lassi*
59. Lobster 
60. Mimosa
61. Moon Pie*
62. Morel Mushrooms*
63. Nettle Tea
64. Octopus 
65. Oxtail Soup
66. Paella
67. Paneer
68. Pastrami on Rye 
69. Pavlova
70. Phaal*
71. Philly Cheese Steak
72. Pho
73. Pineapple & Cottage Cheese
74. Pistachio Ice Cream {My aunt makes great pistachio ice cream!}
75. Po' Boy*
76. Pocky
77. Polenta*
78. Prickly Pear
79. Rabbit Stew 
80. Raw Oysters 
81. Root Beer Float 
82. S'mores 
83. Sauerkraut 
84. Sea Urchin 
85. Shark 
86. Snail
87. Snake
88. Soft Shell Crab 
89. Som Tam
90. Spaetzle*
91. Spam
92. Squirrel
93. Steak Tartare 
94. Sweet Potato Fries 
95. Sweetbreads 
96. Tom Yum
97. Umeboshi
98. Venison 
99. Wasabi Peas 
100. Zucchini Flowers

So I got 68 out of 100! I'm quite surprised as I thought I would have eaten more! I guess I should venture out of my comfort-zone and go-to's when I go out to eat now!

Things that I've marked with a * are things I've never heard of until this list. I will be googling these promptly after I publish this post!

So how about you, how many have you eaten?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Bymark :: Regular Menu Photo Diary {Winter 2012}

Drinks ::
Pink Champagne
Wild Blossom

Appetizer ::
Butter Braised Lobster Poutine
crisp frites, classic bearnaise

Daily Special with Bread

Entrees ::
Mafalda Corta & Braised Short Rib
roasted squash, shaved pecorino & tomato gremolata

Lamb Three Ways
seared chop, sausage, braised shank & du puy lentils

Smoked Day Boat Scallop
sleek & caramelized onion ravioli & scallion ginger pesto

Dessert ::
Trio of Desserts

Monday, 6 June 2011

Milestones: Summer 2011 Seasonal Inspirations Menu - Top Chef Canada

I've always really enjoyed Milestones' Seasonal Inspirations Menus. Perhaps since I frequent Milestones so often, I've always enjoyed trying something new. This summer, Milestones' Seasonal Inspirations Menu was inspired by Top Chef Canada. I was so excited when I saw this. As an avid food lover, I obviously watch the Food Network. This was just a dream.

I went with my parents once again and we ordered two Top Chef inspired items and one seasonal dish.

Milestones' Seafood Risotto

"A creamy risotto infused with lobster, scallops, Wild Pacific Coho salmon, mussels and Reggiano. Gently simmered in a tomato lobster broth with fresh asparagus and Shiitake mushrooms" - $19.99

My dad ordered this dish, so I didn't get much to taste although I did nab some bites. My brief impression of this dish was the risotto was great - light and tasty. The broth was above average, however I was unable to taste the lobster. My dad noted that some of the mussel shells didn't have mussel meat in it though.

Rating: 4/5

Roasted Sablefish with Seaweed Gnocchi

"Inspired by a Top Chef Canada Winning Dish; A decadent white fish marinated in sake, soy and honey glaze and then grilled. Paired with fluffy house-made seaweed and Yukon Gold potato gnocchi. Served with green beans and a fragrant tamarind, lemon grass and ginger ginger broth" - $29.99

Unfortunately, this dish didn't meet my expectations for the "Top Chef" label. I would say it was an average dish, but I didn't enjoy it as much cause I found the gnocchi very dense and heavy. As someone who enjoys gnocchi often I know for a fact this gnocchi is not considered "fluffy". Additionally, I didn't think the broth complimented the gnocchi that well. The fish was good, nothing bad about it but nothing amazing about it either. For those who haven't eaten stablefish before, stablefish isn't as popular of a fish but the taste resembles that of bass or mackerel. Unfortunately of the dishes I tried today, I wouldn't reorder this entree again cause I don't think its worth the $30; although some of the cost may be attributed to the stablefish.

Rating: 3.5/5

Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Whipped Cream

"Inspired by a Top Chef Canada Winning Dish; House-made shortcakes topped with a sweet lemon curd and piled high with fresh strawberries. Finished off with a vanilla infused whipped cream" - $8.99

This dish as well did not meet my expectations for the "Top Chef" label, but I think the presentation was appealing. The shortcake wasn't very tasty - but was very light. The strawberries were a refreshing accent to the dessert, but not enough was given to compliment the shortcake. The curd could have also been sweeter. I didn't find it bitter, but definitely bitter. However, my father felt the curd was bitter.

Rating: 3/5

{ The Verdict }
Experience: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Food: Noted Above
Value: 3/5
Overall: B

Location: 3760 Highway 7 East, Markham {Click here to find your nearest location}
Cost: $$$

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Keg: Iceberg Wedge

"Iceberg Wedge - Crisp lettuce wedge topped with tomatoes, bacon bits and your choice of ranch or Bleu cheese dressing."

I've always heard about wedge salads before - the newest "trendy" salad on the block. I have even heard about it on one of the episodes of Modern Family (Yes, I watch it. It's hilarious!). So when I saw this on the menu, I was quite interested in trying it. I didn't order it, however my mum ordered it and i just nabbed bites from her. I've discussed my particular experience during this visit in a previous post, however my review of this salad doesn't shine as brightly as the Sirloin & Dungeness Crab Entree.

I think the concept of the salad is interesting. Yes, it makes presentation pleasant. However, I personally think this style of salad is impractical. As much as I enjoy food and don't mind working for my foods (such as cracking the shells of crab legs or even preparing the food), I think it is absurd the amount of work that I had to put into eating this salad (I can't get my head around the idea of working hard for a salad). The general ingredients of the salad were great. The lettuce and tomatoes were fresh. The Bleu cheese dressing was unique but not overpowering. However, the process of eating this salad is just plain silly. The fact that you have to cut the lettuce head and distribute the dressing yourself is just, in my opinion, a pain. I was more concentrated on trying to eat the wedge without making a huge mess opposed to enjoying my meal. Perhaps due to my inexperience in eating "wedge salads" I found that the ratio of dressing was way to small to the ratio of "wedge". At the end, I found myself just eating plain washed iceberg lettuce - which is just boring.

In short, I feel that this wedge salad is a commercial gimmick. It allows for less labour on the kitchen side (your literally just chopping up a lettuce head into quarters and dripping salad dressing on top with all the other condiments) whilst management is able to boost the price of a salad up to $7 when the actual cost of the salad would be maximum $3. At the end, your essentially making the salad yourself but paying $7 for the ingredients to be placed in front of you in a pretty way.

{ The Verdict }
Experience: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Salad: 2/5
Value: 1.5/5
Overall: C-

Location:  162 York Blvd., Richmond Hill {Click here to find your nearest location}
Cost: $$$

The Keg: Sirloin & Dungeness Crab

"Sirloin & Dungeness Crab - Naturally grilled top sirloin steak accompanied by a cluster of sweet Dungeness crab."

I was particularly interested in trying this seasonal dish from Keg. According to the very sweet waitress, which I believe her name was Sonja, Dungeness Crab is apparently known to be a sweeter type of crab. I do have to point out, that I did not like the fact that the Keg's overall lighting is so dim. I find it slightly difficult to maneuver in the restaurant, however lighting at the table is sufficient to eat.

Anyways, to set the mood, this particular meal was just a simple non-occasion meal with my parents. We haven't visited the Keg Steakhouse for awhile and a newly-renovated location opened a few blocks from where we live. Lately, we've been eating less red meats and we figured we needed some more iron and protein in our lives.

And of course... what is the point of going to a steakhouse if your aren't going to have steak? So I ordered the Sirloin & Dungeness Crab entree. As my memory best serves, I believe the entree was approximately $27 before taxes.

This entree disappointingly didn't come with any appetizer, though the meal itself is quite substantial. At the time, I was really craving a fresh salad and stole bites from my mum's Iceberg Wedge Salad that came with her meal. To be quite honest, being a seafood-lover, I could not conclusively eliminate the fact that the Dungeness Crab has a sweeter taste than the norm Alaskan Crab, I do not believe that the Dungeness Crab was in fact sweeter. Likewise, I felt the crab meat had a citrus taste, which is most likely attributed to how the crab was steamed. (lemon water, I guess?) The mashed potatoes at the Keg, like always, were very light and tasty. I appreciate that potato skins were left in the mix as it does give the mashed potatoes a different texture and that the butter was present but not overpowering. However, the Dungeness Crab cluster and the mashed potatoes was enough to satisfy my hunger and I was unable to eat the remaining sirloin to my dismay.

If I were to improve upon this meal, I would definitely suggest adding some steamed vegetables as mashed potatoes and meats can be very overwhelming for some individuals.

I did take my sirloin home and ate it for my dinner the following day, it too did not disappoint.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the Keg and this seasonal dish was enjoyable. If I were to return to the Keg, I would order this again and I believe if you are willing to spend the money, this entree will not disappoint.

The Verdict }
Experience: 4/5
Service: 4.5/5
Entree: 4/5
Value: 4.5/5
Overall: A-

Location:  162 York Blvd., Richmond Hill {Click here to find your nearest location}
Cost: $$$

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Street Car: $4 Veggie Dog + Fries Combo

In between my classes, I often usually try to cram some time to eat since time usually doesn't permit me to do so. Conveniently located on my school's campus are a series of food trucks that sell various items from Chinese food to Western fast food. The truck I usually go to for poutine also had a $4 Hot dog + Fries combo so I figured I'd try it. I ordered a veggie dog, since I'd figure I'd be healthier... and didn't upgrade my fries to poutine. I'd say this is a waste of my $4! The veggie dog tasted horrible, regardless of the amount of condiments I put on it. It tasted like mushy plastic, if I dare say. I ended up carrying it around school cause I felt guilty chucking it out... and then chucked it on the way home. The only thing I ate were the fries... and without the gravy and cheese chunks, didn't taste that great either.

I will definitely not be ordering a veggie dog from this food truck ever again, and in the unlikely chance I order this combo, I am going for a meat dog with a poutine fries upgrade.

Aside from that, I'll still probably go to the truck for the poutines. They are a droolworthy guilty pleasure and aren't priced badly. The two men who own the truck are generally friendly although they keep to themselves and converse while making fried goods in what I think is Russian.

{ The Verdict }
Experience: 2.5/5
Service: 3/5
Entree: 0/5
Value: 3/5
Overall: D-

Location: St. George Street, Toronto
Cost: $