Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toronto: Gilead Café & Bistro

sooooo gravyyyy

Delightful.  What you ask?  Why everything.  This comfortable, bright, hidden gem is tucked away in a little alley off King and Parliament.  It's Jamie Kennedy, so it's simple, local, and delicious.  From the moment you walk in it feels like you've left the gritty city as you take a seat at one of the wood-topped tables.  The walls are adorned with jars of pickled vegetables and there are fresh flowers along the windowsill.  It's always in the details. 

In the company of good friends I stopped in for Sunday brunch.  And tickle me pink, Gilead was offering one of Jamie's trademark specialties - POUTINE.  Fries and gravy with pulled pork?  Hell ya.  My enthusiasm is a reflection of the fact it isn't usually available on Sunday. Sadly though, they ran out of pastries.  Our waiter thought it'd be okay to give us bread instead (hey waiter, that's not okay unless it's on the house).  But again, I had just ordered bacon rosti and scrambled eggs with a side of POUTINE so nothing was bringing me down. 

I would recommend the eggs benedict if one of the daily specials doesn't jump out at you.  Jamie's hollandaise sauce is really one of the best I've had. 


Gilead Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 25, 2010

Special Cucumber Lotion by Mario Badescu

cool cucumbers
:Standard at $18:

There are so many great things from Mario Badescu, and so much time to share it with you.

Aside from having the best pimple cure ever, they have a great pimple-fighting astringent.  Toners and astringents can be scary - use the wrong one and your skin is too tight or too dry.  The Special Cucumber Lotion is one of the mildest most effective cleaning liquids out there, and ideal for anyone going through a second puberty.

My mom always used to tell me to put cucumbers on my face.  This one time, when I was 13 or so, I had just come home from swim class.  I dumped my bag in my room and sprawled out on the couch.  I passed out and woke up to find my mom sticking cucumbers on my face.  Moms...they're so crazy.

Build-up, bacteria...be gone. 

Love it.

Toronto: School Bakery & Café

:Liberty Village:

Usually when I'm dying to try a place, I leave a little disappointed.  I gave it a name: premature excitation. 

I have been wanting to go to School for many months now, and finally went on the weekend with two of the best eaters I know, Saltine and Miss J.  Here's the final report card:
  • Hostess: F (Mousey-blonde little thing needs an attitude overhaul.  I would have given her one but I wasn't about to embarass my company.)
  • Service: A
  • Menu: A+
  • Taste: A+ 
As you can see, save and except the hostess, School gets top marks.  I'm going to go back to eat everything.

The winner of the day was Saltine.  She ordered the four cheese omelet soufleé which, in one word, is OMGDELICIOUS.  A fluffy pillowy omelet with bacon in the middle and a dirrtyyy good cheese crust. 

I got the omelet with chorizo and goat cheese.  Chorizo-can't-go-wrong :)

My sister got the super cheesey french toast with bacon - probably my least favourite, but that's because I don't like savoury french toast. 

We shared the black and blue pancakes which were ahhhh-mazing, and ordered a side of sausage, which knocked my socks right off.

I will have to go back to try the spiced benni, the lemony pancakes, and well...

This place serves good (not too much, not too little, just riiiight) portions of well-made (not too greasy, seasoned well, and tastee, yes, double-e tasty) brunch.  All the favourites with a fun spin.  The coffee is good and their assortment of baked goods are a great take-home treat.

Gimmicks can take away from the fare, but in the case of School - the concept works so does the food.

School Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eyes: Abyssine Eye Cream + by Kiehl’s

happy lines
:Moderate at $35:

When I laugh or smile, I look like a shar pei. No, really. My eyes wrinkle, and with time, some of the lines set up shop so I’m stuck. I figured it was time for an anti-aging eye cream. This is Abyssine. Kiehl’s formulated her to deter the effects of aging while moisturizing. Personally, I bought it because they say it helps against “epidermal aggression”. Ha, aggression, bring it.

Like it.

Toronto: Asian Legend

once upon a time there lived a dumpling


I’m partial to the one on Dundas, just west of Beverley, but there are about five more locations to serve you.

Asian Legend is one of the few chains I adore. It’s simply well-made, reasonably priced, tasty asian eats. They specialize in Northern Chinese cooking, which means they have two of my favourite Chinese treats: soup dumplings and green onion beef pancake wraps. These dumplings are ‘to die for’. They are delicious mixtures of meat and vegetable with broth all wrapped up and steamed. Damn.

AL puts a modern spin on all their restaurants, so the décor is tasteful and consistent. Staff are all uniformed and generally polite.

One of my favourite buddies (I suppose I should tell you his name now since he's come up several times.  Everybody, meet Onre, pronounced “Henri") and I met up this weekend.

We did what we do best together – talk and eat. Normally we would have gotten Peking Duck, but I just started a new workout regimen, and eating delicious fatty duck just wasn’t in the cards.

There were two of us, and we ordered all of this: soup dumplings, pancake, surimi with broccoli, spare ribs, and fried rice. We didn’t get my other favourite AL dish: green beans. They’re not your average green bean.  I would consider being a vegetarian if I could eat this everyday.  

Onre and I rolled out, pretty proud of ourselves for eating so much. Course the table next to us gave us a run for our money. Two youthful looking boys and about two dishes more than we had. Beasts.  Ha, kettle meet black.

Asian Legend on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Toronto: Flo's Diner

yo check my flo'

I tried; ebonics ain't my strong suit.

In the urban chic of Yorkville lies a comfortable and cheery diner called Flo's.  It's just up a few awkward stairs.  They have a nice patio and a stereotypical interior - by stereotypical I mean the kind of decor one comes to expect from a "diner".

I probably wouldn't make the trek up to Yorkville on a weekend, but it happens to be a stone's throw away from my work which makes it a great place to have lunch.

Being the big breakfast buff I am, they have more than enough egg dishes to satisfy you, your friend, and your friend's friend. 

Two eggs, perfectly poached by the way, and peameal bacon.  Did somebody say BACON?
I went just the other day with one of my favourites, Bana.  It's her birthday soon.  Bana likes eggs and manicures, just like me!  Happy birthday, xoxo. 

Flo's Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lashes: Lash Expander by Majolica Majorca

say what now?
:Standard at $20:

I am utterly, madly, and truly in love with this mascara. I haven’t fallen this hard since I was 12 and thought I’d marry Dylan McKay aka Luke Perry. Yes, I’m aware, WHAT was I thinking?!?

Fellow-beauty brain Budgie told me about this a while ago. I did a search and found that this funky-named mascara is umbrellaed under a familiar company by the name of Shiseido. I never got around to ordering it, but Budgie got me a tube while she was in Asia. I bet you all wish you knew Budgie. This is why I only surround myself with fabulous people. I’m such a lucky girl…

Majolica Majorca, or MJ for short, is only available in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. But fret not, I have good news, it’s all over ebay. So with a little patience, it can be yours. And trust me when I say, you want it.

What could possibly get my blood flowing this much? It’s real simple. This mascara does exactly what I want. And need I remind you, my naked lashes are most definitely in want. MJ even survived a torrential rain storm on Monday and while I looked like a disaster (yes I forgot my umbrella), my lashes stayed intact. Really…no smudge, no flakes. I was a hot mess but for my perfectly doe-eyed eyes.

The formula goes on, and lasts all day and night. The only sidenote would be that it’s harder to get off than most mascaras; just wash thoroughly and follow-up with kickass makeup remover.

MJ has become the gold standard for super long lashes that hold curl and stay up. I’m so on cloud 9.

Love it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Toronto: SukhoThai

psst, this place made me eat my words
:Regent Park:

I’ve never been a fan of Thai food, save and except two dishes: Tom Yum Kung and Green Curry. Even then, I never thought anyone did justice to these dishes.

Enter SukhoThai. Two people, in love, with one goal: to “make real Thai food”.  Halleluiah.  
I heard the buzz (and there’s a lot of it) a while ago, but forgot about it – life's been busy.  Course destiny had it that I went this past weekend. A random phone call from one of my favourite friends led to a happy gathering of hungry faces at this downtown joint. The place is small, but cute, and although it was busy, service was attentive.

Sukho Thai lived up to its reputation and then some. This family-run restaurant is friendly, and the food is outrageously good. 

We sat, we ordered and we gorged…a lot. Six mouths ate two orders of shrimp chips with tamarind dip (greaseless shrimp chips…chomp chomp), two orders of spring rolls with sweet and sour garlic sauce, three curries, one noodle, one special, and of course, my absolute FAVOURITE, Tom Yum Kung.

This soup is a winner.
Gone are the days I say “I hate Thai food”, so long as it’s Sukho Thai.

Sukhothai on Urbanspoon