Sunday, 15 March 2015

5th Element

Location: 506 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2B3, Canada
Another Groupon experience: I paid $40 for a dinner for two including two appetizers, two entrees, two servings of rice or bread, one side and two desserts. 
They put a butter sculpture of Venice De Milo in the front window of the restaurant.

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First course: Appetizers
Left: Singaporean Chicken Tikka and Right: Chili Chicken
The Singaporean chicken came out on a sizzling plate with some basil leaves on top and cabbage on the bottom. Very tasty and a nice filling size for an appetizer. I loved the presentation, colours and flavours of the appetizer - delicious!
The chili chicken was good too, but rather spicy. Luckily, our waitress was very attentive and she helpfully refilled our water glasses quite a few times.

Complementary Mango Lassi shots
After all our water refills, I think the manager took pity on us and gave us two free shots of mango lassi to cool down the burning from the spicy appetizers.
Yummy with tons of mango flavour and yogurt to sooth us.

Second course: Entrees with rice and garlic naan
Basmati Rice, Garlic Naan, Butter Chicken and Madras Beef
Everything was so flavourful! The butter chicken and madras beef tasted great. The madras beef was on the spicier side, and while not overwhelming, it still had to be eaten with lots of rice and naan.
The butter chicken was smooth and rich in flavour with lots of sauce.

Decent sized portion

Third Course: Dessert
Pistachio Kulfi and Passionfruit mousse (?)
A great way to end the meal! The kulfi wasn't too sweet and it had a nice pistachio flavour (if a little diluted by the ice and cream) and raspberry is always a great complement to pistachio.
The mousse was amazing! So many flavours in one spoonful and it had a nice light texture to it.

Overall: I had a great meal at the 5th Element on Queen Street. I got fantastic value for money with the Groupon since the service was great, the food was yummy and I left happy and satisfied (especially with the pistachio kulfi and mousse dessert).

5th Element Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Me Va Me Kitchen Express

Location: 860 York Mills Road, North York, ON M3B 1Y4, Canada
The new Me Va Me replaced Lick's Homeburgers as the new fixture on the corner of York Mills and Lesmill road and it definitely has a newer sleeker look than the previous restaurant:

I couldn't wait to try it and compare it to other shawarmas and the other Middle Eastern food I've been eating recently (which has been mostly sandwiches from North Express)

Chicken Shawarma
The first thing I noticed was that it was thinner than the sandwiches I usually get at North Express and we were only allowed simple fillings like hummus, red cabbage, lettuce, turnips, onions and tomatoes rather than awesome combinations at North like roasted eggplant, tabbouleh, olives, etc.  
I tried to load up my shawarma, but it was pretty tightly packed and not particularly impressive. Also, it was actually a little pricier than North Express. 

Overall: I thought it was rather pricey for shawarma here, but the place is super popular and they made our shawarma pretty fast. However, I would rather eat at North Express than here (even though North's service takes longer, I get more options in my sandwich so it's better value and tastier). 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Seven Lives

Location: 69 Kensington Avenue, Toronto, ON M5T, Canada
Mexican two days in a row! I was a little disappointed with the tacos the day before, so I wanted better tacos and decided to hit up Seven Lives (which came pretty highly recommended) in Kensington Market:

Simple take-out counter and easy to order menu
Baja Fish and Gobernador (tuna, shrimp and cheese)
Really delicious and fresh tacos! I liked the baja fish even though I wish it had a little bit more of a tang to it than from just the salsa and lime juice. The Gobernador was good too! 

Overall: Good tacos! If you have one that's more of a snack than a meal, but fresh and tasty since they do make it to order. Do note that there is limited seating in the restaurant, so you might have to wait around for a bit before a table opens up. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Location: 14 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L2, Canada
Pretty Graffiti on Baldwin Street

There were originally two Mexican places on Baldwin Street: Agave y Aguacate (which closed recently) and Margaritas

They were offering a three course dinner (precio fijo) for $20: 
Mexican Street Corn
with crema, tajfa, queso de feta and sour cream
Pretty simple and tasty

The Moo Moo and Taco al Pastor 
The food was okay, I think I've had better burritos in the city (especially after that huge burrito craze with a ton of burrito joints opening up all around the city). I found the portions a little small for the price and dinner menu.

Part of a tostada
This was pretty good! Mmm guacamole. 

These were nice and crispy and the plating was nice. 

Overall: Okay meal at Margaritas, the restaurant was tinier inside than it appears outside and the service was a little slow, but overall it was okay. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Taste of Istanbul

Location: 2100 Steeles Avenue West, Concord, ON L4K 2V1, Canada
Groupon was having a local deals sale and when I saw the deal for Taste of Istanbul's 6 course meal for 4 people for $110, I couldn't resist trying it. 
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Our six courses included: cold appetizer, soup, hot appetizer, main course, dessert and coffee or tea

Clockwise from top: Patlican Kizartmasi (fried eggplant salad), babaghanouj (babagannush) and Pilaki (kidney bean salad)
Everything was pretty good and the portion sizes were really very filling. The pita and the babaghanouj were good (the babaghanouj would have been better with a little more salt), but my favourite was probably the eggplant salad - delicious and so tasty despite being chilled. Everything was fresh and flavourful in our first course.

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Tavuk Corbasi (Chicken soup) and Kuzu Corbasi (Lamb Soup)

Mercimek Corbasi (Lentil soup)

Of the soups, the only one I would recommend is the lamb soup since it was the most flavourful and aromatic. However, if you're not a fan of lamb, then the lentil soup would be the other choice (the chicken was really watered down and tasteless).

Kalamar (Grilled Calamari)
The grilled calamari was good! Nice, juicy and tasty with the Cacik (tzatziki sauce)
The portions were also huge! A sure sign of lots of food to come if the hot appetizer was already so big.

Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)
Crispy flatbread topped with ground beef and lamb, onion, garlic and spices. I'm not too sure if there was a sauce on this, but I thought it was better without anyways. A very meaty pizza with lots of crunchy flatbread. The tomatoes and onions were a little odd on the side of the pizza, but the lemon actually made the pizza taste better. Very interesting.

Sultan Izgara (Sultan Grill) for One
An assortment of grilled meats (beef, chicken and lamb). This dish was probably the best value for money on the menu, but it was so much meat with kobideh, lamb chop and chicken breast kebab. All well done and rather tasty with the spices.

Sultan Izgara (Sultan Grill) for Two
Some minor differences: there was a meat patty (chicken kefta?), ground beef kebab and everything in the Sultan Grill for one.
The Sultan Grill came with a side and we got bulgar pilaf, which had this really interesting texture and flavour that I thought worked well with the meat. It seemed really hearty.

Inegol Kofte (beef served with spices, pilaf and roasted vegetables)
The meat was more on the well-done side, but still tasty. The rice pilaf portion was pretty plentiful.

Turkish Coffee
Very strong and a little less bitter than an espresso shot since we could add sugar. Personally, I preferred the tea (which was the tea they served at the beginning of our meal anyways).

Walnuts, sugar syrup, pistachios all drizzled in honey and wrapped in a phyllo pastry. A little too sticky and sweet for me.

Different baklava
Another dessert with shredded phyllo and layers of nutty paste. Not as sticky and sweet as the one on top, but I wasn't a fan of the shredded top layer.

Overall: I found that I enjoyed my meal at Taste of Istanbul. It was a lot of food (especially meat), the service was good and it was good value for money for the Groupon experience. It was really a five course meal, but I thought the food was tasty and the portions were huge.

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