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Archive for September, 2013

September 2013 Empties

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More empty bottles means more space in the backup box. Let’s hope I empty the box at a faster rate than I am at filling it!

 

September Empties 2013
Such a pretty collection of empty bottles 

Vichy Refreshing Toner

This lovely toner is very light and has a very light floral scent to it. I didn’t try using it to take off makeup but I used it as a prep before putting on my serums and moisturizers. I liked that it didn’t make my skin feel dry, however, it did make my skin remain moist for a pretty long time. I’m not sure how I like it because it didn’t allow for my serums to soak in as easily as some of my other toners. I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing this one.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O

I had to try this ever since I first heard Jessica from Beautezine rave about it. This stuff is amazing! It’s gentle, cleans, and removes makeup like a dream. When I tried using this to remove waterproof eyeliner and mascara, it did a pretty decent job, but it wasn’t able to remove everything. Everything else on the face came off with ease. I like that it has no fragrance and is extremely gentle on the skin and eyes. I love this so much I have two back up bottles already!

Dial NutriSkin Replenishing Lotion plus Bio Nutrient Complex

This has been sitting in my backup box forever and I finally got around to using it! Unfortunately, I think I let it sit too long because I don’t think Dial makes it anymore! This stuff is amazing, soaks right into my skin and doesn’t leave that greasy, oily residue that some other moisturizers do. If only they still make it, I would buy it again!

Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser

A little bit of this foaming cleanser goes a long way! Just a pea size amount is enough for my entire face and neck. It certainly cleans very well, removing all make up and leaving my face squeaky clean. Some people might not like the squeaky clean feeling (Mr. Pixelbunny claims it dries out his skin), but for my really oily days, I don’t mind it. My skin gets this almost stripped feeling, but then my serums and moisturizers soak in that much easier. Although I like this cleanser, I don’t think I’ll repurchase it. There are too many other cleansers out there that I like more.

J.R. Watkins Hand and Body Lotion

This hand and body lotion has a lovely lavender scent to it. It also readily soaks into my skin and leaves it feeling soft, without that greasy and oily residue. This one takes a little longer to soak in compared to the Dial one mentioned above, but I still like it. The price point ($9.99US for 325ml, but likely quite a bit higher in Canada) is a little much for my taste, especially since my 354ml bottle of Dial cost me $5.99. As a hand cream, it’s thick so a little goes a long way. It doesn’t leave my hands as soft as some of my other hand creams though. I don’t believe I will be repurchasing this one.

Written by Jessica

September 30th, 2013 at 10:35 am

Posted in Beauty,empties

Joey Eaton Centre

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I met up with a few friends for dinner one night and we all settled on Joey Eaton Centre. We chose this location because it was in the heart of downtown, right by the mall and close to transit.

 

The Atmosphere

The space is beautiful. It’s quite large, extremely open concept, with the ceiling up to the second floor. There is a staircase that leads up to the second floor but with the open space, you can see up and everything. The bar is situated in the middle with bar counters surrounding on all four sides. Large, soft and cushioned booths line the side by the windows, and tables are set throughout the floor. The neat thing about this location is that there’s an enclosed patio. During the summer, the window panels open up to the outside, allowing fresh air to come in and give you that patio feel, however it’s still covered to protect you from the rain. In the winter, the window panels stay down and the space feels more like a solarium.

Everything is sleek and modern, right down to the decor and feel of the place. The wait staff is very attentive and always came by to check up on us.

 

The Food

Joey - Caesar
Caesar – $5.45 

G and I started off with their sunday drink special, the caesar. It had a good bite to it, and wasn’t overpowering with the alcohol. The lime wedge was a nice touch although I wish they used something else other than a pickled green bean. Though the bean tasted pretty good and still had some crunch to it, the dull green colour took a little bit of “wow” factor away from the caesar.

 

Joey - Sangria
Summer Sangria – $7

Mr. Pixelbunny got the summer sangria, made of red and white wine, Spanish brandy, fruit juices and fresh strawberry slices and blueberries. It was really refreshing and really easy to drink. Sip slowly on this one or you’ll be finished in no time!

 

Joey - Baja Fish Tacos
Baja Fish Tacos – $14

My main was the baja fish tacos. There was lightly breaded fish and shrimp, although mine were a little lacking. They did pile on the lettuce, guacamole and tomatoes, but I do wish there was more fish. The hot sauce was served on the side which was great so I could control how much went into it. The portion size was ok, and unfortunately left me still hungry.

 

Joey - Ahi Tuna Club
Ahi Tuna Club – $17

J ordered the ahi tuna club, which is something she orders every time she comes. We all got to have a bite to try, and all agreed that her dish was the most flavourful out of everyone’s. The ahi is only slightly seared (see those light grill marks?) and the inside is still rare. There’s also a huge breaded onion ring underneath that bun, some smoked bacon, and lots of arugula greens under the tuna. It’s served with a sweet pepper relish on the side and a bowl of hearty chicken minestrone. Awesome for lunch or, in our case, dinner!

 

Joey - Sashimi Tuna Salad
Sashimi Tuna Salad – $18

Both Mr. Pixelbunny and G ordered the sashimi tuna salad. Let’s take a moment just to stare at this picture. Isn’t it gorgeous? There’s something about the colours and contrasts that make this dish pop. Anyways, the tuna, as you can see, is slightly seared, then sliced beautifully into 8 perfectly sized slices. They all sit atop a bed of cilantro mint dressing. The salad itself is a mix of greens, mango, peanuts, crispy noodles, and a fanned out sliced avocado on top. Looks are deceiving, but this dish is filling! And the best part is, it tastes as good as it looks!

 

Joey - Yam Fries
Yam Fries – $9

We’re all lovers of yam fries, so of course we ordered one to share. It’s served in a cute little frying basket with a small pot of truffle lemon aioli. Grated parmesan cheese top off the fries and they are absolutely wonderful. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. This one is a must get, or at least get one to share with your friends.

 

The Verdict

Wonderful food in a really beautiful venue. Joey Eaton Centre is modern and classy.  Go earlier to avoid the crowds. In any case, whenever you go, you’re sure to have an awesome time.

 

The Place

Joey Eaton Centre
1 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON
647-352-5639

Written by Jessica

September 29th, 2013 at 12:12 am

Posted in Food,Restaurant

Carmel: Andre’s Bouchée

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During our  vacation to San Francisco, my best friend T and her boyfriend S planned a weekend away in Carmel for the four of us. S booked a dinner reservation at Andre’s Bouchée, a small and intimate French restaurant in the heart of downtown Carmel.

 

The Atmosphere

When you walk in, you notice first notice the soft lighting and intimate tables throughout the restaurant. The kitchen is at the back, slightly open so you can see what’s going on back there. We were seated at a table for four and remarked at how the table was set.

Andre's Bouchée - centre piece
Centre piece

A beautiful pink flower (daisy?) sitting in a bowl of water. We looked around at other tables and noticed that most other tables had flowers whose diameters were smaller than the bowl. Our flower’s diameter perfectly fit the bowl. I’m probably being nit picky, but that little detail was nice. Is it because we had made a reservation ahead of time?

 

Andre's Bouchée - place setting
Nice place settings

All of our napkins were folded up neatly and tied with a burgundy silk ribbon. It was a nice touch to our table.

 

The Food

Andre's Bouchée - fresh French bread
Fresh French bread – complimentary

To begin, a basket of fresh French bread was brought to our table. Crispy, crunch crust with a chewy inside. Slather on some butter and we’re good to go!

 

Andre's Bouchée - crème de champignons sauvages
Crème de Champignons Sauvages – $10

A choice from that night’s specials offerings, the crème de champignons sauvages was the creamiest, smoothest, wild mushroom intense flavoured soup I’d ever tasted. The truffle oil the was drizzled over top was not over powering at all, and really complimented the flavours that were in the bowl.

 

Andre's Bouchée - Soupe a L'Oignon
Soupe a L’Oignon – $9

Mr. Pixelbunny started with soupe a l’oignon – onion soup. Served in a piping hot, traditional French onion soup bowl, the cheese was still oozing down the sides of the bowl. It was just the right amount of saltiness, onion pieces mixed in the broth, a thick slice of French bread, then finally topped with melted cheese. It was actually too hot to dig in so Mr. Pixelbunny had to wait for it to cool slightly before he was able to begin eating without burning his tongue. I tried a few spoons too and agreed that this was one of the best, if not the best, onion soup we’ve ever had.

 

Andre's Bouchée - Cannelloni aux Deux Saumons
Cannelloni aux Deux Saumons – $13

We all ordered this one extra appetizer to share amongst the four of us, because after reading it on the menu, we couldn’t resist ordering it to try. The cannelloni aux deus saumons is made of wild salmon tartar, mixed with shallots, V.O. oil and lemon, then wrapped in smoked salmon. It’s served with a kind of crème fraîche that goes very well together. It’s too bad it was so small, but then again, we were trying to share the plate amongst four people.

 

Andre's Bouchée - St Jacques au Saffron
St Jacques au Saffron – $28

For my main, I ordered the St Jacques au Saffron – three pan seared jumbo sea scallops and black fettuccini (which was very reminiscent of squid ink pasta), served over a bed of saffron emulsion. The scallops were cooked perfectly, a slight crisp to the crust and a very moist and juicy inside that was almost silky when you bit into it. The fettuccini was also very good, al dente and tasted like it was made in house. The saffron emulsion tasted just like saffron, and went very well when paired with the scallops.

 

Andre's Bouchée - Thon à la Provençale
Thon à la Provençale – $28

Mr. Pixelbunny ordered the thon à la Provençale – pan seared ahi tuna served with capers, lime, tomato and parsley butter. Seared ever so slightly on the outside but still cool and rare on the inside. The lime juice combined with the tomato and capers slightly reminded me of a ceviche taste. The butter had hints of parsley in it. Lots of things going on in this dish but tasted so well altogether.

 

Andre's Bouchée - nougat glacé
Nougat glacé – $7

For dessert, we ordered nougat glacé with four spoons. It’s a homemade iced nougat made with hazelnut and almonds. Served on raspberry coulis and dusted with icing sugar and two mint leaves. This was a a generous portion, and we shared this amongst the four of us with no problems. It was icy and creamy, almost like ice cream in texture but not. The raspberry coulis was slightly tart, but pairs nicely with the nougat.

 

Andre's Bouchée - chocolate truffles, grapefruit jelly, and almond meringue
Chocolate truffles, grapefruit jelly, and almond meringue – complimentary

Our bill was accompanied by a plate of complimentary desserts. We were told everything on the plate is made in house. The chocolate truffles were dark chocolate, silky and smooth. The grapefruit jellies were soft and chewy, dusted with sugar and a very natural grapefruit taste. The almond meringues were light and airy and not too sweet. After such a fine meal, these were cute little bites to finish the meal with.

 

The Verdict

If you’re ever in Carmel and looking for someplace special to eat, this is it. The food is exceptionally fresh, the presentation beautiful, and the flavours are fantastic. For those who want to make it extra special, the in-house sommelier is on hand to help make wine recommendations for your meal. I definitely recommend that you eat here!

 

The Place

Andre’s Bouchée
Mission St, Carmel, CA
831-626-7880

Written by Jessica

September 25th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Food,Restaurant

Le Café Michi

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Another date night for Mr. Pixelbunny and I, so we decided to go somewhere that’s been on our “To Eat” list since the beginning: Le Cafe Michi. I’m not exactly sure why we waited so long to come here, but having gone tonight, we don’t understand why we didn’t come earlier!

Digging around for background info, Le Cafe Michi is originally a small cafe serving French-influenced japanese pastries. A small back room of this cafe is where a small sushi counter was set up, by the chef who runs Kaji. These days, it is run by Toshi-san.

 

The Atmosphere

The place is very very small, so reservations are definitely recommended! I did not make any reservations, but I got lucky and scored the last two seats at the sushi counter in the back room.

At the front of the cafe, there’s a large glass enclosure that has all the different cakes on display. On top of this glass enclosure is trays and displays of jewellery for sale. I’m not sure if this is for a local artist or perhaps maybe some of the cafe workers make jewellery on the side, but they are very pretty to look at.

My only complaint at the sushi counter seating was that I was pretty much directly underneath the air vent, where the cold air conditioned air was blowing on me. Moving my arm to where Mr. Pixelbunny was seated, I couldn’t even feel a draft where he was sitting. So if you are seated second from the left, be prepared to have a constant cold draft blowing on you. Also, if you order hot food, eat it fast because it will cool down considerably fast!

One of the neat things is that when they seat you and hand you the menus, they also give you a small photo album with pictures of each item on the menu. This is super helpful if you’re a visual person and you’re not sure what you want to eat!

 

Le Cafe Michi - wooden fish
Wooden fish

The little ledge in front of us had all sorts of little trinkets and toys decorating it. These small wooden fish looked like they were hand carved.

 

Le Cafe Michi - mini sushi
Miniature sushi

This miniature sushi set was so adorable. Each piece of sushi was less than half of my pinky nail in size. The detail in each piece is amazing!

 

Le Cafe Michi - stuffed sushi
Stuffed sushi

There was even a wooden tray of stuffed sushi! How cute is this? I want a set of my own!

 

The Food

We each ordered a different set to eat. I ordered the dinner special, which includes tea, salad, miso soup, entrée, and cake. Mr. Pixelbunny ordered a seafood set, which included tea, salad, entrée, and cake.

 

Le Cafe Michi - salad
Salad

Both Mr. Pixelbunny and I received the salad as part of our set meal. The salad consisted of crispy romain pieces, carrot and cucumber slices, drizzled with a ginger sesame dressing. It was light and refreshing, crunchy and tasty.

 

Le Cafe Michi - miso soup
Miso Soup

Only my set included miso soup, which is shown here. I thought it cute being served in a cup. The miso soup was piping hot, with little small pieces of kelp and tofu. This miso is not overly salty, which is what I often find elsewhere.

 

Le Cafe Michi - Unatama
Unatama – $23.95

Finally, my main entrée – unatama. This is grilled marinated eel with egg, topped on rice. Each spoonful gives you a piece of eel, some silky egg, rice and the grilled eel sauce. It is absolutely delicious and a must try.

 

Le Cafe Michi - karaage
Chyo-Chin Bento – karaage

Mr. Pixelbunny got the chyo=chin bento, which was really neat to see. It came neatly stacked with the karaage at the top. They are deep fried chicken thigh meat, that is so lightly dusted in flour and fried to a golden crispiness. The sauce is some sort of chili sauce, and it certainly packs some good heat. There was four big pieces of chicken in here, as well as a small romaine leaf for garnish.

 

Le Cafe Michi - assorted sashimi
Chyo-Chin Bento – assorted sashimi

The middle layer of chyo-chin bento is assorted sashimi. It consists of two slices of salmon, two slices of tuna, and two slices of hamachi. Each slice is thick cut, super fresh tasting, and chilled. All are served with half a shiso leaf and on a bed of shredded daikon radish. The wasabi here is worth mentioning, simply because it is freshly grated from the actual wasabi root. No reconstituted powder wasabi here! I had never had fresh wasabi here, and the heat is different from that of it’s powdered form. The texture is also different, being that it’s grated and not reconstituted. I happily ate this one with each slide of sashimi I poached from Mr. Pixelbunny.

 

Le Cafe Michi - unagi don
Chyo-Chin Bento – unagi don

The bottom layer of the chyo-chin bento was unagi don. Grilled, marinated eel sitting on a bed of rice with shredded egg, finely shredded seaweed, some pickled bitter melon, and even some sansho leaves! The chef behind the counter explained to us that he grows his own sansho plants, so it is very seasonal when he serves it. He even had a small sansho plant in house and brought it out to show us!

 

Le Cafe Michi - Chyo-Chin Bento
Chyo-Chin Bento – $

Here’s a picture of all three layers for size reference.

 

Le Cafe Michi - Green Tea Cake
Green Tea Cake

My dessert choice was green tea cake. It was light and fluffy, and I noticed that the layers are vertical layers, not horizontal. Red bean paste is sandwiched between each light and fluffy cake layer. The cream used is very light, and at the top of the cake, matcha powder, chestnut pieces and white chocolate embellish the top.

 

Le Cafe Michi - Tofu cheesecake
Tofu Cheesecake

Mr. Pixelbunny’s dessert choice was tofu cheesecake. Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised to find a very creamy texture, and no taste of tofu at all! It is mildly sweet tasting. The graham crumb crust is super thin and the top is decorated with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

 

The Verdict

What are you waiting for? You have to eat here! I will definitely be back to eat more off their menu, as well as to try some more of their cakes. The sushi is extremely fresh and top notch. The cakes are also likewise. You won’t be disappointed!

 

The Place

Le Café Michi (no website, but Yelp link here)
1802 Pharmacy Ave, Scarborough, ON
416-490-9688

Written by Jessica

September 19th, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Posted in Food,Restaurant

Montreal: St-Viateur Bagel

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St. Viateur Bagel - store front
A bagel making more bagels!

When in Montreal, you have to try their bagels. There is no other place to try them but here, at St-Viateur Bagel.

 

The Atmosphere

St. Viateur Bagel - making bagels
How they make their bagels

Mr. Pixelbunny and I have been to Montreal twice, and each time, we’ve gone to the bakery and cafe on Mont-Royal. The cafe is great because not only can you watch them make the bagels behind the counter in their wood fire oven, you’re also able to sit down and order from a menu. It’s a medium sized place with tables along the side and smaller round cafe tables in the middle. It is packed all the time so be prepared for at least a small lineup for a table.

The process of making their bagels is pretty neat. First, the dough is hand rolled into a bagel shape. They are then boiled in honey water, then arranged on super long wooden planks that allow the worker to place them inside the wood fire oven. After cooking, generous amounts of sesame seeds are sprinkled on top, and then they are tossed into a large bin. It is neat seeing how many bagels they go through. People are constantly streaming in to buy bagels to go. Mr. Pixelbunny and I even bought 6 to go for our drive back home. They are so soft and chewy. Who can resist them?

 

The Food

St. Viateur Bagel - Mochaccino
Moccaccino – $4.75

Since I’m not a coffee drinker (I don’t like that bitter taste), I always go for something that’s flavoured. Hence, the moccaccino. It came in a tall glass, topped with whipped cream and real chocolate shavings sprinkled on top. The moccaccino was piping hot with just the right amount of sweet to counteract the bitter. The whipped cream not only added flavour, but it helped cool the upper layer so it was more drinkable.

 

St. Viateur Bagel - Traditionel Bagel Sandwich
Traditionel bagel sandwich – $11

For my choice, it was the traditionel bagel sandwich – a sesame seed bagel, toasted with generous amounts of cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomatoes, red onions and capers. A lemon wedge is offered on the side. For my side dish, crab salad. It’s so good that I can’t order anything else whenever we’re here.

 

St. Viateur Bagel - Milano Bagel Sandwich
Milano bagel sandwich – $11.50

Mr. Pixelbunny got the milano bagel sandwich, which consists of an italian sausage, roasted red peppers, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and pesto on the side. His side dish was a house salad of mixed greens. This was hearty, maybe too much for breakfast time, but probably a good portion for lunch. It was tasty, but we both agreed that the traditionel is the way to go. The second time we came here, Mr. Pixelbunny ordered the traditionel like me.

 

The Verdict

If you’re ever in Montreal, you have to come here. In order to get the bagel sandwich, I believe they are only available at the cafe locations. Some locations sell strictly bagels and not the sandwiches, so make sure the location you go to serves what you want. I’ve been here several times and I would definitely make another visit the next time I’m in town.

 

The Place

St-Viateur Bagel
1127 Mont-Royal E, Montreal, QC
514-528-6361

Written by Jessica

September 15th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Food,Restaurant

The Black Hoof

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For the second dinner with my co-workers, we picked The Black Hoof. Two of them had never had bone marrow before, and when asked what the texture and taste was like, P automatically said, “it’s like meat butter“. I couldn’t have said it better than myself!

 

The Atmosphere

It’s not a very large place and they don’t take reservations. So your best bet is to show up early or show up late. We got lucky and scored a table for four right up at the front window. Our waiter was super knowledgeable and took our constant indecisions in stride, giving us time to debate on what to eat and whether we’d be full from it. We were quite close to ordering one of everything, but, settled with seven.

There a large bar on the right side with plenty of drinks available, to which we did drink quite a bit, but I didn’t take any pictures of them. We were too engrossed in the food.

 

The Food

The Black Hoof - Charcuterie
Charcuterie – $19 | Bread – $4

We started off with charcuterie and a large serving of bread. Our waiter did tell us what each one was, but, being of mind to eat, none of us can remember what they were except that they all tasted amazing. The little blob at the top of the board is a pâté, and the blob on the right is whole grain mustard. The bread is a white loaf, with a chewy crust and a dense centre. Deliciousness.

 

The Black Hoof - Bone Marrow
Bone Marrow – market price (I can’t remember how much it was for us that night)

Next up was the bone marrow. It’s served with four slices of toasted bread, some salt, and chimichurri. Texture wise, it really is like meat butter. That warm, buttery, fatty goodness that melts in your mouth and spreads on bread like a dream. The chimichurri is awesome with the marrow, and just the tiniest pinch of salt makes it perfect. You can’t come here without ordering this. This is a must!

 

The Black Hoof - Tomatoes and Mozzerella
Tomatoes and Mozzarella – $9(?)

We ordered tomatoes and mozzarella purely for the sake of having some vegetables. It was awesome. Tomato slices, fresh mozzarella slices, some red onion, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and some olive oil. Beautiful, clean taste.

 

The Black Hoof - Pork Carnitas Tacos
Pork Carnitas Tacos – $11

Next up was the pork carnitas tacos. White flour tortilla shells with shaved pork, guacamole, deep fried pork skin, and a little lime wedge for you to squeeze the juice out. The deep fried pork skin is like a fluffy chip if that makes any sense, but dang, everything tastes so amazing.

 

The Black Hoof - Sweetbreads
Sweetbreads – $18

Sweetbreads were next on our menu, with two of us never having had it before. It was actually pretty good! Served with some prosciutto, almonds, artichoke hearts, and some greens on top, I could actually eat this again! I’m not psychologically all that ready to embrace sweetbreads, but this one was quite good.

 

The Black Hoof - Tongue on Brioche
Tongue on Brioche – $14

We were so amazed when this plate set down on our table. The tongue on brioche is HUGE! After debating how to split this into four equal portions, we took it apart, split the bread in half, then piled a bunch of tongue meat on top. It’s thinly sliced, but copious and juicy. The brioche bread is buttery and soft. The pickled celery is awesome and we can’t describe it except that it’s awesome. There’s also a dollop of whole grain mustard on the side which enhances the tongue so much more. This is also definitely a must try.

 

The Black Hoof - Foieberry Shortcake
Foieberry Shortcake – $24

For dessert, we figured why not go all the way? So we ordered the foieberry shortcake. It’s pan seared foie gras on macerated strawberries, on a small round slice of cake. Oddly enough, it works. You’ve got the sweetness from the strawberries and the salty from the foie gras. Paired together and it’s amazing.

 

The Verdict

This place is a must go! The food is simply amazing and so delicious that I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for some where to eat. I would love to go back again and try some other things, as well as reorder some of my favourites from this night!

 

The Place

The Black Hoof
928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON
416-551-8854

Written by Jessica

September 12th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Food,Restaurant

L’Ouvrier

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T and S were visiting from out of town so it was an excuse to get our entire group of friends together for one big dinner. It would be the first time our group of four friends are able to be together with our significant others, so this was indeed a celebratory event. In honour of this occasion, we picked to dine at L’Ouvrier.

The type of food they serve is contemporary Canadian. The menu looks promising, plus they have the option of a tasting menu for $50 a person. We all decided this would be a neat experience for all of us as some have had a tasting menu before, some had never experienced it before.

 

The Atmosphere

The space is large with tall ceilings, white walls and polished stone-looking floors. White tables and chairs are generously spaced throughout with one red table and two large, round reclaimed wood tables. For our party of 8, we were seated at one of these round tables which was perfect for group conversations.

 

L'Ouvrier - bar
Bar

There is a large bar towards the back middle space and is stand alone. Just behind it but not pictured are a small lounge area with lower seats and coffee tables.

The decor is minimalistic and eccentric, all at once. You can see the black squiggly design on the wall in the picture above. This was made of coaxial cables. Not pictured was a wall with neatly hung baggies (zip-lock bags?) each filled with colourful bits and pieces such as nails, screws, and string.

 

L'Ouvrier - table setting
Table setting

Softly lit tea candles in small jars, a bottle full of lavender, and water served in…

 

L'Ouvrier - water bottle
Water bottle

…an old glass bourbon bottle! I thought it was a rather nice touch.

 

L'Ouvrier - a la carte menu
A la carte menu

This was the à la carte menu, but we were going for the tasting menu instead, which could or could not contain items on the menu. The boys also got the wine pairing for $40 a person. The girls decided we would sip from the guys’ glasses.

 

The Food

L'Ouvrier - Pineapple Mojito
Pineapple mojito – $

I started my evening with the pineapple mojito. There was lots of mint leaves in the drink, however I didn’t really taste much. The pineapple juice was over powering so I mostly tasted that. However, the mint leaves were fresh and crisp when I ate a couple, just to get some mint flavour.

 

L'Ouvrier - 1st course - oysters
1st course

Our first course was a trio of Newfoundland oysters, served on a bed of shredded daikon radish. Each oyster had its own sauce. The left oyster had watermelon rind mignonette. It was very mild tasting, and not a whole lot of watermelon flavour. The middle oyster has a dot of house smoked sambal, which was a spicy chili paste. This one was the strongest tasting one, and had a very good kick to it. However, I felt that it drowned out the natural flavour of the oyster. The right oyster had a bourbon mignonette. Out of the three, this one was my favourite. It had just the right amount of flavour, it wasn’t overpowering, and it complimented the oyster very well. If you wanted to, you could even eat a sliver of daikon radish in-between oysters as a palette cleanser. I don’t know if that was what it was meant for, but I found it worked.

A white wine was paired with this course.

 

L'Ouvrier - 2nd course - asian slaw
2nd course

Our second course was an asian slaw, consisting of shredded carrot, daikon radish, jicama, slices of cucumber, and a soy chili dressing. Crushed cashews and sesame seeds garnished the top along with some green sprouts. As an asian, I wasn’t impressed with this dish. It tasted like a regular thai salad. The portion in this bowl was quite substantial, which surprised me since this was a tasting menu.

A red wine was paired with this course, and unfortunately was not a good match at all. The slaw already has a strong flavour due to the dressing, so a mild wine would have been expected. However, the red we were served was a very strong and bold one. Rather than complimenting, it was conflicting.

 

L'Ouvrier - 3rd course - tuna tartar
3rd course

Our third course was the tuna tartar. It was served on a chilled slate with some pickled ginger and a dollop of wasabi.  You can’t really see it in the picture but there is a sheet of seaweed underneath the tuna and chips. I thought the chips was an interesting way to eat the tartar, rather than using bread. However, crunch of the chips was great texture to the tartar, plus the added salt factor from the chips helped to compliment the flavour of the tuna.

White wine was paired with this dish.

 

L'Ouvrier - 4th course - ricotta tortellini
4th course

Our fourth course was the ricotta tortellini. There are two giant tortellini on this place, stuffed with soft, fluffy ricotta cheese. It was served on a bed of carrot purée, drizzled with pistachio pesto and fresh peas. The pistachio pesto was what made this dish. It was so flavourful and not too over powering. It complemented the tortellini and the carrot purée beautifully.

Red wine accompanied this one.

 

L'Ouvrier - 5th course - trout
5th course

Our fifth course was pan seared trout, served on green and yellow beans, peas, heirloom beets, almond purée and dill yogurt. The whole thing is topped with deep fried crispy bits that looked like noodles, yet tasted like onions. Maybe deep fried scallions? In either case, this was delicious, and the almond purée was the most interesting thing on the plate. Everything mixed well together, but it also did well on its own. Though the trout piece was a little small, it was cooked perfectly, not over done, and not under either.

White wine was paired with this plate.

 

L'Ouvrier - dessert - poached peaches with vanilla panna cotta
Dessert 1/3

For dessert, L’Ouvrier presented us with three different kinds of dessert, and we all shared from each other’s plates for a taste. Several of the plates that came out was this: poached peaches with an oat crumble, and vanilla panna cotta. The peaches were a little heavy on the wine, and masked a lot of the peach flavour. The crumble was sweet and crunchy, bringing back some sweetness to the peaches. The panna cotta is softer than I’m used to, but packed a strong vanilla flavour.

 

L'Ouvrier - dessert - flourless chocolate cake with creme fraiche
Dessert 2/3

The second dessert was the flourless vegan chocolate cake, served with a dollop of creme fraiche. The cake was moist and chocolatey. By itself, the cake is sweet. If paired with a little bit of creme fraiche, the flavours balance each other really nicely. There was only one of these babies that came out of the kitchen, so this plate got passed all around the table.

 

L'Ouvrier - dessert - raspberry mousse tart
Dessert 3/3

The third dessert from the kitchen was the raspberry mousse tart. Multiple plates of this one came to our table. The mousse was light and fluffy, with just the right amount of raspberry tartness to it. Underneath the mousse is a thin layer of custard, followed by the crust. There is something about the crust that made it absolutely amazing. I don’t know if it was because there was some browned butter in there, or that the crust was slightly caramelized, or whatever, it just tasted all sorts of sweet and amazing. This was definitely my favourite dessert of the three.

Dessert was the only course that wasn’t paired with a wine.

 

The Verdict

My friends and I had such an amazing time here. Though there was only one waitress for the entire restaurant, we were attended to superbly well and the kitchen did a fantastic job with all of the food. I need to add that the kitchen was very accommodating to some of my friends’ dietary restrictions (one person does not eat seafood and another does not eat red meat). For all of the seafood dishes we had received, the non-seafood person received other dishes that were just as delicious, judging from how quickly he devoured it.

Wine pairings were mostly good, except for the odd one out for us.

A very very good place to go for a group gathering, I strongly recommend that you come here!

 

The Place

L’Ouvrier
791 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON
416-901-9581

Written by Jessica

September 8th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Food,Restaurant

August 2013 Empties

without comments

It’s that time of the month again (no, no, not that). Without further adieu, here we go!

 

August 2013 Empties
Empties for the month

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF45

This was a sample from a freebie sample box I signed up for with Neutrogena. This one was perfect for those hot summer days when I knew I’d be out all day with friends. It has your moisturizer and your sunscreen all in one, so I don’t have to mess around with multiple bottles in the morning. The formula is light and applies easily. Because of the high SPF, you do have to work it in a little bit until you don’t have any white streaks. It doesn’t leave you looking matte, but does give you an overall nice glow.

B.Kamins Vegetable Cleanser

I got this one from my Winter 2012 Luxe Box. Unfortunately for me, I really didn’t like the smell of this cleanser! Even after using it, my face still felt a little on the oily side. I won’t be purchasing the full size of this one.

Batiste Dry Shampoo XXL Volume

This dry shampoo is awesome! And I already have a backup purchased so I can continue using it. Instant grease remover and volume adder!

Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser

I figured I’d give this one a try since it was on sale. It cleansed fairly well and was great for use with my Clarisonic. It’s fragrance free so this would be great for you sensitive skin people out there.

Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel

A sample given to me by the Laneige sales associate, I really liked this eye gel. It reminds me a lot of Clinique’s All About Eyes, except a slightly thicker gel consistency. It’s very hydrating and leaves the skin around my eyes nice and supple.

Nivea Aqua Effect Purifying Cleansing Gel

This cleansing gel had some tiny microbeads to help exfoliate the skin and clean deep down in the pores. I’m not a huge fan of physical exfoliators because I tend to rub a little too hard. The gel part had a cooling effect and my face felt squeaky clean afterwards. There was enough sample for a one time use.

Nivea Aqua Effect Mattifying Day Care

The day care lotion was light and hydrating, which made it very easy to absorb into the skin. Unfortunately, there’s no SPF in it so keep that in mind if you’re looking to purchase it. There was enough sample to get 2 uses out of it.

Nivea Extra Nourishing Body Milk

This was a sample packet I got from the traveling Nivea Haus. I only had enough for one application to both legs, but I liked how easily it absorbed into the skin. It didn’t leave that sticky feeling after application either, which is a huge plus for me.

Nivea Firming Body Lotion Q10 Plus

Another sample packet from Nivea Haus, this was also just enough for one application to both legs. Since it was only one application, I can’t comment on how it’s firming effects, however it does absorb into the skin easily, and doesn’t leave a sticky residue afterwards.

 

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Written by Jessica

September 3rd, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Posted in Beauty,empties