Station Cold Brew Coffee Co. Launches at Brunch TUM!

Last week, fellow blogger Mary from Mary’s Happy Belly (who also happens to be a colleague and foodie friend) forwarded me an email about Station Cold Brew Coffee Co.’s official launch at the August TUM event. After contacting Mitchell Stern, the Marketing Director at Station Cold Brew, we were extended an invite to their debut! In my opinion, the brunch-themed TUM event was a big disappointment (more about that later), but we really enjoyed the cold brew coffee!

A little about cold brew coffee…

Cold brewing coffee (which, coincidentally, my friend J was talking to me and Matt about it a couple of weeks ago) involves steeping coffee grinds in cold/room temperature water for about 12 to 24 hours. Eliminating the heating process also results in coffee with lower acidity and a subtly sweet flavour.

Station Cold Brew Coffee Co.: Thumbs Up

Station Cold Brew

The crew at Station Cold Brew was very nice, especially Mitchell, who introduced himself to us. We learned that in addition to BOOM Breakfast & Co. and Cheesewerks, their coffee will soon be available at the various Fresh locations in Toronto. I was super excited to hear that because I’ve been wanting to bring Matt to Fresh ever since I went last time… now we can go for the food and cold brew coffee!

We bought a cup of their coffee, which was really cold and refreshing, especially given how hot it was outside today! We had it with a little bit of milk and agave. And as their guests, we each also got to take home a cute, little personalized 8 oz. stubby of coffee (they’re currently chilling in the fridge as I write, but Matt and I each took a sip before I started this post!) Definitely a must try!

Personalized Stubbies of Coffee

Personalized Stubbies of Coffee

Brunch TUM: Thumbs Down

We’ve been to TUM events, and I definitely stand by the idea of supporting local eateries and chefs, but this brunch event was a big disappointment for us. As a brunch-themed event (and marketed extensively that way), you’d think that there would be actual brunch food. One vendor had eggs, but that was the closest it came to brunch! There were also only about 8 food vendors, which doesn’t offer much variety. Not worth it, in my opinion.

What We Ate

All of these vendors were hard at work at the event and the food was good, so I definitely want to give credit where credit is due, but at the same time, nothing we tried really blew us away.

Brunch TUM

  • Babi & Co.’s Babi on a Bun (braised pork belly on fried buns with pickled cucumbers): These were nice and crispy—very good!
  • Good Pho U’s Banh Mi: These were okay, but I still really like the ones from Nguyen Huong in Scarborough best!
  • Empanada House’s Empanadas (fried with chipotle shrimp and cheese inside): I wish there was a bit more filling! The chimichurri was good though.
  • Bombay Street Food’s Spicy Beef and Spicy Veggie Pate (served on a bun with a side salad): This was good, as was the side salad, but unfortunately, it made the bun very soggy.

It was a gorgeous summer day in Toronto though, so it was hard not to be happy just being out and about in the city! Hope you all had a happy weekend 🙂

Bring on the Ice Cream! Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery and Sweet Olenka’s

Just like cupcakes, froyo, and macarons were popping up everywhere just a while back, ice cream sandwiches have been the biggest thing lately! So far, we’ve tried them from 3 different places: Moo Milk Bar (see this post), and more recently, Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery and Sweet Olenka’s. Let the ice cream sammie adventures begin!

Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery

Bang Bang Ice Cream

Ginger Cookie + Bellwoods Stout Ice Cream; Birthday Cake Cookie + PB&J Ice Cream

Bang Bang has become really popular as of late, so Matt and I had to wait in line with the many others hoping to try their ice cream sandwiches. Luckily it was a nice night and the line moved fairly quickly. They make all the ice cream sandwiches on the spot and there are various options to choose from. In addition to picking between a half sandwich (1 cookie) or a full sandwich (2 cookies), you can also opt for a macaron ice cream sandwich or an ice cream puff. There are also a variety of ice cream flavours and cookies to choose from! Matt had the PB&J ice cream with a birthday cake cookie, while I went with the Bellwoods Stout ice cream and a ginger cookie. We also got an Everything cookie (chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, and oats) to go, which we had with some vanilla frozen yogurt the night after. Delish! 🙂

Bang Bang Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Sweet Olenka’s

Sweet Olenka's

Pear Caramel Ice Cream; Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich

The Queen West location of Sweet Olenka’s is literally around the corner from Bang Bang, so there’s plenty of ice cream goodness in the area! We went today, and the decisions were endless—they have handmade ice cream, ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, chocolates, and baked goods! While their ice cream sandwiches are also handmade, they aren’t made-to-order. To be honest though, that really didn’t matter because their salted caramel ice cream sandwich is absolutely AMAZING! We shared that and the pear caramel ice cream, which was also really good (think refreshing and sweet at the same time). We’ll definitely have to go back!

Sweet Olenka's on Urbanspoon

Where We Ate: Taste of Toronto

Me and a group of my friends from Western have been taking turns planning monthly outings. For the month of July, my friend A organized a trip to the Taste of Toronto food festival.

The 4-day event, held at the Fort York National Historic Site, gave visitors an opportunity to try various dishes from a number of Toronto restaurants, shop and sample from different vendors, participate in cooking classes and wine tastings, and listen to live music.

We went on Saturday during the day, which turned out to be pretty good because it wasn’t too crowded and the lines were manageable. The weather also held up, which is awesome because it was almost all outdoors!

What We Ate

  • SplendidoFresh oysters with apple and jalapeño
  • Khao San RoadCrispy rice salad (rice, ginger, cilantro, sour pork sausage, lime leaf, and roasted peanuts)
  • El CaballitoPollo con mole (cemita bread, mole poblano, pulled chicken, white onion, and avocado)
  • Rose & SonsRose and Sons BLT (Dr. Pepper bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, feta, and herb mayo)
  • The McEwan GroupBymark’s lobster poutine
  • Richmond StationCharcuterie with pickles
  • WeslodgeWagyu hot dog (house bun, beet mustard, and beef cheek marmalade)
  • Hopgood’s FoodlinerSmoked mackerel on oatcakes

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What We Bought

  • Philip’s Ice PopsI had to  buy a homemade lemon-ginger rosemary popsicle!
  • Nutra FruitThe vendors were from Québec and super nice. The chocolate-covered cranberries and the cranberry-based vinaigrettes were to die for!
  • A $5 wine tasting: We spent 20 minutes learning about and tasting 2 reds and 2 whites from California and New Zealand—not bad for $5!

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The Good

  • It was pretty well-organized for a first-time event! I guess it helps that it’s been held in other cities and that major sponsors were involved.
  • The number of vendors/restaurants: There were quite a few food & drink vendors and restaurants, which meant that there was lots to see and that we had a good selection of eats to choose from!
  • The free food samples: Highlights include the butter chicken bison from Carmen Creek Gourmet Bison, which was melt-in-your-mouth good, and Woolwich Dairy’s lemon & lime goat cheese.
  • The free drinks: 1L bottles of Bloo juice, Nespresso coffees, San Pellegrino‘s sparkling clementine drinks, and Pure Leaf teas.

The Bad

  • Crowns: Like many food & beverage festivals, they had their own currency, cards that you could load with Crowns (1 CAD  = 1 Crown). I guess it’s easier to manage than change/credit/debit, but it’s a hassle for patrons!
  • The prices were still a bit steep—not unlike events from Toronto Underground Market, SLURP Noodlefest, the Food & Wine Expo, and the like. We paid for $50 for 2 people (which included 2 general admission tickets plus $12 worth of Crowns), but dishes ranged from $6 to $8 each, which is pretty pricey!
  • While we were fine during the day, I heard from others who went to the night events that the lines were very long!
  • Port-a-potties: Fortunately, they weren’t too bad during the day, but they definitely aren’t my favourite!

Overall though, it was good food with good friends, so I can’t complain too much! 🙂

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Where We Ate: Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse

To celebrate Matt’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, I treated him to dinner at Jacobs & Co. The restaurant is housed in a very large and sleek space, but I personally found the atmosphere to be a bit pretentious. The drinks were also really expensive, which was expected, but there were beers we normally get for half the price elsewhere, which is ROBBERY to me!

The service, however, was impeccable. All levels of staff were attentive and knowledgeable, especially our main server. We were definitely well attended to, which made it a good experience!

What We Ate

Jacobs Jacobs

  • Oysters: We opted for a mixed selection of east coast oysters, but we liked the Lucky Limes from PEI best!
  • Jacobs Caesar Salad with White Anchovy: This was prepared (perfectly) tableside—so much fun to watch and absolutely delicious. A must!
  • Duck Fat French Fried Potatoes + Potato Gratin: The sides come in half portions, which is great because you can try a couple of things. I really wanted their Brussels sprouts, but they were out that day!
  • USDA Prime Black Angus T-Bone Steak, Dry-Aged 125 days: 25 oz. of melt-in-your-mouth goodness! The server noted that the 125-day dry-aged steaks weren’t for everyone because it has a mushroom, Parmesan-like quality to it, but we loved it! Bonus: if you want, they can carve it up for you. Makes for easy sharing!

We even had a bit of surprise at the end! In another post about Auberge, I had mentioned how the restaurant had paid attention to a note I’d added in the Special Requests box of my Open Table reservation. This time, I included a request for a table in a quieter spot (if possible) because we were celebrating my husband’s birthday. Not only was this request granted, but they also came out with a little birthday dessert at the end of our meal! Very nice touch.

The overall verdict? The steak was perfection, and the service was on point, so we’ll definitely be back again!

Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse on Urbanspoon