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Dessert Dinner Drinks Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews

Smash Kitchen Review – Out with Markham Food

March 27, 2016 by

Back in February, we co-hosted a blogger tasting event with Smash Kitchen at their restaurant to try out some of the new items on their menu. Not only did we have amazing food that night, but we had the best company! The 10 bloggers who attended this tasting were well-fed and had an amazing time socializing and trying out Smash Kitchen’s dishes. Some of us were return visitors, while others were trying the place for the first time. Here’s a look at some of the things we had.

Sangria at Smash Kitchen

No tasting is complete without drinks. ; ) These are the Red and White Sangrias with fresh fruit. Yum!Ahi Tuna Wontons - Smash Kitchen

Above: Ahi Tuna Wontons // Below: Beef Cheek Poutine

Beef Cheek Poutine at Smash Kitchen

Out of the eight different appetizers we tried, the Beef Cheek Poutine was crowd favourite as we devoured it almost immediately (after taking our pics, of course).

Smash Kitchen - Sunday Platter

Smash Kitchen - Sunday Platter

The Sunday Family Platter was so epic that we had to show it to you from different angles. Consisting of buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ ribs, homemade maple bacon & cheddar biscuits, L.A. mac & cheese, grilled andouille sausage, and grilled corn, this platter will feed your entire family! We shared two platters between 10 people and that was more than enough considering we had a lot of appetizers to begin with.

Smash Kitchen - Apple Dessert

Above: Apple Smash 2.0 // Below: Smash Mini Donuts (Background: Strawberries & Cream Mini Donuts)

Smash Mini Donuts at Smash Kitchen

Two of our favourite desserts from the six we had that night… the delicious hot apple cinnamon crumble underneath cold maple walnut ice cream and the tiny donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and caramel sauce. *insert heart eyes emoji* All of their desserts were good to be honest, but these were amaazzinggg and perfect for sharing!

Hope we made you hungry. ; )

Address: 4261 Hwy 7 East, Unionville, ON
Phone Number: (905) 940-2000

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Dessert Dinner Drinks Italian Japanese Lunch Miscellaneous Spanish Sushi

Top Places for Dates in Markham

February 13, 2016 by

For the First Date

Chit-Chat Play Board Game Cafe

Chit-Chat Play Board Game Café
Get to know your date in a fun and casual environment where you can stir up some healthy competition between the two of you. Chit-Chat is a small, but popular board game cafe with more than 400 adult- and kid-friendly games to choose AND buy from. There are also plenty of yummy desserts including gelato, waffles, and cheesecakes if you want to treat your date to a sweet surprise!
Bonus: there’s no time limit here so you can stay as long you’d like (our record was 5 hours!).
Price: $12 per person on weekends for unlimited play and a drink valued at $3.25 (or upsize for extra charge)
Cotton Candy Latte Art - Initium
Initium Co.
Want to really impress your date? Initium takes “going out for coffee” to the next level with their extravagant lattes. From cotton candy espresso drip drinks (‘cause who doesn’t want a fluffy cloud of goodness?) to their beautiful latte art, their drinks are worth going for the picture alone! They’re almost too pretty to drink. Almost. In addition to the fun drinks they also have a small brunch menu where you can get light snacks such as smoked salmon and croissants!

For the Ones Who’ve Just Dropped the “L Bomb”

Markham's Inspire Restaurant in Markham Village
Inspire Restaurant
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Enter Inspire Restaurant, where their dishes truly are “inspired” with Asian-fusion. From a variety of cool dishes such as Udon Carbonara or Butter Chicken Serpentini (pictured above), they take common Italian dishes and spin it to include Asian flavours. We say Asian flavours because you’ll see flavours from all corners of Asia from Korea to Japan to China to India. Prepare yourself for the nap you’ll want to take after eating here because their dishes are decadent, rich, and oh-so indulgent. We suggest their Inspire Burger with Pulled Pork Frites (above) – it is DELISH.
Pizza at Levetto in Vaughan
Levetto
Homemade pasta? Check. Huge portions? Check. Seriously, Levetto’s best feature is their portion size to price point – it’s impressive. The pastas are definitely one of the biggest highlights of the menu (as in you NEED to order it!) – they have their very own extruder in-house so pasta is made fresh on site and the result is a variety of shapes that are each dense, chewy, and delicious. We recommend splitting a pizza and a pasta between the two of you. You won’t regret it!

For the Couples Who Have Put WORK in


Tapagria Spanish Tapas Restaurant
Don’t want to trek all the way downtown for Spanish food? You don’t have to. Tapagria offers a variety of pintxos, cold and hot tapas, and our favourite, paella! If you really want to treat your sig-o out, order the $72 Chuleton Asado, a massive 32 oz roasted rib-eye that is seasoned and marinated with beautiful flavours. Served with roasted potatoes, romesco, and charred scallions, this brings a welcome and elevated twist to your classic steak and potatoes.
Zen Japanese Restaurant in Markham
Zen Japanese Restaurant
Previously located in Toronto, Zen has moved uptown to grace Markham with its presence. This humble features delicate and incredibly fresh pieces of sushi. Opt for a spot by the bar and have the sushi chefs personally place sushi one-by-one in front of you, Jiro-Dreams-of-Sushi-style. Enjoy their MASSIVE Spider Roll which has some of the meatiest soft shell crabs we’ve ever seen. We dare you to try to eat it in one bite (we deem it impossible)! Don’t forget to leave space in your tummy to end your meal off with a slice of their Mandarin Pie – tangy and a refreshing dessert to a delicious meal.
Who said you need to drive all the way to Toronto to have a nice night out? Whether you’re just getting to know a person or you’re the long-term couple, we hope you enjoy these as our top places for a special date in Markham!

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Dinner Drinks Japanese Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Snack

Donburi Restaurant Review – Out with Markham Food

February 4, 2016 by

The word “donburi” means a rice bowl consisting of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients cooked together and served over rice. Of course, this dish is extremely popular at the Donburi restaurant in Thornhill. Donburi is one of the few Japanese restaurants that don’t serve sushi. This opens up our options whenever we’re craving Japanese food that’s not sushi-related. We’ve tasted many things from their menu and nothing disappointed us. If you plan on going as a group, we recommend ordering multiple side dishes and entrées to for sharing.

Spicy gyu fries - DonburiSpicy Gyu Fries

When we visited, this was one of the newer items on Donburi’s menu. The fries had just the right amount of everything in it – spiciness, crispiness, and softness. We finished this quickly and were craving for more.

Beef tataki - DonburiJ1 – Beef Tataki ($9)

This lightly seared and marinated beef was surprisingly very flavourful, especially after dipping it in the citrus-soy sauce. We recommend eating it with a piece of the red onion to get the full effect of this appetizer. We’ve ordered the beef tataki a few times already and still aren’t sick of it.

Beef with ponzu sauce - DonburiS7 – Beef with ponzu sauce ($2.50)
Beef sirloin steak with ponzu sauce and grated daikon radish.

We’ll be honest – this skewer was small for two people, so we barely remember how it was. If you’ve ever tried it, let us know how you like it in the comments below!

Takoyaki - DonburiJ7 – Takoyaki ($5)
A delicious ball shape snack with diced octopus hidden inside.

Takoyaki are one of our favourite Japanese snacks. These octopus balls were perfectly warm, soft, and full of flavour.

Chicken omurice - DonburiD10 – Chicken Omurice ($8)
Chicken fried rice in a tomato base wrapped in a thin egg omelette.

This is personally one of our favourite entrées at Donburi. It might look small in the photo, but trust us…there is a LOT of rice packed in there. This is good enough for two or more people if you’re sharing multiple dishes.

Umami Don - DonburiD15 – Umami Don ($10)
An indescribable flavour bomb that will explode in your mouth.

The Umami Don includes unagi (eel), spicy mayo, cucumbers, dashi stock, and of course, rice. The description on their website was right. This was an explosion of flavour! We love the mix of ingredients as there was a unique taste and texture with every bite.

Calpis Fusion Drink - DonburiCalpis Fusion – A mix of mango Calpico and aloe.

Of course, we needed a drink to go with our meal so we each had the Calpis Fusion. This refreshing beverage is only available for a limited time (we don’t know how long) and is perfect if you’re looking for something sweet and cool to go with your meal.

Address: 505 Highway 7 #93, Thornhill, ON L3T 7T1
Phone Number: (905) 597-6505
Tip: Donburi is located at Commerce Gate, so there is plenty of parking.

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Dessert Drinks Giveaways Spanish Taiwanese

Giveaways with Tapagria, Lohas Cafe, and CoCo Tea!

January 29, 2016 by

We’ve been on a roll lately! What better way to kick off the new year than to give something back to our supporters? Here are three giveaways that are ending soon!

coco-tea-richmond-hill-markham-giveaway

Visit this page to enter for a chance to win a drink vouchers for CoCo Fresh Tea & JuiceSix winners will be chosen, but ONE lucky winner will get a Pandora charm along with their two drink vouchers.

tapagria-giveaway-markham

Get Tapagria‘s Paella de Tapagria and a pitcher of Traditional Sangria for only $40 on any Monday! Their paella is already $45 on a regular day, so this is a steal. 😉 Or… you can enter for a chance to win this deal (redeemable on any Monday) on our Instagram page.

lohas-cafe-first-markham-place-giveaway

Craving dessert? …Well, we’re not really giving dessert away, but LOHAS Cafe is offering three winners a chance to try their kimchi or wasabi mayo fries! BUT once you’re there to claim your prize, why not order one of their adorable lattes (taro & coconut above) or their amazing honey toast (in the background or here). Enter for a chance to win on our Instagram page!

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Chinese Dinner Drinks Out with Markham Food Reviews

私房菜 (Private Dinner) at My Wonderful Kitchen – Markham Food Review

December 13, 2015 by

If you read our My Wonderful Kitchen review earlier this year, you’ll know that we really enjoy their food.

They recently introduced 私房菜 to the restaurant., something that not a lot of restaurants in the area offer right now. My Wonderful Kitchen recently added this private dining service to their offerings and we were very excited to try it out.

To reserve a private dining experience, call MWK a day in advance to tell them your budget, the number of guests you’re bringing, and what type of foods you’d like to have. The chefs will prepare everything in advance for you so that your party will have the best experience possible. Here’s a look at what we had with our food blogging friends. 🙂

my-wonderful-kitchen-scallops-papaya-boat

Stir-fried scallop with papaya (漁舟滿豐收)

The Chinese name for this dish is fisherman’s harvest. The “boat” is a carved papaya that’s cut into pieces for serving; and the “fishnet” (seen underneath the scallop and papaya pieces) is delicately cut from a thin sheet of radish.

my-wonderful-kitchen-scallops-dragonfruit

Stir-fried scallop with fresh fruits (天姖送子)

To be honest, some of us were surprised at the combination of ingredients in both pics above… fruits and seafood?? Nonetheless, these were actually yummy dishes even though the fruits were warm.

my-wonderful-kitchen-wintermelon

Wintermelon with fish maws and mixed seafood (綠萼紅梅)

As one of our guests described, these were like a condensed version of Chinese wintermelon soup and we definitely agree.

my-wonderful-kitchen-fried-shrimp-taro-nest-bacon

Stir-fried jumbo prawns with vegetables in taro nest and bacon-wrapped shrimps stuffed with minced fish (鵲巢金環蟠龍蝦)

This was one of our favourites. The bacon-wrapped shrimps were SO good and the seafood mixed with vegetables were well-cooked. Definitely a must-try, so ask for this when you call to reserve!

my-wonderful-kitchen-stewed-wintermelon-balls

Stewed wintermelon balls in house-sauce (翠玉葡提)

Although we preferred the other wintermelon dish above, these “grape-like” ones (also designed to look like hanging fruits; see our pic here) were very warm, soft, and appetizing.

my-wonderful-kitchen-chicken-stuffed-sticky-rice

Deep fried chicken wing stuffed with glutinous rice (生炸珍珠鳳翼)

This dish was a crowd favourite! You can’t tell from our photo, but these chicken wings are stuffed with sticky rice!!! They wings were fat, juicy, tender, and very good. The bones were removed from the wings in order to make room for the rice. Very smart!

One of our followers (@_achau) went almost immediately after seeing our Instagram pic of this and enjoyed them as well.

my-wonderful-kitchen-hong-kong-drinks-floats-milk-tea

Coke slush, red bean, milk tea, red bean with grass jelly, and “yuanyang” (coffee with tea)

Each of these drinks had a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. You can choose to eat the scoop on its own or mix it into your drink. Either way, it’ll still taste very good and refreshing.

We were told that our six course dinner (excluding drinks) would cost $35 per person. This isn’t a bad deal at all! All of the dishes presented to us were artistically designed (Insta-worthy 😉 ) – and very delicious.

Address: 350 Highway 7 #101, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3N2
Phone Number: (905) 889-1088
Tip: The front entrance and parking is actually at the back, opposite of Hwy 7.

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Brunch Dinner Drinks Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Spanish

Tapagria Restaurant Review – Out with Markham Food

December 1, 2015 by

We recently partnered with Tapagria to host a fun night of food tasting for our bloggers friends. The night came with a lot of appetizers, different entrées (including a couple of brunch items), and lots of hand-crafted sangrias. Tapagria is the only restaurant in Markham right now that serves Spanish tapas. Not only is the food delicious, but you have to check out their interior too. The restaurant is designed with a lot of attention to detail and just about every corner is “Insta-worthy”. 😉

Tapagria-Restaurant-Markham

Tapagria-Sangria-Flavours
We tried so many flavours of their hand-crafted sangrias we can’t remember all of the flavours… Some of the ones we remember are lychee-lime, peach, raspberry, guava, fig, and strawberry. All were amazing, but if we had to choose one: the strawberry!

Tapagria-Restaurant-Sangria

Tapagria-White-Anchovie-Pintxo

One of the many apps we tried was the White Anchovie Pinxto above. Our two favourites (not pictured) pinxtos were the Angus Tartare and the Foie Gras. These dishes definitely opened up our appetites and we were ready for more food.

Tapagria-Mussels

If you’re feeling for more seafood, we’d recommend these steamed mussels. They have a bit of a kick to them thanks to the chilli peppers, but nothing we can’t handle. 😛 This small dish was the perfect way to start off our round of main dishes.

Tapagria-Pecado-Frito-fried-fish

The Pecado Frito (literally “fried fish”) above was perfectly fried, seasoned, and prepared. Although the potatoes and veggies paired nicely with the fish, but we thought there were a little too salty.

And now onto the most popular mains of the night! The following three were hits among the bloggers – with many of us rushing to claim every last bite.

Tapagria-Paella

Above is one of the two paellas that Tapagria serves. The Paella De Tapagria is made of bomba rice, shrimp, chorizo, hen, mussels, jamón, octopus, and peas – a terrific combo packed full of flavour and served at the perfect temperature.

Tapagria-Chuleton-Asado-Steak

It’s safe to say that the Chuleton Asado (“grilled steak”) – the 32oz roasted ribeye – was the most popular dish of the night. Every time we look at this picture, we get hungry. LOOK AT THAT STEAK! The level of doneness, juiciness, and tenderness…everything about it was good. Like with the fish above, we thought the veggies were overly salty. When we go back for this, we’ll definitely ask for less salt.

Tapagria-Mega-Dessert-Platter-Markham

And finally… the secret item that’s not listed on their menu: the Tapagria Mega Dessert Platter. Get this platter of all of their dessert options to share with your group. From back to front, we have the Crema Catalina, Chocolate Cake, Churros with three dipping sauces, and Spanish Toast. Customers are known to order multiple Spanish Toasts in one sitting – they’re that good. And again, this platter was devoured almost as quickly as the steak was.

If you go to Tapagria with a bunch of your friends and/or family, we recommend that you order a variety of dishes to try and share. It’s a great environment for dining, socializing, and drinking with your loved ones. Explore the #TapagriaRestaurant hashtag on Instagram to see more pics!

Address: 230 Commerce Valley Drive East – Unit 2, Markham, Ontario  L3T 7Y3
Phone Number: (905) 771-8868

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Drinks

Best Hong Kong Milk Tea in Richmond Hill & Markham

September 27, 2015 by

Milk Tea - So Good RestaurantHong Kong-Style Milk Tea. What’s not to love about it? Its richness from freshly brewed black tea, filtered many times right in front of your eyes, before being gently combined with creamy evaporated milk for that extra smooth touch. Served hot or cold, the taste is just incredible.

With many HK-style diners, bakeries, and restaurants here in York Region, there are so many places that offer this nice ice cold or steaming cup of HK-style milk tea. Here are my top 5 go-to spots in York Region when I’m craving this beloved beverage!

So Good Restaurant – 10 West Pearce Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Hai Tang Bakery – 7220 Kennedy Rd, Markham, Ontario

Marathon Cafe – 55 East Beaver Creek Rd #25, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Ocean Seafood Restaurant – 328 Highway 7 E Richmond Hill, Ontario

New City Restaurant8392 Kennedy Rd, Unionville, Ontario

Where’s your favourite place to get some good HK milk tea? Please share with us below!

Images
Top: Iced Hong Kong milk tea and iced lemon tea
Bottom: Hot Hong Kong milk tea

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Dessert Drinks Local Events Out with Markham Food Reviews Snack

Night It Up Review 2015 – Out with Markham Food

September 13, 2015 by

Our team was invited to Night It Up‘s media tasting on July 25 where we sampled some dishes from a handful of food vendors. Night It Up (NIU) is known to sell snack foods, but boy, we were well fed! By the end of the tasting, we were stuffed with two full-sized bubble teas and a lot of food.

The people behind Night It Up, Power Unit Youth Organization, organizes this annual three-day event to raise money for charity. Last year, they raised $10,000 for UNITY and this year, their beneficiary was the Yellow Brick House. We love that NIU not only gives back to the community, but it brings people together. People from all over the Greater Toronto Area drop by this event every year to join in the fun and eat authentic Asian street food.

In case you missed our coverage on Instagram, below are some photos we took along with mini reviews.

Egg waffle with green tea ice cream and fresh fruits - Night It Up!Egg waffle with green tea ice cream and fresh fruits at Sweety Bird ($6)

We prefer our egg waffles to be light and crispy, but thought this was a bit too thick. This dessert is extremely photogenic though, as it received the most comments and likes of the night!

Crispy taro and potato chips - Night It UpCrispy taro and potato chips at Happy Twist

Watching the vendors create this was really fun. They stick a whole potato into the machine and these chips spin out in one long piece. They spread out some toppings (BBQ, spicy, garlic powder, etc.) on their table for customers to use, but we thought they tasted pretty good plain.

Grass jelly roasted milk tea and wintermelon iced tea - ChatimeGrass jelly roasted milk tea and wintermelon iced tea (both with grass jelly) at Chatime

What can we say? These drinks were greatly appreciated on a smoldering hot day, especially at an event where there is a stove or BBQ every few metres.

Sakura Mochi Milk - Sakura mochi, Sakura milk, leaf powder, & aduki red beanSakura Mochi Milk – Sakura mochi, Sakura milk, leaf powder, & aduki red bean at Kakigori ($8)

We only took a photo of this because it was such a beauty, but it sure looks and sounds delicious!

Deep fried kimchi - MeNu Food TruckDeep fried kimchi at MeNu Food Truck ($5)

This is an awesome concept. We love kimchi and who doesn’t like deep-fried-anything?? We admit – this was a little hard to eat because every bite made the kimchi fall apart, but hey… it was good. ; )

Sharetea Bubble Tea - Night It UpL – Fresh lemon green tea with mixed pearls and aiyu jelly
R- Classic milk tea with mixed pearls and herb jelly at Sharetea ($5)

After downing that first bubble tea, this second one was much appreciated as we were all thirsty from over an hour of snacking on different foods. These cups were huge and very worth the $5 that they charged at NIU.

Green tea ice cream cookie sandwich at Sweets and SavouryGreen tea ice cream cookie sandwich at Sweets and Savoury

This food stand was run by food bloggers Feed My Phone and qqfoodjournal. The cookies were baked using Master Chef Canada candidate, Christopher Siu‘s recipe. Our food tour ended well with this dessert. The flavours weren’t too strong so they didn’t overpower each other and the cookies were soft and chewy.

If you missed Night It Up! this year, stay updated by following them on their social media pages! This event takes place annually in July and only lasts three days, so be sure to mark your calendars. Make sure you go on an empty stomach because they have a LOT of food vendors. We look forward to seeing you there next year!

Address: Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard, Markham, Ontario, L3R 9W3
Tip: They don’t offer parking to event goers, but you can find free street parking if you’re early. Otherwise, paid parking is available on some side streets.

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