{Review} Brunch at Farmhouse Tavern in the Junction

Website: http://farmhousehospitality.tumblr.com/
Twitter Handle: https://twitter.com/FARMHOUSEtavern
Address:  1627 Dupont St., Toronto ON
When I visited: April 2015, 6 people
Rating: 3, $$

The restaurant houses both the Farmhouse Tavern and The Daughter, two restaurants in one as they have separate menus and rooms.

Two things that captured me about this restaurant is that they took reservations for brunch and had an awesome decor. My friends and I were luckily seated in a beautiful private room with a large window and a high wooden table.

As as I stepped in the restaurant, I enjoyed the old-school country decor with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I noticed many of the unique antique pieces of furniture and accents throughout the restaurant, even the high chair that my daughter sat in looked like it came from the pioneer days.

Farmhouse Tavern wall decor

Farmhouse Tavern wall decor

The restaurant did not have a paper menu with the brunch menu written on the blackboard. Thankfully, our waitress explained each dish in detail.

Brunch Menu at Farmhouse Tavern

Brunch Menu at Farmhouse Tavern

I started out with a extra spicy smoked caesar with a smoked oyster. It was a really good, and nice way to start the morning. My husband and I ordered the Barnyard Burger ($19), the Eggs in a Nest ($12), and the Eggs Benny with Gravlax ($14). 

On the positive note, the presentation of each dish was beautiful, and my husband’s  barnyard burger was amazing! It was juicy and the duck egg was cooked perfectly. Without the addition of the foie gras, it was rich and satisfying.

Barnyard Burger

Barnyard Burger

My daughter had the eggs in the nest which is a poached egg over a roasted squash with a side of greens. My daughter is allergic to eggs so the restaurant substituted with more salad. The squash had a smokey flavour and delicious, but I was a little underwhelmed with the salad. The shaved vegetables had a nice crunch but the dressing was bland. I should have added bacon to replace the egg to give the dish more flavour.

Eggs in a nest

Eggs in a nest

As for my eggs benny with gravlax, I enjoyed the eggs and gravlax but the biscuit was way too hard that I couldn’t cut through sections with my knife.

Eggs benny

Eggs benny

Overall:

The decor is adorable and the service was amazing, however I wish the restaurant offered a greater variety for brunch. I would come back for the barnyard burger and see what else the restaurant has to offer for dinner.

Farmhouse Tavern on Urbanspoon

Free Cooking demo to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day campaign

#FoodRevolution Day is May 15th, 2015 and it is a campaign led by Jamie Oliver to help put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum.

As Jamie Oliver mentioned “By educating children about food in a practical, fun and engaging way, we can provide them with the knowledge and skills they so urgently need to lead healthier, happier lives..”

How can you support the Food Revolution Day Campaign?

1. SIGN THE PETITION and share it with others. I have! They are just over 100, 000 signatures shy to reach the 1 million mark. Join the global voice, including celebrities and musicians to create a movement powerful enough to force all G20 governments to take action.

Jamie Oliver

2. SUPPORT a local Food Revolution Day ambassador! My friend Linda Matarasso, a food blogger and an ambassador is hosting a free cooking demonstration at Hendrix on May 16th, 2015 from 12:00-3:00pm. Register here on Eventbrite.com.

Wonky Veg cooking demo

Wonky Veg cooking demo

If the free cooking demo isn’t amazing enough, Hendrix has an outstanding deal for all customers with the coupon.

Hendrix coupon

Hendrix coupon

…and if you love deals as much as I do, thanks to Aroma Espresso Bar for being a sponsor, and coming out with this deal to support Food Revolution Day.

Aroma Espresso Bar deal

Aroma Espresso Bar deal

Read more about Food Revolution Day and SIGN the petition. Your voice does count!

{Recipe} Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs, using Casa Manila’s adobo sauce

During a media event for Casa Manila in March 2015, I was able to sample their new line of refrigerated sauces that is available for purchase. Their Mabuhay collection of sauces includes the creamy coconut ginger sauce (ginataan), adobo (tangy soy garlic sauce), and the savoury peanut sauce (kare kare).

First off, this is not a sponsored post, I decided to test out one of their sauces at home and see if I could get a tasty dish on the table in 20 minutes. I have both the adobo and savoury peanut sauce, but decided to try the adobo one first.

Mabuhay Collection of sauces from Casa Manila

Mabuhay Collection of sauces from Casa Manila

I had adobo chicken at many of my friends houses before but I really loved Casa Manila’s strong, tangy and acidic version.

It reminded me a lot of my mom’s sweet and sour spare ribs, so that is how I used the sauce. I cooked the spare ribs as I normally would if this was a Chinese style dish, using a Filipino style sauce.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of spare ribs- Cut into pieces
5 cloves of garlic-minced
2 shallots- minced
1/3 cup of Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp of soy sauce (optional)
Cooking oil
Half a bottle of Casa Manila’s adobo sauce (187.5 ml)
Handful of green onions-Sliced

Cooking steps:

1. In a pot, add a splash of oil. Once the pan is heated, sautée the shallots and garlic without browning it.

2. Add the spare ribs and cook through.

3. Add the cooking wine and let the wine cook down. Add half a bottle of the adobe sauce and reduce the heat.

4. Cook for about 10 minutes and taste. Adjust with soy sauce if desired. I added soy sauce.

5. Serve and garnish with green onions.

The outcome was delicious, sweet, sour and garlicky. Plus, I was able to cook a dish within 20 minutes once I had my ingredients ready and prepared.

You can buy the sauces at Casa Manila (879 York Mills Rd, Toronto, ON) for $8.99 a bottle which is worth it. My next experiment will be trying out their peanut sauce. I’ll keep you posted.

Adobe style spare ribs

Adobo style spare ribs

For more delicious updates, follow me on @themary_tang on Twitter and Instagram.

{Opening} Quality meats and tasty eats at Bareburger

Websitehttp://www.bareburger.com , Toronto site
Twitter/Instagram Handle: @bareburger
Address: 111 Dundas St. W., Toronto ON
When I attended: April 22nd, 2015, Media dinner
Rating: $$, 5

The New York burger chain has made its way across the border, with Toronto as their first Canadian expansion, and hopefully it won’t be the last.

Bareburger has a lot going on for them from the location, their story, to the delicious food. The Bay St. and Dundas St. location is prime, right by the Toronto Eaton Centre and other tourist hot spots.  Their spacious restaurant with large windows, wooden tables, a fully stocked bar and high ceilings makes the atmosphere bright and welcoming.

Long table set up for the media dinner

Long table set up for the media dinner

At the media event, the CEO Euripides and Executive Chef Andrew came to the event from NYC to discuss the menu offerings as well as the story behind the restaurant. All meats are locally sourced, even the sauces and cookies for the ice- cream sandwiches are sourced locally. All their meats are free-range, pasture raised, humanely raised, antibiotic, gluten and hormone-free. Also, all items are cooked in 100% Non-GMO Canola oil. How appropriate was it they had the event on Earth Day?

BareburgerCollage

On top of having quality ingredients, their menu offerings is extensive, with sandwiches, sides, salads and vegetarian burgers (check out the Toronto Bareburger menu).

At the tasting, we started with the Cali Fresh Salad. Salad lovers will love the healthy variety with ingredients such as baby kale, red quinoa, watermelon radish, alfafa sprouts, cauliflower hummus and a lemon tahini dressing.

Cali Fresh Salad

Cali Fresh Salad

Who would have thought that my favourite dish at a burger restaurant would be the Guapo Chop with Buttermilk Fried Chicken?! The chicken blew me away. The crispy seasoned skin made way to super juicy meat. The fried chicken addition to this salad was a great way to balance a meal. The salad with little gem lettuce includes blue corn tortilla chips, cheese curds, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos.

Guapo Chop with buttermilk fried chicken

Guapo Chop with buttermilk fried chicken

The dipping sauces made from a local company was the standout to the crispy onions rings and sweet potato fries. The sauces included ketchup, aguave BBQ, paprika mayo, haberno sauce, buttermilk ranch, horseradish sauce and a special smokey sauce with pickles.

Onion rings and sweet fries

Onion rings and sweet friethe

The Poutine is only available at the Toronto restaurant with house-made beef gravy and Montreal cheese curds. The beef brisket is must-have add on to the dish.

Poutine

Poutine

Next we tried some Bareburger sliders. The Farmstead Collard Slider is a great vegetarian option as the sweet potato and wild rice patty with cauliflower hummus made the veggie slider taste more substantial and filling.

Farmstead Collard Slider

Farmstead Collard Slider

As a meat lover, I couldn’t wait to taste the meaty burgers. The Blue Elk Burger had a sweet tomato-fig, balanced with Amish bleu cheese and stout griddled onions. All burgers are cooked medium well unless specified by the customer.

Blue Elk burger

Blue Elk burger

The Beef Standard was juicy with Bareburger’s special sauce, stout griddled onions, pickles and colby cheese.

Beef Standard Burger

Beef Standard Burger

My favourite burger was the El Matador with bison, cheese burds, guacamole, pico de gallo, pickled jalapenos and a green leaf. It was juicy and appetizing! I loved it so much, I ordered an extra burger for my husband to try after the event.

El Matador burger

El Matador burger

We finished off our meal with a vanilla milkshake with chocolate syrup, and ice cream sandwiches.

Bartender making the milkshakes

Bartender making the milkshakes

Milk shake

Milk shake

Ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches

Overall:

It felt great to eat at a restaurant where local businesses are supported and the quality of meats are outstanding. With the variety of delicious offerings on their menus from salads to burgers, a stocked bar, an open atmosphere and a wicked location, I think Bareburger will do well in Toronto. I will happily return!

Bareburger on Urbanspoon

* The meal was complimentary but the opinions in the post are entirely my own.

{Recipe} Delicious duck soup with shiitake mushrooms, tofu, bok choy and lily flowers

The duck stock (recipe here) provides a delicious soup base, however, the shiitake mushrooms and lily flowers amplifies the taste with its earthiness and colour. The dried lily flowers, which are unopened flowers of the lily plant, are easy to find at Chinese grocery stores and only needs a few steps to hydrate and bring out the flavours.

Aside from doing some preparation work with the ingredients, the soup is quick to make and will be an impressive start to your meal.

If you do not have duck stock, chicken stock will do. Adding in chicken pieces or noodles, is a great addition to the versatile and ultra tasty soup!

Ingredients:

2 litres of duck stock (recipe here)
A handful of dried lily flowers
A handful of dried shiitake mushrooms (about 8 mushrooms)
3 large Shanghai bok choy- cut the stems and remove each layer
1/4 cup of green onions- small dice
About 350 g of tofu (2 square pieces)- cubed
Season with 1/2 tsp of fish sauce or a pinch of salt
Small piece of ginger- peel and cut 2 pieces 1 inch thick

Preparation Work:

1. Hydrate and blanch the dried lily flowers: A few hours before serving the soup, hydrate the lily flowers in a bowl and cover enough water to submerge. After a few hours, cut off both woody ends. In a small pot, add 2 cups of water and the ginger, and bring to a boil. Add the lily flowers and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the lily flowers and set aside. An optional step is to tie a few lily flowers together (refer to the picture) which looks great for the presentation.

2. Prepare the shiitake mushrooms: Soak the mushrooms a few hours before serving the soup in a bowl of water. If you have time, soak the mushrooms overnight. Once hydrated, remove from the bowl, cut off the stems and thinly slice the mushrooms. Set aside.

3. Prepare the bok choy and green onions as stated.

Cooking Steps:

1. In a pot, add the mushrooms to the soup and set to boil. Turn down the heat to low-medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Before serving, add the bok choy, tofu and lily flowers and cook for another 3 minutes. Taste and add the seasoning.

3. Ladle into bowls and add in green onions. Serve immediately.

 

Duck Soup

Duck Soup