Thursday, 16 May 2013

SodaStream/Kraft Launch Event

Hey there hungry hippos! Recently, I was given the opportunity, thanks to The Mint Agency to attend the SodaStream/Kraft Launch event. This was one of my first blogging events that I have ever been to, so I was extra stoked to participate in this. I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I arrived, I found myself in a beautifully decorated lounge-like floor. Here are a few snaps I caught. [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Leaving our marks to help set the bubbles free![/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] So, which side are you on? Using plastic bottles, or SodaStream for reuse?[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] The adorable candy bar where people can fill up their SodaStream baskets.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Some more awesome decor. Super creative and neat.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] The nice and cozy lounge area for some mix and mingle.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Getting all fancy pancy and modern-looking there, drink mixer ;)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] The drinks served were all made from the Sodastream drink mixers flavoured by Kraft syrups (alcoholic optional).[/caption] The launch party comprised of the new syrups available by Kraft to mix with the SodaStream drinks.  The launch celebrates the following flavours:
  • Country Time lemonade
  • Crystal Light lemonade
  • Crystal Light raspberry lemonade
  • Crystal Light fruit punch
  • Kool-Aid grape
  • Kool-Aid tropical punch
  • Kool-Aid cherry
My personal favourite was the raspberry lemonade and the lemonade.  A fun way to spice up the drinks is to add gin or vodka with your bubbly drinks!  The carbonated drink mixes soooo well with a bit of alcohol :). They also served some really delicious finger foods prepared by the executive chef at Brassaii.  Here are a few photos: [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] A delicious white meat chicken and pineapple skewer with flatbread topped with cheese and spinach[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] A fresh mouthful of sweet and salty all in one bite![/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] A bite full of complimenting flavours and textures - avocado, tuna, and crispy bread. Mmmm![/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] I know this isn't a finger food, but I just had to post it. Aren't they just soooo adorable?[/caption] This event was a really motivating and eye-opening step for me. I was able to meet a few new bloggers and learn about the blogging community. This launch party had an amazing atmosphere, with great music from the DJ, fun bubbly drinks and tasty canapés. I was able to gain new ideas and motivation to keep posting more regularly.  At the end of the party, we were all gifted with our very own SodaStream drink mixer, and a lemonade syrup!  My sister and I are SO excited to try this machine out for ourselves and start joining the environmentally friendly movement!  Now we have have the convenience of making our own soda drinks at home :).   The SodaStream starter kit comes with a 60L can of carbinator as well as 9 flavour samples.  These machines are sold everywhere - I've seen them on sale at Staples, Walmart, Target, etc.   So come on and join the movement and get your own SodaStream drink mixer today! [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="300"] My SodaStream gifts of the night including the SodaStream starter kit and Country Time lemonade syrup.[/caption] Thank you again Mint Agency for inviting an event like this!  I had a blast and gained more insight and motivation to improve and continuing my blogging hobby! - ksdn

Friday, 22 February 2013

Canoe Restaurant & Bar

I may be a bit late, but first this first - Happy new year, 2013! So my friends and I decided to participate in this year's Winterlicious (see here for the full restaurant list).  We decided we wanted to go to the renowned Canoe Restaurant & Bar because we always wanted we've heard so many good things about it.  One quick tip for those who are interested in going during a Winterlicious/Summerlicious - there's no way you can book any later than the first day that they start taking reservations!  Seats/tables go by super quick! Moving forward, Canoe is found on the top floor of one of the TD Towers Downtown Toronto.  The view that the 54th floor restaurant is phenomenal.  There's an awesome view of Lake Ontario and CN Tower.  The restaurant itself is quite fancy, so I suggest that if you're planning to go, it might be better to dress for the occasion. Here are some pictures of the interior: [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Canoe entrance - on the 54th floor of TD Tower[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Interior of Canoe. An awesome view facing Lake Ontario and the CN Tower.[/caption] This is the Winterlicious 2013 menu that they offered. What I found really neat about it was that they also included wine and cocktails that match well with the dishes: [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] 2013 Winterlicious canoe menu along with beverages that complement the meals.[/caption] So before our 3 meal courses, we were served an appetizer of two types of bread (sorry! I forgot the types of bread) and a mushroom dipping. I think the bread was some sort of sour dough, which I am not too fond of, but the dipping was very tasty. [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Pre-appetizer: two different types of bread with mushroom dipping.[/caption] And the long awaited 3 course meals: APPETIZERS: I ordered this one. I found it quite flavourful and creamy. There was a strong spice flavour, which I found slightly overpowering, but I liked the incorporation of yoghurt in the soup.
[caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Roasted Squash & Parsnip Soup Birch Yoghurt & Spiced Croutons. The majority of my friends ordered this dish (mainly because we wanted something chilly since the day was so cold too)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Sheep’s Milk Quark - Baby Greens, Beet Reduction & Crisps[/caption] MAIN: The brisket was perfectly cooked, the meat would melt in the mouth and nothing was overly chewy. What I enjoyed the most was the contrast in texture of the oats and the cabbages really complimented the meat.
[caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Slow Cooked Ontario Brisket - Steel Cut Oats, Red Wine Cabbage & Cedar Pickled Mustard Seeds[/caption] I really liked how the pork was so soft (almost like a pulled pork). Although, I found it a bit salty at first, I eventually grew to love it and the spinach soaked in the sauce was fabulous. However, I found the crispy things on the top of the dish quite questionable...haha. [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"] Maple Braised Willowgrove Pork - Orecchiette, Crackling, Kale & Thunder Oak Gouda[/caption] DESSERTS: [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"]Maple Gingerbread Pudding - Cranberry Preserve & Scorched Citrus Crème Anglaise[/caption] Most of my friends ordered this one. I was afraid it was going to be too dry, but I found that the apples with the contrast of the cake blended very well together. It was all in all, probably my most preferred dessert. [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"]Almond Cake - Niagara Apple Compote & Salted Caramel Sauce[/caption] The spice in the chocolate was subtle yet evident. I found it a bit overwhelming after taking a few bites. However, I enjoyed the marshmellows a lot. I found it refreshing in contrast to the strong spiced chocolate flavour. I found the contrast in texture also quite satisfying. [caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="484"]Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta - Marshmallow Graham Cracker Crumb[/caption] The total of the lunch was a $25 price fixe + tax and tip. The atmosphere of the restaurant was very nice and higher tier. I thought it was very cute of the waiters to wait until the table was finished completely before they all gathered to retrieve our plates. They also timed the presentation of the dishes. All in all - service was extraordinary, atmosphere was very nice, and food was pretty decent. I would have to say it's a bit overrated though compared to what it really is though..I just got so hyped up from everyone telling me its the BEST restaurant in Toronto! I still think it was a great experience and super fun and tasty, though.
Here's my rating: - atmosphere: 9.5/10 - value: 7/10 - food: 8.5/10
The regular priced items are slightly pricey (or so I find), so if anything just find a time to go during Winterlicious or Summerlicious! Oh yes, and happy Chinese new year! Canoe Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon -ksdn