Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An evening of delectable delights!

I’m a foodie! Had another dinner get together with some friends last. This time, we went to a Japanese restaurant called Yutaka. It’s a large, beautiful restaurant with a dark and serene appearance. With an extensive menu, everyone had trouble deciding what to order. After several reviews, I finally settled on what to have and was very happy with my order.

For my main meal, I opted to go for a trio of appetizers, that way I could try a few different dishes. I had the 10 Vegetable Tempura that was nicely coated with a light batter. 

10 Veggies Tempura, rah, rah, rah!

I went on to the Sashimi which was a generous portion of very delicate fish. It just melted in my mouth. 

Sashimi for me!

My final plate was a Sushi Pizza. It’s something I always get if it’s on the menu. I’m always on the lookout for the best one. This Sushi Pizza wasn’t bad, but I would take away the red and yellow bell peppers.

Have a slice of pizza!

Of course, there’s always room for dessert! I had to go for the Green Tea Crème Brûlée. I love crème brûlée. It’s what I normally go for if this dessert ever appears on a menu. I love cracking the hard, sugary surface and extract the sweet, creamy goodness within. This particular crème brûlée had a vibrant green custard that tasted slightly sweet and a little earthy. You could really taste the green tea. 

Crack this dessert!

Look what I found!

Our dining experience wasn’t the best. Orders took a while to get to our table, there were mix-ups in the kitchen, and plates were showing up at different times for everyone. We had a very friendly and very apologetic server whom we couldn’t help but love with her great smile. She was so sorry for our experience, she offered everyone a round of ice-cream on the house. How sweet! So, we took her up on her offer and all went for the Black Sesame Ice-cream. She even threw in an additional scoop of Ginger Ice-cream! Both hit the right spot. Yes, I had a double dose of dessert last night. Yikes!

Ice-cream in black and white!

Overall, my experience at Yutaka was great. The restaurant was understaffed, but we still had a great server taking care of us. I would definitely come back for the delicious food including the yummy crème brûlée, as well as the wonderful serving staff.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A divine dine at Daiko!

Last night I had dinner with some friends at a new restaurant that opened just a few months ago. The restaurant, Daiko, features a combination of Canadian, Comfort Food, and South Asian cuisines. It was interesting seeing traditional foods infused together to create different plates with new flavour profiles.

As an appetizer, bowls of buttery, cheesy popcorn were offered to our table. I love popcorn and it was much better than having baskets of bread and butter. Popcorn is such an addictive snack. These were kicked up with a little spice. The sad part was that there wasn’t enough!

For my starter, I had the Tuna Tartare. It was a lovely mixture of yellow fin tuna, curried avocado, ginger puffed rice, pickled cucumber, and blue corn tortillas. So yummy! Creamy, tangy, with a light spice. I loved the various textures in each bite.

Tuna Tartare.

For my main, I had the Tandoori Fried Chicken offered as a half meal. It was a great dish of buttermilk fried chicken, salsa verde dipping sauce, and a bowl of spiced cauliflower Mornay. Again, the different textures, flavours, and food combinations went so well together.

Fried Chicken.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m doing a food review on a tea blog, right? Well, this brings me to dessert. The final component of my fabulous feast, was a Masala Chai Ice Cream. I normally don’t go for ice-cream as a dessert in restaurants if I ever do have dessert. I think it is way too easy. However, I was curious about this ice-cream and wanted to write about it too.

It was a Darjeeling infused ice-cream, with cardamom, and cinnamon. It came beautifully presented in a teacup. The ice-cream contained pieces of pistachio, a compote of mixed berries on the side, and topped with a wafer and a sprig of mint. The different levels of flavours and textures hit bang on again. I could detect some tea flavour, but it wasn’t overpowering. Perhaps an Assam would have made a bolder statement? It was a good dessert. Nothing spectacular, but it is ice-cream. There is only so much you can do with ice-cream, hence, the reason why I never go for it at restaurants. 

Masala Chai Ice-cream.

I enjoyed eating at Daiko, and am already thinking about my return to try some of the other dishes on the menu. The presentation was fantastic, and the combinations of the various foods was interesting and delicious. Finally, the staff was wonderful. Attentive, courteous, and always smiling. A great dining experience!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Teaology 101: Today’s post is brought to you by the letter 'D'!

It’s time for letter 'D' words in my tea definitions project. Refer to my posts on Letter 'A', Letter 'B' and Letter 'C' for those definitions.

Darjeeling: A tea growing region located in the northeastern part of India. The plantations here produce a high quality black tea famous for their muscatel aroma and flavour, and are often referred to as the champagne of teas.

Dark: A poor quality in tea where the infusion is not bright.

Decaffeinate: A process in which certain solvents are used to extract and remove caffeine. Note however that not all the caffeine is removed. Stick with a tisane to go caffeine free.

Dhool: The fermenting or oxidizing stage of tea leaves.

Dickoya: A tea growing region located in Sri Lanka that produces medium strength teas.

Dimbula: A popular tea grown region in Sri Lanka that produces full bodied black teas.

Display Tea: Refers to teas that are visually appealing in a certain way once they’ve been steeped. Such an example are flowering teas.

Dong Yang Dong Bai: This is a high quality Chinese tea.

Dooars: A tea growing region located in central India where they produce medium strength black teas.

Dull: A poor quality where the tea liquor is not bright or clear.

Dull Tip: Refers to the colour of the tips of the leaves ruined by abrasion during the sorting process.

Dust: Referring to the leaf size, these are the smallest particles. Though it is often considered a low grade and quality of tea, dust produces quick infusions and is typically used in teabags.

Dragonmoon: This is a black tea blend. Apparently it’s a secret, but its suggested Darjeeling and Assam teas are the combination.

Dragonwell: A very famous green tea from China. Known as Long Jing in China.

Dry: This a bad tea that tastes a little scorched or slightly baked. Leaves may have been fired at too high of a temperature.

Drying: A manufacturing process where fermented leaves are dried.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Cuppa: Tea with a bit of this and that!

At last! My final tea review from my Christmas gift package. Overall, the teas from this bundle weren’t too bad. Each had its ups and down. They weren’t extraordinary, more ho-hum in my opinion, but I wasn’t expecting much. I loved the teapot I got more so than the teas themselves.

You can read my reviews on the previous three teas by clicking on their links: Bergamot Black TeaPineapple Green Tea,  and Jasmine Green Tea.  This final tea I’m sampling is a black tea with apple pieces, natural apple and banana flavours, rose petals, cranberries, cornflower petals, and hibiscus flowers. Tutti fruity indeed!

See the specks!

The dry leaves of this sample were coloured with various specks of the ingredients. Even with all its fruitiness, it had a very earthy aroma. There was a slight tangy scent much like that of tamarind. The liquor was a beautiful golden, mahogany colour. It too had an earthy aroma with light floral scents.

Not a bad sip!

The taste of this tea was actually not that bad. I had it on its own first, then tried it with a little milk and sugar. It is much better left on its own. It had the taste of caramel or cooked yams. I didn’t detect any floral tastes but there was a slight aroma of flowers. The liquor itself also had good body. Not the greatest cup, but not bad at all.

This wraps up sampling all the teas from my gift package. Yea!