Yummy

Yunshang Rice Noodle x SickKids

Sometimes I get caught up in the daily grind of things and forget just how lucky I am to be here, to be healthy and to be surrounded by some truly amazing people in my life. 

I had a lot of health issues when I was a kid. I still remember being in and out of the hospital with my mom and how scary all the wires and machines were. I was fortunate enough to have access to great medical care and I’m now able to enjoy all these food adventures and explore the world, one restaurant at a time.

SickKids is an amazing hospital that not only takes care of the kids, but they also provide comfort and support to the parents and family of the kids going through treatment. 

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The founder of Yunshang Rice Noodle is a regular donor to SickKids. His son was only one year old when he was rushed to SickKids to receive treatment. He was able to make a full recovery thanks to the incredible team at SickKids. The founder is committed to giving back to this incredible organization and is passionate about bringing awareness to the important issues plaguing the health of children, and becoming educated in helping an organization that does so much for children and their families.

On July 7th 2019, the beloved Chinese rice noodle brand, Yunshang, will launch a “Pay-What-You-Can” campaign in support of SickKids to build a new hospital!

An exclusive “Support-SickKids Menu” will be available at all Yunshang locations in the GTA on July 7th. Guests are encouraged to come to any Yunshang store, order whatever they like on the menu, and pay what they can. 100% of the proceeds collected that day will go to support SickKids Foundation. Besides helping to provide children with access to high quality healthcare, this campaign will hopefully end hunger in the city even if it’s for one day. 

I’m such a fan of the rice noodles and the different broths here (the tomato soup is my favourite).

The broth itself is made from scratch daily with Canadian sourced ingredients. It’s simmered for at least 12 hours with pork, chicken AND beef bones to really get the flavourful broth without the use of MSG.

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Each noodle set comes with a variety of sides dishes that are served in a cute little bento style box. I love the quail eggs and the fish tofu. The noodle set really is a full meal once you add in all the side dishes.

This exclusive “Support-SickKids Menu” at Yunshang offers a cold dish/appetizer and a drink in addition to the rice noodle set. An amazing meal for an amazing cause!

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Yunshang stores open at 12PM and this campaign is for dine-in only. Remember to come early on July 7th and celebrate the day for a good cause!

For more about this great causes check out: http://yunshang.ca/sickkids_en.html

Sakura season at Cheese Garden

It’s Sakura (aka cherry blossom) season at Cheese Garden! 

Sakura’s actually one of my favourite flowers. I love the subtle pink (my favourite colour) and the cute little petals. It’s a symbolic flower of Spring, which is also my birthday season. Needless to say, when I heard Cheese Garden came out with their Sakura Spring Collection, I just had to try it!

Featuring Japanese Sakura from Kanagawa, this beautiful Sakura dessert set comes with:

1 Sakura Fraise Cheesecake

2 pieces of Sakura Yakigashi

1 Sakura Raindrop Cake

1 exclusive Sakura spoon and Sakura bag as free gifts (SO cute!)

I love the different layers of the Sakura fraise cheesecake. The cake consists of the following layers: Sakura mizu yokan, custard pudding, Sakura jam, no bake strawberry cheesecake and matcha sponge cake. The matcha sponge cake and the strawberry cheesecake go so well together! I like that the Sakura wasn’t over powering so I got to really enjoy all the different flavours.

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The Sakura Yakigashi is my favourite from the dessert set. This Sakura and cranberry cookie bar is as yummy as it is beautiful. The toasted pistachios adds a nice crunch and the marshmallows gives it a nice chewy texture and added sweetness.

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If only raindrops can be as beautiful as Cheese Garden’s Sakura raindrop cake then maybe I’d enjoy rainy days more. The texture of this raindrop cake reminds me of jello and it has a very distinct Sakura flavour. I can’t get over the beautiful flower sitting perfectly in the “raindrop”. It’s almost too pretty to eat!

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This new and limited Sakura Spring Collection is only available from now to May 12th!

Only 50 Sakura Spring Collections are available per day at each location and limited to 1 set per customer (no reservation, first come first serve).

Available at all Cheese Garden locations: 

 📍5291 Yonge St

📍Unit G120 - 3250 Midland Ave. 

📍B58 - 4300 Steeles Ave. E (Pacific Mall) 

📍Saks Fifth Ave. Pop-up store, 176 Yonge St.  

Website:  http://www.cheesegarden.ca/ 

 

Icha Tea

Name: Icha Tea

Location:  235 Spadina Ave Unit 4, Toronto, ON M5T 2E2

Website:  http://icha-tea.business.site/

A hidden tea shop located by what is quickly becoming one of my favourite places to explore, Kensington Market!

The store is divided to 2 parts. The front of the store doesn’t have much seating, it’s more of a takeout kind of situation and they offer bubble tea and other specialty drinks. Icha Tea uses fresh milk instead of powdered creamer in their milk teas. The quality ingredients really does make a difference in the taste! 

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The back of the store is surprisingly spacious with lots of seating. This is where they serve the more traditional teas at the tea bar. The whole process is interesting and I always have fun here! There’s a pretty large selection of teas to choose from and the tea is brewed right in front of you at the tea bar. The teas are from China (except for the matcha which is from Japan) and they are aromatic and refreshing. The staff members are knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to selecting a tea. There’s a large selection of white teas, green teas, oolong teas, black teas and dark teas.

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After the tea selection you get to pick your own tea cups! There are so many cute cups to choose from. I’m an extremely indecisive person and when given so many choices I tend to get very flustered. Needless to say, this was a very long process for me. It took me longer to pick my tea cup than it did for me to pick the actual tea. The cups are just so little and cute! 

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Once you’ve selected your tea and tea cup, just sit back and enjoy the “show”. They make the tea in front of you at the tea bar. It’s almost like a little tea ceremony each time they brew a fresh pot. Instead of the tea being brewed directly in the teapot, the tea is actually brewed in a separate cup/bowl which is then transferred to your tea set. The first batch of tea is actually poured out and not served. This is because the first batch is meant to “wake” the tea leaves up.

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As far as desserts go, they don’t have much in terms of selection. However, everything is made fresh and in house. I highly recommend the sesame tofu cheesecake. I was nervous about the tofu part but I couldn’t taste it at all! The cheesecake itself is not too dense (it’s light like a Japanese cheesecake) and has a really flavorful sesame taste.

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The tea bar area is really peaceful and it doesn't get too noisy. It’s a perfect place to catch up on some reading and de-stress. 

 

Little pebbles

Name: Little Pebbles

Location: 160 Baldwin St. Store #4, Toronto, ON M5T 3K7

Website: http://little-pebbles.com/


This cute little cafe is located at the Kensington Market and it offers amazing Japanese desserts. There's not a lot of seating here but they do have super cute take out containers which, in my opinion, make up for the lack of seating.

I was first drawn to Little Pebbles by their matcha lattes and chiffon cakes. They continue to add new and delicious creations to their menu. I was so excited when I saw the black sesame latte on their menu! Definitely worth a try if you're a fan of black sesame (I recommend having it sweetened though).

The matcha chiffon cake is my go-to dessert here. It’s so light and fluffy it’s like biting into a fluffy cloud (at least that’s what I imagine a cloud would taste like). I’ve gotten the matcha chiffon cake for a birthday before and it was so spongy I thought the candle was going to bounce off when we put it in the cake! It’s definitely my favourite cake here and it never disappoints!

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The strawberry rolled cake is refreshing and the cream itself is not too sweet. I really like the fresh strawberry chunks in the cake, it balances out the sweetness and adds a nice texture to the cake. The fresh strawberries also helps justify having that second slice of cake. Thought process: there are fruits in the cake —> I’m eating the fruits —> conclusion: I’m having a healthy snack!

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Ever since I had my very first Mont Blanc dessert in Paris I’ve been on the lookout for a delicious Mont Blanc in Toronto. There's a little twist to the Mont Blanc at Little Pebbles. It’s a strawberry sakura Mont Blanc! The pretty pink purée is sakura (aka cherry blossom) flavoured and there’s a full strawberry on the inside covered with a custard cream. I love aesthetically pleasing desserts and this is just so beautifully done. It was almost too pretty to eat (not that that’s ever stopped me before).

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Little pebbles also offer cakes for pick up (pre-order 48 hours prior to pickup). 

Sasaki Fine Pastry

I’ve always been a fan of Japanese desserts and Sasaki Fine Pastry just happens to make some my favourite Japanese snacks (daifuku and dorayaki!)

Before I start gushing about my love for the yummy daifuku at Sasaki Fine Pastry, I’ll just briefly explain the difference between Mochi and daifuku. For the longest time I didn’t know the difference between the two and thought that they were the same thing. Now that I’ve finally figured it out I shall pass on this very important knowledge. Sharing is caring and caring is fun!

Mochi vs Daifuku

Mochi is best described as Japanese rice cakes. It’s made by pounding steamed glutinous rice until it’s soft, smooth and chewy. I find that mochi, by itself, is actually quite bland as it is not naturally sweet. 

Daifuku is basically a large Mochi stuffed with a sweet filling. I find the most common filling to be red bean, but when I was in Japan I came across many fruit filled daifuku (some were even stuffed with a whole strawberry!)

Sasaki Fine Pastry offers a pretty large selection of daifuku flavours. They rotate some seasonal flavours as well. I’ve tried their matcha, chestnut, sesame, houjicha, mango, strawberry, and cream daifuku. My top 3 are the sesame, houjicha and strawberry.

Bonus: both the strawberry and the houjicha daifuku have red bean filling inside as well!

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The Mochi itself is so soft, chewy and not too sticky. There’s a very generous amount of filling too. It’s the perfect daifuku!

The dorayaki here is on point. Doraemon (a robotic cat from the future) was one of my favourite anime characters when I was a kid. So naturally I also love his favourite food, dorayaki! 

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Dorayaki is like a red bean pancake sandwich. Sasaki Fine Pastry added their own twist by adding cream with the red bean filling. They also have a red bean with matcha cream dorayaki that is amazing.

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Daifuku $2.60/each

Dorayaki (classic) $2.50/each

Dorayaki  (red bean + cream) $3.00/each

Duo Patisserie & Cafe

Warning: this place will make you want to order one of everything!

I’ve been to Duo many times and each time I leave here with an extremely happy food baby.  

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My favourite danish here is the strawberry rose. I’m always hesitant to eat floral flavored treats because they’re usually too overpowering and end up tasting like perfume. However, this strawberry rose danish is perfect and the flavors go so well together. The danish itself is so buttery and flaky - just how I like them!

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After taste testing the many delicious cakes here, I’d have to say the Yuco (coconut, yuzu cheesecake, yuzu mango confit on a crispy crust) is my go to cake at Duo. It’s so light and refreshing and the yuzu is not too tart. 

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Duo has a bright and minimalist interior design with a very relaxing atmosphere. I love coming here early in the mornings to write and stuff my face with yummy pastries (yes, I eat cake(s) for breakfast). To be fair, I do try to get the fruity pastries so I can get my daily dose of fruits.