Sunday, 14 December 2014

CC Lounge on Front

Welcome to CC Lounge on Front (Photo Credit: CC Lounge)
CC Lounge, located at 45 Front Street is now opened! My crew and I got invited to an exclusive media preview a few nights before it's official launch, to have a tour of this beautiful place and got to try some of its delicious, well-thought out food menu. And more importantly, I need to check out the long list of whisky and specialty cocktails that CC Lounge has to offer.


Beautiful chandelier & brick wall with luxurious sofas and keg-shaped tables in the spacious lounge area
CC Lounge is the newest whisky lounge & supper club in Toronto, inside the historic Beardmore Building. Formerly, it was a book store and the artists and designers transformed this huge place into a historical, prohibition and speakeasy type of venue. The moment we walked in, I could see the beautiful exposed brown brick wall that blended perfectly with the luxurious brown sofa and keg-shaped tables. Sparkling chandeliers along the room and they were set at an angle, quite an interesting setup. And one of the feature decor attractions was a 10-foot golden birdcage that burlesque dancers will be performing some sexy live entertainment on special evenings (check its website for performance schedule). Even if you don't know the schedule and happened to be walking by the lounge, I am sure you will be attracted by the lovely live DJ music and the dancers from the front bay windows.

Burlesque dancer in a 10-foot golden bird cage (Photo Credit: CC Lounge)

As I walked further into the lounge, I was amazed of how big this place was. It's so big they could separate the first half and the second half of the place into two sections with curtains, making the back section the prohibition area. I really like the long bar area, made with beautiful wooden pieces and large mirrors placed behind the counters. First off, Mixologist made us some nice signature cocktails. In particular, you should order ("MoVernie MUST TRY") 1) The Sour; 2) The Lender; 3) The Dizzy Dame and 4) The Kitten, all four were nicely done. Love the presentation, the precision volume of each ingredient poured by the mixologist. The cocktails were definitely top items that will distinguish themselves from competitors and attract peeps to visit more often.

Specialty Cocktails
A second feature attraction at the CC Lounge was its Whisky Tunnel. It was inspired by the actual tunnel that was made back in the 1920s when it stretched from Michigan to Windsor. Back then, peeps had to transport the booze in secret during the prohibition era. A section of the tunnel was made with glass window but peeps from outside wouldn't know how the other peeps get inside, that's the beauty of this structure, making it a secretive experience. Owner told us that a trap door will be installed soon where a slight eye level door would slide open and you would have to tell them the secret code in order for you to get in. Along the whisky tunnel, long lists of well-made Whisky from Canada, United States and around the world were on display. At a fee, the CC Lounge can offer patrons a private whisky tasting tour inside the whisky tunnel. I highly recommend this tour as the staff was very knowledgeable with the whisky and you get to taste the various differences in flavours among whisky being made by companies from different parts of the world.

Whisky Tunnel


Whisky from various countries around the world
As we know, whisky is meant to sip it slow and not chugging it. So what if I order a brand new bottle and couldn't finish it? Not to worry, CC Lounge provides you with storage service. You can bring your loved one and enjoy a glass for one night and you can bring your friends for other and then you can bring your clients for another outing. It's a win-win-win situation. You can go back in a number of visits. That's an amazing service to have!

The food menu - I was told starting in January 2015, lunch will be served as well.
Well...enough talking about whisky and cocktails. That made me hungry already, even by just writing this blog. CC Lounge had a long list of prohibition inspired food menu for your taste buds. We got to sample a number of delicious food items.

We tasted the following food samples:

1) beef tartare on crostini
2) lobster roll
3) poutine with veal and beef gravy
4) shrimp cocktail (served in a shot glass)
5) oysters served with horseradish, lemons and seasonal mignonette
6) smoked salmon crostini

Lobster roll

Poutine - veal & beef gravy

Smoked salmon on crostini

Shrimp cocktail

I have to say, every food sample were top notch. Interesting ingredients gave the food menu a unique flavour different from other restaurants. "MoVernie MUST TRY" would be the oysters, shrimp cocktail and veal and beef gravy poutine (gravy was to die for).

Next time, I would love to try its entree menu. From a glance, the price was very reasonable. An item such as mac n cheese was $16, trout was $22 and rib eye steak and fries was $28. At a beautiful place like this, the prices were very attractive. One item I really want to try next time is the fried quail and bacon pancake, very interesting combo mix. I had roasted quail before but not sure how fried quail or bacon pancake or whisky infused maple syrup taste like. This whole combo intrigues me. I guess that means....I will have to visit often. LOL

Overall, this is definitely going to be a hotspot. In particular, I could see the young professional, financial district people (from nearby) ranging from the bankers to lawyers would see this as their new hotspot. It's a great place and I can't wait to see the actual sexy burlesque dancer performance, while sipping a nice glass of whisky.

MoVernie Fun Fact: Did you know recent top notch whisky was made from Japan? Not going to lie, If James (one of the whisky experts) didn't tell me, I wouldn't know Japan makes whisky and are good at it. In fact, lots of patrons who know their shit have been ordering the Japanese Whisky at the CC Lounge that they have to order more. Fun fact indeed!

Until next time, MoVernie is outta here! Peace!

Follow me on Twitter @MoVernie

or 

Follow me on Instagram @RealMoVernie
___________________

CC Lounge on Front
45 Front Street East
Toronto
(416) 362-4777

(Photo Credit: CC Lounge)

OverCC Lounge located at 45 Front St. E, Toronto, betwe

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Schnitzel Hub on Yonge & St. Clair

On an evening in which Torontonians experienced it's first snowfall, I was invited to the grand opening of this restaurant called "Schnitzel Hub". Schnitzel Hub has been very well-known and successful as it opened up its first location in the Vaughn region. With its success, they have decided to open up a second one, which is located at Yonge and St. Clair (1415 Yonge Street).

Welcome to 1415 Yonge St., Schnitzel Hub


To be honest, most restaurants grand openings that I got invited to were mostly located in the heart of the downtown core but when I saw the media preview that they make their own in-house infused organic vodka, I decided to put in the effort to make a visit. Whenever I think of Schnitzel, I would think the restaurant is a pub inspired with 2x4 wood everywhere, more like an ordinary, typical pub style. Well...the moment I arrived, I was super dead wrong! The outside store front illuminated the street, it immediately gave me a vibe that this restaurant isn't your typical schnitzel pub place. It looks chic, modern and classy, even just by looking from outside.

Chic, Modern & Classy Bar area and dining area

Moment I walked into the entrance, I was greeted by a friendly hostess who guided me to a section that has a "living room" feel all over it. There were 4 comfy sofas, with a nice wooden coffee table, surrounded by comfy pillows and a nice chandelier. It felt like home. The owner introduced herself and offered me two organic in-house infused vodka. One of them is a "MoVernie Must Try", it's the "Horseradish" vodka. It has a strong kick aroma and a very interesting flavor, it woke me up instantly, given me that instant jolt of energy and most importantly, keeping me super warm in a cold evening.

Media Preview Dinner with my own name tag (nice gesture)

A group of us got seated in a long sitting area with nice tables and comfy chairs. The decoration on the table was beautifully crafted and coordinated with nice table cloth. As I looked around and glanced, it's a very relax, modern and chic restaurant. It had a low dim lightning atmosphere, a balance quiet with laughter among different table. It's a perfect place to bring a date or a friends gathering. There was a long bar area, showcasing its various flavors of in-house organic infused vodka. Lots of nice tree trunks, tree leaves and nature inspired theme in this restaurant.

Just one of many flavors of in-house, organic infused vodka

The Media Dinner began with a glass of champagne and pierogies. The pierogies were delicious as it was nice and hot in temperature the moment it arrived. Trust me, I hate cold food, so these piergoies were top notch. The plating presentation was awesome as well. The glass of champagne complemented perfectly with the pierogies.

Pierogies

Then came the Beet and Butternut Squash Salad, it's healthy but also refreshing. It really was a great dish of mixed greens and the dressing was amazing. Did I mention the proportion of the meal was generous? I didn't feel starving at all throughout this entire food experience (trust me, there had been times where I go to the grand opening of some restaurants that I would need to stock up when I get home, not this time, Schnitzel Hub made reasonable proportions).

Beet and Butternut Squash Salad
After that, they served us more in-house organic infused vodka. This time, I tried the lingon berry and pineapple vodka. Each one of them gave different fresh flavor. More importantly, many places, they just presented you with the shot glass. Not at Schnitzel Hub, they presented each vodka on a beautifully crafted tree trunk. I love the plating presentation and it also gave it a nature feel to it. I love it, it's a total package and presentation. That's for sure!

More organic infused vodka tasting

The third item was the Goulash. It's a beautiful hot vegetable soup, I love my soup in high temperature so I appreciated the hot steam came right out of the soup. Lots of fresh ingredients, it's a very healthy and tasty soup. I went to St. Petersburg this past June, tried a few Bosch over there, maybe I hit the wrong spot but the Bosch couldn't match the deliciousness of this Goulash.

Goulash

After all the appetizers, it's time to hit the biggie. First came the Oktoberfest Sausage Board. It consisted of cheese sausage and a meat sausage. In particular, I really enjoyed the cheese sausage. It was juicy and fresh. Good texture when chewing and the moment when you carved through the sausage, the cheese slowly flows out, that was amazing!

Oktoberfest Sausage Board


At this point, we were offered to try the German draft beer. I love beer and in particular I love German beer, hence I love Oktoberfest, LOL. This beer tasted full-bodies with a mild taste, perfect for the meal served here at Schnitzel Hub.

German Draft Beer


At this moment, honestly, my stomach began to feel kind of full but that's not going to stop me from trying delicious food. In my motto, "Don't Waste Good Food". So, I soldiered on. Then came the main star of the night. It's the schnitzel with trio of salad. I got to choose between veal, chicken or eggplant. I enjoyed my chicken schnitzel. You know many places, they over battered the meat and most often, all you can taste were the battered powder and it took away the main ingredient. Not at Schnitzel Hub, the thin batter was evident, the meat was thin slice that was golden in colour. It looked beautiful and you could tell the chef used top notch cooking oil and not some re-used oil that turned dark. A lot of restaurants chef don't understand the importance of using clean cooking oil, you don't want to ruin a nice piece of meat with bad cooking oil. Back to the schnitzel, it was crispy, nicely battered, the moment I took a bite, I couldn't stop, it's nice and hot in temperature, I didn't feel any oily on my lips which could be typical in other schnitzel places. The special sauce on top of the schnitzel was delicious. May I suggest you finish up the trio of salad (cucumbers, potato & red cabbage)? They were perfectly complemented with the crispy schnitzel. In particular, I love the cucumber salad. It's so fresh and organic.

Chicken Schnitzel with nice signature sauce on top

Trio Salad (left to right: cucumbers, potato & red cabbage)

Finishing off the meal, we were served with sour cherry pierogies. I am usually not a fan of dessert (I know, weird guy), but when I tried the first one, I couldn't stop, I ate a few more. The sprinkled of the cinnamon on top of the cherry pierogies gave it an attractive aroma. Then, the cherry filling comes out, it was tasty. Dessert never taste the same without a specialty coffee. The Amerciano was bold, just the way I like it.

Sour Berry Pierogies

Special thank you to DuetPR for the lovely exclusive invitation. Also special thank you to the owners at Schnitzel Hub. The food were super delicious. The in-house organic infused vodka were interesting, unique flavors and very original. It's definitely a niche and a good selling point for me to revisit this restaurant again.

There are tons of new restaurant in the heart of the downtown core, so it's nice to see new restaurants are out of the core in places such as the Yonge & St. Clair area. It's very close to the downtown core and also close to uptown, it's a great meeting point for friends and family who live in both sides of the city. It is also located close to the subway station. During that cold snowing evening, I took the subway and it was super convenient and it was located just 1 block south from St. Clair station. 

I would highly recommend my audience and followers to check this place out,whether it's for dinner or just a few drinks of its organic infused vodka. By the way, my favourite spot in the entire restaurant? The "Living Room" area, it feels like "Home Sweet Home" with the comfy sofa, amazing wooden coffee table. Sipping a few vodka made me feel very warm.

Until next time, MoVernie is outta here! Peace!

Follow me on Twitter @MoVernie

or

Follow me on Instagram @RealMoVernie
___________________

Schnitzel Hub on Yonge & St. Clair
1415 Yonge Street
Toronto, M4T 1Y7
(647) 351-5558

My favourite section of the entire restaurant, the cozy, comfy, warm "Home Sweet Home" living room!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Win Taste of Toronto Tickets – MoVernie + Ice Volcano Icecream Contest



To my followers, friends and peeps!

Do you like food?
Do you love to eat?
Have you heard of Taste of Toronto? (this week from July 24 to July 27 at Fort York)

Now, for a final question! Do you want a chance to WIN a pair of tickets to Taste of Toronto?

As you know, I am always looking out for you. Whenever there are great opportunities, I will collaborate with the great sponsors & provide you with goodies. This time, I am collaborating a MoVernie Contest with the Ice Volcano Icecream. In case you haven’t heard, Ice Volcano Icecream is the coolest, coldest and fastest way of making ice cream with -196°C liquid nitrogen, catering for Wedding/Corporate events/Birthday events, etc.

This is how you can win!

You just need to do 2 things:

1) “LIKE” MoVernie Facebook Group page by clicking here, in the MoVernie/Ice Volcano Icecream photo, like the photo and tell us what you look forward to do at Taste of Toronto if you are the winner.

and

2) “LIKE” Ice Volcano Icecream Facebook Group page by clicking here, in the Ice Volcano Icecream/Taste of Toronto photo, like the photo and tell them your favourite ice cream flavour.

It’s that simple! You have to do just BOTH steps & you are eligible to win!

NOTE: A winner will be announced tomorrow (July 23) at 5pm tomorrow (EST)!

Good luck! Follow me @MoVernie on Twitter & @RealMoVernie on Instagram for more upcoming goodies, contests, giveaways and cool events!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Food Tasting - Exclusive Meet & Greet with Celebrity Chef Mark McEwan

Two weeks ago, I was invited among with 29 other exclusive attendees to attend this special meet and greet event with Canadian Celebrity Chef, Mark McEwan. Mark not only a great and well-known chef but also an excellent entrepreneur who opens a number of great restaurants such as North 44, Bymark, just to name a few. On top of that, Mark also opens his own grocery store called McEwan Foods.

On this evening, the lucky 30 attendees arrived at McEwan Food grocery stores. We saw a number of food stations being setup. From fresh oysters seafood station to beer and wine station and other interesting dessert and bakery.

I got a chance to chat with Mark in a number of occasions during the entire event. I told him that one of my bucket list items was for me to dip my feet wet at the ocean shore, pick up the biggest oyster and shuck it on the spot and eat it. Mark told me the best spot would be during the fall season at Prince Edward Island (PEI) when it's oyster season and I can even try the blue fin tuna as well.

The entire evening was amazing, we got to try so many delicious food items that were signature items at various McEwan restaurants. I had a blast. It was also great to meet other food bloggers in person as we often chatted on various social media channels.

Below are the photos that I took during my meet and greet at Mark McEwan Food Tasting Event: