Friday, October 21, 2016

Kitten & the Bear [Jam / Cafe]

Have been meaning to come to Kitten & the Bear (@KATBPreserves) for their Jam & Tea Service but since their space is so small with only 2 small table with no reservation, I didn't dare to go until a couple of weeks ago. I took my chances and it paid off with the perfect window table.

 It is both an artisanal Jam shop and a cafe here and I just love the space so much, every corner are so Instagramable.

The Jam & Tea Service was $17.50 per person and consist of a Guided Tasting of 4 seasonal preserves, a buttermilk scone, clotted cream and choice of Sloane Fine Tea or Reunion Island pour over coffee. Although it delicious and I love the space and experience, I can't help but feel it's a bit pricey... so I would probably just go back for their take-out counter, a Scone & Jam only cost $4 and a cup of tea or coffee at $2.65 which is basically around the same thing at around $6.65 only. You still get to choose the featured jam for your scone.

La Cova Fumada [Barcelona - Spain]

La Cova Fumada (aka "The Smoked Cave") have no signs, so you'll just have to look for their street number if you are not familiar. Opened since 1944, it kept it's charm with a warm familiar old school atmosphere with regulars local and tourist alike. Love as we were waiting for it to open, there was already a huge table of old locals already seated behind their close door. And btw they do not take reservation, so come early to get a table.

With their menu written in chalk on the vintage blackboard on the wall as it was since it first open in the 1940s and no other type of menu available with just the ingredients and no description at all... Everything here looks like a blast from the part!

You would think this will be a nightmare for tourists like us who didn't know Spanish but surprisingly, there was a staff, probably the owner that was very familiar in dealing with tourists like us who is rather fluent in English. He recommended what we needed to try. We always try to eat at some local authentic places and this definitely fit the bill with very old-school tapas with minimal preparation. The dishes is seasonal and there's a little granny cooking in the small kitchen at the front, my guess is that she have been making the same tapas the same way for yearsssss.

Pan Toastado
Toast rub w/ tomato and oil & another one that I don't really remember

They are famous for their Bombas (potato bombs) and it really was the best we had on our trip... it is rumored that the grandmother of the current owners invented the tapas which is now served all over Spain. It quite simple really, mashed potatoes with some pork inside rolled in breadcrumbs and egg then deep fried in olive oil and served with a slightly spicy cayenne peppers sauce.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jinya Ramen Bar [Japanese]

Being the ramen addict, Ben just had to try out the newly open Jinya Ramen Bar (@jinyaramenbar) adn after eyeing it's renovation for months already.

Jinya is a chain ramen shop with multiple locations in the US and Canada, being the first location in Toronto, I was excited to try this popular place.

Love the space with pretty big comfy bar stools and not overly hot like most ramen places.
Love the eye catching display of red and black ramen bowl on the counter.

Pork Gyoza
This was a lunch special where you get to add $2 to your ramen for an app and a soft drink. This was the only thing I like with thin moist wrapper... this was perfect.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Simit & Chai Company [Cafe / Sandwich]

Finally made it to Simit & Chai Co  (@simitandchaicompany) after seeing so many Instagram post this summer. This is a Turkish bakery and cafe specializing in Istanbul/Turkish bagels (simits) and teas.

With the high ceiling and not much tables, the cafe feel especially spacious with all the mismatched furniture and patch of expose brick walls

Istanbul Fog
Since they sepcialize in tea, Ben decided to order tea instead of our usual coffee but wish he had ordered the Chai since the name suggest, it should be their top speciality. 

The Street $5.00
~ simit + cream cheese + olive paste
Love love it, love the crispy flat texture and the large amount of sesame on top plus never though that cream cheese and olive paste goes so well together.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Campechano Taqueria [Mexican / Taco]

Campechano (@campechano_to) means no fuss and what's great is they take reservation.

Love the colorful murals with the school chairs with the open kitchen at the front... all the yummy smell coming through is just amazing. It's quite spacious with more seating at the back room and patio.

They have a rather small menu which I love, with only two appetizers, 2 sopes, 9 tacos and 1 dessert to choose from.

Aguachile $15
~ branzino, shimp (spicy)
Love the extra spicy kick to this and the mix of both shrimp and fish.. and those tortillas chip are just too good, I can munch on it all day plus they were nice enough to give us a refill.

Love the fresh press corn tortillas in house made to order and that alone make me wants to come back.

Camarones $6.50
~ Chipotle shrimp, pineapple (spicy)
This was so good, love the perfectly cooked shrimp with the yummy chipotle sauce and the sweet pineapple. This was relatively not spicy compare to the ceviche.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Can Solé [Seafood - Barcelona Spain]

Can Solé (@CanSole_1903) was founded back in 1903 as an Fisherman tavern at the Barceloneta port, it is tucked away on a narrow side street with not sea view whatsoever. La Barceloneta area have recently been transform into a beach /port-side playgrounds for visitors, so I was surprise that there's still such authentic and old restaurant on the side streets from the beach.

The decor is minimal and very old schooled with white table cloth and photos of celebrities who've visited over the years. I was surprise to see an open kitchen where you can see all the cooking taking place.

Although their main clientele are locals, come of the staff still understand English which makes our lives so much more easier.

Nuvol - D.O.Montsant, Bodegas Edicionsi Limitadas 20.50
~ 90% Granatxa Blanca, 10% Macabeu 
Not very familiar with Spanish wine at all, especially their white so we asked for recommendation and our waiter kindly suggest this bottle. It paired really well with our seafood feast with floral peach tropical notes which was very refreshing and lively.

La Boqueria Mercat [Barcelona - Spain]

Our first stop in Barcelona was La Boqueria Mercat which is a large public market, it's not only a meat & vegetable market since that would be a bit meaningless for tourist like us but they have bars selling both food and drink which makes it a popular lunch spot.

We took a walk on La Rambla and get off mid way at the market which has a side entrance there. This is probably one of the most popular street in central Barcelona, a tree lined pedestrian street which stretches 1.2 kilometers. It was pretty crowded with a lot of pavement cafes and souvenirs stalls, but please make sure to be careful of pickpockets at places like this.

The market is really a treat to the senses with such great colors, sound and smell, it's really worth a stop even though the bars a a bit overprice compare to some of the local restaurants but really, dirt cheap compare to here in Toronto for such freshness.

So many fresh fruits and juices, some of them difficult to find here in Canada... we even grab some pre-cut ones to eat on the go.