BYOW Toronto!

It is that time of year again where the pressure is on me to find something to do for the celebration of my birthday.

I do not consider myself to one of those people who loathe to turn a year older, that being said (Curb reference), I must admit that time goes by really quickly and I dislike the fact that I’m one step closer to the end. Regardless, the last time I fully went out to celebrate my birthday was a few years back at some club where I drank copious amounts of alcohol and puked my guts out, so perhaps this year I bring civilized-back with some close friends.

In addition, this year I’m going to spoil myself with TWO parties!! WOOT! I do have a reason though and it revolves around the fact that I have to celebrate OTHER PEOPLES LIFE CHOICES again (Sex and the City reference –  wow, I’m on an HBO roll…) on my awesome birthday, so I deserve it! One will be before my actual birthday with some close family and friends; and the other will be my traditional family only BBQ – one of the awesome perks of a summer birthday!

So I’m currently just at a loss as to where I should go for my birthday. I think I have about 10 guests that I want to invite, which isn’t small, but it’s not too big either. I keep thinking about that night in NYC a couple years back where I went to some random Indian restaurant with my friends somewhere in Soho and then off to a random patio afterwards. Probably one of the best nights of chilling. So I kinda want to re-create that feeling again this time and of course, nothing comes to mind. I’m pretty sure it’s because I live in Toronto and everything seems boring and old, while NYC is always new and exciting – or it could actually be the fact that Toronto is boring and old :P (I still love the Tdot! <3)

Anyway, one of the things that crossed my mind was a place where one could Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW). Now there are places that will let you do it – for a price. And naturally, some places are more “stuck up” than others. I don’t believe it costs $20 for some schmuck to open my wine bottle and the pour me a half-full glass, so I went onto the interest to research.


Awesome site so far!

  • Provides a list of restaurants and their information
  • Provides a map of restaurants (with infomration) on Google Maps
  • And corkage fee!!!

Definitely lookin’ into it!!!!!

And if I can’t find anything, there is always my favourite neighbourhood bar…:)


The Arnold Palmer

I think I made reference to this drink in a post somewhere.

So basically the Arnold Palmer is a lemon iced tea, but I believe there is actually a branded drink by that name. Anyway, it’s half tea and half lemonade! Simple dimple.

  • Brew some orange pekoe tea – make it strong and dark.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice
  • Put some sugar in a pot with some water for a simple syrup – heat until dissolved
  • Mix simple syrup with lemon juice (I put the lemon zest in the heating simple syrup to infuse with more lemony flavour – just sayin’)
  • Add to lemon combo to tea
  • Dilute with some cold water – but not too much because…..
  • Serve cold and finish diluting with some fizzy water AND (maybe) some alcohol ;)


The Arnold Palmer.


what a sad sad day :(

This is gross looking…

The Donut Cheeseburger!!!

2 Krispy Kremes, burger patty, lettuce, tomato and bacon.


But if you’re interested, premiering at the CNE this summer.


A portmanteau at Lady Marmalade

Lady Marmalade
(647) 351-7645
898 Queen St. East
Toronto, ON

Lady Marmalade on Urbanspoon



Sometime in the dead of winter, Conan and I decided we might cheer up our morning with some Brunch on a recommendation by a friend. So we hopped onto the never-arriving, always leaving-in-the-opposite-direction Queen Street streetcar to Lady Marmalade in Leslieville.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by a long line-up. I struggled to get inside the restaurant to find out what the situation was and the waitress told me it was a “first come, first serve” seating – meaning, you don’t leave your name and they don’t seat tables fully. After eyeing the line and the restaurant – we left. There was NO WAY I was standing in the cold to eat breakfast!!

Some time later in the hot hot heat of summer, Conan and I (outfitted with bikes this time – no more streetcar!!) rode our bikes back to Leslieville to wait in line at this place. It’s a small space, no air-conditioning, cramped, but the windows open up and no one seemed to mind. We went earlier this time since we just finished shopping at the St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market and the line was short – barely out the door. The restaurant was full of young families (those with babies and toddlers), couples and “mature” couples.

It was slightly reminicent of this Michelin star rated Dim Sum restaurant I ate at in Hong Kong (一點心 – which was the best…THE BEST!). Except in Hong Kong they had a more efficient way of seating everyone. Basically you were expected to share tables. Now it doesn’t mean you WILL, but if there is space, the restaurant will fill it! IMO, it’s the best way. Conan and I were seated at a table that could fit a minimum of 4 people – I felt bad and it was very unnecessary.

Aside from that logistic blip, the menu was full of your regular brunch/breakfast-typed foods and they had some daily specials up on the board!

It was a hot day and all I wanted was water, however, Conan decided he’d grab a glass of their freshly squeezed drink/tea thing they had on special.

It was no Arnold Palmer (LOL) but it hit the spot…kinda. Well, it was more juicy than it was tea-y.

When it came to ordering, it was a difficult decision. Everything looked to be delicious (drools just thinking about it), but Conan settled on a Poached Egg BLT.

Originally Conan wanted to order the Huevos Rancheritos, but we saw a guy at the next table chow down on the BLT and it was too good looking to pass up! We saw some other dude order and eat the Huevos Rancheritos, but it didn’t look very good – phew!!!! I’m not sure this picture does the dish justice. The bacon was really good…it had that taste of properly cured meat to it – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve had meats like prosciutto. Conan said it was delicious and as a testament, he finished his meal before me. I was like only halfway done when he was finishing up.

While Conan’s decision came quite easily to him, I had a harder time figuring out what I wanted (go figure!). Although typically I would go for the “standard breakfast fare” for points of comparison, I felt the urge to deviate from that since I had to wait in line for such a long time! I eyed the eggs benedict section, but was slightly turned off by the description of their Hollandaise sauce. It was described as “lemony.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LEMON, I LOOOVVEEE vinegary/sour flavours, but not in my Hollandaise sauce. Call me a purist or old school, but I like my Hollandaise sauce to be rich and creamy with a slight taste of lemon.

I recall a time I tried the eggs bene at Le Petite Dejeuner – which was served with a “lemony” Hollandaise sauce – it was disgusting. The Hollandaise sauce they make is consistently too sour and too chivey (although I LOVE chive, it was just too much). I feel as though the “lemony” Hollandaise is an excuse for making a bad Hollandaise, but they brand it like it was done on purpose – bleh. AND THE CHIVE!!! It was like making an excuse for a poorly made sauce by stating that’s how they intended it to taste and then covering it up with chive! I just hated it. Petite Dejeuner is otherwise ok – only because they put that disgusting Hollandaise sauce on practically everything. Anyway, that was my schtick – I was AFRAID of the “lemony Hollandaise” on the menu.

However, I wasn’t brought up to be gutless with my food, quite the contrary, I was raised to be fearless!! How else would I tell my mother I love it when she makes Pig Liver soup and that I cringe and in disbelief when my dad tells me tripe is too processed and I shouldn’t eat it anymore! You only life once…

So I ordered the brie, avocado, bacon eggs benedict.

Verdict? It was bloody awesome. The sauce turned out to be NOT TOO LEMONY!!! Maybe it was just by chance, but it tasted good – just ever so slightly slightly lemony (FYI, this is coming off of my Eggs Bene high @ La Société).

What else can I say about this dish? Oh yes, the POTATOES!! They have to be the best potato chunks(?) that I’ve ever tasted. They were crispy, spiced well and not too big or small – perfect! Doesn’t even need ketchup – now that’s sayin’ something. The salad was nice and light and dressed in some soy/miso dressing. The poached egg was awesome! Cooked perfectly. As the judges on Master Chef would say – “absolutely delicious!”

Check out that gooeyness!

A warning though – the dishes are really big and I didn’t think I was going to make it through. Thank goodness I was riding my bike home so I could burn off some of that food.

If you’re up to no good on a weekend morning – definitely try this place and be prepared to eat! Also, they accept cash only!!! :P