Swish by han (Christmas / New Year’s Eve!)


What? Swish by han for dinner
Where? 38 Wellington st east (King station)
Price? $25-$40
The skinny: Korean restaurants are gaining an increasing good reputation here. There was the pho revolution, now we’ve got Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu and Owl of Minerva as favourites for late night noshing. Swish by han is more of a hip restaurant but don’t be fooled, the food here can be the stuff of dreams.

My final post of 2011. This year’s been amazing! After getting that much needed push from my friends, I set out on creating a blog as an outlet for my love of food. And “carmenhungry” is what resulted. The name was supposed to be temporary but after awhile, it stuck. :D I’m glad for that I guess.(HAPPY NEW YEAR! <|:D)

Green Tea Castella Cake w Cream Cheese Frosting

A family friend recently brought over a couple of slices of a green tea castella cake that she baked the other night. It tasted so light and moist that I had to get my hands on the recipe! Well. Be prepared to be slightly disappointed because this was a bit of a flop. It tasted fine, but…oh you’ll see what I mean!


Lemon Curd Cupcakes w Whipped Cream Frosting


“When life gives you lemon, make lemonade.” I say make cupcakes! Or any other dessert for that matter. I haven’t made cupcakes with filling inside them before so one night, I just decided, why not? Let’s give this a try. 


Porchetta One-year anniversary

What? Porchetta & Co. for sandwiches
Where? 825 Dundas st west (511 south from Bathurst station OR 505 west from Dundas station)
Price? ONE dollar (normally $5.95; more details later)
The skinny: Nowadays, you’ll find a lot more small shops and restaurants that focus on certain ingredients or dishes. Here, it’s all about porchetta. And it’s fantastic. More fitting: “glorious.”

Marben with DiningDateNight

This is my second time at Marben (check out my first post for the general details about this place :D) in a matter of weeks! After the first time, I knew that my parents would definitely like the food here so it was just a matter of figuring out when to go. 



The Gabardine


Oh yummy mac and cheese come to me!!

What? The Gabardine for lunch
Where? 372 Bay st
Price? $20-$30
The skinny: Let’s keep this short. You come here on your lunch break or for dinner because it’s so conveniently located in the financial district. On top of that, solidly prepared comfort food, very decent selection of drinks, and chill atmosphere.


Banana Bread


Ever since the unreal banana chocolate chip bread from Levain Bakery back in August, I’ve been yearning to bake banana bread that’s just as moist and delicious. Actually, a couple of months back, I managed to do that (YAY!). And then I lost the recipe. So this is me trying to recapture that! 


School Bakery & Café


What? School for lunch
Where? 70 Fraser ave (504 streetcar west from King)
Price? $10-20
The skinny: Casual. Fresh. Chef Brad Moore presents, School Bakery & Café (opened in 2009), a now “it” place for brunch any day of the week. In Liberty Village, it can be out of the way but your trip should be worth it. The food isn’t revolutionary but you can’t go wrong with classic comfort food cooked by a great chef. :D

Right now, we’re smack in the middle of finals/exam season. But I figured I’d take a little break to write up a post. :) What better breather than to talk about food?! 




What? Woodlot for late-night dinner
Where? 293 Palmerston ave (511 or 509 streetcars—respectively from Bathurst & College stations)
Price? $40-60
The skinny: Opened over a year ago, Woodlot is still one of “the” places to dine at in Toronto. A bakery during the day, it transforms into a warm, very busy, dining spot perfect for vegetarians and carnivores! Think big portions, big flavour. All centred around their wood-burning oven. 


Dufflet Pastries (& Gourmet Malaysia)


What? Dufflet Pastries for a birthday cake
Where? 787 Queen st w (take the 501 Queen west streetcar; also 2 other locations)
Price? $4-$45
The skinny: Dufflet Pastries has expanded from a “from-home-to-café” operation by “Queen of Cake” Dufflet Rosenberg (in 1975) to a company with 3 shops and cakes sold in restaurants, cafés, hotels and supermarkets! It’s pretty amazing considering the growth Dufflet Pastries and its devoted customers they’ve garnered til now. Time to eat dessert!


Cheesecake Brownie


More baking adventures in the teeny 9002ft condo I share with my fam! :D Recently, while browsing David Leibovitz’ blog, I chanced upon his version/adaptation on Cheesecake Brownies. Score! Decided to bake these for le chum as a teeny one-year treat. Yeah, together for one year. eep! Don’t worry, I will not get all mushy and stuff haha. 


Duncan Hines Halloween Contest! Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes


First off, I will apologize for this very tardy post. I baked these a little over two months ago and haven’t really touched the photos until last night. Duncan Hines held a Halloween baking contest where you use their products to bake Halloween themed goodies. I was going to go the cakepop route but decided to go for simple really simple instead. 
Look at their cute little faces!!! *NOM!*


Mini Shortbread Cookies


As you may have read in some previous posts, my brother can be quite awesome (as all photographers can be! :D) but his allergies are anything but. It restricts his diet so much!! As frustrating as it gets for him, it also takes a toll on the fam. :( Eating out as a family isn’t really an option and even at home meals need to be divided. 


Fresh “Ricotta”!


First, there was the in-house made pasta trend (which I fully support because fresh pasta is amazing, such as the pappardelle at Enoteca Sociale). Then there’s the porky revolution that for me began with a visit to the Black Hoof. And now, I’ve been reading about more and more restaurants that make their own cheeses. Am I intrigued? 


NYC! Day 4: Serendipity III


What? Serendipity 3 for dessert
Where? 225 East, 60th Street (New York)
Price? $9-$20
The skinny: Serendipity III is probably most well-known for their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate (it’s actually a registered trademark). Opened in 1954, Serendipity 3 serves not only desserts but you can eat full on meals there…in case you were wondering; ;)

NYC! Day 4: Bonchon Chicken


What? Bonchon Chicken for fried chicken!
Where? 104 John st (New York)
Price? $10-$25
The skinny: In Korea, fried chicken has a cult following, I’m talking shops all over South Korea and their style of fried chicken has migrated back to the States. Bonchon is one of the Korean-style chicken chains that churns out those characteristically crunchy, moist drumsticks and wings. :D

So you’re wondering, “Carmen, seriously?! Still on the NYC posts?!” Yeah, I’ve been really busy with school so posts have only been slowly getting written. Plus, we really did hit up a lot of places during our 5-day trip. It was insanity of the best kind. :) 


Marben (& Dufflet)


Sage & Brown Butter Gnocchi with Brussels Sprouts
What? Marben for dinner
Where? 488 Wellington St w (510 streetcar from Spadina station)
Price? $25-$40 (mains $14-$18)
The skinny: “Farmhouse revival.” Marben is a restaurant that turns out great food that appeals to anyone’s taste buds. It was revamped about a year ago through a collaboration of local artists, designers, architects and new chefs (Carl Heinrich and butcher Ryan Donovan). A cool feature of the menu is that every dish is named after someone, like “John’s burger”.


NYC! Day 4: Chelsea Market


Chelsea Market was our first stop post-breakfast. After getting lost for a good while we finally found it! It’s a sort of hybrid office building / urban food court with stores and is also used as a tv production location (aka think The Food Network). Main point, there’s a whole lot of food-related things happening in here!


NYC! Day 4: Levain Bakery


What? Levain Bakery for cookies!
Where? 167 West 74th St (Upper West Side, New York)
Price? $3-$10
The skinny: Famous for their thick, chunky cookies (specifically their 6-ounce chocolate chip walnut cookie), Levain Bakery was co-founded by Connie McDonald and Pam Weekes in 1995. They’ve branched out to make many other yummy baked goods; all fresh everyday. Can it get more awesome? Yes. The day’s leftovers are donated to charity!


NYC! Day 3: Sylvia’s


What? Sylvia’s for soul food
Where? 328 Lenox ave (New York)
Price? $10-20
The skinny: 1962. That’s when it all began when Miss Sylvia Woods, the Queen of Soul Food after she bought Johnson's Luncheonette. This woman is hugely successful. Not only does she have her Harlem location, but there’s also a catering hall, a line of products, cookbooks and even a “Sylvia and Herbert Woods” scholarship endowment foundation.

NYC! Day 3: Ssäm bar


Special: Fried Duck Dumplings
What? Ssäm bar for legendary food
Where? 207 2nd avenue (New York)
Price? $8-$200
The skinny: Under the group of momofuku restaurants owned by David Chang, Ssäm bar is all about having fantastic food with a twist while enjoying the casual atmosphere of the place. Make online reservations for their pork shoulder & whole-rotisserie duck!


Enoteca Sociale


What? Enoteca Sociale
Where? 1288 Dundas st W (63 Ossington bus from Ossington station)
Price? $15-$30 (mains $10-$16)
The skinny: From the owners of Pizzeria Libretto come Enoteca Sociale, an Italian wine bar so well stocked it puts most restaurants to shame. On top of the rustic décor, chill atmosphere and (über) noteworthy pasta, they’ve got their own cheese cave in the basement!


Yogurt Spoon


What? Yogurt Spoon for fro-yo!
Where? 573 Yonge st (2 min walk from Wellesley station, Toronto)
Price? $0.49 / oz
The skinny: Self-serve frozen yogurt is becoming increasingly popular. This is the place for it! Opened earlier this year, this is one of the cheapest place for frozen yogurt in the city. Pretty awesome incentive right there. :D


Etsu Japanese Restaurant


What? Etsu for dinner
Where? 45 Baldwin Street (Queen’s Park station, Toronto)
Price? $4-$20
The skinny: This place is about integrity and variety. A combination of Korean and Japanese dishes are offered in this restaurant. Needless to say, there are a huge number of sushi/Japanese restaurants in downtown Toronto, and this is one of them. Let’s see if this one stands out?

Momofuku Milk Bar


What? Milk Bar for edible childhood memories (and more! :D)
Where? 251 E 13th st (New York)
Price? $2-$44 (think a cookie vs a full blown cake)
The skinny: Why “momofuku”? Well it means luck peach in japanese. All you have to know is that there are currently 5 momofuku restaurants, each serving amazing food. Most feature spins on Korean classics as created by chef David Chang. momofuku ko has maintained its two Michelin stars for 4 years now! (that’s mad impressive). Main point, great food, gotta try!


NYC! Day 2: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria


What? Grimaldi’s for pizza
Where? 19 Old Fulton St (Brooklyn, New York)
Price? $10-$20
The skinny: Voted “Best Pizza” in NYC by Zagat multiple times, you can’t help but be curious as to this magical pizza. The coal-fired oven was built by hand and it churns out some pretty amazing pies every day. You can’t go wrong with freshly made dough and fresh mozzarella delivered daily. No credit cards, no reservations, no slices, no delivery. Be prepared to wait.

Just realized I forgot to post this up before moving onto NYC Day 3. Oops. 


NYC! Day 3: Café Habana To-go


What? Café Habana for grilled corn
Where? 229 Elizabeth St (Nolita, New York City)
Price? $2-$10
The skinny: The original Café Habana is in Mexico City. The one in New York City? Well it was opened in 1997 by Sean Meenan and it’s all about the straight up authentic Latin food (w Cuban and Central Mexican foci). A year later, Café Habana To Go opened up to serve those in a hurry. Same great food, shorter wait time, still packed every day. :D


NYC! Day 3: Bouchon Bakery


 What? Bouchon Bakery for breakfast 
Where? 10 Columbus Circle (New York City) 
Price? $2-$4 
The skinny: Here’s a little piece of Paris in New York City brought to us by Executive Pastry Chef Sebastien Rouxel under the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Think macarons, croissants and chocolates! And then there’s also the TKO, the “Thomas Keller Oero” or “technical knock out” for all the MMA and wrestling fans! ;D


Sticky Toffee Pudding


I love me a good sticky toffee pudding. Top it with ice cream and I’m set. Good to go. Thick pudding. Warm toffee sauce. Old ice cream?! Enough talk, time to bake!


NYC! Day 2: 7/11 Slurpee!!


Now for a super quick, silly post! :D Post-Jacques Torres, pre-Eataly, we went on a walk to a cycle store so the guys could pick up a few things. And that walk was long. 


NYC! Day 2: Eataly New York


Dilemma. Stay in Brooklyn, walk around until dinner time, aka pizza at Grimaldi’s. Or subway back and forth from Manhattan in order to visit Eataly. Seeing as this trip is all about food, we went for it.
Manhattan's Flatiron District. Check out the architecture of the buildings, especially the one on the right! :D


Hot Milk Sponge Cake


Cake batter! nomnomnom.

Yes, more super old baking posts! 

This was a cake intended for a friend who’s quirky enough not to like cakes. I already converted his “Danish cookies only” mentality with my ginger molasses cookies so it was time to do the same for cake! ;D

I could’ve went the whole fudge cake direction but I wanted something simple and yummy, not too sweet or decadent. Hot-milk sponge cakes are my go-to cake when I’m craving something sweet and fluffy FAST. 

Mango Ginger Cupcake w/ Vanilla Buttercream


What’s this? Finally something I made with my bare hands?! Yes. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted about food I made myself. The truth is, I haven’t had much time to bake anything for the past few weeks because school is really getting busy. Not cool.


Jacques Torres Chocolates


What? Jacques Torres for frozen hot chocolate!
Where? 66 Water st (Brooklyn, New York)
Price? $2.20-$5
The skinny: This is the first Jacques Torres location, at DUMBO—Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. There’s a little chocolate “factory” to one side where you can see all the action happen. Other than that, what do you get? Oh, well I don’t know a store full of chocolate!


Johnny’s Charcoal Broiled Hamburgers


What? Johnny’s for hamburgers!
Where? 2595 Victoria Park ave (190 / 85 bus from Don Mills station, Scarborough)
Price? $3.05-$7
The skinny: This burger joint has been around for a long time and has appeared on Wayne’s World as “Stan Mikita’s Donuts”. At this local landmark, you’ll find here one of Toronto’s best charbroiled burgers and for cheap (real cheap) too! They’re notorious for refusing to put lettuce in your burger haha. A place with real personality, awesome.


NYC! Day 2: Katz’s Delicatessen


Outside the famous Katz's deli in New York City!
What? Katz’s for smoked meat sandwiches!
Where? 205 E Houston st (New York)
Price? $5-$20
The skinny: Having been around for over 100 years (opened in 1888), there is no doubt that Katz’s is doing it (very) right. It was established by a Russian immigrant family, smoking and pickling foods when refrigerators didn’t yet exist. Nowadays, the deli is always busy serving their famous pastrami & corned beef sandwiches to hungry customers!

NYC! Day 2: Doughnut Plant


Such a fun windowsill-bench!
What? Doughnut Plant for breakfast! (yep, donuts in the morning)
Where? 379 Grand street (New York)
Price? $2.50-$4
The skinny: Story goes: 1910, Grandfather Herman Israel started working in a Minnesota bakery. The College Pastry Shop opens up in 1935. Grandson Mark, opened Doughnut Plant in 1994 with his Grandfather’s recipe. Since then, he’s developed his own techniques and now offers original creations such as the Jelly-filled Square Doughnut, Tres Leches, and Blackout!


NYC! Day 1: Max & Mina’s Ice Cream


What? Max & Mina’s for dessert
Where? 7126 Main st. (Queens, New York)
Price? $3.25-$7.50
The skinny: Max & Mina’s is a gourmet ice cream shop that all started with Grandpa Max experimenting with different flavours back in the 1970’s. Brothers Bruce and Mark Becker have set up shop in Queens and are known far and wide for their wacky flavours like lox, beer, and wasabi.


NYC! Day 1: Sik Gaek Korean Cuisine


Seafood Hotpot: yes that's an entire lobster. live.
What? Sik Gaek Korean Cuisine B.B.Q & Seafood Grill
Where? 161-29 Crocheron Ave (Flushing, Queens, New York)
Price? $20-$40
Skinny: A Korean restaurant where you’ll have a culinary experience like no other. You may have heard of this lively place from the time David Chang took Anthony Bourdain here. :D Think giant seafood platters, live octopus, and an amazing atmosphere!


Sushi Bong


What? Sushi Bong
Where? 5 Northtown Way (Finch station; 7 min walk, North York, Toronto)
Price? $4-$15
The skinny: Opened just a few years ago, Sushi Bong is a true neighbourhood haunt, known for their cheap sushi. The service is genuine and quick. Orders are filled right before your eyes with lightning speed and because of the high demand, the ingredients are always fresh.

NYC! Day1: Five Guys


The "LHB": Little Hamburger

What? Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Where? 1009 Shoppes at Stroud (Stroudsburg, PA)
Price? $3.50-$10
The skinny: Five Guys is a an American burger joint first opened in 1986. They use fresh gound beef and peanut oil! Voted best burger in quite a few places, this is a well established chain, with locations in Canada now too!


New York City!

New York City. One of the top “it” destinations in the U.S., in the world even! 
NYC cabbies (and drivers here in general): aggressive.
The last time I came, I was nine and only vague memories come to me such as the ferry to Staten Island, standing outside the closed gates of the U.N. and my dad scoffing at the bok choy in Chinatown.


Shamrock Burgers


What? Shamrock burgers for lunch!
Where? 6109 Kingston Rd. (Scarborough, bus 86 from Kennedy or 38 from stc)
Price? $5-$12
The skinny: Although it resembles one of those new, hip burger joints, Shamrock Burgers has actually been around for over 30 years! Known for their homemade burgers & onion rings, you can make your way here to take on the challenge of “The Monster Sham” burger.

One day, I realized that I had never taken the time to really discover Scarborough for all the restaurants it has to offer! So I asked around, researched, and came up with a shortlist of neighbourhood haunts to hit up in the future. As luck would have it, there was wagjag deal for Shamrock Burgers, $5 for $10 of food. Sweet!

Spiced Carrot Cake

I’m not entirely sure what enticed me to bake tonight but I’m sure it all started with a craving for something sweet. 


Failed almond milk dessert

I want to say that it was a good idea…and still is. It was the execution that failed. One day I had the bright idea of trying to make almond milk custard. Almond milk is normally made from ground almonds but I decided rather to make an almond-infused milk. 




What? Lucien for dinner
Where? 39 Wellington st. e (3 min walk from King station)
Price? $35-$70
The skinny: Lucien has been open for just 3 years but is already a well-established restaurant in the business district near St. Lawrence Market. Although the name is French, the cuisine doesn’t strictly follow that, as there’s a focus on seasonal and local ingredients on top of a French and Asian influence.

As a student, I’m always on the prowl for deals that will save me some money. As a foodie, it’s inevitable that I’ll find myself splurging occasionally no matter how hard I try to keep the pressure off my already tiny wallet. Dilemma!! D:

So imagine my delight when I find a groupon deal for Lucien where you get $60 worth of food/drink for $30. Oh yes. What better time than now to use my credit card?! 


Ginza Sushi!


What? Ginza Sushi & Thai for dinner
Where? 652 Finch ave E (take the 39 bus from Finch station, map it!)
Price? $10-$20
The skinny: Ginza sushi is essentially a sushi restaurant with a recently added (although limited) Thai section in their menu. The chain has now expanded to 4 locations around Toronto and is known for relatively cheap sushi. They tout to have the “freshest sushi and ingredients”…
This is my second time coming to this location. I don’t come with the expectation of having my mind blown but instead to quench a sushi craving on the cheap.


Chocolate Almond Kisses


I was haphazardly flipping through the tv guide section in one of those free, weekly magazines, picking out shows that I’d watch if I had a tv when I chanced upon this title “The pie queen.” 

It was an interview/short article on Wanda Beaver of Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. In addition to sharing her humble beginnings, she has also shared her recipe for her Chocolate Almond Kisses. :D You can bet I saved that page!


France! Day 40: Paul


What? Boulangeries Paul for pastries
Where? 25, avenue Opéra (1er arr., mo Opéra/Pyramides, Paris)
Price? 1€-8€
The skinny: Founded in 1889, PAUL started out as a family-run bakery (or “boulangerie”) in Lille. Now, there are over 330 boulangeries patisseries PAUL serving over 5 million customers every month in France alone! Come here for breads (“viennoiseries”) and other baked goodies! :D