I celebrated my cousin’s birthday the other day at Habana, located at the Lab mall in Costa Mesa. I always get worry when she picks the restaurant…because she’s pretty easy when it comes to food. To my surprise, it’s a cute Cuban restaurant for a “mall” restaurant. I wished I took pictures of the restaurant because the outdoor patio where we dined at was nice. However, I soon found out that the restaurant doesn’t have a bathroom. You have to use the mall’s bathroom.
All the girls were ordering Mojitos but since I had a long drive back to LA, I went for their red sangria. It was pretty good; I had to force myself to slow down.
We started off with complimentary bread. I liked that it was sweet.
My cousin’s friend ordered the tuna tartare. I took a bite…hey her friends should expect me to snack on their food. It was good—I probably should have ordered my own dish…
Another friend ordered the Sofrito Steamers (manifa clams, black and green mussells served in a white broth). If you don’t want me to touch your food, just order a dish with crustacean.
I ordered the potato croquette. It was ok and it did its job –helped soak in the alcohol.
I shared the sirloin in red wine reduction with grilled artichokes and Peruvian potatoes with my cousin. My cousin no longer needs me to recommend restaurants to her. The sirloin was juicy and loved the Peruvian potatoes with it.
For desserts…my cousin’s friend bought a cake from Vons…gasp. It was a sweet idea but from Vons or whatever grocery store??? Habana was cool and didn’t force a cake-cutting fee.
I would have been happier if we’d just chip in for one of Habana’s dessert..
If you’re in the OC and need a good restaurant for a large group, dine at Habana.
Address: 2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone#: (714) 556-0176
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
We had our last dinner/after party at the Ultra Supper Club. It’s a medium size restaurant/club.
There’s a small outdoor area on street level. The rooftop bar is more spacious.
We had split the restaurant in halves –regulars:
As I was waiting for the talents to arrive , I snacked on a mini slider…
and spicy tuna tartar on a sesame cracker..
There was nothing significant about their mini slider or spicy tuna tartar but they did their jobs—stopped my stomach from grumbling. Since this was my last event at TIFF, I chillaxed and actually sat down and ate with the group! Table was set with their “bread” crackers.
For starters there were the Lobster Lemon Grass Soup with Crispy Shrimp Spring Roll
I didn’t sampled that since I’m allergic to shrimp. No one nearby me had the
Asian Mustard Greens Salad (asparagus, sesame cracker, radish, yuzu miso vinaigrette). I had ordered the Warm Shimiji Mushroom Salad (sautéed mushrooms, arugula, endive, crispy eggplant chips, lemon miso vinaigrette) and loved it! I think this was my favorite dish of the entire meal...?
Of course I skipped the crispy eggplant chips. For the main dishes, there was the
Roast Breast of Chicken (filled with walnuts, gorgonzola and proscuitto,
Jerusalem artichoke risotto & oven dried tomatoes)….
the King Oyster Mushroom “faux gras” (seared king oyster mushrooms, truffle pecorinio risotto, cippolini, aged balsamic)…
Grilled 12 oz Sterling Silver Striploin (jalapeno garlic butter, frites with herb mayo)..
and I decided to switch it up and ordered the Miso Glazed Black Cod
(crispy sushi rice, baby turnips, warm bok choy black bean salad)..
The miso cod was ok -- not like Nobu’s. I didn’t get a chance to try the other entrees as I was sitting with people who I’d just met…didn’t want to come off too weird…”Let me take a picture of your food and let eat it too.” Hum. For dessert, I went for the Fluffy Milk Chocolate Mousse (dark chocolate, raspberry, caramel) instead of the Roasted Upside Down Pear Cake with three milk sauces.
The mousse was ok. I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
Now you may be wondering where the raspberry was…as I certainly was. It was really tough taking a bite out of the top chocolate ball, that when I did, raspberry sauce just poured out, landing on my arm, table, etc. My arm/ hand looked like Carrie’s. The horror. It was very amusing for the people who sat near me.
Despite the sub-par food, I had a lot of fun at Ultra. This joint is really for the nightlife if you want to be in a glitzy atmosphere--not for dinner.
Address: 314 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A2, Canada
Phone#: (416) 263-0330
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
My last lunch in Toronto was at Globe Bistro. I had to pick a restaurant where I can meet up our publicist’s intern and do some damage control. Our publicist lost her mind and on top of having her intern do everything she refused to reimburse her. People in the biz are psycho…What better way than to take her out? And of course I reimburse her. I was disappointed that the rooftop dining area was closed for lunch. I was hoping to view Toronto before returning to La, La, Land. I guess that was fine, since it was chilly that day. We started with the Globe’s Daily Soup
and the Beet Salad.
The soup was tomato base with watermelon – light and fresh. The beet salad was excellent.
For our entrée, we split the Ontario Rib Eye Burger (15 Northern Woods mushrooms, Québec cheese curds, Niagara pancetta, house made pickles) and Yukon gold frites. Our Canadian distributor recommended their burger and he was right. It was fantastic. I really liked their frites as well.
I don’t know what the dessert was called..but it was like a chocolate ganache cake.
Now this was amazing! They do say chocolate is better than…. Be sure not miss this dessert.
Out of the restaurants that I dined at on this visit, Globe Bistro ranks my 3rd favorite.
Address: 124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1N1
Phone#: (416) 466-2000
The best part of handling the film festivals is the dinner parties. Nom, nom, nom! Our Canadian distributor hired an amazing party planner who picked Jacobs & Co Steakhouse for our dinners. It is customary to have a dinner party before the film’s premiere at the festival or after if you have an early screen time. We had three films at TIFF so we dined there twice –probably easier to negotiate the prefix meals.
I remembered my mouth watering when I had to select the food items for our dinner, dreaming of their steak and the day finally came last Saturday. The restaurant’s décor is simple yet classy. As you enter through the doors, you take the stairs up entering the main dining room
Matt Damon dined at this table on our second night....
We were in the back room.
Yes, it was a bit of a squeeze…the list just kept on growing because everyone is important…It was neat seeing all the talents in one room but I escaped to downstairs where I can eat in peace and work..
As you can see there was no one downstairs except the staff. You can order food downstairs but it’s more of a bar.
The piano man was a nice touch.
OK, let me move on to the more important stuff, the food! Our 1st course was the Jacobs’ Caesar salad.
I loved their Caesar salad! They added bacon to it. I wished I took an up-close shot of it because its quality was pretty damn good.
For the 2nd course we had four options: chicken, miso cod, risotto or beef. Since Jacobs Co Steakhouse is one of the best steak house in Toronto it was a no brainer, and I ordered the 12oz USDA Prime Strip loin
OMG, it was DELICIOUS! It was so good that I had to order it again on our second night. Our entrée came with a side. On my first time, I ordered their famous duck fat French fries. Double OMG and a wow, their duck fat fries are amazing! I’ve never had fries like Jacob’s. Seriously. If you’re in Toronto, do not miss out on their duck fat fries.
Oh obviously they don’t serve the food in to-go containers. I was pressed for time and it took awhile for my steak to arrive that by the time it was done, I had to make a mad dash to the theater. The taxi driver loved the steak and duck fat fries. In fact that’s how I tipped him. Really, I had to stop by the Sutton to grab more tickets and there were complications, that by the time I came out, the driver was gone…with my food in the back of the car. I would have much rather given him money instead of my food. It was an omen. The night just continued to suck with agents and producers yelling at me. That’s what happens when I don’t have food..
I managed to photo the food in the original presentation my second time there. Coincidentally the bartender’s name was Jacob (no relation) and he knows how to make an excellent mojito.
He was really cute too. There are a lot of good-looking people in Toronto…
I decided to try their baby carrots for my side dish.
It was delicious. Had my mom made carrots like this growing up, I would have 20/20 vision. By the way, I wolfed my dinner down at the after party venue in hiding as the owner disapproved of me eating at the sign-in table even though the party wasn’t going to start for another two hours…
Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to take a photo of the dessert on the plate…
I finished the New York Chocolate Cheesecake Raspberry Sorbet, Swiss Chocolate back in my hotel room after the party around 3AM…so you can imagine everything tastes heavenly in the wee morning…it was good, real good.
I will definitely return to Jacobs Co Steakhouse and take my sweet time eating there!
Address: 469 King Street W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
Phone#: (416) 506-8800
Monday, September 14, 2009
I learned the hard way that most restaurants closed early on Sunday nights. It was around 9:15pm and I was craving sushi. Most of the good restaurants were located around Bloor...twenty minutes away from hotel. Luckily Fune Japanese Restaurant was opened, which is a five-minute walk from the Hilton. You take the stairs down to the restaurant…obviously I took this photo on my way out…
I sat at the bar…
I thought it was cute that they have little boats instead of a conveyer. I ordered my usual, a spicy tuna hand roll..it was pretty good Tuna was fresh. Wished the sauce was mixed in though.
the eel avocado cut roll…where’s the sauce?
I don’t know how but I managed to try the following sushi: tuna, salmon, albacore, and halibut (?) mackerel
It must be all that walking.. Service was slow. It was tough getting the chefs’ attentions since their back was against me. Nonetheless, I was satisfied my craving. If you’re in the Entertainment District and it’s getting late, come to Fune Japanese Restaurant and you will walk out with a smile.
Address: 100 Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3G2
Phone#: (416) 599-3868