Agave Azul Cocina Mexicana Orlando Review

We were only in Orlando for two days, and out of all the restaurants I had researched, we chose Agave Azul for lunch.

We arrived later than planned, so the restaurant wasn’t busy, and we were able to pick a nice booth.  The décor and ambiance was modern and inviting.  I also found the waterfall wall, which separated the dining very unique.

The menu options were just enough not to overwhelm us.  Our server was friendly, and provided complimentary chips and salsa shortly after ordering. We went with the recommendations of Carne Asada and Chicken/Spinach Enchiladas.  Both dishes were well prepared with fresh authentic Mexican flavors.   The rib-eye steak was tender, but definitely on the skinny side.

My favorite drink is horchata, and I was eager to try their version.  The presentation was simple and interesting, with the addition of a straw made from agave.  Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed and disappointed by the taste.  There was too much cinnamon, which completely masked any flavor of rice milk.

Overall, lunch was enjoyable, and a good start after a hectic morning of travel.

This is not a paid advertisement

Agave Azul Cocina Mexicana
4750 S Kirkman Road, Orlando, FL 32811
Tel:  417-704-6930

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant Review

Located in the trendy beaches area is a charming and whimsical boutique restaurant, known for their brunch specials, Izakaya, mochi pancakes and donuts. The food is an Asian fusion with a focus on Japanese cuisine. The owners, David and Cecilia Noon named the restaurant after their daughter.

The interior seems small from the outside, but there are many tables, especially for two people.  We nabbed a nice spot right by the window.  There are also some cozy spots in the back of the restaurant.

We definitely had to try the Kaarage eggs benny and matcha mochi pancakes.  The benny is nestled on toasted shiro pan, which are soft white buns.  The chicken was lightly seasoned, crispy and delicious.  The eggs were perfectly poached, and generously drizzled with a Yuzu hollandaise sauce.

A mix of white and rice flour results in pancakes with a dense and chewy texture.  They held up very well without becoming soggy.  White chocolate matcha is drizzled generously over the top.  My husband found the matcha overwhelming, but I thought they were perfect.  I would be interested to try the ube next time.

We left with three mochi donuts to devour at home: butterscotch ginger bread, sugar and matcha.  The butterscotch was our favorite! Like the pancakes, the texture is dense, slightly chewy, and not overly sweet.  They are filling and very addictive!

This was a very enjoyable but $$ brunch!

This is not a paid advertisement

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant
2066 Queen St East, Toronto, ON M4E 1C9
Tel:  416-699-5050

Eli’s Table Review

An amazing hidden gem just 5 minutes from Canada’s Wonderland and 6 minutes from Vaughan Mills!  This place is seriously delicious.  I had Eli’s bookmarked for the next time we were in the area, and glad we finally made it.  After a morning of shopping, we definitely worked up our appetites!

The inside is a lot larger than it appears with ample seating, an open kitchen and an extensive menu written on huge blackboard walls.  Abdul is the owner and he does it all.  He was very friendly and welcoming.

We ordered the large chicken shawarma plate and large chicken souvlaki plate.  I thought I heard wrong when Abdul said the plates include rice, potatoes and three types of salad!  The salads looked very fresh and healthy.  There were several to choose from including tabbouleh, fatoush, pasta, potato, coleslaw, broccoli and bulgar.  We chose three different ones each, so we could sample them.

Everything is homemade and super fresh.  Eli is from Lebanon and has been in Canada since he was a toddler.  He has over 17 years’ experience in the food industry.  He prides himself on offering fresh and healthy food based on the Mediterranean diet.  We were surprised to find the food seasoned perfectly, not overly salty, greasy, garlicky or acidic.  This is quite rare when dining out!  Abdul said he has an open kitchen to show everyone how serious he takes food preparation.  He also mentioned cutting his own chicken breasts and beef tenderloin, so I was already thinking I’ll have to try the beef plate next time!

This is not a paid advertisement

Eli’s Table
9421 Jane Street, Maple, ON L6A 4J3
Tel:  905-553-0352

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews Review

When we are in Amherst, New York, Red Robin is our favorite place for a great burger ‘n fries!

I think we have tried almost every burger on the menu, but the MadLove is my favorite. Let’s start with the cheddar/parmesan crisp … seriously?  Now add provolone and Swiss cheese, jalapeno relish, candied bacon, avocado slices, citrus-marinated tomatoes, red onions, and shredded romaine on a brioche bun, and I am in LOVE!

H chose the Smoke & Pepper burger with black-peppered bacon, extra-sharp cheddar cheese, romaine, dill pickle, smoke & pepper ketchup, all on a brioche bun.  So much YUM!  The burgers took a while, but arrived perfectly cooked (no pink).  Honestly, one bite and you’ll be hooked!

You must try their endless steak fries and dipping sauces!  I prefer medium cut fries, but these are addictive, especially if they come out piping hot.  Ours were not, but a new order took no time at all.  The dipping sauces are complimentary, and I highly recommend the campfire mayo, which tastes smoky, and Red’s secret tavern, which reminds me of Thousand Island dressing.

Our visits are occasional treats, so no calorie counting needed.  The servers are generally friendly and efficient, BUT consistency would be amazing.  It is nice to see huge improvements since my last review, especially with so many management changes.  If you sign up for their loyalty program, you will receive a free birthday burger n’ fries!

This is not a paid advertisement

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brew
4080 Maple Road, Amherst, NY 14226
Tel: 716-834-4100

Golden Bubbles Review

I’ve always wanted to try waffles with ice cream but found myself always too full!  Well, we finally made it in.

There was plenty of parking which is always a bonus!  This cute and bright little shop has only two small tables, so we were lucky to grab one.

The menu can be overwhelming, but the Signature Waffles caught my eye.   First up, the Matcha Red Bean – the waffles were crispy, golden and slightly chewy. With two scoops of matcha ice cream, red beans and whipped cream, it was a delightful combination. If you prefer a less sweet dessert, this is the one.

We also ordered the Tarolicious.  They were out of taro ice cream, so I was able to substitute it for black sesame, which is my favorite.  Keep in mind, you can’t substitute anything in the Signature Waffle series.  If you don’t like the combinations, then definitely go for the mix and match.  The price is almost the same.

The mini bites of mochi on the Tarolicious were my favorite, but I was disappointed they forgot the red bean topping, which is included.  I guess I was too distracted and focused on taking pictures!

The waffles did get soggy towards the end from the ice cream (and I was eating fast), but the cardboard cone held up well.

I personally think it would be cumbersome to share the cone, or it could be that I do NOT share desserts.  It is very filling though!  I considered it my dinner after a light lunch!

Service was friendly and I have to say, I enjoyed this indulgent treat.

This is not a paid advertisement

Golden Bubbles
3276 Midland Avenue, Unit C125
Scarborough, ON M1V 0C8
Tel:  647-849-9019

OneZo Tapioca Review

One Zo Tapioca was highly recommended to me for bubble tea, so I finally made the time to visit. Their November special provided even more motivation. The Totaro rice milk tea for $3.99 was a great first choice.  Purple is my favorite color, and I love real (not powdered) taro, so it was a win-win!

I found the order process a bit overwhelming at first.  I had the app, but couldn’t pre-order … perhaps because it was a special? I entered my mobile number on the display tablet at the counter, but I wasn’t sure if it would sync with the app …wait … it did!

It only took a few minutes for my drink, and I was happy to see it looked just like the pictures on IG!  While I’m not a huge fan of rice milk, it was different from my usual almond milk.  The taro paste was artistically smeared to the sides of the cup, so a good shake was required.  I couldn’t customize this drink, so I found the taro paste and chunks a bit too sweet, but they were fresh and had a nice texture.

I will make a return visit to try their other drinks!

This is not a paid advertisement

OneZo Tapioca
3720 Midland Ave #108
Scarborough, ON M1V 0G3
Tel: 647-351-8108

Browns Social House Review

A good friend of mine suggested Brown’s Social House for lunch, and I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in.  The leather booths, café height chairs, exposed ceiling, wooden beams, and dark hardwood floors reminded me of a gentlemen’s club, but more gender neutral! The restaurant had an overall modern yet very comfortable décor.  There was also plenty of parking – bonus!

The menu items are a bit $$ imo, so this was definitely a casual fine dining experience.  I ordered the Baja Fish Tacos and my friend chose the Hollywood burger.  Our server asked about my preferred spice level, since the chipotle aioli was quite spicy.  She suggested it on the side, which was a good idea (it was hot)!  The fish was perfectly cooked and while I prefer hard shell tacos, these were scrumptious.  They were messy to eat, or maybe it was just me … lol.  The burger was average, but juicy, and the crispy fries had a bit of skin left on (yummy).

The service was efficient, and lunch overall was enjoyable.

This is not a paid advertisement

Brown’s Social House
2525 Hampshire Gate, Oakville, ON L6H 6C8
Tel:  905-829-2727

The Empanada Company Review

This cute little storefront was a bit of a trek for us, so I waited for a nice sunny weekend to taste these little bundles!  Parking is always a major concern, and plays a huge part in where we eat!  A quick Google street view showed me plenty of parking right on the street.

The two gentlemen at the cash were super friendly and welcoming.  I read about the deep-fried avocado fries and thought heck, why not!  We ordered the lobster, braised beef short rib, curry coconut chicken and Cajun pulled pork empanadas.  Now what? Baked or fried?  Decisions, decisions!  I am not good with that, especially somewhere new.  Okay, two of each, done!  It didn’t take long for our order to be prepared, and the moment I finished taking pictures, I heard my name.

The avocado fries were very delicate, and I would have preferred if forks were available. They fell apart easily.  It’s understandable; they are buttery little slices after all. Avocado is bland in general so they definitely needed a dip. The medium-spiced spinach and chipotle was divine, but I was concerned it might be too spicy for me, so we were given a second dip on the house (thank you). The mild artichoke and asiago dip was definitely up my alley. The dips were fantastic with the empanadas too!

The deep fried empanadas were not greasy at all.  I personally found the crust on the baked ones a bit on the dry side, but if I had to choose again, I would go for the deep-fried versions.  Our favorite empanada was the braised beef short rib.  It tasted just like homemade beef stew.  If you’re hungry, I would suggest two empanadas each, and one shared side dish.

Oh, the 100% All Natural Pure Mango Juice was very refreshing, and the perfect choice to cut down on the richness of the meal.

This is not a paid advertisement

The Empanada Company
122 Fortieth Street, Etobicoke, ON M8W 3N3
Tel:  647-435-5003