Tea Diaries: Infuse Cafe

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 3 Gerrard Square Mall – Main Floor – 1000 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, Ontario M4M 3G6
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 9pm; Saturday: 9:30am – 6pm; Sunday: 11am – 6pm;
Website: http://www.infusecafe.ca/

I was invited to my first instameet up and got introduced to Infuse Café’s at their second location in Gerrard Square. I had actually browsed the café for a quick moment on Boxing Day when shopping; but I didn’t have a moment to grab a tea; but a this launch party I got to learn all there is to the Infuse Café. Infuse Café combines organic and fair trade ingredients with industry leading technology; which results is a one of a kind tea experience. Rich, bold and robust flavours are layered using the RAIN technology. If you have ever had a tea that smells when you open up a container; but then the tea doesn’t really taste of that fruit anymore when you drink the actually tea – this is your new cafe. RAIN technology is the Reverse Atmospheric Infusion technology that uses vacuums to remove the air that is trapped in organic materials cellular structure; this result in a more flavourful tea profile. The Bkon Craft Brewer is a machine that uses the RAIN technology to give the purist cuppa. This machine costs $14,000 – $16,000 totalling $22,000 total including the technician flying in from San Francisco and installing the machine. Infuse Café has the only 4 Bkon Craft Brewers in the area and has exclusivity on the device for the next 4 years.

Tasting for the night included blueberry hibiscus ice tea and infuses signature coffee iced. Each tea takes about 120 seconds to make and a special algorithm is used to make each tea; which is steeped just under the boiling temperature to not scorch the teas leaving resulting in a harsh flavour. These machines can also create alcoholic drinks and it takes out the alcohol flavour and ups the value and taste; and if you are a coffee lover more caffeine is extracted than the normal brewing process.

A tea demo was provided by World Tea Podcaster TJ Williamson showing steeped and un-steeped processes. This gave us all some insight into the art of Japanese tea making and I will add this podcast to my feed.

At both locations Cecelia’s Cheesecakes are the perfect treat to accompany your tea. The cheesecakes are light and airy with a hint of cheese. Each is beautifully decorated and I think Japanese style cheesecake may be the way to go for me regarding cheesecakes.
I went back yesterday to try two more teas which were the customer favourite White Peach Blossom tea and the Tropical Crimson which reminds me of Caribbean sorrel with is vibrant deep red hue. I enjoyed my hot tea unsweetened and it tasted delicious. It was light and I could smell the peach. The iced tea had very little ice in it which was great as the tea wasn’t watered down.
Loose leaf tea and tea sets are also on sale and the barista’s couldn’t be any more friendly or helpful. I think I have found a new tea shop in my neighbourhood to frequent. The beverages whether tea or coffee hot or iced is rich, strong, robust, bold and flavourful but not overpowering; it just taste pure.

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista


Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café - Candy Coated Culinista

Tea Diaries: Infuse Café – Candy Coated Culinista

Cecelia's Cheesecakes  - Candy Coated Culinista

Cecelia’s Cheesecakes – Candy Coated Culinista

World Tea Podcast  - Candy Coated Culinista

World Tea Podcast – Candy Coated Culinista

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T.O. Food Fest 2014

T.O. Food Fest - Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

T.O. Food Fest – Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Date: Sunday August 11th 2014
Place: Chinese Cultural Center, Scarborough, Ontario
Website: http://www.tofoodfest.com

For a third year I was invited as media to attend the T.O. Food Fest. This year there was a nominal fee to attend of two dollars or bring a non-perishable food item, as they were teaming up with Second Harvest. I loved this idea so much. So many people are attending this event to eat and gorge themselves, why can’t we then in turn bring some canned goods in for the less fortunate. I happily brought mine and picked up my media pass.

The Food

When I was checking out the vendors I noticed many repeat vendors; which is always a good sign like: Babi and Co., Bricks & Mortar, Buster’s Sea Cove Food Truck, Dutch Frites, Gala’s Peppersauce, Ice volcano Ice Cream, Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ and Lemonade.

Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
Website: http://www.hawaiianbarbeque.ca
Served here today was pork skewers, pineapple soda and pulled pork on a bun. They were grilling on a large BBQ and it smelt and looked delicious. A secret BBQ recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation is used on the meat. No shortcuts are made as they want a quality dish sent out every time.

For the first time I tried the pork skewers and yum. There really isn’t a part of the pig I don’t like and this was perfectly barbequed with a cube of pineapple on top of the skewers. The stand is hard to miss as it looks like a tiki hut with lei’s and Hawaiian hibiscus shirts/dresses and bright yellow tee shirts are all around.

New Vendors for 2014

Blue Donkey
Greek – Canadian street food like calamari, souvlaki, gyro sliders, feta fries. I enjoyed their feta fries last year at the CNE Food Truck Frenzy.

Hot Bunzz
Website: http://www.hotbunzz.com
Oven baked brioche-style buns stuffed with international flavours, catering is available for any event. On the menu today was: Surf & Turf, St. Lucia Jerk Wild Boar, Buddah’s Bacon Butter Chicken, Ontario 5-Cheese, Mushroom & Spinach

Island Oysters Shuck Bar
Island Oysters started 2 years ago and can be typically found at farmers markets in the G.T.A.
Kusshi – British Columbia, Il de Magdalen – Ontario & Little Neck Clams – PEI. Two types of hot sauce were for sale – Habanero Xtra hot sauce and Jalapeno Xtra hot sauce.

Kanto by Tita fl!ps
Website: http://www.kanto.ca
A soon as I saw Tita I knew I was in for some Filipino food. Today they were serving
Palabok – Cornstarch noodles in shrimp gravy topped with hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, crushed pork rinds, tofu and green onions; SigSig – Fries Pork jowl and ear with french fries and Halo Halo – a dessert with an assortment of fruits, sweet vegetables, ice cream etc. These dishes looked so delicious, but I couldn’t eat everything I will be visiting storefront as I have to try the sigsig fries and hopefully find some tocino or lumpia there.

Korribbean
Two cultures wrapped into one delicious jumbo dumpling. The husband is from Trinidad and the wife is Korean. The jumbo dumplings served are made from 100% local organic beef, pork & chicken
The menu included -Classic (beef & pork), Jerk (beef & pork) Curry Chicken (Chicken) , Curry Potato (Vegetarian) which is served with a side of pineapple coleslaw and soy sauce or mango chutney dipping sauce. I tried the Koribbean iced tea (Sorrel) as I couldn’t resist this as Sorrel always reminds me of Christmas. It wasn’t too sweet and quite refreshing.

Meatwagon
Website: http://www.meaventures.com
Meat, meat and more meat, a carnivore’s paradise: Flavours from around the world are found here. There was bacon brulee & tocino sliders & Korean pork belly, which had me looking for the Filipino running the show and I was correct the owner is Canadian with Filipino and Iranian parents.

Mon K Patisserie
Baked treats that are not commonly found in Toronto are served here. Its French treats with an Asian twist. I of course bought Macarons and had the Cassis, Earl Grey, Banana Chocolate, Green Tea, Raspberry and Salt Caramel. Not too sweet and quite yummy and I even shared with the hubby.

Moo Milk Bar
Website: http://www.moomilkbar.ca
A milk & cookies bakery. Today there was a selection of their yummy cookies and cookie mix in a jar. I haven’t had a flavour I disliked yet from Moo Milk to date.

Penny Lou Lou Sweets & Treats
Website: http://www.pennyloulou.com
A cute and exciting, yet simple twist to the dessert scene and items on the menu all contain the word “Penny” in it. The food is Hong Kong style bubble cake – that has a crispy, golden-brown outer shell, and a soft and chewy center. The bubble cake is used to create, sammies, cake with fruit or nutella, cake wraps with a filling inside, and even filled with chicken and vegetable for a more savoury treat.

Pimenton
Websitehttp://www.pimenton.ca
Spanish & Mediterranean Fine Food like chicken paella with saffron, chicken & seafood.

Pure Leaf Tea
Websitehttp://www.pureleaftea.ca
Simple pure & uncomplicated iced tea with no preservatives, no added color and no artificial flavouring. It’s just real-brewed tea made from tea leaves picked fresh from the best plantations around the world.

The Saucy Pierogi
Website: http://www.saucypierogi.com
A pop up vendor serving pan fried Pierogi’s with a twist. I have only had pierogi’s two times before, one frozen from the grocers and another at a wedding as Hors d’oeuvres. These were how I think they should taste, fresh, not to doughy and with great toppings. On the menu was Jerk Chicken Pierogi’s with Jerk sauce & slaw, Cheddar & Potato Pierogie’s, Kimchi Sauerkrat Pierogie’s topped with Kimchi, Pork Schnitzel Plate with garlic mash & sauerkraut slow.

Stuffed & Co.
Stuffed chicken wings… yes please. How can a person resist with such an interesting idea. I have only heard of stuff wings one other place and that’s out of North Carolina with the 2 fat 2 fly stuffed chicken wings. Today there was Cheesy Mac, Wonton Bomb & Yaya Wing which I tasted it had jambalaya filling with sriracha aioli & creole seasoning. I choose the Yaya Wing as it was a limited flavour and it wasn’t spicy and it was well balanced.

Sweet Pop – Gourmet Dessert Popcorn
Website: http://www.sweetpopgourmet.com
A two month old business that came upon by just saying: “let’s just do this and see what happens.”
With a long time baker at the helm cookies & cream, s’mores and birthday cake gourmet popcorn is being sold. The popcorn was sweet and not soggy and was the perfect sweet pop in my mouth. (I also tasted leaps and bounds better then the chocolate coated popcorn I attempted to make for Valentine’s Day. It is definitely harder than it looks)

Vegiterra – Worldy Vegan Flavours
Website: http://www.vegiterra.com
Upon reading the name I think vegan, vegetarian and of the earth. This is a pop up vegan restaurant that began as a food, travel & culture blog. They offer flavours inspired by their travels, lifestyles and things of interest. Peanut Stew Empanada, Crispy Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Yam Burger, Jhal Muri, Lemongrass Basil Juice & Jasmine Coconut Iced Tea was served today.

Other vendor today were: Twisted, Toben – food by design, Best Gushi Chicken, BBQ Squid, Hakka Bao, Asian Sliders, Grilled Mini Eggs and Snow Ice.

I had another great year at the T.O. Food Fest and spoke to some great vendors with some very tasty and interesting foods. Every year this event is running more and more smoothly and it’s great to see that the organizers are learning ever year and making the T.O. Food Fest a better experience fro all. I can’t what to taste some more foods next year.

Pimeton - Candy Coated Culinista

Pimeton – Candy Coated Culinista

Liko's Hawaiian BBQ - Candy Coated Culinista

Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ – Candy Coated Culinista

The Saucy Pierogi - Candy Coated Culinista

The Saucy Pierogi – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista


Koribbean Dumplings  - Candy Coated Culinista

Koribbean Dumplings – Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto - Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto – Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto - Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted - Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted – Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted - Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted – Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oysters Shuck Bar - Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oysters Shuck Bar – Candy Coated Culinista

Gala's Peppersauce - Candy Coated Culinista

Gala’s Peppersauce – Candy Coated Culinista

Little Tomato Catering - Candy Coated Culinista

Little Tomato Catering – Candy Coated Culinista

Pure Leaf Iced Tea - Candy Coated Culinista

Pure Leaf Iced Tea – Candy Coated Culinista

Bricks & Mortar - Candy Coated Culinista

Bricks & Mortar – Candy Coated Culinista

Mama K Satay - Candy Coated Culinista

Mama K Satay – Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki - Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki – Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki - Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki – Candy Coated Culinista

Meatwagon - Candy Coated Culinista

Meatwagon – Candy Coated Culinista

Hot Bunzz - Candy Coated Culinista

Hot Bunzz – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites - Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites – Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites - Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites – Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites - Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites – Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet Pop - Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet Pop – Candy Coated Culinista


Mom K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mom K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Mom K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mom K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oyster Shuck Bar - Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oyster Shuck Bar – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

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