Two sisters just blogging about their passion: halal food!


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Zem One Revisited- May 2016

You may remember our 2013 post on Zem One. Since our last review, the restaurant has moved to a new location with new management (but the same owner). It is the same great halal Japanese food, but with a new sushi chef on board and everyone we know has been raving about his sushi. We were in for a pleasant surprise.

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Located at 51 Village Centre Place in Mississauga, Zem One is a hidden gem in the Square One area but away from the hustle and bustle. We loved the quaint nature of the location, which had a nice brick patio and water feature.

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The inside of the restaurant had a serene ambiance, which we quite enjoyed. We liked how it was not as crowded and loud as some of the other sushi restaurants. The simple and well maintained decor contributed to the ambiance. It a perfect place for dinner with your special someone.

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Since Zem One is located in an area surrounded by executive buildings, it is quite busy during breakfast and lunch hours. We visited the restaurant for an early dinner and went for the All You Can Eat menu. If you have read our 2013 post, you may remember that we were not huge fans of sushi back then. However, all that has changed in recent years, and we can be found munching on Dynamite Rolls.

We started with Chicken Corn Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, and Tom Yum Soup. The Chicken Corn Soup is our all time favourite, and always lifts our mood. The Hot and Sour Soup had a a generous serving of chicken in it, and we loved the spicy kick it had. The Tom Yum Soup was hot and tangy, just the way we like it. The soup servings for the AYCE menu were generous, and quite filling.

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Next up for appetizers were Shrimp and Sweet Potato Tempura along with Edamame. We love anything deep fried, so tempura is always in our good books. The crunchy panko coated seafood and vegetable tempura, dipped in sweet sauce is a match made in heaven.

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Pad Thai is by far our favourite carbohydrate-laden food. Stir fried rice noodles with shrimp and flavoured with tamarind and fish sauce, this Pad Thai did justice to our taste buds. We would order this again in a heartbeat. IMG_1871

We also tried the Szechuan Shrimp, which had a rich sauce and generous amount of vegetables and shrimp. The chili paste and the use of Sichuan peppers made this dish spicy.

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Next up was the star of the night, sushi! We started with California Roll, Red Tuna Sushi, Salmon Sushi, Shrimp Sushi and Sashimi pieces. We found the seafood to be fresh and flavourful, and the sushi was devoured within minutes.

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Our absolute favourite is the Spicy Dynamite Roll, which has shrimp tempura, cucumber, crab and avocado, topped with spicy mayo. The combination of the spicy sauce with the crunchy shrimp and cool cucumber is what elevates the Dynamite Roll. We highly recommend this dish.

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The Torched Mississauga Paradise was the best sushi we had that night. It had spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber, crab, cream cheese topped with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce. The use of the blow torch allowed the spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce to melt right into the sushi, and created a heavenly roll. IMG_1883

Check out the video we made of how this roll was made.

And because we can never get enough of sushi, we ordered sushi to-go. Pictured below is the Rainbow Roll, which had cucumber, avocado and crab, topped with tuna, salmon, butterfish and shrimp. We enjoyed this thoroughly for lunch the next day.

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We also ordered the Crunch Roll, which had cucumber, avocado, crab, shrimp tempura and topped with tempura flakes. This, again, was munched away the next day. IMG_1887

Given our sweet tooth, we couldn’t leave without dessert (although we were already in food coma). We ordered Coconut and Mango Ice Cream. These were the classics we love and provided a sweet ending. IMG_1895

The Tempura Cheesecake was hands down the best dessert ever! We are HUGE cheesecake fans, so imagine our delight when we had this deep fried cheesecake. It was everything our sweet tooth could have asked for and more. It was creamy cheesecake, dipped in batter and coated with tempura, and fried to perfection . We can’t even begin to describe the epic-ness of this cheesecake. A definite must try if you visit Zem One. IMG_1896

Zem One is one of the few Japanese restaurants in the GTA offering halal food, so kudos to them for this. The friendly service, freshly prepared food, and the cozy atmosphere allowed us to wholly enjoy our dinner at Zem One. Do we recommend this restaurant? Yes (and please take us with you)!

Address: 

51 Village Centre Place

Mississauga, ON, L4Z 1V9

Phone: 

(905) 712-1615

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Halal S’mores Kit by Blossom and Bean

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With Ramadan comes food cravings (at least for us). The other day we saw the Halal S’mores Kit by Blossom and Bean being promoted quite a bit on social media so decided to give it a try. This can purchased Modah in Mississauga for $10. Prior to purchasing the kit, we read on Blossom and Bean’s website that the s’mores can be made in the oven or even the microwave. That sounded very convenient. We were impressed by the packaging too.

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Pictured above are the contents of the kit. The bag of marshmallows was larger than we had expected.

So it was finally iftaar time and we decided to make the s’mores. We looked all around the box for the directions but they couldn’t be found. Hmm…we forgot to mention that we were making s’mores for the first time and it was also going to be our first time eating them. We were a bit disappointed that the box was missing the directions for cooking them in the oven/microwave. While we knew what s’mores were supposed to look like and had a rough idea of how to make them, what we were really looking for was the cooking temperature.

Google came to the rescue. We looked up a few websites, and the approximate temperatures were 350 F or 400 F for 3-5 minutes or broil for a few minutes. We found instructions from the Hershey’s S’mores Kit online, which had instructions for the toaster oven, microwave, grill and the campfire. We also looked up online how to assemble the s’mores.

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We put it in our toaster oven on 350 F for 5 minutes. The marshmallows didn’t brown and the chocolate didn’t melt. We ended up baking it for about 20 minutes for it to somewhat get the s’mores look. We were surprised because our toaster oven is heavy duty and usually cooks quickly.

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Pictured above is the final look of our s’mores. As you can see, the chocolate is not oozing out as the package had shown. We should have put more of the chocolate medallions that were provided in the kit. Google showed putting only one piece of chocolate on the bottom. This is where Google failed us…and this is where the missing directions on the box would have came in handy.

In terms of taste, the marshmallow was ooey gooey and the graham crackers were yum. We really missed having more chocolate in each bite though. If you are a fan of s’mores and have been looking for a halal version, give this a try but make sure you look up the cooking directions ahead of time. Don’t leave it last minute before iftaar time!

Website: http://www.blossomandbean.com/halal-smores-kit/ 


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Cake Couture

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One of our best friends got engaged recently so a few of us friends decided to gift her a cake for the engagement party. We wanted the cake to be perfect because it was a gift. We went through vendors and vendors and spent a good few weeks discussing this with our friends. We came across Humaira Shah of Cake Couture on Facebook and fell in love with her cakes. It turned out that Humaira had a mutual friend, so we messaged this friend of ours to ask her opinion. Our friend was all praises about Humaira’s desserts.

After deciding on Humaira as the vendor, us friends went through another few weeks of negotiations with the design we wanted. The friend who was getting engaged had a turquoise and silver theme so we wanted a cake that went with that. After hours and hours of searing pictures on Google, we found a design which that matched the theme. We sent it to Humaira and she was able to execute it with perfection.

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Deciding on the flavours was the easy part, mostly because we were running out of time so one of us just picked the flavours and placed the order. Each tier had a different flavour. These were the flavours from bottom to top:

Black Tie: Chocolate cake with Vanilla pastry cream and Chocolate truffle filling

Coconut Dream: Vanilla cake with Coconut pastry cream and toasted coconut buttercream

Italian Love: Chocolate cake with hazelnut mousse and Chocolate truffle filling

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On the day of the engagement one of the friends picked up the cake from Humaira’s house in Markham, and boy, was it ever a challenge to transport the cake to the venue without damaging it! The cake made it to the venue safe and sound, thankfully and looked stunning. We were still nervous though about how it would taste, especially because we were the ones who had pushed for Humaira to be the cake vendor.

The time finally came when the cake was cut and served. We tried the Black Tie first and it was an absolute dream! It was truly a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Next, we tried the Coconut Dream and that too was scrumptious. It cake was moist and the filling was creamy yet fluffy. We didn’t get to try the Italian Love (the top tier) because that was packed for the couple to take home with them. We asked them a few days later and they said they very much enjoyed the cake.

Overall, we were very pleased with Humaira’s cake and service and can’t wait to order another cake from her, inshallah.

*Note* The cake topper was ordered separately from the vendor “Handmade Decor” on Facebook.

Website: http://www.c2cakes.ca


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Date Balls

With Ramadan just a few months away we thought we’d help you think of some suhoor and iftaar ideas. Dates are a great source of energy and a must have item in most Muslim households. One of sisters, however, doesn’t like dates too much and it’s always a struggle to eat one to break our fast. With date balls being all the rage lately as energy balls, and after we tried a friend’s variation of it, we thought we should try make some at home. IMG_0143 We found a super easy recipe at My Halal Kitchen that required just a few ingredients. So we whipped up a batch and the results were delicious They are aesthetically pleasing, full of goodness and make a great snack. And for those days when you wake up late for suhoor, just pop a couple of these in your mouth and you’re good to go! IMG_0136 Here is recipe from My Halal Kitchen:

Ingredients

18 pitted Medjool dates

1/4 cup almonds

1 cup ground coconut

1 cup ground pistachio

Instructions
  1. Pit the dates. Add to a food processor, then add the almonds. Pulse or blend for about 30 seconds, making sure that the almonds are fairly well chopped. The mixture should result in a sticky mass, and usually moves to one side of a food processor when done.
  2. Place the ground coconut and the ground pistachio onto separate plates.
  3. Roll the mixture in your hands until it forms a ball. Roll in the ground coconut or pistachio until fully covered. Continue to do so until all of the dates rolls have been coated. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Keeps for about one week fresh, in the refrigerator.

There are many variations of this recipe; some of them include various nuts and/or chocolate in it. So get creative and experiment.


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Brazilian Brigadeiro Recipe

IMG_9809 The best part about studying Nutrition and Food is that we get to eat in class quite often. Recently in one of our courses, the professor brought Brazilian Brigadeiros for us to try. She only had enough for about 1/3 of the class. When she asked who wanted to try it, our hand shot up at the speed of light. They looked like chocolate truffles, but smaller in size. IMG_9811 The Brigadeiro was exquisite! We love all things sweet and we love super sweet desserts, which is exactly how the Brigadiero tasted. We asked the professor for the recipe, which turned out to be uber simple. We recently made a batch and shared it with our family and friends who loved it. We modified the recipe from http://www.food.com/recipe/brazilian-brigadeiro-343401

Yield: 20

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon Nesquick Chocolate Syrup

Directions:

1) Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.

2) Stir vigorously to make sure all the ingredients are mixed. Cook until the mixture has thickened.

3) Pour into a dish and let it cool at room temperature. We put the dish in the fridge for a few hours.

4) Once you are ready to make the balls, take the mixture out of the fridge.

5) Grease your hands with butter/margarine and take about half a teaspoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.

6) Coat the ball with chocolate sprinkles or shredded coconut. Place into a small cupcake liner.

We found that the Brigadieros can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days and still taste fresh.

Enjoy!


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Dunk ‘n Dip: Resto & Chocolate Lounge

One lazy Friday night we were in mood for dessert and wanted to try a new place. We remembered our friends telling us about Dunk ‘n Dip so we quickly google-d the location and decided to visit the Mississauga location. We had gotten mixed reviews about this place so we weren’t sure what to expect.

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Our first impression was positive. It was a bright and vibrant space buzzing with people and staffed with friendly servers. What caught our eye were the chocolate fountains. Mmm…

We took a look at the menu, which had lots of sweet and savoury options. We were torn between getting waffles or crepes. Although we wanted to try both things, we knew the portion sizes would be large and thankfully decided to share a dessert.

We ordered the Wonder Land Waffle, which had toasted waffles served with a layer of their signature cream garnished with sliced fresh strawberries, and topped with Belgium chocolate. There were four kinds of Belgium chocolate: milk, white, dark or caramel chocolate. We asked them to put all of them!


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If this picture looks scrumptious to you, we can assure you it tasted out of this world! The waffles were perfect, the cream was custard-like and the Belgium chocolate was SO good. We wish there was more of it! We also got a scoop of pistachio gelato, which is hidden behind the waffles in this picture. The pistachio gelato was not as good as we had expected.

We also tried the coconut gelato. It was also topped with Belgium chocolate. We enjoyed this flavour way more than the pistachio. Again, the chocolate just made everything finger licking good!

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We were told by the staff that the menu is fully halal. We loved the dessert at Dunk ‘n Dip and can’t wait to visit again, inshallah!

Address:

241 Lakeshore, Rd East,
Mississauga, Ontario, L5G 1G8, Canada

Phone:

905-990-5522

Website:

http://dunkndip.ca/


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Bamiyan’s Sheer Yakh

Our all time favourite dessert is Bamiyan’s Sheer Yakh (Afghan ice cream). It is not uncommon for us to go to Bamiyan just for this dessert. It is possibly the most incredible and unique ice cream we have ever tried. Rose water is a key ingredient in this ice cream, which makes this frozen dessert unique.

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The ice cream is not as creamy as traditional North American ice cream. It is refreshing and not heavy at all. It is so good that we usually have trouble stopping ourselves from devouring all of it. The serving size is generous and consists of roughly three scoops.

Over the years we have learned that only the Markham location offers this particular dessert. We have inquired in the past at the Thorncliffe and Mississauga locations but they did not offer it.

Have you tried Bamiyan’s Sheer Yakh?


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Dessert at Affy’s

Those who know us know that we love the food at Affy’s. Despite our many complaints with this restaurant, we continue to go back again and again for the food and especially the dessert. When it comes to dessert, we are a little bit picky because we want to indulge in a dessert that is truly worth the calories. Out of all the halal restaurants we have visited, we feel that Affy’s knocks it out of the park when it comes to their dessert menu.

Our all time favourite is their Tiramisu. It is heavenly to say the least! The cake is uber moist, the mascarpone cheese is creamy and fresh and the ladyfingers are drenched in just the perfect amount of mocha coffee. Drizzled with caramel sauce and garnished with whipped cream, this tiramisu is worth the trek to Affy’s.

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The Molten Lava Cake is another great dessert option. The warm chocolate cake is chocolaty enough to satisfy any chocolate lover’s sweet tooth (did we just use the word chocolate three times in one sentence?). It is topped with vanilla ice cream, and garnished with whipped cream and chocolate and caramel sauces. One bite, and you will not want to share this.

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The newest item on Affy’s dessert menu is their White Chocolate Bread Pudding. This was the most scrumptious dessert that we have had to date. It almost tied with the Tiramisu for being our favourite dessert. The warm bread pudding is served on chilled white chocolate sauce and it is absolutely decadent. We regret sharing this dessert. We spoon-fighted each other for the last bite.

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Have you tried any of these desserts? Do let us know!


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Indulge Desserts by Fareena

A friend of ours throws the most amazing parties ever. She always has interesting themes, beautiful decor, fun games, delicious food and scrumptious desserts. Needless to say, we always attend her parties.

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At her most recent party, she ordered a gorgeous ombre rosette cake to match the orchids. Although the cake was absolutely stunning, we were skeptical about the taste. In our experience, you can’t judge a cake by it’s appearance. It is usually the too-pretty-to-eat cakes that turn out to be dry from the inside and lack flavour. We are sure you can agree that it is not just about the outside of the cake that matters, the inside is the deal maker or deal breaker.

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At this party we made sure to leave room for dessert and we are glad we did. One bite…and we are no exaggerating…one bite and we were in a state of amazement. The cake was super moist (which is rare) and the frosting was soft and luxurious (even more rare). The chocolate cake was incredible beyond belief.
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We thought we were the only ones who thought this but as we looked around the room, all the guests had huge smiles on their faces as they indulged in this dessert. All the guests were raving (as we are right now) about the cake after the party. We kid you not, this was possibly the best cake we have had in a really long time.

We inquired right away from the host about whom she had ordered the cake from. This cake was from Indulge Desserts by Fareena in Markham. Currently, we are trying to find an excuse to order a cake from her. Eid is too far away…

Website:

Indulge Desserts

Phone number:

(416) 453-8790


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Crave Grill House

Lately a number of North American/Italian halal restaurants have opened in and around the GTA. We’ve tried a number of them and some are winners all round, whilst others have been disappointing.

Crave Grill House

We were a little cautious trying out Crave Grill House; however, our experiences have been great thus far. Briefly, a few things that makes Crave Grill House a winner for us include:

  • Nice and spacious seating area
  • Great ambiance
  • Excellent customer service
  • Great food

We’ve been to Crave Grill House on several occasions and we have also taken picky guests along with us, who enjoyed the overall dining experience as much as we did. Here’s what we’ve ordered thus far:

Cheese Nachos with Chicken

Cheese Nachos: We were expecting plain boring nachos with some cheese melted on top. We were glad to receive a shareable appetizer with colourful nachoes with melted cheese along with a generous amount of jalapenos, some other veggies and of course accompanied with sour cream and salsa. We have tried this appetizer both with and without chicken, and have found it equally good. Hence, the second time we only ordered Cheese Nachos and it tasted great!

Four Cheese Chicken

Four Cheese Chicken: We absolutely loved this dish and so did our guests. To start off, the chicken breast is coated with breadcrumbs, which makes every bite so delightful. Once you work past the crust, you realize how delicious the chicken breast really is. We didn’t think spinach and artichoke dip stuffed in chicken would taste good, but we were dead wrong! The dip and the four cheese make every bite very flavour (hardly any bland moments), and as you’re taste buds are done working there way through it, you enjoy the cajun sauce blanketing the chicken breast. We paired our chicken with cilantro lime rice, which is also our favourite here!

Linguini with Blackened Shrimp

Linguini with Blackened Shrimp: This dish is another winner at Crave Grill House. The Alfredo sauce is delicious; the button mushrooms and the sun dried tomatoes compliment the shrimp very well. Gotta say we are quite picky about our pastas and this one was a winner for us. The accompanying bread was seasoned well and was tasty.

Blackened Chicken & Shrimp

Blackened Chicken & Shrimp with Cilantro Rice: We enjoyed this dish as well!

One thing that we think Crave Grill House can improve on is their dessert menu. They offer cheesecake, molten lava cake, apple crumble and ice cream. All of these are great options but we feel that they can do so much better. We have tried their Molten Lava Cake, which was good.

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We have been back a number of times and would recommend this restaurant to others as well. Crave Grill House is also a great option for lunch. Most items on their lunch menu range from $10-13.

Address:

25 Woodbine Downs Blvd #5

Toronto, ON

M9W 6N5
(416) 213-1977

Website:

Crave Grill House