Cooking with Alison

Posts Tagged ‘product review’

Toronto’s Best Coffee Competition at the Coffee and Tea Expo (and an Interview with Barista Brian)

In Random, Reviews on April 6, 2017 at pm

Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo

Toronto’s first annual Coffee & Tea Expo will be held this weekend, April 8-9, 2017! It will take place at The Glass Factory, 99 Sudbury Street. I LOVE coffee and sample it everywhere I go, so I’m sure you can imagine how excited I will be to attend the event and provide social media coverage! Be sure to follow me on social media (details here) and check out my Introduction to Coffee Tasting.

At the expo, you’ll be able to try free drink samples, purchase coffee beans and tea leaves, experience the culture and new trends, and learn new recipes, tips, and tricks. I am most excited for the Best Coffee Competition! I was lucky enough to have a chance to interview one of the judges, Barista Brian, prior to the event. At the event, you will also meet other coffee and tea lovers, baristas, roasters, sommeliers, blenders, distributors and retail stores.

If you purchase your tickets online, you will get a 25% discount! See here. Tickets are already starting to sell out!

Photo of Barista Brian from his Instagram page (@baristabrian). Provided by and used with permission from Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo.

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 3 – Go for the Entertainment Alone!)

In Random, Reviews on October 16, 2016 at am

The National Buffalo Wing Festival runs every Labour Day weekend in Buffalo, NY. Even if you don’t love chicken wings, go for the entertainment alone. This is part 3 of 3 posts that I’ve shared about my experience at the 2016 festival. (Please see here for more general information about the festival. Also, I tried the food from almost every single vendor reviewed them here (part 1) and here (part 2).)

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 2 – Reviews of Almost Every Vendor Continued)

In Random, Reviews on October 3, 2016 at am

I had the BEST time at the 2016 National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. I tried the wings and other food items from almost every single vendor over the 2-day festival. I’ve shared my reviews below. Please see here for Part 1 of the reviews and for more information about the festival. It runs every Labour Day weekend. If you’re thinking about visiting Buffalo, see here for my top 10 favourite reasons to road trip there. (See here for my post about the entertainment at the festival, which was just as good, if not better than the food. And that’s saying a lot!)

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 1 – Reviews of Almost Every Vendor)

In Random, Reviews on September 22, 2016 at am

The National Buffalo Wing Festival is held in Buffalo, NY (the birth place of the buffalo chicken wing sauce) every Labour Day weekend. In 2016, the festival celebrated their 15th anniversary and they pulled out all the stops! It was attended by over 70,000 people! It was my first time attending and I had the BEST time. I made it my mission to try at least one wing flavour from every single vendor at the festival. The vendors at the festival made the best wing sauces that I’ve ever had in my life – and I used to eat chicken wings at least 5 times a week! Here is Part 1 of my reviews! (See here for Part 2 of the reviews. See my Top 10 Reasons to Road Trip to Buffalo, NY here.)

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Introducing Cooking with Alison’s Social Media Accounts!

In Random on March 28, 2016 at am

Hi everyone! Cooking with Alison is becoming more active on social media!

All accounts will have slightly different focuses, so I hope that you will ‘like’ and subscribe to them.

Thanks very much!

penguin (33)


@cookingwithali – I plan to use twitter to tweet about my favourite restaurant dishes, product brands, and wine recommendations.


Cooking with Alison – On the ‘Cooking with Alison’ facebook page, you will see current food-related news, cooking tips and tricks videos, and some of my favourite older recipes. Furthermore, all future food blog posts will also be publicized on the facebook page.


@cookingwithalison – On the Instagram account, I plan to share photos of restaurant meals, wine recommendations, recipes (old and new), and favourite lifestyle products (e.g. make-up, kitchenware, serveware, etc.). You can also find some of my wedding photos on Instagram.


@cookingwithalis – Follow me to food events and festivals through Snapchat!


Don’t forget to keep pinning your favourite Cooking with Alison recipes!

@cookingwithalison – This is where you will find all of my reviews for restaurants in and around Toronto.

Introduction to Chocolate Tasting

In How-To, Random, Reviews on March 13, 2016 at am

Chocolate tasting samples at Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont.

I went to Burlington, Vermont in the fall of 2014 for a family road trip. We ate and drank our way through the city and Lake Champlain Chocolates was one of my favourite discoveries. I really like their dark chocolate, because it doesn’t contain milk products (I don’t like chocolate that has a lactic sour taste). Also, their white chocolate is the best I’ve ever had. The best part about Lake Champlain Chocolates is that they offer complimentary seminars on chocolate tasting. Their chocolate is available for sale at many Whole Foods locations. We really enjoyed their introduction to chocolate tasting and, although I’m a bit late in sharing this information, I hope it helps you enjoy, appreciate, and choose wisely from the abundance of chocolate that this coming Easter is sure to bring.

(On a side note, check out my Introduction to Coffee Tasting here.)


Cocoa pod, cocoa beans, cocoa nibs.

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Must Try in Belize: The Beer

In Drinks, Reviews on August 6, 2014 at am

My favourite beer in the whole world, Belikin Beer, is made in Belize.  In my opinion, it has the perfect balance of lightness with body, and sweetness with bitters.  It has a non-offensive carbonation and a clean finish.  But what makes Belikin so special isn’t the taste, it’s the type of buzz that you get from drinking it.  Maybe it’s the water they use, but whatever it is, I got the best, most gentle, smooth, relaxing buzz that I’ve ever had from drinking anything alcoholic.  It was truly blissful.  Unfortunately, they don’t currently export their beer to Canada, so be sure to grab a few cold ones if you’re ever traveling to Belize.



Best Brand of Fermented Bean Curd

In Asian, Other Asian Foods on July 24, 2014 at am


Fermented bean curd is a pungent Chinese condiment.  It comes in glass bottles in the form of cubes of preserved tofu soaking in brine.  It is salty and spicy with a hint of tanginess.  I love this stuff, especially with congee (see recipe here).  It can also be used in a marinade for deep fried chicken wings or in a sauce for stir fried Chinese veggies.


The absolute best fermented bean curd that I have ever tasted was made in Hoi Ping, Guangdong, China, which is where my mother was born.  If you’re lucky enough to find this brand in your city, let me know what you think of it (and please ship some to me)!!!


Vern’s Toffee House’s All Natural Butter Almond Toffee

In Reviews on November 19, 2011 at am

I would like to introduce you to my favourite gourmet toffee.  Vern’s Toffee House makes an all natural butter almond toffee that is covered in either milk or dark chocolate.  It needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and I love to eat it frozen.  It is truly addictive and unlike artificially preserved toffees, this won’t leave a weird taste in your mouth no matter how much of it you eat in one sitting.  (This was tested with an entire pound of toffee being ingested non stop. 😉 )  I love the crispy whole almonds and the crunchy, buttery and sweet toffee.  My only criticism is that I don’t love the chocolate that they used (milk or dark).  But then again, the toffee is the star of this candy.  Although it is a bit pricey, you can taste the freshness in the almonds and the quality in the toffee.  This is great to have on hand for entertaining and it makes an excellent gift.  Just a heads up that since this product is all natural, it has a short shelf life, but can be stored in the freezer for a few months.  Note that although Canada is not listed as a shipping destination on their order form, they do ship to Canada, but you will have to place the order over the phone.

AnyLock Reusable Food Storage Bags and Sealers

In Reviews on October 20, 2011 at pm

I am conscious about being environmentally friendly, and I always feel guilty about the number of disposable freezer bags that I use.  You see, most of the time I’m cooking for one, so I make large batches of food, divide them into one or two serving portions, and freeze them.  I try to use tupperware containers as often as I can but they disappear with Ed and my sister, Krystal, for months at a time (I deliver most of the frozen meals to them).  I have already purchased many tupperware containers and I simply don’t have the storage space for more.  Also, freezer bags don’t take up as much space, and freezer space is a hot commodity in my apartment.  So I was very excited to discover AnyLock’s reusable food storage bags and sealers (Slide ‘n Store).  They work better than disposable ziploc bags while reducing waste!  Furthermore, AnyLock’s sealing rods are the best bag closing/sealing product I have ever seen or used.  I’ve shared my detailed review of these products below.  Note that this review is based only on my personal opinions and experience with the product.

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Miniature BBQ Menu and Recipes (and a review of PC’s summer 2011 products)

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Main Course, Other Dishes, Reviews, Sides and Sauces on July 21, 2011 at am

A few of Ed’s friends stopped by in Kingston for lunch one day.  We only had two hours notice, but that was enough time to put a menu together, run out and get groceries, and host a miniature BBQ.  Luckily, I had some miniature frozen strawberry pies in the freezer.  (See the menu and recipes below.)  I love miniature food (see my miniature food display here) and I think it’s a great way to entertain, especially if you’re serving a light meal or throwing a baby shower.  I love that this was all finger food and cutlery was only required for the dessert.  A review of some of President’s Choice’s new summer 2011 products is also provided below.

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How to Make Almond Milk (and a Comparison of Milk Alternatives)

In How-To, Reviews on May 23, 2011 at am

Normally, I’m a regular consumer of cow’s milk and Chinese soy milk drinks.  But challenging myself with a month long detox diet (see post here) led me to explore non-dairy (casein free) and non-soy milks.  The options include coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, and hemp milk.  I also heard of a potato based milk alternative, DariFree by Vance’s Foods that comes in a powder.  I don’t like the taste of fresh coconut juice and coconut milk is too rich (for my tastes) for drinking, so this post will focus on a comparison between almond, rice, and hemp milk.  Also, see below for homemade rice milk instructions and a very simple and versatile almond milk recipe with flavour variations.

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