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$16 for 6 Assorted Liège Waffles at Wanda's Belgian Waffles $64 for a Three-Course Dine in the Dark Experience for Two at O.Noir $25 for 12 Macarons/Mini-Cupcakes at Sugartiers $93 for Dinner at Wildfire Steakhouse at the Cosmopolitan Hotel $49.99 for a Prix-Fixe Meal at Bistro 243

Giveaway! The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

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From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy adapting the popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. This film brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. I know, you're stoked. So how can you win a copy here? Check out the interactive map of Middle-Earth and take the quiz to find out if you're brave like Bilbo. Leave a comment here by April 15th and one lucky reader will be randomly chosen! Good luck! Rosie :)

Legal stuff: each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Cafe Con Leche Espresso Bar

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I am a coffee fiend and eat Nutella straight out of the jar, so when I heard there is an espresso bar in the Junction that makes a Nutella latte I couldn't get there fast enough. I like how the main ingredient of Cafe Con Leche's signature drink also doubles as decor.

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The lattes are perfect. Not too sweet. You stir the Nutella up from the bottom.

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This cozy coffee shop also offers a lovely selection of sweets and snacks from salted caramel pops to chicken tinga melts. The service is wonderful.

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You can't miss Cafe Con Leche. Just stop when you see the enormous Nutella latte on Dupont. Rosie :)

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Cafe Con Leche Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

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Merlot

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This restaurant is an escape to southwestern France right in the Kingsway. The ambience feels like you've truly left the country. Merlot has been an Etobicoke dining destination for decades- the food is fantastic.

The fragrance of the white wine, garlic, shallots and butter in the escargots Bourguignonne was a perfect way to start the meal. The snails were so tasty:

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All the classics on the menu from the fresh steamed P.E.I. mussels to the grilled calf liver Lyonnaise were so tempting, but went with the NY striploin with maitre d'hôtel butter and mashed potatoes:

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And the duck confit, which was outstanding.

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The lovely creme caramel was consumed before photography could occur. An amazing birthday present from amazing family (that even included babysitting.) Rosie :)

Merlot on Urbanspoon

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McNie's Fish & Chips

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We wanted to celebrate Robbie Burns Day with some haggis. This Scottish dish of sheep's heart, liver and lung is seasoned and mixed with suet and oatmeal then boiled in the sheep's stomach. At McNie's, they deep fry it. Not traditional, but way yummier.

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So you if you are looking for haggis in Toronto that's a little easier to swallow, check out McNie's. Call first to order as this is a popular menu item on Robbie Burns weekend. Not for traditionalists perhaps, but you can at least recite Burns's Grace or the Selkirk Grace first. This is a short prayer you are meant to read prior to eating your mashed up sheep parts:

Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit.

Gie her a (deep-fried) haggis! Rosie :)

McNie's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

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This south Etobicoke Vietnamese restaurant offers simple and straightforward dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients. I love how beautifully presented the plates are:

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I always want the fresh shrimp rolls:

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When I'm sick and my throat is sore, I love coming here for the wonton soup. The heat makes me feel better and the wontons are such comfort food.

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And the best pho in Etobicoke is right here. So delicious.

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The atmosphere at Hoai Huong is simple and clean. It is not a fancy place. But the service is fast, efficient, and you will enjoy a fresh and flavourful meal for under $30. Rosie :)

Hoai Huong on Urbanspoon

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The Beech Tree

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There is a real warmth to this Kingston Road restaurant in Toronto's Upper Beaches. The atmosphere makes you feel like you're inside a Manhattan bistro in Greenwich Village. It's one of those spots that feels so good to walk into.

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The menu features the best local ingredients with plates putting a modern spin on traditional English country cooking. This approach is expertly displayed by the whey-fed Ontario pork chop with rye dumplings, brussel spouts, celeriac, apple and sage:

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Chef Jamie Newman's dinner special of quail and sweetbreads prepared sous-vide was flavourful and perfectly cooked.

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The Ontario fruit crumble with buffalo milk semifreddo and apple fritter was the perfect combination of tart and sweet:

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The flourless Equadorian chocolate cake is sprinkled with Maldon salt and topped with a dollop of unsweetened crème fraiche. It was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. This cake, along with the burger, are the only two items that have been on the menu since day one.

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A bonus of visiting The Beech Tree during the holiday season is the homemade eggnog, which is prepared with twelve eggs yolks, Maker's Mark bourbon and Remy XO cognac. The cocktail menu features classics with a twist such as the White Old Fashioned and are prepared with bitters and grenadines that are made in house.

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Owner Robert Maxwell has created a wonderful dining experience at The Beech Tree. The ambience is a perfect combination of casual and elegant without a hint of pretension. The menu is complex but not overly complicated. Details like the glasses of water with fresh mint and sliced cucumber are simple, lovely and luxurious. An amazing experience. Rosie :)

The Beech Tree on Urbanspoon

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Buca (King Street West)

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Finally! Buca. Sensational. The salumi is cured onsite and the cheese and preserve selection is outstanding. Highlights include the wild boar and the ricotta di bufala.

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Lamb's brains alla saltimbocca and fried pig ears to start.

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The signature pastas are handmade. While the menu changes regularly, the bigoli is a staple and always available. The torchio-cranked duck egg pasta is tossed with duck offal ragu, venetian spices, mascarpone and basil.

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The hand-cut pork blood pasta is tossed right at the table with smoked burrata cheese.

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This double-stuffed ravioli is one of the most beautifully presented dishes I have ever seen. Each one is filled with braised goose, roasted squash, hazelnut crackle and fonduta di parmigiano.

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Milk-poached veal tenderloin.

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This was hands down the best dessert I have ever eaten- parmigiano reggiano ice cream. It was perfect. And I don't even really like ice cream.

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Executive Chef Rob Gentile does not disappoint. What an experience.

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Buca Osteria & Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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Recent Comments

  • Maggie C: Thank you for the chance! My brother would love this! read more
  • Rick C in Oakville: McNie's use to have locations in Oakville and Scarborough, by read more
  • Roshan: Looks amazing. Damn, I wish I get some Vietnamese food. read more
  • Lynne: Must check this one out; looks wonderful! read more
  • Rick C in Oakville: Have passed this many times on the way up to read more
  • Roshan: Oh everything looks delicious and satisfying. read more
  • Rosie: You know I totally agree... the portions were too small... read more
  • Roshan: I find the portions to be too small but I read more
  • Rick C in Oakville : When we first moved to Oakville we had our son's read more
  • Carm: What a great picture! Looks like "Little Man "was thoroughly read more




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