For You Mango Lovers

sweet o'clock mango shave ice ourtorontolife

Cyrus hates mango, and I don’t get it. I mean, it’s got everything going for it. Easy to peel, juicy, and perfect alone or in so many foods as a key ingredient, addition, and/or flavour. My Asian card is fully earned with these mango favourites:

  • Dried Philippines mango
  • Mango bubble tea
  • Mango lassi
  • Thai mango salad
  • Hong Kong-style mango pudding
  • Mango ice cream

Then, there is the most mango-y, mango dessert. Mango shave ice, Taiwanese style! Here are the key components: shave ice, chunks of sweet mango, and a mango ice cream.
mango shave ice dessert ourtorontolife
Minus Cy, Dumpling* and I had this one at Sweet O’Clock with fellow mango lovers, H and her baby E. We dug into it, and the mango mountain was so worth the challenge.

Shave ice It was made to order as it should be. Thumbs up for it’s fine, non-grainy texture.
Mango chunks Mango for days, and it was ripe, sweet and juicy.
Ice cream  Some mango ice creams have a bit of an artificial flavour to it, and this one did. While it wasn’t the worse, it was just ok.

Overall, it was so close to perfection. I’d go back, and consider this part of getting Dumpling his Asian card – mango lover, check!

* NEW code name for our baby boy. Like it? A dumpling is Asian and small like him.

Organic, All-Natural Brunch with Baby

I heart a good brunch. There are just so many reasons to fall in love with brunch:

  • It’s an excuse to have a lot of bacon
  • Brunch specific foods like the perfect runny eggs benedict
  • The major girlfriend bonding over the major food groups of sugar, fat and carbs

True story, I used to go for brunch every single weekend to do all the above with my girls, M and P. We exhausted nearly every Vancouver brunch spot back in 2008-09, and in that time we also perfected the timer selfie with a ketchup bottle. No more brunches together now, we live in different cities. Instead, we “toast” each other with milkshake-looking emojis on Whatsapp (ok, the ice cream sundae one is the closest).brunch dedutch throwback ourtorontolife
Plus, it’s tough to brunch with a baby. Brunch usually isn’t that baby friendly! The brunch restaurants are usually crowded, smaller spaces and then there are the line ups. Either you go super early and wait, or you go at brunch hours and wait for likely over a hour for a good place.

Here is a secret, not all brunch-only places have a good brunch. Super mommy blogger Yashy asked me to join her and fellow moms at Bareburger where they do brunch – it’s all organic, all natural, and all delicious. Here is what I tried and recommend:

French toast stuffed with duck bacon and cheese! I wouldn’t have minded more duck bacon and more fruit on the bacon french toast bareburger ourtorontolife
Super decadent, rich chocolate and raspberry milkshake. They do NOT mess around, this was one of the best milkshakes that I’ve had ever had. The ice cream comes from Greg’s Ice cream, one of my favourite spots in the city.chocolate raspberry milkshake bareburger ourtorontolife
I was so full by the time the ice cream sandwiches came around, but I couldn’t say no to this. Soft chocolate cookies with creamy peanut butter ice cream. The key is the SOFT chocolate cookies, I hate ice cream sandwiches with hard cookies – no, just no.  chocolate peanut butter ice cream sandwich bareburger ourtorontolife
Lucky me, I ate and ate because Yashy and Pereina held Baby D – thank you! Also, thank you to Bareburger for treating and indulging me in my love for brunch complete with *duck* bacon, all the right sugar and carbs plus new mom friends to share it all with. <3

Bare Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap and Tasty Dim Sum

Dim Sum Selfie Fisherman Villa Toronto

I think dim sum actually means “touch heart” – so, it’s like Chinese soul food. And, I love it for so many reasons:

– It’s the kind of brunch that I grew up having as a Chinese kid
– It’s undeniably delicious (except the chicken feet, IMO)
– It’s traditional and yet there are ever evolving dishes and fusion flavours
– It’s meant for sharing

Recently, my beautiful and hilarious friend Andrea and I shared dim sum at Fisherman Villa. I love it there because it reminds me of the old-school dim sum places (a little too crowded, and noisy) but without the push carts. Plus, the food is simple and tasty – and cheap! Usually, it’s safe to order 3 dishes per person so naturally…we ordered more than that. Here is what we filled our tummies up with:

Siu Mai Har Gao Dim Sum in Toronto
Standard orders of har gow (shrimp dumpling) and siu mai (pork dumpling) were good. You can’t go wrong with these!Rice Noodle Roll Taro Dim Sum Toronto
Extra sweet soy sauce on the cheung fun, please! We ordered the beef and watercress cheung fun and my very favourite wu tao gok (deep fried taro dumplings).
Turnip Cake Beef Ball Dim Sum Toronto
Lastly, we polished off the lau bak go (turnip cake) and ngao guk (beef balls).

Don’t come here if you want fancy dim sum. Come here for your simple dim sum items and their fresh char siu bolo bau (BBQ pork pineapple bun) – and for the value that it provides. Expect to pay around $7 (you eat a little) -15 (you eat a lot)/person depending on how stuffed you want to be.

At the end, we were stuffed and happy. So, dim sum really does “touch heart”…and my stomach!

Fisherman Villa
25 Glen Watford Dr Toronto, ON

What To Order at Shiso Tree Cafe

Cy takes after his mom – looks, organization, creativity, and his love for classic rock and guitars. Both of them have cool looking glasses too. Last week, she visited us and new baby D! Shiso Tree Cafe OurTorontoLife
With the frigid temps, we haven’t really gone out (plus, I was house bound by Chinese tradition – no going out for 30 days post baby’s birth). Jail time was over, and we decided to go out to eat in Japan Town’s Shiso Tree Cafe. We shared a bunch of dishes (family style of course), and here are the verdicts:

Wafu Smoked Salmon Salad Shiso Tree Cafe OurTorontoLife 2

Verdict: Order this, it’s like a fancy Japanese Caesar salad. They didn’t skimp on the smoked salmon!

Okonomiyaki Fries Shiso Tree Cafe OurTorontoLife $10

Verdict: Order this once to try. I liked the sauce, but the fries weren’t the best – they were fried for too long and hard.

Unagi Don Shiso Tree Cafe OurTorontoLife 2

Verdict: You must order this, it’s kinda life changing. It’s creamy, and the barbeque eel was meaty and flavourful.

Clam Spaghetti Shiso Tree Cafe OurTorontoLife 2

Verdict: You could pass on this one. It’s good but doesn’t compare to the Unagi Don (I took the leftover Unagi Don sauce and dumped it on this dish).

We were stuffed by lunch end, I mean look at those portion sizes – they were pretty big. After lunch, we went to Pacific Mall to look for cool, red glasses for Mom. You can never had enough pairs of cool glasses!

Shiso Tree Cafe
3160 Steeles Ave. East – Unit 1
Markham, ON

Shiso Tree Cafe on Urbanspoon

Secret Weapon Brownies + Enter to Win a Trip to Spain (Yay)!

I’ve always been the world’s slowest eater according to family and friends.

  • I take tiny bites to draw out the time that I spend with a really good chocolate cake.
  • I distract myself by chatting and forgetting that I have to eat even if it’s delicious dim sum.
  • I sometimes pick at my bento boxes and eat the good parts (ie. not the rice) then slowly eat the not-so-good parts (ie. the rice).

Then, D came along. He is the boss, and he won’t put up with my slow-eating habit. In fact, cooking and baking has to be done in ultra speed too.

So during the holidays, any baking had to be made with easy-to-find ingredients, quick and super delicious. Here is the recipe that did the trick:

Brownies! But, brownies with a secret weapon: Persimons®.

what is a persimmon persimon ourtorontolife

Growing up, my mom bought the short and stout persimmons for the family. They took awhile to ripen and sweeten, but Persimons from Spain are different.

persimon outorontolife

So, here is the recipe! Most of the ingredients are likely already in your fridge and pantry:

1 Persimon®, peeled and chopped
⅔ cup (150 mL) sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice

Place the chopped Persimon® in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice stirring slowly over medium low heat until the consistency of jam. Approx. 5 minutes. Set aside.

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
5 oz. (150 g) bittersweet chocolate (70%)
⅔ cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) Persimon® jam
3 large eggs
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
¾ cup (175mL) all-purpose flour

Grease an 8 X 8 inch (20cm) baking pan and line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) overhang on two sides. Place butter and dark chocolate in a sauce pan over low heat and melt until smooth. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the Persimon® jam, stir and remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt and vanilla until slightly foamy. Add sifted flour and blend until just incorporated. Being careful not to over mix. Pour the brownie batter into the baking pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and spread the remaining Persimon® jam over the top of the brownie while it is still hot. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 2 inch squares.

Makes 9 servings

Tah-dah! Easy peasy brownies with Persimons. Cy helped me with the garnishes – sliced persimons and some lemon!

persimon persimmon brownie ourtorontolife



Spain Valencia from

Roundtrip charter airfare for two (2) to Spain from the closest available gateway offered by D.O. Kaki Ribera del Xúquer.

  • Accommodations for two (2) for seven (7) nights at a 4-Star Hotel, located in downtown Valencia, based on single room double occupancy.
  • Breakfasts for 7 days for 2 people.
  • Transfers in destination country (From and to Airport /Hotel only)
  • Taxes are included.

Contest closes: January 31st, 2015 at 11:59 P.M. E.S.T.

Fill out the contest entry form here.

NOTE: This was a blogger opportunity presented to me by the good people at Persimon and @savvari – thank you!


Our baby is here!

Baby OurTorontoLife

Little D made his way into the world on December 11th!

Things are settling down at home, and it is a huge help to have my mom from Vancouver here with us.

So far, the little guy is finally sleeping ok, eating well, pooping the stinky diapers, and loving his YouTube playlist including Baby Beluga and Elmo’s song.

We are having a baby!

It’s been awhile, I know. The last 9 months, I’ve been growing this baby bump. Cy and I are expecting a boy later this month. We are a mixed bag of excited, scared and farts.

Did you know? Pregnant women fart more and sometimes they smell like funny eggs.

We are having a baby Judy Cyrus OurTorontoLife

We are having a baby Judy Cyrus OurTorontoLifeWe are having a baby Judy Cyrus OurTorontoLifeWe are having a baby Judy Cyrus OurTorontoLife


How do you feel? Pretty good. No morning sickness, and now it feels like there is a bowling ball in my tummy.
Do you have any cravings? No, how boring!
Have you finished the nursery? We are now! We turned the office into a nursery. Out went the desks, and in went the crib, change table, baby stuff and a forest curtain on a steel rod along the glass wall.
Do you have a name? Yes, we will share that once the little guy is born.
Are you ready? We’ve watched Youtubes, downloaded the apps, and read articles. Last weekend, we just finished our child birth classes where we learnt about everything from dealing with contractions to cuddling your baby. We may or may not be ready, but we will try.

Special thank you to Anooja, Sagar and Sandy for the special gift of a maternity shoot – and a newborn shoot! 



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