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Jaipur Grille: One in Ten Thousand

Toronto is a city of around 5 million people and according to this website, 10,000 restaurants.

Yes. Ten thousand. I’ll be lucky if I get around to trying just the ones in my own neighbourhood.

Although I have discovered many new favourite restaurants in Toronto, this is why I try my best to eat at a new spot any time I go out. I’d like to leave here knowing I tried my best to make a dent in that 10,000.

When my Aunt Heather asked me about trying out Jaipur Grille in the Yonge/Eglinton area, I jumped on the chance.


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I’ve been hearing about this restaurant for a while now (some say the best Indian food outside of Little India!). I couldn’t pass up the chance to cross another restaurant off my list.


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Jaipur Grille opened 8 years ago by head chef Pawan Mahendro. After years of working in other kitchens in India and Canada, he decided to finally open his own place in Midtown Toronto.

I was immediately struck by how classy this restaurant seemed. Indian restaurants have a tendency to be a little rundown or kitschy. But here I felt like I was part of a fine dining experience.

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I wasn’t planning on getting a drink, but the waiter asked if I wanted an Indian beer. The thought of a fresh beer to wash down the spicy food suddenly piqued my tastebuds!

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He also brought us some crispy spicy bread. It was a lot like a chip or cracker and fun to munch on while we waited.

The occasion of this particular visit was to experience Jaiper Grille’s Tasting Menu. A great chance to try out tons of menu items at only $25 a head.

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We started with a taste of two appetizers. Heather and I each chose the Royal Spinach Kabab: spinach patty filled with cottage cheese, dates and cashews.

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It reminded my a lot of these spinach nuggets my mom buys from Costco. Just okay. You couldn’t taste the cashews and the dates only slightly.

My second choice was the Chicken Malai Kabab: chicken breast marinated in fresh cream with cardamom and saffron, finished in the tandoor.

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Now this was really good. The chicken was cooked perfectly and separated well from my fork. Even though it was cooked in a cream sauce, there was just a hint of it and not overpowering.

For her second appetizer, Heather tried the Fish Hyderabadi: grouper filet in a light batter, spiced with roasted coriander and carom.

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They looked like fish sticks!

Heather and I then both chose the same mains. Must be inherited tastes ;) 

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Chana Amritsari.

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Chickpeas in a dark sauce. This was probably my least favourite of the main meal options. I wasn’t a fan of the darker sauce.

Pudina aloo.

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Simple potatoes, I ate these with some of the other sauces.

Rice. Naan.

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The naan was hot upon arrival. A sign that it’s fresh and as pillowy as possible! The rice was actually one of my favourites. Seasoned with saffron, it really stood out and did not taste boring at all.

Yogurt raita.

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A nice cool dipper for the naan to cut the spices of the other dishes. I want to try making this at home!

Xacculi Shrimp: black tiger shrimp cooked in a popular aromatic Goan sauce made with roasted poppy seeds, coconut and red chilli paste.

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This was Heather’s favourite because of the rich red sauce. It had jumbo pieces of shrimp without being too spicy.

Shahi Laziz Paneer: home made cottage cheese simmered in a spiced tomato gravy with honey and cream.

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This was my favourite. The hard chunks of homemade cottage cheese were amazing. I polished off the rich tomato gravy, which again was more aromatic than spicy. I would order a whole dish of this if I were to go back!

Jalebi & Kheer: Indian funnel cake and rice pudding, garnished with roasted pistachios and almonds.

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Dessert was definitely lack lustre after such an amazing meal. We both agreed that East Indian food isn’t really known for its great desserts and we could both do without. The rice pudding was a little soupy and over-spiced. The funnel cake was more like a crunchy candy. Edible, but would not be my first choice for dessert.

Thank you to Heather for taking me out for what I am now deeming the best Indian food I’ve ever had.

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We never once broke out into a sweat because of ludicrous spicing. Nothing was too greasy or creamy. The service was fantastic (including a chat with the head chef and his wife!). As a newbie in the tastes of East Indian, it was the perfect example of just how good and flavourful it can be with fresh ingredients, proper cooking methods and inventive flavouring.

Now I just have 9,970 restaurants left to go ;)

 

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New Kicks + Little India

Ohbaby.

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My staff discount at the running store finally came through. Seconds after getting the code, I literally ran there buy the shoes I’ve been dreaming of.

You see, I religiously get new running sneakers every six months. Come month 5 I start to get nagging aches and pains that weren’t there before. Even though a sneaker looks fine, there can be significant wear to the cushioning. Well, it’s been 9 months since my last upgrade, and my feet and legs have been screaming at me.

My past two pairs have been Saucony Rides, but I’ve been branching out and testing other pairs at work. Some (like the Brooks Ariel or Asics Nimbus) just feel all wrong. Too heavy, too squishy, too much in the heel, not enough in the forefoot.

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I’ve never thought of wearing Nikes to run in until I put the Air Pegasus 27 Trail shoes on. Everything just felt right. Even though I’ve historically gone with sneakers with a wider toe box, my foot feels nice in the notoriously narrow build of the Nike shoe. I’m a mild supinator, which means I run on the outside of my foot. Also means I need a shoe for mostly cushioning and don’t require arch support. These babies fit the bill!

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Even though trails are my surface of choice, it’s never occurred to me to buy specific trail shoes. They have more grip on the bottom and are made with Gore-Tex for a little water resistance.

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I could not wait to put these on my feet and fly down my regular running trail along Lake Ontario. I was so excited when I popped out of bed this morning, I failed to notice it was pouring rain outside until I stepped out the door. Under any other circumstances I would have turned back inside. I’m a fair weather runner. But I was just too excited to test out my new shoes! I hit the puddles for a soggy forty minutes and got completely drenched. Well, all except my feet that is. The water resistance totally worked and the extra grips were great on the wet surface. These will be great for winter training!

Did I mention they’re cute too? ;)

Alright, enough about my shoes. Something even more exciting happened today.

My mom arrived!!

She’s visiting from New Brunswick until next week and I couldn’t be more excited to have her here. We haven’t seen each other since I left New Brunswick in June!

My mom has been to Toronto manymany times, so there’s no need to show her all the typical touristy spots. We quickly came up with a list of littler known neighbourhoods she needs to explore during this visit. The first one we went to for lunch – Little India!

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I live about a 15 minute walk away from Little India. Would you believe that today was my first time actually eating there??

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Toronto’s Little India consists of just a strip on Gerrard St East. But it’s a colourful strip regardless.

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My mom said she could smell the Indian cooking as soon as we hit it.

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I of course took to the internets to find the best place to eat there. Two places kept popping up and I eventually decided on Moti Mahal based on the recommendations of Suki.

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They had a cafeteria style set-up where you pick what you want then call your number when it’s ready.

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Mom and I both went for the special of rice and lentils with your choice of a meat, vegetable and bread.

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For meat, I went with the goat curry…

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I’ve never had goat before, it was interesting! I think I prefer lamb, it was a little too meat-y for me (if that makes sense).

The lentils

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Probably my favourite dish on the tray, perfectly spiced.

The spiced vegetables

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Ohwow, these were definitely spiced! Almost too spicy for me. Although, the eggplant pieces were my favourite.

The rice…

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Really liked the long grain rice with peas. This one had a wonderful spice in it too that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Took the edge off the more harshly spiced dishes.

Finally, the roti…

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Yum! Just like a thinner pita bread with a little crisp. This was my “healthy” choice for the meal ;)

My mom!!!!

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I caught her mid naan bite :P She said she really enjoyed her food as well. We were both excited to try goat for the first time.

After lunch, we wandered around Little India in the rain a bit more to walk off the heavy meal…

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Right now my mom is catching up on sleep from her early flight. We’ve got some local sausages in the fridge for dinner and I’m pumped to spend the rest of the week with her!

 

Off to write tomorrow’s Fitness Friday post. Today’s was a little sneak peak, as I’m starting Part 1 of a series on running shoes. See ya tomorrow!

 

Question of the Day: What kind of sneakers do you run or exercise in? I now take this sneaker business very seriously!

Shark Tank

Happy weekend!! How is it going for everyone? I pretty much had the perfect day here at home. Relaxing and productive, but with some fun stuff sprinkled throughout :)

Kind of slept in today – till 6:30 (an hour past my usual wake-up time). I brought along a pack of instant multi-grain oats that I cooked up with some water and frozen raspberries.

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Then I mixed up 100g plain yogurt with 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder to add to the bowl.

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Then combined it all yoatgurt style and topped with almond butter!

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I need to try this with greek yogurt, as it was a little too soupy with regular yogurt. I love regular yogurt on top of my oats not stirred in though (like the above picture). It’s like a frosting!

After breakfast and coffee, my mom and I hit up the local Nubodys gym for a Fit Mix class. From the website:

Fit Mix is a group athletic training class that combines resistance training, cardiovascular conditioning and core stability work.

I’ve heard horror stories about this class, involving stopwatches, ladders, and near-death experiences. I was pumped ;) But I think today’s was a little lower intensity. There weren’t enough hand weights to go around so we had to use resistance tubes. I’m not the biggest fan of them, but it was at least fun to learn new ways to use them! And I think I’ve done enough squats and lunges to last me the rest of the year :P

I was starving by the time we got back, and despite a having a snack, I still broke for an early lunch. This one inspired by Lori!

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  • romaine
  • bell pepper
  • onions
  • tomato
  • chicken in barbecue sauce
  • feta cheese

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Lori always raves about the bbq + feta combo and she’s definitely on to something! It was delicious!!

And so was lunch dessert ;)

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My mom’s family is still working on that giant bag of chocolate. Pfft, if I was around, it would have been gone in a week :P

Shortly after lunch we (me, my mom and her “partner” Mark) went out to bask in the sunshine. The dogs get so worked up when we put our outdoor clothing on!

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Unfortunately, they’re also elderly and can’t handle the long walks :(

Also notable, the amount of snow in Moncton!!

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I almost feel culture shocked just coming from 160km away! So strange. Fredericton is almost entirely green by now, and Moncton is still buried under the white stuff! I thought I could sneak in an outdoor run this weekend, but most of the sidewalks aren’t even plowed.

We wandered down to Centennial Park and did a loop around a little lake. The place was buzzing with families.

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I don’t know why, but it was such an odd sight for me to still see ducks on the snow and ice. My mom says they don’t migrate because they’re well-fed in the park.

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And this is Jones Lake. You can skate on this when the weather is good enough. It’s a manmade lake but still beautiful!!

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We were out for about an hour, then I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon going through my personal training textbook. I start my in-class component in two weeks!!

For dinner, I had a special date – with one of my besties!! You may recall I mentioned Meghan as one of my best friends in a Flashback post. We’ve known each other since grade 1 (18.5 years ago) and lived together for two years in university. So yeah, she’s not even a friend – more like family!!

Meg had a hankering for Indian food, so we went to the Tajmahal.

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I kind of like the burn on the menu – adds character ;)

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As with most Indian restaurants, I loved the decor. Especially the elephant statues, seeing as I collect them myself.

We decided to order a couple dishes and split them.

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The first was the Subz Jalfrezi, “mixed vegetables, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, fresh beans and peas, seasoned and cooked on low heat.”

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And the the Chicken Tikka which is boneless chicken marinated in spices and yogurt and cooked in a tandoori oven.

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Don’t forget the roti! No naan. I am a naan-free zone. Put naan in front of me and it’s game over.

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My plate:

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Two words: YUM O. Excellent food to accompany catching up with an old friend! Meghan is actually thinking about getting her PhD soon, so we’ll eventually have to call her Doctor Meghan ;)
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Meghan is also a giant nerd really smart. We were reminiscing about the time she brought a shark foetus home after dissecting a shark in class, and left the foetus on our kitchen table for a month!!! Ya know, cause kitchen tables are a good hangout for foetuses :P Then Meghan proceeded to tell me that it’s actually really rare to find a shark foetus because they eat each other in the womb!! How hardcore is that? Sharks are so badass they eat each other even in the womb. Anyways, I freaked out, and Meghan said I had to include that little shark tidbit on the blog. So there ya go, learning something new today from a future doctor – you can catch her on Shark Week :P

 

Well that’s all from me! I’m off to make a snack of some sort and either finish my textbook or read blogs. Eehhh, we all know it’s going to be the latter ;) See ya tomorrow!

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