Monthly Archives: September 2013

High Tea for Two at Ruelo Patisserie

Matchachoco and I spent a pleasant afternoon tea and brunch at Ruelo Patisserie about a month ago (yes, this post is a little overdue). I initially told Matchachoco that I wasn’t thrilled about going to Ruelo because of their mixed reviews online, but after having a few bites of their selection for high tea, I just had to take back what I said.

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Being my first high tea experience at a patisserie, I was really pleased with it and I enjoyed most of their selections. Matchachoco, who has been to a couple of high tea places before, thought that it wasn’t the best high tea she had nor was it the worst.  Nevertheless, we generally both enjoyed our visit at Ruelo Patisserie. We had a great deal from an online offer, and it was amazing value for what we paid for and a fraction of the cost of high tea served at upscale downtown hotels.

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For tea, we were given a wide range of options from the typical tea flavours to the unconventional ones like the chocolate spicy tea. Matchachoco had the Earl Grey Tea, while I had the strawberry green tea. The strawberry green tea had an overpowering strawberry aroma at first, but once I got to take a sip of the tea, I found that the strawberry flavour wasn’t as overpowering as its aroma; it had the right balance of strawberry and green tea flavour.

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We were quite amused with the containers that were used serve the tea. We initially didn’t know how to use them and thought that we had to wait for most of the tea drippings to reach the bottom of the container before pouring the tea in our cups (that would’ve taken a long time!). We found out eventually that you had to press the button on top of the container to make the process faster. We felt a little silly for not knowing this new breakthrough in high tea technology 😛

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The high tea selections included raisin scones served with Devon cream and Kusmi jam, pain au choclat, mini Atlantic smoked salmon sandwich on scone, Italian prosciutto wrapped grilled pepper, mini shrimp salad sandwich on crouton, tuna quiche, lemon cake, French macaron, crème brûlée, and mango almond pudding. Matchachoco commented that the servings were just enough for two people; it wasn’t overwhelming but it didn’t leave you short.

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Ironically, I generally enjoyed the savoury selections more than the sweet selections. Of my top picks were the quiche, mini shrimp salad sandwich on crouton, and the French macarons. I liked the texture of their French macarons because they were on the slightly chewy side. Matchachoco also enjoyed the quiche and the French macarons. We think the purple macaron was cassis and the yellow macaron had a salty caramelized filling.

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One of the major flaws we found, however, was that the crème brûlée was liquid at the bottom. I thought that the mango portion of the mango almond pudding was sweeter than what I was used to, and Matchachoco thought that smoked salmon on scone was just the wrong pairing.

In conclusion, this was Matchachoco’s grading of Ruelo (I’m gonna let her grade it since she seems to be the high tea expert here):

Selection: 4/5
Food: 3.5/5
Service: 2.5/5
Presentation: 3/5

-Ricelessasian

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Address:

Ruelo Patisserie
Yonge & Eglinton, 4-6 Erskine Ave.
Toronto, ON

Carlo’s Bake Shop

I’m huge fan of Cake Boss, so imagine the hype and excitement I went through when I finally got the chance to visit the famous Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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I went to the bake shop twice during my stay in New Jersey. I initially went on a Friday evening, but I decided to go back again on a Monday afternoon because they didn’t have the lobster tail pastries anymore when I went there on Friday. Weekends were to be avoided because I’ve read that the line-up can get really bad on the weekends. The bake shop was packed during both visits, but it wasn’t as bad as the 3-4 hour line up I’ve read online. Surprisingly, there was no line-up outside the bake shop when I went there on Friday, but there was a line up outside when I came there on Monday. I was lucky enough that I came earlier on Monday, because the line-up behind me got worse.

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Arriving inside Carlo’s Bake Shop, you’ll see an abundance of desserts and souvenir items. It’s a shame that the place was so crowded that you wouldn’t be able to marvel at the desserts in peace. It takes skills to be able to take photos of the desserts without anyone photobombing it.

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Pictured here are lobster tail pastries, vanilla cupcake with fudge frosting, and cannoli.

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Hands down to the cannoli! I’ve tasted a couple of cannoli before and I never really liked them, but the ones from Carlo’s Bake Shop were the best I’ve had. It was so good that it was my favourite out of the desserts I’ve sampled from the bake shop. The cannoli shells remained crispy and the filling was on the creamy side, rather than the ricotta cheese side. It was different from cannoli I’ve tried before. They also had cannoli shells covered in chocolate which were also really good, but I thought that it was too rich.

The lobster tail was also a noteworthy pastry that I tasted. It consists of a custard filling wrapped around a crisp pastry shell shaped like a lobster’s tail. It tasted like the crispy version of a cream puff. My parents said that the pastry shell stayed crisp even after eating it the day after. This was one of the pastries recommended by many to try when you visit Carlo’s Bake Shop (that’s why I went back on Monday), and they were right about it.

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Of course let’s not leave the cake part as this post is about Cake Boss’ bakery. We got a mini tiramisu cake and my parents really liked it. My brother and I shared a vanilla cupcake with fudge frosting and a chocolate cupcake with fudge frosting. We got fudge frosting because my brother loved their fudge frosting. I thought that the frosting tasted like the typical fudge frosting, but this one softens at room temperature. Both vanilla and chocolate cakes were very moist, just like how it’s supposed to be. I found that the cakes had a very distinct flavour that I just can’t seem to describe, though it’s not bad. At first I thought it was because of salt, but now I’m not sure.

I got a variety of Italian cookies to bring home to Canada to share with friends. I’m not really that familiar with Italian cookies, but it seems like most of the cookies had the same cookie base only differentiated by shape, garnish, filling, and colour.

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Next time, I hope to visit Carlo’s Bake Shop with Matchachoco and to actually see Buddy in person 😛

-Ricelessasian

Address:

Carlo’s Bake Shop
95 Washington St
Hoboken, NJ