Showing posts with label Christmas/Hanukkah Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas/Hanukkah Holidays. Show all posts

Monday, December 30, 2013

Toronto FEATURE: Joe Mama's Southern Restaurant: Review

Joe Mama's
Enjoying a Gladys Knight cocktail at Joe Mama's

My roaming adventures have taken me to the province Ontario, Canada. I always enjoy coming to Canada. I love the wide open spaces, clean air, clean wide streets and the charming friendly people.  A wonderful refreshing change of pace from the crazy rat race of New York. 


Upon my arrival to Canada I was greeted by the aftermaths of a winter ice storm. The entire city was covered in layers of ice, from the trees to the road ways. I learned that ice rain and snow had been falling for three days. So, although a little frightening on the roadways, the ice frozen trees added a beautiful artistic touch to the holidays. The neighborhood street sparkled as the bright sunlight bounced off the snow and reflected unto the uniquely shaped trees. It was exquisite.

After a few days of being shut- in due to the icey conditions, I was finally freed to venture out and explore. I received a recommendation from the locals to visit Joe Mama's a Southern Styled restaurant with nightly entertainment. Now, having lived in the south for more than seven years I had to sample this cuisine to authenticate the flavor.

Originally I wanted to visit the restaurant on Saturday because I heard great reviews about a cover band named Shugga. However, for Saturday the reservation was a little difficult to attain so I had to visit on a Friday.  If you are planning to visit Joe Mama's on a Saturday, reservations are recommended.

Joe Mama's is located in the heart of Toronto's entertainment district on the King Street strip . The interior of the restaurant is intimate and quaint. The walls are painted red and decorated with large photos of Motown greats like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder.  There are round marble glass retro light fixtures hanging from the ceiling and attractively placed on the walls.  The entire room was dimmed in a warm red and orange light. The entire space screamed sultry, jazz and soul.

Performance stage at Joe Mama's

Now on to the food. I was eager to read the menu to discover what tasty southern delights awaited me. However, I was a little perplexed as I read through the choices. The menu reflected more of a Cajun style than a southern style.  Some of the menu items included Etouffe, Cajun Cob Salad, Cornmeal Crushed Catfish Sticks, Seafood Soul Pasta and Grilled Cajun Chicken n' Shrimp. I was looking for more southern classic dishes such as mac & cheese, fried chicken or items that were smothered, in gravy or fried.

Cornbread basket

Strawberry butter

 Since I traveled with friends, I was able to try a few dishes. I sampled the Seafood Soul Pasta, Cornmeal Battered Fried Shrimp, Surf n' Turf Fettucini, and Shredded BBq Chicken served with angel hair pasta. For dessert I had Red Velvet cake and  Bailey's coffee. Overall the food was unexciting.  The presentation was nice but the dishes were a little bland and most certainly lacking Southern spices and flavor.

Surf n' Turf

Seafood Soul Pasta

Surf n' Turf Fettuccine
Cornmeal Batter Fried Shrimp

Shredded BBQ Chicken 

Red Velvet Cake  & Bailey's Coffee

However, I did enjoy the drinks. The cocktails are named after musical artists. I found that to be quite cleaver. The drinks tied right into the decor of the eatery. I loved that. The choices included, Barry Gordy which is 2 part Absolut and dash dry Vermouth, Gloria Gaynor which is 1 part Absolut kurant, 1 part Southern Comfort, orange juice and dash of Grenadine, Marvin Gaye which is 1 part Absolute and Blue Curacao, and Gladys Knight, which was recommended as the most popular, is made with 1 part Absolut mandarin, Cointreau, Malibu rum, Grenadine and a dash of pineapple. ( Full cocktail list

Gladys Knight Cocktail

My favorite part of the evening was the live music. The entertainment for the night was a cover band named The Grind. The band featured R&B and Funk music. The lead singer was high energy and engaging.

The Grind

The Grind

Altogether, Joe Mama's is a nice place to visit. The menu is a bit pricey, however the atmosphere is enjoyable. So next time you're in downtown Toronto stop by  Joe Mama's (,  if not for the food, definitely for the entertainment.

Joe Mamas on Urbanspoon Joe Mamas on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Tree Lighting Around Town

Christmas Tree Lighting

Here is a list of the Christmas tree lighting happening around town this week. Grab a blanket and a calendar and let the festivities begin.

12/2/13 -  Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square -  5pm - Manhattan 


12/3/13 - Bryant Park: The Tree Lighting Show - 6:00p.m. -  Manhattan

12/3/13 - Annual Atlantic Avenue Tree Lighting Party - 6:00 p.m. - 8 p.m. -  Brooklyn


 12/4/13 - Shore Road Park Christmas Tree Lighting - 6:30pm - Brooklyn 


12/4/13 - Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting - 7p.m. - 9 p.m. - Manhattan


12/5/13 - Harlem Meer Tree Lighting - 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - Manhattan 

12/6/ 13 -  Carl Schurz Park Holiday Tree Lighting - 5:00pm -6:00pm - Manhattan 


12/6/13 - Carol Gardens Tree Lighting Party - 6 p.m. - Brooklyn 


12/8/13 -Queens Botanical Garden Winter Solstice Celebration & Tree Lighting Ceremony - 12:30pm - 5:00pm - Queens 



12/8/13 - Christmas in Richmond Town Traditional Tree Lighting - 5pm - Staten Island

12/8/13 - The Lighting of the Park Avenue Christmas Trees - 6:30 p.m. - Manhattan



12/10/13 - Madison Square Lighting Party - 3:30 p.m.  - Manhattan 


12/11/ 13 - Brower Park Holiday Lighting - 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. - Brooklyn