Tag Archives: Toronto

Abandoned House or Trendy New Toronto Resto?

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The Edison bulb….

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Aaah yes, our menu–it’s hand scrawled on our blackboard far, far across the room.

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No, we don’t take reservations, but we can seat 2-6 people.

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Minimalist pine tree to remind our guests we’re green…. (you can eat it for dessert)

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Everything is local.

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And please don’t forget your foraged leg braces after you’ve had one too many of our hand crafted cocktails.

My husband photographs abandoned houses as a hobby and they are fascinating.  Things are just left as if people had walked out minutes before.  I became fascinated with the list of items in the kitchen cupboard in this house (Campbellford, Ontario) and it just got silly from there….click on any picture to enlarge.  Thanks to Tad Seaborn for sharing his photos.  

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Fried Chicken for the Masses: It’s the Fried Chicken Battle Royale at the Drake

Fried Chicken Battle

Well, the above just about says it all.  But, Ivy Knight, organizer-Royale has more to say about this lip smacking event where I get to be a judge.  A judge of fried chicken… I picture myself with a drumstick gavel and greasy paperwork.  Can Monday night come fast enough?

Here is what Ivy has to say about how and why she pulled together this first (annual) fried fiasco.

I have been wanting to do a fried chicken battle ever since watching David Chang go head to head against Questlove on Jimmy Fallon. I just really wanted to fill a room with people eating lots and lots of free fried chicken. Unfortunately I don’t have a budget to buy a bunch of chickens so I got in touch with my old friend Peter Sanagan and asked if he’d be willing to donate the birds. I barely got my request out before he said of course. So then I talked to some of my chef friends, Matty at Parts & Labour, Fan at Happy Child, Teddy at the Drake, the girls who run SNACKS (famous for their food at the Junction Flea) and Brandon at Bar Isabel, we picked a date and I started thinking about judges.

I didn’t want to have  chefs come in to compete and be judged by their peers, I wanted the judges to come from outside of the peer group – so I often look to cookbook authors and media. The guys at Munchies were an obvious choice, they suggested Bad Day Magazine and since I know and love you I figured we’d bring you in to add a little class to the panel (Ivy knows how easily I fall for sweet talk–don’t worry, I’ll never bring a lot of class, perhaps just a cufflinks’ worth SR)And of course, Peter is a judge since he’s the reason we’re able to pull this off.

This is the first of what I hope will become a yearly tradition where I give away five hundred pieces of fried chicken to the masses.
So… friends, foes and people who accidentally got to this page and are thinking WHAT?  THANK GOD I FOUND IT, don’t wait til next year.  Come on down next week!
And no, I’m not sharing my chicken.  Get your own damn chicken.  8pm, Monday night.  It’s FREE y’all.

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Toronto Farmer’s Market Network presents “A Symphony of Soil” May 29 7pm

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The Toronto Farmers’ Market Network (www.tfmn.ca) presents a screening of Symphony of the Soil, made by filmmaker, Debra Koons Garcia of ‘The Future of Food’.  This recently released documentary has not been widely seen, so this is a unique opportunity. For details on the film visit www.symphonyofthesoil.com.
What: ‘Symphony of the Soil’ – Presented by the Toronto Farmers’ Market Network
When: Wed. May 29th, 7pm
Where: Royal Theatre, 608 College St.
Tickets at the door: $10, kids 12 and under $5
‘Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of a miraculous substance, soil.  By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time.  Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights the possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.’
Toronto Farmers’ Market Network brings together community-based market organizers to share information, advocate for a strong and healthy local food system, and grow great markets in our city.  
Visit www.tfmn.ca to find your farmers’ market.

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Cheese Appreciation 1 Starting April 29 at Culinarium Toronto

Food-slice off the wheel-Tad Seaborn

photo by Tad Seaborn

Cheese Education Guild is the first cheese school dedicated to cheese appreciation in Canada. It
is patterned after international wine education programs and is a registered Canadian
education institution.

Cheese Appreciation 1
Results: certificate of achievement
Prerequiste: none
This thorough introduction on the topic of cheese provides the base for future study, discussion
and tasting in Cheese Appreciation 2 & 3.

Through the study program you will learn to:
 Taste, compare, discover, and explore the world of cheese.
 Gain understanding and deepened appreciation for cheeses from every category,
country and type of milk.
 Obtain knowledge to speak confidently about cheese with customers, patrons, and
associates.
 Build a network with other experts in cheese.
 Achieve a certificate of achievement for each level you complete from your
participation, research, reading and final testing during the course.

Venue and time for Cheese Appreciation 1
Venue: Culinarium, 705 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto, Ontario (east side of Mt. Pleasant Rd,
south of Eglinton Ave.)
Next class starts: Monday April 29, 2013 and runs every Monday to June 24, 2013. ( no class
on Monday May 20, 2013)
Time: 6-9pm.
Cost: $575 +HST (Includes: cheese, course material, testing & certificate.)
CA1 is a total of 24 hours, 3 hours per week for 8 weeks.
Visit us for more information and registration
www.artisancheesemarketing.com
www.cheeseeducationguild.com

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Scrambling for Valentine’s gifts Toronto? Relax, have some chocolate…cheese..and a saucy cookbook or two.

XocoCava will have you swooning before you even take a bite.

Swoon before you even take a bite.  Xococava’s milk chocolate with espresso bean, candied lemon and fleur de sel.

Remember that old Blondie song “Rapture”?  Well, I think it was written about the above hand-made chocolates from Xoxocava.  (Also, my friend Rina and I won a lip-sync contest in high school singing that song–my hair was big and that was pre-perm.)

Usually when I buy some good chocolate to keep squirreled away in the cupboard I buy a bar of something delicious like the salted dark chocolate from Stubbe (when I can get a west-end friend to pick it up).  Somehow buying individual pieces like this for myself never occurred to me until I was knocking these back……like the lady I am.

And if that wasn't enough to make you drool...

Drool! Dark chocolate with sour cherries, pistachio and candied rose petal. (xococava)

Beautiful, individual chocolates have been fortuitously dropping into my lap lately.  A friend of mine gave us a box of nine caramel-themed chocolates from Soma (Distillery District) which contained morsels such as Fleur de Sel, Caramel Kiss and Pecan Butter Crunch.

Honestly, you cannot ever eat a Smartie again after that kind of delicious.  Now that Xococava and Soma have spoiled me and made me a xoco-snob  I may head to the Belgian Chocolate Shop on Queen East to check out chocolate making in my hood.  (anyone been there?)

chocolate xoxocava bag

The above gorgeous chocolates come delivered in this cute, witty package ($14.75/bag and there are over a dozen pieces)

I think an easy but spectacular finale to a romantic dinner (for those non-bakers) would be a plate of the above chocolates served with a beautiful, creamy cheese.

Neufchatel with red pepper jelly

Neufchatel with red pepper jelly

And if you want to be thematic with your Valentine cheeseboard you’ll grab this heart-shaped Neufchatel from France’s Normandy region.  It’s a Camembert style cheese that’s creamy, decadent and perfect for sharing.

La Sauvagine, QC

La Sauvagine, QC

And there’s the triple cream, La Sauvagine.  (If it rhymes it’s poetry right?)  I just wrote about this guy for The Wedge so here’s the cheat sheet.

Sauvagine and friends...

Sauvagine and friends…

Or you can get a few petit fours to accompany your cheese fetish.

cheese markers knives

If you would like to bring a gift to your cheese lover, I adore my stainless steel cheese markers (you stick them into your cheese to identify them–sometimes I just write “back off” on my favourites).   This set from Lee Valley comes with a set of 6 cheese knives and a cool case.

Cheese Tiles

Cheese Tiles-write on, wipe off

I was also sent an email about this cute little guys.  Same function as the stainless steel markers but they’re called cheese tiles.

Cheese tiles

Cheese tiles

They come in a variety of styles such as Fleur-di-Lis, Shell, Vine and more. Retails for $29.95 for a set of 4, they can be purchased online at www.placetile.com

And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, give the ultimate in S&M themed foodie gifts….

Fifty Shades of Chicken

I mean, it’s pretty hilarious right?

I got in touch with Toronto’s Cookbook Store and asked what they would recommend and apparently this 50 Shades of Chicken was a hot stocking stuffer for 2012, but if you didn’t grab it then, now is your chance.  (I took this picture from amazon.ca where you can also order it).

Fork me, Spoon Me

And they also recommended these two options……(it’s going to be a long winter right?)

Intercourses

So, I think you’re set for gifts and food for this coming February 14th.  (FYI, the xoco cava chocolates are great bites while you wait for toast to brown in the morning, just sayin’)

 How is that lady pigging out at the fridge so skinny?

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Work Off the Foodie at Bomb Wellness-free classes this weekend on the Danforth

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(You can scroll to the bottom of this post for the BOMB free schedule and skip my yapping or CLICK HERE. They also have child-minding, a kids class and I often set up Felix with the iPad while I work out.)

Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.” – Earl of Derby

Wow–that Earl was a bit of a downer.  But he’s right and it’s New Year’s Resolution time and also let’s face it exercise makes us feel good  (I imagine the eye rolls…).  But really, when I’m busy and stressed and have the least time to work out is when  I could use it the most.

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And Bomb Wellness (Danforth and Greenwood) where I’ve been a member for  a year is my favourite gym in my gym-member experience (and I have been joining gyms since I was 16–really–I suck at team sports but can regale you with stories of mix tapes and that new step/spin/core workout trend)

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There is a real community at BOMB and just like at Cheers (remember that show you oldies?) everybody knows your name.  Well, Victoria and Kevin the owners do and they use it just when you think they’re not looking and you’re push ups are not quite a push-up anymore—don’t worry you can take a break holding plank.  (Gee thanks).

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But that’s what you want in a gym-enthusiasm, motivation and great classes and teachers……

So drop in today they have free classes all weekend–it is their 1 year Anniversary.  And then pop by Red Rocket just down the block for a latte and muffin.

TIMETABLE
Although there is no need to book ahead of time, all classes have limited space, so arrive early! Timetable is subject to change. Fit Kids (3-6yrs) starts at 12:00pm both days.


Picture

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Sustenance and Sustainable for Brunch….Think Red Fish.

Havin’ a Fish Fry at Red Fish

Last Sunday night a bunch of friends and I popped by Red Fish for a fish fry.  You can see Chef David Friedman back there (in the photo)  bringing out platters of lightly battered, crispy fish;  yellow perch, catfish and spelt all wild, all from Lake Erie.  Sides were creamy coleslaw, herb seasoned fries and a great green salad in a tasty vinaigrette (and if you think you can get a well-seasoned vinaigrette just anywhere –you’d think, right?– you’d be wrong).

Inside!

Red Fish is at 890 College, west of the lovely La Fromagerie (in case you need to pick up some 14 Arpents cheese) and they also serve brunch.  All the seafood at Red Fish is seasonal and sustainable, they are a partner with Ocean Wise.

While there I perused the dinner and brunch menus which looked pretty delish.  So thought I’d throw it out there on a SNOWY (snowy!) Sunday morning.

Brunch Menu Red FIsh

Steelhead Trout rillettes, comforting fish cakes and a steamy BC Albacore Tuna Melt all sound pretty good to me.  And don’t worry, you can still get house made scones and double smoked bacon.

And here’s part of the dinner menu while I’m at it…

So now, you really only have to make yourself breakfast.  A few spoons of peanut butter straight from the jar?  Yep, that counts.

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A cocktail at Tundra may lead to….dinner at Tundra.

Tundra Launch Party (I danced my heart out… ok, its not really me just my body double)

In mid-September I was invited to drop by the re-launch of Tundra restaurant located at University and Richmond–a hop skip and jump from anywhere you might want to be downtown.  Which is what I was thinking about when I needed to pick a spot to meet some friends on Saturday night.  Afterall, why wait on a windy street corner when you could order a Manhattan at the beautiful horseshoe-shaped bar (with built in electrical plugs for workaholics!) sit back and not care how late anyone is.

The Tundra Manhattan

The Manhattan I strategically wove into my intro is pictured above– and I have been able to secure us all the recipe.  I will pause while you go make one and then we can continue together.  If you are reading this at the office at 9am I hope to God you mixed it in your styrofoam coffee cup–this isn’t Mad Men.

Tundra Manhattan

2oz Knob Creek Bourbon

1oz Taylor Fladgate Late Bottle Vintage Port

Dash Orange Bitters

Dash premium maple syrup

Shake or Stir with fresh ice and strain into chilled martini glass.  Garnish with 2 maraschino cherries

Seared scallops with celery and cilantro emulsion

While you’re sipping your drink, look around and check out the newly revamped room which was designed by Montreal firm Lemaymichaud.  What I like is that there’s space to be social in the bar/restaurant area and but there’s also space for quiet conversation  (“Great doing business with you”  or “Why does it always take you so long to order?”)

The wooden sphere by west coast artist Brent Comber (apologies for shoddy iPhone photo….)

Tundra’s warm cozy feeling comes from the wood used throughout the design and the entrance features a very cool sphere carved from one giant piece of Vancouver Island Redwood.

And then there’s the menu which you may casually pick up while you sip your drink.   May I make a few suggestions from the new Fall dinner menu; firstly the the scallops (in the Small Plates section) which featured seared scallops, celery and cilantro emulsion, chorizo, coconut curls, and crisped salsify.

House cured gravalax

Also on the Small Plate men is the house cured gravalax with rye bagel crisp, preserved ramps, mustard cream cheese, dill and radish.  It was the mustard cream cheese that called my name, but the preserved ramps were also a nice refreshing touch.

Roasted Heirloom Carrots

My main was Roasted Heirloom carrots, radish, cauliflower steak, watercress, oven dried ricotta and fig vinaigrette.  (Is there a vegetarian-steak revolution in Toronto- I just had grilled and smoked carrot “steak” at Yours Truly a few weeks previous.)  Anyway, this plate is quite lovely, no?

Northern Ontario Rabbit Confit

And then I sampled some of my friend’s Northern Ontario Rabbit Confit, which was as good as comfort food (fancy comfort food!) gets. Soft, tender and juicy.

Dessert and Cheese Sampler at Tundra

We rounded off the meal with a sample of dessert–that is the addictive pine nut brittle in the front, there were soft, chewy macaroons and a deconstructed creme brulee, mini-meringues and some lovely cheese.   And could the cheese/dessert board itself be more rustic?   I feel like that was ripped right up from an old barn and polished up.  A floor I’ll eat off of anytime.

And if you really want to hit the town and then not have to make your own bed, there are the trendy and luxurious Hilton suites.   We got a sneak peek at the launch.

Executive Chef at Tundra is Kevin Prendergast and the kitchen team sources local foods, wild ingredients come from a Quebec-based organic forager and other herbs come from the hotel’s garden.  Cheese is from that wonderful place, Cheese Boutique, in the west end.

Most importantly you can get jerk wings off the “nibbles” menu until midnight.

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Soupstock Needs Volunteers-and not just the soup-slurping types

You may have heard about the SoupStock event happening on October 21.  Hopefully you’re thinking “200 kinds of soup, hell yah”.  And you probably know the event is trying to raise awareness about the fight to stop the Highand’s companies proposed mega-quarry just 100 km northwest of Toronto.

Or perhaps you’ve seen “Stop the Megaquarry” signs but you don’t quite know the scope of what is being planned, in which case please take the time to watch this short video.  It is eye-opening.  It’s 6 minutes long and it is riveting as you realize what exactly the environmental impact will be.  On us.

The Highland Companies proposes to blast a pit deeper than Niagara Falls from beneath a landscape of great agricultural and ecological importance.

Soupstock is being organized by the Toronto Chefs’ Congress and the  David Suzuki Website (click to read more): Joining Chef Stadtlander are well-known culinary champions like Lynn Crawford, Jamie Kennedy, Brad Long and Donna Dooher. Up-and-coming chefs like Jon Pong of Hoof Raw Bar, Craig Harding of Campagnolo, and Calgary’s Connie DeSousa of Charcut, will also showcase their talents

THEY NEED VOLUNTEERS!  (INCLUDING CHEFS TO MAKE SOUP!)

They are looking for volunteers to play multiple roles during the Soupstock event including:

  •  Helping chefs unload their equipment and supplies during the morning of the event
  •  Selling soup tickets and swag at visitor tables
  • Cleaning up the park and ensuring everything is recycled properly
  • Answering questions about the host organizations and the mega-quarry campaign
  • Supporting speakers and musicians at the main stage
  • Helping direct media questions
  • Skills and Knowledge Required:
  • Great people skills – friendly, professional and outgoing
  •  Energetic, enjoys working in a team
  • Flexible, comfortable in fast-paced environments
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Strong interest in environmental issues and commitment to sustainability
  • Must love soup!

    Time Commitment:

    8 hours during the Soupstock event on October 21 (approximately 9-5:00) and a 1 hr orientation on October 17 at 7pm.

    Volunteer benefits:

    An opportunity to try original soup recipes from some of Canada’s greatest chefs  Morning coffee and muffins to energize you for the day
    Soupstock volunteer t-shirt
    Information about critical environmental issues in our province

    The opportunity to be involved in the largest culinary protest Ontario has ever seen!

    If you’d like to volunteer please email Aryne (asheppard@davidsuzuki.org) describing yourself and your interest in supporting Soupstock.

     

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The Grate Canadian Grilled Cheese Cook-Off (and grilled cheese giveaway-thanks Cheesewerks!)

THE WINNER: Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese by Chef Jason Bangerter

Remember that Bryan Adams song?  “Everything I do I do it for a Niagara Gold Crunch Grilled Cheese?”  A real wedding fave.

First off–yes–there is a grilled cheese give-a-way at the bottom of this post.  Second the Niagara Gold Crunch grilled cheese was unbelievable.

I spent this afternoon as a judge at The Dairy Farmer’s of Canada Grilled Cheese Cook-Off.  (I know, does lunch get any better?)  Four of Canada’s top chefs went head to head and each served two grilled cheese sandwiches made with cheese made from 100% milk  (you’ve probably seen the little blue cow label on your cheese, it means that a cheese is made with all cow’s milk, no other additives–aside from salt and culture of course.)

Just wanted to give you a little brief of the menu and the chefs, so I’ll start with Chef Bangerter and move on from there.

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of O&B ( Luma and Canteen), Toronto

CHEF JASON BANGERTER

Niagara Gold Crunch (The Winner)
Niagara Gold cheese, sour dough bread, prosciutto, baby arugula,  with the bread brushed with mayo that had been flavoured with garlic, thyme and pepper before being grilled.

*this was also served with pickled grapes and a sparkling fresh grape juice that was the perfect compliment to the savoury sandwich.  I hear it will be going on the menu…..  (but here is the RECIPE if you want to DIY it)

Sweet Summer Night

This was the Chef’s dessert grilled cheese. It was made with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries with a some basil added in between the grilled brioche. It was served with aged balsamic vinegar.

Executive Chef Michael Howell, Tempest Restaurant, Nova Scotia (defending champion)

CHEF MICHAEL HOWELL

Crabby Dipper

Yum, if you love crab dip, this is your man-wich from Chef Howell. The crab dip is made with cream cheese, marinated artichokes, fresh parsley and some hot sauce.  There as also a hint of smokiness from smoked Gouda and real crabmeat–of course.  Recipe here.

The Crabby Dipper

Apulia Panini

This was inspired by Chef Howell’s love of  Southern Italy (he gives culinary tours of Italy, just FYI!) this sandwich was on olive bread and had Asiago cheese, pesto, tapenade and sundried tomato compote inside. All homemade of course and incredibly flavourful.

Chef Liana Robberecht, Calgary Petroleum Club holding her Stampede Centennial

CHEF LIANA ROBBERECHT

Stampede Centennial

Chef Robberecht made this grilled ‘wich with pulled beef short ribs, provolone and blue cheese on sourdough–oh–and a bit of onion jam for some tangy sweetness. Must be eaten with fork and knife.  (Or just a pile of napkins on hand).

Cherry Bomb Grilled Cheese

The Cherry Bomb

This baby came close second for me.  It looked gorgeous on the plate (excuse my shoddy photo). The bright red, candied cherry tomatoes were bursting with flavour and gave the sandwich such a freshness married with Triple Cream Brie and then crunchy bacon (ok, my mouth started watering as I wrote that).  Trust me, you want the recipe for for the candied-tomato vinaigrette.

Executive Chef Ned Bell, Yew Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver

CHEF NED BELL

The Simple

This was a great concept, because the comfy, cozy grilled cheese we all want on a rainy day is just cheese melted and in this case served with a fruit chutney.  Showcased the bread and the cheese (Courtenay Cheddar and Island Brie).  And the presentation was, can I say, cute?  Would Chef Bell kill me?  I loved it.

The Ned “Bell Pepper” Sweet and Spicy

This little number was made on a country loaf with Hot Pepper Cheddar and Pacific Pepper Spicy Verdelait.   The red bell pepper jam on the side made it, I think you’ll be wanting this recipe too.

Judges Elizabeth Baird and Rita DeMontis (talking and tweeting about the event)

And who were my fellow judges?  Elizabeth Baird, Rita DeMontis and Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks which brings us to our free grilled cheese!

Judge Kevin Durkee of Cheesewerks at Grilled Cheese Mission Control

HI EVERYONE–THE GRILLED CHEESE VOUCHERS ARE ALL SPOKEN FOR. Thanks for emailing, we’ll do another giveaway soon!

Kevin has generously donated a few sets of tickets for a free Original Grilled Cheese (so you can either bring someone or eat two sandwiches–it’s a toughie).

Cheesewerks (56 Bathurst St, Toronto) which also serves soups and mac and cheese, also offers some amazing sodas that are made in-house (and written up by Macleans magazine).

Email me at sueriedl@gmail.com with the words “Grilled Cheese” and I’ll give them away, first come first serve!

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