Toronto - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
April 16th, 2010
Sharpening, cross-chopping, slicing, julienning—there’s more than one way to cut a carrot. We put our knife skills to the test with a three-hour class at Calphalon.
Our fruit salad turned out peachy, minus the mushy mango and uneven apple matchsticks. We gobbled that up and moved on to preparing our mise-en-place for a stir-fry.
Our instructor Susie and her assistant Estelle were superb, talking us through techniques (for basil chiffonade place leaves in a little pile, roll up like a cigar and roll-slice) while throwing in bits of trivia along the way (never put good knives in the dishwasher or they will blunt). A huge, handy mirror helped us mimic the instructions.
With shrimp stir-fry for six, and all ten fingers intact, we headed for home.
$130/3-hour class, Calphalon, 425 King St. W., Toronto, 416-847-2212, www.calphalonculinarycenter.com
April 9th, 2010
A half-hour wait for your table isn’t so bad when the peace offering comes in the shape of smooth, buttery foie gras.
Carlo Catallo knows how to take care of his guests. Our feast at Splendido continued with perfect parpadelle smothered in rabbit and chanterelles ($17) and a dish of roasted winter vegetables ($15) with broccoli purée and walnut vinaigrette.
For our mains we dug into an exquisite Black Angus Rib Eye Steak with frites in a sliver cup ($38) and a delicious piece of Sea Bass ($26) served with lentils and swiss chard.
And how could a meal so decadent end with anything but a rich chocolate tart ($12)?
Splendido, 88 Harbord St., Toronto, 416-929-7788, www.splendido.ca
April 1st, 2010
Foodsters are having a great time in Toronto with Origin, Ruby Watcho, Malena, and Böhmer all opening in the last month.
Next up is Hoodwink in the Junction. With delicacies such as chocolate covered scorpions, pan-seared zebra and wok fried toad legs on the menu, tame eaters need not apply.
We’ll try anything that’s not still moving, but for dessert we’re not missing egg and bacon ice-cream.
Bon appetit and April Fool’s from Vitamin Daily Toronto!
March 31st, 2010
As a nod to Greek Easter, we asked Christine Cushing, host of Fearless in the Kitchen, to share a simple and tasty recipe:
Kopanisti – Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Spread
2 roasted red peppers, peeled and seeded
1/2 pound good quality feta cheese, crumbled (225 grams)
1/2 tsp chili flakes or freshly chopped chili (2 ml)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (50 ml)
In a food processor puree the roasted peppers. Add the crumbled feta cheese and pulse a few times. Add the chili and pulse. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in olive oil until blended. Spoon over grilled pita or flatbread.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
Plate smashing, optional.
March 19th, 2010
We’re trading in our usual recipes for ones that’ll send the taste buds soaring.
The Spice Trader’s lovely new location is crammed with exotic flavours from Ajowan seed and Amchur powder to pungent Cubeb pepper.
Sprinkle a little Marash powder into your Mexican chili or try the Bangkok blend in your next shrimp stirfry.
Don’t miss out on the gourmet olive oils, mouthwatering cookbooks and cocoa bites from Taza chocolate.
Now we're sugar, spice and everything nice.
The Spice Trader, 877 Queen St. W., Toronto, 647-430-7085, www.thespicetrader.ca
March 12th, 2010
The sap is rising and already we’re fantasizing about fiddleheads, rhubarb and wild leeks.
But until the crocuses pop we’ll keep stuffing our bags with gourmet delights from these fantastic year-round farmers’ markets:
March 5th, 2010
Step aside Nigella, there’s a new goddess in the kitchen whipping up wholesome treats like cauliflower cheese, pear and ginger muffins and grilled bananas with Greek yogurt and agave.
Model turned writer, Sophie Dahl brings a sweet, nostalgic voice to the subject of food in her first cookbook, Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights ($36.99). “A welcome dream was a cloud made of trifle, a slick spring bubbling with chocolate or a fountain bursting with forbidden Sprite or Cherry Coke, ” she writes in her intro.
Herewith, a recipe for Clover Dahl's (Sophie’s younger sister) Carnation milk jelly:
1 packet strawberry jelly
125ml cup hot water
1 can evaporated milk
Slices of strawberry, swirls of cream and curls of chocolate to decorate (optional)
Dissolve the jelly in the hot water. When the mixture is cool, whisk in the evaporated milk until the mixture is thick and frothy. Leave it to set for at least two hours. Cover the jelly with strawberry slices, swirls of cream and curls of grated chocolate, if you wish - the camper the better, really.
At Good Egg, 267 Augusta Ave.,Toronto, 416-593-4663, www.goodegg.ca
March 3rd, 2010
We love nothing more than a plate full of homemade pierogies, but if the thought of rolling, stuffing and pinching dough all afternoon turns you off, head to Zagloba Deli for delicious dumplings like Babcia used to make.
Run by a family of Polish immigrants, the Deli (as long-time customers call it) is known for its Ruskie pierogi ($4.80/dozen)—delicate dough filled with the perfect amount of potato and cheese.
With row after row of fresh, homemade food, you’ll have a hard time choosing. We love to warm up with a bowl of delicious bean soup ($2.99) and follow up with a traditional cabbage roll dinner with mashed potatoes and kapusta ($6.99).
Polish off your meal with a pint of Zywiec.
Zagloba Deli, 2555 Dixie Rd., Mississauga, 905-279-9925.
February 26th, 2010
Nigella Lawson may be able to bake brownies in a ballgown, but we’re far too clumsy to even try.
In fact, the domestic goddess rarely even wears a pinny – a staple in our kitchen. We like the cute options ($39) at Domistyle. They come in various colours and prints and many are hand-embroidered with flirty messages like "Caution: Hot Dish."
Now we need one for the beau that says "Kitchen Nightmare."
February 19th, 2010
The city has coffee bars and tea lounges aplenty, but where to go for an energy boosting shot of yerba mate?
Look no further than El Almacen, Toronto’s first yerba mate café. Made from the leaves of a tree that’s in the same family as holly, Argentina’s national drink tastes a bit like green tea and is loaded with anti-oxidants.
At Almacen, your mate is served in a traditional cured gourd with a bombilla (a filter-tipped metal straw) to sip it from.
Mate can be drunk at any time of the day, but the most important part of the tradition is that it’s drunk en masse.
Get your Gaucho and head on over.
El Almacen, 1078 Queen St. W., Toronto, 416-516-2898.