Toronto - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
January 23rd, 2009
Is it possible to live on toasted cheese sandwiches alone?
Since discovering Chabichou, a new gourmet cheese boutique in the Annex, we’ve craved nothing but gooey Swiss cheese melted between slices of warm, crunchy rye bread.
Of course there is Chabichou (a soft French cheese), as well as a robust selection of fondue cheeses (Gruyère), blue cheeses (St. Agur) and triple cream cheeses from Quebec (Baluchon). A selection of cured meats and artisinal breads (from Jules in Mount Pleasant) are also on offer as are some wonderful homemade pates, gravlax, pots of crème brûlée and dauphinoise potatoes.
On the pantry shelf you’ll find aged balsamic vinegars, herbal teas from Mariage Frère, lavender honey, cookery books and other goodies.
It’s hard to leave empty handed, and impossible to leave without a toasted cheese sarni for the road.
Chabichou, 196 Borden St., Toronto, 647-430-4942, www.chabichou.ca
January 16th, 2009
If the thought of school food conjures images of mushy peas, soggy fish sticks and semolina pudding, then you haven't tried School Bakery & Cafe.
As you dive into a mini tower of springy pancakes ($9) loaded with blueberries, cream and syrup, memories of stodgy cafeteria grub will quickly disappear. Other offerings include the ultra-dacadent peanut butter and chocolate waffle sandwich ($11), super cheesy french toast ($10) and poached eggs on a cheddar chive biscuit ($10).
Schoolroom props (books, alphabet blocks, chalkboards) sweep you back to class. A giant chalkboard in the washroom reminds you to ‘brush up on your English Literature at the bar.’
Nestled in the bustling Liberty Village neighbourhood, this is one cool place to play hookie.
School Bakery & Cafe, 70 Fraser Ave., Liberty Village, Toronto, 416-588-0005, www.sbcto.com
January 12th, 2009
We spend so much time at Terroni Queen, the staff practically order for us. But after dining at Cosimo's latest venture, we're willing to break with tradition. Herewith, five things we love about Osteria Ciceri e Tria:
1. Reservations! Yes, it takes them, which means no more standing in mile long lineups in minus a zillion Celsius.
2. Friends in high places: communal dining along one great, big wooden table.
3. A deliciously warming soup of chickpeas and Tria pasta (Ciceri e Tria) and the tastiest branzino antipasto we’ve had in ages.
4. Italiano lessons in the loo: Listen to Italian phrases while retouching your perfect red pout.
5. The authentic, homemade dolci (torta di pane all arancias, torta della nonna, crème caramel) are not to be missed—and are best washed down with an Amaro Nonino Grappa.
Osteria Ciceri e Tria, 106 Victoria St., Toronto, 416-955-0258.
December 31st, 2008
Cleansing is for January. Until then, bottom’s up!
Don’t panic, it’s organic—the 2007 Soleus Cabernet Sauvignon from Chilé (look for the watering can on the label) is barrel aged and surprisingly refined for $13.99. Drink up!
Athena, Toronto editor
Every time we eat at Terroni (sometimes thrice weekly!) we order a bottle of Biferno Rosso. Nothing washes down a Margherita better. Approx. $21.99.
Malwina, Calgary editor
For white we’ll be pouring the aromatic Kung Fu Girl Riesling ($25) and for red the vivacious Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2008, $16.
Elsa, Montreal editor, French edition
Château Moncontour 2005 Vouvray: A very good French sparkling wine that looks like Champagne, tastes delicious, and is a lot cheaper, $19.95.
Maria, Copy chief
For the pre-dinner cheese plate we uncork a bottle of the rich and fruity Sandhill Pinot Blanc, $18.
December 24th, 2008
You’ve been indulging for a month straight. Why stop now? Step into your favourite jammies and feast on French toast in bed this Christmas morning.
4 slices of Pandoro, about half an inch thick
1/2 cup whole milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. sugar
a pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
icing sugar/syrup/crème fraîche for garnish
1. In a large bowl combine the milk, egg yolks, sugar, and cinnamon and whisk until mixed.
2. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted, dip your first Pandoro slice in the mixture.
3. Saute the Pandoro in the butter for a few minutes on each side and then move to a plate while you cook the remaining Pandoro pieces.
4. Top with icing sugar, maple syrup or crème fraîche and berries.
Note: You can make French toast with any bread that tickles your fancy, but we like to use this rich, Italian, egg-y bread.
Recipe serves 2.
Buy your Pandoro at Lady York, 2939 Dufferin St., Toronto, 416-781-8585 and other Italian food stores.
December 19th, 2008
Spoil the foodie in the family this holiday with a stocking stuffed with edible delights.
At new food retail store A Taste of Quebec you’ll find masses of Québécois goodies like wild meats, artisanal cheeses, rum infused maple syrup, honeys and gourmet breads.
By night, the 2000-square-foot Distillery District space turns into a tasting salon led by top chef, J.P. Chalet. Indulge your food lover in a wine tasting, lecture or private tutorial, or gather a group for an intimate dinner prepared by Chalet, Jennifer Decorte and Peter Tsang.
A Taste of Quebec, 55 Mill St., Building #36, 1st Floor, Toronto, 416-364-5020, www.atasteofquebec.com
December 12th, 2008
Last week we brought you spicy gluvine. This week we’re celebrating the festive season with gallons of rich and creamy eggnog guaranteed to get everyone feeling warm and fuzzy—even Uncle Ebenezer.
You will need:
30ml spiced rum
65ml whole milk
35ml double cream
1 free-range egg, cracked into a bowl
3 tsp white sugar
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
ice to serve
1. Place all of the ingredients, except the nutmeg and ice, into a cocktail shaker and shake it all together.
2. Strain the mixture into a short, ice-filled rocks glass.
3. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.
Recipe is for one. Double, triple, etc. as required.
December 5th, 2008
Let’s pretend we’re on the sunny slopes of Gstaad, sipping gluvine while we wait for our bratwurst to arrive.
Gluvine Ingredients (serves six):
1 bottle red wine
½ cup demerara sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, halved
1 dried bay leaf
Put the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar, bayleaf and the spices. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Taste to see if you want the wine sweeter, and add more sugar to taste. Turn off the heat and strain into heatproof glasses. Serve at once.
Note: mulled wine is best served strong and sweet, so don’t be shy with the sugar.
November 28th, 2008
Known as the "Garden of France", the Loire is an enchanting region of vineyards, flowers and lush rolling hills. It’s also the latest addition to Harbord’s burgeoning foodie strip.
On a jam-packed opening night, candles flickered and diners indulged as the rain came pouring down. Our bbq frog legs, oysters and muscles cooked with chorizo and bell peppers all hit the spot. And for dessert a hearty-sized warm pear crumble was devoured in minutes.
Owned by childhood friends Jean-Charles Dupoire and Sylvain Brissonnet, (they both grew up in the Loire Valley) this ‘casual gourmet’ prides itself on a seasonal menu that will change week-to-week based on what is fresh and available.
French food without the attitude.
Loire Casual Gourmet is located at 119 Harbord St., Toronto, $80 for two, 416-850-8330, www.loirerestaurant.ca
November 27th, 2008
Potatoes roasted in goose fat; turkey stuffed with panettone; pudding doused in brandy—no other holiday is quite a gluttonous as Crimbo.
Bursting with festive cakes, cookies, sauces, preserves and trimmings, the recipes in Nigella Christmas will guarantee a holiday of decadent feasting.
Chapters include "The More the Merrier" (Cocktails, Canapés and Manageable Mass Catering), "Seasonal Support" (Soups, Salad, Sauces and Serve-later Sides) and "Joy to the World" (Christmas Baking and Sweet Treats).
Who’s washing up?