Toronto - DINING & NIGHTLIFE
March 29th, 2013
Jimmy Stewart of Vancouver's HousexGuest restaurant shares a classic Easter Sunday dinner of Maple and Cola Roasted Ham with Pomme Dauphinoise, Snap Peas and English Mustard. With minimal prep required, you can spend more time on the centerpieces, like these in-bloom flowers in hollowed out eggshells (courtesy of our other favourite Stewart, Martha.)
1 (4 1/4 to 4 1/2-pound) bone in ham
1 onion, peeled, cut in 1/2
1 liter bottle of cola
½ cup of maple syrup
1 heaping tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pre-heat oven to 325
1. Score the entire ham in diamond patterns and pour the maple syrup all over the ham. Coat the ham in the mustard powder and brown sugar, cut the onion in half and place all of it in a dutch oven or roasting pan.
2. After approx. 20 minutes add the cola to the pan, stir with a spoon to ‘deglaze’ the bottom of the pan and baste the ham with the mixture. Do this every 10 minutes until the ham reads 160F on a thermometer. Once this temperature is reached, remove the ham from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. The ham will continue to cook for another few minutes so just let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.
Jimmy says… "Cooking ham with maple and cola is a tradition of my fathers that I feel is the best way to have ham cooked. It’s sweet, salty, juicy and straight up delicious."
See the recipes for pomme dauphinoise and snap peas on our Editors' Diary.
March 22nd, 2013
Clarence Square has always felt like a little bit of London in Toronto and now a new café has introduced a hint of the Rive Gauche too.
Stop in to the modern, yet warm Le Neuf Café, hidden discreetly in one of the terraces to the north side of the park. Just have time for a quick break? Sip your Café au Lait ($3.25) and sample one of the to-die-for patisseries. More time to spare? Indulge in a savoury crêpes galettes, a classic Quiche Lorraine or one of the Plats du Jour for your lunch. Next we want to try the Le Neuf brunch (poached eggs on brioche s.v.p), available weekends only from 9-3pm.
As yet unlicensed, we predict the Le Neuf patio will nonethless be buzzing with intellectuals come warm spring days.—Julie Whelan
Le Neuf Café, 9 Clarence Square, Toronto, 647-351-6855, http://leneufcafe.com
March 5th, 2013
The English tradition of afternoon tea – scones, dainty sandwiches and Darjeeling at 4 p.m. – was invented in the mid 1800s by Anna Maria Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, as a way to stave off “that sinking feeling between luncheon and supper”.
In an effort to revive the tradition, (because who doesn’t need a 4 o’clock pick-me-up) we’re baking bundts and stocking the pantry with as assortment of teas that even the royals would swoon over.
Take a peek at the lovely selection hand-picked by the aficionados over at Tea Sparrow. A package of loose-leaf blends from various brands is delivered to your door each month. Think Lavender Earl Grey or English black tea with bergamot, caramel and rose-petals.
Here’s to high tea. —Athena Tsavliris
Your monthly subscription ($20) includes four blends of loose-leaf tea, www.teasparrow.com
March 1st, 2013
We may be beating the wheat belly, but boy do we miss our daily bread.
The biggest temptation this week came in the form of supernally buttery croissants at Brioche Dorée. “Viens ici, mon petit ami,” we heard it whisper from the bread-basket. And then more pastries – Petits Pains au Chocolat and warm flaky brioches – chimed in with “le blé et gluten est bon pour toi.”
Who are we to trust, the pastries, or our naturopath? It’s all so confusing.
For those of you happily indulging in the joy that is wheat, dash to Toronto’s first outpost of this wildly popular European chain, and eat croissants for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Brioche Dorée, 650 King St., Toronto, www.briochedoree.com
February 8th, 2013
Gone are the days when avoiding gluten or dairy meant deprivation.
Nowadays in our fair city, it's getting easier than ever to find snacks and meals that cater to every dietary need without sacrificing flavour. Case in point: our new favourite gluten-free and mostly dairy-free baked goods from Toronto's own Queen B Pastry, available everywhere from Crema and Dark Horse coffee shops to Pusateri's and Holt's Café, even the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. The orange olive oil cake will have you dreaming of a Spanish getaway, and the deeply chocolatey Crownie (it's half cookie, half brownie) beats cravings while doubling as a satisfying pre- or post-workout snack.
When you can work this much magic with teff, chickpea and brown rice flours, who needs wheat?
January 25th, 2013
If your culinary adventures have taken you around the world, make your next stop Israel.
Jerusalem: A Cookbook is a collaboration between two chefs: Sami Tamimi, who grew up in the Muslim east side of the city, and Yotam Ottolenghi, who grew up in the Jewish west side. If the style of the book looks vaguely familiar, it is because Ottolenghi is the non-vegetarian chef behind the vegetarian cookbook Plenty, a Vitamin Daily pick. While some of the recipes will have you grocery store-hopping in search of harissa paste, others, like fried tomatoes with garlic, are quite simple. And each is photographed so beautifully the book deserves to be displayed on your coffee table.
Tell your tastebuds to start packing. —Kelsey Dundon
$39.95 at Chapters.ca
January 23rd, 2013
The best part of researching the Hedonist’s Guide to Toronto was getting to stick her fork into the city eclectic food scene, says U.K.-based writer Stephanie Plentl. She spent four months here and continues to visit whenever the opportunity arises. Last week, over a coffee in my Annex kitchen, Plentl shared some of her latest and greatest Toronto meals.
Momofoku: Offering a trio of restos with three degrees of cheque-anxiety, the cheapest eats are in the downstairs Noodle Bar. Rice cakes and ginger scallion noodles come up trumps. http://momofuku.com/toronto/noodle-bar-to/
January 15th, 2013
Joining the market mix is Thomas Lavers, a charming pantry of all things canned, cured, pickled and brined.
You’ll find all sorts of treats, from onion jam and pickled green beans to fresh Ontario quail eggs, pestos and preserves. The house-made potato and cheddar pierogi are worth the carbs, and if you’re really lucky you’ll find a freshly-made Muffaletta at the sandwich counter too.
January is not the month to diet, anyway. —Athena Tsavliris
Thomas Lavers, 193 Baldwin St., Toronto.
January 11th, 2013
While we're still impressed with the new Eaton Centre food court's selection of restaurants and, above all, purse hooks, it's far from meeting all our dining needs. Here are three newish spots nearby worth booking ahead for.
Hawthorne Food and Drink's creative seasonal menu had us vacillating between chestnut gnocchi with charred kale and whole grain salad with a cup of soup before we settled on the green onion cake toast, grilled eggplant and mushrooms served between two thick onion pancakes. Round out your meal with the solid list of homemade sodas and Ontario beer or the cocktail of the day. Hawthorne Food and Drink, 60 Richmond St E (at Church), Toronto, 647-930-9517.
Blink and you might miss Richmond Station, across the street from the back of The Bay. But be sure to drop by for their take on classic dishes: think roasted beet salad, mushroom fettuccine or a reputedly to-die-for burger served with rosemary fries, plus oysters on the half shell to start off your meal. Richmond Station 1 Richmond St W (at Yonge), Toronto, 647-748-1444, www.richmondstation.ca
At The Gabardine, we whetted our appetite with the Argyle, a blend of gin, Campari, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice, before digging into the best mac and cheese we can recall. Other comfort food staples you might find on the menu include a daily vegetarian risotto, chicken pot pie and a tuna melt on rye – but it would be a crime not to save room for dessert. The Gabardine, 372 Bay St (at Richmond), Toronto, 647-352-3211, www.thegabardine.com
December 31st, 2012
What makes the perfect breakfast after a touch too much fun? French toast made with Panettone slices and topped with mounds of mascarpone cream hits the spot every time.
Whisk four eggs together
Add a smidgen of ground cinnamon and the grated zest of half an orange
Soak your Panettone (sliced as thickly as you like) in a dish for ten minutes of so
Fry in a buttered pan on both sides until golden brown
Dust the toast with icing sugar and serve with a generous dollop of mascarpone cream
Happy New Year!