Gastropost – Favourite Food

Last week’s Gastropost mission was your favourite food. If you have known me for 5 minutes you know my favourite food is cheese so it was an easy choice. You can see the newspaper pages here and here and my original post here or below.

I thought about all my favourite meals – pizza, lasagna, burritos, macaroni and cheese – and what they all had in common. CHEESE! And where better to celebrate cheese than at Maple Leaf Garden’s Loblaws’ Wall of Cheese?

50 Shades of Chicken

This is a real thing. According to a description on its Amazon page, pharmacy the book features recipes with names like “Dripping Thighs, diagnosis ” “Sticky Chicken Fingers, malady ” “Vanilla Chicken,” “Chicken with a Lardon,” “Bacon-Bound Wings,” “Spatchcock Chicken,” “Learning-to-Truss-You Chicken,” “Holy Hell Wings” and “Mustard-Spanked Chicken.”

You can read more about this cookbook on the Huffington Post website.

Now the real question is, who wants to have a 50 shades dinner party?

Food Trucks – TIFF Edition

Delayed reaction – on September 11th GC and I went to see Camp 14: Total Control Zone, a documentary about a man born in a North Korean forced labour camp. After this delightful film (obviously sarcastic, it was incredibly depressing) we went out to Bloor Street in front of the Bloor Cinema to hit up food trucks! We tried all three trucks that were there that night: Stuft Gourmet Sausages, Gourmet Gringos and Hula Girl Espresso.

1. We started with Stuft Gourmet Sausages. GC has been eyeing a restaurant in New York City called Dogmatic for years and this is a similar idea: sausages in a hollowed out baguette.

I love the simplicity of this truck’s design. The name is cute and the website features sexual innuendos which naturally come with the name “Stuft.” It is neat how the bun are toasted – there is a griddle on the truck with about 12 or so spears which the hollowed out buns get speared onto. The crew on the truck is high energy and excited about people and food. When you give them a tip, one person yells, “A tip for the truck!” and the rest of the crew cheers! I gave them a tip just to hear them cheer.

You choose your sausage and then you choose your topping. I choose the Creole Turducken Sausage (Turkey, duck, chicken seasoned in authentic Creole spices) topped with the sweet Chiptole BBQ sauce. The sausage was a nice blend of meat, resulting in a very juicy and moist sausage. The sauce was sweet and tangy, and added a little more heat to the subtle heat found in the sausage. The bun was perfectly toasted and held the sausage tightly making it the perfect handheld yum and easy for transportation.

GC choose the Spinach & Feta Lamb/Beef (Grass fed beef, Ontario spring beef, crumbled feta and baby spinach ) Sausage with Smoked Gouda and Mozzarella cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was great – creamy, thick and smoky. The sausage was okay – I had a hard time differentiating between the lamb and beef and I couldn’t really pick out the spinach or feta. A yummy sausage but not as complex tasting as one would expect.

2. Next we visited Gourmet Gringos.

I have been wanting to try Gourmet Gringos since I wrote the Gastropost article on my Toronto taco, or rather, the taco in Toronto that I couldn’t wait to try. For whatever reason, I took me about two months to get around to trying this truck, but it was well worth the wait.

Of course everything looked amazing, but we had to go for the fish tacos.

Mahi Mahi Fish taco: fresh Mahi Mahi fillets marinated overnight, then battered in a seasoned beer batter and fried until crispy and golden brown. The fillets are served on a fresh corn tortilla topped with homemade coleslaw, guacamole and finished off with a chipotle aioli.

These were delicious. The taco shell is the best tortilla I have ever eaten. It was so fresh that you could taste the freshly ground grains and the light toasting brought out an almost nutty taste to the shell. The fish was crispy yet flaky and the slaw added a further crunch to the taco. I wish there had been more spice but they did provide various hot sauces so that oversight was on our part. I liked that they keep the taco mild and you can amp up as much spice as you want.

3. And last, but certainly not least, we tried Hula Girl Espresso.

Hula Girl Espresso is a coffee shop that has expanded into a truck. They had a large variety of iced teas, coffees, espressos and other snacks. I ordered the rosemary watermelon lemonade and it was fantastic. The rosemary offered a nice spice and had a subtle pine taste. It would have tasted even better spiked with gin. There were so many fresh fruit flavours – the watermelon and then all the garnishes (lemons, and various types of berries). GC ordered the espresso and he thought it was good. His only complaint was that there was too much sugar but that is something that can easily be fixed.

Another great night with GC, and another great meal provided by food trucks. Perfection.

 

Hadley’s

The great thing about Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is that all that delicious food which is most likely to induce heart attack is in America and far from my reach. The unfortunate thing (although it is incredibly awesome) is that FN’s You Gotta Eat Here features similar types of restaurants but in Canada… Of course, there are exceptions and sometimes incredibly healthy, hearty restaurants are featured on both of these shows but those aren’t usually the ones that leave me drooling all over myself and the couch. A few weeks ago GC and I were watching an episode that featured Hadley’s in Toronto and that following Saturday we decided to check it out.

Hadley’s is a cute, quintessential neighbourhood diner – tucked away and unassuming from the street but full of regulars that the staff can call by name. We went at a slightly bizarre time, between brunch/lunch and dinner and the diner was about half full when we walked in. The restaurant can seat about 30 people in booths, at the bar or at high tables. The bar opens onto the small, kitchen.

We ordered what was featured on the episode of You Gotta Eat Here: The Remedy and a side of their Mac ‘n Cheese.

The Remedy – Deep fried poached eggs on hash with pulled pork, smoked cheddar, and hollandaise. Served with coleslaw and baked beans.

This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever eaten. The deep fried poached eggs are lightly breaded with a little crispiness but still the tender delicateness of poached eggs. They simply exploded all over the hash and the yolks were buttery. The hash was crispy and a great foundation for this excessiveness. The pulled pork added a sweet, maple flavour to the dish. The cheddar was slightly lost in the richness of the hollandaise but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I need hollandaise with my poached eggs, not cheese (shocking, I know). The apples on the side were slightly sweet and had a strong maple flavour. I didn’t try the coleslaw but it looked moist and vinegary.

The Mac ‘n Cheese.

Fusilli noodles with 3 cheeses. This was by far the cheesiest mac ‘n cheese I have had in Toronto. It was creamy, smooth and topped with the perfect amount of cracked black pepper. It can be ordered as a main or as a side, which is what we did. This was a foolish idea. I would suggest either splitting a side of mac ‘n cheese or making two trips to Hadley’s. This is on the top of the list of my favourite mac ‘n cheeses in Toronto.

This meal left us in a major food coma/food drunk state therefore Hadley’s is worth checking out.

Happy munching!

Gastropost – Drink like a Movie Star

Last week’s Gastropost mission was Drink Like a Movie Star in honour of the Toronto International Film Festival. Specialty cocktails were featured in a two page spread which can be found here (page 1) and here (page 2).

I decided to make a beer cocktail, an idea given to me by my friend Cynthia. The post can be found here or below. I also submitted the two cocktails we had from Mildred’s Temple Pierce, but you’ve seen those before.

Raspberry Vodka Beer Cocktail – A beer that will turn any cocktail drinker into a beer drinker and a cocktail that will turn any beer drinker a cocktail drinker.

Recipe

1 cup of fresh raspberries
4 bottle of Corona, chilled
1 container frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup good quality vodka
Garnish: lemon slices or raspberries

In a large container stir together together the first 4 ingredients. Serve over ice. Garnish with raspberries.

This is an easy recipe and it is delicious. I made this again this weekend up at the cottage. When we ran out, I made a version of this using Alexander Keith’s, orange juice, Sprite, vodka and raspberries. It was equally as delicious just slightly less sweet.

Give a beer cocktail a try – I have plans for a Strawberry Alexander Keith’s Cocktail in the near future.

Happy munching!

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

Months ago, I had bought a Groupon for Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village and since it was set to expire on September 12th, we thought we should use it for a date night on last Wednesday night; our friends Nick and Rachel tagged along and it became a double date night!

Liberty Village is fantastic and it’s not as hard to get to as people pretend. It is a little bit of a trek but it is very accessible by public transit (the Dufferin bus *cringe* or the King Street streetcar) and is worth it. There are a ton of great restaurants, coffee shops and furniture stores to check out. It’s like the Distillery District – it takes some time and effort to get there but once you are there, there is a ton to do.

Mildred’s is slightly tucked away from the rest of Liberty Village which allows for a quiet, secluded patio. The patio has all the standard restaurant furniture like tables and chairs but it also has couches and arm chairs with outdoor pillows. This gives the patio the feeling of a friend’s backyard patio rather than a patio in the middle of the city. The only thing that will make you realize where you are is the occasional passing GO-train, which depending where you live, can happen in your backyard anyway. If this patio was closer to work or home, I would definitely visit frequently. We opted to eat outside as the days of summer and patio weather are numbered. The inside was modern and simple, a contrast with the antique logo and imagery of Mildred. The Mildred logo reminds me of flipping through a Victorian fashion catalogue. It is pure perfection.

We started with a few cocktails. GC ordered the Gimme Hendricks.

This cocktail was the gin equivalent of a Caesar. It was thick and had a rich, garden vegetable taste but from cucumber rather than tomato. A successful twist on the classic gin and tonic.

Rachel and I both ordered the Watermelon Splash.

This cocktail was like taking a bite out of a juicy piece of watermelon. There was a hint of lime and a vodka twist. Yums!

The drinks menu on the restaurant website are different from what we were given so I can’t tell you what exactly Nick drink and I don’t have a picture of it. Regardless of the specifics, it was a fruity cocktail that came with a little umbrella and was delicious.

Our Groupon included soup, a pasta course to share, an entrée to share and individual desserts for $49. The meal itself is valued at $110 allowing you to save more than 50% of the price. It was a great deal and more value than you would find during Summer or Winterlicious.

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Blackberry Corn Pops

Another recipe from People’s Pops – Blackberry Corn pops.

I was incredibly interested in this recipe because it is such a unique combination. Unfortunately, it does nothing for me. The problem is that this pop is layered so you don’t get a successful melding and interacting of flavours. The blackberry layer is sweet, and tart and perfect. The corn layer on the other hand tastes like eating baby food, or what I would imagine eating baby food tastes like. It is terrible. GC has discovered the taking the pop off the stick and mushing it all together works out better.

Recipe below the cut! Happy munching.

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Gastropost – Tomatoes

This week’s mission for Gastropost was Tomatoes and it can be found here. My face was included but not my post. It can be found here or below.

Grilled cheese with homemade ketchup.

I was inspired to make my own ketchup by the opening scene from “Meet Me in St. Louis”:

Mrs. Anna Smith: Best ketchup we ever made, Katie.
Katie: Too sweet.
Mrs. Anna Smith: Mr Smith Likes it on the sweet side.
Katie: All men like it on the sweet side. Too sweet, Mrs. Smith.
Lon Smith Jr.: Hello. Too flat.
Katie: You can add spice, but you can’t take it out.

Delicious, sweet, with a hint of spice and easy to make. This recipe is from The Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food Cookbook and it is below the cut.

Happy munching!

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La Carnita – Part III

On Friday night I went to La Carnita with my friend, Laura.

We both ordered two In Cod We Trust. Below is our tray once we each had had one of these delicious beauties.

In Cod We Trust – Voltron sauce, lime crema, pickled red cabbage, green apple & cilantro. These were just as good as the first time I tasted them. It seemed like they have made the taco shell slightly smaller but all the taco components are the same size and spilling out of the shell.

My third taco was the Special (pictured left) and Laura’s third taco was the Tostada de Lengua (pictured right).

The Special – braised beef cheeks, fresh avocado, jalapeño peppers, and sauteed shallots

The Tostada de Lengue – beef tongue, Westcoast verde, orange sauce, grilled pineapple radish & beet sprouts

The Special was amazing. The beef cheeks were moist and fell apart with each bite being perfectly braised. The avocado was fruity and bright, incredibly fresh and perfectly ripe. I like my avocado slightly firm but still sweet. The jalapeño peppers added the right amount of heat, a slow sizzle in your mouth. The sauteed shallots added a slight sweetness and crunch that tied the entire taco together. This is a taco I would like to see on the menu.

And for dessert I ordered the Blueberry Paleta (pictured below) and Laura ordered the Churros (not pictured – how many time can you post the same picture of churros?)

This tasted like it was made with wild blueberries from the Northern Ontario Canadian Shield. Sweet, but slightly tart with a few whole berries speckled throughout.

Happy munching!