New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is not my favourite holiday. I stay up until past midnight on a daily basis and I go out t drink and eat on a frequent basis. NYE makes all these things more tedious and expensive. My ultimate NYE is the following: going to a movie, a casual dinner at one of our favourite places, maybe a drink or two and then home for movies and the countdown. And today’s plan follows along those lines: we are going to see Django, then grab a bite to eat and a drink downtown, although probably at some ungodly early hour in order to get a table, and then over to a friend’s place where we will be trying out the Watermelon Champagne Jell-O shots I made.

Regardless of where 2012 found you and where you will find yourself in 2013, Happy New Year! Check out some cookies to reflect on the past year and get pumped for the new one ahead!

NYE2Happy New Year from LilaLoa.

newyearscoupleclockHappy New Year from Bake at 350.

0471Last year was celebrated by Sugerbelle.

900x900px-LL-7ca34af6_steampunk_new_years_eve_cookies_1A more unique New Year’s wish from Semi Sweet Designs.

New_Year_Cookie_Animation_003_grandeAnd finally, what the night is all about, the final countdown courtesy of Flour Box Bakery.

Happy New Year and see you in 2013!

Museum Tavern – Part II

The week before Christmas I was finally able to introduce GC to the Museum Tavern. The restaurant was decked out for Christmas – swags, buy ribbons and pine boughs. The Christmas decorations just gave the restaurant an even cosier, Victorian feel.

GC ordered the Wild Boar Torpedo.

IMG_3148The Wild Boar Torpedo – smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions, mushrooms and tomato sauce served with frites and slaw.

Wild boar tastes very similar to regular pork but it is much richer. This sandwich balanced all the rich flavours together perfectly between the sweetness of the onions, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the smokiness of the cheese. It takes your standard meatball sub and kicks it up a notch. If you are a sandwich lover, the torpedoes at Museum Tavern are worth trying out.

Instead of ordering a main, I decided to ordered two starters which was overwhelming. Next time, I could do with just one but I was so excited by the prospect of Stuffed Chicken Wings and Truffled Mushroom Pierogies that I had to order both. GC helped me finish both of these off.

IMG_3149Stuffed Chicken wings – with bacon and blue cheese, served with hot sauce. These chicken wings were ridiculous, but in a good way. The two smaller wings were not stuffed and allowed you to taste the chicken on its own. It was juicy, meaty and had a perfect crispy, slightly sweet breading on it. The stuffed wings were amazing and if you love blue cheese you need to try them. The combination of blue cheese and bacon is salty, creamy and a complete indulgence. This filling takes traditional chicken wings and takes them up a notch, making them sophisticated and more than frat boy pub grub. The hot sauce was smoky and hot, adding another dimension to these wings.

IMG_3150Truffled Mushroom Pierogies – caramalized onions  and crispy boar belly, served with sour cream. For as much as I loved the chicken wings, I think I loved these pierogies even more. They are not your traditional pierogies and I think it would be unfair to compare them to any traditional ones. The outside is crispy, protectively covering a soft and tender filling. The onions were sweet and tender, offsetting the richness of the boar. The boar was crispy, tender, juicy, meaty and completely fattening. The sour cream was speckled with chives which added freshness to the dish.

Any and all of these dishes should be consumed. This was another amazing meal at Museum Tavern and GC loved his first taste of it.

Happy munching!

Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich

Another recipe from Chatelaine, another take on Asian food – Banh Mi sandwiches.

IMG_31361. Banh Mi sandwiches are exploding on the food scene, especially in Toronto. This is a trend I hadn’t tried yet so I decided to make this recipe at home first before trying it out somewhere. Needless to say, after trying this at home, I will be trying it out somewhere in Toronto. If you have a banh mi suggestion, let me know!

2. This recipe is great because part of it can be made before hand. I prepared the sausage on the weekend and cooked them during the week. The sausages were free-formed, making it easier to make them and less disguisting as you don’t have to watch ground meat being squished into a tight casing. This recipe uses the honey garlic sausages – sweet with a touch of warmth.

3. The slaw was easy to make too! Just shredded carrots and various Asian condiment sauces that you let sit for 10 minutes. It is sweet, tart and slightly salty. All topped off with my favourite herb, cilantro! Delicious! The richness of the sausage pairs perfectly with the sweet tartness of the slaw. The cilantro adds a hint of citrus, rounding out the flavours of the sandwich.

The recipe for the sausages (and all adaptations) can be found here and the recipe for the banh mi sandwich can be found here. The sausages even taste great the next morning fried up with some eggs/

Happy munching!

Bilbo’s Pantry

Peter Jackson sitting in Bilbo’s Pantry.

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is currently out in theatres. We went to see it a week ago and my favourite part was at the beginning when the dwarfs take over Bilbo’s house. We are shown the inside of his hobbit hole and the bounty that is pouring out of Bilbo’s pantry. I love the depiction of this pantry. We are given an inside peek into the amount of food that hobbits keep on hand at all time in order to sustain all their various meals like elevensies and second breakfast. All the produce looks fresh and delicious. There are wheels of cheese, casks of ales, roasts of every type of meat possible and baskets of fruits and vegetables.  I also love that the pantry houses the various cooking utensils that are needed in preparing any food – spoons, knives, bowls and platters.

Stay tuned for more stills of this pantry and food from The Hobbit and check it out in theatres.

Happy movie watching!

Big Bone BBQ

After my day of appointments and The Goulash House, GC came to Newmarket and my dad took us out for dinner at Big Bone BBQ.

Whenever I watch shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives I think that there aren’t as many hole-in-the-wall places in Canada as there are in the US. The show, You’ve Gotta Eat Here, is slowly showing us that these places do exist here and even Triple D has been filming in Canada. Big Bone BBQ is one of these types of places and it’s conventiently located in my hometown! Located in a plaza on Eagle Street, if you didn’t know this restaurant existed, you would drive right past it. Dad discovered this place after seeing an ad in the local paper and had been the week before with Mom. A couple of former co-workers swore by this place but we had just never gotten around to trying it so when Dad suggested going here for dinner I jumped at the chance.

The restaurant was started by two guys from the US who wanted to bring real BBQ to Canada and now they have 4 or 5 locations in the GTA. It is a small restaurant, seating about 25-30 people with an option for take out. The walls are plastered with posters of BBQ competitions and accolades for this restaurant, including write-ups from Toronto Life. The decor is simple, allowing the classic BBQ to stand front and centre. There are several trophies all topped with pigs throughout the restaurant, assuring you that the food you are going to enjoy is prize worthy and legendary.

Dad started off with the Potato and Bacon Soup.

IMG_3108This soup was thick, creamy, salty and finished off perfectly with a piece of dense, sweet cornbread. I definitely want to try this soup at some point but I wanted to have my tastebuds ready for delicious barbeque.

For dinner, Dad and GC both ordered the Mini Combo and I ordered the Pulled Pork.

Big Bone BBQThe Mini Combo – Top row and bottom right – 3 bones of ribs, 1/2 lb of wings, fries, coleslaw and cornbread. Dad ordered the Honey Mustard Wings and GC ordered dry rub wings but we can’t remember… this is why you write about food shortly after you eat it rather than 3 weeks later…

The Pulled Pork Combo – Bottom left – 1 lb of pulled pork with all the fixings.

The ribs were juicy, fall-off-the-bone and smothered in delicious, sweet BBQ sauce. It says you get 3 bones of wing but both Dad and GC got 4 bones! The wings were not overly meaty but enough to not make you feel ripped off. The 1/2 lb of wings worked out to be 6 wings which is a good amount. These are not my favourite wings but they are definitely close to it!

As I have said previously, I don’t like cornbread. There is something about the texture of cornmeal that is gritty and bitter that I don’t find appealing. However, this cornbread was amazing – the best I’ve had. It was sweet, smooth and moist. I could eat a whole loaf on its own.

The coleslaw was creamy, but had a slight tang to it. It was crunchy and with a perfect balance of cabbage, lettuce and shredded carrots. It was very traditional coleslaw but it was perfectly done.

The pulled pork. I don`t know why I thought I could eat a pound of pulled pork… Well, I did so maybe that`s why I thought I could do it but it was slightly excessive. I would have liked more bread to eat with the pork but on its own was perfect too. It was juicy, moist, sweet and stringy, fall-apart.

It is clear as to why they have won so many awards, the food speaks for itself. It is comforting, juicy and delicious. I am already planning my next visit to this restaurant: next time I will be trying the Fantasy Burger – cheese, bacon and pulled pork. Yums! Mom and Dad, I`ll let you know when I`ll be in Newmarket!

Happy munching!

The Goulash House

A few weeks ago I had a few appointments in Newmarket and my dad was nice enough to drive me around to them and then take me for lunch. We went to a relatively new restaurant in Newmarket, The Goulash House. The Goulash House opened earlier in 2012, shortly after I moved to the city, and I was severely disappointed that I had missed its opening. I have been waiting for months to try this place and I finally got to. It was well worth the wait.

The Goulash House serves Hungarian cuisine and has the rustic, simple decor that pairs naturally with this kind of food. It is homey and cozy, a perfect ambiance to enjoy a bowl of thick, juicy goulash.

JDL started off with the goulash.

IMG_3102After seeing this stew, I need to learn how to make it. If any of my Eastern European friends/family have a recipe for goulash, preferably one that goes in the crock pot, hook me up! My dad loves their take on the goulash stew and says it’s enough to stand alone as it’s own meal. But that’s no fun, we had to get more food…

Next, JDL ordered the schnitzel sandwich.

IMG_3103And I, of course, ordered the pierogies.

IMG_3104This pierogies were amazing! They were crispy on the outside but tender and cheesy on the inside. The sour cream was thick and creamy and the bacon and onion mixture was crispy, salty and a great way to offset the richness of the cream and cheese. The pickled cabbage was unreal – slightly sweet, tangy and crunchy. These are the best pierogies I have ever had, but to be fair, these are the first pierogies I have ever had at a restaurant. Polish fail I know.

If you are in Newmarket this place is definitely worth a visit and for people in Toronto, it is worth the scenic drive to Newmarket.

Happy munching!

Starving Artist

A couple of weeks ago we went for brunch at Starving Artist, a suggestion that has been made by several different friends.

I didn’t take a photo of the outside of the restaurant the day we went because it was a cold, rainy December morning. This photo is from Toronto Foodies. I did however, take this photo of some wall art that was on the side of the restaurant:

IMG_3081The cute weirdness of these posters was only a taste of the uniqueness that was to come inside.

Starving Artist is a restaurant that specializes in waffles, and not just waffles, using waffles instead of bread. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of bread, I think this is a genius idea. It is a small restaurant, seating about 30 people inside and with a front and back patio for the warmer months. We were able to sit beside a fish tank which featured 5 or 6 goldfish swimming around espresso cups.

GC ordered the Breakfast Benny and I ordered the Monte Cristo.

Starving ArtistThe Breakfast Benny – potato waffles, poached eggs, caramelized bacon,
hollandaise sauce. The waffles were dense, creamy and seasoned with herbs, making them a perfect base for pillowy eggs and crispy bacon. The hollandaise was slightly sweet and lemony. From the taste I had, I preferred this waffle concoction to my own.

The Monte Cristo – roasted ham, mozzarella sandwiched in french toast waffles. This was good, but not as good as I wanted. It lost its Monte Cristo quality in between the French toast waffles. The waffles did not retain their waffle texture or fluffiness and did not gain the dense, egginess of French toast. There wasn’t enough cheese to balance out the excessive amount of ham.

With each order you can have a side of potato salad, fruit salad or maple bacon baked beans. GC opted for fruit salad which was fresh and had a great selection of different fruits that are not in season right now. I ordered the maple baked beans. I actually dislike beans but the maple bacon appealed to me. The beans were sweet, tender and juicy, everything beans should be.

Despite not loving my breakfast I would suggest this restaurant to satisfy any breakfast craving or as an opportunity to try a spin on an old favourite (except the Monte Cristo).

Happy munching!

 

 

7 West – Macaroni and Cheese

7 West is one of those place I always forget about even though I lived down the street from it for four years and now I work up the street from it. It is kitschy, but cute, trying for a bohemian vibe which is achieves through plump velvet curtains, mismatched tables and chairs, exposed brick walls and unique art pieces on the wall. The food is cheap and the restaurant is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year, making it a go-to for university students and hipsters alike.

I went here about a month ago for lunch with my friend Caitlin. I didn’t photograph our meal because I thought, “Hey, this is just 7 West so it is going to be nothing remarkable,” but I was wrong. I ordered their take on mac ‘n cheese – aged cheddar and Parmesan with elbow noodles and it was great! It was cheesy, creamy with a sharpness from the cheddar and a slight nuttiness from the Parmesan. Although I ordered the lunch portion, it was huge (I did eat it all however….) and I was completely stuffed.

This is a mac ‘n cheese I would recommend if you like creamy and overly cheesy mac ‘n cheeses.

Happy munching!

Chicago 2012

Oh, hey! Remember when I had a blog? Things have been incredibly busy over the past month with work, travelling, baking, appointments and Christmas. There is a list on my phone of about 10 posts that I have to write and I’m hoping over my Christmas break (5 days off of work, then back for 2 days and then off for 4 more!) I can catch up on life and food.

On American Thanksgiving weekend we went to Chicago for a wedding and a little getaway. The wedding was of a friend I had met in university, Nicole and her now husband, Andrew. They are a beautiful young couple and they are so in love it just makes you smile. I’m glad we were there for the wedding, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

We were there from Friday, November 23rd to Tuesday, November 27th with the wedding taking place on the Saturday. As like any other trip I take, the majority of my pictures and highlights revolve around food. Here is a day-by-day breakdown of where and what we ate and some details about what we did in Chicago.

Friday, November 23  On Black Friday we were walking up the Magnificent Mile which is probably one of the worst ideas we have ever had. It was packed, crowded and terrible – a very bad first impression of Chicago. As we would learn the rest of our stay, Chicago is nothing like this. It is relaxed, friendly and comfortable.  GC and I met up with Cynthia and we tried to go to The Purple Pig but it was packed so we opted to try some legendary deep dish pizza at the chain Giordano’s.

Me and GC with a deep dish Chicago-style pizza. Photo credit: Cynthia

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