Gilead Café

As Christmas approaches weekends and evenings fill with dinner parties, festive cocktails and baking. It’s hard to maintain any sense of normalcy and schedule which for me means GC and brunch. Last weekend GC and I reconnected over brunch at Gilead Café.

Gilead Café is sleek and modern with a touch of rustic charm. It beautifully combines materials and styles. There is a coffee bar, a blackboard wall with daily specials and walls of preserves. It is modern and simple without being cold and sterile. It is my dream kitchen. We were seated at a small wooden table near the window with views of the alleyway and row houses.

I ordered the Poached Eggs Benedict with House-made Ham.

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YUMS. This was simple and understated but absolutely perfect. The hollandaise was zippy and silky. It was lemony and tart without being too citrus. It was drowning perfectly poached eggs.They were runny and rich. The ham was sweet and flaky. The English muffin was absolutely amazing. We all know how I constantly site my Gordon Ramsay English muffin as the best English muffin I have ever had but it looks like we might have a contender. It was airy, buttery and light. A fluffy, little pillow to put your delicate head on. I would like to eat this again and again.

The low point of this dish: the lentils. Why am I eating lentils in general let alone accompanying my delicious brunch? Fine, insist that I try to be a bit more healthy but these were mealy and boring. I would rather have salad with my brunch than lentils. Ick.

GC ordered the Poutine with Braised Beef & Aged Cheddar.

IMG_2683How come GC gets to eat poutine for breakfast and I had lentils on my plate? And why are all my life problems the epitome of first world? But because GC loves me he shared and I was able to enjoy this amazingness. The fries were crispy and fresh. The braised beef was tender, rich and delicate, flaking gently over the the fries. The cheese melted and the dollop of sour cream was decadent and amazing.

This brunch was fantastic. It was simple but sophisticated and delicious. After our brunch we headed to the Distillery District to wander the Christmas Market and then to the Gardiner Museum to check out the 12 Trees of Christmas. This year the theme was Toronto and the trees represented the various neighbourhoods of the city. Below are a few of my favourites:

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St. Patrick’s Day 2014

St. Patrick’s Day is not my favourite holiday but it is one I seem to celebrate every year. I wear green, I paint my nails green and gold and of course, I bake and cook.

This year, I busted out Brown Eyed Baker’s Irish Car Bomb recipe again because it is perfect and totally lovely. Between juggling my purse, lunch and a massive container of cupcakes, trying to hold on to the subway pole and not making eye contact with people so they don’t ask for treats, I narrowly made it to work without a smushed or dented cupcake. Phew. I think it was worth it as all the cupcakes were munched and not a trace remained.

For lunch I made Irish Lamb Stew (from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day – March 17). Giancarlo and I made this stew together and it was the first thing we truly made together – cue your awwwws.

IMG_5587This stew was amazing. It has a huge depth of flavour and texture. Because the ingredients are layered, the bottom layer of potatoes and onion complete dissolve and create a thick, flavourful base for the stew. The top layer of potatoes and onion maintain their shape and texture creating distinguishable chunks of deliciousness. The lamb is chewy, moist and tender.The thyme permeates the entire soup and gives it this rich, intense flavour. Yummmm.

This stew will become a staple for St. Patrick’s Day in our house. It is a few days late but you should make it anyway!

Recipe is below the cut and happy munching!

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