Maker Pizza… again.

Yes, I went to Maker Pizza two weekends in a row and yes, I had the Bodega sandwich both times. But this time, we split the Bodega and ordered a small pizza to share. I don’t think that is an argument in my favour for health and fitness but it is definitely an argument in my favour for good life choices in delicious food.

We ordered the Porkys but this is what came out to us.IMG_5869No, that is not pork, it is mushrooms and lots of them. Although I love mushrooms and mushroom pizzas, not everyone in attendance that afternoon loves them. When I returned to the counter to clarify my order, the woman behind the counter said, “Oh, ok. Sorry about that. Just keep it. I’ll bring out your order shortly.” HELLS YES. I already was in love with Maker Pizza but now I am completely sold on them.

The pizza that was brought to us was the So Mushroom: honey mushrooms, mascarpone, chopped garlic, grana padano, sea salt and pepper.

Oh. My. God. This is the best mushroom pizza I have ever had and one of the best pizzas I have ever had. Unlike other Neapolitan pizzas, this crust is slightly thicker and completely cooked through to the middle of the pizza. There is none of that your toppings will slide off the centre and burn your face nonsense that can often happen with this style of pizza. The crust itself is salty, doughy and has subtle yeasty flavour to it. It is the best pizza dough I have tasted. The dough is all made by a guy named Kevin who’s name adorns every box of pizza. At first I thought this was a play on Home Alone and Kevin McCallister’s love of cheese pizza but quickly learned that Kevin is Maker Pizza’s pizza maker and he knows what he is doing.

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I loved the mushrooms on this pizza. The honey mushrooms are thin and papery, melting as soon as they touch your tongue. I love any mushroom that looks like a toadstool; they have a whimsical quality about them which almost makes them taste more woody and earthy. The cheese was creamy, milky and thick and was wrapped up in flavours of pepper and garlic.

I want to eat this pizza again and again and again.

Once I was almost too full on pizza, the Porkys came out and I obviously had to have a slice of that too.

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The Porkys with pork shoulder sugo, stracciatella, basil, garlic, chili peppers, grand Padano, sea salt and pepper.

Again, another delicious pizza. The pork shoulder had a pulled-pork consistency, wrapped up in delicious tomato sauce rather than barbecue. It added a slightly fruity acidity to the richness of the white pizza, which you don’t often find; most white pizzas feature more veggies than meat.

Yes, for those of you keeping track, as this point I had enjoyed half a Bodega sandwich, a slice of So Mushroom pizza and a slice of Porkys pizza. I was obviously stuffed but took my leftovers home and waited anxiously to eat the next bites of this pizza. Even now, I am thinking about my next bite. Maybe this weekend, make it three in a row?

Happy munching!

Maker Pizza – The Bodega

I’m currently on a huge sandwich kick: I’ve been eating various iterations of Cubano sandwiches, I recently munched a lobster roll from Buster’s Sea Cove in St. Lawrence Market, I’m planning a burger date in the next week or so with my pal Lynsey and I’ve been eating copious amounts of breaded chicken sandwiches from California Sandwiches thanks to Uber Eats.

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While the excessive eating of Uber Eats has to stop (or I at least have to walk to California Sandwiches location that is 10 minutes away from my house), the sandwich eating does not. Sandwiches are the most convenient way to eat meat and cheese. On the weekend GC and I put this theory to the test and headed down to Maker Pizza to try their sandwiches. Yes, we went to a pizza joint to eat sandwiches but I suggest you do too. We both ordered the Bodega which is arguably one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.

IMG_5815The Bodega with mortadella, ham, turkey, salami, mozzarella, provolone, tomato, white onion, iceberg lettuce, roasted red pepper, roasted jalapeno, pepperoncini, sub sauce and served on a sesame bun.

This sandwich is as intimidating, epic and ridiculous as it looks. Despite having four types of deli meat (which I now think all sandwiches should), the sandwich is not greasy or heavy. This is because the veggie portion of the sandwich is made into a slaw with a vinegary tartness to it, which lightens the sandwich. By making the vegetables into a slaw, you do not have any of that wet, sliminess that can sometimes happen with having lettuce on a sandwich – which is why GC does not put lettuce on his sandwiches. The lettuce doesn’t shift and pull with each bite, leaving your sandwich intact until the very last bite. The jalapeño and pepperoncini add a nice level of heat to the sandwich which also helps break up the greasiness of the deli meat. The heat doesn’t overpower the sandwich or your palate, simply highlights the peppery tastes of the mortadella and salami. The cheese combination is perfect. Provolone and mozzarella play together to create a smoky and creamy cheese duet that can stand up against the strong flavours of the meat quartet.

I fell in love with this sandwich and Maker Pizza. I am already planning my next date with this sandwich (hopefully this Saturday) and future picnics that will happen in Alexandra Park with various pizzas from this restaurant.

Happy munching!

A3 Napoli

If you are contemplating getting a new job and you are unsure whether or not you should take the plunge, hospital you only need one reason: food and drink. The number of dinners and drinks people have wanted to share with me since the announcement of my new job is ridiculously amazing. There are drinks to celebrating getting the job, order then drinks to celebrate leaving the job, drinks to celebrate the new job and then drinks to celebrate how the new job is going.

Last night Cynthia and I caught up about my new job over beers and food at A3 Napoli. A3 Napoli is a joint venture between the people behind Pizzeria Libretto and Porchetta & Co., two of my favourite Italian spots in the city. It is a little restaurant located in Little Italy, a neighbourhood I seldom venture to; when you live with an 85-year old Italian woman why would you bother?

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Montreal 2013

For the third year in a row the August long weekend found us in Montreal for Osheaga. The weekend was all about good music, good times and of course,  good food. The highlight of the weekend was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis singing “Same Love” with Tegan and Sara.

1. We discovered a cute little pizzeria up the street from our hotel.

IMG_42612. Our hotel provided us with fresh croissants at our door every morning.

IMG_42673. We visited the Jean-Talon Market. Jean TalonWe bought our first Ontario peaches of the season while at the market in Quebec.

4. We munched on Montreal-style bagels from St-Viateur Bagel.

IMG_4292Easily the best bagel I have ever eaten. Warm, soft and perfectly toasted. The sesame seeds had a nuttiness to them and the lox and toppings were perfect and fresh.

5. We enjoyed Croque Madame in Old Montreal.

IMG_4302 I had this exact meal last year and I will probably have this exact meal next year. So yums and so Montreal.

6. We tried our first Montreal food truck at Osheaga,  Montreal Dim Sum.

Montreal Dim SumThe pork balls and shrimp dumpling were unreal! This has caused me to crave dim sum for the past month and a half. If I lived in Montreal I would track this truck down on a daily basis.

7. And last but never least, we finished our visit with some Montreal smoked meat from the iconic Schwartz’s.

Schwartz'sWe have made it a tradition that we grab some sandwiches from Schwartz’s before we leave the city and we eat them from the Mont Royale lookout.

Another great visit to Montreal and definitely not the last time we visit this city or Osheaga.

Pizzeria Via Mercanti

A few weeks ago GC and I went to Pizzeria Via Mercanti for dinner. We were seated in the basement for the first time which is described by the staff as “Nonna’s cantina.” This is an apt description. There are a mash up of different chairs and tables, checkered table clothes, peppers and salamis hanging from the ceiling and of course, cold. It is really comforting for anyone who has ever experienced a stereotypical Italian family.

I ordered the Quattro Formaggi pizza.

IMG_4147Quattro formaggi pizza with gorgonzola, fior di latte, ricotta and grana padano. This pizza is so cheesy and delicious. If you love cheese, especially blue cheeses, you need to check out this pizza. Let it cool for a second or two so the crust can firm up underneath the weight of the cheese. I couldn’t finish it all and took a quarter for it home – it even tasted good cold the next day. Pure perfection.

GC ordered the Capricciosa pizza.

IMG_4146Capricciosa with fior di latte, prosciutto cotta, mushrooms and black olives. If you are looking for a more traditional pizza fix, this pizza is for you. Salty from the prosciutto and olives, with a slight nuttiness from the cheese and the mushrooms and rounded out with sweetness from the tomato sauce – this is a perfectly balanced pizza.

Happy munching!

Canada – Amsterdam BrewHouse

After indulding in some bacon at Harbourfront Centre’s Baconation we checked out some beers at the new Amsterdam Brewhouse.

Amsterdam BrewhouseWe started with two different Flight Tours – I ordered the King & Portland, GC ordered the Richmond & John. I love how there are so many different beers to try here and so many different ways to try them. The tasting flights features 4 5oz glasses and costs the same as a 20oz pint. The menu serves as coasters for your beers. My only criticism of this – the names of the beers are listed on the round emblems which end up under the glasses. You can’t get fussed about the name of a beer as long as it tastes good!

We shared Amsterdam Pretzel and the Crispy Fish Tacos.

IMG_4032This pretzel is yummmmmmy! Warm, doughy and perfectly salted. There were three flavours of mustard: Natural Blonde red currant mustard,  Big Wheel dijon and wort reduction. The mustards were very hot, a huge kick of horseradish right in the nose. I foresee many nights at the Brewhouse drinking flights of beer and eating these pretzels.

IMG_4033White corn tortillas, apple fennel slaw, cilantro, fresh lime, and house hot sauce. These were okay, not great. That is not surprising as this is a pub, not a Mexican restaurant. Stick with the pretzels, you won’t regret it!

We went back to the Brewhouse for a family dinner last week. I wasn’t thrilled with the service – I had made a reservation but we had to wait 10 minutes to be seated. When we were seated, it was at a table that was clearly meant for 4 people, not 6.Our server, however, was amazing – she knew everything about beers, what they paired well with and had lots of suggestions of what to order based on people’s tastes.

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Pizza Del Arte

There is a little pizza place just around the corner from two of my sisters’ apartments (they live in neighbouring buildings = cute!) that is serving up thin crust Neapolitan style pizza. It is a tiny little place that doesn’t stand out from the busy traffic at the corner of Bathurst and St. Clair. There is no website and it recently has added a phone number to its menu which is most likely the owner’s cell phone number because it is scribbled on each menu in pen. If you didn’t know about it you probably wouldn’t notice it or even try it out. But now you know about it, please check it out!

IMG_3507A few weeks ago we had a family dinner in Toronto at Theresa’s apartment and bought two different types of pizza: Wild Funghi (above left) and Canadese (above right). The Wild Funghi had san marzano tomato sauce, oyster mushrooms, portobello, shitake mushrooms, mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese. The Canadese had san marzano tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms (none on ours), pepperoni and maple wood smoked bacon.

I don’t know which one I liked more. The combination of mushrooms on the Wild Funghi pizza was meaty and earthy but also creamy from the interplay of two cheeses. The Canadese was meaty, smoky and deliciously fatty – all the things pizza should be. Life is hard when you have two delicious pizzas in front of you and you don’t know which one is better.

They have 17 different pizzas and I want to try them all and I think you should too! Swing by the restaurant or give them a call at 647-706-8706.

Happy munching!

Meals in Minutes – Easy Pizza Dough

Everyone should have a homemade pizza dough in their arsenal. The problem with that is, pizza dough typically takes too long to make. Who has time to wait for yeast to rise? Or more accurately, the foresight to predict tonight’s dinner cravings while eating breakfast? I like the idea of a recipe that at the spur of the moment I can make when the craving for pizza hits me. Luckily, Jamie Oliver has a recipe for that:

1 1/2 cups of self rising flour
1/2 cup of water
A lug of olive oil

Put the above ingredients in a bowl and mix until it comes together into a ball. Stretch the dough out onto a prepared baking sheet and top how you like your pizza.

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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Date Night – Pizzeria Libretto

Tuesday night has become date night for GC and me. Last week we went to Stockyards (fried chicken dinner for me and a pulled pork sandwich for him) and this week we went to Pizzeria Libretto.

I started with a cocktail, the Negroni.

One part gin, one part vermouth, and one part Campari. This cocktail was too much for me – I like to pretend I am a tank when it comes to drinking but certain cocktails (Manhattans, and anything with whiskey or bourbon) I cannot handle. There is too much of a bitter alcohol taste. Once the ice had slightly melted and diluted my drink, I could handle it. If you want to feel like a classy, older, attractive Italian gentleman, drink this cocktail.

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