Mother’s Day 2015

What day is today? Today is Mother’s Day! For Mother’s Day this year I hosted GC’s parents and Ninni for an afternoon tea in the backyard.

IMG_3754 IMG_3758I made five different sandwiches and savoury scones:

1. Cucumber & Chive Butter
2. Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Basil
3. Tomato Pesto Tea Sandwiches
4. Radish-Chive Tea Sandwiches
5. Nordic Open Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
6. Cream Biscuits with Prosciutto and Parmesan Cheese

Dessert was leftover cake from Amelia’s birthday. To celebrate my amazing sister I had made a Chocolate Raspberry Cake.

IMG_3749Don’t worry – my Mama didn’t get left out. My mom, in all her typical intensity and amazingness, brought over a barbeque feast with all the fixings: steak, pasta salad, potato salad, greek salad and fruit salad. All I had to do in return was provide another cake, a Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with a light cream cheese frosting.

IMG_3769I got it from my Mama – and by “it” I mean my baking and cooking skills. My mom has cooked and baked for our family for over 30 years and has always done it with grace, elegance and skill. It is never a big deal for my mom to host a family dinner or bring food to a potluck. She created the home that I hope to create for my family: I always want people to come over to our house and know that there will be food and drink, that it is not an imposition and that everything will be cooked with skill and love.

Happy munching!

Luna Cafe

On a rainy day at the end summer we went to Luna Cafe. Luna Cafe is a tiny restaurant on the main floor of an old Victorian house on a side street just off on Ossington. The cold rain fogged up the beautiful antique stain glass windows giving the restaurant a very romantic atmosphere. The tables are a mismatch of farmhouse style tables; rustic, worn and comforting. I was very taken in by the decor and atmosphere of this restaurant. It was homey, warm, and inviting. It was absolute perfection.

We ordered coffees and then food. I ordered Egg’s Benedict.

IMG_1538 IMG_1539Poached free run eggs on English muffin with peameal bacon, wine-ripe tomato and chipotle hollandaise with greens and homefries.

Because it was a rainy day, we were one of two tables in the restaurant. The service was SO. OBSCENELY. SLOW. On a cold and moody day, we didn’t mind this. We were allowed to sit and chat with hot coffees in hand and watch the rain drizzle down the windows. We should have known that if service was slow when no one was in the restaurant that on a subsequent visit, with more guests, that it would be even more terrible.

This was delicious. The muffin was soft and airy. The peameal was crispy without being dried out. The chipotle hollandaise was buttery, thick and spicy. I can overlook bad service for good food. Or so I thought. But more on that later.

GC ordered the Smoked Salmon Egg’s Benedict.

IMG_1537Poached free run eggs on English muffin with naturally smoked salmon and fresh dill, hollandaise with greens and homefries.

Fresh, light and delicious. The salmon was velvety soft. The eggs had that hint of vinegar I crave and the dill was fresh. GC loved this take on the traditional Benny.

We loved our experience so much that we returned for a second visit. NEVER AGAIN. No one acknowledged our presence for 15 minutes. We were then seated at a large country table for four. Which we were then asked to move from after about 30 minutes WITHOUT FOOD to accommodate a group of 4. WHICH WAS NOT A GROUP OF 4. It was two couples that did not know each other! This move made no sense and was fueled by the lack of food. It took forever for the server to take our order and then even more forever for us to get our food. When we eventually got our food my order was wrong NOT ONCE. NOT TWICE. BUT THREE FUCKING TIMES. Sort your business out! Gah! Reliving this infuriates me to no end. No food is good enough to live through this. I completely acknowledge that this is the epitome of a first world problem, but do I not attend brunch to be the epitome of a first world problem?

Obviously I would not return to Luna Cafe and I think you should rethink your visit. Happy munching!

Windup Bird Cafe

Months and months ago when we ate brunch every weekend and it was warm and sunny, we went to Windup Bird Cafe. This restaurant is super cute. It is brightly painted, has a wooden bar, exposed brick and sleek metal accents. There is a cute patio facing Borden Street with potted plants and brightly coloured plastic chairs. Although the patio was inviting, we opted for a spacious booth at the back of the restaurants. We were the only ones in the restaurant. We viewed this as intimate but it is always concerning when a restaurant is deserted at brunch.

The menu is very unique, focusing largely on fusion and fresh, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant is very active with its programming – offering cooking classes, talks and seminars.These programs cover a range of topics from making sushi to food literacy. It’s great to see that kind of active fostering of a food community in Toronto.

GC ordered the Fried Chicken and Waffles.

IMG_1398The Chicken and Waffles with deep-fried chicken karage, roast potatoes and seasonal veg.

I’m not going to lie – it’s rather disappointing that the waffles are not perfectly round. The piece of chicken was a little small but it was tasty. Karage is a Japanese cooking technique where meat is marinated soy sauce, garlic and ginger and then coated and fried. There is subtle, underlying umami flavours.

I ordered the Smoked Salmon Benny.IMG_1399The Smoked Salmon Benny with avocado, spinach, and house hollandaise.

I am seldom of the opinion that eggs Benny should be healthy, but this was yummy. It was light and fresh, tasting of spring. The hollandaise was buttery and spicy, with tastes of dijon. This is a very adult take on the Benny and would be perfect for an Easter brunch.

I’m not into kale salad as a side for my brunch. Brunch should be served with potatoes, toast and any other type of carbohydrate. There is no room for salad at brunch.

After a delicious brunch, we headed north to check out the Cheltenham Badlands. The Badlands are easily one of the coolest place in Ontario I’ve had the opportunity to check out and I would highly recommend it if you live in the area. Indie88 (do we view them as an authority on travel?) recently named it one of Canada’s 10 Underrated Landmarks.

IMG_1403 IMG_1405 IMG_1414 IMG_1422IMG_1409IMG_1410IMG_1416 IMG_1423Happy munching and hiking!


Two weeks ago we went to L’Ouvrier for brunch.

The inside is sparse, with expansive white walls littered with an assortment of random wall hangings. There are antique white-washed tin ceiling tiles, painted sticks, goody bags and a mural-sized photo of turn-of-the-century cooks? Miners? Random dirty men with various tools to do various things? It was cluttered and chaotic.

Because we are hideous and were wearing hoodies we were seated near the bar at the back of the restaurant at a dimly lit table. I understand servers have tables and there is a method to how customers are seated but it looks bad when the restaurant has a total of 4 tables seated and you are placed near the back.

The menu is varied and has more than your traditional brunch items. It goes beyond bacon and eggs. It is a very adult-brunch menu with oysters, braised rabbit terrines and tuna tartare. It is all very elegant but I associate these items with a late lunch, rather than a brunch. However, this is more a comment on my lack of imagination with menus rather than a criticism on the restaurant.

I ordered the Potato Rosti.

IMG_2901The Potato Rosti with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, arugula, fried shallots and capers.

This came to my table. Please tell my why I am eating brunch and have a huge mountain of arugula in front of me? This is one of the most poorly plated dishes I have ever had. Logic would suggest that there should be a bed of arugula topped with a potato rosti, then crème fraîche, smoked salmon and sprinkled with fried shallots and capers. My rosti was hidden under this ridiculous pile of arugula. It was likely hidden so I couldn’t immediately see how tiny it was. The salmon was scattered over the plate, also to detract from how little salmon there actually was. The crème fraîche was gritty which should never be a thing and is an upsetting texture to discover in your mouth when you are expecting smooth, silkiness.

The flavours were okay, and the portion was small and unbalanced. I was not impressed.

GC ordered the B.L.T.

IMG_2900The B.L.T. with house made bacon, arugula, aioli, and fries.

The house made bacon was good, and there was plenty of it unlike my BLT at Scratch Kitchen. Much like my rosti, there was a ridiculous amount of arugula on this sandwich. I liked these use of a different type of green rather than your standard iceberg/romaine lettuce but you do not need to pile it on in excess for me to get the point.

I thought the bread was unimpressive and stood is sharp opposition to the rest of the ingredients. If you are going to spend time making house made bacon, it should be sandwiched between two pieces of bread that have been lovingly made in-house, not your standard grocery store-Dempster’s type bread. The plate was overrun with fries which is not a bad thing but it wasn’t necessary to have this many fries.

L’Ouvrier is pretentious and unnecessary. The menu is too ambitious for the atmosphere, clientele and staff. L’Ouvrier greatly missed the mark for me. I have no interest in eating poorly executed lunch foods for brunch. If I want a fancy brunch I will go somewhere like Farmhouse Tavern where the menu is an upscale, elegant interpretation of real breakfast food.

Happy munching!