Provo Foodbar

Every time I go to the AGO I wonder, patient “Why are there not more restaurant options near this gallery?” My last visit to the AGO was proceeded by a visit to Mother’s Dumplings for lunch as I couldn’t think of a better option closer by – which if I am completely wrong about this, please let me know. But no longer will I have to trek from College and Spadina before or after the gallery in search of food. I can now go across the street to Provo Foodbar.

I went to Provo last Friday night with my friend Lynsey, to catch up about the drama of life over delicious food and drink. Provo opened earlier this year and has been popping up all over my Instagram feed ever since.

Our reservation was for 5:30 and we were seated at a small table near the front of the restaurant. There were a few people there as the after-work crowd shuffled in but it was relatively quiet for early on a Friday night. I would imagine (and hope) that is gets much busier as the night wears on.  The restaurant is deceptively large, with large windows that open at the front of the restaurant onto Dundas Street making the front half of the restaurant seem almost patio-like. There is a long bar anchoring the middle of the restaurant, and more seating at the back of the restaurant up a few steps. It is a huge space that could definitely host an intimate date-night dinner or a large group of friends for any occasion.

We started off with cocktails. Lynsey had the A.G.O.M.G (Smirnoff vodka, prosecco, maraschino, lavender and pomegranate) and I had the Middle Daughter (Bombay sapphire gin, elderflower, vanilla, grapefruit and lemon). The A.G.O.M.G is to be pronounced AGOhmygod and not as “agomg”. The prosecco and maraschino make this cocktail extremely sweet. When the prosecco falls flat the drink becomes almost unbearable to drink. But of course you do because there is alcohol in it. The Middle Daughter on the other hand is a beautifully balanced, strong cocktail. It tastes like spring in a glass – it is fresh, with floral notes and citrus zing to it. I could drink about 30 of these but then I would likely be on the floor. After my one cocktail I switched to beers by Collective Arts Brewing.

We ordered 6 different plates to share. We started with two different types of crostini: the Duck Confit Rillette and the White Anchovy and Oven Dried Tomato.

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Both of these were absolutely amazing and captured different seasonal flavours. The Duck Confit Rillette was hearty, smoky and had a richness to it which is perfect for warming up on a cool spring night. It was the right consistency to be spread thickly across the toasted and crispy crostini. It was priced just right – $6.00 for a small pot of rillette and four crostini. The rillettes was more than enough to be spread across four crostini, and we had extra rillette leftover which we obviously spread across other things because you can’t let good food go to waste.

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The white anchovy and oven dried tomato crostini tasted like Italian summer nights. The tomato was blistered and slight caramelized, allowing that sweetness to ooze out of the charred skin and onto the crostini. The tomato was dotted with garlic which was slightly peppery. The white anchovy added the saltiness to the crostini that brought out further sweetness of the tomatoes but were not overly fishy. This is definitely a crostini that easily can and will be recreated at home with fresh tomatoes from the garden.

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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!

Tomato Bisque

November 21st’s soup: Tomato Bisque.IMG_4903A simple, but delicious soup. I think everyone should take this soup recipe down. It is the best soup as a side for any sandwich or all on its own. It is creamy, perfectly seasoned with basil and has the sweet, acidic quality from the tomatoes.

GC said it is better than the tomato soup at Cheesewerks; I think he is biased. Another soup for the “Make Again” list.

Happy munching!

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Meals in Minutes – Tomato Soup

Meals in Minutes: Tomato Soup. Image from the cookbook.

1. This soup is everything a tomato soup should be: warm, roasted, with hints of basil and completely rustic. The tomatoes taste as if they were freshly picked off the vine by Nonna. It is hearty, healthy and full of vegetables.

2. We paired this soup with grilled cheese made using caramelized onion cheddar. It was delicate, creamy and with perfect hints of onion. I opt for using flavoured cheeses when making the basic grilled cheese in lieu of adding other ingredients (have a mentioned that April is apparently grilled cheese month? More on that later).

3. Add a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream if you don’t want to be quite as decadent. Any soup that I can add sour cream for I am totally game for.

4. I also recent made Potato Leek soup using the recipe found here. It turned out extremely green on account of using too much of the leafy bit of the leek. It was ok, but not great.  Next time I will have to bust out  my Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the first time and try her version of it. It uses heavy cream so of course it’s going to be infinitely better.

Recipe is below the cut and 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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