Brunch at Fabbrica

It’s official: the Italians need to come up with a word for brunch. Some might say that Italians don’t actually eat breakfast, they just have an espresso and a cigarette. And this is definitely the impression that my Italian relatives who visited for our wedding gave me. But Italian restaurants in Toronto are changing this idea of what Italian breakfast can and should mean. A few weeks ago, we enjoyed brunch at Fabbrica.FullSizeRender

This is my third visit to Fabbrica and it has always consistently delivered. The interior is modern and simple with classic Italian touches like marble tabletops and a cantina with large windows so guests can view the hanging salamis and prosciuttos. When the beautiful latte pictured above arrived I know that my brunch would deliver.

I ordered the Fabbrica Benny.

IMG_3591The Fabbrica Benny with poached eggs, guanciale and fontina crumpet, prosciutto and hollandaise.

Yum, yum, yum. The hollandaise is incredibly thick. The eggs are runny and gooey. The prosciutto is tender, fatty and the right amount of salt. The crumpet is a nice touch – it is a heftier alternative to your typical light and airy English muffin. It is salty and adds a sharp, nutty undertone throughout the crumpet with the fontina. I would have liked if the portion was slightly bigger but to be fair, I will always want more Benny.

The side of tomatoes is a light and slightly citrus way to clean your palate when you are finished with the richness of the Benny. The balsamic vinegar is sweet and thick and a natural compliment to the tomatoes. This is the Italian spin on the traditional British grilled tomatoes.

GC ordered the Shortrib hash.IMG_3594The short rib hash with poached egg, caramelized onion, braised short rib and potato served with toasted ciabatta.

Oh.mi.gawd. It is an inevitability that when two people dine together, one meal is going to be better than the other. But lucky for GC, that did not happen at our Fabbrica brunch. This is the best hash I have ever eaten. The short rib is incredibly tender, the meat just delicately flakes with every slight pierce of the fork. The veg is tender but retains it’s crunchiness. The onion adds a subtle sweetness and helps cut the richness of the short rib. The egg justifies this dish as a breakfast item and acts like a glue, cementing all the aspects of the hash in each bite.

I know no one wants to go to North York – I get it. I live in North York and don’t even want to travel to Fabbrica, but you should. Everything about Fabbrica is spot on – the service, the decor, the coffee and the food. It is a meal you will not regret traveling for. I will be fantasizing about this brunch until I can it again.

Happy munching!

Chickpea and Roasted Tomato Soup with Fried Rosemary

Finally! The soup from the cover of my favourite cookbook!!

I absolutely love this soup! The combination of spices evoke dreams of Morroco – cinnamon, troche cumin, cialis and paprika. The chick peas and tomatoes reinforce the Middle Eastern vibe of the soup and give the soup substance and depth. I puréed the soup a little too much because I used the blender rather than the immersion blender. This makes it a little more difficult to gage how much you have puréed but the soup is still good!

It is perfect on a cold, stormy day but also great on a warm, sunny day. I plan to enjoy this soup all summer longer, enjoying the flavours of the Mediterranean before we head there in the fall for the honeymoon!

Recipe is below the cut – happy munching!

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Monterey Chicken Grilled Cheese

April is officially here and although I don’t have a huge attachment to this month there are some highlights:

  1. It is Le Faz’s birthday. Easily one of my favourite people and her birthday is always one of my favourite days of the year.  Give her some love on April 5th.
  2. Easter is later this year which maybe means I will actually bake, physician cook and craft Easter-themed things
  3. I will be making Matzo Ball soup for Passover. It is a combination of being constantly mistaken as Jewish and living in a very Jewish neighbourhood with a very Jewish grocery store that has inspired me to make Matzo Ball soup for Passover. More on that later.
  4.  NATIONAL GRILLED CHEESE MONTH. I don’t know which nation we are referring to but I also don’t care. It involves cheese therefore I am in.

Another grilled cheese recipe to get you psyched for National Grilled Cheese Month in April – the Monterey Chicken Grilled Cheese by Iowa Girl Eats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlease go out and buy these ingredients right now and make this grilled cheese. It is easily one of the best grilled cheeses I have ever eaten. It is sweet, thumb salty, crunchy, chewy and saucy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet’s start from the beginning: The suggested instructions on how to cook the chicken are perfect. This is the simplest and moistest chicken breast I have ever eaten. Literally put your chicken breast on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 20ish minutes at 400°F. Does it get any easier than that? I plan to incorporate more chicken into things now that it is this easy and I don’t have to worry about salmonella.

The bacon adds a perfect crispy quality that works with the fleshiness of the tomato. And to top it all off: barbeque sauce. The BBQ sauce ties the entire sandwich together. It adds more sweetness to highlight the tomato, saltiness to compliment the bacon and sauciness to add even more moisture to the chicken. And the perfect topper of this sandwich: instead of butter, the bread was lathered with olive oil. It was easier to spread and added such a different flavour to the sandwich. It was a very adult grilled cheese.

Make this now. Please. And thank you. Happy munching!

Lasagna Grilled Cheese

As March comes to a close we can finally look forward to April: warmer weather, Easter, and of course, National Grilled Cheese Month. I plan to fully embrace this month-long celebration of one of my favourite foods. In preparation of April I have to look back to a sandwich I made a few weeks ago: the Lasagna Grilled Cheese.

IMG_5541 IMG_5544Recipe: Joy the Baker

I think this sandwich, while delicious, is misnamed. There is no tomato sauce, and more importantly, there is no meat and real lasagna has to have meat. Sorry vegetarians, I love you but real lasagna needs and should have meat. A more appropriate name would be a cannelloni grilled cheese. But really, what’s in a name? The important thing is delicious, simple and amazing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe combination of cheese is a perfect blend of creamy, salty and sweet. The ricotta is creamy and smooth but at the same time has a coarse, saltiness to it. The mozzarella is milky, thick and rich. The use of two cheeses in this sandwich brings it to the next level – from snack to full-on meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cheeses are both mellowed out and complimented by the basil and the tomatoes. Both are sweet but salty and taste like an Italian backyard in July. This recipe was fresh, simple and makes me yearn for summer. I will be making this grilled cheese again and again this summer using fresh ingredients from the garden.

Check out the recipe on Joy the Baker’s site and maybe check out this recipe too – it’s what I will be making next.

Happy munching!

The Queen and Beaver

#47 on BlogTO’s Brunch list – The Queen and Beaver. We checked out this pub after a Treat Yo’ Self style day – we went for massages at the Elmwood Spa, followed by brunch at The Queen and Beaver and then we went to the movies and checked out American Hustle.

The Queen and Beaver is a British pub in every sense of the word: it is cozy, has bookshelves, walls lined with paintings of fox hunts and decorative plates depicting royals, mismatched china and fireplaces. It is the perfect place to enjoy a pint or traditional British food. Don’t be scared of by British food, it is delicious. Since Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver British food has been revolutionized and is absolutely delish.

I ordered the Traditional Full English.

photo 3

photo 5The Traditional Full English with 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, black pudding (not available the day I ordered it), baked beans and toast.

This is one of the most straightforward, simple breakfast I have ever eaten at a restaurant but it was perfection. I got my eggs poached which is the first time I have ever ordered poached eggs and they were wonderful. Runny, but still creamy and soft with a little kick of vinegar which you all know I love. The bacon was the best bacon I have ever had. It was salty and sweet, with hints of maple. The sausages were juicy but well seasoned with sage. The mushrooms were sautéed and slightly caramelized, maintaining their fleshiness and meatiness. The tomato was grilled and slightly charred, but tender and juicy.

The black pudding was not available on the day I ordered this dish and I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. If it had been on my plate, I would have tried it but since it wasn’t, we don’t have to worry about that. Maybe one day I will try black pudding… maybe this is something I should save for England?

GC ordered the Scotch Woodcock.

photo 1photo 2GC and I had never heard of Scotch woodcock so obviously one of us had to order it. Scotch woodcock consists of creamy, softly scrambled eggs served over toast that has been spread with anchovy paste. An interesting combination that can be a little daunting and off putting but it is salty, creamy and fluffy. GC said the eggs were almost as good as my scrambled eggs but I think he is biased.

We followed up our breakfast with an order of homemade ice cream each. I ordered the Stilton and Wild Cherry, GC ordered the Whiskey Gingerbread. The Stilton and cherry worked in contrast with one another but it was too much contrast. The flavours did not work in tandem together but instead against. The whiskey gingerbread ice cream was unreal. The whiskey picked up the natural spicy, earthy flavours of gingerbread. The texture of the gingerbread versus the ice cream was key to the success of the ice cream: there were completely pulverized pieces of gingerbread that gently infused the ice cream and bigger chunks of gingerbread dotted the ice cream to ensure real gingerbread flavour.

This is easily one of my favourite brunches so far off the list and I suggest you all try it. If you love breakfast, pubs and/or Britain you should check out this pub for a pint or a meal. And invite me!

Happy munching!