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Wednesday
Nov192014

Gale's Snack Bar

Less than $5 for lunch at Gale's Snack Bar. This place hasn't changed in decades (prices or décor)!

 

Hot Turkey Sandwich with gravy, fries, peas, and tomatoes. ($3.75)

 

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Monday
Nov172014

Back of House

Lots of #GoodEats over at #BackOfHouse in #Leslieville! Thanks @bakerdonz for the reco!

 

 

Burger - Sous-vide chuck patty stuffed with oxtail, pan seared, topped with melted cheese, cold smoked tomatoes, pickled red onions, and fresh greens.

 

Pulled Pork - Cola brined pork shoulder, carmelized in pan with BBQ sauce, topped with cheese, and compressed Granny Smith apples.

 

Chicken Wonder - Brined and sous-vide chicken, breaded with panko flakes and quinoa, topped with bruleed goat cheese, arugula pesto, and cold smoked tomatoes.

 

Beet Salad with Cottage cheese, arugula, lemon curd, smoked almond oil, and crispy shallots.

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Wednesday
Nov122014

Soup Opera

Warm up to some classic French bistro dishesfor lunch @soupoperaPEC. #GoodEats #PEC

 

Escargot Provençal - French Polignac Snails, Simmered in Butter and Garlic, French Brandy Flambé.

 

Soup a L'oignon Gratinee - Caramelized Onion, White Wine, Bone Marrow Stock, Gruyere and Emmenthal Cheese.

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Monday
Oct272014

Canoe - Taste Ontario

Back to Ontario with @ChefHorne @OliverBonacini's Canoe. #GoodEats

It's harvest season in Ontario, and Chef Horne is featuring some incredible ingredients from all over Ontario. With many of the ingredients being very familiar for both Chef and the diner, after all this is home, I'm sure this menu was still a challenge for Chef Horne to keep interesting and new. With a few surprises and ingredients that make you think twice, Chef Horne and his team have executed another delicious meal that keeps me coming back for more. This menu showcases the best Ontario has to offer, and as the harvest season progresses, the menu will change in the next few weeks to highlight some new ingredients.

 

Meadow Sweet Farm & Monforte Dairy

Heirloom Tomatoes with Spiced Oil. 

Paired with Hinterland 'Les Etoiles' Traditional Method, Prince Edward County, Ontario 2011.

Good start to the meal with rich cheese cutting the acidity the tomatoes bring, rounding out with the oil. That said, there was something amiss about this dish. Not sure what it was, maybe it was the lack of the edible flowers on this dish compared to one I had a few nights before? Edible flowers never really added anything in terms of flavour on the dish, mostly just there for presentation, but this time around they did add little touches of aromas throughout the dish. Especially when there's a variety of flowers like garlic, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon. Just something different that I missed.

 

Holland Marsh Onion Soup

Bone Marrow, Rye Croutons, and Thunder Oak Gouda.

Paired with Hidden Bench 'Buit Blance' Rosomel Vinyard, Beamsville Bench, Ontario, 2011

The soup is cooked for 8 hours, to the point where the onions have basically broken down and dissolved into the stock. The stock is cooked for 3 days, and is a combination of goose, duck, and chicken bones to make a rich and flavour packed brown stock. Easily one of my favourite dishes of evening, and one of the best soups I've had. Crazy good stuff (went back a few nights later just for the soup again!). 

 

Vicki's Veggies & 100km Foods

Beets, Puffed Amaranth, Maple Leaf, Mulled Wine Vinaigrette.

Paired with North Shore Project Rosé, Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, 2013

Beets 3-ways, Pickled, Roasted, Puréed. The pickled beets are sliced paper thin and act as the foundation of the dish where everything else is built upon. Puffed amaranth is similar to quinoa, being packed with protein and are both seeds rather than grains, it provides a nice texture contrast to all softer beets. Crabapples are hidden between the wedges of beets and maple leaves, and contrary to the norm they were not too sour. Chef Horne said it was a good year to use them since there wans't much rain through the summer, so these provided a touch of sweetness while brightening up the dish. Last but certainly not least, maple leaves! Yes, they're the same leaves we just saw turn red during the fall season. Chef Horne experimented with using maple leaves from a Big Leaf Maple from British Columbia during Taste BC, and wanted to take it one step further for Ontario. You can read more about his development process here. Interesting component to the dish, but didn't really taste like much, just crunchy...kinda like fried kale, which isn't a bad thing.

 

Moose Poop and Foie Gras

Niagara Peaches, Québec Foie Gras, Strawberry BBQ Sauce, Peanut Sauce.

Story time: A little something extra inspired by our last conversation with Chef Horne. When Horne began researching suppliers for Taste 60th Parallel he mentioned to a friend and I that he came across a supplier that sold moose poop, for what I don't remember, but that whole moose poop thing stuck with my friend and I, so we decided to bring in a little bit of poop for him. My friend works at a candy factory designing and matching colours, so she made moose poop coloured candy for Horne and his team (tho we were told later that Chef horeded most of the candy in his office). I spend 2 days a week at O&B Artisan, the bakery that supplies bread to all the restaurants in the Oliver and Bonacini empire, so having the opportunity to put something extra into Canoe's bread order, we made chocolate blueberry sourdough which you can see above between the foie. 

 

Great Lakes Walleye

Charcoal Market Vegetables, Ale Tartar Sauce, Smoked Alliston Potato Gnocchi.

Paired with 13th Street Chardonnay June's Vineyard, Creek Shores, Ontario, 2012.

The market vegetables are wrapped in foil and placed directly on the coals and allowed to slowly cook in the pouch. The result are tender and flavourful vegetables. The walleye is fried to perfection, and the gnocchi are shallow fried to give it a incredibly crispy crust and a fluffy inside. This simple dish, along with the onion soup was the winner of the evening, seriously my friend and I could have eaten this all night and been perfectly happy.

 

Grape

Concord Grape Soda

 

Grandview Farms Strip Loin

Algonquin Grits, Sweet Corn, Swiss Chard, Sweetbreads.

Paired with Tawse Cabernet Franc Van Bers Vineyard, Creek Shores, Ontario, 2010.

Sweetbreads are soaked in milk then pressed and fried. The beef is apple finished, giving it a distinct taste, a little sweet if that makes any sense. Tho truth be told, I do prefer the PEI potato finished beef, there's a richness in there that's so very unique...more beefy. Garnished with corn hair.

 

Niagara

Roasted Peaches, Candied Violets, Chamomile Ice Cream, Cream Cheese and Yoghurt Mousse

Paired with Field Dreams

Pastry Chef Robert Gonsalves did it again with another beautiful dessert! The peaches were simply roasted in vanilla, lavender candy and poprocks for a fun texture element. The vanilla white chocolate spread added a wonderful level a richness to the dish that balanced ever so well. 

 

Doughnuts

A couple of doughnuts to finish off the evening.

 

Taste Ontario runs until mid-November before we finish off the year with Taste Prairies.

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Tuesday
Oct072014

Canoe

Summer time #GoodEats @OliverBonicini's Canoe!

 

Tomato Salad - Heirloom Tomatoes, Sheeps Milk Cream Cheese, Wild Celery, Garlic Flowers, Thyme Flowers, Marjoram Flowers, Tarragon Flowers.

 

Licorice Infused Watermelon - Charred Lobster, Mascarpone, Fennel, Pickled Rind

 

Pan Seared Québec Foie Gras - Lavender Peaches, Ontario Peanuts, Toasted Cattail Brioche

 

Concord Grape Soda

 

Cauliflower Risotto - Roasted, Raw, and Puréed Cauliflower

 

Creamed Ontario Corn with Shallot Rings

 

Meat and Potatoes - P.E.I. Potato Finished Beef, Pickled Wild Leek, Rapini, Three Grain Porridge

 

Cheese Plate - Blue Bénédictin, Glengarry Lankaaster, Chamblé, St. Honoré with Whipped Honey, Raisins, and Biscuits

 

Doughnuts

 

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Monday
Oct062014

Richmond Station - Dessert Tasting

Movie themed desserts @RichmondStn w/ @FoodInTheCityTO & @ChieuNghi

 

Ghostbusters - Smoked Apple Twinky, Green Tea Slime, Stay Puft Foam, Popcorn Ice Cream

 

Pulp Fiction - Smashed Pop Tart, Strawberry, Sprite Jelly, Good Coffee Ice Cream

 

Peach Ice

 

Movie Snacks - Cherry Cola, Salted Peanuts, Twizzler Purée, Vanilla Ice Cream

 

Pan's Labyrinth - Celery Panna Cotta, Walnut Earth, Roasted Grapes, Mulled Wine Sorbet

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Thursday
Sep252014

O&B Artisan

Behind the scenes of @OliverBonacini's bakery w/ @bakerdonz. #GoodEats #Magic

Throughout the past few weeks, I've had the privilege of spending my nights at Oliver and Bonicini's in-house bakery, O&B Artisan, where Donny Pepin and his crew produce breads and breakfast pastries for all of the Oliver and Bonicini restaurants (OB Café & Grill, Bannock, Jump, Biffs, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Luma, as well as, other venues and event spaces where Oliver and Bonicini provide food service.

Spending time here has  really opened my eyes to the world of breads and given me a new appreciation for the art. Donny and his team are incredibly talented, great teachers, welcoming, and a great bunch to be around!

Thanks to Donny, Jay, and Yumi for giving me the time to come visit, there's still lots I need to learn!

 

 

All the starters are named, this is Betsy, there's also Janet and Bobby.

 

 

This is the Mother, she's 5 years old. Always kept in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday
Sep242014

Barsa Taberna

Quick snacks @BarsaTaberna.

 

Patatas Bravas with Roasted Garlic Aioli

 

Grilled Octopus with Channa Masaia, Tamarind Water, Papadum

 

Paella Croquettas with Mahon and Monforte Fontina, Pea Purée

 

Charcuterie - Serrano Imported Cured Meats, Candied Almonds, and Olives

 

Lasagnette with Shitake Duxelle, Ricota, Dandelion, Pickled Honey Mushrooms

 

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Monday
Sep082014

Canoe - Taste 60th Parallel

5-years in the making, @OliverBonacini's @ChefHorne takes us to Canada's North.

Canada's North has always interested me, from it's breathtaking landscapes to it's rich culture and history, the North is uniquely Canadian. When Chef Horne first mentioned doing a series of cross Canada tastings, this region was by far the one I was most interested in, and looked forward to. Needless to say, this was a fantastic meal, and really, what meal isn't when you have great company and someone like Chef Horne working with some incredible ingredients. Every bite was smart, thoughtful, and tasted wild.

This was one of the most unique and different menu's I've ever had, I've said that before, but this one was truly special, and from talking with Chef Horne, it's a menu he's never going to do again. Chef Horne demonstrated such skill in bringing together all these different elements, and highlights wild ingredients like never before. From the first bite to the last, the theme of the North resonated throughout the entire meal. Tonight's meal was so special. 

 

Amuse-bouche: Jerky

Left to right: Venison, Seal, and Caribou. Served with Mashed Potato, Red Vein Sorrel, and Mustard Seeds.

Paired with Rosée Lemonade.

Venison was very much on the mild side of flavours, without being told it was venison, it would be hard to tell exactly what it was. The seal was be far the most interesting, looks like any other kind of lean jerky but tastes like gamey fish. Caribou had a more intense game flavour to it. The mashed potatoes mellowed everything out. I'd take a bag of seal jerky any day!

 

 

Course 1: "Unknown Fish"

 

Juniper Smoked Inconnu, Dandelion Purée, Arctic Char Caviar, Fried Bannock, Arctic Rose Cream, Capers, Juniper Berries.

Paired with Coffin Ridge L'Acadie Blanc, Grey County Ontario 2013.

From the Mackenzie River, inconnu is a species of freshwater whitefish that is perfectly suitable for smoking due to it's oily flesh. Aside from being a local source of protein for residents in Canada's north, much of the inconnu caught is sent to Siberia where a large market exists. To Chef Horne's knowledge, this is the first time inconnu has been served in Toronto.

The inconnu was smoked for 4 to 6 hours, and you're served 3 distinctive pieces from the belly, loin, and tail. The smoke profile and texture of the fish changes with each piece; from fatty to lean, a gradient in smoking intensity. For the wild rose cream, the wild roses are harvested, dried, then folded into crème fraîche. The cream with the saltiness from the arctic char roe, and the smoky inconnu, all served with fried bannock, this makes for a perfect bite and a great way to kick off the theme of the evening. On a side note; if the demand for this fish increases and is readily available, this dish would make for a perfect picnic item!

 

 

Course 2: Wild Rabbit Agnolotti

Foraged Mushrooms, Caribou Moss, Wild Cranberry, & Matsutake Mushroom Cream

Paired with Terlan Pinot Noir Montigil Terlano Alto Adige Italy 2011.

Caribou moss, aka reindeer lichen, like most plants in the north, is a slow growing lichen (only 3-5mm per year), and as the name suggests is an essential source of food for caribou. However, it is traditionally used as a remedy for kidney stones and diarrhea, and is usually prepared by soaking until soft and served with berries, roe, or lard. In this case, Chef Horne soaked the caribou moss for 3 days, changing the water every day to clean and hydrate the dried lichen and then fried and used as garnish. 

The rabbit was braised in rabbit stock for 2 hours, cranberries were served fresh as well as powdered along the edges to cut the richness of the matsutake cream sauce that was poured table side. The earthiness of the lobster mushrooms and chanterelles along with the bold flavours of the rabbit provided a nice foundation for the cream sauce and cranberries to balance everything out. Easily one of my top 5 dishes I've had from Chef Horne. 

 

 

Course 3: Arctic Char

Swiss Chard, Preserved Oyster Leaf, Pine Shoot Oil, Wild Rice

Paired with Dr. Büklin-Wold Riesling Trocken Pfalz Germany 2012.

Wild rice is one of the few grains that grows in the north, and is a major source starch. The rice is puffed, and served with the braised vegetables.  This was one of the most interesting dishes of the evening because of the oyster leaf. Raw, these leaves have a salty, complex minerally taste to it. Exactly what you would expect from an oyster. Seriously, it tastes exactly like an fresh oyster. Salted and cured, the flavours are more subtle and worked well with the dish. However, if you were to eat the leaf on its own, we enjoyed the flavours and textures of the raw leaf (pictured below) more than the cured version because of the almost mushroom texture the leaf has and the brighter oyster flavours.

 

 

Intermezzo: Buttermilk snow with sea buckthorn 

 

 

Course 4: Caribou Hind

Fermented Black Currants, Braised Rock Tripe, Rye Berries, and Birch Bark Jus

Paired with Rennie Estate Winery 'G' Assemblage Beamsville Bench Ontario 2011.

Served on a bed of barley and roasted turnips, the caribou hind was simply roasted with alder. It took 5-years for Chef Horne to bring in wild caribou to Canoe, and it was worth it. Rock Tripe is also known as 'Wood Ear' for all the Chinese folks out there. This dish brought together the whole theme of the evening for me. Perfectly cooked to a rare finish, the caribou was incredibly tender, moist, and full of earthy gamey flavour. One thing I've learned with game meats is that you want to eat it while it's hot, and this was no exception. As the meat cooled, the irony game flavour intensified, and overwhelmed my companion…more meat for me! It's these big bold flavours that I've come to expect from Canoe over the past few years, and it's the reason why I keep coming back. If there's one place that know their meat, it's Canoe.

 

 

Course 5: Frozen Tundra

Wild Honey Mousse, Berries, Gold Leaf, Balsam Fir Cream

Paired with Midnight Sun.

Once again Pastry Chef Gonsalves out does himself with the dessert. Served white chocolate pearls with a graham cracker filling and with wild blueberries, covered with a white chocolate blanket and wild honey mousse wafers. This arctic white dessert was a perfect end to a very memorable meal.

 

 

Petit Four: Bark

Chocolate and Cedar Gelée

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Tuesday
Sep022014

Soup Opera Prince Edward County

One of the newest restaurants in the county, @soupoperaPEC has some #GoodEats!

My biggest problem with visiting the county is that I just don't have a stomach big enough for all the good food in the county! Chef Sujo Bae is a classically trained chef cooking up a storm in the county. She opened her restaurant in June in a former ice cream parlour, and driving down the road you'd have to look twice to see that there's French bistro in side. Paying homage the building, you can still get your ice cream fix along with a market of French products.

I really wish could have eaten more, because if what we had was any indication of the quality of food Chef Bae can produce, the rest of the offerings from Soup Opera is definitely worth coming back to the county for...as if I need an excuse lol.

 

 

Soup Opera Frites with Aioli, Burbank Potatoes fried in 100% Beef Drippings.

 

Ratatouille. Provençal Vegetable Stew, Nicoise Olives, Garlic, Fresh Herbs, Turmeric Rice

 

Carre L'Agneau (Rack of Lamb) from McColl Farm, Dijon Herb Crust with Lamb Demi Glace, Green Beans, and Gratin. 

 

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