Thursday, July 31, 2008


This one's for you, Michael... The Sprizz.
Take some prosecco, club soda and a dash of Aperol for a refreshing summer aperitif that'll put everyone in good spirits. Even better with a side of savoury mini treats.


Breakfast in Rome

So it's not the healthiest of breakfasts, but what the hell? I'm on vacation! I liked this bakery so much I had to eat there twice in two days. Croissants filed with cream or chocolate and a hot foamy cappuccino to wash it down. For C, he prefers the latte di mandorla- almond milk.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dream Breakfast

I may be alone on this one, but the last thing I think about before going to sleep is what I'm going to have for breakfast. Since Gilead Café opened in the hood, this is what I picture: An Americano, Yogurt with Granola, and Pain au Chocolat. 

You can't really do much better, even though bacon is obviously absent from this picture. However, on occasion, breakfast can stretch into lunch and then bacon magically appears wearing a poached egg. 

Weekends are the best.


A salad so nice we ate it twice

Made this Martha smoked salmon Cobb salad the other night. And then made it again for lunch the very next day.



{Carlo posting about Gina restaurant}

In the heart of it all, yet away from it all, is my favourite Roman woman: Honest Gina. If you want a little break from those annoying tourists who don't know their way around and look like they're getting ready to climb Mt. Everest with their fanny packs and sandals, then head over for a refreshing and light lunch. Gina makes tasty salads and offers seasonal fruit and good ice cream. This place is full of Roman business people talking about set design, fashion shows and their favourite matriciana, so in other words, Roman urban hipsters. Next time you're near the Spanish Steps, definitely check it out. The two salads we had were: tuna with hard boiled egg, and apple, walnut and goat cheese. For dessert, seasonal fruit- one with ice cream and the other with yogurt.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Road trip with a cheesy pit stop

PREFACE: This post written by foreign correspondant Carlo

Ever since the garbage scandal in Naples followed by the Bufala mozzarella scandal, we were curious to find out if we could actually taste the dioxin in the cheese. As far as we're concerned, this was some Grade A bufala mozzarella. Actually, maybe the dioxin made it taste better. If anybody's interested, or heading to Italy anytime soon, this little cheese laboratory is located just off the A3 highway at the Battipaglia exit. Follow the roundabout approximately 1/4 of the way around until you see a sign that says Mozzarella di Bufala on your right hand side. The place is called La Mediterranea. If you have a hankering for a mozzarella and tomato salad it's worth the stop, especially since that's all you're going to get. Other goodies we picked up were caciocavallo and burrata.


Roman Holiday

Okay, so it's only a 2 day Roman holiday before heading down to the deep south of Italy. But C said that since we are in Rome, we have to partake in a summertime Roman tradition- eating watermelon from a watermelon stand on the side of the road. These are watermelons of Latina, a city just outside of Rome. We went for a watermelon run at 10pm to quench my thirst from the salty Roman cuisine. Just for the record, that's what C told me- that Roman cuisine tends to be salty. Maybe that's why these people need to eat so much watermelon.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Poll Results – Favorite Liberté Flavours

The results are in, and it's a tie! The two top Liberté flavours are Lemon and Black Cherry. I'm surprised to see Moka didn't squeak ahead, but with only 5 votes we can't exactly call the results conclusive.

P.S. I voted for BC... sorry Moka.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

milk & honey mini yum

One of my favorite places for brunch in the Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village neighborhood is Milk & Honey on Division.  They also have sweet treats and coffee available all day, every day of the week.  This was the perfect post Boundary lunch treat on Tuesday.  A mini chocolate cupcake with butter cream frosting and PINK sugar!  How could anyone resist this mini morsel?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Monte Cristo

Few things rival a Monte Cristo sandwich. Perhaps only Monte, who wishes he could eat them for breakfast every day. If you haven't sampled this bready, eggy, meaty, cheesy, mustardy and all around carby delight – then shame on you.



It's officially Blueberry season in Ontario. If you're not eating Blueberries, in large quantities, every day than I only have one question for you. WTF? Do you need an invitation? You're looking a little pale, perhaps could use some phytochemicals.


Café Noisette

It's too hot for coffee. Start with ice, add a dash of cream, and then top with espresso. Stir if you like, or just enjoy the layered 80's look.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

dessert dessert dessert

These pics are from the last dinner I was ambitious enough to make *3*, count 'em, *3* aprés dinner treats. I think it was because C was back from Italy and I wanted to impress him. And you know what they say- "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach". hah! So here you have a chocolate raspberry tart, lemon yogurt loaf, and way in the corner, the mini pecan pie "cupcakes"- larger photo below.


They ain't shrimp, they prawns.

I love to BBQ. It's been more than 5 years since I've had a Q so I've made up for it by cooking almost every meal since the second I could haul that badboy outta the shed this spring. Certainly a highlight this year was the Wild Gulf shrimp that Rob tipped me off to at T&J's Seafood We soaked em in some Italian dressing for about 20 mins and then tossed em on the barbie for about 2 mins a side. Perfect. It's like lobster without the hassle. This is what Charcoal Steakhouse should be serving instead of their crappy $13 shrimp cocktail. Chumps.
Oh yeah, speaking of cocktail (haha) sauce... we found fresh horseradish which I've never had before which made the sauce so much better. In addition to this we bbq'd up some bruschetta seen here:


Fusilli is here!

Alright, practice time is over. This means you - Broccoli, Prosecco, Manchego, Cupcake and Scampi.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fruits de Mer

This dinner happened a while ago, but looking at the picture brings it all back. Walter crammed the pot with so much seafood goodness – it practically exploded. I'm not sure of all the ingredients, but I can definitely see shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, scallops, fish and potatoes. It was incredible.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Corner Cavatelli

There's a tiny corner restaurant in NYC called The Little Owl. If you can't get a reservation, just show up early – they'll find a spot for you.

My favorite was the ricotta cavatelli with fava beans and bacon. Mmmm, lean in and smell the screen.



The best place to get a snack in NYC is Ino. What's better than a plate of bruschetta topped with local, seasonal ingredients, and a glass of Prosecco? Don't argue with me, just go there. Geez.


Who Kneads Bread?

I haven't tried Prosecco's no-knead walnut bread recipe, even though I'm sure it's fantastic. Part of it is that I don't make bread unless I'm bored or on vacation. More than that, it's the fact that kneading the bread is the best part – even when dough gets stuck to your hairy man hands.

Try both, and then you decide.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Brunch @ Jane's

Saturday morning-ish Kelly, Tyllie and I met up at Jane's in Bucktown.  Such a great spot. It recently expanded taking over the old Leopard Lounge space that used to be next door. Be sure to check out the new and old space pictures on their site.  Since we all arrived at various times we each started with a warm scone (raspberry, blueberry and apricot) with Jane's honey butter on the side. We ate those too fast for a photo-op.  For the main course, I had the Eggs Benedict, Kelly had the Salmon over an egg and potatoes with a side of sausage (there was a sauce that came with the salmon but she asked for it not to be included) and Tyllie had the Breakfast Burrito with a side of crispy bacon.  Her photograph turned out the best...probably because she's a professional photographer.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sweet Mandy B's

I've tasted a lot of cupcakes in my time; almost as many frogs as I've kissed.  From Toronto: The Cupcake Shoppe, Baby Cake any sort of cupcake at Pusateri's.  From NYC:  Billy's Bakery, Dean & Deluca and Magnolia Bakery.  To Chicago:  Swirlz, Molly's Cupcakes, Goddess & Grocer, Sensational Bites, Southport Grocery, ugh...the list goes on...  I've tasted A LOT.  And hands down...Sweet Mandy B's vanilla cake with buttercream frosting is still my favorite...OF ALL TIME.  It's my first love of cupcakes...the one I compare every other cupcake to.  The cake is that perfect moistness EVERY TIME , just the right amount of sprinkles and  the frosting is just heaven; perfection.  Though my image above is of a blurry cupcake and a v. in-focus table top at Sweet Mandy B's.  I must publish the blurry image of sweetness to show my loyalty and love to the best cupcake...EVER.


The Taste

K & I went to the Taste of Chicago 2 Fridays ago during our lunch hour on the very FIRST day of the Taste.  The BEST time to go.  Though it is over now, it is a summer highlight. You can taste the amazing food from all around this city.  Unfortunately, I do not have an image of the delicious Mustard Fried Catfish from BJ's Market, I was too hungry to put down my favorite meal on the South Side of Chicago to take a picture of's still hands down the best Catfish I've ever had. Anyway, the Taste of Chicago is huge and worthwhile.  K & I wandered around and dined on the "Taste" portions...smaller than the normally priced portions and just enough so you can make your lunch hour into a long buffet of a variety of food.  K dined on Star of Siam's tempura vegetables and another vendor had an amazing Key Lime Pie slice (served with sporks!)...the "tiny" Taste portion we dined on as we walked to South Michigan Avenue for our taxi cab back to work.  



Post-game we headed to the Uptown neighborhood for drinks.  For a quiet drink with friends it is best to leave Wrigleyville post-game.  The night was still young and the Cubs won.  Uptown is the neighborhood where The Green Mill resides.  Live jazz every night to the wee hours, great drinks and a mob history...true Chicago.   If you're fortunate enough to sit at the bar, strike up a conversation with the bartender and ask to see the photo album.  There's a bartender there that can tell you stories that'll make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck about Mr. Capone and The Green Mill. To remind you of it's great history, there's a piano BEHIND the bar with an 8 x 10 black and white photo of Al Capone on it. Though we didn't go in to the Green Mill tonight, I've been many times to hear the great Grammy nominated Kurt Elling play.  Ah, Chicago.  Everyone has some kind of six degrees to Al Capone, even me, a girl originally from Nebraska.  Just ask me sometime.


Cubs Win! 5 to1!

I've sat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field and in season ticket holder seats and even won a coveted autographed baseball when attending games with my college guy friends.  But tonight was a new experience. This was a rooftop experience on Sheffield.  This was the good life. One of our vendors gave us free tickets to the rooftop to watch the game tonight. A-mazing. Free food (every kind of grilled meat and make-your-own yummy sundae) and drinks (adult beverages)!!!  And a great view of Wrigley Field and a Cubs victory...nothing beats Chicago in the summer.  T & M dined on steak burgers while M holds my (second of the night) Chicago Bratwurst to show our amazing view of Wrigley Field.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fava beans and a nice Chianti

Not Ontario grown, but perfectly ripe and delicious. Mint from the garden, Ricotta and Pecorino cheese.


Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

First you pick them, then you eat them.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I heart airplane food!

Porter Airlines. What a civilized and pampered way to travel. And flight attendants who sport stylish uniforms with pillbox hats. Almost makes me want to become one just so I can wear those cute uniforms. But what I like better is to travel in style, and check it out– even the snack box of my 4pm flight home from Ottawa is *designed*. Sliced baguette, paté and Kiri cheese make for a lovely afternoon nosh and before I could finish clicking my heels, I was already back home in Toronto.