Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm still jealous of Broccoli and Fusilli's beach and fresh food-filled trip to Portugal, because a night at Torito is the closest I'm going to get to the Meditteranean this year. At least it was a hot summer night and there was room on the back patio. Check out the slideshow for the meal sequence and descriptions. My faves of the evening: grilled octopus salad and the flank steak, pictured above.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Eggplant update

She looked like this just 2 days ago.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer in Chicago: BBQs, Poolside and Good Friends

Summer has finally arrived in Chicago. It's just now warm and I usually know summer is here when the invites for lazy afternoon BBQs start, friends living in high-rises with pools call with an invite and it's really summer when The Taste of Chicago takes over Grant Park. Last weekend I was in Logan Square at Matt and Mary's for a fabulous lazy Sunday afternoon BBQ. We drank Blackberry Izzes with Absolut Vodka, grilled veggies, steaks and grouper from Whole Foods (see above photos) and dove into some yummy Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dessert. We also played a nice 2 out of 3 rounds of Bocce Ball, with the ladies victorious over the men 2 games to 3...woohoo.

Some of last week's and this week's highlights of dining sans camera have included: The Taste of Randolph last weekend with my West Loop friends; Friday night of this weekend, A new-to-me spot (and probably a new favorite): Old Oak Tap in West Town (how can you go wrong with a 75 person patio out front, a gorgeous interior space and of course excellent food?!) and on Saturday night an old favorite, Adobo Grill in Old Town for made-by-the-table-fresh-guacamole, straight-up margaritas (freshly made too) and yummy small plate recommends by a fabulous waitstaff.

This afternoon's highlight: A trip to a friend's high-rise pool to enjoy the summer sun. Summer is here!

Need a soundtrack for your summer dining adventures? Check out my winning playlist and get some great fashion insight!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Farm Fresh Foods: Rhubarb

My cousin Esther sent me this useful NPR link for Farm Fresh Foods today. It's a series that showcases samplings of seasonal fresh food, how they look, taste and can be prepared.

My CSA box has been loaded with rhubarb for the past 7 weeks and I've made rhubarb crumble, rhubarb syrup and tonight I'll be making pork chops with rhubarb compote. And I still have a drawer-ful of it in the fridge. I'm running out of ideas here…


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vancouver Rodneys

5pm snack of oysters..

Wheat beer.

Haida gwai candy, like beef jerky for salmon cured in maple syrup and served with red pepper jelly on the side.



What a find, right under my hotel hotel. This is cool, but I'm a real idiot. I went to facebook yesterday in palo alto to their new office and ate in their cafeteria and didn't take a pic. Listen, they stole the top google chef, they cook 4 times a day for al 900 employees, its free, and everyone votes on dishes online and the chefs review with laptop in hand and make the day's menu. Yesterday I ate duck confit casserole topped with duck skin chips, they also had available poached salmon, some delicious riccotta stuffed tomato, manchego, chorizo, sundried pizza and I would remember if I took pictures and super delicious dessert pastries.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

There's food growing on my balcony

I couldn't contain my excitement and had to share a pic of these beautiful little buds that showed up on my eggplant plant in the past couple days. It's crazy to think that all of a sudden amongst the gaggle of giant leaves, these little babies formed, and they're going to turn into something edible. I'm so excited! Stay tuned for future eggplant updates.


Monday, June 22, 2009

What's in the CSA box

C and I got a CSA subscription this year with Triple Cord CSA, a Mennonite farm in Aylmer, Ontario. We signed up for and are splitting a half share of fresh, seasonal, organic produce which is enough to feed two adults. Every Tuesday, C goes to pick up the box and it's like Christmas, wondering what we'll get this week. Here's a peek into last week's box:

- Boston lettuce
- Green beans
- Asparagus
- Rhubarb
- Radish
- Green onion
- Bok Choy
- Strawberries (check out the mutant octo-strawberry!)
- Red leaf lettuce
- Spinach
- Kohlrabi
- Beets


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I meant to post this earlier, but the day got away from me. Feast, had this as part of their advertisement on their menus for weeks for their Father's Day Brunch today. It cracked me up...so I thought I'd share it. So true, at least in my case. Happy Father's Day, Dad!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tuna Taco

Did I say that? I meant Tilapia.

Last year, my mom subscribed me to a magazine called 'nutrition alert' and they've been piling up around my house, neglected until today as I ironically procrastinated from going for a run.

After glimpsing at their view on the horrors of eating red meat I felt like I should be eating fish tonight which resulted in some delicious fish tacos. The two picts of the tasty tender morsels show the tilapia done two ways, one healthily broiled in my toaster oven with minced garlic and lime juice (6 minutes), the other is the less healthy cornmeal rolled and fried in canola oil version (2 min a side). The broiled ones were way tastier, do that and its much healthier, no oil. I warmed corn tortillas that were in my freezer in the oven, made some creama by puree-ing lots of cilantro, some zero fat white yogurt, lime juice, a jalapeno and a garlic clove. On the side I diced up avocado, tomato, more cilantro and green onion with lime juice into a salsa and grated some red cabbage.

Dropped the fish on the tortilla, poured on the crema, topped with salsa, poured a glass, and gobbled down these tasty bitches.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday night's Matriciana

This is a meal that was promised to me last Saturday but didn't appear until Tuesday night. Why, you ask? Traditionally a Matriciana is served with a type of pasta called bucatini, but C prefers to make it with a fresh spelt rigatoni from a shop on Dufferin street called Bologna, where the Italian ladies whip it up daily. Except on Saturdays they close early and C didn't get there in time. The pasta's a bit pricey, but in my opinion the best fresh pasta one can buy in Toronto. Anywho, the two of us pigs were starving last night and ended up devouring the entire pot of Matriciana. It was fantastic, and so worth the wait. I was full after the first serving but kept being lured back for more. The chewy, slightly nutty spelt pasta and the sauce with savoury bits of bacon did me in. We cleansed our palates after the pasta frenzy with a fresh salad with vegetables from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box: butter lettuce, peas, grated kohlrabi, orange mint (from my balcony). Oh, and only second to C's Matriciana is the one at Lupa in New York. Check it.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Times at Medieval Times

I'm not sure how it happened, but last night I wore a paper crown and ate with my hands while horses danced, a falcon flew overhead and knights battled. If that sounds like your kinda party, you should head over to Medieval Times.

Medieval Times is something I've (un)consciously avoided for years, the same way I avoid parades or any event where I might see a clown. I can't help feeling self-conscious, imagining I lost a bet, and that I'm the one in a crazy costume pretending to be stuck in an invisible box. All personal issues aside, Medieval Times is a pretty good time. You're encouraged to drink and shout as loud as you like. I didn't see anyone throw a half-eaten chicken leg over their shoulder, but I don't think anyone would care either.

If you take away the weird story line and accept that your having a vaguely 70's potluck dinner, you'll can really enjoy the rest of it. There's an amazing horse that dances... seriously he was cutting loose. A falcon flies around the audience, whizzing right over your head, while the King rightly suggests that no one should stand up, wave their arms or make eye contact. There's jousting, sword fighting and lots of horsey action.

My only suggestion for improving the experience would be an epic battle at the end that includes the audience. Everyone's all riled up on beer and chicken anyway.


Friday, June 12, 2009


I recently had a craving for an iced coffee, but I couldn't think of anywhere in the workbourhood to get one. My first attempt was Star*ucks where I accidentally ordered a chocolate-mocha-milkshake—too sweet. Next I tried Hank's—too much ice, and no room for cream. Finally, my old favorite Pasta Mia at the Market—perfect! A double espresso over ice. If you don't like extra water, don't forget to ask them to hold it... otherwise you'll get a double long espresso over ice... not bad, but not as strong.



Monday, June 8, 2009

Virgin, no virgin

Now equipped with my shit, a curve 9600, I'm back. Having to physically type in a url and login to post, transfer pictures was just too much for me, analogous to the pain of paying a bill by mail. I *should really put on my drunk filter with this new power but I want to hear the high pitched voice of broccolli reprimand me.

This is an airport lounge. Virgin.... Charcuterie, sushi, cheeses, fresh bread, vodka, pina colada mix. Woa.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dutch Dreams

It was back to St. Clair avenue for ice cream on another rare warm evening. This time we hit Dutch Dreams, a Toronto institution. There was a 10 person lineup out the door at 1opm! I had the chocolate peanut butter, which came with default whipped cream and fruit stuck to the top. Being my first time there, I felt really overwhelmed by the crazy decor, flavours, combinations and crazy ice cream concoctions. See for yourself! The cone wasn't quite as memorable as the circus-like decor, but it hit the spot.


Cottage Barbeque

This was our first barbeque of the season, and our first visit to the cottage this year. In honor of the occasion we did an old favorite – flank steak with grilled corn. Apologies for the picture, it really did taste much better than it looks.

One Tired Monkey

Monte cristo partied too hard, and then passed out from exhaustion. Three solid hours of swimming for the ball made him one tired monkey. Of course, being a double water dog (retriever + poodle), if I'd suggested more swimming and ball he'd have jumped up and ran straight for the water.

Rainy Sunday on Lake Kashagawigamog

It never rains (almost) when we go on vacation, but it always rains on a cottage weekend. After the rain cleared this morning, I took a few pics of how calm the lake was looking across the bay.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Waterloo Weekend

Great food and weekends in Waterloo go hand-in-hand. Breakfast at the Village Creperie, a trip to the farmer's market for some fresh local ingredients. At the market we picked up asparagus, rhubarb, fresh bread, creamed honey and cod. Fusili gets the credit for making the amazing food that follows...

Shrimp and Green Beans with Potato Salad

Fresh Chives from the Garden

Cod Cakes with Asparagus Purée

Rhubarb Crisp


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An at Home Caramel Macchiato

My favorite drink at Starbucks is now in a frozen pint form...or maybe it has been for awhile and I just didn't know it. Delicious coffee flavored ice cream with a plethora of caramel infused. I wish it were warmer than 55 degrees at the Chicago lakefront.  Warm weather always makes ice cream taste even better!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Love and ingredients

I happen to think that there are two fundamental elements that make prepared food taste extra good:

1. Exceptional ingredients

Okay, I did make these baby cupcakes with love (and who doesn't love to devour a good cupcake?), but there was a special ingredient that made these chocolate cupcakes extra special: a dark red cocoa powder from Soma gifted to me by my thoughtful and lovely roomie, Bo. The end result? A scrumptious, glossy, almost black chocolate cupcake that was moist, light as a cloud, and had the deepest dark chocolatey flavour that you just can't get from a can of Hershey's or Fry's. I made the frosting with the Soma cocoa as well, and you guessed it- fantastic. Unfortunately, I was in such a rush to take these babies to their final destination that I didn't get a pic of them in their final frosted splendour, but I'm sure you're drooling checking out the pre-frosting pics. Oh, and I know you'll be wanting to make these yourself very soon, so here's the best and easiest chocolate (cup)cake recipe ever.