Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cupcake Homage

As if any more proof was required that Monte lives a charmed life—here it is! While the rest of us work, he's out partying with the neighbours, collecting cookies, swimming in pools and inspiring cupcakes in his image. What a life.

Since he can't say thank you, I will. To all the neighbours who have spoiled Monte with treats, affection and humbling generosity—thank you, thank you, woof woof. I know he appreciates it, and now demands the same treatment at home.

Cupcakes compliments of the very talented Zabeda Wood, of Fillings & Frostings. More pictures after the link.

It really does look like Monte... who also looks like Alf.

He couldn't resist licking himself.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Flagstaff, Arizona– more than just Route 66

When you're in the middle of the desert, on your way to the Grand Canyon, and it's 43 degrees by 1pm, it only makes sense you just go with the flow and have dinner at a joint called diablo burger. We just happened to stumble upon this place while wandering around downtown Flagstaff, and I'm so glad we did. Their tagline is "All about Local". And as the menu says: "Every diablo burger is made of 100% local, open range-raised, antibiotic-free and growth-hormone free beef from the Diablo Trust ranches…" Most of their produce is also locally sourced within a 250 mile radius. All this, and the food is fantastic. The branded buns are actually english muffins and the burgers were mouthwateringly juicy. I had the Vitamin B burger, which came with bacon, beets and blue cheese. An unusual combo which I wouldn't have normally chosen had I been in Toronto, but when you're on vacation in the desert, surrounded by hippies, maybe your tastebuds want something different. We had the Scrimshaw Pilsner and the Acme IPA from North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, California to quench our thirst. Aaaaah!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Sliders and Slaw

I just realized we've had pork three nights in a row! Saturday Berkshire, Sunday tenderloin and today slow roasted pork shoulder. Tomorrow, I think the plan is to roast a whole pig.

On the side, Fusilli made a delicious crunchy slaw. We also had leftover chipotle peanut sauce from last night to use as gravy on the sliders. Next time, I think we'll try making tiny pancakes to eat with the pork. If you've ever had peking duck, or moo shu, you'll know what I mean by 木须饼.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Peanut-Chipotle Sauce & Giant Corn

Corn wasn't really the star of the meal, but I will say this... it was huge! The corn came fresh from Herrle's, where they bring in multiple varieties from the field serveral times a day. The only way it could be fresher is if they let you pick it yourself. Ok, enough about the corn. The pork tenderloin with peanut-chipotle sauce was the shizz, not too spicy, not too sweet. Unlike most peanut sauce recipes this one has a tomato base, so yes it has some peanut flavour, but you don't feel like your eating melted peanut butter. A Bobby Flay original.


Ceili Cottage

There's a great new patio on Queen, out in the east end—Ceili Cottage. It's worth a visit if you like eating oysters, drinking beer and sitting outside. We got there early on Saturday to avoid the line up and secure a good seat. My plan was basically to camp there until they asked me politely to leave. In then end we cleared out before last call... six hours was plenty of patio time for me.

The menu has a few excellent platters for sharing, like the one shown here—the Berkshire platter with beets, cabbage, soda bread and dijon mustard. We also tried the peat smoked salmon platter twice, a platter of oysters, a bowl of mussels and the buried treasure (mac & cheese with sausage. What? We were there for six hours... that's not a lot of food when you spread it out.

FYI—they are having an oyster eating contest. Best time eating 20 oysters wins a trip to Ireland with Patrick, the owner.


French Pad Thai

I met Fusilli and Manchego at the Village Crêperie for dinner on Friday, before catching the train back to Toronto. I was planning to have my favorite dinner crêpe—the Chimichurri, until I was told about the daily special—Pad Thai. I had to try it, just to see what it would be like... and good news... it was fantastic. Spicy, sweet, salty and light. I've never had Pad Thai with green beans either, but it worked.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Greek-Style Mahi Mahi

Different day, same plate! Haddock on a bed of cous cous.
Recipe here.


Blonde Pesto

Fusilli modified a Jamie Oliver recipe to make this yummy pasta. The pesto is made from crushed pine nuts (toasted), lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Full recipe after the link.

In a big bowl, smash a handful of pine nuts into bits. Could use the butt of a knife or a wooden spoon.

Pine nuts are tastier if you toast them in a pan for a few minutes first.
Add lemon zest from 1 lemon,
2-3 big spoonfuls of olive oil,
Salt and pepper,
Lemon juice from 1/4 lemon, or more if you like lemony.
Stir this together.

Boil pasta,
Add peas for the last 4 minutes if using frozen peas.
Could use corn or a mix of frozen veg.

Meanwhile saute shrimp with some olive oil and garlic. Salt the raw shrimp and then cook.

When the pasta, shrimp are done. Toss everything into the big bowl.
Can add some salt at this time, more lemon juice, more olive oil if it seems dry.
Garnish with whole pine nuts, chopped mint and grated parmagiana.

On the side I added the tall glass of sanity–Tanqueray, lime, tonic and ice.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fresh Blueberries

I'm eating blueberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Tilapia with Chili Lime Butter

Pan fried Tilapia with a spicy chili lime butter. Fresh beans from Herrle's. There was fresh corn too, but I forgot to take a picture.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The last lunch

It wasn't a last supper so much as it was a last lunch… with the best blog/work mate ever, Broccoli. Now we will really need this blog to communicate our food consumption since the dude's now in Waterloo at a new job! We had originally started B&P for that sole reason– because between Photoshop and InDesign, we'd spend our entire day talking about what we ate, where we ate it, how good or bad it tasted and what we'd be eating and drinking later. And then we'd want to see what it looked like (since you eat first with your eyes) and ask each other to show photos. Hence, the birth of Broccoli & Prosecco.

I miss having lunch and coffee breaks with you, Broccoli. Even though the coffee lady at Pasta Mia isn't as nice to me as she is to you. And even though Hank's is hit and miss for me but the turkey sandwich always seems to do the trick for you. At least we got it right by having our final work lunch at a guaranteed winner of a spot, Hiro Sushi on King street. Even though I'd never had the salmon chirashi before, it didn't disappoint in the least.

Eat some delicious things for me in Waterloo and congrats on your new job! We miss you!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pizza al Prosciutto

Many thanks to Broccoli and Fusilli for helping us to satisfy a hankerin' for recreating an Italian pizza experience. They were kind enough to advise me that Vincenzo's in town has pre-made dough and great sauce, thereby saving us hours of toil in the kitchen, hours that could be much better used enjoying a few glasses of wine on the deck...

The first attempt was a little sketchy cause I couldn't move the pizza from the cutting board to the hot pizza stone in the oven without mangling the ingredients or tearing the dough. Turns out the second attempt wasn't any better. Tonight however I learned that a 'simple' snap of the wrist is the trick.

The end result: The closest experience we can get to great Italian pizza without hopping on a flight to Rome...

Next Steps: Get one of these on the BBQ.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Last Chance Vacation

I'm officially starting a new tradition! Anytime I make any big changes in my life, in this case a new job, I'm going to take a vacation. It doesn't have to be far away, or even for a long time, I just need a change—a taste of something new, a break to que up the next chapter.

We had plans to try new restaurants, rather than visiting past favorites, but a failed outing on the first night change all that. I can accept the folly of trying to find a secret restaurant, but Time Out could have at least included the correct address in their listing... perhaps that's how they keep it secret. Next time I'll find you Kyo Ya!

First on the list of favorites is the 100 year old Barney Greengrass. I've never had a bad meal, or a friendly waiter, and that's just how I like it. Where else would a waiter ask a table of four "Everyone having coffee raise your hand. Ok, now raise your hand if you want orange juice." It's awesome to watch a professional at work.

I always look at the menu intently before ordering the usual: Scrambled eggs with a side of sturgeon & smoked salmon, a sesame bagel, coffee and fresh squeezed o.j. After finishing the entire thing I'm stuffed and ready to walk for hours without rest.

Lupa and their magic prosciutto. This time we tried the sample platter of veggies: Beets with pistachio sauce, grilled zucchini and peppers, summer beans with pecorino, mixed olives, corn and broccoli rabe with ricotta. Voted the best meal to eat while killing time before heading to the airport.

Cafe Ino for bellinis and bruschetta. Perfect, tiny and bubbly.

When we couldn't find Kyo Ya, we went to plan B – a new wine bar called Terroir. When plan B fell flat due to lack of seating, we went next door to Hearth. Later we realized the striking similarity wasn't coincidental... same owner. Ding!

They had a fava bean tasting menu—so I was happy. They kindly allowed us to sample the first course, a fava bean and pecorino salad sitting on delicious grilled bread.

Next a smoked trout salad with avocado.

We made it to the beautifully restored Guggenhiem just before the torrential rain started. The show: Frank Llyod Wright: From Within Outward, featured select drawings and models from Frank Lloyd Wrights' long career. Sadly many of the projects featured were never built, or were built and then demolished. Highlights included many drawings detailing 10 years of planning to create the final design for the museum, including a scale model. The original plans for falling water and his studio—Taliesin in Arizona. See a preview of the show here.

My favorite: The old phone booths on the main floor.