Apr
24

I love using recipes but sometimes it’s just fun to look into my fridge/freezer and figure out if I can get creative and create my own recipe!

Specifically I had some pineapple and a piece of salmon….plus a jalapeno.

philips - plate

I decided to bring out my Philips AirFryer to create my meal as I knew it was going to be the fastest way to cook this dish. Not to mention, no odour and minimal cleanup. #winwin

Philips - photo

1. First, I cooked the salmon. (see previous post).

2. Then I shmeared (is that a word?) 2 slices of pineapple with the agave, and then sprinkled it with some finely diced jalapeno. Notice the brown specks? That’s grated nutmeg on it.  I also decided to take the other 2 slices of pineapple and shmeared it with Nando’s Piri Piri Sauce.

philps - pineapple

3. I popped the pineapple slices into the Philips Airfryer and 6 minutes later  (at 200 degrees) it was golden and cooked!!

4.To complete the meal I made some some quinoa with fried onions and some spices from Jaswant’s Kitchen.

philips - final

Voila. LUNCH.

Disclosure: The Philips Airfryer was provided to me however all opinions are my own.

Apr
23

I grew up eating smoked meat. Infact, I remember my dad bringing home a package of smoked meat for my sister & I as well as a package of smoked salmon for my mom …every Sunday morning! My relationship with smoked meat had a break for about 20 years but guess what? I’m back on track with smoked meat again. I’m not eating it regularly so trust me, I’m no expert. I think I visit a deli once a year…even though I don’t live far from many of them. Deli’s like Pancers, Yitz’s, Centre St. Deli, Caplansky’s are all close by including Ben & Izzy’s.

This restaurant opened up almost a year ago and I’m pleased to say that I finally went! It was on my list for a LONG time.

The space is not what I expected for a kosher restaurant along Bathurst St. I was impressed…it was much brighter, cleaner and trendier than I had anticipated.

ben - space

Even though there are plenty of options to eat at Ben & Izzy’s – I knew what I would be ordering!! (see the top left corner?)

ben - menu

Our sandwiches looked like this…

ben - sandwiches

Naturally…..Cherry Coke,  Cotts’ Cherry Soda and Vernon’s are available.

ben - drinks

Again, I’m no “deli” expert but I certainly enjoyed my meal and would certainly recommend it to my friends who are looking for decent deli!!

ps Check out their website. It’s awesome!

For more information:

Ben & Izzy’s Deli; 3513 Bathurst St. Toronto, ON 416 787 3354

Hours: Sun: 12 – 9 | Mon & Tues: 11 – 8
Wed & Thurs: 11 – 9 | Fri: 11 – 2

Twitter: @benandizzys

Facebook: www.facebook.com/benandizzys

Apr
20

Here’s a list of upcoming events on my radar for the next six weeks!  Thought I might share some of them with you BEFORE I go, rather than blog about them afterwards! Here we go…

1. Green Living Show. April 25-27th at the Direct Energy Centre.  A show that I won’t miss….I admit that I head to the Local Food exhibitors first and then I stroll thru the rest of the show. Nothing wrong with that, right?

events - green lving show

 

2. The Toronto Jewish Film Festival (May 1-11th). Again – a festival that I won’t miss.  This is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world, with films from 23 countries that reflect aspects of Jewish Identity and diversity with universal themes.  For full programming schedule and details, check out http://www.tjff.com.

events - festival book

2. Four Winds Kite Festival at Kortright.  May 3 & 4th (10 am to 4 pm). This is the place to BE to watch spectacular professional kite flying. Seriously this is a unique experience.

3. Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa, May 9 – 19th. I simply can’t wait to wake up early in the morning and snap a gazillion photos of the tulips. It’s really special. Then I’m going to spend the rest of my time, eating my way thru Ottawa!! (for a change).

events - tulip

3. Crave TO: Friday May 30, from 5 pm to 11 pm at Wychwood Barns.  Ignite your senses and launch patio season with Toronto’s premier street food and craft beer creators all to the soundtrack of Toronto DJs. Sounds like a place I want to be!!

events - crave

Looks like I’m going to be busy for the next 6 weeks. Throw in a weekend to the cottage as well which will include test driving a Hyundai. Can’t wait.

Hey May – I’m ready for ya!!

Apr
15

It’s Passover this week and this means it’s often challenging as there’s quite a few restrictions (i.e no flour, no beans, no corn, no this… no that…).  For me, it’s not so challenging as my kitchen is dairy  and I consider it as a week of clean eating ie. lots of fruit, veggies and fish.

Here’s a menu plan of what I served in 2011.

waldorf -menu

I’m going to share with you one of the recipes that I often serve during Passover (and throughout the year too).

Recipe: Waldorf Salad (taken from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

3 large apples, cut in chunks

Juice from 2 lemons

1 large orange, cut in small pieces

1 stalk chopped celery

1/4 cup raisins or craisins

1/2 cup toasted cashews

waldorf - ingredients

Dressing

1 cup yogurt

1 small ripe avocado (mashed)

1/2 tsp grated lemon rind

3-4 tablespoons of honey

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients

2. For the dressing: Puree till smooth (or mash well – like I did. However it’s best to add all the ingredients into a blender or a Cuisinart so it’s super smooth)

3. Combine the ingredients with the dressing.

FINAL PRODUCT

waldorf - final

 

This salad is super simple to prepare AND super tasty too.

Happy Cooking.

Apr
14

A few months ago, I was walking along the Danforth and noticed a storefront that said “H2O Float Spa….Opening Soon”. When I got home I looked them up and added them to my facebook feed so I could follow their updates. (a smart move).

Over the last months, I was intrigued with what I was seeing on their facebook page.

After months of anticipation, they finally opened their doors on April 11th. Naturally I wanted  to try it  - STAT. So on Sunday, I had the opportunity to try it. Lucky me!!

float - outside

Here’s what I experienced:

a) I walked in and was warmly greeted by Shelley (who is the owner). I was given a pair of shower shoes and then we proceeded into the change room where I was given a fluffy robe and 2  towels as well as a locker and a key.

b) We then went in the room where the pod was located. I was instructed to shower (including washing my hair) before entering the pod. Once I was in the pod, I could shut the pod door whenever I wanted. There was also a call button in the pod in the event I had a question etc.

float - pod

As soon as I was alone, I went into the pod and shut the door. I did not feel claustrophobic at all, as their was a glowing blue light. (which I had the option of turning on or off) I floated for an hour – and felt totally relaxed. I swear I don’t know where time passed. Perhaps I slept. I could not tell you. LOL.

Float - Selfie. Couldn't resist!

Float – Selfie. Couldn’t resist!

ps if you aren’t inclined to try the pod then there is a massive open bath where you can float – as an alternative.

c) the jets kick in after an hour – and this indicates that my “float” is over. Sniff.

d) I then showered and got back into clothes. Sniff.

e) a bottle of water and sliced orange awaits you after your float – which I welcomed!!

float - orange

Here’s a few suggestions for your visit:

-If you wear contact lenses..either bring your glasses or your contact lens case. However I would strongly suggest NOT to wear you contact lenses during the float. Inevitably the salt water is going to drip into your eye and it’s not going to feel pleasant

-Bring a washcloth/handcloth/towel – INTO the pod with you. Again, back to the salt water that is inevitably going to get into your eye.

-Don’t forget your hairbrush, make up etc.

Conclusion: Would I do it again? In a heart beat. Was it relaxing? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Would I give a gift certificate to a friend? Totally.

For prices and more information, please visit their website: www.h20floatspa.com

For more information:

H2O Float Spa 138 Danforth Avenue, Toronto ON  647-349-0426

Twitter: @H2OFloatSpa

Facebook: www.facebook.com/H2OFloatSpa

Disclosure: My float was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

Apr
08

I feel like going down memory lane. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I had my birthday last week. Who knows? I want to share with you some of my favorite childhood restaurants in Ottawa AND in Toronto (as I spend many weekends visiting friends when I was a teenager).

Here’s my list of fav childhood restaurants in Ottawa!

1. The Red Barn: This was a fast-food chain with over 300 locations throughout the States and Southern Ontario in the 1970′s. Lucky me – there was one in my neighbourhood!

red barn

2. The Green Valley Resort: I spent many happy occasions here and fondly remember their Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Dessert.

green valley3. Bagel Bagel – this restaurant was opened 24 hours and my friends spent many Saturday nights here after a night of dancing in Hull. (Remember Tobasco’s?)

4. Golden Palace (2195 Carling Ave) – another hangout when I was a teenager. This restaurant is still around and I regularly drop by for their epic egg rolls! The decor is right out of the 1970′s….worth a visit.

golden palace

5. The Revolving Restaurant:  I also remembering going to the revolving restaurant to celebrate my birthday. It closed after 38 years and is now an event space, operated by the Marriott.

revolving

6. Tramp’s and Yesterday’s – both restaurants were pretty popular spots when I was a teenager. Have no idea what we ATE but I can certainly remember groups of us going to these restaurants on a pretty regular basis.

Here’s My List of Childhood Favorite Restaurants  in Toronto

1. Pickle Barrel (in the Peanut Plaza). Again – no idea what we ate here but I remember groups of us (ie 20 or more) visiting this restaurant on weekends.

2. Inn on the Park – there was a cafe in the hotel that we use to hang out at.

3. Toby’s Good Eats – I fondly remember a brownie dish.

4. Mr. Greenjeans  (220 Yonge St) – I don’t think I’ve been back here since I was 16 but I should! Maybe one day.

What are your favourite childhood restaurants?

Apr
07

About once a month I buy a box of party sandwiches for dinner or for a snack. There’s never ANY leftovers. EVER. I will repeat – EVER. I usually pick them up at Bruno’s, Pusateri’s, Daiters, or What A Bagel.

serve this with salad and/or soup and you have yourself a lovely dinner!!

serve this with salad and/or soup and you have yourself a lovely dinner!!

When I was trying to figure out what to serve at my birthday party last week,  it dawned on me that party sandwiches would be a welcome change from the usual sushi platter.

I contacted Lesley’s Party Sandwiches & Catering and made fast friends with Lesley who also shared the same birthday as me!! (too funny). I found out that she’s been in business for 29 years and was the first independent party sandwich supplier in the city! I also found out that I could drop my off my platters and she would will fill them up with an assortment of party sandwiches, such as:

  • brie and fig preserve
  • cream cheese and cucumber
  • egg, tuna, and  salmon salad,
  • smoked salmon and cream cheese and MORE.

So I dropped off my platters and witnessed how party sandwiches are made! There is a reason why I’m not making party sandwiches!!

Perfectly Sliced Bread!!

Perfectly Sliced Bread!!

Just before the party – they were delivered. HOW SWEET IS THAT? This is what my platter looked like. Pretty….Don’t you think?

This platter was empty at the end of the night. They were a  hit

This platter was empty at the end of the night. They were a hit

Lesley’s Party Sandwiches are perfect for baby showers, baby namings, tea parties, office parties, engagement parties, graduations and more!! She also makes a variety of salads and beautiful fruit platter and vegetable platters too. #justsayin’.

For more information:

Lesley’s Party Sandwiches: 55 Glen Cameron Road, Unit 19, Thornhill, ON (905) 660 0551

Disclosure: Lesley’s Party Sandwiches provided me with an assortment of party sandwiches. However all opinions are my own.

 

Apr
03

 

Seeing as it was my birthday the other day, I thought it was only appropriate for me to check out a new restaurant!! Wouldn’t you agree?.

The chosen restaurant: S. Lefkowitz, which is owned by Ezra Braves who also owns Ezra’s Pound. (also worth checking out if you haven’t been). I’ve known Ezra for years as I used to supply him with Boylans back in the day when I was a food sales rep. When I heard about the opening of this restaurant, I thought to myself “What a brilliant idea”.

The menu certainly appeals to me. Take a peek. Notice the line at the bottom of the menu: We use only organic chickpeas, meat, tahini, eggs & olive oil. Ezra has always been committed to serving organic food (as much as possible) as well as operating a restaurant that is environmentally friendly as well.

hummus - menu

Of course, I tried the hummus. My initial thought was: OMG IT”S WARM. My next thought was OMG IT’S DELICIOUS.

hummus - hummus

Then I tried the Labneh. My initial thought was: I’m so glad I’m eating alone so I can eat the whole plate. (which I did). It was creamy and silky and perfect.

hummus - labeneh

I can’t wait to go back on a weekend with a group of 5 friends so we can try all 5 types of hummus….AND more labneh.

Congratulations Ezra on your new concept. I have no doubt that this restaurant will be embraced by Torontonians.

Congratulations Ezra!

Congratulations Ezra!

For more information:

S. Lefkowitz 923 Dundas St. W, Toronto, 647 346-8448

Hours: 10:30 am  to 530 pm every day. CLOSED MONDAYS.

Twitter: @hummuslefkotwitz (love this username)

Apr
01

As always, my trip to Vegas would not have been complete without a trip to Target. Naturally I bought some clothes and naturally I ended up in the grocery section as well.

Here’s a few products that caught my eye:

a) Kellogg’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Cereal: Yup – I bought a box. I couldn’t resist as I’m a sucker for packaging and chocolate!!

grocery - kellog

b) Betty Crocker Watermelon Cupcake Mix:  This DID not appeal to me. Not even close. grocery - watermelon c) PB2 – Powdered Peanut Butter: Ok I liked the packaging but couldn’t get my head around the fact that I had to mix water with this product in order to make peanut butter. I rather have the calories. What do you think?grocery - PBd) Beer Chips: I should have bought a bag but I didn’t.  Hoping that the Neal Brothers will develop something like this product. Pretty Please?

grocery - beer chips

e) M&M Birthday Cake: My birthday is on April 2nd so I figured it was an appropriate purchase!!

grocery - birthday cakeAs always, my trip to Target was a success!!

Mar
31

I’ve just returned from my 7th visit to Las Vegas with my mom. Our trip includes a lot of suntanning (with sunscreen) and eating. Naturally I did a lot of research before our vacation started and made a point of researching restaurants that were OFF the strip. You see, a few years ago we learned that there’s some amazing food to be found that’s NOT on the Strip. Here’s a list of the restaurants that we enjoyed that were just a short cab ride away from our hotel.

1. Night #1: Hot N Juicy Crawfish – we discovered this restaurant a few years ago and even though we try not to go back to the same restaurant twice….we decided that we HAD to go back to this restaurant. The seafood is beyond fresh and we love how your meal arrives to your table in a steaming hot plastic bag. Naturally plastic bibs and even plastic gloves are given out to guests. Not to mention…a roll of paper towels are on your table  as well.

Top Left: The meal arrives. See how happy we are? Top Right: What our table looks like AFTER our meal. Bottom: Love the fact that they have been on The Cooking Channel.

Notice what we are holding in our hands? That's our dinner!!

Notice what we are holding in our hands? That’s our dinner!!

2. Night #2: Chada Thai & Wine. I discovered this restaurant after posting on Chowhound. I then read enough fabulous reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon to know that we would definitely  be dining a this restaurant. We were NOT disappointed at all. I asked our amazing waiter (Bank) to assist us with selecting 4 dishes and he delivered 4 perfect items. The food was fresh, flavorful and light. My mom and I were beyond happy.

Top Right: Pad Hed (Shitake and Shimeji mushrooms stir fried with brussels sprouts and lotus root). Bottom Left: Yum Kai Nok Kata (Fried Quail eggs topped with dry shrimp, cilantro, onion. Spicy lime dressing). Bottom Right: Pla Nua Tod (crispy beef tossed with rice powder, spicy tamarind sauce, onion and mint, served with fresh cabbage).

Not kidding: I would order all of these dishes again in a heart beat.

vegas - chada

Save room for dessert!

chada - dessert

 

Night #3: In – N – Out Burger. I don’t know where to start to describe this burger. Let’s just say it’s perfect and this restaurant makes me happy (just like the song…sorry, couldn’t resist). In-N-Out Burger has never chnaged their menu and there is a reason why they haven’t changed it. THERE IS NO NEED. Sadly I forgot to order the Animal Style French Fries which is on a “secret menu” and was kicking myself. #nexttime.

vegas - innout2

I also discovered a restaurant called Eat which is only open from 8 to 3 during the week and on weekends from 8 to 2 pm. The reviews I read were outstanding so off we went on a cloudy day for lunch. Even though I love sitting in the sun, I was thrilled that we had this day to discover this restaurant and go shopping!!

Top Right: Cinnamon Biscuits with warm strawberry compote Bottom Left: Green Chili Chicken Posole Bottom Right:Truffled Egg Sandwich.

vegas - eat

On our last night: We celebrated the end of another mother/daughter Vegas trip with our usual jello shots from Fat Tuesday & Chippery inside Caesars Palace. We’ve been going to this little gem of a spot for 6 years to enjoy this $2 treat. LOL.

vegas - jelloshotAs you can see, I had another amazing trip with my mom and would like to thank her for this perfect birthday gift. I’m so lucky have a mom who also loves to travel, sit in the sun and eat good food. I’m already looking forward to spending my birthday with her next year in Vegas!!

For more information:

Hot ‘N Juicy Crawfish 4810 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas,  702 891 8889

Chada Thai and Wine  3400 S Jones Blvd. Las Vegas, 702 641 1345 (reservations recommended)

In-N-Out Burger (2 locations in Las Vegas)…4888 Dean Martin Drive or 2900 W. Sahara Ave.

Eat 707 Carson St. Las Vegas (702) 534 1515

Fat Tuesday & Chippery: Forum Shops at  Caesars Palace, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas.