Dec
21

Holiday Gift Guide….


I have a feeling that there’s more than a few people out there still looking for last minute gift ideas. Here’s a few suggestions:

FOR ANYONE:  A Gift Card or A Membership to Ripleys Aquarium. This is one special attraction that is sure to delight any one at any age! PS they are opened all year long. Did you know that?

ripley

FOR THE BUSY MOM: May I suggest the Hamilton Beach Dual Sandwich Maker?  Just put in a few ingredients, plug it in the wall and push a button. After a few minutes you will have an amazing warm and satisfying sandwich.

hamilton

FOR THE STUDENT: What about a gift card from Aroma Espresso Bar, for their decadent hot chocolate or delicious sandwiches? Can’t go wrong.

aroma

FOR YOUR PARENTS: a customized photo calendar. I’ve done this several times and it’s ALWAYS a hit.

FOR YOU..hee hee..nothing like treating yourself. (I’m a big believer, can you tell?). …can you say SPA? What are you waiting for? Just go. Some of my favorite spas include: Body Blitz, Ste. Anne’s and Healthwinds. PS the Korean Family Spa is open all year long.

FOR ANYONE: a subscription to NextIssue or Netflix. I think both of these gifts are perfect for anyone. NextIssue has 180 Magazines for only $9.99 a month. #loveit

nextissue

FOR THE FOODIE:  A SodaStream is going to compliment any kitchen. I promise. I’m loving the new sleek design and how easy it is to use. Anyone I know who has a SodaStream, loves it. #justsayin’

sodastream image

FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTHING: Just head to www.Etsy.ca .there is something for EVERYONE on this special website.

FOR THE TECHIE: I’m in love with my Samsung Galaxy S5  and they will be too! I switched over from my iPhone 5 in a nano second and haven’t regretted the decision. Best features: the camera rocks and the fact that I’m not required to put in a password when downloading a new app or music is a HUGE bonus!

Happy Last Minute Shopping!!

 

 

 

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Dec
17

A New Potato Latke Recipe!


It’s Chanuka, which means it’s time to eat a few (just a few) potato latkes. I’ve been using the same recipe for Potato Latkes for years but this year I came across a new recipe (via Facebook) from Tori Avey  that I thought I would try.

The secret to my success was actually READING the entire blog post! Generally I just skim a recipe and this time I actually read it twice.

These tips really made a difference:

•I used Peanut Oil. Believe it or not , it was the first time I’ve bought Peanut oil!!

• I made sure the oil was actually the right temperature (I placed a popcorn kernel in the oil and it popped – so I knew the oil was ready).

• I grated the potatoes by hand. (not sure this made a difference but….LOL). Usually I take out my beloved Cuisinart for this job but since I moved I can’t find the blade. Don’t ask. ARGHH

• I used a cheesecloth (purchased from the dollar store) to really wring out the excess water.

Recipe for Classic Potato Latkes (from Tori Avey)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large white or brown onion, shredded  (I left this out – not sure why)
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs (I used bread crumbs)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp potato starch ( I used baking powder)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Peanut or grapeseed oil for frying (about 1 1/2 cups) (I used peanut oil)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Grate the potatoes and immerse into cold water to prevent discolouring.  Drain and put the grated potatoes on a cheesecloth and then wring it out like there’s no tomorrow.

latke - cheesecloth

2. Grate the onions (again, I skipped this part – not sure why)

3. Add the squeezed out grated potatoes, onions and the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix the ingredients till everything is well blended.

4. Heat the oil in a large pot. I was really generous this time  with the oil and it made a difference. After a few minutes, I then placed a popcorn kernel in the oil. It popped which meant it was the right temperature. You could also use a piece of bread and when it turns golden brown ..then you know the oil is ready.

5. Form latkes into patties and then gently drop into the hot oil with a slotted spoon. After 2-3 minutes – flip over. Take them out of the oil and place them on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

5. Serve….with applesauce, sour cream or both!!

latkes -final

Happy Chanuka…to all who celebrate! ps these latkes are traditionally served at Chanuka but I have no idea why I don’t make them all year round. They are DELICIOUS.

latkes -table

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Dec
15

3 Restaurants in 4 Nights


Last week, I went to 3 new restaurants in 4 nights. Im paying for it this week and will be eating a lot of Kale Salad this week!! However my week is nothing compared to a food writer I know that often goes to 3 or 4 media events each night!!

Here’s what kept me busy last week:

a) CC Lounge: This is a prohibition era-inspired cocktail bar and supper club that is in a stunning Ontario Heritage Building. CC Lounge is a 4,000-square foot lounge which is draped in crystals, velvet and gold and features private booths made of hundred-year-old whisky barrels, a custom 10-foot-tall birdcage for showcasing dancers and North America’s first whisky tasting tunnel housing over 100 varieties of whisky.

This is how I was greeted!! Talk about making a statement.

restaurants - cage

The cocktails and the whiskey tunnel, were impressive but for some reason that night I focussed on the food!!

restaurants - cc

b) Borealia: This restaurant has a menu that draws inspiration from historic foods of the natives, early settlers and subsequent immigrant groups who arrived in the 18th and 19th century. The media dinner was nothing short of outstanding. I would run back for the pine scented smoked mussels in a heart beat. Not to mention the whelk was another one of my favourite dishes. They are opened Tuesday to Sunday from 530 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

restaurants - borealia

c) BarFish: This is a swanky bar at Blowfish King Street West which features cocktails, sake, and some pretty fabulous sushi. Sadly I didn’t capture the space as it was kind of dark but I did manage to get a few photos of the specatacular sushi thanks to @foodsisterhood that provided me some light with her iPhone!

restaurants - barfish

For more information:

CC Lounge: Front St E, Facebook: www.facebook.com/CCLounge Twitter: CC_Lounge

Borealia: 59 Ossington,  Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BorealiaTO  Twitter: @BorealiaTO

BarFish: 668 King St. West Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlowfishRestaurant Twitter: #BarFish

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Dec
11

Well I’ve been to Ottawa a few times since the Fall and of course with each visit there’s some new discoveries! Here we go…

a) Equator Coffee (412 Churchill)  just opened last week so it was the ideal place to meet my Ottawa Food Blogger friend.   I have no doubt that the neighborhood is going to embrace this coffee shop even though there’s no shortage of coffee shops in the area! (which I found out from my other Ottawa Food Blogger Friend). In my opinion..the more the merrier.

ottawa - equator (right)b) The Bacon Factory Burger Emporium: (154 O’Connor) Well any restaurant that has the word “bacon” in it – has my full attention. My mom and I happily split the burger that had the most amount of bacon in it. Hee Hee. PS this restaurant could have been a bar as it was full of guys. (see photo on far right)

ottawa- burger

c) Red Door Provisions: (117 Beechwood) Oh what a quaint place. My mom ordered the scones which were light and fluffy and I HAD to order the pickled sriracha egg. I’m a total sucker for something different.

ottawa - equator

d) Ace Mercado: (121 Clarence) This new tequila bar that recently opened in the Byward Market is super cool.  The branding of this restaurant/bar is genius. You can tell that a lot of thought went into opening this restaurant.  If you are looking for a cool space to have a drink or for dinner, then this is your place.

ottawa - ace

d) Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse:  (100 Gloucester) Discovered them on Twitter (big surprise) and was happy to receive my first coffee on the house because I followed them on Twitter. I love when a restaurant “gets” social media.

ottawa - grounded

e) Holland’s Cakes and Shakes:  (100 Armstrong) Can you say “Red Licorice Milkshake?”. OMG.  Their sandwiches and pastries looked delicious but as always there’s only so much I can eat!! Will have to return one day soon.

ottawa - holland's

As always I love visiting Ottawa. I can’t wait to visit again and find out what else has opened up!

 

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Dec
09

I’ve been patiently waiting for the Istanbul Cafe and Espresso Bar to open for almost a year. This new coffee shop is located at 175 Eglinton Ave East between Mount Pleasant and Yonge St.

instanbul - store

Recently I noticed via Twitter that it opened and I quickly grabbed a friend to check it out. Yes..that’s the way I roll.

Upon entering we were ooohing and ahhing over the attention to detail. Everything from the lights to the fireplace is STUNNING.

instanbul - light

Take a peek at how they serve Turkish coffee. I’m a sucker for presentation so I ordered it!!

instanbul - turkish

This new coffee shop has already had a warm welcome from the neighbourhood and I’m sure it will get even more popular when their liquor licence kicks in.

On a side note: they do serve sandwiches, mediterranean treats and muffins that you would see in typical coffee shops.  However, I really hope that they serve more mediterranean food in the future.

For more information:

Istanbul Cafe and Espresso Bar: 174 Eglinton Ave East, Toronto 416 480 0303

Hours: Weekdays 7 am to 10 pm, Saturday 8 am to 10 pm, Sunday 9 am to 10 pm

PS Liquor licence  is pending….stay tuned for (much) longer hours

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Dec
04

The One of A Kind Show is celebrating their 40th Anniversary and there’s a good reason for their success. This years’ show features over 800 vendors and I guarantee that you won’t walk away empty handed.

Last week I attended the media preview and decided to take a quick walk and within 5 minutes I had purchased this bracelet. I just couldn’t resist. Don’t forget – I’m a foodie so for me to buy a piece of jewellery is a big deal!!

OOAK - bracelet

These items caught my attention as well.

These wooden bows called BO. Kind of neat, non?

OOAK - Ties

Loved these pillow cases too! I think the pillow that says ” Get Up” has my name written all over it!

OOAK - Pillows

There’s something for everyone at this show. I still proudly display a unique wall hanging that i purchased in the early 1990’s. (here’s the blog post).

Please note; Tonight (Thursday Dec 4th) there’s FREE PARKING and LATE NIGHT SHOPPING till 11 pm. I took advantage of this last year and loved it. It wasn’t as crowded and I’m always happy to save $$ on parking.

For more information:

Website: www.oneofakindshow.com

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10AM – 9PM, Sunday 10AM – 6PM

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place

Tickets: Buy your tickets online! Click here

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Dec
01

I seriously don’t know why it took me so long to have a cheese fondue party! I guess it’s because I didn’t own a fondue pot till recently. I actually picked it up at Real Canadian Superstore for $5. What a score!!

fondue - pot

Then I discovered this product (PC Swiss Fondue) which makes throwing a Cheese Fondue Party even easier. Oh how I love PC Products!

fondue - cheese

Other items I served included:

-fresh fruit (raspberries, blackberries, and grapes)

-fresh vegetables (cauliflower and carrots)

-phyllo cups with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic…drizzled with a balsamic reduction

-a variety of olives

-nuts that I picked up  on my last trip to Ottawa (lemon almonds, smoked almonds and cinnamon walnuts)

-a cheese tray with Beemster and Empire Cheddar with Mustard Seeds that I picked up at the Delicious Show).

-PC Holiday Treats such as The Decadent Chocolate Cake and Candy Cane Chocolate Squares.

fondue - PC

-Smoked Parmesan Inferno Dip Mix. #YUM

-wine (white and red) and of course I showed off my new Soda Stream too!

The table looked like this!

fondue - table

I can guarantee you that I will be hosting another Cheese Fondue Party over the holidays. It’s a great way to entertain!

Disclosure: Several items that I served were provided to me, however all my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Nov
20

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo


According to my blog, I haven’t attended the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo since 2010. Here’s the blog post! So I’ve decided it’s about time I return. I’m really looking forward to eating and drinking (my fav combo) and helping them celebrate their 20th Anniversary. This year’s expo offers more than 1500 wines, beers, sprits and gourmet foods to choose from. I took a peek at the exhibitor list and quickly came to the realization that I won’t be leaving the expo hungry or thirsty!

gfwe_logo_black_20thHere’s the details about the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo:

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/ ( a great place to buy tickets in advance – HINT)

Hours: 

Friday, November 21, 2014,       2pm-10pm
Saturday, November 22, 2014,  12pm-10pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014,    12pm-6pm

Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building

Hope to see you there. Cheers!!

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Nov
18

I finally went to the William Ashley Warehouse Sale. Hip Hip Hooray!! Many of my friends have gone to this sale and now I know why!

This year they’ve moved to a bigger space that features 30,000 square feet of shopping, with over one million items up for sale. There’s more to the sale than William Ashley’s signature china and dishware – there’s home décor, fashion items, candles, bath toiletries, even gourmet food.

See what I mean? Take a peek at the layout….

ashley - layout

This new location has another bonus!  Shoppers get to wait inside – and not in a heated tent!

ashley -lineup

I walked thru the aisles and saw SO many different items that I wanted to purchase but all I kept thinking was “where am I going to put it”.

 

ashley - decisionspots It wasn’t easy to decide what to buy. But I did it!!

ashley - final

-some colourful plates (for my blog of course)

-a candle that is going to crackle when lit (I’m a sucker for things like that),

-a few red small bowls that I’m going to use for an upcoming cheese fondue party

-some place mats that I really don’t need but I LOVE

-a brie maker (again for the cheese fondue party).

-candle holders that I know Im going to enjoy. One can’t have enough candle holders, right?

So here’s what you need to know:

William Ashley Warehouse Sale 111 Creditview Rd, Vaughan ON

Website: http://www.williamashley.com/warehousesale/

Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri. 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.

THIS IS THE FINAL WEEK! #Justsayin….

Happy Shopping!

Disclosure: I was provided a gift card to shop at this sale however all opinions are my own

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Nov
16

Let’s Talk About Brunch


For some reason I don’t go out for brunch a lot, however lately I’m been working on that!! Here’s a few restaurants that I’ve visited for brunch over the last few months.

DIM SUM KING

I was introduced to this restaurant when I attended a book launch for Corey Mintz. So last week when I went to the AGO to see the Alex Corville Exhibit, I knew that this would be the perfect place to satisfy my dim sum craving! The restaurant is huge, there’s linens on the tables and they have carts too! As for my dim sum – thumbs up!

Take a peek at their menu (and their awesome prices too). Click here!

Dim Sum King 421 Dundas St W, Toronto, 416 551 3366

brunch - dimsum

LINDA MODERN THAI

This stunning restaurant has recently introduced a brunch menu and I was lucky enough to get invited to try it out. Items such as Thai Banana Egg Pancakes and Eggs Benedict Thai Style are popular items so that’s what we ordered. This restaurant should be on your radar if you are looking for a unique brunch in a beautiful setting with attentive service!  For a complete brunch menu please click here.

Linda Modern Thai: 11 Karl Fraser Rd (Shops at Don Mills) Toronto,  416 642 3866

brunch - thai

BOOM BREAKFAST

This popular restaurant has 5 locations and has an item on the menu called the Threesome (pancakes, sausage and eggs). Apparently it’s the most popular item on the menu!!  Their acronym TGIM (Thank God It’s Morning) always puts a smile on my face too. Oh how I love creative marketing.

brunch - boom

Hopefully I will continue to explore brunch options more regularly on the weekends. Do you have a favourite place I should check out? do share….

 

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