Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Star’


After reading a review of Bar Buca by Amy Pataki in the Toronto Star, I knew that I wanted to visit this restaurant STAT. She gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, so I put Bar Buca on my radar and off I went for lunch. I was a bit nervous that it  was going to be busy so I was cautious and arrived at 11:30 am. It was a good move.

The space has a few shared tables and a bar as well.(capacity 38).  I like watching the ‘action” so I plunked myself onto one of those high backed chairs!

barbuca - bar

The menu is divided into small bites, cold plates, hot plates, fried, stuffed focaccia and skewers. Love it. It’s perfect for sharing ….and priced between $3 and $14.


So what did I order? Let’s put it to you this way – TASTY STUFF.

Specifically: POLIPO – baby octopus, soppressata, crema de palate. What you really need to know is that it was perfectly prepared.

carbon - octopus

We also ordered: CARCIOFI CRUDI – raw artichokes, buffalo yogurt, bottarga, senape. In other words: More Perfection

carbon - artichokes

Based on a few reviews, I knew I would be ordering the PORCHETTA SANDWICH (roast tuscan pork, mascarapone, apple mostarda, agliata). What you really need to know about this sandwich is that it is MASSIVE. So glad we split it!

carbon - sandwich

Last but not least – we ordered the BRUSCHETTA which is described as: duck yolk, beech mushroom and truffle. Again – DELICIOUS.

carbon - appetizerConclusion: This restaurant offers some well executed dishes in a cool atmosphere with some decent service. Not to mention that the menu appeals to me as it’s certainly not an ordinary menu. Not even close.  I know I will be returning one morning with my macbook… to try their coffee and pastries. I have no doubt that I’m going to be impressed. Most likely I will be making it for dinner one day too. Clearly I’ve become a quick fan of Rob Gentiles’ style. (who is the Executive Chef).

For more information:

Bar Buca 75 Portland St. Toronto 416 599 2822

Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 1 am, Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 2 am.

Twitter; @barbucatoronto

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I’ve been using the same chocolate chip recipe that I cut out from the Toronto Star for years. It served me well however the results were never consistent. One day, I googled “chocolate chip cookie” recipe and a few recipes came up. (just a few..HA). I realized that many of the recipes had the same ingredients but the measurements are slightly different. Plus the technique can be different too!!

After clicking on a few websites, I came across a recipe that was posted on a blog called: Sally’s Baking Addiction! 

Her recipe stood out for these three reasons:

1. the photos (seriously…they couldn’t get any better)

2. she explained each component of the recipe.

3. the addition of CORNSTARCH intrigued me.

I tried out the recipe and then continued to make about 5 batches. I COULD NOT STOP MAKING THIS RECIPE!! Thank you Sally’s Baking Addiction for this perfect recipe.


  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk (preferably at room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (180 grams) chocolate chips or chocolate chunks


  • Mix together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. (simple enough, right?)cookie - dry
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until the lumps disappear. Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla.cookie - wet
  •   Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP and MUST BE DONE CORRECTLY. (I’m talking from experience!!)
  • The dough will be somewhat soft. Fold in the chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but most of them managed to stick into the dough.
  • Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. THIS STEP IS MANDATORY.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.cookie - fridge
  • Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  • Roll the dough into balls, about 3 Tablespoons of dough each. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will allow the balls to stay intact. (I used a cookie scooper for this part). Place them evenly on the baking sheet.
  •  Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. IMPORTANT: Do not bake longer than 12 minutes. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • FINAL RESULT:cookies - final

Now go grab yourself a glass of cold milk and enjoy a cookie (or two).

Happy Baking.


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Friday night dinner is a big deal in Jewish households. Not all households have this tradition but I grew up where Friday night dinner was important, and this tradition continues.

It’s also a great way to entertain. I realize I could entertain and host a Sunday brunch or have people over on a  Saturday night, but some traditions are hard to break!!

This week, my guests will be served the following:

-Challah (frozen then baked)

-Gazpacho (courtesy of Moosewood Original Cookbook)

-Pissaladiere (courtesy of New Recipes from Moosewood)

-Pebre (courtesy of Sundays at Moosewood)

-Pita Chips (courtesy of watching my mom make them for decades!)

-Brocoli crunch salad (courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)

-Yellow Bean Salad (courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)

-Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (courtesy of the Toronto Star).

It’s kind of a “Spring” menu – even if it’s not officially Spring yet!

In this blog post, I’m going to share the Pebre recipe which is also known as Salsa de Ciliantro! This is what you need:

pebre - ing


1/2 cup minced onion or scallions

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

4 medium field tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons of Tobasco or another hot sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl and refrigerate.

Final Result:

pebre - final

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Ingredients for the soup!!

This soup  was part of the Golden Whisk Awards 2011 as one of the top 10 best culinary creations prepared in the Star test kitchen. And guess what? I agree. I have made this soup three times in less than two weeks.

The recipe was shared by Ravi Kanagaarahah who owns RavisSoups. I’ve known Ravi since he opened RaviSoups (the perks of being a food sales rep) and his soups are beyond-amazing.

He is a talented chef and clearly understands how to use spices in his soups.

I was excited to try this recipe and positively thrilled with the results. I used organic ginger and I swear it gives the soup and extra kick. It’s worth buying.

Curried Lentil and Apricot Soup


2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

2 yellow onions, chopped

1/4 cup of finely chopped garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped ginger (I used organic ginger – there is a difference – I swear)

2 tablespoons mild curry powder

1 plum tomato, chopped

1 cup diced dried apricots

2 cups rinsed, drained red lentils

8 cups water

3/4 cups coconut milk

salt and pepper

garnish: plain yoghurt and cilantro


1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, and stir till golden – about 10 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low – add garlic and ginger. Stir for 2 minutes.

3. Add curry powder. Add tomatoes, lentils, water.

4. Raise heat to high.

5. When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally and let cook till apricots are softenend.

5. Using a food processor or hand immersion blender, puree soup.

6. Return soup to pot over low heat and stir in coconut milk. Season with salt and peper.

Not only do I hope you get a chance to make this soup, but I hope you get a chance to visit RavisSoups too.


322 Adelaide St. West 647 435-8365

1128 Queen St. West 416-538-7284

Take a peek at Yelp and Urbanspoon and will find glowing reviews for RaviSoups!! (p.s for good reason too)

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Fact: I subscribe to the Toronto Star only so I can read the food section. Therefore, Wednesday is my favorite day to receive the Toronto Star. I read a variety of articless and recipes from Jennifer Bain, Josh Rubin, Amy Pataki on a regular basis.  I am truly interested to know what they are eating, cooking, buying, etc. I know I could look it up online but that’s a whole other discussion!!

The “Star Tested” recipes are always reliable and I have clipped out many of them over the years. Infact I am still clipping them out (so old fashioned – can you believe?)

Last week there was an article that caught my attention, which was written by food editor Jennifer Bain and food writer Eric Vellend.

Seeing as it was the holidays and I had some spare time on my hand – I decided to to try this simple soup which comes from the chef/owner of Martin Kouprie from Pangaea and is in his new cookbook: Pangaea. Why It Tastes So Good.

Parsnip and Lemon Soup:

This is what you need:


1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup diced Spanish onion (I used normal onions)

2 cups peeled, diced parsnips

4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water (I used water)

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

3/4 tsp sea salt (to taste)


1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until it foams.

2. Add onions. Cook stirring, 3 minutes to soften.

3. Add parsnips, stock (or water). Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

4. Add zest.

5. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes till parsnips are tender.

6. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

7. In a food processor puree soup. (I puree solids first and then slowly add liquids till its smooth)


A creamy delicious healthy simple soup! What more could you ask for?

Happy Cooking!!

p.s for some reason I think this soup needs a herb, but I haven’t figured out which one? Suggestions are welcome.

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Best Ever Banana Muffin

The weather is finally getting cooler which means that I am back in the kitchen baking. If I had to pick three favorite items I like to bake – they would be: a) banana muffins c) chocolate chip cookies  and c) fruit crisps.

Basically I like to make anything that can freeze!!

This  particular blog entry will be dedicated to the Best Ever Banana Muffins!! Naturally this recipe is from the Toronto Star, (Sept 3, 20008) and is Star Tested. Just so you know, I’ve been a fan of the Toronto Star Wednesday Food Section for as long as I can remember.


2 cups of mashed bananas (about 5) ps the darker the better

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour


In a large bowl, mash bananas. (I use the mix master for this part – kinda like them really really mushy).

Sir in sugar and egg.

Add melted butter.

Stir in baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour to make a thick batter.

Fill each cup of a 12 cup muffin tin about 3/4 full. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.


**If you want you can also add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.

Happy Baking.

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I’m in the mood for sharing some more of my favorite recipes. Now that rhubarb is appearing in grocery stores,  I thought I would share this recipe for “Best Ever Rhubarb Crisp” that I have been using since 2009.  It’s Star Tested by Susan Sampson! The article actually says “adapted from the 1983 Toronto Star Cookbook by Jim White.


1 1/2 lbs (7oo grams) rhubarb diced into 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 cups) ****

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon


1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup melted butter

Preparation: In a large bowl, toss rhubarb, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Transfer to a lightly greased 8 inch square baking pan

For the toppping: In a a bowl, toss together flour, sugar, and oats. Drizzle in butter. Mix well with a fork. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.


The Star is's the best rhubarb crisp.

***for some reason (probably cause I didnt have enough rhubarb), I used a combo of strawberries AND rhubarb. For this blog entry I used a 1 lb container of strawberries and one cup of rhubarb. It’s still delicious. No one in my family is complaining.

Happy Baking!

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I’ve been using this recipe for years and years. I don’t know exactly how many years but well before email as the article says to MAIL in recipe requests not email them!!
This recipe was from a column in the Toronto Star  that was called Fare Exchange and was written by Mary McgGrath. It was submitted by Lynne Anne Anfield of Cherry Valley. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ve been using this recipe for well over 10 years. It’s the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever used. I’m pretty loyal to baking recipes that work!! The cookies are soft and gooey – just like they should be. (in my humble opinion).
Lynne Anne’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream together butter and shortening. Gradually add sugars, creaming well. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill dough for a few minutes. Drop by spoonfuls on to a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and the edges and slightly undercooked in the centre. Let stand on sheet for 3-5 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet and set on a wire rack to finish cooling.

PS I am a huge believer in the following kitchen gadget. I spray it with Pam and use it when I bake cookies so that they come out nice and round.

Happy Baking!!

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Vicky Weiss being photographed by Rene Johnston

News Flash:  I am going to be in the Toronto Star on Wed. Feb. 2nd, and I’m so excited about it that I’m blogging about it before the paper arrives!!

Here’s how it happend:

10:00 a.m. I receive a text from @savvari asking me if I am working from home due to the snow and to email her contact at the Toronto Star if I’m interested in being interviewed.

10:14 a.m. I send an email to her contact explaining that I’m a food sales rep who drives thru the GTA to visit accounts. I also write “clearly won’t be on the roads tomorrow” and leave  my name and phone number

10:17 a.m. My phone rings and it’s Francine Kopun from the Toronto Star!. She asks me a few questions and even though we have never met ,we get along famously over the phone. She also asks me if I would be interested in being photographed for the article. I reply “no problem” (as I said this I realize that I have no make up on and my hair is in a pony tail).

I then visit some accounts and while I’m at Shoppers Drug Mart on Dufferin, I ask beg the clerk at the make up counter,  if she would kindly put some make up on. Thankfully she agrees!! (phewww).

12:51 p.m I received a phone call from Rene Johnston, who is a photo journalist at the Toronto Star. We agree to meet at Leslie/Eglinton as he wants to take some shots of me in Sunnybrook park

1:30 p.m. Rene and I meet at the designated location.  He is so charming that I immediately forget that I am about to be photographed for a major newspaper.

He takes photos of me inside the car, outside the car, while I’m driving, while I’m parking etc. While he is busy clicking away he says “sex and chocolate” and of course I immediatlely smile and laugh. He’s a true professional.

2: 31 p.m. I send an email to Francine to tell her that Rene was awesome and that both of them make my day brighter!!

2:32 p.m. I send an email to @savvari (Sandy) thanking her for putting me in contact with Francine.

3:20 p.m. I received an email from Francine with the copy she has written for the article. (you will have to read the Toronto Star…I’m so mean, eh?)

I’m now blogging about this at 10:00 p.m .and there is STILL no snow on the ground.  But I know it’s on the way….right?

Once again, many thanks to Sandy, Francine and Rene (and twitter too)!!

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A few weeks ago, I was reading the Toronto Star and came across an article about a new skating trail that opened up in Etobicoke. I immediately cut out the article and pinned it on the fridge.

Source: City of Toronto, Jim Melvin, PMA Architects

I was kinda spoiled growing up, skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.  However, an outdoor 250 metre figure eight loop, certainly piqued my interest.

So I told my daughter that on Saturday nite, we would be checking it out. She was thrilled!!

It took 20 minutes and 3 major roads (Hwy 401, Hwy 427, and the Gardiner)..but like I said, it was only 20 minutes and CERTAINLY WORTH IT. The skating trail is located at Colonel Sam Smith Park and can be found  south of Lakeshore Blvd, off of Kipling and is open daily from 9 a.m to 10 p.m

We loved the new skating trail.  The ice was perfect, the trail was well designed and it was great to be outside enjoying a winter activity. I kept asking the kids “is it time to leave?” and I kept hearing “no we are having fun”. So..we skated more.

Having a great time!!

There is lighting throughout the park and it’s got a state of the art sound system too. Plus there is  an indoor washroom and changing facilities.

We gave it a thumbs up and will be returning on another Saturday nite soon. The kids had a blast and even I was smiling as can be seen in the next photo.

Smiling on Skates...It can be done!!

Hope you get a chance to visit this new skating trail soon.

Happy Skating.

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