Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

I guess it wouldn’t be October without at least one pumpkin recipe. I have been having fun with different flavours of snickerdoodles during my weekly cookie feature.  It’s helpful in coming up with a different variety each week. Basically all that entails is rolling your dough in a form of spiced sugar.  In this recipe I added the flavours of pumpkin pie to my sugar. I hope you like them!

Start off with a large bowl of your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

In a second bowl beat together your butter and sugars.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Beat in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Love the bright orange colour.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Roll the dough into 1″ round balls and coat with your pumpkin pie sugar. Place on cookie sheet and press with a fork.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

 

Bake until bottoms just begin to brown.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

 

Yields 5-6 dozen

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tsp ginger
  • 3 tsp allspice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In another large bowl beat together butter and sugars.
  4. Beat in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
  6. In a shallow bowl mix together the 1 cup of sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
  7. Roll the dough into 1" balls and cover in sugar mixture. Place on prepared pans and press down with a fork.
  8. Bake 6-8 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Recipe Type: Dessert
6.8

 

Apple Tarts Two Ways

Apple Tarts-3

You will sometimes hear me say I live a sitcom life.

Weird things happen to me all the time.  I have either the best luck or the worst luck.  I don’t do things the easy way.

Take two weeks ago. Setting: The Toronto International Film Festival, my favorite time of fall (minus cask days in October).  It’s where a friend and I spend copious amounts of time standing in line, people watching to our heart’s content. “Wow is she really wearing that?” ” Is that someone famous?” “Man, I may have had too much to drink at lunch.” It’s one of those things that you only have one or two friends that truly “get” the experience. “You stand in line for how long?” Yes we stand in line a lot. But we also get to hopefully see a cinematic masterpiece and a bunch of celebrities.

This year the stars (the ones in the sky not on the red carpet) didn’t seem to align for us. One movie we both loathed to attend (sorry Lance) and were lucky we had another friend switch with us. The first and second movie my go-to TIFF buddy couldn’t attend so I was scrambling to find a replacement (again someone who kind of understood the whole line thingy) and it rained! A lot!

So I found a replacement, met her in line (yes 1 1/2 hours early) and clung to my umbrella hoping I wouldn’t need it.  And then my sitcom life began.

I got stung by something. I think it was a wasp.  There was no stinger so google and I decided it was not a bee.

Here’s the thing. I have never, ever been stung before.  By anything. I had no idea how I’d react.  It hurt like hell being that it was the fleshy bit of the palm of hand but I silently waited to see what else I would experience. Silently because I wasn’t going to make a scene and there was no way I was missing my movie (TIFF goers understand this). Lucky no dying in line happened and only mild swelling occured…..

Until the next day where my hand was twice the size it should be and itchy as hell. Being the healthcare worker that I am I thought a lot of gruesome things and even drew a line around the swollen, red part to keep an “eye” on it. The next day? Even worse which sent me to the doctor on call. The verdict? My hand had a full blown infection and I needed antibiotic. Seriously?!

I can’t just get stung. I get stung and an infection. I’m so dramatic. Cue the audience laugh track.

I am cured as of today thank you for asking.  So let’s celebrate with these awesome tarts.  It’s surprisingly drama free.

Apple Tarts-2

Apple Tarts Two Ways

You can use any shape tart pan that you have.

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • Two pastry shells, rolled into a long rectangle
  • 8-10 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp cold butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Glaze Topping
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two long rectangular tart pans.
  2. Place your pastry into each pan and press down to form the shape of your pan.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the apples, white and brown sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Spread the apple mixture evenly between the two pans.
  5. To make the streusel topping, combine all the ingredients into one bowl. Using a pastry cutter cut the butter until everything is mixed and resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over on of the pans.
  6. Place both tarts; streusel topped and the plain apple one into your oven and bake until golden 45-60 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  7. To make the glaze, combine the butter, milk, brown sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mixing lightly add the confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you get a glaze consistency you prefer. Pour glaze over second apple tart once it is cooled.
6.8

 

Reforma 35

Reforma 35 Photo 1

Regulars of the previous occupants of 35 Baldwin Street, Agave y Aguacate will say the meat and bones of the place has relatively stayed the same.  Similar design concepts, brightly coloured walls and closely related logo. It is the heart of the place that’s is noticeably different with the arrival of Reforma 35.

Reforma 35 Photo 2

Keyvan Foroughi knows this space intimately having owned the former Agave.  It’s turquoise walls, bench seating, and creative art work are all part of his constant vision of recreating places he loves most in his travels through Mexico. Vibrant, social and relaxed places. When he partnered up with former co owner of Fonda Lola, Andres Marquez and brought in Chef Marcos Sanchez from Diwan the food and drink finally lined up with their equally shared vision.

Reforma 35 Photo 3

Creative and flavour filled dishes dominant a small menu of Mexican Street food. Expected dishes like enchiladas and guacamole and chips are available but the sheer love of great tasting  Mexican food can be found in abundance throughout the choices. The Cesar en Mano is a brilliant deconstructed take on the Caesar salad.  A create-your-own handheld salad “taco” with lettuce leaves, avocado dressed greens, cojita cheese, candied bacon and crispy pork rinds, it will have you talking about it for days.

Reforma 35 Photo 4

Reforma 35 Photo 5

The rest of the menu continues down that creative line.  Tacos el gobernador is by far the best shrimp taco in the city. Simple citrusy grilled shrimp, cheese and pickled onions.  Taco Tuesdays offers up $2 Taco de Canasta, crispy shells filled with chicken or vegetables and all the prerequisite toppings. Beef lovers can happily indulge in salspicon de res, perfectly grilled steak with crispy leeks and a cilantro dressing.

Reforma 35 Photo 6

Reforma 35 Photo 7

If you want to have a quiet relaxing lunch or dinner at Reforma 35 the dining room upstairs is ideal. However if you want the chance to socialize with the incredibly friendly staff and owners the bench seating on the main floor is where the fun begins.  Many of the dishes have a story behind them, from the Cesar and it’s Mexican and not Italian heritage or the history behind a shrimp taco with cheese.  Or if conversation falls short you can easily kill time watching one of the many talented bartenders sling out classic cocktails or delicious spins on some of your favorites.  The beet margarita is a huge hit with its earthy tones and laid back sweetness. Enjoy some dessert while sitting there. Either option of the Platanos Fritos (fried plantains) or the Flan de chocolate are decadent winners.

Reforma 35 Photo 8

One of the most important things the owners at Reforma 35 wanted to create was a restaurant that was about simple and delicious food.  A place where you can socialize, relax or enjoy the scene around. Simple and delicious is always successful and at Reforma 35 they have it perfected.

Reforma 35

35 Baldwin Street, Toronto

647-748-6448

Indian Food Made Simple:Cooking with Kissan

Kissan (1 of 4)

You all know I don’t shy away from tackling even the hardest recipe, preferring to conquer the proverbial “you can’t possibly made that from scratch??” attitude. I’ve done my own tortillas, breads, bagels, sauces, and multi stepped gourmet feasts, while exploring all the flavours of the world.  That’s what food writers do though. We stretch our boundaries. However that doesn’t mean we don’t like to have some of the harder stuff done for us allowing us to spend more time eating and less time cooking.

That’s where a company like Kissan International comes in.  Indian food is by far one of my top three favorite cuisines to dine on and experiment with. For over 30 years they have been the leading wholesaler of Indian products throughout Canada.  They made cooking easy for both the experienced and novice chef.  Pre packaged sauces and spice blends allow you to have an authentic butter chicken or tikka marsala on the table in half the time without compromising taste.

Kissan (2 of 4)

One of my favorite products they offer is Ghee, or clarified butter.  To have it readily available to toast my rice in before cooking or to brush on my homemade naan is invaluable.

Kissan (4 of 4)

I have also made my own curry paste before and while the flavour is outstanding it does take some time and patience and special equipment to make yourself.  Kissan offers up 5 different pastes to expand your cooking repertoire. If you don’t know where to even getting started when cooking with any of their products just visit their website for great tips and recipes.

Kissan (3 of 4)

And let’s not forget their oils as well.  While perfect for cooking Kissan coconut and almond oil are also perfect for your beauty regimen. Healthy skin and shiny hair, can’t go wrong there.

Don’t be afraid to try something new in the kitchen.  Available in the International aisle of most major grocery stores, Kissan can help you explore Indian food with greater ease and confidence without sacrificing flavour.  And if you want to start simple try this recipe for Coconut Red Curry with Paneer. Easy, quick and will make your tastebuds sing.

Yields 4

Coconut Red Curry with Paneer

You can find paneer in your dairy aisle where they sell cottage cheese.

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced, white parts onlys
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package paneer, cubed
  • 1-4 tbsp Kissan Red Curry Paste (depending how spicy you want it will determine how much paste you use)
  • 2 cups water or stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over high medium heat the oil.
  2. Add the leeks, peppers and garlic and saute until soft.
  3. Stir in the paneer.
  4. Add the curry paste and stir to coat.
  5. Add the water/broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Serve with rice and naan.
6.8

*I received products to try from Kissan free of charge.  As always all opinions are my own.

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 11 (1 of 8)

TTGG 11 (2 of 8)

TTGG 11 (3 of 8)

TTGG 11 (4 of 8)

TTGG 11 (5 of 8)

TTGG 11 (6 of 8)

TTGG 11 (7 of 8)

TTGG 11 (8 of 8)

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 12 (1 of 16)

TTGG 12 (2 of 16)

TTGG 12 (3 of 16)

TTGG 12 (4 of 16)

TTGG 12 (5 of 16)

TTGG 12 (6 of 16)

TTGG 12 (7 of 16)

TTGG 12 (8 of 16)

TTGG 12 (9 of 16)

TTGG 12 (10 of 16)

TTGG 12 (11 of 16)

TTGG 12 (12 of 16)

TTGG 12 (13 of 16)

TTGG 12 (14 of 16)

TTGG 12 (15 of 16)

TTGG 12 (16 of 16)

A Cookie Bonanza with Butter Celebrates! (plus a giveaway)

Butter Celebrates (1 of 1)

As you may well remember this time last year I was wrapping up my 52 Cookies-A New Cookie a Week for a Year feature and you may also remember how I felt about doing such a laborious task. Yet the one thing that stood out the most after this endeavour? I sure know how to throw down batch of cookies when I need to! (I also seem to need to make many dozens of multiple kinds in one afternoon. Cookie me crazy.)

Butter Celebrates (6 of 6)

This is why when I was asked to be apart of a blogger review of the new Butter Celebrates! by Rosie Daykin (Random House) and time became of the essence I knew where my success would lie. Plus my co workers, who reaped the benefits from last year, have been hinting lately they missed my treats.

Butter Celebrates (4 of 6)

You might remember a group review we also this time last year for Rosie’s first fabulous book Butter Baked.  This time around Butter Celebrates! is pages and pages of beautiful classically design sweet treats perfect for every occasions.

Butter Celebrates (3 of 6)

Whether you want ideas for Mother’s Day, baby showers or holiday celebrations Butter has you covered. Cakes, pies, sweet treats and of course cookies burst off the pages making your mouth water. And the furry friends are included too with a whole chapter about Zelda, the Daykin family rescue dog and treats perfect for their sensitive little fur-tummies. Butter Celebrates! is table top worthy with stunning photography however you won’t resist dusting it in flour as you bake up many of these wonderful treats.

Butter Celebrates (1 of 6)

In classic blogger tradition we have banded together again and want to bring you the most amazing of prizes. Enter the contest below and you may be the lucky winner of a Butter Celebrates! cookbook signed by Rosie so you can try these recipes at home. She will also send you a box of goodies from the Butter store in Vancouver B.C. Perfect in time for the holidays.

Butter Celebrates (5 of 6)

Visit each participating blog and check out their review of Butter Celebrates! and get more chances to win. And if you haven’t visited my friends before you really need to check out their blogs. Such a super talented group of ladies.

The Brunette Baker baked a gorgeous Guiness Cake with Pretzels.

Strawberries for Supper made “Hostess” Cupcakes.

Planet Byn tried out the Orange Gingerbread Cake.

Devour & Conquer gets ready for the holiday season with the Christmas Panettone.

Sweet Twist of Blogging gets citrusy with the Lemon Loaf.

Libby Roach gets cute with Gingerbread Guys.

Family Bites follows the cute with Animal Cookies.

Sweet Style CA tried a decadent Chocolate Gingerbread Genoise.

eat.live.travel.write celebrate with Champagne Cupcakes.

Kelly Neil goes classic with Peppermint Nanaimo Bars.

I Sugar Coat It baked the Eggnog-less Bars.

Once Upon a Recipe dazzles with a Banana Pecan Caramel Cake.

Make sure you visit all and enter below for your chance at this amazing prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec. 

 

Winner must answer a skill-testing question. 

 

No purchase necessary to enter. 

 

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:01am to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winner will be contacted via email and name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter. 

 

Prize value is approximately $125. 

 

* I have generously received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher Random House. As always, all opinions are one hundered percent my own.

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 13 (1 of 11)

TTGG 13 (2 of 11)

TTGG 13 (3 of 11)

TTGG 13 (4 of 11)

TTGG 13 (5 of 11)

TTGG 13 (6 of 11)

TTGG 13 (7 of 11)

TTGG 13 (8 of 11)

TTGG 13 (9 of 11)

TTGG 13 (10 of 11)

TTGG 13 (11 of 11)

Burdock

Burdock Photo 1

With Toronto rapidly increasing its craft beer clout, you would think Burdock is just another brewery/gastro pub.  With newly opened Mascot Brewery, a April 2016 opening for Henderson Brewery and brewers like Lost Cause taking over taps across the city you may worry about an over saturation hops and barley. Fortunately for Burdock they have an ace up their sleeve.

Burdock Photo 2

Let’s start with the basics. Burdock is first and foremost a brewery.  Relying on the experts of Brewery Operations Manager and Co-Owner Matt Park, this small space of gleaming silver tanks is putting out 9 to 10 creative, high quality beers.  Available at a few restaurants and by bottle in their small shop it is worth the trip to Bloordale just to try the creativeness of their beers. Sours, wheats, pale ales, you name it and they are doing something adventurous with the style.

Burdock Photo 3

With the beer in expert hands it’s no surprise the restaurant is too.  A narrow space  that can seat up to 70, with a 8-10 person communal table,  the dim lighting is brightened with drop fixtures and mason jar centerpieces. Simple decor, fresh plants and refurbished mosaic tiles from the previous occupants allows guests to focus undistracted on the dishes coming from the kitchen.

Burdock Photo 4

Helmed by Chef Jeremy Dennis (Woodlot, Chantecler), the menu is small but changes on an almost daily basis.  Example in point, the food I tried while visiting is probably not on the menu anymore. As a former Woodlot baker, Dennis has brought to Burdock the gorgeous fresh bread that makes his former work place famous as well as a creative edge that his new residency encourages wholly. His focuses on local, fresh ingredients caters to all food preferences.

Burdock Photo 5

Despite the stellar beer and outstanding food Burdock could get lost in the Brewpub wilderness if not for their final piece of the puzzle. When Burdock took over the space from a former Portuguese chicken joint they split the space in half.  And through a door to the left of the dining room is a brand new, expertly custom built music hall. Booker’s Charlotte Cornfield and Adrian Underhill are also musicians who understand exactly what works in live venues and this acoustically isolated space is a performers dream. Currently booking around 5 shows a week up to 90 people can rock out while diners next door don’t hear a thing.

I will never be one to say there are too many craft brewpubs in city especially when creative menus and spaces continue to be the standard. And whether you go for the music, food or beer you should definitely check out Burdock

Burdock

1184 Bloor St West

416-546-4033

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 14 (1 of 8)

TTGG 14 (2 of 8)

TTGG 14 (3 of 8)

TTGG 14 (4 of 8)

TTGG 14 (5 of 8)

TTGG 14 (6 of 8)

TTGG 14 (7 of 8)

TTGG 14 (8 of 8)

 

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Squash Soup (2 of 2)

I hate posted recipes without some witty story to accompany them.  Sadly my life has been really busy and really boring. And I really need you guys to make this soup. Cook away! And I’ll try to get more interesting next time 🙂

Yields 4-6

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

You don't need to use three different squashes like I did here though they each add their own level of flavour to the soup. In general you want 9 cups total of cubed squash and sweet potatoes.

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 green apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 acorn squash, cubed
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 buttercup squash cubed
  • 4-6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • (You want the above vegetables to equal 9 cups)
  • approx. 2 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot over medium high heat add the oil onion and apple.
  2. Saute for a couple minutes, not browning, just letting the onion become soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the vegetables and stir together with onions and apples.
  4. Add the broth and water alternating one cup each until the liquid completely covers the vegetables. (depending on the pot it could be more or less than the ingredient list says.)
  5. Stir in the salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and coriander and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables have become soft, approximately 30-40 minutes.
  7. Let cool slightly before pureeing with either a hand immersion or upright blender. (be very careful when doing this because the liquid is still incredibly soft. If you want you can blend in batches.)
  8. Puree until silky smooth.
  9. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.
  10. Stir in your cream and serve.
Recipe Type: Soups, Salads and Sandwiches
6.8

 

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 15 (1 of 11)

TTGG 15 (2 of 11)

TTGG 15 (3 of 11)

TTGG 15 (4 of 11)

TTGG 15 (5 of 11)

TTGG 15 (6 of 11)

TTGG 15 (7 of 11)

TTGG 15 (8 of 11)

TTGG 15 (9 of 11)

TTGG 15 (10 of 11)

TTGG 15 (11 of 11)

Bobbie Sue’s Mac & Cheese

Boobie Sue's Mac and Cheese Photo 1

Occupying an unassuming corner on a stretch of Ossington Avenue that boasts the likes of The Foxley, Union, Rock Lobster and The Saint is a tiny wooden walk-up with shack-like proportions called Bobbie Sue’s. There are no tables or chairs here. Instead this wood covered window opens up and under the watchful (painted) eye of buildings’ bovine namesake everyone’s comfort food dreams are answered.

Boobie Sue's Mac and Cheese Photo 2

Brother’s Frederic and Nicholas Laliberté,  and Fred’s wife Katie have an experienced history with all things carbohydrates, sauce and cheese as owners of another popular single subject restaurant Poutini’s . Getting to the heart of peoples stomachs is what they know best.  By using the tiny space attached to their sister restaurant Hawker Bar they not only have the convenience of location and storage overflow but a mutual love of all things gooey.

Boobie Sue's Mac and Cheese Photo 3

Using Fred’s perfected béchamel base, this diminutive space boasts big flavours with a perfect variety of meat, veggie and cheese combinations as exuberant as the creators themselves. Nostalgic Camp Mac offers up out the much loved cut up hot dogs our mother’s used to make while the Carbonara fancies up your palate with high styling pancetta and egg yolk.

Boobie Sue's Mac and Cheese Photo 4

Curry in a Hurry and the Blue Buffalo Chicken are easy choices for those wanting to spice up their lives while vegan’s can equally enjoy some cheesy goodness along with their carnivore friends.

This unique eclectic space works simply because it they keep their menu compact yet diverse.  For anyone having a craving for belly soothing comfort food Bobbie Sue’s is only a walk up away.

Bobbie Sue’s Mac & Cheese

162 Ossinton Avenue #3

Toronto Ontario

(647) 352-2762

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 16 (1 of 13)

TTGG 16 (2 of 13)

TTGG 16 (3 of 13)

TTGG 16 (4 of 13)

TTGG 16 (5 of 13)

TTGG 16 (6 of 13)

TTGG 16 (7 of 13)

TTGG 16 (8 of 13)

TTGG 16 (9 of 13)

TTGG 16 (10 of 13)

TTGG 16 (11 of 13)

TTGG 16 (12 of 13)

TTGG 16 (13 of 13)

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 17 (1 of 8)

TTGG 17 (2 of 8)

TTGG 17 (3 of 8)

TTGG 17 (4 of 8)

TTGG 17 (5 of 8)

TTGG 17 (6 of 8)

TTGG 17 (7 of 8)

TTGG 17 (8 of 8)

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 18 (1 of 10)

TTGG 18 (2 of 10)

TTGG 18 (3 of 10)

TTGG 18 (4 of 10)

TTGG 18 (5 of 10)

TTGG 18 (6 of 10)

TTGG 18 (7 of 10)

TTGG 18 (8 of 10)

TTGG 18 (9 of 10)

TTGG 18 (10 of 10)

Lamesa Filipino Restaurant

Lamesa Photo 1

Tuna Kinilaw

Toronto is a great city with a vast amount of culinary diversity. Almost every single ethnicity is represented in the arts, culture and cuisine from one end of the city to the other.  Veering away from designated “towns” like Little Italy, Koreatown or the Danforth it is not uncommon to find an Italian restaurant beside a Mexican cantina down the road from a German gastropub.

 Beet Maalat Salad

Beet Maalat Salad

At Lamesa Filipino Kitchen on Queen West, owner Les Sabilano and Chef Daniel Cancino introduce diners to the much misunderstood cuisine of tropical isles and family-centric gatherings.  With fresh perspective they create dishes that make Filipino food seem less scary to newcomers and brighten the palates of local transplants.

Pork and Octopus Dinuguan

Pork and Octopus Dinuguan

The restaurant space is typical to most edge of Parkdale establishments. A large friendly communal table awaits diners as they first enter, battered wood with bench seating and a perfect people watching view of the street. The narrowness of the restaurant then draws the eye down past the “tiki” esque style bar and into a more intimate dining area with stunning stain glass ceiling fans, rich medium dark wood tones and crisp pale walls. Take some time to enjoy the artwork throughout the space (including the bathrooms), curated from up and coming Filipino creatives.  Then dive into the mind blowing menu.

Lamesa Photo 4

Don’t let the prettiness of the visually stunning cocktails fool you; each and everyone packs a punch. Anise flavoured dark rum, kalamansi (lime) juice and ginger beer resembles a perfect Dark and Stormy while the Boracay Beach takes you back to the sand and surf with flavours of dark rum, coconut rum, banana liqueur and house made peach liqueur.

Corned Beef Lumpias

Corned Beef Lumpias

Light dishes or snacks can start your meal off with citrusy Tuna Kinilaw, a tuna ceviche atop a coconut guacamole, Beet Maalat Salad; a tangy, salty salad of beets, white anchovy, salted egg and Thai basil or you can dig into a plate of crispy, corned beef lumpia with the requisite house made banana ketchup.

Talong Salad

Talong Salad

Cauliflower Ginataan

Cauliflower Ginataan

Vegetarians can dine happily along their omnivore friends with outstanding options like Talong Salad, a charred eggplant with adobo caponata, salted egg, frisee and crème fraiche or Cauliflower Ginatann; a four way dish the has cauliflower roasted, steamed, raw and pureed.

Beef Bulalo

Beef Bulalo

For those wanting a little more meat on their bones can’t go wrong with the comforting beef bulalo, a winter weather bowl of short ribs, root vegetables and bone marrow all in a gingery broth. Or those more adventurous souls can try the dinuguan, a plate of octopus, pork cheek, apple, maple puto, calamansi and pigs blood jus.

Ube Leche Flan

Ube Leche Flan

Brightly coloured desserts are perfect end to any meal and the Ube Leche Flan is a smooth treat with its vibrant Purple yam (ube) custard.

One of the best things about the city is the variety we offer our guests and residents. And because of that choice we can try cuisines we would never have a chance to in other cities.  Different doesn’t have to mean scary. Different can mean delicious.

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 19 (1 of 15)

TTGG 19 (2 of 15)

TTGG 19 (3 of 15)

TTGG 19 (4 of 15)

TTGG 19 (5 of 15)

TTGG 19 (6 of 15)

TTGG 19 (15 of 15)

TTGG 19 (14 of 15)

TTGG 19 (13 of 15)

TTGG 19 (12 of 15)

TTGG 19 (11 of 15)

TTGG 19 (10 of 15)

TTGG 19 (9 of 15)

Trinity Common

Trintiy Common Photo 1

Right in the heart of the madness that can be Kensington Market Trinity Common is a refreshing respite from dodging tourists, automobile drivers who didn’t quite know what they were getting into when they turn up Augusta  and the regulars who with elbows out and chins tucked get their fashionable grocery shopping done.

Trintiy Common Photo 2

While the oversized patio is perfect for navel gazing it’s the massive amount of real estate behind the doors that really brings the trifeca of food, booze and entertainment to life. Rough restoration-esque wood counters, exposed brick walls, metal fixtures and sleek furniture occupy a space able to house an incredible amount of people yet feel open and crowd less. It comes as no surprise given the “trinity” of Shepherds; Don, Mike and Lisa as well as friend Alan Walker already have their feet well planted in the success of franchise Big Fat Burrito.

Trintiy Common Photo 3

If you are going for the food Chef Liam Donato has got you covered.  With popular dishes like fried green tomatoes and these tuna, bay scallop and citrus ceviche tacos he keeps his menu seasonal and fresh.  The tacos alone are worth going for.

Trintiy Common Photo 4

The grilled peach and radish salad with frisee, pepitas and goat cheese proves the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables surrounding them in the market is a huge benefit.

Trintiy Common Photo 5

And for those who want a more substantial meal can easily get behind this double cheese burger with Chef Liam own love of the Big Mac showing through in the secret sauce, lettuce and pickle garnish. Or you can sink your teeth into some bbq ribs or smoked wings.

Trintiy Common Photo 6

If it’s the booze you are here for then you have your choice from an extensive cocktail list including classics ( the Old Fashioned) or original mixes like this refreshing bourbon Shades of Earl Grey.

Trintiy Common Photo 7

When beer is more your thing Trinity Common has a large selection of local Craft beers on tap (up to 20 currently) regularly rotated to give up and coming one-offs and special pours a chance to shine. Bottle and cans are also available but don’t get too attached.  Because of their support for all things craft the line up changes often meaning the great IPA you had yesterday may not be there tomorrow.

 Trintiy Common Photo 8

To finish off the trinity with the entertainment portion of the restaurant bands have ample space and opportunity to rock out on their live stage designed to give musicians the chance to play a larger establishment with an eclectic local and touristy crowd.

Trinity Common is a much needed spot in a tourist heavy area of the city.  With bringing in great libations, delicious eats and notable sounds it will quickly become a whispering point amongst travellers and hot spot for locals.

Trinity Common

32 Augusta, Toronto 647-346-3030

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 9 (1 of 11)

TTGG 9 (2 of 11)

TTGG 9 (3 of 11)

TTGG 9 (4 of 11)

TTGG 9 (5 of 11)

TTGG 9 (6 of 11)

TTGG 9 (7 of 11)

TTGG 9 (8 of 11)

TTGG 9 (9 of 11)

TTGG 9 (10 of 11)

TTGG 9 (11 of 11)

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 10 (1 of 16)

TTGG 10 (2 of 16)

TTGG 10 (3 of 16)

TTGG 10 (4 of 16)

TTGG 10 (5 of 16)

TTGG 10 (6 of 16)

TTGG 10 (7 of 16)

TTGG 10 (8 of 16)

TTGG 10 (9 of 16)

TTGG 10 (10 of 16)

TTGG 10 (11 of 16)

TTGG 10 (12 of 16)

TTGG 10 (13 of 16)

TTGG 10 (14 of 16)

TTGG 10 (15 of 16)

TTGG 10 (16 of 16)

 

Through the Garden Gate 2015: Lawrence Park Garden

TTGG 8 (1 of 8)

TTGG 8 (2 of 8)

TTGG 8 (3 of 8) TTGG 8 (4 of 8)

TTGG 8 (5 of 8)

TTGG 8 (6 of 8) TTGG 8 (7 of 8)

TTGG 8 (8 of 8)

The Toronto Cider Festival: The Top 10 Ciders You should Be Drinking Right Now

Cider Fest Photo 1

Photo credit Tied Photography – Kristie Woods

This year marks the first ever Toronto Cider Festival and it all happen Saturday September 26 as everything boozy apple converges on Yonge-Dundas Square. Now all those beer drinkers who scoff at their slightly more delicate cider preferring friends should take heed, this isn’t your grandmothers apple juice.  With some ciders so dry they make your lips smack and others sweet and spicy there is a flavour for everyone.  Get your tickets to one of two sessions before it’s too late and let my following choices be your guide.

Cider Fest Photo 2

1,Angry Orchard Hard Cider

Launched in 2011, Angry Orchard is the number 1 selling brand of hard cider in the United States.  Lucky for us they have crossed the border to let us sample their crisp apple sip made from blends of sweet and bittersweet European Apples. Varieties of their cider included flavour infused, apple specific and hops and apple combinations.

Cider Fest Photo 3

2.Waupoos Cider/Country Cider Company

The mighty town of Picton produces this robust artisanal cider made with fruit that is 100% locally sourced.  Those who don’t like apples can definitely get on board with County Ciders pear, peach and blood orange flavours. Their flagship cider is a dry sparkling apple.

Cider Fest Photo 4

3.Okanagan Premium Cider

Our friends on the other side of the country will be making their first time visit to Ontario at this year’s Cider Festival. Local B.C apples are the perfect choice for their hard cider while other flavours like white grape, pear, peach and summer berries take advantage of the west coast’s bounty.

Cider Fest Photo 5

4.Ironwood Hard Cider

This regional cider comes up the QEW from Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Offering small batched one offs and seasonals this cidery is a perfect diversion from all the wine drinking.

Cider Fest Photo 6

5.Magnotta Small Batch Cider

Recently launched this month in the LCBO Magnotta Small Batch Cider is the newbie of the group.  Using 100% Ontario McIntosh Apples this hard cider is crisp and refreshing.

Photo credit Tied Photography - Kristie Woods

Photo credit Tied Photography – Kristie Woods

6.The Duxbury Cider Company

Unfortunately you can only currently get Duxbury Cider at local restaurants and pubs so plan a date soon to Wvsrt or Bar Hop. Fortunately at the Toronto Cider Fest you can try their small batch vintages made from heritage and organic apples from Georgian Bay.

Cider Fest Photo 8

7.Coffin Ridge Forbidden Dry Cider

Don’t let the name spook you, Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery has created a robust and refreshing hard cider also using local Ontario apples.

Cider Fest Photo 9

8.Revel Cider

Thanks to the brain of one young Guelph entrepreneur and his love of fermented apples, Revel Cider uses the finest local ingredients to create a lighter dryer liquid that will appear to the reluctant beer drinker. These are also only available in select Toronto restaurants and bars.

Cider Fest Photo 10

9.Spirit Tree Estate Cidery

Using apples from their own orchard and sourcing other local ingredients Spirit Tree is one of the few brands that offer both a sweet, non alcoholic cider and a hard cider.  Those concerned can rest assured, the  one with kick will be present at the festival.

Cider Fest Photo 11

10.Brickworks Cider House

Last but certainly not least is Toronto’s own contribution to the cider world. Sourcing their apples no further than 300 miles the folks at Brickworks believe in supporting their community with 5% of all profits being donate to Evergreen, an organization focusing on environmental issues. If you haven’t seen them in the LCBO or on tap at any Toronto establishment you haven’t been getting out much.

The History of Classic Carnival Foods

CNE Classics (4 of 8)

The CNE brings us the anticipated weird and the wacky eats each year.  They bring us food truck events and cooking demos.  Yet a truly genuine experience to any town fair and carnival is only complete with gallons of freshly squeezed lemonade, hands sticky from spun sugar and faces dripping in caramel, cinnamon or frozen milk products (or all of the above). While our stomach are roiling with a cacophony of indulgences let’s consider how our nostalgic favourites came to be?

Cotton Candy

Invented back in 1899 and introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Fairy Floss, Candy Floss or as Canadians know it, Cotton Candy began simply as finely ground sugar melted and spun in a large centrifuge with holes to create fine threads of sweetness. During that fair boxes were sold for an expensive 25 cents yet people were so enamoured with the concept a total of 68,655 boxes were sold, equaling  a massive profit back then of $17,163.75.

CNE Classics (6 of 8)

Mini Donuts

A lot of unconfirmed theories surround where the mini donut started. Of course they evolved from the their larger counterpart much like the cupcakes coming from cakes, yet the most common thread of speculation was that  they were created during the Spanish-American War when rations were tight and smaller portions were given out. Thanks heavens that is no longer the case as most people today can easily throw back a dozen or more.

CNE Classics (2 of 8)

Funnel Cakes

Fried dough can never be a bad thing and the long history of funnel cakes, dating back to Anglo-Norman Medieval times, supports our love for it.  And while the current techniques and recipe are thanks to the Pennsylvanian Dutch, any grade school child in Ontario can be equally grateful to both since no trip to Canada’s Wonderland is complete without a massive plate of Funnel cake.

CNE Classics (3 of 8)

Sno-Cones

The first snow cone making machine was invented in 1920, however the popular treat was already being enjoyed at home where cheap ice and mom’s homemade syrup made for an affordable summer treat. Simply shaved iced doused with flavoured sugar water, the world’s most popular  taste continues to be the classic fruity “rainbow” flavour.

CNE Classics (5 of 8)

Ice Cream Waffle Sandwich

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Ice Cream Waffle Sandwich at The Ex.  Another confection with an unconfirmed history it is believed to have been the brain child of Sharole Levan and her other Conklin Carnival employees  on route to the CNE where it made its International Debut. Hot fluffy waffles sandwiching cold, vanilla ice cream; can’t go wrong with that idea.

CNE Food Preview Photo 1

Candy Apples

In the case of my favorite carnival treat, the candy came before the fruit.  In 1908, William Kolb wanted a way to promote his hard cinnamon candy.  By coating an apple on a stick with the bright red sugary treat he hoped to bring in more customers who in turn would ask about the candy and purchase it.  Little did he anticipate that while customers did in fact asked about it, they wanted it with the apple.  Variations with caramel, toffee and nuts are just as popular but it’s the classic fire engine red that started it all.

CNE Classics (7 of 8)

Corn Dog

It seems that everyone wants a piece of glory in the creation of the corn dog.  Whether it’s the mom and pop shop in Oregon or the creative father in Springfield, Illinois that can be credited, the corn dogs short history matters little when you get a hankering for a deep fried battered hot on a stick. But why “corn”? The batter consists of the smallest amount of cornmeal therefore giving its famous moniker.

CNE Classics (1 of 8)

Deep fired chocolate bars or anything on a stick has becoming more and more popular at carnivals and fairs, it’s the classics that we can never resist.  And while their history are varied, the pleasure they bring children and adults alike never changes.