Now That's Tasty!

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Stop's Night Market 2015 – The Hit List

Another year, another gut busting edible adventure courtesy of The Stop's Night Market. There was a new venue and a fresh crop of participating restaurants. There were boosted ticket prices and an increase in capacity – all of which amounted to a whopping $200,000+ raised in support of The Stop's food access and community-building initiatives.

Night number two might as well have been dubbed "The Stop's Fried Chicken Festival". I never thought I'd utter these words in my life, but there was too much fried chicken. If you're  fan of statistics, out of the 34 vendors, 20.58% of the vendors served some sort of fried chicken. Despite the overload of hot-oil bathed bird, it was pretty much all delicious. And keeping with the theme of delicious, let's indulge in a hit list from one of my favourite food fests of the year...

Nasi Jinggo by Babi & Co. was one of the prettiest and most balanced dishes of the evening. I loved being able to see the individual components – fragrant rice, chilli chicken, egg, cucumber, sambal, shredded coconut, fried tempe, roasted peanuts and anchovy – before mixing them together.

Unsurprisingly, Rose & Sons wowed with their wild take on a Coney Island dog with beef and cow heart chili and wild leek relish.

My favourite of the fried chicken offerings, Hopgood's Foodliner presented their take on a hot chicken sandwich which was hard to eat but easy to please.

The stuffed grape leaves by Woodlot weren't as impactful as the message they displayed. The camaraderie at The NM is always palatable.

Carmen made me anxious for my impending trip to Spain later this summer with their pretty little grilled octopus skewers with fingerling potato, olive and jamon.

Not my best photo ever, but definitely one of my favourite dishes – lake trout ceviche with tartar sauce and potato chips – by the talented hands of Charlotte Langley and Trish Gill, repping Small Town Food Co., but unfortunately not for long. Chef Charlotte is going on to work with farm-to-fork marketplace Provender and focus on her awesome buiz Scout Canning and T.O is losing Chef Trish to Windsor next week.

La Carnita's chicken escabeche taco made an impact with crema, tamarind sauce, mango salsa and dehydrated serrano chilis.

Many people's dyslexia kicked in, excepting popcorn okra, instead of o-k-a-r-a – a soy pulp that forms in the making of soy milk or tofu – paired up with miso cucumber and baked kale chips by Abokichi.

Vegetarian dishes aren't always thrilling in my personal opinion, but this smoked eggplant flatbread by Midfield.

Fresh and fabulous albacore tuna conserva with olive chili and onion by Enoteca Sociale.

Hands down my favourite dish of the night. Citizen Catering made my mouth water with their grilled tongue on toast. I'm remised to say that I'm not sure what the toppings are. I think I blacked out twice while eating them. Kudos, Chef Chris Brown.

The homies at FARMHOUSE Tavern busted out some banging smoked beets with goats milk cheese and toasted watermelon seeds(?).

Another fried chicken fav was the simple hot chicken slider with hot sauce and pickle.

The sweetest finish possible (only one of two desserts in the house) by one of the sweetest chefs in the game. Miriam Streiman of The Mad Maple Country Inn wowed with her strawberry rhubarb rugelache with graham cracker crumble.

With the summer solstice looming, the Night Market seems to always be blessed with beautiful sunsets. A fitting accompaniment to a tremendous event and a worthy cause.

See you next year food lovers, philanthropists and sweethearts...

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Woodzee: Naturally Stylish Sunglasses

Woodzee is a California-based company that’s worth taking a look at – whether through the lenses of their fashionable, natural wood glasses, if you’re a fan of environmentally friendly products or if you like (booze?).
Trinity Recycled Oak Whiskey Barrel Sunglasses
Made with 100% natural wood, Woodzee has a mandate that surpasses style. For each pair of glasses sold, the good folks at Woodzee plant a tree. They’re packaging is made from 50% recycled paper, and printed with Soy Ink. They’ll even recycle your old frames for you if you’re looking to change up your style, and provide you with 40% off your next purchase.

More concerned with acquiring a Woodzee product than giving one away? They’ve got a select series of spectacular shades that are made from recycled wine and whiskey barrels. The two-toned oak frames are hand-wielded from whiskey barrels used by the Columbus Barrel Company in Ohio and Robert Mondavi Private Selection wine barrels. The dark stained exterior is nicely balanced with light inner accents. The distinctive grain pops from rich tone.

Trinity Recycled Oak Whiskey Barrel (L), Kodiak Bamboo Black Sunglasses – Smoke (R)
They have a range different coloured lenses and for around $70 to $150 for a truly unique pair of polarized sunglasses the value is as exceptional as the product. At checkout, you’ve also got the option to support one of several environmental organizations that plant trees, protect watersheds and save animals.

When you’re gearing up for late fall and early winter consider satiating your craving for cool in a new way with a fresh set from Woodzee.

More Pics:

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Interview: Chef Rob Gentile on Ingredients, Italian Influences and Buca Yorkville

“The best ingredients” – Chef Rob Gentile uses the phrase repeatedly in our conversation, stressing their importance. The repetition is not redundant, there is no lack of meaning. The ingredients constitute his dharma; they are a representation of his childhood, his family, his education, his mentorship, his pride, his work, his restaurants and his life.

Ingredients take centre stage in the live Gaspé scallop w/ chamomile infused olive oil, sea asparagus, buffalo milk yoghurt and lump fish caviar.

Like his two previous award-winning restaurants – Buca King Street (described as "Nona" – the tank, the originator) and Bar Buca (the "spunky nephew") – Chef Gentile has an ingredient-focused approach to Buca Yorkville (formally titled Buca Osteria & Eoteca), whose maritime twist forms the basis for his somewhat simple, yet sophisticated new endeavor....

READ my interview with Chef Rob Gentile on View the Vibe. Take a look at some of the sensational menu items at the new Buca Yorkville below. Note: the menu constantly changes and there's no guarantee you'll be able to order what you see here. 

Also, worth noting for those that like to splurge – a special Chef's Tasting Menu is slowly being introduced at Buca Yorkville. It will feature 19-courses at $180 for food, plus $100 for wine pairings. 

Puntarelle Salad: roman chicory, crisp white smelt, pesto genovese, pine nut, quail yolk, gremolata
Bucatini alla Carbonara: bronze die-extruded duck egg pasta, herring bottarga, hen's egg
Spaghetti Pomodoro: bronze die-cut pasta di gargnano, seaside tomatoes, garlic, olive oil
Polipo e Vongole: braised octopus, B.C. clams, bone marrow, black kale, baby artichoke, fregola sarda
Peperonata: baked eggplant, sweet pepper, zucchini, parmiginao
Flourless chocolate cake, hazelnuts, compressed orange, squash ice cream

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Delicious Food Show 2014 - Why You Should Go

Delicious Food Show is on now from October 17-19 at Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. Here's a few snapshots of why you should be there, plus 10 Reasons You Need to Go from the Pass The Table blog.

Mario Batali, Tyler Florence and Chuck Hughes will be there (Mario was a bit tired from last night)...

"The Godfather of the Grill" Ted Reader will be there with his Hoptimus Prime food truck...

Buca's got goodies...

And Abbey's Kitchen will feature some of Toronto's best chefs...

Rock Lobster's in da house!

... mmm Rock Lobster...

And there's cured meats, too...

Shucker Paddy be reppin'...

And he's brought his new beer (available in the LCBO soon)...

Plus Walter will be serving up the caesars...

And the food trucks will be pushing out the flavour.

Want 10 More Reasons to hit up Delicious Food Show this year? Click HERE.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Vegetarian Dinner Series Coming to Bent Restaurant: Veggielicious Menu Preview

Susur Lee has never been one to shy away from a carnivorous selection at his restaurants but his reverence for the humble veggie is not to be ignored. Of course, for a chef who made his mark serving a Singapore Slaw – a vegetarian staple dish – the veteran chef has a special appreciation for the diversity and distinctiveness that can be achieved without the use of meat. To that end, and to satisfy a growing number of veggiecurious eaters, he’ll be hosting Veggielicious by Bent from September 9th to 20th.

Fish not included on the Veggielicious menu
“I feel that vegetarianism is very important but not enough vegetarian food tastes very good,” Lee admitted to a group of fellow bloggers at a recent workshop (#veggielicious101) held at his Dundas West restaurant. “There are a lot of ways to make deep and interesting vegetarian dishes. Many veggie restaurants are afraid to put spices in their food.”

Lucky for those interested in the 5-course, $45 prix fixe tasting menu there will be no shortage of bold flavours. The menu is designed to play off of Toronto’s cultural diversity, while incorporating a few of Lee’s signature touches
From Marrakesh to Montego Bay
A trio of tantalizing dips will be first on the table. Velvety hummus of romano beans with salted chilies, a spicy mustard seed tomato stew with walnut and curry leaf as well as a Caribbean eggplant babaganoush are served with baked garlic lavash. Take your palate on a culinary world tour while cleansing each bite with warm roasted olives with sumach and lemon preserve. This will mix well with a twist on a Canadian bar classic – the Asian Caesar with sriracha, sesame chili oil and hoisin sauce.

A mound of freshness and flavour
Proving still that he’s able to assemble a wicked salad, the tingly chilled soba will truly tickle your taste buds. Taiwanese vinaigrette spiked with tongue numbing Szechuan peppercorns makes this noodle salad of local veggies, braised shitake mushrooms, shiso leaf and nori crisps really pop. Interestingly enough, Chef Lee actually grows many of his vegetables and herbs in a garden a couple doors down from Bent on Markham Street.

I could eat this all day
Mild shishito peppers are not understated alongside crispy bites of chickpea tempura tofu drizzled with a sweet Korean chili sauce. Like all of the dishes, including the main course finisher of creamy wild mushroom quinoa risotto, the execution is exceptional. Ask your server to hold the romano parmigiano emulsion for a vegan option.

Pretty and perfect
Guests will finish with a sweet a sweet plate of French meringue infused with golden licorice as you sip on a complimenting Karate Kid 2. The airy meringue is topped with a lemon curd, wild blueberries, peaches, passionfruit syrup and raspberry coulis pairs perfectly with this sour of negori sake, jasmine tea gin, yuzu juice and vanilla syrup. Yes, this is real life.

Reservations are now being accepted for Veggielicious, so if this meal sounds as good to you as it tasted to me, it’s worth booking soon.

Garnishing the Karate Kid 2
Susur Lee's garden on Markham St.
Wild mushroom quinoa risotto with roasted cauliflower, romano parmigiano emulsion and tempeh crouton
The Asian Caesar
Susur's signature Singapore slaw
A beautiful afternoon at Bent
Side up to the bar if you'd like