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Thursday, November 25, 2010

YYZ YVR SYD :: Goodbye Toronto, Hello Oz!

And I'm off! The last week of Toronto-life has been intense. While most girls make an effort to diet to look hot for vacation, I ate my way through Toronto. Regrets? None. I rub my pot belly (which actually cropped up from the week...!! No lie...) Nor will it stop me from enjoying my last Tim Horton's double double (or should I just go all out and get the triple triple?) and Timbit for awhile.

So how do you say good bye to Toronto, even if it's just a short leave? Try cramming all of this in 4 days, and keep in mind that I didn't photo all of the ridiculous Lindt chocolate bars, potluck desserts, and cookies that went along with it. Throw in seeing Harry Potter twice, 2 fantastic tickets to the MLS cup, finishing a project over 2 years in the making, and about a million hugs...then you might come close to the fantastic week that I had. I leave for Oz with diabetes, and I plan on returning fat and tanned!

So here's how I sent myself off, in the most Torontonian and Canadian way I could:

Second Cup :: Coffee and a banana muffin.
Their banana muffins are made with banana chips, which gives them a crunch. I've always been partial to Second Cup, not only because it's Canadian, but also because I had the fortune of meeting and working for one of its co-founders.
Madison Avenue Pub for Beer & Grub

Hit my favourite downtown pub with a boatload of friends. Ate my face off with wings  and sweet potato fries. When done right, I can eat these forever. Good sweet potato fries must be paired with beer. I prefer lighter beers, like Mill St. Organic and Rickard's White. Mill St. Lemon Tea beer is also quite tasty.

I originally wanted to go to Mitzi`s Sister, but Maddy`s seemed better for a big crowd - had a great night as friends kept showing up to bid me farewell, yell as UFC fighters grappled on TV (zzz), and enjoy Maddy`s patio. I really love it on chilly nights, since it is covered but stays nice and cool when it`s super busy.
O&B Canteen :: Canadian Back Bacon

I decided to keep my Canadian theme so I headed to O&B. Among other treats, I ate one of their Breakfast Butties with Canadian Bacon and maple mayo. MMmmm...bacon (French-Canadian accent)

Okay, some might find this odd but a lot of my time is spent in Chinatown. It`s ridiculously cheap for produce and I honestly don`t know how I would been able to afford eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables otherwise. Anyways, I stopped by after a drool worthy visit to the Healthy Butcher to pick up some steak-friendly produce. My non-Torontonian friend was entertained by the following:
Snow peas, eggplant, long beans, and snap peas look oddly different in Chinatown...

Check out the second picture - has anyone ever seen anything like this before? It looked like a double-banana. Oh Chinatown. Let's see if Sydney's will compare.

My Kitchen :: Filet Mignon with Erin's Special Steak Rub ;)
 Mmmm...STEAK. My last Midnight Snack post awoke some sort of steak monster within me. I picked up two beautiful Alberta Angus Beef Tenderloins and I thought I did a pretty good job searing them to what I like to call...perfection. Served wtih a mixture of white rice abd beans as well as steamed peas...mmm

My Kitchen & The Healthy Butcher :: Aged Prime Rib with Red Wine Gravy

The Healthy Butcher is a good spot for fresh meat. Pricey for my thinning pockets, but I decided to do it right and got Dry Aged Prime Rib. A friend is moving away to Calgary and I have been showing him a few things in the kitchen. Lesson One was my classic cookie recipe (to be day) and Lesson Two was this!

I also hosted a potluck, which ended up being hilarious since we had 15 desserts and 1 main course arrive. It was pretty much diabetes-night and being the host, I ate a bit of everything. There was apple pie, peanut-butter Rice Krispie squares, Nutella thumbprint cookies, double-chocolate cookies, this huuuuge Italian cake thing with icing sugar all I need to keep going? Really? I didn't take pictures because I was simply having too much fun with my friends to think about pulling out the camera. Except when it came to these babies

Samosas!! From Sultan something - not Tent. I don't even know because I was too busy stuffing my face with the spicy, beefy filling. I must ask my friend where he got them so you can try them too! I contributed homemade guacamole and apple chips. People seemed to enjoy them and some were surprised to find that I make my own chips :-)

Favourite Toronto Eats:
I also ran around town eating some of my favourite noshes. Some have already been blogged about, some haven't - but full reviews and pictures will have to wait. Here's some pictures for now though:
Big Fat Burrito :: Pulled Pork & Yam

Kenzo Ramen :: King of Kings

Hana Korea :: Bibimbap

Buster Rhino's Pulled Pork Sammy

And last but certainly NOT least...

So that's it. I have a few pre-written Toronto posts  that will be published over the next while so this blog will still have some Toronto flavour - but I won't be writing anything new and my most recent noshes will have to wait upon my return. When will I be back in Toronto? What cities will I visit in Australia? What will I eat? Your guesses are as good as mine. This is the most spontaneous thing I have ever done, and this blog will take an interesting turn as I will be chowing down on things that I just find along the way - no planning. That, and I suspect that my posts will be brief and maybe a little sparse at times.

Pearson Airport's Kensington Market?
So Cookies & Tomatoes is going to start to take an interesting turn - it will slowly but surely become Australia-centric as pre-written Toronto posts deplete. I am awfully excited about my first trip to Australia! A wonderful foodie who stumbled across my foodmap was kind enough to send me a Sydney food map he created - I will be working my way through! Aside from that, I don't have my sights set on any spots and I will simply share what I find in Oz in a somewhat random, haphazard manner. No time for research - but isn't that the best way to travel? I'm excited - for the first time, friends outside of my Facebook network will get to see my travel food pictures!

So. First stop: Sydney, NSW, Australia. Meat pies and hand-pulled noodles HERE I COME! I am at Gate D51 in YVR...and, as if on cue, they just started boarding the flight! No time to spell check or add comments about my favourite eats. Just like my trip, it's simply time to GO.

Buster Rhino's Southern BBQ on UrbanspoonO&B Canteen on UrbanspoonBig Fat Burrito on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lady Marmalade :: Voulez-vous...? Non.

Mexican Breakfast!

Fearing that we would not have a chance for a last cookie run, CompaƱero de Galletas and I headed to brunch in lieu. We picked Lady Marmalade in Leslieville, which has taken Pulp Kitchen's old location. I got there a bit early and I will admit that I peeked into Ed's Real Scoop. I was a little disappointed to see that Ed's opens at 11:30am. Darn. I suppose 8AM ice cream would have been pushing it...unless if they created a Hollandaise flavour! Ice cream issues much?

Lady Marmalade
Verdict: Skip. Underwhelmed, did not feel freshly made-to-order
Meal: Breakfast
Price: $11 + tax & tip

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kom Jug Yuen :: BBQ Pork Mmm

I don't usually crave Chinese/HK cuisine, but friends know that they can suck me in with two simple words: Char. Siu.

Kom Jug Yuen Restaurant
Verdict: Go for cheap, tasty BBQ pork!
Meal: Lunch
Price: $4

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nota Bene :: OMG BURGER


Hungry for a really great burger, we hopped over to Nota Bene to try the Wagyu Burger. It wasn't hard to convince me. A previous visit's tasty memories of rabbit tagliatelle, butternut squash soup, and tuna tartare reminded me that I was sorely overdue for a Nota Bene visit!

Nota Bene
Verdict: OMG-burger, OMG-dessert
Meal: Fancy Burger Run
Price: $44 burger

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sukhothai :: Oh My Pad Thai

Hi, Pad Thai!

Note: Sukhothai's Chef Nuit has since moved to Khao San Road on Adelaide.

After a positive experience at Pi-Tom's, my interest in Thai food was re-ignited. Satisfied that  ketchup-y pad thais are not the traditional norm, I was happy to explore other spots downtown. A strong recommendation led me to:

Verdict:  Yum! Best Thai experience :)
Meal: Dinner

Price: $20 + tax & tip
Location: 274 Parliament St Toronto, ON

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caribbean Queen of Patties :: Midnight Snacks

It didn't take long for me to crack - Jamaican Patty Time!

After we shared a really disappointing experience at Ackee Tree, my friend asked me where she could pick up a box of tasty patties. I, this post is for you!

Caribbean Queen of Patties
Verdict: Go! Best Jamaican patty yet.
Meal: Snack
Price: $2-3?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ackee Tree Jamaican Cuisine

More Jamacain!

After The Real Jerk, I was left wondering where I could get really great jerk chicken downtown. I hopped over to Ackeetree with my friend to see how it compared.

Ackeetree Jamaican Cuisine
Verdict:  Cold & unappetizing
Meal: Dinner

Price: $13 + tax & tip
Location: 170 Spadina Ave, Toronto

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pulp Kitchen :: Vegan Brunch Shrug

Vegan Brunch!

Recent comments about vegan treats on a previous post sparked some interest in vegan fare. Having never tried it, I figured I'd give Pulp Kitchen a try while I was in the area. Brunch is my favourite meal (unless if you count dessert) so I thought this would be a good introduction!

Pulp Kitchen
Verdict:  Healthy, but boring
Meal: Brunch
Price: $9 + tax & tip
Location: 1129 Queen St E