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Friday, August 26, 2011

Toronto :: Queen Margherita Pizza…Napoletana Round 2!

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It seems like I made the vow to try Pizzeria Libretto’s Neapolitan competitor ages ago. I patiently waited for an opportunity to go there for lunch – a rarity nowadays. I was extremely pleased when I was finally able to escape on a beautiful Friday afternoon with two friends to Queen West. We decided to go for their $25 prix-fixe menu and started no-longer elusive Marghertia lunch.

QueenMarg-6 Queen Margherita
: Eh…skip. Cold pizza, Libretto wins hands down!
Meal: Lunch
Price: $25+ t&t
Location: 1402 Queen Street E

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hazelnut Butter?

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I’m in trouble. I am seriously in love with Nutella but my never-ending obsession with travel and quite honestly stressful weeks at work has left me turning to it, and other not so healthy foods, when I need to feel some comfort. Despite my claim that I’ll dust off my shoes and start my trek to 21-km again, I have gone longer without touching a treadmill than ever before :\
Well, a lack of peanut butter and craving for Nutella (but refusal to buy either) led me to find a bowl of hazelnuts that I toasted a week prior.
2 Hazelnut Butter
If you want hazelnut butter, simply toast then pulverize the nuts in a Magic Bullet (or equivalent). If you' want the creamy consistency, add a bit of olive oil if you so wish…or if you’re able to hit the gym more than I, use a double-boiler to melt some 70% dark chocolate and combine the two. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toronto :: Seoul House

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“Where do I go for great Korean food?”
I get this question all too often, and I always give the same recommendation – Seoul House! Yes, the service can leave something to be desired if you’re not fluent in Korean – I’ll digress – but the quality of the pork belly, soups, and stir frys have me going back again…and again…and again!

SeoulHouse-13 Seoul House
Verdict: Go!
Meal: Dinner
Price: $50pp
Location: 3220 Dufferin St, Toronto

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chicago :: Taqueria Tayahua

Taqueria Taqueria-1
Around the corner from Smunderground were a ton of Mexican eats and stores for the Hispanic community. While I had travelled through the US many times before, I stuck to the national parks and never realized the influence from our friends at the southern end of North America.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Toronto PATH :: Fast Fresh Foods & Marcello's

FastFresh-2 FastFresh
As I explore cities across the world, I’ve come to appreciate Toronto’s simple, mid-range offerings that are quick and relatively healthy for the downtown crowd. A growing trend, Salad Creations and Sandwich Box are seeing new competitors like Fast Fresh Foods and Marcelo’s make their way into The Path. Fast Fresh Foods is a relatively recent addition underneath 145 King St West (from Sunlife, cross through St. Andrew station). I found the pesto too oily, but the plethora of mushrooms and tasty chicken breast fantastic so I’d return, simply asking for less pesto next time.
Marcello makes a decent sandwich as well, with fresh chicken and vegetables – but I find that it’s on the pricey side. Fast Fresh Foods on Urbanspoon Marcello's Market & Deli on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 12, 2011

Calgary :: Brasserie Kensington … Foie Gras Oink!

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BrasserieSince Hoof Cafe’s Foie Gras on French Toast (R.I.P.), a love for decadent (and guilt-ridden) duck liver slathered on carbohydrates has exploded – not sure if I simply hadn’t noticed beforehand or if a crazy trend has spread across Canada but it’s here.

Upon a recommendation from the hug-worthy gelato scooper at Wake, we clomped our cowboy boots (okay, I was the only one wearing them) to Brasserie for dinner reservations.

The gelato scooper’s words, Piggy Piggy, rang true for this meal but ohh…piggy-piggy-delish  it truly was! My friend was both apalled and amused by Wine Bar’s little note on the bottom…
Grape Drink”?? - K
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

We started with the Foie Gras Poutine and the Foie Gras Potato Skins. We don’t fool around!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Toronto :: Dumpling House & Tea Shop 168

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Rats frolicking in the window aside, Dumpling House remains to be a popular spot for late night feasts. While many are turned off from the less-than-pristine Chinatown lurks, I’ve noshed from enough dives, stalls, and sketchy blankets to say when it’s good it’s good without too much paranoia.

DumplingHouse-6 Dumpling House
Cheap, tasty, and epic dumpling feast
Meal: Dinner
Price: $6/dozen!
Location: Chinatown, Toronto

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bonjour Crepes!

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A visit from a sweet chocolatier from France prompted a fun night of crepes and cultural exchange in my kitchen :-). Armed with flowers and apples, A popped by and showed me how to make paper thin crepes and caramel which we filled with cooked apples, berries, and of course Nutella.
Crepes-4Much easier than I thought – she explained that you need to simply boil the white sugar with water – once it turns to the above glorious colour, add vinegar.
Mmm…the bubbly, brown sticky syrup had such a lovely aroma. The vinegar makes sure that it doesn’t burn and I was really excited to try flipping my first crepe.

A simple combination of eggs, flour, sugar, and water (omit the sugar if you want to make savoury crepes) was made until A was satisfied with the watery consistency – then a ladle of batter was rolled around the pan. Running a spatula around the edges, the crepe was surprisingly easy to loosen and turn over! I was tickled to see the little brown spots of my first crepe, and impressed that she did this with such ease. Not a single reach for a measuring cup or spoon, she eyeballed it all and we enjoyed delicious crepes and a great night with an Ozzie, a French chocolatier, and 3 Canadians was shared. Merci, A!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chicago :: Fronterra Grill

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While in Chicago, we decided to try one of Ricky Bayless’ restaurants. We somehow dragged ourselves out of bed after a fun night in Boystown to Fronterra  for my favourite meal…brunch!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Arizona :: Grand Canyon w00t!

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Just another weekend.

I’ve been wanting to do this hike for years. After all, it’s one of the most iconic sites in the US and it’s a much different hike than what I’ve done in the past! So with my hiking boots in one hand and sleeping bag in another, I made my way down to Phoenix to climb up and down the canyon.

I knew I was going towards a desert-like environment, but the view from the plane was the exact opposite:
00 Airplane 00 Airplane (2)
Now these would be a challenge! (not ready…yet)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Toronto :: O & B, Oh & Bah

Having enjoyed Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Luma, and Canteen, I have been a fan of O&B for quite some time. While I’m not so hot on Jump Cafe, I like how O&B has a good range of spots, especially in the downtown core.

I liked my breakfast buttie at Canteen before my epic Oceania Adventure, so I did not hesitate to return for dinner. Oh, how I wish I had…it was a surprisingly disappointing experience.

Sen5esO&B Canteen
Verdict: Good breakfast, bad dinner
Meal: Dinner
Location: 330 King Street, Toronto