Field Trip 2018 is happening SOON (June 2nd and 3rd), and it’s the ideal festival for music (and food) lovers of all ages.Read More
Taste of Toronto is back for its third year June 23 – 26 at the Garrison Common in Fort York.
Excite your taste buds with an amazing array of global flavours, and over 70 mouthwatering dishes from Toronto’s best restaurants!
Here's a deal to make the experience even more delicious....Read More
There are a lot of food and drink-related events out there in Toronto. Lucky, lucky us! But let's face it, some of them are more worth attending than others. Some are downright dismal - so let's stick to the positive here and talk about what is worth it. You know of course about my love for Taste of Toronto and Pintxos TO (which I hear is returning again this year!) . I love an event that celebrates the incredible talent we have here in Toronto's culinary scene, showcases the diversity of this city, are well-run and encourage people to check out restaurants that they perhaps haven't experienced before.
From June 6-12, 2016, there is a new festival in town that does all of that, and is a pretty amazing deal as well. Lovers of BBQ and beer alike, take note. This one's for you. The first ever Toronto BBQ Week kicks off tomorrow, presented by Samuel Adams and in partnership with Now Magazine. This one is a winner for sure: fifteen participating venues offering their spin on a BBQ dish paired with a pint of Samuel Adams Boston Lager for just $15! I love the fact that there are so many different takes from around the world on BBQ - from Indian, to down home Southern, to Northern Thai to Chinese-Jamaican. Whether you are looking for ribs and brisket, or something a little lighter like grilled ocean trout, there is a range of delicious options that all pair excellently with a frosty Sam Adams. The balanced flavour profile, upfront malt flavour and hoppy finish matches up well with the punch of BBQ spices and the caramelized flavour of the meat.
Because I know your time is valuable and it's so hard to decide which of these 15 amazing restaurants you are going to visit during Toronto BBQ Week, I have graciously spent an evening with a few friends touring three of the venues on the west side of the city so you can have a little sneak peak. I know, huge sacrifice, right?
Until now, I hadn't had the chance to visit Pukka on St. Clair West. After sampling this one offering for Toronto BBQ Week, I guarantee you that I will be back! Wow! Chef Dinesh Butola's tender North East Indian pork ribs had just the right texture and hint of spice, and the slaw with hits of crispy chaat were the perfect pairing. It was the perfect showcase of the quality and forward-thinking take on Indian food that you can expect at Pukka. I was torn between wolfing them down and savouring the ribs slowly, and will admit that I was lingering a little longer with my pint of Sam Adams because I just didn't want to leave this beautiful restaurant. But, there was more delicious BBQ awaiting us, so off we went.....and it's tough to say no to our next destination, which has become one of Toronto's most well-known place to savour BBQ for a reason.
BARQUE BUTCHER BAR
Toronto couldn't get enough of the decadent smokey offerings at Barque Smokehouse on Roncesvalles, so in May 2015 Barque Butcher Bar opened up just down the street to accommodate lovers of meaty goodness. Co-Owner and Executive Chef David Neinstein is a certified BBQ judge and has competed in some of the toughest grill and smoke-off competitions in the US. For Toronto BBQ week, David and his team have cooked up a delicious pulled pork sammy topped with a refreshing apple slaw and crispy fries. Pretty amazing deal paired with a pint of Samuel Adams for just $15, right?
PARTS & LABOUR
Our last stop of the evening was at Parkdale favourite Parts & Labour. Always a great spot to be at any night of the week for a lively but laid-back vibe and decadent eats and drinks. For Toronto BBQ Week, chef Brent Pierssens has cooked up one of my favourites: Grilled Merguez sausage with confit fingerling potatoes spiked with creme fraiche. I love this spin on BBQ from beyond the borders of North America, and again, paired with that pint it's the perfect thing for sharing or just keeping all to yourself.
Three very different takes on BBQ, three amazing reasons to check out Toronto BBQ Week. You've got until June 12th, 2016. Oh, and did I mention you can also win a trip for two to Boston? Details are at torontobbqweek.com. You're welcome!
Every once in a while, it helps to see your city with a fresh pair of eyes. This always happens to me after I return home from a trip abroad. Even better is when you choose to see your city as if you were a traveler from somewhere else. I recently got the chance to do this with a pretty amazing combination of very shiny new and old Toronto landmarks: UP Express and the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Should you be visiting or even staycationing in Hogtown, my hometown (I say this with much affection), here's why I strongly suggest you give them a try.Read More
Tacos, beer, dessert, and more. All sorts of options are On The Menu (without compromise) at La Carnita with Daura Damm beer.....whether you're living gluten free, or not. That's right, even beer.Read More
In my opinion, there are few better ways to unwind after a long day at work than chatting with friends over great food and drinks. You can keep your couches and TV marathons, I want to talk about the goings-on of the world over a great glass of wine and a few (or more) bites of something delicious. And then talk some more.....admittedly very much about TV marathons (a paradox I'm sure you can appreciate), actual marathons, politics perhaps, and who knows what else.
I was feeling very much in need of such a night lately. Luckily, I was presented with just the right opportunity to do cinq a sept in style: round up some food-loving friends and head to East Thirty-Six on a Wednesday night where talented Executive Chef Brent Maxwell would whip up a multi-course menu for us to enjoy. TWIST MY ARM, right?
Of course, there is a catch.
All of the dishes would include, and be inspired by.......wait for it.....jam.
Stay with me here. Just in case you think this is taking a turn for the unbearably saccharine, we're talking not just any chef, not just any crew, and certainly not just any jam. Brent was charged with the task of compiling a menu based on Bonne Maman preserves and spreads. These are sophisticated, delectable flavours that have been produced and well loved in France for decades. If Chef was up for the challenge, so was I.
My hungry group of bon vivants (some of whom I work out with every week, so I know just how hungry they are) assembled at the fashionable nook that is East Thirty-Six. If you haven't been, this glossy gem on Wellington features carefully crafted cocktails and an indulgent sharing menu. Everything about it looks and feels like the kind of spot I want to be to shake off whatever kind of crazy has been going on in my week. Even if it was only Wednesday.
We were joined by celeb Chef Christine Tizzard, who knows a thing or two about creating delicious food. As we sipped our La Bonne Mere Martinis, I asked her why she loves working with Bonne Maman and how their preserves and spreads can go the distance from sweet to savoury dishes:
Full disclaimer: I had no idea ahead of time what Chef Maxwell had planned for us, other than each item had to contain Bonne Maman flavours. It just happened to turn out that he included some of my absolute favourites foods in the night's menu. Not kidding. Duck confit, burrata, bone marrow, chocolate. To be a little on the macabre side, this is my idea of a "best last meal ever." And I more or less embarrassed myself completely by stating repeatedly how excited I was about that fact. So. EXCITED. Apparently I need to get out more often.
There you have it. From start to finish, my idea of a perfect meal, all built around the type of ingredients you may already have in your cupboard. And if you don't......WHY NOT? Now if you'll excuse me I've got a spoon and a jar of Dulce de Leche that is calling my name.
Of course everything tastes better when you share with friends.
All photos by Jeffrey Chan for Bonne Maman.
TORONTO FOOD & WINE Festival takes over The Brickworks Sept 18 - 20. Want to win a pair of tickets? Read on.....Read More
Pizza.....the ultimate vehicle for cheese.Read More
Estrella Damm's Tapas Journey runs August 14th - 23. Here's how it works: 20 participating restaurants in Toronto will offer 3 tapas + 1 Estrella Damm for the awesome price of $20.Read More
Those Spotlight City Events guys have done it again. Pinxtos Toronto returns August 23.Read More