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Lit Espresso Bar

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A coffee house is the perfect place to meet with friends to plan a vacation trip to Europe!  There’s a number of them around the city and the popularity of independent coffee houses has completely fuelled my coffee addiction!  On a Sunday morning I, S and myself decided to meet at Lit Espresso Bar – an espresso house located in the Roncesvalles area of Toronto.  A neighborhood joint, the espresso bar was busy with locals enjoying their morning coffee and a line-up 6 people deep that never let up.  Although the espresso and coffee should be the star of any coffee house (Pig Iron Coffee supplies Lit), the pastries need to be up to par and offer something a bit different than the regular Tim Horton’s.  Only problem is, you need to go early to get the best selection – they had the most scone selection I’ve seen in awhile!  So I ordered the double dark chocolate scone, a chocolate scone with large chunks of bittersweet chocolate topped with crunchy sugar crystals, it was decadent and delicious standing up to the strong iced latte!  I would definitely come back!

Inside Lit espresso bar.

Inside Lit espresso bar.

Double chocolate scone - chunky and decadent.

Double chocolate scone – chunky and decadent.

Iced skim latte and a double chocolate scone.

Iced skim latte and a double chocolate scone.

Beautiful coffee art.

Beautiful coffee art.

Lit Espresso Bar

Lit Espresso Bar

Restaurant of the Month: Frank

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Like Winterlicious earlier this year (my visit to Scarpetta), Toronto also has Summerlicious – two plus weeks where participating restaurants offer 3 course lunch and dinner set menus anywhere from $15-$45, a steal of a deal.  Such a great concept that originally started in New York City, only problem is that the Toronto restaurant list has been pretty static for a number of years.  Located at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), Frank restaurant opened during the renovation of the AGO and is a Frank Gehry designed space, very modern and of course, art inspired.  But not only was the space beautiful but so was the food.  Having dinner with friends (S, I and F – so aptly named by I as the “Finer Things Club”, if any of you watch the Office), we all tried different items on the shortened menu.  The best dish of the night – the shrimp cake, an appetizer – think crab cake but made of shrimp!  Just the perfect size, not greasy and perfectly pan-fried.  The desserts were also a pleasant surprise, especially the summer berry pudding!  When you take a bite, all you can think of is “this is what summer tastes like”!  Perfect finish to a really good meal!

Appetizer – Shrimp Cake

Appetizer – Watermelon and Queso Fresco salad

Appetizer – Gazpacho

Appetizer – Grilled oyster mushroom and cucumber salad

Main – Pan-seared rainbow trout

Main – Saffron honey roasted chicken

Dessert – Chocolate Sour Cherry Bouchon (basically a cake)

Dessert – Churros with caramel and chocolate dipping sauces

Dessert – Summer Berry Pudding, I have to say this was my FAVOURITE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan 2012: Japanese Bakeries

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Traditionally, the staple of the Japanese diet is rice – they eat it morning, lunch and dinner.  But with the popularity and influence of the French, the breads and pastries coming out of some Japanese bakeries are so creative and scrumptious you wonder how do they come with this stuff!  Whenever I can, especially when I’m in a “depachika”, I’ll pop into a bakery and take look and “sniff” to see what’s baking.  And it really is a feast for the eyes – the Japanese are all about esthetics and each loaf of bread, baguette, pastry and baumkuchen (a German tree cake) is perfection.  And the flavours, very seasonal and unique to the Japanese culture – sakura, yomogi (edible greens), green tea (macha), chestnut and strawberry.  Check out some of the goodness I got to savour!

Sakura and yomogi flavoured buns.

A close up of Sakura flavoured buns.

Toasted brioche with chestnut cream.

Mini chocolate croissants.

Strawberry decorated souffle-type bread and sakura cream roll cake.

Look what’s inside – Strawberry cream.

Baumkuchen baking on a spit.

Baumkuchen – a very popular German dessert in Japan!

The Artist Project

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As I mentioned in my last post, the Artist Project landed this weekend over 4 days with opening night this past Thursday.  My friend G and I started attending the Artist Project last year – it was a great way to see some contemporary art, mingle with the artists and of course sip some cocktails.  This year, I was particularly drawn to a very young artist by the name of Ryan Louis. His photographs were whimsical – art that I can see in my dream kitchen!  My favourite – his piece called Cereal Bowl.  Here are some pics from the event:

Art installation at the Artist Project - photo courtesy of me

Opening night at the Artist Project - photo courtesy of me

Cereal Bowl - Artwork Ryan Louis

Cereal Bowl - Artwork by Ryan Louis

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