Last week, Summerlicious came to a close in Toronto and this year three teammates and I tried L’Ouvrier, a restaurant located on trendy Dundas Street West neighborhood. The restaurant front is very unassuming with the name only visible on a wooden sawhorse. The interior reminds of those gallery spaces in Soho, New York. Cement floors, white walls and eclectic art displays around the dining room. L’Ouvrier means working man in French and I love how they make simple items important to the blue collar worker into art, like ziplock bags of nails, screws and washers. Just like the interior, the summerlicious looked just as good. Starting with an amuse bouche of roasted beet and goat cheese, then a steak tartare made with local beef, homemade potato chips and shavings of Monforte cheese, a local Ontario farm. My main, a deliciously tender pulled pork shoulder with the tang of cider vinegar and the sweetness of apple. The best part, the broccoli, charred and topped with melted Golden Blyth farm cheese. Also good, the side of fried grits. Grits made into a patty, cut into squares and then deep fried – all topped with popcorn! We ended the meal with a deconstructed baked alaska and stewed strawberries and rhubarb-prosecco sorbet. I would definitely go back again.
Tag Archives: art
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!
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!
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!
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: