Its a good thing I have friends who look out for me otherwise I would completely miss awesome events like Cheese Boutique’s 10th Annual Festival of Chefs! What a unique series of events – every weekend in May, the Cheese Boutique hosts a local chef from some of Toronto’s top restaurants who makes a dish inspired by the theme of the day. In addition, a local vineyard is also invited to pair the dish with one of its wines – and this past Saturday it was Hidden Bench from Beamsville and the Chef was Chef Sam Gelman from the infamous Momofuku! And all for $5 that goes towards the Famous PEOPLE Players. Ever since I heard rumours of Momofuku coming to Toronto, I knew I had to add it to my restaurant bucket list – although I did go to Momofuku Milk Bar when I visited New York City last December I haven’t had a chance to dine at Momofuku TO yet so this was my first taste of what I can expect. The steamed bun stuffed with pulled pork shoulder, griller guernsey girl cheese and topped with slices of cucumber – it was absolutely delicious! Steaming the bun gave it a soft and delicate texture and the grilled guernsey girl cheese completely reminded me of the texture and saltiness of saganaki. I did walk around the store afterwards and well, $40 later, I came out with three different cheeses, some pastries and an iced coffee to sip on my way home!
Tag Archives: market
I have this secret love for grocery stores. When I travel, I try to at least visit one grocery store, usually a big chain store because of its category and product selection. I love roaming aimlessly through each lane reading labels and comparing prices – I know, sounds boring but I can spend hours doing this In Toronto, there are a number of different grocery stores, some national chains and others that are ethnic specific. Well recently, my friend I introduced me to one called Starsky. Its an Eastern European grocery store carrying a wide selection of meats, sweets, baked goods, and ready made foods. One of their specialties is cheesecake – slabs and slabs of different cheesecakes, cut to whatever size you want and sold by weight! The two slabs I purchased were approximately $10 each – score! To my surprise, these cheesecakes are light, not too sweet and don’t have a crust. They have so many varieties it becomes hard to choose – I’ve vowed to try a different one each time! The strudels and the Paczki (Polish donuts) were delicious too! I will have to try their deli and meats on my next visit which I hope will be sometime soon
One of my favourite places to go in London is to Borough Market. Some of you may recognize it from the famous movie Bridget Jone’s Diary – Bridget’s flat was located at one of the many entrances to the market but I was first introduced to the famous market in 2006 by G, a good friend who lived in London at the time. And ever since then, I’ve been going back on every visit. Although the market is best known for its fresh produce and farm to table meats I go back for my old favourites like those large, light and sugary meringues or the oversized chocolate brownies. This time around, the weather was a bit chilly and you can’t do better than sipping a hot cup of mulled wine while strolling the market – you’ve got to love London for that! Here are some of my delicious finds…..I can’t wait for my next visit!
It was just past 2pm and we had been on the road for over 2 and a half hours, perfect time for a break to each lunch. Recommended by one of our paddlers on the team, we decided to get off the highway and head into downtown Kingston to Pan Chancho Bakery and Cafe. Its a store, cafe and restaurant with a great patio out back all in one! As you enter, you are greeted by a smorgasbord of homemade bread, baked goods, desserts and ready-made dishes. We decided to sit outside on the “home-y” patio to take in the great weather to enjoy our meal. Looking at the menu the Tarta de Espanol jumped out at me – how can you turn down tomato, fennel and manchego cheese wrapped in pastry! It was delicious, flakey and so savoury! I couldn’t resist but buy a a double chocolate cookie on the way out for a little snack later! If you’re ever in the Kingston area, I highly recommend a stop at Pan Chancho, even if its for a loaf of bread!
For a few years now, former colleagues of mine, somehow through their network met Mr. Martin who runs a small pig farm. They have been purchasing pork direct from his farm ever since and it’s taking me this long to join in on the action! So I finally put an order in a few months ago and this past weekend we all made a road trip to the country to pick up our pork. Little did I know that I was going to get so much more. In addition to the usual pork chops, bacon, ribs, and ground pork, Mr. Martin cures his own pepperettes and hand grinds his own flours! He grows wheat and rye! So with my bread making course I took a few weeks ago I couldn’t resist picking up some organic, hand ground whole wheat flour and rye flour. With permission, I was allowed to snap some pictures of the small working farm – they gave us a tour, although I have to admit, I didn’t last too long as the stench was too strong for me…I’m such a city girl
This past weekend, my friend S (along with friends I and F) suggested taking a short road trip to St. Jacob’s farmer’s market. Located about 90 minutes west of Toronto, the town of St. Jacob’s farmer’s market is a fantastic outdoor and indoor market full of vegetable farmer’s selling mostly Ontario produce; butchers specializing in sausage and pepperettes; and cheese purveyors. Across the street is an antique market and a small factory outlet. However, the market is especially known for its apple fritters. I’ve visited the market a number of times in the past and every time I go, the apple fritters stall in the small indoor food court has a long line snaking around the building. This time though, we decided to go bright and early in the morning, 7am to be exact, and to my joy there was only a few people in line for apple fritters! So after many tries, I finally got my hands on some apple fritters! And they completely lived up to its reputation – they are thick apple rings that are dipped in a donut-like batter, deep fried and then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar! Delicious! Check it out!
While in Hiroshima, I decided to take side trip to Miyajima, is a sacred island and is home to Itsukushima Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Mt. Misen, the highest peak on the island. Only accessible by ferry, as you walk off the ferry towards the shrine, deer surround you, feeling at home with the hundreds of tourists that visit the island daily. After visiting the shrine and witnessing a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, I decide to make the hike up Mt. Misen. I go part way using the ropeway (gondola) and then walk the rest of the way to the peak. It is not an easy climb, but as grandmothers make their way past me, I’m determined to make it to the top because what awaits me at the bottom is a main street full of omiyage (souvenir) and food shops! The main street has a mix of food stalls, everything from grilled oysters to sweets like miyajima’s famous momiji manju – a cake in the same of a momiji (Japanese Maple Leaf) and filled with anko, red bean paste, delicious! Here’s a sample of what I had that day…..
Located in Kyoto, Nishiki Market is a fun place to discover, see and taste some really unique Japanese foods. The market is located in downtown Kyoto, a short metro ride from the central JR (Japan Rail) Kyoto Station. The market is a narrow covered alley that runs along 4 blocks. It is stall after stall of small food shops offering anything from fresh produce to ready-made dishes to bring home for dinner. One of the most unique items I found was “chocolate croquettes”! Croquettes are really popular in Japan, I grew up eating my mom’s croquettes which are made out of potatoes (mashed), ground beef, onions and flavoured with curry powder. They are then shaped into rounds, breaded and deep fried. I don’t know how they did it but when I bit into the chocolate croquette, it was like eating chocolate pudding which was somehow rolled into a ball, breaded and deep fried! Genius!
If you were to ask me to list my top favourite things to do in Japan, wandering through a depachika would be near the top of the list. Every department store in Japan has a “depachika” – “depa” is short for department, “chika” means basement. The lower floor depachika is dedicated to all things food and you know when you enter it as you notice the increase in noise level and foot traffic. Japan is a country full of convenience and its food completely reflects this need for convenience. However, they are not willing to forego quality hence the popularity of ready-made foods where busy salarymen/women can pop into their depachika always located at major train stations and easily pick up lunch/dinner. I’ve spent a few days visiting depachikas and the photos here were taken at the depachika in Takashimaya located at JR Nagoya Station. I’m getting hungry!
This past weekend was a busy one for me – The Artist Project opening night, dinner at a new restaurant (my next resto of the month) and my first trip to TUM. The Toronto Underground Market launched its first event on September 24, 2011 to huge success. Using the Evergreen Brick Works as a hosting venue, TUM is a market that allows home cooks and entrepreneurs bring their food fare to the public. Tickets were only $10 for entry and a majority of the food prices were $5 or less. Everything from cupcakes, donuts, macaroons and pies to popovers, dumplings and risotto. As my friends E, H and I entered the outdoor space we first surveyed the offerings to determine what we wanted to try. Our first stop, the very long 1.5 hour line up for La Carnita – and I must say, the steak tartare tostada called the “carnie crudo” was by far the tastiest item I ate that night! Other worthy mentions: bacon donut (glazed donut with a bacon bit topping similar to sprinkles), duck confit french onion soup, red velvet macaroon and butter chicken & waffles. Can’t wait for the next one in April!