Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

5 Things to Do in Toronto Before You Die

I lived in Toronto for 6 years and have recently just moved to Vancouver. I was thinking back to all the awesome things I did in Toronto over the years and a few stuck out in my head. I wanted to have a link to send to people that are new to Toronto to introduce them to things that I really loved about the city. These are necessarily things like CNE, Leafs games or a trip up the CN Tower. These are things off the beaten track that are mostly known by locals if you talk to enough people. Hopefully you can experience a few of them during your time in Toronto. Let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Parade

Pumpkin parade

Lots of pumpkins

We heard that there was a spot in Toronto where everyone brings their pumpkins on the day after Halloween. I thought this sounded like a neat concept so we went to check it out. It is truly amazing to see everyone in the neighbourhood walking down the street, pumpkin in hard, heading to the park to display their unique jack o lantern. Apparently they get over 1,000 pumpkins lined up on Nov.1st every year. The pumpkins are picked up the next morning by the city and taken to be composted.

See Blog TO for more info on Pumpkin Parade

Outdoor Ice Skating

One of many outdoor rinks

I have never been a huge hockey player or even that good of an ice skater. The one thing I do love is getting outside on an outdoor rink. Many rinks have high costs for rentals or 100’s of 6 year olds falling in front of you after every turn. The great part about Toronto is there are tons of outdoor rinks all over the city offering free skating and shinny.  We would turn up for the night free skate and usually end up having the whole rink to ourselves. We could bring sticks, pass the puck around and really enjoy the outdoors.

Full list of rinks in Toronto

Saturday afternoon at Grossmans Tavern

Saturday afternoon at Grossmans

I had never heard of this pub up until December last year. My roommate told me that we were going to have an afternoon of drinking at Grossmans that would begin at 2pm. This was a little strange to me since I usually don’t go to pubs before 8pm… But I went anyway.  When we arrived, I found the place mostly filled with people over the age of 70 and rest were his friends at the back table. Here’s the deal – every Saturday Grossmans has a 12 piece Dixieland Jazz Band playing all afternoon. They are great and really get into the music. The best part of the show is the conga line of musicians and drunk patrons for the last song of the night (well, more like afternoon).

Info on Grossman’s Tavern

Ferry from the Island at Sunset

View of skyline coming back from Toronto Island

A few times when coming home from the island, I got to experience the Toronto skyline at sunset. It is really an amazing sight and I would recommend this to anyone who is sick of the hustle and bustle of the Toronto streets.

Full Ferry Schedule

Sunday brunch at Dakota Tavern

Sunday brunch at Dakota Tavern

If you are sick of eating over priced Eggs Benedict then this place is for you. Dakota Tavern hosts a Sunday brunch with a live Bluegrass band each week. The brunch is served ‘family style’ which means there are big bowls of food brought to your table. We had eggs, sausages, potatoes, fruit and pancakes. It was a decent meal but the atmosphere was great. I would suggest going right before they open at 11am. After they seat everyone waiting outside, the line starts…

Dakota Tavern website

Coconut Banana Muffins with Lime Glaze

Rotten Bananas. Whenever anyone has bananas at home that have turned brown, someone says ‘We should make banana bread’. Then someone puts them in the freezer for that very common time in the near future when they get a crazy urge to bake. Well that usually doesn’t happen. Then when you move to a new apartment a year later, you throw out those brown frozen bananas. I guess no one wanted to make banana bread.

Well this time I made banana bread. Then I decided to make banana muffins. I had just moved to a new city and decided that this would be a good time to try new things. I have never really baked much and don’t really like how everything you bake is usually super high in fat. I found this recipe that incorporates coconut (which I love!) and is also low fat. They turned out great and I think I am going to have a lot of friends here once I bring these puppies to work.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving)
  • Calories: 193
  • Calories from fat: 21%
  • Fat: 4.6g
  • Saturated fat: 2.8g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3g
  • Protein: 2.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 35g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Cholesterol: 35mg
  • Iron: 1mg
  • Sodium: 179mg
  • Calcium: 15mg

Adapted from Jean Patterson, Cooking Light (SEPTEMBER 2007)

Eating Everything in Edmonton

I was in Edmonton for a week in November. It was probably the coldest weather I have ever experienced. It was -34c when I arrived and stayed that way for the first two days. We decided that the only way to beat the cold was to find some good food and really enjoy our meals there.

My first step was to ask my Twitter followers where I should try in Edmonton. I was directed to a blog which had a great list of restaurants in Edmonton. I decided to use this blog as the starting points and go from there. As it turns out, we got to try three of the restaurants recommended and loved all of them. Here are some photos and comments about the ones that we tried.

Skinny Legs and Cowgirls – “A sort of bistro”

I decided to try this one mainly because of the name. I decided that anyone that named a restaurant like this would have to be creative and original. I was right. On the outside, it was a tacky sign and looks like a very low end restaurant. As you walk in, the atmosphere is amazing and the staff is very welcoming. We went on a slow night so we got to chat with our server (Amy) about the food, wines and beers. They use organic food and local wines and beers. It turns out that her and her mother own the place and really take pride in all the aspects of the restaurant. At one point we ordered a beer that they were out of in the bar. She sent someone to the liquor store to pick some up for us.  Not necessary but definitely appreciated.

We ordered the three cheese salsa bake, mussels and house salad to start. The salad was anything but ‘house’. It had candied pecans, pears, beets and blue cheese. We decided it was an ‘epic’ salad.

For the mains, we ordered the mixed grill which included stuff like bison ribs, lamb and beef tenderloin. It was also loaded with amazing vegetables. I love sharing platters so this meal was really a hit for me. Everything tasted amazing and we weren’t stuffed after it was said and done. I would highly recommend this one.

Skinny Legs and Cowgirls Website and Menu

Epic House Salad

Mixed Grill Sharing Platter

Wildflower Grill – “new Canadian cuisine”

We had a work event one night that ended at 8:30 and only provided apps for us. We decided to check out this restaurant as it was walking distance from downtown. It is very classy inside but not overly expensive. We weren’t too hungry so we ordered a bunch of apps and shared them among three of us.

We tried the Gnocchi, Scallops & Prawns, Braised Beef short ribs and seared tuna. The presentation was really well done and made trying each dish that much better. They serve you a fresh warm bread in a measuring cup to start which was very original.

Wildflower Website and Menu

Warm Bread in a Measuring Cup

Seared Tuna

Braised Short Rib

Gnocchi with Sweet pea puree

Culina Mill Creek – “Creative comfort food”

This one was a little out of the way from our hotel but we used our great smartphone GPS apps and got there on time.  It was another slow night and the place was very quiet inside. I think we might have been a little too loud for this crowd. It had a nice, dark atmosphere and very creative washrooms with tons of mirrors. The menu was small and very unique, which I think are two very important things for a restaurant.

We ordered the Persian Platter, Truffle Popcorn, Duck Hot Dogs and butternut squash soup to start. The soup was amazing and the other apps were good too. The popcorn was just normal popcorn with a light drizzle of truffle oil. It was very greasy and I think we were all expecting something way more exciting. I’ll include some images of the mains below. All were very good but they were very big portions.

Culina Mill Creek Website and Menu

Duck Hot Dogs

Phyllo Wrapped Goat Cheese (Vegetarian)

Alberta Beef with blue cheese and chocolate sauce + mash

Pork Tenderloin Steaks with spicy chimmichurri sauce and couscous

Mirrors in Bathroom

Honorable Mention:

Hundred Bar and Kitchen – We had lunch here one day. They offer a bunch of different sliders that all looked delicious. I asked if I could get a combo of all three (one of each). They agreed and what came was amazing! There was one Kobe Beef Burger, one Lobster BLT and one Kobe chili hot dog.

Menu

The trio of sliders

Rickys – Yes, it is a chain. Yes, it is a lot like other diners. But, wow, it always delivered great breakfast when we needed it badly. Make sure to try the stuffed hash browns. It includes shredded potatoes, bacon, cheese, sour cream and green onions. Thanks Rickys!

Menu

Not a pretty sight, but much needed.

Tiny Tims Donuts (or Tiny Toms depending where you go) – These greasy little donuts come hot in a brown bag and are soooo yummy.

Tiny Toms Donuts

Sherlock Holmes Pub – Pub fare if you want that sort of thing. But I recommend it for having some pints with friends. Live music Thurs-Sat and very small intimate atmosphere that makes for a great pub. I try to stop in every time I’m in Edmonton. There are photos on the wall from the 80’s of Gretzky, Ron MacLean, Tom Green, etc. If you go, make sure you check out Gretzky’s mullet and Ron MacLeans head of hair!

Japanese Village – We had Teppanyaki one night and it was very yummy. I won’t include a write up as it was a lot like other one’s that I have been to in the past. A little disappointing since they wouldn’t do the egg trick or the onion volcano. (even though we asked many times, haha)

Thats all! Let me know what you think and happy eating!