Monday, 23 March 2015

Fabbrica - Putting the Fab in Fabulous

49 Karl Fraser Rd 
Toronto, ON 

Winterlicious was upon us and I couldn't miss out! On the second last day, my Chef Aunt and I headed to Fabbrica. She said that as a chef, Winter/Summerlicious is the only time when food professionals really get to see what everyone else is up to. She looks forward to it! 

We had scoped out the menu ahead of time, so we were ready. She selected the Beef Carpaccio and I went with the Sicilian Garlic Soup. She said she didn't like radish until that dish. She could tell the meat was made in house; what a treat! I was worried that I would reek of garlic after having the soup, but my Aunt said it was roasted garlic. I had no idea that roasted garlic didn't give you garlic breath! Win! I was definitely worried about wilting plants. The garlic wasn't over-powering and the texture was fantastic.  

Time for the main course! Chef Aunt chose the Parpardelle and I went with the Grilled Shrimp. Now THAT is a ragu! The parpardelle ragu perfectly balanced the acidity of the tomatoes and the savoury flavours of the spices. Again, that homemade feel makes it even better.  And the freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano brought it full circle. I'm a sucker for polenta, so when I saw the Grilled Shrimp came with polenta, I was sold. The shrimp in the sweet pepper/chili sauce with sausage was a fantastic mix. The warm, creamy polenta was like a warm blanket on a cold day. Made in-house, it mellowed the pepper and chili nicely. Two perfect dishes for a cold, snowy night. 

But...there's always room for dessert! Being a chocoholic, I chose the Chocolate Torta. My Chef Aunt, sticking with the theme of food I can't pronounce, went with the Pavlova di Fabbrica. The torta was heavy and rich. It really needed the berry compote to soften the richness. Now to the pavlova. I've never heard of it before and my Aunt insisted I try a bite. It was like tasting sunshine. The softness of the merengue, the sweet and citrus of the grapefruit and blood orange, the tartness of the blackberries....just wow. As a chocoholic, I would choose this over chocolate. It was that good. So refreshing! A must have! 

Was the food good? Yes. Was the service good? No, it was great! Our server was fantastic. He was attentive, kept the water classes full and didn't make us wait forever between courses. He claimed he made a mean cappuccino....he was right! All of the staff there were polite and seemed happy to be there; they were quick, but not in a hurry. 

The table beside is sounded like regulars; they were telling their friends about their favourite dishes, so this place is not a one trick pony. From the food to the service; this was a solid performance. 

Looking forward to Summerlicious, 


Fabbrica on Urbanspoon

Monday, 16 March 2015

Vegan Sampling Party - Nourished On The Go

Nourished On The Go 
16 Simcoe St S 
Oshawa, ON 

Being a curious foodie, I enlisted the tummies of 10 carnivore, but health conscious, ladies to come over and try vegan food. Keeping in mind, none of us had tried it before. 

Nourished On The Go is a take-out vegan spot right downtown Oshawa. I had them each pick a couple things off the menu and off we went! We ordered almost everything on the menu.  

The purpose was to show carnivores that vegan food actually tastes good. I think a lot of meat eaters assume vegetarian and vegan food is just boring salad; I know I did. It was time to broaden our foodie horizons and here's how it went.

I asked everyone to write down their favourites, the OK's and the ones they didn't enjoy as much. Here we go! 

It was pretty easy to tally; the Southwest Stew was a HUGE hit. We were duelling spoons trying to get the last of it. The sweet, spicy stew full of tomato, avocado, corn and black beans in a macadamia nut cream with Cajun spice and a little cilantro was to die for. I plan on picking some up frozen, so I can have it ALL to myself whenever I want. Teehee. The dishes with the next highest ratings were the Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup and the Curried Cauliflower. If I didn't know the mushroom soup was vegan, I would've never guessed. Sweet and spicy with a creamy consistency won over everyone. The curried cauliflower was another hit; the almonds and raisins were a great addition to the curry spices. Yum! The No-Chicken Souvlaki Wrap won my heart. The sauce and toppings were great. I didn't realize it wasn't actual meat! So far, so good! 

There were a few that some loved and others didn't enjoy equally. I think the Italian Wedding soup was at a disadvantage. A few of us really liked it(myself included), but others were comparing it to East Side Mario's version because it's the only one they'd ever had. Sad, sad. The only thing I would change is the shape of pasta; I find getting penne on a spoon makes me wear soup. The Potato Salad was another that I feel was underrated. No, it wasn't as creamy as its non-vegan counterpart, but it was damn good. The ones that loved it, didn't miss the mayo at all. 

The No-Chicken Club Wrap was not bad. The 'bacon' tasted similar to actual bacon, not dead on, but close. I was pleasantly surprised at the vegan chicken; the texture was great! Very chickeny! A few of us didn't mind the vegan chicken, but a couple of my friends didn't like it much. Some people found the 'bacon' flavour either good or not good. The poor Hummus Wrap. We all have been so spoiled with grocery store flavoured hummus that plain hummus was.....well, plain. We had a few wraps on whole wheat and a few on a collard green. Everyone with a collard green wrap had trouble eating it without dropping something. If you get a wrap on collard green, leave it in paper or don't cut it in half. We made a bit of a mess trying to share wraps on collard green. Very fresh though!  

There were only a few that we all agreed were not our favourites. The Alfredo and Pesto were the not liked by the adults, but the toddler ate both of them. She loved them! There could've been more sauce, but I think we are used to a certain creaminess that just wasn't there. Time for Scrambled Tofu. Most of us are a little skeptical of tofu, so we might have been biased, but it wasn't our favourite. The Leek & Potato Soup was ok, seemed a little watery; felt like it could use more texture to make it a little more hearty. 

As for desserts, we had Apple Pie, Chocolate Brownie Cookie Cake and Strawberry Cheesecake. The apple pie was alright, the crust was a little dry and hard to cut for sharing purposes; better to eat like a tart. The chocolate brownie cookie cake was rich and full of dark chocolate. It was the perfect size; any bigger and one person could not finish it. The strawberry cheesecake was in the middle on votes. I thought it was great; very creamy with a fantastic strawberry topping. Some thought the 'cheese' portion tasted weird, but most of us didn't notice any difference. The Chocolate Brownie Cookie Cake was the clear winner in the Desserts category. 

I was happy to see my carnivore friends enjoyed vegan food. I've wanted to try this place for awhile, but I felt 1 or 2 visits wouldn't be fair considering I do eat meat and have nothing vegan to compare it to. What better way to try it all than a sampling party?! We all agreed that the food was great and would try it again. We've got 10 carnivores that are no longer scared of vegan food. There's a definite stereotype out there, but we know better. There is absolutely something for everyone, no matter what your diet. 

As a bonus, you can order online ahead OR you can order frozen food to eat later. That's awesome! A lot of the dishes have a gluten-free option or are gluten free as is. This is a great place for anyone to get something healthy on the go.  

An even bigger bonus is the packaging they use is either compostable or recyclable. Who doesn't love that??

Southwest Stew, I'll be back for you! 


Nourished On The Go on Urbanspoon