Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Delicious Food Show - The Food Coma

I wish I could've been at this show all weekend. You almost need the whole weekend to really experience everything. I did get a 'taste' of almost everything! Here's my summary of Sunday. 

Now, when I say taste, I mean TASTE! You could not walk 2 feet without getting a sample. EVERYONE had samples as well as reasonable prices. My Aunt and I stopped at numerous booths and spoke to many business owners. It was fantastic to talk to so many people who are so passionate about what they do! The people of VG Meats, Rise Kombucha and the Mad Mexican all took time to talk to us and express their passion. 

Being a foodie but not a cook put me at a disadvantage coming to this I brought my own chef! My Aunt has been a chef for 15 years and I'm very glad I brought her. There was a lot I would've missed had she not pointed it out. Her chef world is quite delicious; I've been missing out! There are many booths I wouldn't have given a second glance, but wildly enjoyed and learned something! I learned that Cacao Barry Chocolate is THE chocolate for baking. I learned that Kombucha is very good for you and I should be drinking it. AND Serrano Ham, where have you been all my life?  

I also learned that Ontario has a lot more growing/being produced than I thought! The booth had it's own area, but it was impressive. Samples of all kinds made locally. The fruits, the meats, the honey, the syrup, the cheese, oh my. I made my way ALL the way around that booth. I can't wait to pick up some of the cheeses and meats at my local grocery store. Chocolate Goat Cheese. I know what you're thinking; I thought the same thing. Just try it. If they can mix it with cream cheese, goat cheese does it better! 

Now for the entertainment and there was a lot of it! We were able to catch Roger Mooking on the Food Network Celebrity Stage. What a great show! Not too far off, there was an oyster shucking lesson in the Sub Zero Wolf Hands-On Classroom. A little after that was an Eat St. demo in the Chef's Kitchen. In the midst of all this, there are chef authors doing book signings! AHH!! There wasn't one event on the schedule I didn't want to see. So much to do; so little time! It seemed every hour had something to do. This was absolutely the most entertaining tradeshow I've been to; I almost feel I can't call it a tradeshow. I could've spent the whole weekend there. There was so much to see, do and taste that we couldn't fit it all in!  

Next year, I will take the WHOLE weekend. It's just not possible to take it all in in just one day. I'm already counting down and you should, too! If you didn't get to attend this year's Delicious Food Show, make a point to going to it next year; I know I will!  

Now to watch some Food Network while I sip on some Rise Mint Kombucha. 


Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Delicious Food Show 2014 - The Name Says it All!

The Delicious Food Show runs form October 17-19, 2014 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. If the name of the show isn't enough to peak your curiosity, read on! 

Let's start with the main foodie attractions: Celebrity Chefs! We all know and love them from TV and now we ge to see them live! Nadia G., Mark McEwan, Lucinda Scala Quinn, Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes and Roger Mooking are all holding hands-on workshops! How cool is that?? There is also a celebrity stage where you can see some mentioned above as well as Mario Batali, Ted Reader, Abbey's Kitchen Stadium and Dominique Ansel. Wow and Wow. Whether it's a hands-on workshop or a cooking demo, I'm sure we can all learn from these pros. I know I will. I should probably take notes. Many, many notes. 

Cake For Dinner
Think you've learned all you can? Perhaps you should take some of those lessons home with you...and meet the author! That's right, it's time for a book signing! In addition to some of the amazing chefs I've already mentioned, these chef turned authors will sign your booksJamie Kennedy, Jennifer Bain, Matt Dean Pettit, Amy Rosen, Lucy Waverman & Beppi Crosariol as well as Hilary, Lorna & Alison Malone. I'm starstruck and I'm not even there. This is going to be great!! 

Gourmet Inspirations
Now that I'm insanely excited, lets get to the food! After scanning the list of exhibitors, I don't even know where to start! Some of our favourite and most famous local culinary delights will be there. From Gourmet Gringos to Tabule to Amsterdam Brewery, this show has it all! If your brain and tummy are full, it's time to use all of that to make your cooking shine! There are many vendors that offer kitchen accessories, organic foods and cook books for sale to bring home and show your family and friends what you learned....or, in my case, tried to learn. 

Got your celebrity fix? That's too bad...because there's MORE! In addition to the addition to the authors, there are local and television personalities. I think it's absolutely fantastic that our local celebrities are being featured. Hometown proud! The Delicious Food Show really knows how to win over our tummies and our hearts. (AWWW, ya ya ya) 

For foodies young and old, this is a fantastic show. Something for you to see, learn and taste; what more could you want? 

Hope to see you there! 


Saturday, 20 September 2014

A Delightful Day for a Walking Tour in Elora

A mere hour and a half west of the city is Historic Elora. A beautiful town where the people are friendly, the streets are clean, the air is fresh and all of the businesses are locally owned. The only chain establishment I saw was a drug store. The streets have sculptures made by local artists and there is no shortage of galleries displaying their works out front.  

We came all this way for a Culinary Walking Tour and we came hungry.

The tour met at our first stop where we were introduced to Harisson, our fabulous tour guide. The Village Olive Grove is a gourmet extra virgin olive oil and vinegar shop that imports from all over the world. There we learned how to tell if extra virgin olive oil is authentic and how it's made. We also learned how to taste vinegar without the acidic flavour getting in the way. Just when you think you're a foodie, you learn something new! Love it! Last, but not least, we sampled Mapleton's Organic Ice Cream. It was flavoured with dandelion. It had a mild mocha flavour. Pretty good! We all looked worried when he said it was made with dandelion, but were all impressed. 

Our next stop was Mill Street Bistro. This was a house converted to a restaurant with a patio on the Grand River. Great view! Here we were served their Signature Mac & Cheese. The creamy cheese sauce with spinach and tomatoes smothered in a dangerous mix of melted cheese was to die for. We all wished we had a full serving! For a pasta dish, it wasn't heavy; the sauce was creamy, but light. A savoury start! Let's keep it going! 

From there, we stopped by Cork. Greeted warmly and seated, we enjoyed the clean lines of the monochromatic décor. This looks like the perfect place for a date. Our sampling was the Brie & Pear Flatbread with salad topped with house dressing. I could eat brie with pear everyday and that day was no exception. The flatbread was fresh and together it was delicious. The salad was alright; the dressing was good, but the greens were a little blah. I definitely could've gone for more pear and brie! 

After those savoury dishes, it was time for some sweets! E & G Pastry & Fine Cakes were armed with some sweet treats. The first taste was Marble Chocolate Cake. Yes, yes and yes. The cake was moist and the icing was rich, but not too rich. They made a little extra, so some of us had seconds. I have no shame, I was totally one of them. The second treat was Baklava. I've never been a fan of baklava. Tried it a few times, but meh....until today. It was flaky and fresh and sweet all over. I don't know what they did differently from the rest, but it was very good. It didn't have the 'my teeth hurt' effect other baklava has had on me. It was a winner in my books! 
Just down the street, we found ourselves at the Elora Bread Trading Company. A relatively new business in Elora, these ladies work hard and sell out almost every day. They presented us with sandwiches on fresh focaccia. It had house made mayonaise, roasted red peppers, zucchini, sprouts and goat cheese. OMG. I can't even think of a word to describe how fantastic this sandwich was. I'm a meat eater, but this won my heart(and possibly some of my thighs).  

To another venue with a Grand River patio, The Cellar. A pub with a modern feel, I would consider this a gastropub; not just pub food here! Sauteed mushrooms topped with mozzarella on crispy, fresh loaf and sprinkled with basil. Another winner! This dish was very well balanced, not too savoury, not too salty. I couldn't find it on the menu and people are missing out! 

The second last venue was Shepherd's Pub where we were given a sampling of local brew. Stone Hammer Pilsner. Stone Hammer is brewed out of Guelph, Ontario and they make 7 different beers. Shepherd's Pub has many local brews on tap. It had a comfortable vibe perfect for having a good time. Even though it's in the lower level, you can still sit at the back and enjoy a view of the Grand River.  

Our last stop was right next door at Ashanti Café. The owner is very passionate about his business and supporting other local businesses. This location is the only franchise; the other locations are owned by the company. He enjoys that Ashanti owns the coffee plantation, ships it here for roasting and distribution. He advocates how the plantation is run, telling us that they provide a hot meal and lodging for the workers in Zimbabwe. Impressive, but how is the coffee? Smooth. I tried the light roast and it was great. The baked goods that stared at your while you enjoyed your coffee were from bakeries right here in Elora! 

While we toured, Harisson would stop and tell us the history of the buildings we were walking by or going into. This was more than just a food tour, it was a history lesson! Our guide was pleasant and knowledgeable. He did a fantastic job! Thanks, Harisson! 

The Elora Culinary Walking Tours run year round for groups up to 20 people. All of the stops on the tour are support local farms and businesses which is alright in my books! The weather was perfect that day, but it runs rain, snow or shine! A great day trip out of the city! 


Monday, 1 September 2014

Edmonton! Craft Beer Market! Rooftop Patio!

Craft Beer Market 
10013 101A Ave 
Edmonton, AB  
So, I was in Edmonton for a wedding and we had a few hours to kill between the ceremony and the reception. The bridal party told everyone to go to Craft for drinks and eats. They said the would be on the patio. Sounded good to us!  

The street Craft is on, has many delicious looking places on it. I wish I could've stayed in Edmonton longer to try them! The Craft Beer Market is a large building; you can't miss it. The main floor is full of large, leather booths, but the eye is immediately drawn to the big ass bar. So much beer! We headed in and said we were meeting a wedding party on the patio and they pointed to the stairs. We were told to go all the way to the top. Rooftop patio FTW. 

The patio was busy and beautiful. It had a great variety of places to sit, TVs, flowers, a bar and a great view. THIS was the place to be! 

The service was fabulous. We got the menus made our food and drink selections and she was right there to take our orders. Perfect. The beer menu is fantastic; over 100 beers on tap! We all tried a different beer. I lied. It was a summer day and I had a hankering for some Fruli. I did try everyone elses! They decided to keep it local. They chose Hog's Head, Alley Cat & Rice Howard Ale.  

While enjoying the local brews, we went with a light lunch. I downed a Margherita Flatbread. Everything about it was fresh; fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, fresh cheese, fresh garlic. My breath was fantastic. My dad picked the Fresh Vegetable Platter. It came with a pile of veggies, olives, a pile of flatbread and a big bowl of hummus. I always assumed veggie platters would leave you hungry, but this one was huge and had more than just veggies to fill you up! My brother and his lovely lady shared the Baja Fish Tacos. They said they were good, but the heat from the hot sauce didn't really add anything to the dish. They said it seemed out of place. The fish, dressings and salad were both very good.  

If I'm ever in town again, I'd definitely come back. Craft has a great vibe and we really enjoyed our visit. 


CRAFT Beer Market on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bistro 67 Brings the Flavour

Bistro 67 
1610 Champlain Ave. 
Whitby, ON 

Time to go to where many of our favourite chefs! Durham College has a culinary arts program that allows their chefs-in-training to practice in a real restaurant kitchen. Love this! In fact, there's a screen in the dining room where you can see chefs making your meal. The next big chef could be cooking you dinner and you didn't even know it!  

That's not all; it's field to fork. When you drive by on Champlain Ave or drive to the restaurant parking, you can see their gardens and there are plans for greenhouses too! It doesn't get any fresher than that. Whatever is in season is what they're serving.  

The venue itself is beautiful. Bright orange walls were the backdrop for the dark wood tables facing floor to ceiling windows. Everything was beautifully designed, right down to the lighting and table setting. Great atmosphere. Once the construction at the college is complete, the view from your second floor seat will become much more esthetically pleasing.  

After we ordered our drinks, bread and a house spread. The bread was fresh and the spread was AMAZING. Garlic, shallots and a whole lot of yum. When our Warm Baked Flatbread arrived, we kept what was left of the spread and used it for the flatbread too! Marinated tomatosfontina cheese, sherry onions and even more garlic all on a flatbread fresh out of the oven. The toppings were tasty, but not overwhelming. We made quick work of it even though it was huge. 

For mains we went with Steak Frites, Local Cornish Hen & Grilled Birch-Glazed Salmon. The Cornish Hen was tender, juicy and was infused with citrus. The strong citrus flavours were cut nicely with the pepperoncini polenta. Fantastic combination. The piece of salmon was HUGE. The picture doesn't do it justice; it was easily over an inch thick. The roasted peppers were great but the potatoes weren't fully cooked. The Steak Frites was probably the favourite. The steak was tender and well seasoned. The fries were truffled, sprinkled with thyme and served with tomato jam. You read it - JAM. This was not your grocery store ketchup. It had such a unique flavour that I have nothing to compare it to. Either way, it was fantastic. Gotta try it! 

The service was great. They were quick, attentive and knowledgeable. They are very professional. You wouldn't even know that the people there are in training to be chefs because it tasted like they were pros already! 

I realize they just put a huge logo for this place right ON the building, but it just doesn't stand out. I know if I'm looking for a restaurant, I'm looking for the traditional big sign near the road. If you're not from the area, you might not find it.  

This was my first meal at the culinary school and it won't be my last. Support your local college and give them feedback to make them the best of the best! 


Bistro '67 on Urbanspoon