Sunday, October 21, 2007

My favorite salad

It's been a busy quite stressful week and today is exactly what I needed!! I've finished the last 3 days of my course and now I have 2 weeks to study for my exam. My mind is completely consumed with studying studying studying as I'm worried that I won't pass this exam. I haven't had to study for anything for over 10 years and I admit.. it scares me. I even researched on what foods are good to eat when studying. Of course it was all boring veggies, nuts, fish - not that I'm comlaining cuz I love all that. I was just hoping that there would be some sort of brain nutrition in a Big Mac.

So after being in class for 3 intense days in a row and a day of studying on Saturday, all I wanted to do today was NOTHING TO DO WITH STUDYING!! Lou and I went to Milestones, one of our most favorite restaurants, then watched "Gone Baby Gone" at the cinema (which was pretty good btw), and then took Ziggy for a walk at Queens Quay where I grabbed a Tall Non-Fat No Whip Cafe Mocha at Starbucks. And now, I've finally made some time to blog and read blogs I've been wanting to read all week. Usually I'm on my laptop every night updating myself on everyone's blogs but I've forced myself NOT to get side tracked so I had to put the blogs aside for awhile.

When I woke up this morning at 11am, I knew that I desperately need a serious break. I don't think my brain could have handled another day of studying so when Lou asked me what I wanted to eat, the first thing that popped into my head was MILESTONES Vegetarian Thai Noodle Salad. I NEVER usually order salads when I go out to eat but this salad has me hooked. This time I ordered grilled tiger shrimp with it instead of the usual grilled chicken.

The ingredients of this salad are "Fresh chopped greens and oriental noodles stacked with artichokes, sliced mushrooms, shredded carrots, spicy house-made avocado and papaya salsas, feta and honey mustard vinaigrette".

I could eat it again right now!!!

Lou had the "CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF® 8oz TOP SIRLOIN With trio of signature Steak sauces: House-made Worcestershire, Kobe mustard, Gaucho sauce with Black Peppercorn & Cognac sauce: Served with a grilled Portabello mushroom.". I would have had taken a picture of it but she said, "HELL NO" when I asked her to wait. Can't blame her really.. it looked so good. You could really taste the cognac.

Now when it comes to steak though, to us, nothing can compare to Ruth Chris Steak House. I'll blog about this next time I go which will HOPEFULLY be in 2 weeks because if I pass my exam, that's the first place I going to celebrate!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Montreal has poutine... Toronto has hot dogs

I remember clubbing in Montreal and starving after last call. I must have asked 3 or 4 Quebecois where I could get a hot dog and no one had a clue. One person actually sent me to a place where they used toast (for the bun) and a boiled hot dog. It was disgusting but I was starving. I wasn't in the mood for poutine. All I wanted was a juicy bbq'd hot dog.

Toronto hot dogs ... aka.. "street meat" can be found on MANY street corners in downtown Toronto and outside of many suburban areas at Canadian Tire & Home Depot stores. It might be the weirdest thing for people from out of town to see but Torontonians can't live without street meat.

3am and most clubs have ended their night.
People spilling into the streets drunk, buzzed, high, but more importantly.. HUNGRY!
They want something fast, cheap, and easy to cure the drunkiness.
Street meat is the answer to all their prayers.

To top off your bbq'd hot dog, you've got a selection of condiments from ketchup, to hot peppers, to sweet corn relish. Personally, I take my dog with loads of onions, 3 or 4 peppers, and tons-o-ketchup!!

Many a times we've taken little Ziggy (my daschund) for a walk by the Harbourfront and we always stop at "Mike's Hotdogs". I keep forgetting the guy who actually makes the hot dog (don't know if he's actually Mike) but I know he's from Japan. Every time he sees Ziggy he says the same thing. "I had a hot dog dog once with my ex girlfriend in Japan. When I left, she took it.". Mike's Hotdogs is located at Bay and Queens Quay on the South West corner. He is by far the friendliest hot dog guy and has the juiciest dogs in Harbourfront.

If you're a hot dog vendor, you're lucky if you get the prime spots in downtown Toronto. Apparently, it's randomly selected each year where each hot dog vendor will be located each year. I remember one hot dog guy I spoke to (who was located on a side street right across the street from a car shop - not exactly a money making location) once said that while Mel Lastman was our Mayor, it seemed as though the Italians were getting all the hot spots like Yonge & Bloor but of course.. paid a nominal "fee" for it. Don't know if it's true but about 3 years a later, I ran into this hot dog guy by University of Toronto. I guess he moved up in the hot dog world! What more could a student want for a cheap and quick lunch. He seemed quite happy at least.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Another way to cure hiccups

I was reading the Amateur Gourmet's "How To" section on his website and I saw "How to cure hiccups". I thought, "Oh.. I wonder if this is the same way I've heard you can cure hiccups.".

Actually... it wasn't.

For Lou's birthday this summer we went to Brownstone Bistro & Bar. One of our friends had the hiccups and someone heard that drinking water backwards was the sure cure for hiccups. Derek was the demonstrator and I'm sure that people were thinking, "What the hell is this guy doing?" lol It's definitely not something you'd just get up and do at a restaurant (or maybe you would) but it works!

lol... it's an odd thing to do but I swear.. it works like a charm. You just have to be careful that you don't spill water all over the place or laugh while you're trying to drink cuz you know you look ridiculous. lol You don't have to drink a lot. Just a big sip.

Make sure the glass is full to the top. It's easier to drink.

Check out this video on how to works.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Crepes a GoGo

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

I don't think I've EVER experienced Thanksgiving in 25 degrees celcius weather! It was so hot and humid today and I kept thinking that we need to try more restaurant patios before it gets cold. Especially since Sassafraz reopened. Wait a second... what the heck am I talking about. It's bloody October! It should be cold by now. It's bitter sweet really. I hate what's happening with global warming but at the same time... it's 25 degrees in October!!!!! They say that we will be experiencing warmer months than cold in the near future. I remember probably over 5 years ago, it was cold from September to May.

Anyway, I enjoyed my day off today with my friend Sheryl. We walked around Yorkville, checked out Whole Foods (unfortunately... came out empty handed because I didn't want to walk around all day with bags of endless delights), and finally stopped at a place called Crepes a GoGo.

I've only eaten at 2 crepe places before - Cafe Crepe & Le Creperie in Quebec City. When it comes to fruit crepes, the peach crepe at Le Creperie is at the very top of my list of the most heavenly crepes I have ever tasted. I've had a chicken crepe at Cafe Crepe and "eh".. it was ok - Nothing spectacular.

But today... Sheryl and I tried a scrambled egg, swiss cheese, mushroom, red onion and dill crepe. After walking around for over an hour with throbbing heals, it was just what the doctor ordered. The edge of the crepe was crispy just they way I like it and all the flavours of the filling were warm and fresh.

My favorite part of Crepes a GoGo is that it's a small family owned business and the staff speak french! I could have stayed there for hours just watching people coming in and out enjoying the best crepes in Toronto (in my opinion). Crepes a Gogo... I will see you again soon!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Let's give the General a try

I know some will argue that it's not authentic chinese or anything but I have to admit that General Tso Chicken is a chinese dish I really enjoy. Even Wikipedia says it's more for an American/Canadian dish.

I've thought about making it myself but never really looked into finding a recipe until yesterday. I googled it and found many different recipes but found one that looked exactly what I'm used to seeing it look like as the end result. Some of them looked dry or not cripsy.

After preparing the chicken, frying, cooking, and of course eating this tasty delite.. I'm exhausted and admitedly so... too lazy to type out the recipe so you can find it here if you're interested.

The only thing I added was toasted sesame seeds, a bit of lime juice just before serving to add that bit of tang to it and served it with basmati rice.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chilean Food & Wine Festival

Last night was the 2007 Chilean Food & Wine Festival at the Distillery. I've lived in Toronto all my life and have only been to the Distillery twice. I can't believe I haven't made time to enjoy the Distillery in the summer months.... shame on me. For sure next summer I will make more of an effort to enjoy the restaurants, festivals, and the cobble stone roads that the Distillery as to offer. It kind of reminds me of being in Old Montreal.

This was my first wine festival so I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was for sure going to bring my camera!! When I walked through the doors, I felt like a kid in a candy store. There were so many things that I wanted to try and to see and to take pictures of. There was so much wine to taste and food to savour! Why did I decide to eat dinner before the festival?? There were numerous wine tasting sections and food pairing tables. Unfortunately, the only food picture that wasn't blurred was the chorizo with mild and spicy chili sauce (I blame it on the wine). It was damn spicy alright! I did try other foods such as beef & chicken empanadas and avocado & chicken salsa. Unfortunately, the line up for chili lamb was way too long. I was gutted because it looked so succulent.

Now I'm not knowledgeable by any means when it comes to wine. All I know is that I love white wine over red and prefer fruity versus oakey wines. I love my white wine really cold, dry, and with a hint of sweetness. See... I told you I don't know much about wine. Oh... one other thing I do know is that I like the Sauvignon Blanc grape over any other. Out of all the wines I did taste, the contender was .... drum roll please.... Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2007 Valle de Casablanca. That's the way uh huh uh huh I like it... uh huh uh huh.

Overall... the food wasn't overly spectacular and the wine was good.. again for someone who doesn't know much about wines. But the highlight for me... odd as it may sound... was the live latin band. Unfortunately, I didn't get the name of the band. For me... next to the food (which is always #1 on my list), the music at a party, wedding, event, festival, etc is what I remember the most when attending functions. Thanks to my parents who made my sister and I take piano lessons, which in turn created an interest for the guitar and saxaphone, I love live music as much as I love to devour food. So cheers to a fun evening and I look foward to attending the next food and wine festival in T.O.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pasta Night

In my last blog, I mentioned that I stopped by an italian shop by Yonge & Eglinton called Pascale Gourmet. When you open the door to the store and take one step in, it's like stepping into an italian house on a Sunday just before nonna's Sunday lunch is to be served. The smell of fresh italian bread, cured meat, and home made tomato sauce. They sell everything you need for an authentic italian meal... freshly baked herb bread, fresh pasta, home made meatballs, tomato sauce, etc. Sometimes after work, I'm in no mood to cook which I'm sure a lot of you can relate to. And if I do have to cook, I want something fast and easy. So... I couldn't resist to buy fresh spinach & ricotta ravioli and home made tomato sauce and meatballs. Oh and for those of you who are looking for San Marzano canned tomatoes, they sell them there too.

So tonight... I opted for an easy meal. I was in the mood for tagliatelle & meatballs and Lou was in the mood for spinach ravioli so I made both pastas. The best thing about cooking with fresh pasta when you want to make a quick meal is that it doesn't take very long to cook. 7 or 8 mintues tops!

Btw.. it's 7:21pm and IT'S DARK OUTSIDE!!! :o( This is depressing! It's going to be difficult to get home after work, cook, and take pictures of my dishes with natural light. One of these days I'll get the studio lights I want.