Browsing: Food & Travel

Food Bloggers Canada 2018 – The Great Canadian Road Trip

October5

ottawa32

Last year at the wind up of the 2017 Conference in Ottawa, the announcement was made to expect a different twist for 2018. Instead of filling a banquet room up with hundreds of food bloggers for three days, a decision was made that the FBC team would come to us. I was faced with a troubling dilemma. D had purchased tickets for us to go to Charlottetown on the weekend that the team would arrive in Winnipeg. I hastily made additional arrangements to catch up to the tour on their final stop in Toronto.

IMG_4622

One of my many blogging friends who have come to Winnipeg over the years.

I have always contended that my favourite part about an FBC Conference are the relationships that come to be as a result of the gathering. This year, we had less time to make the rounds. Sitting to one side was Fables + Foccacia curator Jenny Arena as well as Stacy Blair from 27th and Olive. Both were a delight and I hope that we find a way to meet up again.

fbc2

I was particularly impressed with two of the speakers. Suresh Doss of the CBC Metro Morning Show is an expert in the suburban food of Toronto, stating:

“We’re talking about places that are not your ‘typical’ restaurants,” Doss said. “They offer food that reminds people of life back home. They’re often times the best places to get good food.”

fbc1

I understand that his back stories are fascinating tales of the lives of new Canadians and how they ease into the transition of settling into a new country by sharing familiar food from their home.

fbc4

Afrim Pristine was the final speaker of the day and therefore the last presenter of the Great Canadian Road Trip. Afrim is a passionate lover of food and his family business: The Cheese Boutique. I was thrilled to come home with his new book: For The Love of Cheese.

“Afrim Pristine may possess the most distinguished professional title a cheesemonger could ask for–maître fromager–but if you ask him what business he’s in, he’ll tell you he sells happiness. That’s because cheese is inextricably linked to wonderful memories and celebrations for so many of us. No matter the occasion, cheese and cheesy dishes are always greeted with a smile.”

fbc3

The highlight of the day was a tutorial and cheese tasting with Afrim. I loved them all but was particularly proud of the smoked Gouda from Manitoba’s own Bothwell Cheese.

My husband D and I are always trying to figure out what are the best varietal cheeses to place on a cheese board and how many ounces of cheese to allocate for each guest. Afrim’s book answers these questions and more. D was thrilled that I arrived home from FBC 2018 with this fabulous reference and cookbook. Having just gotten home a couple of days ago, I haven’t had a chance to make and serve any of the scrumptious looking recipes but this one caught my eye…

Cheese Boutique Very Much Alive Pasta

Entitled “Very Much Alive Pasta” it contains rapini, orecchiette pasta with a creamy goat cheese as the star of the show. Thank you Penquin Random House for hosting us and for permission to use this gorgeous photo.

Every year I come home from Food Bloggers Canada inspired to devote more love and attention to my blog and this year was no exception.

Kath’s quote: Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”― Ronald E. Osborn

 Heart Book
Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Jatujak, Thai Street Style Food, Kingston Rd, Toronto

October3

The part that I love most about being a food blogger are the friendships I have made over the years. They happen quite by accident like the morning a beautiful tall and shy redhead asked if she could sit in the seat next to me at my first blogging conference in Toronto. Little did I know that years latter we would still be kindred spirits. She calls me her angel, a title I don’t take lightly.

She lives in the same neighbourhood that I stayed in last weekend so it was easy for her to pick me up and find a spot not far away. Asking if I liked Thai food, I responded with a resounding yes!

jatujak3

We started with a Mango salad appetizer. The ribbons of mango were perfectly sweet and the slivers of red onion and crushed cashews added appropriate crunch. Acidity came from freshly squeezed lime juice and the freshness popped out with the subtle use of cilantro. I would visit Jatujak a 1,000 times for the taste of that salad!

jatujak2

My favourite Thai soup arrived next. I am not used to a red Tom yum but the carefully simmering of a variety of hearty ingredients was soothing and delicious.

I had read that Jatujak was one of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto, and the culinary measuring stick is often Pad Thai.

Jatujak brings street-style elements to its pad Thai dish. Made with stir-fried rice noodles, with egg and a house tamarind-based sauce. You can get the Pad Thai with just the noodles, or with the option of adding tofu and vegetables, chicken, beef or shrimp.

jatujak1

I added chicken and tofu also made an appearance. It appears under the Lunch Special section of their menu and this enormous portion was only $8.95! It was so good, I am vividly remembering the tastes now that I am back home in Winnipeg.

Although the time was brief with my lovely friend, our hearts connected once more.

Kath’s quote: “Food makes travel so exceptional, because you get to taste what it’s actually supposed to taste like. To eat the real Pad Thai or finally have a proper curry is something pretty amazing”. -Meghan Markle

527396_428390123901318_1207660701_n

Love never fails.

Mezes, The Danforth, Toronto

October2

I spent this past weekend in Toronto at Food Bloggers Canada (more on that later). On Saturday evening my Bestie M and I met her husband halfway between his work and their home where I was their guest for the weekend. We started at a place called Allen’s that maintains the tag line “Air Conditioned” not “where good friends meet”, not “why not tonight?” but “air conditioned”. I got such a hoot out of that! The beer was ice cold and I chose my favourite Canadian brand Moosehead, whereas R selected a cream ale. M stuck to her fav white wine. The place was hopping and the vibe very comfortable so we stayed and enjoyed another.

By the time we walked down and across the Danforth to Mezes, the place was lined up to the sidewalk. In a very small way, I felt in solidarity with the fellow pedestrians and diners. The memory of this summer’s violence was too acute to have faded, and yet here we all were strolling the Avenue and gathering on the side walks when hunger struct us.

Out of the many Greek restaurants to choose from, Mezes was the first choice.

The emphasis here is on sharing; a kind of collective dining that transforms a meal into an experience. Mezes promotes the most genuinely Greek method of dining: order multiple dishes, celebrate variety, and sample everything. There’s a remarkable unfussiness to the process that enthuses more vigorous conversation, and rippling laughter. While their list of entrées is considerable, it’s their Mezes they hope you’ll try.

Try, we did. With the guidance of our waiter, who encouraged us to take our time, start with a variety of dips and fried anchovies and go from there. If we were still hungry, we could keep ordering.

Mezes1a

First up were a small trio of Mediterranean dips: an amazing Tzatziki, a fish roe dip called Taramosalata, a chick pea Homous, and Melitzanosalata which I thought was very similar to my favourite baba ganoush. All were delicious with garlic pita and then when that was all gone, with the fresh baguette delivered to our table. We had watched in fascination when platters of flat cheeses were set on fire and then doused with lemon at neighbouring tables.

mezes2

Next I tasted fried anchovies for my first time. They were prepared like calamari with a more pronounced flavour. I had not had anchovies since I miss-ordered them in Positano Italy (see link here).

mezes3

I had been out for a big lunch and passed on the lamb chops although the nibble that I had was divine.

mezes4

I opted for sharing this fantastic salad as well as a very big surprise…

mezes5

these white beans recommended by our server had been slow cooked in a luscious tomato sauce.

Every thing was washed down with a couple of lovely house wines. It was a wonderful evening. We hailed an Uber home as the streets got increasingly crowded with folks from nearby neighbourhoods.

Kath’s quote:“The Greeks’ fierce pride in their heritage has kept the basic culture intact. Whether a slave under Roman rule, a captive under Turkish domination, or a newly arrived immigrant, the Greek is always aware that he is the direct descendant of men like Plato, Homer, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Aristophanes. The Greek who begins life in a new land on the bottom step of society as a dishwasher needs only to remember how Aesop left a legacy of poetry while cooking as a slave.”-Theresa Yianilos

untitled1

Love never fails.

 

Era Bistro-Winnipeg

July11

In the same manner that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights elevates our city to a national (even international) tourism level, Era Bistro elevates the Museum to even higher heights. I have had the pleasure of noshing at the at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Musee D’Orsay in Paris, The Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem

tuscany5-12

and more recently the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence (my husband and I at the Ufizzi pictured above). All were tasty enough but none had the integrity of local produce and regional menu as Era does.

era3

I have met both the Director of Food and Beverage and the Executive Chef at Era Bistro. The former named Toni is gluten intolerant and strives to give persons with this, vegan and vegetarian preferences plenty of menu choices. On the lunch menu alone there were nine delicious options. I enjoyed the gluten free Quinoa Salad on my visit.

Executive Chef Kirk Hanson couldn’t visit for long as he was hands-on in the kitchen. He did linger long enough to fill me in on their seasonal menu emphasizing locally sourced, Certified Fair Trade and sustainable products. Somehow they manage to do all of this and keep their lunch prices reasonable, ranging from $8-21 at lunch.

era 1 jpg

Over a couple of visits I have managed to tuck into the Pickerel Po’Boy and California Club, having a difficult time trying to discern my favourite. The former was assembled from panko-crusted Manitoba pickerel and iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickled onion & jalapeño remoulade. The latter, roasted herb-marinated chicken breast and prosciutto, lettuce, tomato, avocado spread, mayo, sprouts & aged cheddar. Both were wedged between halves of toasted ciabatta buns.

era2

In addition, I just might have tried Era’s famous carrot fries where beer-battered carrot sticks were served with  a fresh herb & jalapeño buttermilk dip for…..dipping!

era4

Era’s desserts are in a league of their own. Both that I have sampled were gluten free-the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with a blueberry lavender and lemon compote

era5

and the Roasted Peach and Rhubarb Parfait with house-made graham crumbs and Chantilly ream. I understand their home-made ice cream and crème Brule daily specials are amazing too.

As I was oohing and ahhing, Toni reminded me that Era Bistro is the exclusive caterer for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and does off-site catering as well. The Bistro is available for private events like weddings, holiday parties and corporate soirees.

era6

As my lunch date and I were leaving I popped outside to get a glimpse of the beautiful summer patio. In addition, I just had to stop in at the boutique where I made a mental note to purchase future hostess and birthday gifts.

Kath’s quote: “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”-Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) (1694-1778)

073

Love never fails.

 

 

Mesa Arizona Wedding

January30

IMG_20171230_121435_264

The wedding festivities that we traveled to Mesa, Arizona for, commenced the evening before the wedding at the rehearsal party. The location was the common space/party room of the couple’s condo development. The space was lovely with comfortable seating around a fireplace and plenty of serving space where an Italian dinner was set out for guests. There was also an enormous patio that became enclosed as the evening cooled off. It was the perfect occasion for D’s siblings to assemble and get caught up.

20171230_155513

20171230_155545

The wedding day venue was called Villa Sienna and was where both the ceremony and the reception were to take place. The outdoor courtyard was a gorgeous setting.

IMG_20171230_160810_442

Here are the beautiful Grisim women waiting for the ceremony to begin: Daughter #1, J2  (of J1 and J2), Boo and the eldest Wee One. The Frenchman and my Bro-in Law with the cheesy smile make up the back ground.

26169369_10156166559707089_8497349407117608379_n

The setting was so beautiful that we took next year’s Christmas card picture after the ceremony.

20171230_170033

20171230_165852

The courtyard was so romantic that the Wee Ones danced and swayed pretending that they were princesses I am sure.

IMG_20171230_200505_764

IMG_20171230_200319_961

We lingered in the outdoor space as the weather was so pleasant and a drastic extreme from the temperatures back home. When we joined everyone else in another reception room, we were treated to appetizers and libations.

20171230_181846

The foodservice at the venue was top drawer. The kid’s table enjoyed mac and cheese, potato skins and chicken fingers.

20171230_183322

We loved the short ribs, chicken breasts, beans almandine and butternut squash ravioli with pecans.

Dancing commenced right after dinner and the music was so good that almost everyone sprang to the dance floor at the same time. I had volunteered to go back to our house when the Wee Ones were tiring out, so I was pleased to have joined in on the festivities early on.

If you know of anyone looking for a wedding venue to the Mesa/Scottsdale area, I would highly recommend Villa Sienna.

Kath’s quote: “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale”.-Unknown

235

Love never fails.

 

 

 

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »