In continuation of our Celebration of Cheese and Carbs series we decided that Mac & Cheese just had to be done. Why? Because it worked with our 3 rules for DIY Thursday – It’s simple and easy and … ha ha cheesy.
Our next DIY Thursday was dubbed “A Celebration of Cheese and Carbs” and it challenged us to come up with unique grill cheese sandwich. We had to consider the bread, the cheese and even the extras. So how did we do? WATCH OUT Cheese Porn below!
I was very lucky to spend this weekend in Montreal with Chris for their Taste Montreal event. Similar to Toronto’s Winterlicious, it offers a line up of prix fixe menus from some of Montreal’s top restaurants over 2 weeks. We had late reservations at Restaurant Le Local in Old Montreal. Even at 10:30 PM all of their tables were filled and the vibe at times was both upbeat and intimate.
Kate was our chosen host for October’s RDN and I was excited to see where she would take us next. Having been one of the original 4 people at the very FIRST Random Dinner Night back in 2006, Kate has impressed with her restaurant choices time and time again… so where the heck would she take us next?
As you’ve probably surmised by reading my blog, I do a lot of eating out! Even when it isn’t Random Dinner Night or time for Brunch I’m usually too tired or too lazy to make dinner. This is a bad habit! DIY Thursdays ensures that a) I make dinner from scratch one day a week, b) I get together with the lovely Rachel, Olga and Victoria, and c) I get to see this guy more often:
Who exactly is Squiggy?
Born and raised in Burlington, his first passion was the theatre. After getting a BFA in theatre production from Ryerson University, he spent six years freelancing and touring the world. He took a break from the theatre scene to take George Brown’s one year chef certificate program. Though it was less pay, worse conditions and longer hours, he’s found his happy home in the kitchen.
He recently did the 7th edition of his own pop-up Squiggfeast. I chatted with Squiggy about this month’s dinner held at the Depanneur, and the genesis behind Squiggfeast 7 – extraVEGANza:
What inspired you to start a pop-up?
I had done an arts festival (Squiggfest) for friends in what I called a “previous life” and that just carried over into doing my own events. The inspiration came from just wanting to cook for friends on a bigger scale.
Who inspired you to do a Vegan menu?
Well, unofficially, a friend. Back at George Brown I had to write a review of a restaurant and she joined me for an article I titled Carnivore in the Den of Vegans. She has since moved out of the country and was visiting around the time when I was planning my next Squiggfeast. It seemed the ideal timing for the challenge.
What were the challenges you placed on yourself when creating the menu?
I wanted to create vegan food that didn’t feel like eating vegan food. I know when it feels like I’m just eating a bowl of sprouts. My next challenge was to create vegan food that wasn’t trying to recreate meat. Vegan food is just food, no need for it to be a meatless burger or anything like that.
What surprised you about this Squiggfeast?
How well the seats sold to non-vegans. of the 21 seats sold, 18 of them were omnivores. People were excited to try my food and support me even under an umbrella that they normally wouldn’t go out for.
What dish did you get the best feedback about?
I think the best feedback was about the jerk tvp/rice cracker dish, especially during the post-meal munchies.
What’s next for Squiggfeast 8?
The next event will most likely be sometime in October which means that a Thanksgiving theme may be next. Although ‘the hunt for (red meat) october’ has also been suggested.
How can people get notifications or subscribe for the next event?
Where can we find you to enjoy your eats in the mean time?
Right now I’m honing my craft at the Drake and the Farmhouse tavern, both places I highly recommend.
Brunchosaurus will be visiting Squiggy for brunch at Farmhouse Tavern very soon! Hope to see some of you at Squiggy’s next pop-up in October!!
This has truly been a whirlwind birthday weekend for me and what better way to celebrate than with food as the main focus! My family and friends are totally wicked and just get me.
First it started off with a lovely business lunch at the Cambridge Club. We had quite a time trying to find the right set of elevators at the Sheraton Centre but once you do get up there, the Cambridge Club gives you this beautiful view (even with the swirling grey clouds!):
The service was friendly and quick and the meal was so good I only captured dessert which was a delicious pecan pie:
Lunch was followed up with a great dinner at The Gabardine with the always adorable coco*a. They served a lot of great things at Gabardine but I would be remiss if I didn’t devote my review to their amazing dessert, Tres Leche Cake – with pineapple, toasted coconut and chocolate mole ganache:
When you slice into it the knife goes through like it’s just pound cake but when you get a bite in your mouth you realize its 75% soaked with creamy goodness. It is definitely more than it seems!
Saturday meant a revisit to Fabarnak which I’ve reviewed for brunch here before. There were a lot of great things on this visit but the stand out would have to be the open-faced brisket sandwich topped with gruyere cheese and sunny side up egg.
The bread was toasted perfectly and provided a satisfying crunch to every bite while doing a bang up job of absorbing all of the juices with out getting soggy!
Now I’m usually one who enjoys a hot dog after clubbing (as most are wont to do in Toronto) but I could totally get behind a poutine after party especially if it means bacon poutine, and yes please add maple syrup!
What? That’s not enough for you? Fine. Here’s the pulled pork madness:
Is it weird that I am planning my next dancing outing based on how close it is to Poutini’s?
The morning after brunch consisted of rolling out of bed (literally) and heading to the closest place possible which turned out to be the pretty awesome choice of Cabbagetown’s House on Parliament. If you want my original review from last spring you can get it here.
Let’s be honest. A Blanche de Chambly Beermosa is the perfect hangover cure to go with your Beau’s Breakfast! They know what they’re doing over at the Hop!
You would think after a dose of my favourite eggs benny with the best tomato chutney I would be raring to take back Sunday. Nope … the rest the day required lots and lots of sleep. Even Benny need to reenergize!
Thanks again for all who came to celebrate and greeted me on my birthday! I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends and family!
‘Til next Brunch!!
Chris and I decided to take advantage of the May long weekend and drove the 4 hours from Ottawa to Quebec City. It’s a lovely city to explore over a weekend. When you walk around you feel like you’re in Europe: each building stands very close to the next and the streets are full shopping and many restaurants.
The best places to stay are usually small B&Bs or boutique hotels. On this trip we choose to stay at Le Chateau de Pierre because we wanted to be walking distance to everything. Our particular room opened up to a private yard that is closed in by the original stone walls of the city. Quebec City is the last fortified city with it’s original walls north of Mexico.
There are many outstanding things to eat in Quebec City but we’ll start by highlighting two meals on our trip. On our first night in Quebec City we had dinner at Le Pain Beni because it served our hearts’ desire: Cheese Fondue. If someone asks “Why go to Quebec City?” the answer is simply “Because cheese fondue”. They should need no other reason! If there’s one thing Quebec does well it’s definitely cheese.
We split an appetizer size with seasonal fruit and country loaf pieces. It was a very filling appetizer and yet the cheese was light and not too overpowering. It paired well with a very light pino noir we were drinking.
For our meals I choose the Pappardelle à l’épaule d’agneau: Bérarc farm braised lamb with sesame carrot purée, mushrooms, carrots and one of my favourite green veggies fiddleheads.
I often forget how much I love pappardelle noodles. The pasta was perfectly cooked and all the flavours of the dish married well together. Chris had the spectacular Magret de canard Le Canard Goulu. I may have been a little jealous of his meal.
To finish we ordered a chocolate ganache and upside down cake. Both were good but Chris’ upside down cake took it up a notch. I loved how moist and flavourful each bite was.
The staff were extremely friendly, attentive and quick. It’s a perfect place for a dinner for two and a great start for our trip. Don’t miss out on this fabulous restaurant if you’re ever up in Quebec City. I am still dreaming about that fondue!
…Next up … what was for brunch in Quebec City…
April 2013 has been a whirlwind. A trip to San Fran, Ottawa and work that kept me so busy that I almost forgot that I was chosen as this month’s Random Dinner Night host! Thanks, Linds for the gentle reminder!
What is RDN? Created by the awesome coco*a, RDN’s rules are simple:
1. The host will provide an intersection and time to meet
2. The host will lead us to a surprise dinner location of their choosing
3. Everyone will have a great time!
4. The next month’s host will be determined by draw (if available from the official RDN hat)
Not only has RDN allowed us to explore Toronto’s eclectic food scene, it has also given us something to look forward to every month of the year.
Where did I take our hungry RDNers on this occasion?
Did you know that April is National Grill Cheese Month? Wikipedia says it is! So how could I let the month pass me by without a taking my friends to my newest find Hair of the Dog and their Butter Chicken Grill Cheese Sandwich. (FTDubz!)
Hair of the Dog is a gastropub just north of Church and Carlton. We were seated on their sunny and cosy second floor and our waitress was very quick to get our drink selections.
We all started off with a beer prior to ordering.They have an interesting mixed drink called Frulirium that a few of us decided to try. It’s a mixture of Delirium and Fruli and while most of us liked it, it did remind some of us faintly of cough syrup. I went for straight Delirium which went straight to my head! At 8.5% alcohol I can see why the brand went with pink elephants.
Our meals came and were demolished quickly. I managed to snap these shots before we cleaned our plates.
I had a Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp appetizer to start. I’ve had many a bacon-wrapped thing before, from water chestnuts to hot dogs, but never shrimp. It’s so simple and very delicious:
KT’s Thai Steak Salad: While the salad part didn’t wow, the steak was perfectly done, and the star of the dish:
Vanessa’s Southern Fried Chicken looked divine. It came with a nice serving of mash potatoes, veggies and the cutest mini corn bread muffins:
And of course the delish Butter Chicken Grill Cheese Sandwich. If butter chicken were lacking in any department it would definitely be the crunchy grill cheese vehicle. Whoever thought of this combination is a genius.
Hair of the Dog is open every day of the week including Saturday and Sunday brunch. They have something called “Easy As Pie” that looks really good on their brunch menu so I’ll have to come back.
Can’t wait for next month’s RDN from Paul who has already proclaimed it to be “epic”. How could it not be with friends like these?