Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Specialty cheeses, local produce, and more: Longo's Taste Ontario, Taste the World event

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Ever been to a grocery store where it's more of an experience than a chore to shop at? Longo's at 15 York St. is one of those. Highlights: the cozy seating area (and fireplace!) where you can eat food from the freshly prepared section (which I did recently when I had lunch with a friend), and Corks Wine Bar right inside the Longo's (yes, there's a wine bar inside where you can have a drink and a bite to eat). They have a great cheese section (believe they will order cheese in for you if they don't have what you want on hand) and carry some really interesting salts.


We also visited the Longo's Loft for their Taste Ontario, Taste the World event, and with Chef Matt Kantor at the helm and Alexa Clark as our host, I knew the food and company would be good. I was not disappointed!

Matt's red curry with Ontario butternut squash was by far my favourite dish, and we also liked the Niagara Gold cheese that was served so much that we went back and bought a wedge (even though there was a free one in our media kit - we ate that in two seconds flat and needed MOAAAAAR! Ahem. More, I mean). Seriously good cheese, thank you Upper Canada Cheese Company! It was also a hit with friends who tried some when they came over later that week.

I have to give them major kudos on the wine and beer pairings with Matt's food - they were done by a very knowledgeable lady from Corks Wine Bar. A beer that I didn't really love on its own (Duggan's #9 India Pale Ale - not terrible by any means, and I think it's pretty cool that it's brewed over on Victoria St., but a bit bitter for my liking) was TRANSFORMED when I had it with the spicy red curry. We also had a killer late harvest Riesling (Cave Spring's Indian Summer Late Harvest Riesling 2009) which was, of course, not quite at icewine stage yet but was niiiiice and sweet. Yum!

Check it out if you're in the area - just wander the aisles and gawk at everything in complete wonderment like I tend to do whilst grocery shopping in a place like that! It's fun, and we all need to slow the hell down once in a while and smell the curry, so to speak. Try it, and look for Ontario meats and produce while you're at it!

Yours in food,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brassaii holiday menu

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Recently we were able to preview Brassaii's holiday menu. The 7-course (or 9 if you count the seafood tower and soup) spread demonstrated the wide gastronomic repertoire of Chef Chris Kalisperas, complemented with tableside cocktails by resident mixologist Jordan Stacey and desserts by Pastry Chef, Mark Cheese.

Our table started off with a seafood tower featuring Nova Scotia lobster, Alaskan king crab, shrimp, and oysters


The Amuse was Potato Leek Soup + whipped creme fraiche + caviar.
Keep in mind that some of the serving sizes in the photos below are smaller than individual portions you might order so that we could go through more items to sample.


Course 1: Burrata
Roasted beets + endive + walnut vinaigrette + basil

The mozzarella was so moist, with a dreamy, creamy centre; it's softness texturally complemented by the beets.


Course 2: Steak Tartare
housecut beef tenderloin + foie gras torchon + quail egg + pickled chanterelles + crostini

Some people are quite squeamish with the thought of eating raw meat, but this version of steak and egg was quite a treat. Oh and I love chanterelles!


Course 3: Gnocchi
housemade pasta + lamb ragu + ricotta salata + mint


Course 4: Scallops
Qualicom bay scallops + beluga lentils + Iberico chorizo + roasted pistachio vinaigrette

I'd have the crispy chorizo topped scallops over the bacon wrapped kind anytime.


Course 5: Duck
roasted breast + confit leg + braised cabbage + leek puree + chestnuts + grape mostarda


Course 6: Venison
peal barley + pomegranate + sweet potato


Course 7: Black Forest
crunchy black forest gift box + cherry red wine sauce + pistachio ice cream



461 King Street West Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
(416) 598-4730

Posted by: Mark Rodas

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gourmet Food and Wine Expo 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011
A couple of weeks ago we made our way down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building for the annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo.

There we sampled delicious food and drink from all over the world including some paella, venison ribs and yummy desserts!
Our favourites were macarons from Ruelo Patisserie and petit fours from the Windsor Arms Hotel.

A "Ruelo" (chocolate praline) and a "Fleur de Sel Caramel" macaron from Ruelo Patisserie




petit fours from the Windsor Arms Hotel

Posted by: Mark Rodas