Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail - Candy Coated Culinista

Curtis Stone & Fresh Blackberry Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

Does anyone remember Take Home Chef that ran from 2006 to 2007? Well I sure do. Back then TLC (The Learning Channel) was one of my favourite TV stations and as an early riser (we’re talking between 5 and 6 am every morning) I would wake up and turn on the TV as I started my day making breakfast and such. Take Home Chef was a show that I tuned into every morning for an hour and introduced me to Curtis Stone and his style of cooking. I loved the idea of someone just going about their day shopping for groceries and her comes a chef offering his services to help the person make dinner for their partner or guest with an out of this world dinner. The one thing I always remember is how charming Curtis was and still is today and that while the meals were made with easy to find ingredients; it was still a very classy elegant meal. I have most recently seen Curtis hosting shows like Top Chef Duels and Kitchen Inferno which made me check to see what he was up to now cook book wise. I picked up his new cookbook Good Food Good Life and started testing recipes to find out that he was making a trek to Toronto and I of course then have to be at this event. When Curtis arrived he briefly talked about the book and said that his life is very busy and even more so now that he is married with two kids so this cookbook is perfect for those people always on the go. A quick anecdote he mentioned which made us all chuckle was that his eldest son Hudson just loves to be in the kitchen cooking with daddy and he loves to be barefoot and on top of the counter. He quipped that it wouldn’t pass any health codes, but in his home kitchen it would always get a pass; to which we all laughed and laughed.

I got my Relaxed Cooking along with Good Food Good Life signed as I always bring my back catalogue just incase the author decides to sign, which he did for this event. When I got up he shook my hand and we took a picture. I mentioned that I had already made the Mint Chip Gelato (post to come soon) and he said “amazing! By hand” I said yes I steeped the fresh mint leaves and everything to which I got a high five; which I thought was pretty cool. I asked which was his favourite recipe and the Chocolate Salted Caramel Kisses are his favourite, so I will be trying to make these also. I mentioned I would be making the Blackberry Cocktail when I get home and enjoying his book some more.

This cookbookworm had a fun time chatting with other ladies in line and seeing how far some of them came just to have a 2 minute encounter with Curtis. I will say Curtis is definitely on the top of my most friendly, charming and modest chefs to date. It also helps that I am a sucker for a tall man and an accent.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Good Food Goof Life

Ingredients
• 3 cups of ice
• 1/3 cup fresh blackberries
• 2 tsp sugar, or to taste
• 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup silver rum
• 1 tbsp St-Germain, elderflower liquor
• ¼ cup club soda

Assembly
1. Using a food processor, grind the ice to a finely crush and fluffy consistency, like shaved ice.
2. Place blackberries, sugar, lime juice in a rocks glass and muddle.
3. Stir in the rum, St-Germain and ½ cup of crushed ice.
4. Pack more ice into the glass, mounding it well above the rim.
5. Pour the club soda over and serve immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
What a tasty, refreshing adult beverage. I have never been a fan of club soda and unflavoured carbonated water but this added a fizziness to the drink I liked. When I got to the bottom it was a little bit sweeter; which I appreciated as sometimes I like an extra bit of sugar. I didn’t crush my ice because well I am a little lazy of that front, but it still tasted wonderful to me sans crushed ice.

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The Delicious Food Show

The Delicious Food Show

The Delicious Food Show

When: October 17-19 2014
Place: The CNE Exhibition Place

For the first time I visited The Delicious Food Show this year. I took Friday off work to ensure I arrived pretty close to the opening time, as I just didn’t want to have to deal with an insane amount of people. My goal today was really only one thing to get my copy of Molto Gusto by Mario Batali signed and also buy a copy of his new book America Farm to Table. The Friday Celebrity Chef line up included Tyler Florence, Mario Batali, Mark McEwen and Chuck Hughes (who I have met prior, first in line might I add). Chuck was signing his books along with a quick snapshot so I just hung around and took a few shots of him. I will say I learned a few things about Chuck hanging around: He grew up in Etobicoke for a time in his childhood. I thought he had always lived in Quebec and he also lived very close to Humber College my alma mater. I overheard all this information when two girls from the culinary program at Humber College asked him to say a few words to the culinary class. He grabbed the microphone faced the camera and told the students to stay in school; and that this is the time when they can burn all the food they want and it will be ok, so do it now. He made a quick joke and did a mini mic drop. He shook the girl’s hands and was so helpful, encouraging and personable and this is why I admire this man, so much.

Now cut to Mario Batali and this did not turn out as I had hoped. I didn’t mind waiting 20-30 extra minutes for him, but others in line were complaining and mentioning other chefs didn’t do this. The one bummer was he wouldn’t allow a quick photo and to add insult he barely said a word unless you said something to him, which I did. I just thanked him for coming to the show and seeing us. Short and sweet and he said you’re more than welcome. Fans were also handing our books a helper to speed up this whole signing process, so we were feet away from Mario when he was signing. In comparison you could get close to Chuck and he’d chat with you for a second and even shake your hand of give a hug. I really haven’t had a signature from any U.S.A. chefs except for Cake boss & Georgetown Cupcakes; which are two TV celebrities and Smitten Kitchen a blogger, so I don’t know if this is a thing or just his personality, but lots of us were left feeling cold and turned off. I grabbed my book and went exploring the foods. The only upside to that experience was I was second in line behind Julie a contestant from the premiere season of Masterchef Canada who was knocked out seventh on the show.

The delicious food floor.
I ran into alot of my usual Food truck fare restaurants, but in a booth form today, so I passed on them. Oysters seemed to be popular again as well as gourmet doughnuts and cured meats, cakes, cake pops, tequila in 3 incarnation from one booth. My cocktail of the show consisted of J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Whiskey shaken with house-made sour mix topped with a splash of Jacobs Creek Shiraz. I don’t like wine but I love whiskey sours and this made me enjoy wine so much more. Of course I found Macarons from AG Macaron and left with 6 flavours and a sugar cookies from The Teeny Tiny Bakery. I also learned that Maille has over 6 flavours of mustard that can be found in Toronto in various store. I am now on the hunt for the fine herbs mustard and the and some delightful truffle flavored gouda cheese from the dairy farmers of Ontario section.

Exploring the floor I was wandering a little more and saw graphic tees. I looked at the designs and said I know this art; these are Pierre Lamielle’s designs from Top Chef Canada. I continued to look and choose what I was going to get and heard Pierre’s voice but the person didn’t look like him…he cut his trademark beard. I had seen him with a beard through Top Chef Canada and then many many months later on Chopped Canada, so I mentioned you are almost unrecognizable. To that he quipped – “my mother said you’re not my son” to his now absent beard. I choose a very culinary and totally cheeky tee and looked at some tea towels and went on my merry way. Pierre was a delight and just as funny and quirky as he was on TV.

My last stop of the day was the Tyler Florence demo to learn some tips as, I watch him on the Great Food Truck Race. I have learned following William Sonoma on Instagram that the two have a partnership together, so I made it a point to check this demo out. While he was cooking he answered questions and told us about his new book: Inside the Test Kitchen coming out at the end of the month. He even passed a copy of his book around for us to take a peek at, and showed us food pictures off his phone. Today he made an alternative to a Porchetta with a ham leg, buttered turnips and apple mustard. We were even treated to tasting the ham if we were willing to line up and wait. I will be trying this recipe on a smaller scale soon. Tyler showed so much passion and so endearing that I have become more than just a casual fan.

Overall the show wasn’t as big as I expected or that I hoped it to be. I went with the hopes of seeing and getting some tips and trick from some amazing chefs and that was definitely accomplished. I had a great time, even if I found the show rather small. I wouldn’t take a full day off work again for this unless I have a particular chef I want to see or am taking an exclusive chef series with a cooking personality. I left the show with a few more places on my quest and diaries list to try and an amazing peeler for those very hard to peel vegetables…I’m talking to you rutabaga.

Tyler Florence - The Delicious Food Show

Tyler Florence – The Delicious Food Show

Porchetta, Buttered Turnips & Apple Mustards - The Delicious Food Show

Porchetta, Buttered Turnips & Apple Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

Von Doughnuts The Delicious Food Show

Von Doughnuts The Delicious Food Show

Chuck hughes - The Delicious Food Show

Chuck hughes – The Delicious Food Show

Short & Sweet Cupcakes - The Delicious Food Show

Short & Sweet Cupcakes – The Delicious Food Show

Cured Meats  - The Delicious Food Show

Cured Meats – The Delicious Food Show

AG Macarons Maille Mustards  - The Delicious Food Show

AG Macarons Maille Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour  - The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour – The Delicious Food Show

Purchases from The Delicious Food Show

Purchases from The Delicious Food Show

Books Signed by Mario Batali - The Delicious Food Show

Books Signed by Mario Batali – The Delicious Food Show

Maille Mustards  - The Delicious Food Show

Maille Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

Oysters - The Delicious Food Show

Oysters – The Delicious Food Show

Tequila - The Delicious Food Show

Tequila – The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour - The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour – The Delicious Food Show

Food Trucks - The Delicious Food Show

Food Trucks – The Delicious Food Show

T.O. Food Fest 2014

T.O. Food Fest - Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

T.O. Food Fest – Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Date: Sunday August 11th 2014
Place: Chinese Cultural Center, Scarborough, Ontario
Website: http://www.tofoodfest.com

For a third year I was invited as media to attend the T.O. Food Fest. This year there was a nominal fee to attend of two dollars or bring a non-perishable food item, as they were teaming up with Second Harvest. I loved this idea so much. So many people are attending this event to eat and gorge themselves, why can’t we then in turn bring some canned goods in for the less fortunate. I happily brought mine and picked up my media pass.

The Food

When I was checking out the vendors I noticed many repeat vendors; which is always a good sign like: Babi and Co., Bricks & Mortar, Buster’s Sea Cove Food Truck, Dutch Frites, Gala’s Peppersauce, Ice volcano Ice Cream, Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ and Lemonade.

Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
Website: http://www.hawaiianbarbeque.ca
Served here today was pork skewers, pineapple soda and pulled pork on a bun. They were grilling on a large BBQ and it smelt and looked delicious. A secret BBQ recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation is used on the meat. No shortcuts are made as they want a quality dish sent out every time.

For the first time I tried the pork skewers and yum. There really isn’t a part of the pig I don’t like and this was perfectly barbequed with a cube of pineapple on top of the skewers. The stand is hard to miss as it looks like a tiki hut with lei’s and Hawaiian hibiscus shirts/dresses and bright yellow tee shirts are all around.

New Vendors for 2014

Blue Donkey
Greek – Canadian street food like calamari, souvlaki, gyro sliders, feta fries. I enjoyed their feta fries last year at the CNE Food Truck Frenzy.

Hot Bunzz
Website: http://www.hotbunzz.com
Oven baked brioche-style buns stuffed with international flavours, catering is available for any event. On the menu today was: Surf & Turf, St. Lucia Jerk Wild Boar, Buddah’s Bacon Butter Chicken, Ontario 5-Cheese, Mushroom & Spinach

Island Oysters Shuck Bar
Island Oysters started 2 years ago and can be typically found at farmers markets in the G.T.A.
Kusshi – British Columbia, Il de Magdalen – Ontario & Little Neck Clams – PEI. Two types of hot sauce were for sale – Habanero Xtra hot sauce and Jalapeno Xtra hot sauce.

Kanto by Tita fl!ps
Website: http://www.kanto.ca
A soon as I saw Tita I knew I was in for some Filipino food. Today they were serving
Palabok – Cornstarch noodles in shrimp gravy topped with hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, crushed pork rinds, tofu and green onions; SigSig – Fries Pork jowl and ear with french fries and Halo Halo – a dessert with an assortment of fruits, sweet vegetables, ice cream etc. These dishes looked so delicious, but I couldn’t eat everything I will be visiting storefront as I have to try the sigsig fries and hopefully find some tocino or lumpia there.

Korribbean
Two cultures wrapped into one delicious jumbo dumpling. The husband is from Trinidad and the wife is Korean. The jumbo dumplings served are made from 100% local organic beef, pork & chicken
The menu included -Classic (beef & pork), Jerk (beef & pork) Curry Chicken (Chicken) , Curry Potato (Vegetarian) which is served with a side of pineapple coleslaw and soy sauce or mango chutney dipping sauce. I tried the Koribbean iced tea (Sorrel) as I couldn’t resist this as Sorrel always reminds me of Christmas. It wasn’t too sweet and quite refreshing.

Meatwagon
Website: http://www.meaventures.com
Meat, meat and more meat, a carnivore’s paradise: Flavours from around the world are found here. There was bacon brulee & tocino sliders & Korean pork belly, which had me looking for the Filipino running the show and I was correct the owner is Canadian with Filipino and Iranian parents.

Mon K Patisserie
Baked treats that are not commonly found in Toronto are served here. Its French treats with an Asian twist. I of course bought Macarons and had the Cassis, Earl Grey, Banana Chocolate, Green Tea, Raspberry and Salt Caramel. Not too sweet and quite yummy and I even shared with the hubby.

Moo Milk Bar
Website: http://www.moomilkbar.ca
A milk & cookies bakery. Today there was a selection of their yummy cookies and cookie mix in a jar. I haven’t had a flavour I disliked yet from Moo Milk to date.

Penny Lou Lou Sweets & Treats
Website: http://www.pennyloulou.com
A cute and exciting, yet simple twist to the dessert scene and items on the menu all contain the word “Penny” in it. The food is Hong Kong style bubble cake – that has a crispy, golden-brown outer shell, and a soft and chewy center. The bubble cake is used to create, sammies, cake with fruit or nutella, cake wraps with a filling inside, and even filled with chicken and vegetable for a more savoury treat.

Pimenton
Websitehttp://www.pimenton.ca
Spanish & Mediterranean Fine Food like chicken paella with saffron, chicken & seafood.

Pure Leaf Tea
Websitehttp://www.pureleaftea.ca
Simple pure & uncomplicated iced tea with no preservatives, no added color and no artificial flavouring. It’s just real-brewed tea made from tea leaves picked fresh from the best plantations around the world.

The Saucy Pierogi
Website: http://www.saucypierogi.com
A pop up vendor serving pan fried Pierogi’s with a twist. I have only had pierogi’s two times before, one frozen from the grocers and another at a wedding as Hors d’oeuvres. These were how I think they should taste, fresh, not to doughy and with great toppings. On the menu was Jerk Chicken Pierogi’s with Jerk sauce & slaw, Cheddar & Potato Pierogie’s, Kimchi Sauerkrat Pierogie’s topped with Kimchi, Pork Schnitzel Plate with garlic mash & sauerkraut slow.

Stuffed & Co.
Stuffed chicken wings… yes please. How can a person resist with such an interesting idea. I have only heard of stuff wings one other place and that’s out of North Carolina with the 2 fat 2 fly stuffed chicken wings. Today there was Cheesy Mac, Wonton Bomb & Yaya Wing which I tasted it had jambalaya filling with sriracha aioli & creole seasoning. I choose the Yaya Wing as it was a limited flavour and it wasn’t spicy and it was well balanced.

Sweet Pop – Gourmet Dessert Popcorn
Website: http://www.sweetpopgourmet.com
A two month old business that came upon by just saying: “let’s just do this and see what happens.”
With a long time baker at the helm cookies & cream, s’mores and birthday cake gourmet popcorn is being sold. The popcorn was sweet and not soggy and was the perfect sweet pop in my mouth. (I also tasted leaps and bounds better then the chocolate coated popcorn I attempted to make for Valentine’s Day. It is definitely harder than it looks)

Vegiterra – Worldy Vegan Flavours
Website: http://www.vegiterra.com
Upon reading the name I think vegan, vegetarian and of the earth. This is a pop up vegan restaurant that began as a food, travel & culture blog. They offer flavours inspired by their travels, lifestyles and things of interest. Peanut Stew Empanada, Crispy Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Yam Burger, Jhal Muri, Lemongrass Basil Juice & Jasmine Coconut Iced Tea was served today.

Other vendor today were: Twisted, Toben – food by design, Best Gushi Chicken, BBQ Squid, Hakka Bao, Asian Sliders, Grilled Mini Eggs and Snow Ice.

I had another great year at the T.O. Food Fest and spoke to some great vendors with some very tasty and interesting foods. Every year this event is running more and more smoothly and it’s great to see that the organizers are learning ever year and making the T.O. Food Fest a better experience fro all. I can’t what to taste some more foods next year.

Pimeton - Candy Coated Culinista

Pimeton – Candy Coated Culinista

Liko's Hawaiian BBQ - Candy Coated Culinista

Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ – Candy Coated Culinista

The Saucy Pierogi - Candy Coated Culinista

The Saucy Pierogi – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Stuffed & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista


Koribbean Dumplings  - Candy Coated Culinista

Koribbean Dumplings – Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto - Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto – Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto - Candy Coated Culinista

Kanto – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mon K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted - Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted – Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted - Candy Coated Culinista

Twisted – Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oysters Shuck Bar - Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oysters Shuck Bar – Candy Coated Culinista

Gala's Peppersauce - Candy Coated Culinista

Gala’s Peppersauce – Candy Coated Culinista

Little Tomato Catering - Candy Coated Culinista

Little Tomato Catering – Candy Coated Culinista

Pure Leaf Iced Tea - Candy Coated Culinista

Pure Leaf Iced Tea – Candy Coated Culinista

Bricks & Mortar - Candy Coated Culinista

Bricks & Mortar – Candy Coated Culinista

Mama K Satay - Candy Coated Culinista

Mama K Satay – Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki - Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki – Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki - Candy Coated Culinista

Okinomiyaki – Candy Coated Culinista

Meatwagon - Candy Coated Culinista

Meatwagon – Candy Coated Culinista

Hot Bunzz - Candy Coated Culinista

Hot Bunzz – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. - Candy Coated Culinista

Babi & Co. – Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites - Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites – Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites - Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites – Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites - Candy Coated Culinista

Dutch Frites – Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet Pop - Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet Pop – Candy Coated Culinista


Mom K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mom K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Mom K Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Mom K Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oyster Shuck Bar - Candy Coated Culinista

Island Oyster Shuck Bar – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra - Candy Coated Culinista

Vegiterra – Candy Coated Culinista

Soap-Making Workshop

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

I’m the type of person who get super antsy, meaning I am constantly changing my hair highlights and style; or I get that feeling that I just need to try something new whether it’s revamping my wardrobe or switching up my go to meals. I love the one of a kind show and have been visiting twice a year for almost 10 years now. These artisans have so much creativity and every time I go to the show I think about how much I’d love to do this if I had the guts. I am addicted to handmade soaps from Demo Soap; so much so that when the owner, Thomas sees me coming he tells the associate to open a big bag as I’m stocking piling enough for a year. When I first started going to this show there was maybe two homemade soap artisans, but now everyone is doing it, soaps, body care, lotions and scrubs; and I have even tried it here at Candy Coated Culinista. Consumers are into natural and organic products so much more now than 10 years ago, and I thought I need to learn how to make my own soap. I will never stop buying soap from Thomas but making my own for presents and testing and satiating my crafty appetite is in need.

I went to a workshop by Mellemee Soap & Cosmetics Crafts and learned how to make soap. In the two hour workshop I made: Layered Hawaiian Plumeria, Mango Madness & Pineapple soap with shredded soap and soap nibs; Green apple Glycerin Jello moulds with shredded soap and soap nibs, a Green Tea & White Pear Glycerin fruit tarts and heart tarts and finally Chocolate Ice Cream Cone. I didn’t expect to leave with the amount I did, but I learned a new technique, and I had a chance to be creative. Homemade soaps are more organic than mass-produced soaps which I why I swear by Demo Soap. It’s gentle, doesn’t stripe away my skins natural moisture and my skin thanks me for that.

After this class I was bitten by the soap-making bug and have been amassing the supplies I need to make my own soap. My teacher said I was very good and creative which made me very happy.

I am saving my soaps I made in class even though my teacher said I must use them. To me they are too cute to use and I like to have the memories of my first attempt at a new skill. I don’t want my first works going down the drain quite literally as I worked hard and put al lot of creativity into it.

My thoughts Overall this was a lot of fun and well worth the money. I will definitely do this again. Even when I become proficient I will always go back to learn something new techniques.

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop - Candy Coated Culinista

Soap Making Workshop – Candy Coated Culinista

Chuck Hughes

Who: Chuck Hughes -Chucks Day Off (Airs on Food Network Canada)

Alright so I am about to gush about Chuck Hughes, he is absolutely my most favourite Canadian Chef. Don’t get me wrong I have a bunch of Canadian chefs that I call my favorites, but there’s something about this man. Yes he is handsome and has an accent, but that’s not it. Yes he is tattooed which I find really cool; but it’s this man’s passion for food. Even the simplest of dishes he makes on his show “Chucks Day Off” exudes love and passion for his customers, employees, distributors, electricians, cleaners, the neighbours on his restaurants street and I could go on. He just loves making food for the people in his life in those minor and major roles. He’s a down to earth guy that loves what he does and nothing is better than that.

When he won Iron Chef America (a show I love to watch) I was glued hoping he’d win. The secret ingredient was Lobster and Chuck loves lobster, he has one tattooed on his arm. He made a lobster roll with a bloody Caesar cocktail, lobster poutine, lobster and onion ring salad with carrot butter and avocado and lobster-mushroom risotto and jerked-spiced lobster. (Some of these recipes are in his books.) Let me tell you it didn’t look good. I thought he was going to lose for sure, the critiques from the judges didn’t seem so nice and his face looked a little beaten down, but he won! He beat Bobby Flay who has a pretty good record on Iron Chef. So Chuck became the first Canadian to win and did what Roger Mooking and Lynn Crawford couldn’t do. I was so happy and even my dad watched it too and when we were talking the next day he said, “Did you see Iron chef, that guy you’re always watching won” to which I replied “Yes dad, yes I did and it was great.”

I have been watching his show for years but sadly the only book he had out was in French so my limited ability to read French would have ruined any recipe I tried. When he released Garde Manger in English I picked it up right away! This was my chance to finally try some of his cookbook recipes without the need of a translator!

Mr. C. and I were supposed to visit Garde Manger on our trip to Montreal, but those plans fell through and I was left wondering if I will ever get to visit his restaurant or have a chance to meet him, but my chance was on the way. His signing was at 12:00pm and I arrived minutes to 10:00am on a Mother’s Day. This was going to be my first mother’s day after my mom’s passing , so instead of staying at home and being down and depressed, Mr. C and I decided it would be a good way for me to get through the day and with it being Chuck and all, it felt designed just for me. I was first in line and was very thrilled about that thinking the whole time “This never happens to me!” Normally the biggest fans are there earlier, but then I realized I am the biggest fan.

He didn’t talk much prior to the actual autograph signing, but he made up for that when I got my book signed. Being the first in line has its perks, I got a few precious extra minutes with him. He shook my hand (I hadn’t had that yet at any of the book signings I have been to) and I told him that I loved his White Chocolate Meringue recipe; which was a hit with my husband who is not a fan of Meringue and an Irish co-worker who absolutely loved it. He told me that he is not a fan of Meringue himself either, but he makes it because people love it. The same can be said for Fennel and a lot of his recipes have Fennel in it. He then told me that you can’t be a chef and cook just what you like, which is very true, it would be hard to make any money. So I got my signature and thanked him for coming to see us in Toronto, and walked away one happy girl. We were treated to finger sandwiches, coffee and a lovely three tiered cake from Pusateri’s Fine Foods, a gourmet grocer in the same mall as the bookstore. All in all it was a great day, and my best book signing yet! It made a very hard day that much better.

Thanks Chuck.

Jamie Oliver

When: Friday October 19th 2012, 7:00 pm
Place: Massey Hall

Jamie’s in town and I can’t wait. I have been watching him since I was a teenager. I wasn’t even into cooking yet, just liked the show and kept watching. I can honestly say he was the first chef who got me enthused and into cooking even if it was only suggesting ideas to my mom to cook for me. I remember watching him on TVO before Canada had any solely-dedicated food stations and I just thoroughly enjoyed the show and how he made cooking so easily accessible that even a young person like me could accomplish a recipe and not feel intimidated.

I have been excitedly waiting for this event to come around; I even went by Massey Hall the day before to take a picture of Jamie’s name on the Marquee (geeky I know). The price of the show included a copy of Jamie’s Great Britain – 130 of my favourite British recipes, from comfort food to new classics; and we received a surprise copy of Jamie Magazine. Guests of the show were allowed to ask Jamie questions and some would be selected from the audience. I didn’t have a question in mind so I choose a light hearted one – “What was your biggest mistake when you first became a chef? I should have picked a more hard hitting question but sometimes it is nice for celebrities to not be asked the same questions time and time again; and I wanted to mix it up a little. My question wasn’t chosen, but that’s alright with me.

After a short introduction by the host, Matt Galloway from CBC’s Metro Mornings; Jamie came out waved to the audience, accepted his applause and got down to business. Matt and Jamie chatted and he told stories about cooking and his childhood. I seem to find UK people to always be hilarious, witty and charming. Their type of humour is much like my own so needless to say I laughed a lot. Jamie shared a few anecdotes I’d like to share with you all: He was in special needs class back in school. (But he truly wasn’t special needs; it was just how the school system regarded anyone who needed to learn in a different manner). He is dyslexic and the school couldn’t handle his needs back then. The kids in his class would sing “Special needs” to the tune of The Beetles “Let it be” every time he was called to go out to his specific classes. One of the funny moments was Jamie actually sang it for us and we all chuckled. It’s pretty cool that he can laugh at this and see it for what it’s worth. He also mentioned that he grew up around food as his parents owned and ran a pub named “The Cricketers” where he got to practice his skills.

A question was asked of how he likes the Canadian TV food stations and he thought Food Network Canada was better than Food Network America, because the quality of programming was higher in his eyes. He spoke of his Food Revolution and how not enough kids know how to cook; and this needs to be as important as Science, Math and English even if only the basic cooking skills are taught. He believes there are 10 meals that can save your life, and they are just basic recipes that are not made from processed foods that make us unhealthy. He commented that if he could bring one of his restaurants to Canada it would be Jamie’s Italian as it would work best here; because of its regimented menu that could be moved to a Canadian market easily. Jamie is passionate about mentoring and has done so with Chef Derek Dammann (Maison Publique) a gastro pub that Jamie partnered with Derek in this endeavour. Jamie believes you should mentor the up and coming as much as you can, and unlike some other chefs who don’t necessarily like doing this in fear of being out-shined, he believes in it whole-heartedly. As sometimes without a well-established chef’s mentoring you just can’t make it whether it’s financial or other obstacles that get in your way.
Jamie spoke of his love of Scotch Bonnets & Chillis. Any fan knows this and he told us of a story with one of his daughters: she was talking back to him and he was trying to be patient, even though she was pushing all his buttons he tried to let it slide. But when she came back a few moments later all happy and carefree Jamie was still ticked. She asked “daddy can it have a treat”. So Jamie gave her a treat alright, he spiked it with hot peppers and then he could hear her saying off in the distance “mommy this treat is hot”.

Back in his early days Paul Smith the designer used to frequent a restaurant Jamie worked in and Jamie was none the wiser. When Jamie had his first big break he bought a Paul Smith suit and was told by a co-worker that you’ve cooked for him numerous times, and he’s out there right now! He’s the one who sent compliments to the chef. Now Jamie didn’t believe it was him and asked for some ID and upon seeing the ID he was shocked and they have been friends ever since.
Jamie spoke to us about his new show at the time called Food Fight Club, where you find the best of a particular British food from all across Great Britain (eg. Sausage, desserts, cheese), and then they take the dish and products overseas to battle it out with the French, German, and Italians etc. Celebrities will be involved and the studio audience will be able to participate

This was a great night and I will treasure getting to see the man who got me excited about food.

CNE Food Truck Frenzy

CNE Princess Gate - Candy Coated Culinista

CNE Princess Gate – Candy Coated Culinista

When: Friday, August 24th 2012 – 11am-10pm, Saturday, August 25th & Sunday August 26th – 10am-10 pm & Friday, August 23rd 2013 – 11 am-10 pm, Saturday, August 24th 213 – 10 am 10 pm & Sunday, August 25th 2013 – 10am-10pm)
Where: Princes’ Boulevard in front of Allstream Centre & Direct Energy Centre

I watch a lot of Eat St. on Food Network and when I say a lot I mean like 1 episode a day. Even if it’s a repeat it’s a fun show that makes me very envious of all the food trucks in the U.S.A. Toronto is slowly grabbing on to this food truck revolution and street meat isn’t only hot dogs but now are some very authentic, classy and inspiring foods. I subscribe to Toronto Food Trucks; so when the better weather comes around and the food trucks roll out and I get updated to where the trucks will be. I have visited some and when summer hits I always try and see if any are in my area.

For three years now I go to the CNE with Mr. C. and two of my friends. I am hoping we can make this a yearly thing and for two years now the Food Truck Frenzy has been on. The frenzy features many food trucks from around the GTA.

The first thing I do is see all the offerings from each food truck and then I line up and get my grub on. There are plenty of trucks at this event. We had a great time tasting foods and food combinations we wouldn’t normally. We all left the CNE grounds full and when I got home I managed to find a little more space for the Greek fries I had left over.

Here’s the rundown of my stops over the last two Food Truck Frenzy’s

Blue Donkey Streatery
http://bluedonkeystreatery.com/
This truck is a bright blue with a donkey on it, you can’t miss it and they offer a selection of Greek inspired foods.

When we were ready to leave I needed to make one more stop for a late night snack before the park closed, I grabbed the Feta Fries with Tzatziki for $8. The Greek fries are hand cut and sprinkled with feta. I have had something similar before from The Arkadia House in Scarborough and this too was amazing. To me it’s like cheese fries but a classier.

Beach Boys Food Truck
A rotating menu of summertime food inspired by the 60’s rock band, with a blend of the California
culture they personify.

Bacon Nation
http://baconnation.co
A USA food truck that is driven by “slow food” combined with a Northwest style.

Mr.C . went here and had a burger with bacon, ham & pulled pork. By the time I got to him to take a pic it was almost done. I’m guessing he really enjoyed it. He did laugh at the fact that it was all pig in various forms.

Buster’s Sea Cove
A sea food focused food truck that sells oysters on the half shelf, lobster rolls, fish tacos, crab rolls & Key lime pie. I also saw them at the TO Food Fest 2013.

Crossroads Diner
http://crossroadsdiner.ca/
Healthy seasonal options and some guilty pleasures. Their focus is a modern twist of the diner classics at affordable prices and great quality products.

Food Dudes
http://www.thefooddudes.com
They are a full service catering company that uses the highest quality ingredients and the best service while tending to the clients’ needs.

Frankie Fettuccine
http://www.frankiefett.com/
Gourmet Pasta dishes is sold by this Food Truck.

Fidel Gastro
http://www.fidelgastro.ca/
This truck serves up sandwiches with a twist.

Let’s Be Frank
A Toronto based food truck that serves Nathan’s Famous all beef dogs.

I ordered the sliders: a pair of mini hot dogs which was the perfect snack. I topped my hot dog with Dijon mustard, ketchup and relish. I usually don’t eat beef hot dogs, but this was great. I would have this again as a full size dog. My friend ordered the Ultimate Dog, a hot dog wrapped in pea meal bacon topped with melted cheese.

Gourmet Gringos
http://www.gourmetgringos.com/
Gourmet Latin food.

Gourmet B1tches
http://www.gourmetb1tches.com
Healthy food options with some flare.

Hank Daddy’s Barbeque
http://www.hankdaddysbbq.com/
All things BBQ’d. Serving pork, chicken, beef and ribs at fairs, festivals and catered events.

Hogtown Smoke
BBQ smokehouse slow & low with an on board truck smoker.

Mike’s Dog House
http://www.mikesdoghouse.ca/Mikes_Site/Home.html
Mike’s started as a hot dog stand that grew to a special event catering vehicle

Per Se Mobile
http://www.persemobile.com/
This food truck has taste from all the diverse roots in the GTA.

When I went to this food truck there was one thing on the menu that caught my attention, and also the attention of us all. The Raw Sugar Cane Lemonade; as 3 of us have Caribbean roots we gravitated to this and Mr. C just liked the idea of it. The lemonade is made with Real Panela (whole cane sugar) served in a 16oz cup with a lime and ice for $4. It was one of the best lemonades I’ve had, you could taste the sugar cane and we enjoyed it so much that we all went back for seconds when we had our late night snack.

This year again all four of us enjoyed the raw cane sugar lemonade. It is that good and we looked forward to having it again.

My friends had the Per Se Poutine which is a Demi-Glazed (Gravy) with Brisket, Cheese Blend all served on a bed of Fresh Home Cut Kettle Chips. This looked delicious and I must say even though this is food truck food, they style & plate their food well; even if it’s going into a paper dish.

Pretty Sweet
Mobile cupcakery specializing in noveau flavours and artfully decorated creations.

Stuft Gourmet Sausages
http://getstuft.ca/
This food truck is street meat at its finest. Toronto has lots of hot dog vendors but none like this. Here the bun just has a hole at the top to stuff your meat and sauce into it. It’s definitely a less messy way to eat a hot dog and a smart idea.

Mr. C. came here and ordered the Creole Turducken, a turkey, duck and chicken seasoned in authentic Creole spices and topped with a mustard sauce for $9. I snagged a bite and it tasted good but the seasoning isn’t my thing however; Mr. C. loved it and would have it again. A year later he still raves about the Creole Turducken.

Sweetness Bakery
http://www.sweetnessbakery.ca/
Quality baked goods whipped up by accredited pastry chefs and bakers. This truck is named after the owners daughter Chloe “Sweetness” is her nickname. Their boy Foster, at 2 was diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergies and after that experience they needed to find better food options for when they eat out. The food truck has a line called “Foster favourites” a nut free alternative.

Texas Tornado
http://texastornado.ca
Tornado fries are seasoned in five different options – Sour Cream & Onion, Salt and Vinegar, Dill Pickle, Wild Buffalo or just Sea Salt. Also on the menu is Tornado potato, Twister Dog, Poutine & French Fries.

Tiny Tom Donuts
http://tinytomdonuts.ca/
A regular at the CNE is Tiny Toms you must try this even if only once. Mini doughnuts are served fresh right in front of you. You can watch the hopper toss out the doughnuts and select from cinnamon,chocolate, icing sugar or apple-cinnamon at $5 a dozen.

This has too much topping for me but this is a favourite for many, and for once a year why not just do it right?

The Urban Smoke 2012-2013
http://urbansmokefoodtruck.com/
A southern style both traditional and fusion Gourmet BBQ.

I ordered the Dirty Bob, a Texas Brisket with Swiss cheese, onions and mushrooms $8. I have never had brisket before so I decided today was the day to give it a try. It was like a grilled cheese sandwich to me with meat added. I really enjoyed it but Mr. C. abruptly said after taking a bite “never make brisket for me please”. It’s a fattier meat and he did not like that at all.

Wood Fired Pizza
There was a pizza place there that was serving thin crust pizza in 3 spicy flavours including a vegetarian and of course pepperoni. Mr. C. and the girls loved it. Not too much crust and falvouful toppings.

Yalla Paramount
Middle Eastern Cuisine: Shawarma, Falafels, Grape Leaves & Musakaa can be found here.

Yogurty’s
Yogurt by weight: You order you yogurt and add any of the toppings you want.

Other food trucks there were: S.W.A.T., Nazca and Pancha.

Per Se Poutine - Per Se Mobile

Per Se Poutine – Per Se Mobile

Yogurty's - Candy Coated Culinista

Yogurty’s – Candy Coated Culinista

Wood Fire Pizza - Candy Coated Culinista

Wood Fire Pizza – Candy Coated Culinista

Sweetness Bakery - Candy Coated Culinista

Sweetness Bakery – Candy Coated Culinista

Per Se Mobile - Candy Coated Culinista

Per Se Mobile – Candy Coated Culinista

Let's Be Frank - Candy Coated Culinista

Let’s Be Frank – Candy Coated Culinista

Fish Taco - CNE Food Truck Frenzy

Fish Taco – CNE Food Truck Frenzy

Ultimate Dog - Let's be Frank

Ultimate Dog – Let’s be Frank


Sliders - Let's Be Frank

Sliders – Let’s Be Frank

Nadia G. – Bitchin’ Kitchen

Nadia G. Bitchin' Kitchen - Candy Coated Culinista

Nadia G. Bitchin’ Kitchen – Candy Coated Culinista

Who: Nadia G – Bitchin’ Kitchen (Airs on Food Network Canada)
Where: CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) Food Network Food Stage
Date: Sunday August 25th 2013 2-3pm & 5-6pm

“Let’s go to the Ex”… and not ride the rides but enjoy the Food Truck Frenzy, Pavillion, Butter Sculptures, Farm and everything else but. For 3 years now I go and do everything except the rides. Now I’m not a big fan of rides so I’m more than happy to just wander around and check out the sand sculptures and the physics defying rock stacker. This year I did all that again and made a second trip back to see Nadia G. on the Food Network Sound Stage yesterday. I was so happy when I saw she was going to be there. Bitchin’ Kitchen is a combination of comedy and cooking show rolled up into one. I even own a few items from her online store. A cupcake pillow and a pizza pillow I gave to an Italian friend because she loves pizza that much. I have so much fun watching the show that I have to remember to take note of the recipes, as I am trying to learn something.

I came an hour early and I was glad I did. The seats filled up fast and by the time her demonstration started there was standing room only along the sides. Today Nadia was rocking a Mrs. Cleaver 50’s look: a striped baby blue and white button up dress with nude high heels. I was hoping to see some of those amazing killer heels and form fitting mini dresses she wears; but I have seen her dressed like this on occasion and with her tattoos and bling peaking through she made this and edgy molly housemaid look, and still very Nadia G. As she cooked she told anecdotes about a friend and how she has Foot and Mouth disease – meaning she always manages to put her foot in her mouth all the time. She made fun of a Canadian Rock Band that has been the butt of jokes many a time. The funniest quip was during the Q & A period, a student off to College asked what staples a student should have on hand. Nadia said pasta and beans like lentils, as they are cheap and last for a long time. She then said “Cooking is a life skill. It’s like wiping your butt. You have no excuse to say I don’t know how to do it.” The audience laughed and it is so true. No one says you need to be a gourmet chef.

For the demonstration Nadia prepared a Back of the Kitchen Penne, Balsamic Strawberries and a Grapefruit Mojito.

Back of the Kitchen Penne
The leftovers in your fridge made into a meal. Ingredients included: penne, olive oil, parsley, basil, cilantro, Genoa salami, red or white onion, garlic and tomatoes, (crushed by hand into a sauce with chunks).

Balsamic Strawberries
This is a simple and easy dessert which is one of her fav’s. She advised us to make sure we get good balsamic which will cost 10-15$ for a meager portion. If you are getting a lot for that price its garbage, and remember a little goes a long way. This recipe consisted of: strawberries, balsamic and maple syrup. It can be served with ice cream or on a puff pastry.

Grapefruit Mojito
4 main things go into Mojito’s – citrus, liquor, herbs & sugar. So why not mess around a little with those components. This is a mojito with a twist comprised of: grapefruit juice, cilanto, vodka, sugar and chili’s. You can rim the glass in chili’s if so desired.

There was a quick Q & A period and then to my surprise a meet & greet. I bolted to the line and wished I had brought my cookbook with me; however there was a photo, tee-shirts and both cookbooks on sale. I bought the first cookbook as I don’t own it and got it signed. I mentioned to her my favorite recipes and that her Meatloaf with Awesome Sauce has made Mr. C. a meatloaf lover, and that the Greek chicken salad sandwich is great for lunches. She said my name was very pretty as she signed the book and then we took a quick candid shot, I shook her hand and was on my way.

All in all a great day. I got to see one of my fav Canadian Chefs in person and I have a few more recipes to add to my repertoire, not to mention all the laughs I had. I left with a big smile on my face. Thanks Nadia.

Nadia filmed a new one-off series where she and the Bitchin’ Kitchen Crew travelled around the U.S. called “Bite Me”. For now it will be only air in the U.S., but hopefully we will be able to see it here in Canada in the future.

TO Food Fest

Date: Sunday June 23 2013
Place: Chinese Cultural Center, Scarborough, Ontario M1B 5Z5
Website: http://tofoodfest.com/

A friend and also a restaurant food blogger (http://idontcookblog.wordpress.com) told me about this food fest and got me on the media list. The TO Food Fest “brings together top foodie-reviewed restaurants and local hidden gems into one exciting event.” The TO Food Fest is where “established and aspiring chefs can be found, giving the local community a taste of unique and delicious cuisine.” Since I was on the media list I could see the vendors early and ask any questions and take photos. The vendors were very nice and accommodating even though they were getting ready for their day, and in some cases gave a sample and a quick blurb about what they make. 2013 came around and I said I would just go as non-media and to my surprise I got invited back as media. So the decision was made I signed up to return as media and got my sneak peek before the food fest started.

Here’s the rundown of my stops from 2012 & 2013:

All Mine Caramel
Website:http://www.allminecaramel.ca
Started as a small home based business and as Shannon’s homemade caramels that she gave as gifts
became so well loved and received she started her own business.

Babi and co.
Indonesian street food.

Bake’n
Everything here has bacon. On the menu was bacon cheesecake, sticky toffee bacon cake, and bacon salted caramel popcorn. I bought some delicious bacon popcorn and I was happy to see bits of bacon nestled inside the bags and not just the flavour of bacon.

Bakin’ bits
They make custom cakes and cupcakes.

Baoss
Means bun is Chinese and here open faced sandwiches are served. On the menu was pork belly, veal cheeks and lobster.

Big Moe’s (Burgers – Fires – Funnel Cakes)
The idea for Big Moe’s is like Burger Priest; simplicity in the burger. Everyone is named Moe – Big Moe, Mini Moe and Cousin Moe. The Holey Moley” is a doughnut burger; and the Juicy Lucy Burger has cheese in the centre of the patty. One of the interesting things is they are the only place in Toronto serving Tornado Fries on a 18” skewer stick; which they import specially from abroad. All Halal meat is used in their burgers also.

Brazilian Pastel
This treat looks like a Samosa and started in San Paolo and consists of a deep fried pastry filled with chicken, beef, banana & nutella, pizza or a taco mix. These tasted great and the banana and nutella made a perfect dessert treat.

Bricks & Mortar
The menu looked great but I couldn’t eat everything so I settled on getting my drink from there I had the Hibiscus green tea for $2.00. I wasn’t too sweet and had a little bitterness from the Hibiscus. This was a really refreshing drink on a hot sweltering day.

Buster’s Sea Cove Food truck
A sea food focused food truck that sells oysters on the half shelf, lobster rolls, fish tacos, crab rolls & Key lime pie.

Casa Manila
This restaurants motto is to serve “festive Filipino flavour“ and they want people to experience Filipino food. While the owner was talking to us one of the chefs was preparing the Halo Halo – a mix assorted fruits & sweet beans, custard toppings with shaved ice cream and topped with ube (taro) ice cream desert. I had never tried something like this before and I have tasted Filipino food and made it myself. The media that tried it like it.

Comida Del Pueblo
Means food of the people and they make American Latin fusion. They were highlighting their jalapeno cornbread grilled cheese. It looked delicious but I didn’t try it because of the jalapenos.

Dutch Frites
Website:http://www.dutchfrites.ca
“Authentic gourmet food from Holland.” The goal for Dutch Frites is to give a twist on traditional North American finger foods and expose us to the foods of Holland in each dish.

Francesca Bakery
Website: http://www.francescabakery.com
I was so happy when I saw macarons! I made sure to come back and buy some, so I bought 12. Also on the menu was Sicilian cannoli and aranici, which are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs with something stuffed in the middle, like mozzarella or meat.

Fruity Splendor fruit Carving Designs
Do you want to learn how to carve fruit? There aren’t many specialty tools and what is produced is amazing. The carver told us it takes 1 hour to carve a honey dew melon. I was amazed at what she could do with such simple tools.

Gala’s Peppersauce 2012-2013
Website: http://www.galaspeppersauce.com
I bought this for a Jamacian friend who loves spice. There are no preservatives in Gala’s products so they only have a one year shelf life. The two flavours are Xtra Hot & Hot; and are made from scotch bonnets which are commonly found in Jamaica.

How Bout Those Meatballs
A young Italian boy making amazing meatballs: He has no recipe or measurements, his nona said “put love into it and it will always turn out well. He makes his meatballs (a mixture of veal and beef) in the backyard with his mom. Mr. C`s. Sandwich was to die for he said; he also wished I brought him more. The meatball was served on a Ciabatta mini bun with arugula and his marinara sauce. The menu has expanded and I bought the Isabella sandwich along with the meatball sandwich and it was spicy. Mr. C. got the spicy Isabella which he said was spicy and I got the regular Isabella, which still had some kick to is (avocado on it)

Ice volcano ice cream
Website: http://www.icevolcano.ca
“The coolest, coldest and fastest way of making ice cream… with -196°C liquid nitrogen.” Orange fresh strawberry, Mango and Milo are some flavours available.

Jamie’s Cracked Corn
Website: http://www.jamiescrackedcorn.com/
Jamie’s cracked corn makes Kettle Corn with a recipe that is over 200 years old. He uses sugar cane, no nut, dairy, gluten or Trans fats. I bought a huge bag for home and I enjoyed it and wished I had grabbed two bags. It was light, airy and melted on my tongue. Lightly dusted with sea salt and not overly saturated with caramel coating. I would definitely buy this again. This year I went back and bought another bag and it tasted just a great as I remembered.

Kalofagas
Website: http://www.kalofagas.ca/
I wanted Greek food, now I should venture into the unknown foods but something about this Greek wrap drew me in and I didn’t regret it. Pork Souvlaki wrap 4$

Kanga
Website: http://www.eatkanga.com
Handheld Aussie styled meat pies served with ketchup. Vegemite is used in the pies and is a nod to the Aussie background. “An individually portioned, handheld, buttery pie filled with loads of meat, veg and gravy is intended to be eaten with one hand only (the other is strictly reserved for the beverage of your choice)!”

Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
Website: http://www.hawaiianbarbeque.ca
Served here today was pork skewers, pineapple soda and pulled pork on a bun. They were grilling on a large BBQ and it smelt and looks delicious. A secret BBQ recipe that has been passed down from generation to generations is used. That make no shortcuts and want a quality dish sent out everytime.

Little Tomato Catering
Website: http://www.littletomatocatering.com/
This is a catering company has a passion for food. Menus are custom tailored to each event and to meet your specifications and budget. Today they were serving Gourmet pizzas. Yum.

Mary Macleod’s Shortbreads Website: http://www.marymacleod.ca
This business has been around for 32 years and Holt Renfrew has been a client for over 25 years and Pusateri’s also carries their `treats. The story is one day a lady dressed impeccably head to toe in turquoise in the late 70’s early 80’s came in and tasted Mary’s shortbreads loved them and gave her a card, she worked for Holts and since then they make cookies every Christmas for them. The three flavours are Original, Belgian chocolate and chocolate crunch. I have never tasted chocolate shortbread before and thought shortbread had to be plain. That’s how much I new and I can see why they are still a favourite of Holt Renfrew for sure.

Me.n.u.
Website: http://www.menuft.com
Travel eat share. Foods and taste from all over the world.

Mocha King
Traditional mocha with a twist.

Nom Nom Nom Crepes
Website: http://www.nnncrepes.com
Mr. C. and I split the Twinkie- Crispy fried crepe. It is a deep fried crepes rolled like a twinkle with raspberry jam. I tasted amazing and the raspberry drizzle the perfect balance to the sweet treat.

Pancho’s Bakery
Today on the menu was churro’s.

Patisserie Royale
Website: http://www.patisserieroyale.com
Here a 300 year old family recipe that has been voted best in T.O. for Baklava by Blog. T.O. I love baklava and this was no exception; It was sticky and sweet, but not too sweet with the right amount of crunch and dusting of pistachio’s on top. Hands down the best baklava I’ve tasted.

Rodney’s Oyster House
Website: http://www.rodneysoysterhouse.com
Rodney’s Oyster House is the one of the most popular oyster houses in the city if not the most popular. It has great food and atmosphere. For the fest they had oysters on ice for us to enjoy.

Smash Cake
Website:http://www.smashcake.ca
A baking and catering company, which offers a wide variety of events services and products.

Sopsop
Website:http://www.sopsop.ca
A passion for food is what SopSop has and their goal is to find the perfect balance between the familiar dishes with influences from cuisines around the world.

Summertime Lemonade
Lemonade is sold here and nothing is more enjoyable than fresh squeezed lemonade in the summer.

Taco Cat
A bunch of 20 year old Asian young adults are putting their stamp on making taco’s with a unique flair; on such example is the deep fried squid taco.

Urban Acorn
Website: http://www.urbanacorn.ca
Eat fresh, local, organic & eat more plants. This equals their local flexitarianism philosophy.
This was my second time every hearing the term Flexitarian. It basically means you don’t always want to eat meat.

What’s your cupcake? Muffin!!!
Gourmet cupcakes with unique combinations! A daughter and mom team make these out of their kitchen and we got to sample chocolate curry, strawberry peppercorn and wasabi chocolate cupcakes.

Gala's Pepper Sauce

Gala’s Pepper Sauce

Bakin’ Bits

Bakin’ Bits

All Mine Caramel

All Mine Caramel

Urban Acorn

Urban Acorn

Bricks & Motar

Bricks & Motar

Nom Nom Nom Crepes

Nom Nom Nom Crepes

Grub

Grub

Babi and Co.

Babi and Co.

Little Tomato Catering

Little Tomato Catering

Gushi

Gushi

Kanga

Kanga

Kalofagas

Kalofagas

Smash Cake

Smash Cake

Tacocat

Tacocat

Fruity Splendor Fruit Carving Designs

Fruity Splendor Fruit Carving Designs

What’s Your Cupcake? Muffin!!!

What’s Your Cupcake? Muffin!!!

James Cunningham

Who: James Cunningham
Book: Eat St.

Eat St. is one of my favorite Food Network shows, so naturally when the book came out on March 19, I scooped it up. I was ordering some books online from chapters and I saw that James Cunningham was making an appearance at the Chapters/Indigo in the building across from my work, and I knew what I had to do. On my lunch break I walked over to First Canadian Place and saw James out front signing at the table.

When I came up James was talking to another fan getting the signature for someone else (this was a father’s day promotion). I enjoyed plenty of laughs in line whether food related or not, as James is a comedian and knows how to entertain. When it was my turn we talked about his favorite recipes and the foods that were unforgettable, and gave me some suggestions on what I must try. Now He’s not a great cook, but he loves to eat. While we were talking another lady had come by asking what was the book about, and I had mentioned you got to buy this and try the chocolate Diablo cookies recipe. It is one of my fav’s and every time the episode comes on I’m watching it. When I mentioned I’m on my lunch and this is a great way to spend it he’d inquired to what I do. He actually has done shows 2 years in a row for the governing association of my company; he made a few quips about how my company name sounds very spicy and Latin and fast. He even noticed that I was wearing my company colours in my outfit. I didn’t even realize it until he said it, to which we laughed.

When recommending some recipes he said “do you eat meat?” I said of course I do and then he said I need to try the below first:
S’mores Waffles – The Waffle Bus – Houston, Texas pg 273.
Maple bacon Cupcakes – Sugar Rush by Sweetness Bakeshop – Miami Florida pg, 252. Easy and really great.
Coconut Halibut Cheeks – Vij’s Railway Express – Vancouver, British Columbia pg 196. He mentioned Vij’s one of the most rebound Indian chef’s in the country. Vij’s is approachable a great person and very knowledgeable and was one of his favourite visits.
Mac and cheese Cones with bacon “Bling” – Gypsy Queen Café – Baltimore, Maryland. Tip- Spray Pam around the inside of the cones to ensure they stay crunchy, and also keep the bacon fat and stir that back into the mac & cheese. We both laughed as this is perfect BBQ food. You can eat your plate and have a beer in one hand and your mac & cheese cone in the other.
Jhal Muri – Everybody Love Love Jhal Muri Express – London England said he was such a character and fun.

It was a great experience meeting him. Even though I hadn’t held onto my receipt from March, he still signed my book just the same, which I was very grateful for. I had many many laughs high fives and a couple of photos too.

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