Saturday, May 6 at 3 PM - 11 PM: Taste the Eastside of the 6ix! An all-Eastside initiative to support and promote local businesses and the local community.
Off-site blog content
Three Italian cocktails you need to try thissummer
Theres more to Italian cocktails than that summer standard the Aperol Spritz. Christine Sismondo deciphers whats new and next in spirits from the Bel Paeseread the full post here
Get these garam masala chicken skewers on your grill: Ricardo
These zippy piquant skewers are great for summer outdoor get-togethers and they take only four minutes to cook.read the full post here
Recipe: Mio Fascino
Try this Italian cocktail made with Capo Capo and piscoread the full post here
Recipe: Tar Pit
Try this Italian cocktail made with Fernet-Branca and two types of rumread the full post here
Recipe: Fresh Spritz of Bel Air
Try this Italian cocktail made with Aperol and strawberry-infused Byrrhread the full post here
Recipe: Fiori di zucca
Three of Canadas masters of Italian cuisine offer their picks for the best bites to pair with your drinkread the full post here
I grew up with parents who owned a casual restaurant in northern Ontario, which meant I had access to all kinds of kitchen equipment and ingredients that allowed me to experiment from an early age. Notice how that seems more important to me than the corresponding detail that I have been preparing food for people since childhood.
I also started my first business at the age of 9, part of which involved taking care of gardens and being given a portion of the fresh produce in return. That started a life-long love of gardening that is currently gratified by container gardening as I now live in the heart of Toronto.
My reviews are influenced by a number of factors, including the small detail that I am a supertaster (let's hear it for blue tongues!) Did you know supertasters tend to be disproportionately black or Asian and female? Well we are, and I have trained myself to enjoy certain foods despite this mild handicap, buuuuut, I can't quite get over olives and sundried tomatoes. Oh and capers. Putanesca: Just say no.
I pride myself in being able to find something edible at all price points, in most places. Once in a while, however, I misjudge, and that is when apparently, I make the legendary "unsatisfactory dinner face". I try not to do it, but everyone who has regularly had meals with me claims to know exactly what it is. I tend to believe them because if the waitstaff in the venue is in the least bit attentive, somebody will come over and try to rectify the situation.
I guess all that leads up to the point that I am very specific. I will tell you when dinner is merely "adequate". I like to say that I have never eated a 1 star meal (I am reserving that for something I hope never to taste) and the 10 stars tend to go to very specific items on a menu as opposed to the whole meal. Unfortunately, it then becomes the benchmark for that item forever, like some platonic form.
For example, I still remember the best caesar salad I have had, even though the place I had it went out of business in the late 80s. I'm not even sure that it hasn't become unattainable now given the way memory works. I have made a few caesar salads that I would give and 8.5 or even 9, but alas, not the 10. But I am going to keep trying!
Since we'll be asking chefs and food experts these questions, I figure I should answer them as well.
Five Ingredients You Can't Live Without:
- Vanilla paste
- Coconuts (particularly coconut cream)
- Blue cheese
- Good olive oil
Favourite Five Kitchen Utensils:
Everyone we interview says, "Chef's knives." Everyone. I feel like I should tell people when we are interviewing them, "other than knives." I am the kitchen gadget queen, but I am trying to simplify, so if I were starting out all over again and could only have five things other than a good knife, they would be (in no particular order):
- Cut-resistant gloves (good for cutting and grating things as well as opening oysters and shellfish)
- Blender (I will take this even over a food processor)
- Kitchen shears
- Well-seasoned cast iron fry pans
I reserve the right to update this list!