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Brunch- My favourite meal, Part 1

I was at a PD session once, and in the ‘get-to-know-you’ part we were asked to list a hobby.  Mine was brunch.  At one point in my life, I went for brunch every Saturday and Sunday anywhere in the city.  This doesn’t happen as much, and I would like to think I have become more discerning about where I go.  So this post will highlight 3 spots: my go-to favourite, and 2 recent outings.

My ‘Go-to” Favourite: Easy Rider, corner of Queen W and Roncesvalles

I don’t eat eggs, so brunch is a bit of a challenge.  Thankfully, Easy does great buckwheat Belgian waffles or a french toast croissant.  Both come with both fresh fruit (usually berries) and berry compote.  But the best thing is their smoothies.  It literally is a meal in itself.  The classic (strawberry, banana and OJ) or the Peanut Power (peanut butter, dutch cocoa, banana and soy milk), the Banana Latte (banana, dutch cocoa, espresso, soy milk and cinnamon) or Mango. Good thing is if you can’t finish, you can take it to go.  Recommend going before 11 on weekends, or you will have to wait.  Second location around the corner though.

Recent favourite: Beast Restaurant, King and Tecumseh

We tried out Beast at the suggestion of our friends, ironically the day before LLLSecret.  There was a good variety of both brunch type meals and lunch meals.   WineGuyTO went with the French Toast, while ScotchGuyTO went with the burger.  I had something so great, I am waiting to see if another brunch can compare: “The BLD”.  What could this be you ask?  Try cinnamon bread (3 slices) interspersed with duck confit, old cheddar and topped with foie gras gravy and some tater tots (housemade).  Soooooo good!  We also all indulged in some cocktails, the girls in the seasonal Bellini: apple vanilla, the guys in some scotch.  We all agreed that we will be back here, can’t wait for the patio to open.


French Toast with thick bacon and sausage










Recent Outing: Origin, King and Church

ScotchGuyTo had pointed out Origin when we were in the Market one Saturday, and then it was chosen by my sorority sister as the spot for a ladies-only brunch (making ScotchGuyTO jealous).  I now know why ScotchGuyTO wanted to go: it was good.  First thing I need to say is that it was strangely empty for prime brunch time on a Saturday, but it was pouring rain.  I again was fortunate enough to have duck; this time as french toast with hoisin sauce and blueberries.  The ‘toast’ was actually more of a doughnut/bun, but completely soaked through with goodness. My lovely sorority sisters had the eggs benny and a frittata.  Another good reason to visit: they serve Pimms!  I love Pimms, even ducked out of a conference while in London to go to Wimbledon just for Pimms and strawberries (but that’s another post still yet to come).

French Toast with Duck Confit

Eggs Bennedict



Many thanks to Ami for the pics at Origin and WineGuyTO for the pics at Beast.




Living.Loving.Local – An amazing supper

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My friends keep asking how do I know about stuff happening?  I now always answer: Twitter.  Since I joined Twitter, I have ‘met’ some great people and one in particular I have been able to meet in person.  He is Joel Solish (@foodie411).

About a year ago, Joel decided to eat more locally and I have loved following his tweets about food, sustainability and where to eat in Toronto (and am usually jealous!).  Joel and partner @gilltrish want to create “a food-secure Province, County, and world, where the practices of producers and businesses we choose to support are in line with [their] personal levels of comfort, and desire to affect change”.  In effect, this is about being local and making a real connection to the food and the people who make it.

The inaugural event was an “Olde Hunters Feast” at Beast Restaurant (@beastrestaurant).  7 courses, 7 wines, 6 chefs all to do with wild boar.  Before I tell of the amazing experience, know this: I was still full into the next morning.

Course I: Charcuterie and Reif Estate Chenin Blanc.  Each chef was asked to create an item for the plate.  We had pate in bacon, spreads and overall goodness.  My favourite was from Chef Jason Bangertner (Luma and Canteen, @chefbangertner).  His was dark brown in colour, crunched with pistachio and mustard, while being sweet from beer.

sides dishes: cheese and pate

Course II: Guinea Hen and Wild Boar face Tortière, with Elderberry house ketchup, shaved fennel salad and foie gras from our host chef Scott Vivian (Beast restaurant).  To drink, Fielding Estates 2008 Jack Rabbit Flats Pinot Noir (@fieldingwinery).  The rendered fat was the consistency and sweetness of sugar and WineGuyTO and I shared the pie.  Great consistency in the filling and the pastry was so flaky which it should be considering it was made with fat.

Course III: Chupe de Chorizo by Chef Rossy Earle (@pancancooks).  This dish is a Latin American stew, where she used wild boar chorizo with Yukon Gold potatoes and chick peas immersed in cococut, fire roasted tomatoes and charred red pepper broth.  There was also sofrito criollo, salsa de fuego, wild boar chicharrón and homemade sour cream.  I loved the crunchy bits on top and the subtle spice of the broth.  A 2008 Lailey Vineyard Syrah went nicely with the stew.  Its colour was a beautiful clear raspberry.

Course IV: A hand minced game sausage “en crepenette”, a mouseline guinea hen with smoked boar belly, braised cabbage and grain mustard from Jason Bangertner.  As much as I loved his charcuterie, this was the least favourite of the courses for me.  I wasn’t into the mousse, but the sausage was good.  The 2027 Winery 2008 Riesling was a treat.  Its colour was almost clear, with light notes and not too sweet.  Will have to look for this one at the LCBO.

Course V: Steve Wilson from the Summit Golf and Country Club created Harvest Gold Mead Braised Wild Boar Shoulder “Dirty Hush Puppies” with carmalized onions and thyme infused honey drizzle, with sides of southern greens, smoked boar bits and buttermilk mashed potatoes.  What was great about this was that the honey and mead used from Rosewood Winery (@rosewoodwine), which was also the paired wine, a 2008 Chardonnay Reserve.  I will admit that by this point I wondered why I hadn’t worn sweatpants, because we were getting full!

Course VI: This was creative!  Tom Davis of The Stockyards (@thestockyards) (which has been raved about on Twitter) made carbonara noodles out of the wild boar!  This was topped by crackling crusted deep fried quail egg (which I ate!  Mine was all yolk, yum!) and then on top of a buttermilk biscuit was Southern Fried Quail with wild boar and smoked apple sausage gravy.  I really wanted to eat more it was so good, but I wasn’t sure if I could move.  Our Rosehall Run (@rosehall_run) 2007 Cabernet Franc, with its spicyness, matched perfectly.

Course VII:  Now dessert.  Rachelle Vivian, the Pastry Chef at Beast, made the perfect ‘Timbet’: a doughnut rolled in wild boar bacon and sugar, filled with maple curd.  I could have eaten the entire plate they were soooo sweet and rich.  Unfortunately (for me) the last wine was a port, which I am not particular too.  The Karlo Estates Van Alstine 2008 (port style) made the port drinkers happy and I did try it, it was light and fruity but I just wasn’t into it.

My hats off to Joel and Gill.  The mix of people, the food, the venue were all superb.  I can’t wait for the future events.

You can also find Living.Loving.Local on Facebook.  Joel’s website is communityfoodist

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