Sunday, February 20, 2011


Tonight my dad and I were picking up my brother from a hockey practice out at the 401 & Kennedy, so for dinner we wanted something closer to the 401, without sacrificing taste however! Automatically we thought of Fabbrica, Mark McEwan's newest restaurant to the McEwan chain.

Fabbrica is located at the Shops at Don Mills, but surprisingly received quite some negative criticisms at first, making me a little bit more hesitant than normal. But boy was I wrong, it completely surpassed all of my expectations. Fabbrica was the perfect spot for a cozy Sunday wintry night dinner. We walked in early, around 6:15 and there were a few tables here and there, but by the time we left at 7:30 it was completely packed with a lineup to get in! Talk about a perfect neighbourhood spot.

Fabbrica is authentic Italian cuisine, sourcing products from Italy with iconic Italian style decor! Very chic and very cool to say the least with a beautiful wood-burning brick pizza oven from Naples. Traditional for the perfect Neopolitan pizza, with a temperature of 900 degrees the pizzas are done in a rapid 90 seconds!

To start we shared a salad, which in my opinion was the star of the show. A roasted yellow and purple beet salad with arugula, prosciutto, toasted pistachios and goat cheese in a light simple olive oil dressing. From there we moved onto the home made pasta dishes. The Casserace pasta (rapini, chilies and house made pork sausage) for me and the Papardelle pasta for my dad (braised shortrib, tomato and basil). We decided we couldn't pass up the pizza so we decided to try the Capicollo (mozzarella, hot capicollo, basil and tomato) pizza with hopes of bringing the leftovers to my little brother (That definitely didn't happen! lol).

The meal was truly great, Italian is my favourite and nothing beats a good home cooked feel Italian meal. This is exactly what Fabbrica was. With a vibrant and exciting decor and a view of their house curing room and pizza oven, Fabbrica is the perfect spot for a Sunday meal, date night, a large group of family or friends or to introduce those to Toronto's great culinary scene! And with complimentary parking on a snowy night, what could be better?!

Buon appetito!

To learn more and check out their menus visit:

photo credit: fabbrica & google images

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


 I just adore Toronto Life's daily dish! Their blog is so great and always up to date with the interesting finds in Toronto. This week it is "Core-Warming Winter Cocktails." I don't usually use a full article from Toronto Life, but I thought this one was really cool and would be fun to share.

"Interesting" drinks are popping up all over the city these days, not only are different menus becoming important but the drinks list that comes along with it is getting equally as playful! Fun drinks are all the rage, whether it is alcoholic or not, a drink is becoming another star in the food show!

Here are some of Toronto's hottest new drinks for the winter! Another drink that I think could be added to the list is Campagnolo's caesar, whose ingredients include cilantro and chili-infused vodka!

Have you tried any of them?!

Number 1
Hot Buttered Rum
The perfect après-ski (or après–afternoon of shopping): Sailor Jerry spiced rum and compound butter (cinnamon, clove, brown sugar, lemon zest and butter) steeped in hot water. $12. Sidecar, 577 College St., 416-536-7000.
Number 2
My Darling Clementine
House-made gingerbread syrup lends a subtle molasses flavour to this mimosa-esque mix of prosecco, Grand Marnier and fresh-squeezed clementine juice. $14. Ruby Watchco, 730 Queen St. E., 416-465-0100.
Number 3
Winter Jacket Fellow
A soothing mash-up of two traditional cold-weather treats—mulled wine and hot apple cider—ups the ante with a dose of Zubrówka bison grass vodka. $9. Brockton General, 1321 Dundas St. W., 647-342-6104.
Number 4
S’mores Hot Chocolate
Nutty Frangelico and Navan fortify a serving of Soma’s sinful malted milk hot chocolate. Topped with a melty house-made marshmallow and a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs, it’s tastier (and tidier) than its campfire namesake. $10. Luma, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 330 King St. W., 647-288-4715.
Number 5
So Martini
Caffeine fiends can get their fix with a potent combination of vanilla vodka, Baileys, Chambord and a kick of espresso. $11. Table 17, 782 Queen St. E., 416-519-1851.
Number 6
Parkdale Bake
A maple, baked butternut squash and sage syrup forms the savoury centrepiece of this gentlemanly blend of Maker’s Mark and sweet
vermouth. A crisped sage leaf adds an earthy embellishment. $10. Local Kitchen, 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700.
Number 7
A bracing mix of muddled lime, lemon-ginger syrup, Johnnie Walker Red Label and prosecco is garnished with cranberries, a rosemary sprig and powdered sugar for a pretty twist on the whiskey sour. $12. Grace, 503 College St., 416-944-8884.
Number 8
Spanish Flip
Forgo the calorie-dense cream of eggnog, and indulge in a frothy concoction of Pedro Ximénez sherry, egg yolk, spice syrup (cinnamon, allspice, clove), lemon juice and nutmeg. $11. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042.

photo credit: courtesy of Toronto Life Daily Dish

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


There have been so many wonderful articles written about the Hoof Cafe - that those of you who know it, know that every word of praise is true. For those of you who don't, let me introduce you to the Hoof Cafe, sister restaurant to The Black Hoof (Toronto's famous charcuterie restaurant making headlines left right and center)! I recently had the luxury of visiting this cafe prior to its closing on February 28th! (So for those of you who haven't gone, you MUST get there! But be prepared to wait! The line up last weekend was an hour long!) I went last Friday for brunch with my friend, fellow blogger and George Brown classmate Carl! We had been dying to go, and knew we had to get there before it was gone forever.

The place is perfect, if I could one day own a spot like that my life would be complete. About 30 seats, with 12 of them being at the bar, the space is bright, lovely and oh so cafe like. With a beautiful rustic bar, a neat aluminum ceiling and big windows along the front wall, you just feel like you are in a dream cafe. The most perfect spot for brunch, I can't believe I only got there once!

The food like the space is just to die for! No wonder they have received non-stop praise! Based around a meat-based theme restaurant, Hoof Cafe offers the neatest combination's! French toast with Foie Gras for brunch, oh la la! I had the "Suckling Benny" (Eggs Benedict with some suckling braised pig underneath) and a side of their hay ham with a lovely streak of Dijon mustard on the plate! When we walked in the door we saw a beautiful lemon meringue tart on display. The look of it alone had Carl and I knowing it could not be passed up! It was the most light & refreshing dessert to end a delectable brunch! (Thanks to the tart Meyer lemons and the fresh mint sprig)

For more on Hoof Cafe and The Black Hoof visit :

Please please please! I beg you to try this brunch spot (or even for dinner too) before it is gone. It truly is one of Toronto's bests! Now for my next adventure... THE BLACK HOOF!

photo credits: my own

Thursday, February 10, 2011


As you know I also write for FOOD TROTTER!

Here is my newest addition to my Food Trotter posting: Tapas in Spain!

"Eating, drinking, and sharing in good fun with friends is popular in every culture, but Spanish tapas takes this notion to a whole new level. While living in Spain I fell in love with the corner tapas bars that populate the country. You can’t travel to Spain without understanding this amazing concept and knowing what to look for!"

Monday, February 7, 2011


Thank you Bonnie Stern for the best superbowl party food yet! Thanks to twitter - my new favourite source of all food related knowledge, I discovered Bonnie Stern's weekend article in The National Post - "Presenting the perfect pretext to pull pork." I am a HUGE fan of pulled pork, and after reading through the article I could literally not wait to make it! Especially since last week we butchered pork & lamb shoulder's in butchery class I thought it would be so great to work with meats now that I understand their cuts.

The end result - pulling the pork

So for a great, fun meal, pulled pork is for you! I can't wait to make it again! The great part about this recipe is Bonnie actually gives a few extra ingredient recipes, chipotle mayo, a doctored-up BBQ sauce and a creamy coleslaw to top the pulled pork. Make sure to get really soft, good quality buns. I found mine at The Healthy Butcher, (any sort of egg made buns, like Challa is fab).

Pork Rub before going in the oven
Pork once it had cooked for 3.5 hours
The Pork itself
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp each paprika, pepper and cumin
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 lb boneless pork shoulder (pork butt roast)
Cooking liquid
- 2 cups apple juice
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 6 whole cloves garlic
- 2 onions, thickly sliced
Maple barbecue sauce
- 2 cups favourite barbecue sauce
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp each Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, cumin, mustard and garlic. Rub into roast. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Combine apple juice, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Place garlic and onions in the bottom of a Dutch oven and set roast on top. Add liquid. Cover roast with a piece of parchment paper and then cover pan tightly. Cook in a preheated 325F/160C oven for 3 to 4 hours or longer, until pork is so tender it falls apart when pierced with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan whisk barbecue sauce with maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and mustard. Bring to a boil. Cook gently 5 minutes. Reserve.
4. When roast is ready, remove from pan. Slice thickly and chop. Combine with half the barbecue sauce, adding some of the strained cooking juices if meat is too dry. Reheat meat just before serving in a 325F oven for about 30 minutes.
5. Make sandwiches on the soft buns with meat, extra barbecue sauce, coleslaw, chipotle mayo
Makes 12 sandwiches

Chipotle Mayo
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s)
- 1 tbsp chipotle chili purée or to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place mayonnaise in a bowl and stir in chipotle purée,

Creamy-Style Coleslaw
- 4 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 carrot, grated
- OR - just the pre made coleslaw packages by Our Compliments
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste

1. Make coleslaw by combining shredded cabbage with salt. Place in a colander set over a bowl, with a plate on top, pressing down on the cabbage to extract excess moisture. After about one hour, rinse cabbage and pat dry, pressing again firmly. Combine with carrots.
2. For dressing, combine mayonnaise with garlic, sugar, vinegar and pepper.
3. Combine dressing with cabbage mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Makes 12 servings

Total time (prep+cooking): 3-4 hours

photo-credit: my own & national post

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Toronto's sister restaurant to The Black Hoof - the Hoof Cafe will be closing on February 28th! So for those of you carnivore lovers (me included) you must get there before it closes. I have been dying for ages to go, and this is just the push to do it!

The space will re open in April as a more upscale Black Hoof and Company!

Read more here from Jen and Grant about the crazy idea to change an already iconic spot into something new and completely different!

The good news - they will now be taking reservations! Yipee!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I found this article by Bonnie Stern in the National Post called "Better Cooking Through Chemistry." She pushes the fact that every kitchen needs a copy of Harold McGee's Keys to Good Cooking: a Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes. I had never heard of the book so naturally I was quite curious! McGee is a leading writer on the science of food and cooking and is a columnist for The New York Times. 

Bonnie writes that during her lunch with the San Francisco-based writer, his hope behind the book was "cooks would use this book while they’re standing in the kitchen cooking, and close the book once they get the answers." The book is full of information on techniques, food safety and purchasing/storing food. It's great because he explains the science behind a cooking process - helping you avoid the "what went wrong disaster" during a recipe.

The three recipes she highlighted in her article looked great, but the one that really stood out was the scone recipe! The best part about this recipe - that it truly was so simple, and helped me cook with ease!

I have been craving some lovely baked goods, real rustic ones that you find in a quaint cafe. So scones seemed to fit the bill. The recipe was for scones with dried cranberries, but I much prefer fresh fruit - so I substituted them for fresh blueberries. I can't explain how simple it was! My friend Kate was over so we made the scones together and the batter was literally done before my oven had pre-heated to 450 degrees. So wild - I think the whole cooking time including prep time and oven times was 25 minutes, 30 max! So easy - can't wait to make these one morning for a special brekky.

DRIED CRANBERRY SCONES (or blueberry like me!)
For tender scones, McGee says be sure to use fresh baking powder and/or baking soda; if the recipe calls for baking soda, be sure it also calls for an acid, such as buttermilk. Blend dry ingredients thoroughly — at least a minute of whisking (sifting lightens and removes lumps, but does not mix). Then, combine wet and dry ingredients quickly and bake immediately.

- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1⁄3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp coarse sugar

- In a large bowl combine flour with baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir mixture with a whisk for about 1 minute to combine thoroughly. Cut in butter until it’s in tiny bits. Stir in cranberries.
- Mix egg with milk and add to flour mixture. Gather mixture together and gently knead just until mixture forms a ball.
- On a floured work surface, pat dough into a round that’s approximately 10-inches (26 cm) in diameter. Cut into 8 wedges.
- Transfer scones to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake in a preheated 450F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Makes 8 scones

photo credit: my own


Pork is one those delicious meats that so many people forget about, but it is truly a great alternative to the classic beef or chicken.

Today is our Fundamentals of Butchery lab we butchered a pork rack and shoulder!

 Pork leg - skin on and all!
 Pork cutlets for a scallopini
 A pork roast - trussed (to tie up, in this case secure the meat for when it is cooking)

Pork is really one of the meats that I grew up on - I think we had pork tenderloin (PT as we called it) in our house every week. For a really great way to eat pork tenderloin - try using this marinade! Marinate the meat for as long as possible - but an hour or two will do!

My mom's famous PT marinade!

1/3 to 1/2 cup of soya sauce - low sodium if possible
1/4 cup of vegetable/canola/corn oil
1/4 cup sherry
8 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
a whole bunch of ginger - peeled and sliced
salt and pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Put it all in a jar and shake it like crazy!!
For a complete meal, serve with some crisp green beans tossed in butter, rice or we liked a little sweet potato on the side and a nice loaf of baguette warmed. For a healthier option, try making a warm salad of pork tenderloin (slices on top of the salad).  
Cooking tips for pork tenderloin:
In the oven - 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees F
On the BBQ - On medium with a hot hot grill - 8/9 minutes per side. Then a loose foil tent to cover for 2-4 minutes to let the juices retract

Photo credits: my own