Ricarda’s, Toronto (Summerlicious 2018 visit)

One of the things I love about Toronto is, twice a year they have food specials at various restaurants around the city. Winterlicious and Summerlicious give you the opportunity to try restaurants that you may not have otherwise decided to go to (or shell out money for in the case of the more expensive establishments. During these two times a year, restaurants offer a 3 course set menu for lunch and/or dinner. 

This year I decided to check out the lunch at Ricarda’s, a relatively new restaurant in the heart of downtown Toronto. Located at the corner of Richmond and Peter streets, it opened in July of 2016. Ricarda’s describes themselves as featuring “a novel and pure form of hospitality to Canadians, otherwise only known to the fortunate few who have had the chance to experience traveling to the countryside of southern Europe and the Mediterranean coast.” Continue reading

SwirLTO, Toronto

swirl-to

The countdown is on!

With September 30th comes the do not miss event of Fall, SwirlTO.  Described as “an elevated beverage experience”, this is sure to top the beverage and culinary events for 2016.

Being held at the Carlu in the heart of Toronto, this venue alone will lay the perfect backdrop for an elegant and refined experience.

When it comes to culinary and beverage events, I probably share the same frustration as other participants, and that is I always end up spending a bundle by the end of the night.  First you need to buy your entrance ticket, often offered at different price levels depending on access priority access or not.  Then you need to buy tokens or tickets to even be able to sample anything…. by the end of the night you’re bound to be topping a minimum spend of $200 without even realizing it.

SwirlTO will not only provide a more elevated experience in presentation but, they also do away with the whole concept of tokens and tickets for your sampling.  Your ticket to this event gives you all inclusive access to tastings of wine, spirits, and beers in addition to entertainment.  To top it all off Oliver & Bonacini will be offering distinctive food pairings throughout the evening. Continue reading

Let’s go to the Ex….. and EAT

Going to the Ex each year has been a tradition since I moved to Toronto 24 years ago. In recent years I have fully embraced the assortment of crazy food that has emerged each season.

This year while I go on my culinary tour of wackiness I will be live updating this post with pictures and thoughts of every item I dare to try.

Stand by and let your tummy fill through me… And don’t forget, you still have the whole weekend to get to the Ex yourself.

Updates will start approximately 5pm est.
4:30pm at the  Ex!! in search of a “snack” to start the night
4:57pm in search of The Cheesery
5:03pm about to bite into the rainbow grilled cheese (found the Cheesery in the back section of the midway)

Thoughts: decent grilled cheese, fun colours, too light on the cheese. Love the sweetness the sprinkles add. Great options for kids

5:16pm do I dare try the pulled pork cinnamon bun from Howies cinnamon rolls on the midway?

Decided to save the cinnamon bun for dessert

6:07pm found Nutella food truck near kids area with free sample. Nutella on a Belgium waffle or in a fruit cup

7:29pm in a very long line to try a ramen burger

7:54pm I think I’m the next in line to order…. And then further anticipation to actually receive it


So close yet so far….

8:09pm finally!!!!

Processed with Snapseed.
Processed with Snapseed.


Thoughts? Interesting texture combination.  I like it just wish the noodles were crunchier and had a bit of seasoning added to them. Everything on it is awesome though

8:48pm in another crazy line now for a shake at frans crazy shakes

9:14pm. Most beautiful shake I’ve seen

10:56pm.. home and another food fest at the CNE is done for this Toronto foodie… now I need to go work off all these calories.

For more information on the CNE visit HERE.

Sweetery Food Festival Aug 20 – 21 2016, Toronto

Sweetery

This is the second year that Toronto is fortunate to have a festival dedicated specifically to sweet food.  As founder of the Sweetery Food Festival, Nic Yu has her goal in mind.  “We aim to be dubbed the largest sweets summer festival ever hosted in the country attracting an estimated 30.000 sugar craving individuals to this two-day event”.

The festival is a completely free and an all ages event.  It is also a not-for-profit organization that strives to not only allow attendees to participate in a variety of activities but also generates funds to benefit Second Harvest charity. Funds will be raised through an increased amount of games that on top of helping Second Harvest also allow participants to score a “sweet prize”.  For a donation (large would be nice… wink ..wink), participants can test their knowledge in six different challenges ranging from candy trivial to a gumball shake! sure to be a fun time!

If trivia isn’t your thing, have no fear.  The festival focus is on providing attendees with an abundance of culinary delights to amaze you.  Some of the indulgences expected this year are funnel cake ice-cream sandwiches, candied bacon marshmallow, pressed juice pops, and iced coffee parfaits.

Your experience at the Sweetery Food Festival can also be educational, imagine that!  George Brown college students will be on site to provide tutorials and live demonstrations on some of their skills and artistries that go into crafting their confectionary masterpieces.

Don’t miss out, make sure you visit the Sweetery Food Festival at David Pecaut Square (King St and John St) Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21. Saturday 11am – 11pm, Sunday 11am – 9pm.

Check Sensi Di Colpa’s instagram page the morning of Saturday August 20th for some sneak peeks of our faves of the festival.

For additional information, visit the festival’s website HERE.

 

NOTE: Picture property of sweeterytoronto.com.  Factual information contained within this post provided by the Sweetery Food Festival.

Eating and Drinking Your Way Through Toronto this Summer

Toronto Food Festivals

Each year there are many events though out Toronto that feature delicious food.  The only problem is it is hard to remember when and where they all are. Here is a chronological list of some of the events you may want to check out this summer and where to get more information on each.

Mac’n Cheese Festival: June 3 – 5, Ontario Place.  General admission is free, VIP tickets can be purchased now and include perks such as line bypass and advance tokens for food purchases.  More information HERE.  Ticket purchases HERE.

Toronto Taste: June 12, Corus Quay.  General admission is $260 ($125 is tax deductible as it is a charity event).  Additional information HERE.

Front Street Food Market: June 13 – August 5.  Adelaide Place 150 York Street.  Free Admission.  Additional Information HERE.

Beach BBQ and Brews Festival: June 17 – 19, Woodbine Park.  Free Admission, further details HERE.

Taste of Little Italy: June 17 – 19, Little Italy (College street From Bathurst to Shaw streets).  Admission is free, additional details HERE.

Taste of Toronto:  June 23 – 26, Garrison Common at Fork York.  Tickets on sale now. Further information and ticket purchase HERE.

Ribfest Toronto: June 30 – July 3, Centennial Park in Etobicoke.  There is a $2 admission request at the gate, all purchases for the event are cash only.  Further information HERE.

Summerlicious: July 8 – 24, various restaurants around Toronto.  Sign up to receive additional details HERE.

Toronto Festival of Beer: July 22 – 24, Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place.  Tickets range from $42.50 to $80.50.  For further information and ticket purchase HERE, Saturday July 23rd already sold out.

Waterfront Night Market: July 22 – 24.  T&T Supermarket, Toronto Waterfront.  Additional information HERE.

Toronto Food Truck Festival: July 29 – 31, Woodbine Park.  Additional information HERE.

Taste of the Danforth: August 5 – 7, Danforth Avenue.  Admission is free, additional information HERE.

Hot & Spicy Food Festival: Aug 19 – 21, Harbourfront Centre.  Event summary HERE.

Sweetery Toronto Food Festival: Aug 20 – 21, David Pecaut Square.  Free admission. 2016 is the Inaugural year for this festival.  Additional information HERE.

Wild Blueberry Festival: August Specific date to be determined, Evergreen Brickworks.  Free Admission though there are different activities to which tickets can be bought for. Check HERE for additional details as they become available.

Canada’s Coconut Festival: Aug 27, David Pecaut Square.  Free Admission.  Additional information HERE.

Food and Wine Festival:  September, exact dates to be determined. Evergreen Brickworks.  2015 website HERE, should be updated once exact dates are determined.

Food Truck Festival Ontario: TBD

Cinco de Mayo with Sabra!

Sabra cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo is  is a celebration to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 under General Ignacio Zaragoza Sequin..  It is a celebrated victory especially as it was considered quite an unlikely one.

The victory represented a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and the Mexican people at large. Time magazine has described it as, “The Puebla victory came to symbolize unity and pride for what seemed like a Mexican David defeating a French Goliath.”  This victory helped establish a much-needed sense of national unity and patriotism among Mexican people.

These days to many, Cinco de Mayo means one thing: a fiesta! And who doesn’t like an excuse for a party! This May, make entertaining easy with Sabra’s Veggie Fusions, a zesty dip that combines the traditional taste of guacamole with veggies and fruit, with 25% less fat. Offered in two fiesta-worthy flavours: Garden Vegetable and Mango Lime, Veggie Fusions is sure to add some olé to your celebration. Dip in with Sabra and get out of the kitchen and back to the party.

Cinco Avocado Facts:

Uno: Guacamole is one of the oldest traditional American foods still made today

Dos: The word guacamole comes from the Aztec Nahuatl words for avocado, ‘ahuactl,’ and sauce, ‘mulli’

Tres: The good fats in avocados help your body to absorb nutrients

Quatro: This year, emoji creator Unicode will be releasing an avocado emoji

Cinco: There are more than 3 million #avocado hashtags on Instagram

Well Sensi Di Colpa and Sabra want to help liven up your Cinco de Mayo with a Sabra de Mayo prize valued at $50! but you don’t have long! 

To be in the running to win this prize all you need to do is tell Sensi Di Colpa your yummiest and most inventive way you like to cook/prepare avocados in your household.  The submission that impresses us the most will win the prize valued at $50!

IMPORTANT: In order to have a chance to win this awesome prize, please ensure you send your submission through the below contact form by 11:59pm Wednesday May 4th, 2016.  You may wake up on Cinco de Mayo with some yummy Sabra news!

Fine Print: to enter this contest you must be a resident of Canada.

 

NOTE: this is a sponsored contest with prize provided by Sabra.

Green Living Show 2016, Toronto

Green Living Show

Green living is becoming more and more important in our day to day lives in order to hand over a healthy planet to future generations.

I had the pleasure of attending a preview of what this year’s Green Living Show will have to offer.  The Green Living Show is celebrating its 10th year with a great line up of exhibitors and speakers, who are all determined to start strong on another decade of healthy and sustainable living.  Being a foodie I was especially interested in the sampling of what will be on offer in the Pollinators’ Plate Food and Drink pavilion.

This pavilion will be focusing on the importance pollinators (yes bees) have on our food system. Did you know that at least one out of every three bites of food can be attributed to the work of pollinators? This is one of several incredible things I learned.

AlveoleMy favourite exhibitor at the preview was Alvéole, a company working around Toronto and Montreal cultivating honey on various rooftops. They will also help you grow your own honey. The company will come and install the hive on your roof or in your back yard and perform regular check-ups.  They will then harvest 10kg of honey from your hive at their honey house and you can participate in the process.

What was really incredible to me was how the honey from neighborhoods around Toronto really altered in colour. This is based on the difference in Eco systems from one neighborhood to the next. If having bees in your backyard is not your thing (though the company has solid teachings on how harmless bees truly are) then you can buy already cultivated honey right from the company bottled by neighborhood. HERE for more information.

The Green Living Show runs from April 15th to 17th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Tickets prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, children under 12 are free. On Friday April 15th adults save $5 after 4pm. For tickets and additional information visit their website HERE.

Ginapalooza 2016, Toronto – Montreal – Calgary – Vancouver

Ginapalooza

Last night Ginapalooza kicked off in Toronto.  The second annual Ginapalooza includes 4 cities, 25 gin brands, 40 venues, and 120 unique gin cocktails. If that wasn’t awesome enough there are also some amazing prizes to be won including a trip for two to London England, the birthplace of gin.

On hand last night was Ryan Powell, Canadian brand ambassador for Beefeater gin, whom gave me an amazing lesson on the foundation of creating gin. I had no idea the different components that go into some gins such as juniper (most common), coriander seed, lemon peel, Seville orange peel, almond, Angelica root and more. When I really took the time to breathe in the gin (glass to nose and breathe through mouth) I was able to get the complexity of it and appreciate gin in a new way.

GInapalooza Beefeater

Now how does Ginapalooza work?  first you need to obtain a G pass which is available at any of your cities participating venues.  List of venues HERE. Next get a stamp in your G pass for every Ginapalooza cocktail you consume.  Your G pass also seconds as your event guide containing all the information you need to have an awesome time during Ginapalooza.

Ginapalooza runs for 2 weeks in each of the participating cities, during which time you will have the opportunity to taste up to 30 distinct gin inspired cocktails in each city.

Now prizes, for each stamp you get in your G pass you will also earn an entry ticket for a chance to win any of the prizes available for this years Ginapalooza.

Ginapalooza runs in Toronto April 6 – 20, Montreal April 27 – May 11, Calgary May 18 – June 1, Vancouver June 15 – 29.

More information on Ginapalooza HERE.

Late Night Affair – Saturday Nights @ Montecito, Toronto

Montecito Late Night Affair Directors Lounge

This week Montecito launched Late Night Affair, their Saturday night event located within their bar area named the directors lounge.. Marketed as the lounge to be where you get to skip dealing with bouncers, cover charges, and crowded dance floors, and they pulled out all the stops for the launch.

Montecito is the creation of Ivan Reitman, acclaimed director and Jonathan Waxman, a Master Chef.  The restaurant is described as the combination of casual elegance with effortless sophistication.   Fittingly so, the restaurant is located just steps from the Toronto Film Festival headquarters TIFF Bell Lightbox in the heart of downtown Toronto. Continue reading

The Evergreen Winter Village

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Visit The Evergreen Winter Village for a variety of holiday needs.  I visited today while it was still mild out and found a completely charming and unique set up.

Every Saturday and Sunday in December (with a couple other days thrown in) experience the Local Maker Market.  Housed in individual shipping containers being utilized as pop-up shops, you will be able to see a variety of 50 different artisans and makers over the month on a rotating schedule.  You will find unique gifts for the holiday season ranging from clothing and all natural lotions to healthy granola and nuts. Continue reading