Café Boulud, Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto

I made it out to Café Boulud recently on a wintery Friday night.  It was the perfect setting in which to keep warm against the outside chill.  Luxe leather chairs and banquettes paired with contemporary French bistro style lighting, created very much a French bistro feel.  Every detail has been thought through down to the bistro style red striping on the cloth napkins.

The restaurant is owned by renowned chef Daniel Boulud.  The vision behind the café is a menu “rooted in French tradition, highlighting both bistro classics and contemporary dishes inspired by Chef Daniel’s family meals in Lyon.”

The only down side at all, is on a busy night, the noise from D bar one level down, Cafe Boulud is on a mezzanine level overhanging the bar which means if you are seated near the edge of the restaurant you can hear rowdy groups below.  Thankfully the café is enchanting enough that it’s able to keep you distracted for the most part.

We started the meal with the Canadian oysters, a selection of 6 market oysters at $18cdn, fresh and served with a light mignonette.

Also started with the Foie Gras au Torchon, served with cherry and green almond light spread and toasted brioche at $24cdn.  The foie gras was not seared as I normally have it but was li
ght.  I was not a huge fan however of the toasted brioche because I felt it took away from the delicate nature of the foie gras, it was also difficult to spread the foie gras on it. Overall I
likely would not order this starter again.

 

 

As my main I ordered the Confit de Canard.  Slow cooked duck, perigord style sautéed potatoes, and parsley salad for $36cdn.  I have absolutely nothing but glowing praise for this dish.  The duck was absolutely perfect and pretty much melted in my mouth.  I would order this again in a heartbeat!

My companion ordered the Homard aux Choux, grilled lobster with bok choy cabbage and ginger beurre blanc for $56cdn.  The lobster was perfectly done and there certainly was not a single bite left on the plate.  The presentation and plating was also stunning.

Unfortunately there was no room in my tummy for dessert, next time I’ll probably forgo an appetizer to ensure I can finish off with a sweet.  Looking around, a popular selection seemed to be the Baked Alaska for two, pistachio and vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and fresh meringue flambeed with kirsch.  It was a show watching the flambéing done table side.

For full menu, to make reservations, and any other additional information visit the Café Boulud website HERE.

3 Top Spots in New Orleans French Quarter

Processed with Snapseed.

This past fall I had the awesome opportunity to take a short trip down to New Orleans (affectionately known as NOLA).  I’m not going to go through my whole trip because, let’s be real, all you really wanna know is some foodie spots to hit up right?

Well I’ve selected my top 3 spots within the French Quarter that must be included in any trip you make to NOLA. 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

Discovering Collingwood Ontario

Processed with Snapseed.

This past spring  I spend a weekend bumming around Collingwood Ontario with my girls. With amazing craft beer, wine, and culinary delights, the weekend was better then we ever could have hoped for. Here are the highlights of our trail of eating, drinking, and relaxing.

Northwinds Brew House: A very small brewery in terms of production with a delicious restaurant to dine in.  My favorite part of the brewery component was how artistic Northwinds is with their bottle labels.  They have the original concept sketches framed on the wall representing where each table was born from.  I was disappointed that they have not made prints of the sketches to sell, I definitely would have purchased a couple.

The appetizers were my favourite part of the meal.  Delicious tempura asparagus with chili soy dipping sauce was a hit with the table.  A crispy deep fried treat that didn’t make us feel guilty because the batter was so light. Also for the table we ordered the beer pretzels which are made in house and served with cheese sauce and whole grain beer mustard.  The beer pretzels were served warm in a mason jar, the presentation stole my heart for sure.

As my main I ordered one of the specials of the night, striploin steak served with asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes (which i subbed for the house fries), and bernaise sauce.  The steak did not seem to be of the best quality as a bit chewier then I was used to, the asparagus and house fries were delicious.  The bernaise sauce as well was quite the nice accompaniment except it was a tad too salty which at times overwhelmed the dish.  My companions had one of the regular menu items, the chicken and waffles.  Buttermilk fried chicken served on jalapeño cheddar corn bread waffles and drizzled with local maple syrup that were an instant hit around the table.  Website HERE. 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.

DaiLo, Toronto

DaiLo pork belly
I just experienced one of the best culinary experiences of my life at DaiLo. I went knowing it had gotten some acclaim and good reviews but, WOW, it was beyond any experience I could have imagined.

The menu right off the bat looked delicious from an a la carte stand point, but we soon figured out that our best bet by far was selecting the chefs tasting menu. This is one of the most spectacular tastings you will ever have and is at a complete steal of a price at $55 per person. We were blown away when we were told that as a party of three we would have the opportunity to taste approximately ten dishes. Continue reading

Fring’s, Toronto

Frings decor

I’d been humming and hawing about trying Fring’s for a while. Hesitation being that it would be pretentious and overpriced just based on the owners and also due to some unfavorable reviews I’d read.

Fring’s was conceived through the new partnership of Chef Susur Lee and Toronto music star Drake.

The culinary experience was better then I expected to be. The decor of the restaurant was entrancing and immediately won me over, a version of elevated shabby chic with rich colours and varying textures throughout.

Don’t get me wrong there was definitely a pretentious attitude to the place though. Firstly right off the bat, whether you are reserving online or checking in for your reservation at the restaurant, you are told the time limit on your table. I get that they are reserving tables back to back but this seemed unnecessary and made us feel as though we would be rushed through the evening. (chances are you probably won’t linger more then the 2 hour time limit anyways, unless the kitchen is slow).  Continue reading

Eataly, Chicago

Eataly encompassed

I first discovered what joy was to be found within Eataly while recently walking through the original North American location in New York City. Now That same joy can be found in Chicago. Eataly was founded and created by Oscar Farinetti, an Italian businessmen who got his start in Italy at UniEuro, originally a small appliance and food retail store that he turned into one of the largest electronics retailers in Italy. Oscars mission with Eataly is “to make high quality Italian foods available to everyone, at fair prices and in an environment where people can shop taste and learn”.

Eataly was brought to North America by two driving forces, both sides passionate about true Italian food. The first B&B Hospitality Group which is the collaboration of culinary greats Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.  The other force being brothers Alex and Adam Saper whom through their discovery of Oscar’s Eatalys in Italy became passionate in their quest to bring it to North America.

All these amazing people have done something truly delightful by bringing the Italian marketplace experience right to the heart of North America. As mentioned previously Chicago is the second location with locations soon to open in Boston and Los Angeles along with a second location in New York. Future plans include introducing Eataly across more of North America and moving into South America as well. The concept has already been established in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Continue reading

Aux Anciens Canadien, Quebec City

Aux Anciens Canadien

On a recent visit to Québec city I felt the last night was the perfect time to visit one of the cities classic Quebecois establishments.  The restaurant has been housed in the historic Maison Jacquet since 1966.  The Maison one of the oldest houses in Québec, built in 1675-76. More on the history HERE.

If you are tall be prepared to stoop a bit in some parts of the restaurant, as it really is housed in a piece of history, where apparently people were not as tall.  Warm lighting and a snapping fireplace welcome you into the dining room for a true Canadian Quebecois meal fit for royalty.  Take the opportunity to order a game meat as if you are going to do it anywhere, do it here where the cooking is spot on and the meat is really honored with the best acruements. Continue reading