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.

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.

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

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

Antler Kitchen & Bar, Toronto

Antler Kitchen & Bar

A contemporary Canadian cuisine restaurant nestled on Dundas Street West.  Self described aim is to “define Canadian cuisine highlighting local seasonal and wild foods”.  The restaurant gives off the vibe of being rustic with an upscale feel.

I started the evening with a delicious and smooth Blood Fashioned cocktail.  Made with blood orange, Appleton’s rum, bitters, and demerara sugar, served in a highball with a perfectly formed single large ice cube. I could drink these all night but thankfully know my limits. Continue reading

Brunch @ Peter Pan Bistro, Toronto

Peter Pan Bistro little touches

Peter Pan Bistro has quite the culinary history in Toronto.  Originally opened as the restaurant Savoy over 120 years ago, it was renamed Peter Pan Lunch in the 1920s.   The Peter Pan was taken over almost two years ago by chef Noah Goldberg and his father in order to fulfill chef Noah’s dream of having his own restaurant.  The rejuvenated Peter Pan Bistro has culinary foundations rooted in British and French principles. The Bistro also uses the “nose to tail” philosophy of ensuring responsible use of all ingredients.

I visited for brunch this past weekend and was impressed with the lovely space. Adorned with 14-foot high tin ceilings and polished oak booths running along the one side of the restaurant which are from the original space and bring you back to a different time. The bar is also done in wood with original marble bar top that one can tell holds years of stories.  I love that the restaurant has added some more contemporary touches blended in with the history, such as wall tapestries that have woodland creature heads sticking out from them.  Continue reading

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.