Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Pike Place Market is one of my favourite places in Seattle.  I love it on a sunny summer's morning and a crisp winter afternoon. I love wandering the crowded aisles and eyeing the rows of colourful fruits and vegetables; hearing the calls of the fisherman in their rubber overalls wrapping up their catch of the day in brown paper and tossing it at the lucky person purchasing it. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

christmas nibblies.

For me, Christmas means food. 
And family.
And parties. 
And presents. 
But one of the main things I think about when I think of this lovely time of year is the feasts, feasts, feasts, feasts.

No-matter that by the time Christmas morning rolls around, I can barely fit into all the clothes that looked so lovely when I tried them on a mere three weeks ago. The food is pretty much worth risking that humiliating moment which, like Santa, somehow always manages to arrive.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

nana's shortbread cookies.

Everyone has a Nana or Grandma recipe that, to them, is the best in the world. One of my nana's "best in the world" recipes is her shortbread cookies that she makes every year at Christmas time. Now, I'm sure there are some out there that would be willing to fight me to the death on this one, and to them I say: bring it. I'll come out guns a'blazing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

azuma sushi.

Azuma has been a girls' lunch staple for years. In fact, whenever I'm back in my hometown Victoria, it seems my group of girlfriends and I always settle on it for our 'reunion meal.' And we did again last night. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Croissants (ham and cheese, left, plain with house-made jam, right), latte art
and fresh-squeezed pear-celery-apple juice at Thierry, Vancouver, B.C.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

chicken milanese with endive & cambozola.

After such a heavy meal at Brasserie L'ecole on Tuesday, we felt like something yummy-but-light on Wednesday night. And who did we turn to? ... Gwynnie, of course! And again, our girl delivered.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

thanksgiving food porn.

All this talk of the (now belated) American Thanksgiving had me wanting turkey. Again. Our family does turkey like no other and my nana's stuffing is, as far as I'm concerned, un-rivaled for Best In The World.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

enoteca sociale.

This past Wednesday, Lo, Gabbs and I had a hot date. 

With Lo's dad, Guy, that is. 

You see, he was visiting all the way from our hometown, Victoria, and we wanted to take him somewhere special for a meal (well really, it was him taking US out, but you catch my drift.) We'd heard great things about Enoteca Sociale, so we decided to head on down there for some Italian grub. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

caramelized apple grilled cheese

Three things about this sandwich that made me really happy:

1) The fact that it felt like dessert... for lunch. Which it probably was. But I'm still going to call it lunch (hey, whatever I gotta do to get by, right?)

2) How ridiculously easy it was to make. And the small ingredient list, most of which you likely already have sitting in your fridge/pantry as you read this.

3) How gooey and oozy and messy and fun to eat it was.

One thing that made me sad:

The fact that I left my camera at a friend's place and had to rely on my Blackberry to relay how awesome-looking it is to you. Which is falling short. Because it looked really awesome, and only looks somewhat awesome here. Sad face.

phone nibblies: part 1

I have a huge collection of food pictures on my phone that never made it to their own post - either I didn't take enough to fill a post with, I didn't deem the quality to be good enough to fill a post with, or I simply just never made one.

But why should these snapshots collect dust in my blackberry photo archives when I can share them with you? They may not be as pretty as the rest, but they're delicious and random and from all over the place.

And so, I bring to you part one of what may just become a regular installment: phone nibblies. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the burger's priest.

Some days, all that will do is a burger. (Please disregard the fact that this post occurred only a mere 3 days ago. Told you I'm tormented.)

This past Saturday was one of those days. I'd had a light dinner of cheese and nibblies the night before, and proceeded to dance off those calories and then some at the concert I attended after said dinner. On top of that, I peered into a fridge the next morning filled with absolutely nothing that appealed to me. So I waited until 3 p.m. to eat my first meal of the day. Yep, it was a big, fat, greasy burger kind of day.

friends & truffled brie.

There's something about the act of splurging on a hunk of delicious cheese that brings me a silly amount of happiness. Partially because I really, really enjoy cheese, and partially because it makes me feel preeettty cool to put a little dent in my sad bank account for a slab of the good stuff. Kinda makes me feel like I've really made it in life (ha ha ha). 

Monday, November 7, 2011

tomato & caramelized onion grilled cheese.

I am in a constant inner turmoil over meat. On one hand, I love it and many meals in which it is an instrumental ingredient. Can I picture my life without juicy burgers, tender roast chicken or heaping plates of my nana's sausage-filled stuffing at Thanksgiving and Christmas time? Not easily, no. I'm also a person who cries over touching animal videos and interrupts my own showers to save a centipede who's crawled up our drain, running downstairs with a towel, conditioner-coated hair and a glass to put him outside. And have you seen those things? They aren't even close to cute and fuzzy. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Dear Readers (is there anyone out there???) Starting a new job this week has left me with no time to muster up any semblance of a personality or a post. I'll be back next week with some delicious meals that I'll be eating in the meantime. I haven't abandoned you!

photo cred.

Friday, October 28, 2011

enchilada spaghetti.

Have you ever discovered a blog that feels like it was written just for you? One where every single recipe or picture posted is an instant 'bookmark' and every joke made has you chuckling along with the writer  as if you'd known them personally for years?  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

gilead café.

I've mentioned before that I don't like Sundays. But sometimes, I've discovered, with the right set of elements they can be turned around. This past Sunday was the kind of perfect, crisp, sunny fall day that I thought we'd completely skipped in Toronto this year. I was feeling far less groggy than usual. And we were going to Gilead Café for brunch.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Fresh is an oldie, but a goodie (there we go, already breaking new years resolutions... quelle surprise!) Their Bloor Street location reminds me of the good old university days when my roommate and I would drag our hungover corpses in to order brunch and the "Liver Flush" juice... and then go out again that night and pillage our bodies with more booze. Sigh. To be young.

Friday, October 21, 2011

kale chips.

I would have never made kale chips on my own. Ever. In fact, when my roommate Lo told me she was making them, I made fun of her. "Those sound... interesting," I said, in a tone that indicated I wasn't interested in them at all. I later told her I couldn't be paid to make them for myself. But as she prepped her ridiculous bunch of kale (see pic to follow) for the oven, I couldn't help but watch in intrigue. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

shrimp scampi.

Generally, my boyfriend and I disagree about meals. We rarely come to a full and happy agreement about what to cook, and we could probably never do the "order two meals and go halvsies" thing at a restaurant. He's a big seafood guy and prefers lighter, tomato, oil or pesto-based sauces with his pastas and meats - my palate is yawning as I type - whereas I'll rarely turn down anything rich, cheesy, creamy or fried (yup, guess who's never given a thought to their weight and who's best fashion-friend is leggings and the ever-forgiving black?) Basically, if we were to try and order calamari at a restaurant, he'd be gunning for the grilled variety with tomato olive salsa, whereas I'd be throwing a hissy fit about the deep fried with extra garlic-lemon mayo. So we just don't really share stuff.

Monday, October 17, 2011

the county general.


One of my goals for the year - I start my "years" in September... who needs to be trying to embark on a new path on January 1st, a day when you're likely hungover as all hell? - was to try as many new restaurants as possible and avoid my usual trap of just re-visiting favourites because I know they're good (a seemingly easy mission, but I am a big-time creature of comfort.) When my friend Vanessa mentioned The County General, a new place that opened on Queen West serving up a cool twist on Southern food, I was excited to try it. (If you're sensing a theme here, yes, Vanessa's a very good restaurant-finder.) I looove me some fried chicken.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

tomato pie.

This past summer, on a six-week-long backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, I had extremely limited time on the internet. Instead of spending my precious hours in crowded internet cafes updating Facebook or sending long emails to friends and relatives, I wandered the streets, beaches and temples, met people, drank too many buckets and discovered new restaurants and treats. Near the end of the six weeks, though, I was craving comfort food from home. Hard. (Despite their best efforts, a burger and fries doesn't quite taste the same over there - at least in the cheap spots I was eating, where local food is what's good on the menu.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

enchilada night.

Ever make something that just does not photograph well, no matter how delicious it is? I feel like that's the story of my just-beginning cooking life - desperately trying to get my home-cooked meals (which have been tasting pretty darn good, I must say!) to sit pretty for the camera, to no avail. But sometimes, that doesn't really matter.

A group of my best girlfriends (minus one or two!) got together last week to make a yummy-looking enchilada recipe we found on a blog we've been reading for a while, 20 Something Cupcakes. We shredded cheese and chicken, mashed guac, got jalapeño juice in our eyes, drank wine and of course, had a few belly-laughs. And when our enchiladas were ready, damn were we ready for them! The kitchen was a mess and the enchiladas were even messier, but it was undoubtedly the best night of my week. And so here's what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving: family; health; nights filled with wine, laughter and friends and good (albeit un-photogenic) food. Can't ask for much more than that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

guu izakaya.

My friend Vanessa is pretty cool and has great taste in restaurants and just about everything else so when she recently blogged about her trip to Japanese tapas restaurant Guu Izakaya, I knew I had to copy her and go. Last week, I met with another food-fanatic friend I'd met in a faraway land this summer (and who just happened to be from Toronto!) who'd also been to Guu and gave it the thumbs-up. I was excited.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

tuna mango avocado burritos.

Lately, I've been on a burrito kick. I know, right? Awesome for me, not so awesome for my pants. But hey, I'm enjoying it for the time being. Plus this little ditty that I whip up on the regular isn't too offending (or so I tell myself).

I'm the kind of person who discovers a great meal and proceeds to eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner for the next three weeks until I get sick of it and move onto the next passionate food fling. The initial invention of this wrap was no different, until something strange happened: I never... got... sick of it. Seriously, this burrito came into existence (albeit slightly less developed than how it stands today) over three years ago and it's still something I eat on a weekly basis. I've converted family members and friends. And I'm about to convert you!

Friday, September 30, 2011


My boyfriend recently moved to London, Ontario to start law school and one of the few things making me feel better about him being in a different city is the thought of all the new restaurants to discover. After doing some review-combing on (you guessed it!) good sushi restaurants, we discovered O"zen, an adorable little japanese-korean fusion restaurant on the main downtown strip last week.

The restaurant itself is cozy (read: packed every time we passed it) with cool decor and the menu had an impressive assortment of standard and specialty rolls, appies and korean dishes.

We weren't starving when we visited, so we each grabbed an avocado salad ($3.95) with "signature O"zen dressing" - a great sweet and tangy japanese-style vinaigrette - and a couple rolls. My spicy tuna with avocado ($5.50) - while sadly unphotographed - came with an amazing spicy mayo (yes, I always order extra on the side) that had a similar spicy-sweet essence to the salad dressing. As a proud spicy-mayo connoisseur, I have to say it was one of the best I've had (HUGE deal). 

Glav had the black dragon roll ($13), which was barbecue eel and avocado on top of a dynamite roll (not an eel fan, didn't even try it) and I ordered the rocket roll ($12, pictured above), a masterpiece of spicy salmon, cream cheese, avocado and tempura bits topped with torched salmon, sweet onion and drizzled in spicy sauce. While I'm not usually big on salmon sashimi, everything here worked perfectly and again, the sauce brought it all together in the most divine way (need to find out what's in that stuff!) The torched salmon on top gave it a slightly smokey hint and the sweet onions were sliced thinly enough to impart just a touch of their flavour. Mmm.

In summary, we may have hit the jackpot for our favourite London sushi spot on first try. In fact, I'm visiting this weekend to experience the debauchery that is Western Homecoming, and if I'm presentable enough at any point in the weekend to be eating at a restaurant, I just might hit up O"zen for round two - no promises though. 

607 Richmond Street
London, Ontario
(519) 642-2558

Thursday, September 29, 2011

big fat burrito.

Sunday was a beautiful day, and by noon my best friend/housemate and I found ourselves wandering the ever-bumpin-on-weekends Kensington market. While the street performers and jewellery stalls were tempting, Big Fat Burrito was more so as we hadn't had time for breakfast before leaping out the door into the sunlight. Drawing consistent crowds since its 2005 opening, Big Fat Burrito is famous among Kensingtonians for dishing up big, fat, cheap and fresh burritos to the masses from their corner shack on Augusta. As a major 'rrito fan, it was shocking that in my years in the city I'd never been.

I immediately loved the price, and the fact that all the toppings on the right were included (hate places that try to charge you extra for the good stuff, like guac or sour cream - like it would be an option to have a burrito without guac or sour cream!) I chose the yam burrito, topped it up with everything and asked for both the burrito sauce -a garlicky mayo- and sour cream (too much sauce? I think not.)

 Gabbs' yam burrito was decidedly drier (read: she has more restraint) and prettier than mine, which was a downright sauce-y mess...

...But we do know that sometimes the messiest meals are the most delicious. The sweet yams contrasted wonderfully with the garlic mayo -much like a sauce you'd dip yam fries in- the rest of the veggies were fresh and crunchy and the size and poundage did not disappoint. When I go again, I'll up the spice factor, as I chose medium but could have definitely handled spicier. Nonetheless, I left the joint perfectly full and with a lot less spare change in my purse (yes, I was actually able to pay with spare change floating around in the bottom of my bag - the joy!) Next time you're in Kensington, grab a burrito at this place, if you haven't beat me to it - which you likely have.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

strawberries, brown sugar, sour cream.

If you're lucky enough to still have a few local strawberries kicking around (which we do in Ontario!) then make this before it's too late.

Strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar. The most effortless of dessert efforts (or snack or breakfast efforts... it's your life!) Something my nana used to make for my mom when she was a little girl. Three ingredients. Four simple steps.

1) Dip.

2) Roll.

3) Eat.

4) Repeat!

PS. Not sure about the sour cream thing? Don't substitute it with whipped cream or anything sweet. The brown sugar offsets the tanginess of the sour cream in the most wonderful way when combined with the juicy berry (and would be too sweet with anything less tart.) Trust!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Chances are you've never heard of Gjetost, and if you're wondering whether or not you've tried it, chances are you haven't. This is definitely not a flavour to be easily forgotten. I was introduced to this Norwegian goat cheese a few months ago at a friend's grandparents' summer home. We'd been driving up to Hornby Island for a weekend of camping and beaching and got very lost along the way - thus, we had to spend a night at her grandparents' place up-island (the laughs about just pitching a tent in the backyard and calling it a weekend were endless.) In the morning, they served toast, fruit and porridge to fuel us for the journey ahead, along with a thin slice of this strange cheese. 

"We tried it last night at our neighbour's place and loved it so much they gave us a hunk. It's a goat cheese but it tastes just like candy," her grandmother informed us as we sat, poised to pop this cheese in our mouths. My initial thought was that "candy" was a strange way to describe a cheese's flavour. Two seconds later, I realized just how spot-on her description was. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the eatery.

For any sushi lover that lives in or near Vancouver, The Eatery is a holy, holy place. I mean, I recently made a journey across the ocean from Victoria to eat there, thinly veiled as a "shopping trip" (I bought one top.)

I don't even know where to begin with The Eatery. The decor is kooky and eye-catching enough that if you're on a bad date you'll barely need to converse, the ambience is casual-fun with a student crowd and DJs spinning on weekend nights, the drinks are delicious and the sushi is crazy creative (and cheap!) HOW DOES THIS PLACE EXIST?

Anyways, before I get scarily excited here, I'll cut to the food. I don't know who is responsible for dreaming up some of the ridiculous creations this place spits out, but I like them. Bacon, prosciutto, papaya, fried chicken or tempura banana in your roll, anyone? (Not altogether, obviously... I'm not that insane.) While these ingredients might seem a little out-there, they're always put together in a way that works, and there are tons of options for the tamer sushi-lover, too.

We ordered an outrageous amount of sushi during our last visit to the mainland, and took almost as many pictures.

Monday, September 12, 2011

eggs benny à la lockie.

I'll confess. I'm pretty sure I'm not a "Sunday Person." 

I know that that lovely little day is supposed to make me want to take my dogs on long walks through parks, sip seasonally-flavored lattes and smile and laugh and "catch up" with friends, but by the time Sunday rolls around, more often than not I'm lacking pep in my step. Maybe it's because whatever wonderful weekend I've just had is drawing to a close, or perhaps it has to do with the number of alcoholic beverages I've usually consumed the night before, but generally my mood is less than desirable.

Last Sunday, however, I opened my blinds to beautiful weather and my bedroom door to the heavenly smell of buttery onions and tarragon wafting from downstairs of my family home and knew it was going to be a good one.

My father cooks only on occasion, and when he does, it's sure to be magnificent. Having attended French cooking classes led by a Cordon Bleu trained chef in Vancouver a number of years ago, most of his recipes are indulgently French, sauce-y (read: amazing) and perfected to a T. His eggs benedict with sauce béarnaise is no exception.

Similar in a lot of ways to hollandaise sauce (but, I think, better!) my dad's béarnaise uses a reduction of green onions, parsley, tarragon wine vinegar and other delicious stuff to give it an extra flavour kick, while still retaining the artery-clogging goodness that comes from the typical hollandaise base of clarified butter and egg yolks. It is heaven on earth. Serve on a late weekend morning with fresh squeezed orange juice, and your worries (or Sunday blues) will disappear almost as quickly as the masterpiece on your plate. 

poolside pasta.

Some of the best meals, luckily for those of us who don't love to spend hours in the kitchen, are the simple ones prepared with good ingredients. The Spaghetti Aglio e Olio my mom regularly cooks (from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook How Easy Is That? that I recently purchased for myself!) is one of the above. A bit of garlic, good olive oil, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, parsley and freshly grated parmesan and you have yourself a pasta that feels straight-outta-Italy in it's "I'm not trying hard but I still taste amazing" vibe. Don't mistake the simple preparation for simple flavour; meek, this pasta is not.

My parents recently had family friends over and served this poolside on a warm summer night. Our friend Sally brought a gorgeous salad of grilled seasonal veggies (heirloom tomatoes so sweet and flavourful I finally understood why they're classified as a fruit!) with balsamic, feta and paprika-dusted crème fraîche to complete the perfect al fresco meal - light, effortless, divine. Obviously, don't forget the wine!

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe can be found here!