Holiday Baking, Christmas Markets, and Cooking Demos – A Sneak Peek at the December Food Calendar!

Leave a comment

A sneak peek at the delightfully delicious December Food Calendar!

Christmas at the Park in Colborne Lodge – November 24-January 6; Tuesdays to Sundays from 12pm-4pm (closed on Mondays, December 25, 26, and January 1).  South end of High Park on Colborne Lodge Drive.  Adults $7.08, Seniors $4.42 Youths $3.81, Children $4.42 (plus tax).  Celebrate the magical season of winter in the beautiful, natural setting of High Park with a tour of Victorian home, Colborne Lodge, where you’ll enjoy decorations, traditions, and food from 19th century Toronto including hot mulled cider and holiday treats!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#colborne

Toronto Christmas Market at The Historic Distillery District – November 30-December 16.  FREE; cost of food and drink on-site.  The sparkling, wintry outdoor market is back at the Distillery District for its 3rd holiday season!  Presented by Lowe’s, the Christmas Market infuses old-town holiday charm with European street market appeal with everything from twinkly night light displays to street vendors selling teas, coffees, European meats, hot food, baked goods, and food gift baskets, to the market’s iconic giant Christmas tree!  http://www.torontochristmasmarket.com/

Traditional Nutcracker Afternoon Tea at King Edward Hotel, November 30-December 31.  Friday-Sunday, 2:30pm-5pm seatings.  37 King Street East.  $39 +tax/person.  Delight the senses this holiday season at the King Edward Hotel’s special festive nutcracker afternoon tea service!  Bursting with holiday treats, the afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, pastries, sweets, and scones in a beautiful festive dining palace!  http://www.thekingedwardhotel.com/festiveseason

80/10/10 Meet & Greet Potluck – Toronto Vegetarian Association, December 1.  6pm.  4 Kinsdale Blvd., Apt 303.  FREE; bring a raw fruit or vegetable (plant-based) potluck dish (no animal products and no cooked food).  Meet fellow raw foodists and vegetarians and enjoy a fantastic potluck dinner inspired by the 80/10/10 diet!  So, what is the 80/10/10?  Pioneered by Dr. Doug Graham, the 80/10/10 diet is a low-fat, plant-based diet devoted to raw food (predominantly fresh and uncooked fruits and vegetables) composed of a minimum of 80% carbohydrates, a maximum of 10% fat and a maximum of 10% protein.  Come to the potluck, bring a dish, and gain a wealth of knowledge and support from fellow 80/10/10’ers and those who are trying it out for the first time in and around the city!   http://veg.ca/component/option,com_jcalpro/Itemid,150/extmode,view/extid,10877/

Christmas Baking Workshop at the Mackenzie House, December 1.  9am-11:30am.  82 Bond Street.  $20 +tax/person.  Pre-registration and pre-payment required; call 416 392-6915 to book.  As part of Toronto’s historic sites cultural program, the Mackenzie House hosts a delicious Christmas treats baking workshop where participants will get to make homemade Victorian Christmas pudding, candy, and cookies in the historic kitchen!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#mackenzie

Gingerbread House Workshop at Montgomery’s Inn, December 1 and 2.  11am (December 1 only), 1pm, or 3pm.  4709 Dundas Street West at Islington Ave.  $30 +tax/gingerbread house.  Pre-registration required; call 416-394-8113.  Make gingerbread house making a family event at Montgomery’s Inn as you piece together your sweet dream house with all the tools, candies, and sweet treats you can stomach!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#montgomery

Holiday Baking Bonanza for Children at Scarborough Museum, December 1 and 2.  1pm-4pm.  1007 Brimley Road, just north of Lawrence Ave. in Thomson Memorial Park.  20 +tax/person, for children ages 5-12.  Pre-register online at http://www.toronto.ca/torontofun or call 416-338-4FUN.  The holidays just wouldn’t be the holidays without a massive dose of fun baking!  Children will have the chance to bake some delicious holiday treats in the woodstove and the hearth, as well as take home a special recipe booklet along with their fresh baked goods.  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#scarborough

Mariposa’s Holiday Dinner Cruise, December 1, 7, 8, 14, and 15.  6:30pm-10:30pm.  6:30pm boarding time.  207 Queens Quay West at the Queens Quay Terminal.  $72.95 +fees and taxes.  Celebrate the holiday season in culinary style at one of Mariposa’s holiday dinner cruises on Toronto’s harbour!  Menu items include shrimp and scallop pasta, roast turkey, prime rib of beef, winter root vegetables, Mediterranean dips and breads, and so much more!  Enjoy a festive evening and a grand winter wonderland buffet dinner on a beautifully decorated cruise ship.  http://www.mariposacruises.com/cruises-special-events.php

Christmas Mince Pies at Fort York National Historic Site, December 2.  11am-3pm.  250 Fort York Boulevard.  $40 +tax/person; to pre-register call 416-392-6907 ext. 225.  Enjoy an historic cooking class during the festive holiday season!  Learn how to make traditional mincemeat pies using tools and recipes from the historic mess kitchen, savour lunch on the premises while you’re at it, and take home recipes and the delicious pies that you make afterward.  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#fort

Continue Reading »

Advertisements

Hooked on Buttery, Crunchy Fish n’ Chips, Grilled Fish & Salad and More – The One That Got Away Fish House on King West!

1 Comment

The creamy, tangy taste of tartar sauce, the moist flakiness of fresh fish, and the delightful, delicious crunch of hot crispy batter straight out of the fryer – ah, the tastes of fish n’ chips, melting in your mouth.  I LOVE fish n’ chips.  Out of all the different types of classic pub fare out there, fish n’ chips is my ultimate favourite.  I don’t have it often.  Twice a year at best.  But when I do?  Heaven on earth.  And believe it or not, amazing fish n’ chips places are hard to find simply because not all fries are created equal (and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’ve all had a less than stellar experience with subpar French fries at least once in our life) and some places just aren’t very, well, scenic.  I know we’re eating pub fare and all but I’d like to feel at least somewhat comfortable in a space that doesn’t look like a janitorial closet married a cheap take-out joint.

Lucky for me, I’ve had some fab experiences with great fish n’ chips and battered fish dishes in and around the city including my personal favourites, King’s Table on Queen East in the Beaches and Jakes Pub & Grille in Markham on Main Street Unionville.  The latest addition to the list?  The One That Got Away Fish House on King Street West!

Even though I’m introducing The One That Got Away for the first time on Ate by Ate, the fish house and I go much further back.  Over a year back.  Which actually isn’t that long ago, but you get the point.  I have such fond memories of my first few meals from here simply because I had them in the company of my fellow icing sugar queens during my time at Le Dolci!  The old studio was literally just around the corner off of King West and Portland Street so every now and then Lisa, Miya, and momma Dolci Linda (and later Irina) and I would grab some delicious fish n’ chips and fish meals from here for lunch.

I still remember the very first time I had fish from The One That Got Away.  It was my first day at the studio and the decision on what to eat for lunch was unanimous: fish!  We all ordered fresh grilled fish wraps with a side order of chips (fries) and thus began a beautiful friendship and journey, not just with the fish house, but with Lisa and Miya and the studio itself.  We had fun eating, talking, and trying very hard not to dribble fish sauce down ourselves.  It simaltaneously feels like yesterday and light years ago.  They were happy memories though and that has what has kept me coming back.

The One That Got Away Fish House is such a seafood, fish n’ chips powerhouse.  Not only do they offer a number of battered fish n’ chips options (haddock, cod, halibut, arctic char, and pickerel), they also offer all of those types of fish in grilled form!  Battered fish, grilled fish…battered fish, grilled fish…I know, it’s a hard decision to make at times.  And to add to the indecision, let’s throw in salmon burgers, fish tacos, seafood chowder, Manhattan chowder, fish and seafood baskets, fish wraps, fish sandwiches, fish and salads, calamari, and crab cakes.  Have I made you salivate yet?  Because I sure am.  Their menu is fantastic!

And prices are pretty average for fish n’ chips and pretty on par with other spots more or less.  Prices for battered fish n’ chips range from $8.99-$13.99, fish wraps, tacos, and sandwiches are $8.49-$12.49, fish with salads are $9.99-$14.99, and chowders and soups come in at $4.99.

It’s a small space, but I enjoy eating here because the people are really friendly and hey, the exposed brick walls have submarine windows on them giving them a cute aquatic feel!  The meals are presented on silver trays covered with cute printed wax paper made to look like fish stories on newspaper.  The quality of food is absolutely fantastic.  The fish is flaky and moist, the batter is crunchy, crispy, light, and buttery, and it’s always accompanied with great salad or fries.  I know everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to fries (level of saltiness, crispy vs. mushier, beefy wedges vs. shoestring, and so on) but I love their fries simply because they’re never dry or too starchy and I just love the texture and softness, not to mention the herbs and flavour.

I’ve had their battered fish with salad (pictured in the photos; battered haddock with salad), grilled fish with salad, battered fish in a sandwich, grilled fish in a wrap, and their seafood chowder and I love them all.  If I had to choose my favourites though I’d have to say that the fish sandwiches are great bang for your buck (these things are HUGE!  They’re like fish subs), the seafood chowder has so much warmth and flavour, not to mention potatoes and chunky seafood (if you love a hearty, chunky chowder, you’ll be head over heels over it), and the grilled fish with salad is a wonderful, healthy alternative to the battered fish.  I know, I haven’t really narrowed it down to the best of the best but that’s only because it’s all so scrumptious and delicious!

They change up their salads every once in awhile (there are always mixed greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots and sunflower seeds but every so often there will also be yellow beets and other veggies mixed in) and I love the fact that you can choose whether you want battered OR grilled fish.  Oh!  And if you love sauce like I do, you absolutely MUST get your hands and tastebuds on their spicy chipotle mayo and seafood sauce.  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL.  Hands down one of the best sauces EVER.  It’s spicy with kick, it’s creamy, it’s savoury, and it is just yummy beyond comprehension.  There’s so much more I want to try – pickerel, fish tacos, a fish basket, and more – so this first post on The One That Got Away is just the beginning!

*****

The One That Got Away Fish House is located at 581 King Street West at the corner of King and Portland Street.  They are open 7 days a week: Monday to Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm, and Sunday 12pm-7pm.  You can visit their website HERE for more info.

Bean & Butternut Squash Vegan Chili – Ate by Ate Cooks Fall Comfort Food!

Leave a comment

Ate by Ate is baaaack!  Taking a week off was one of the weirdest feelings in the world.  I haven’t stopped blogging for more than a day in the last two years so with the exception of posting some photos to Ate by Ate’s Facebook galleries, not blogging at all for a week was a complete 180.  I don’t think there will ever be a time when I’ll feel completely caught up, but a week off was exactly what I needed.  It took the pressure off, I got to do a little bit of holiday planning with friends, and while I still feel like there are a million things to do for Ate by Ate, at least I’m a tiny bit caught up on sleep at the very least!

And now we’re ready to dive right into the holiday blitz!  I’m so, SO excited for Christmas and the holidays.  I’m excited to see friends, to give my family and friends their presents, and of course, to eat!  I’m currently working on the December Food Calendar (the 1st draft went to Food Bloggers of Canada last night!) and I’m planning my weekends of food the best I can.  I forsee Christmas cupcakes, vegetarian yummies, tea, hot drinks, peppermint and candy canes, cookies, baking, and hopefully lots of special winter menu items and comfort food!

Cooking up a storm!

My week off from blogging not only allowed me to do some heavy-duty planning for the month of December, it also allowed me to cook for the very first time!  I KNOW!  The girl who has only ever baked has finally cooked a great, hearty meal all on her own from scratch!  For those of you who don’t know, my mum has always done the cooking in my family and shoos me out of the kitchen.  Always has, probably always will so long as I’m living under the same roof.  I consider myself lucky when I can take out my baking sheets and mixing bowls without so much as a frown.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a little.  Point is, I’ve read food magazines since the age of 8, have watched more cooking and food shows than I have anything else, have been fascinated by cooking and baking and the culinary arts for years, but have never truly cooked!

Boiling water for pasta and noodles doesn’t count.  Making sandwiches and salads don’t count.  Or eggs.  I’m not discrediting the preparation of those foods at all because goodness knows making food isn’t a skill you’re just naturally born with, but it’s just different for me because of how I’ve grown up.  I’m not a food blogger with a wealth of cooking experience under her belt and I don’t have a plethora of recipes (although I do hope everyone enjoys the cookie and baking ones I do post!); but what I do have is a willingness to learn and a passion that sees no end.

So, what did I end up making as my very first, real foray into cooking?  VEGAN CHILI!  I cannot tell you how happy and elated I feel about this meal!  I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire day after I made it.  I feel so proud that I did it all on my own and that it didn’t taste awful – I got the thumbs up from both my brother and my mum and I thoroughly enjoyed it myself!  I took a cue from this vegetarian chili recipe from All Recipes.com, modified it, and made it my own.  And best of all, I used the most amazing, delicious and fresh butternut squash from the Evergreen Brick Works farmers’ market to make it!  And if you can believe, it feeds 4 hungry stomachs and is incredibly hearty!  I hope you all enjoy it as much I did!

Bean & Butternut Squash Vegan Chili recipe

Serves 4 to 6

(adapted from “The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World”, allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 fl oz/796 mL) no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 can (19 fl oz/540 mL) no-salt added red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (19 fl oz/540 mL) no-salt added mixed bean medley (white kidney beans, chickpeas, romano beans), rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, chopped butternut squash
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper/chili flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (12 fl oz/341 mL) corn kernels

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in large, deep nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic; cook 3 min. or until onion is tender.  Add tomatoes and oregano; cook 5 min., stirring occasionally.
  2. Add beans, butternut squash and spices; stir until evenly combined.  Add water, bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 25 min.
  4. Stir in corn, cook 5 min.  Serve with hummus or avocado.

Taking Some Time to Refuel and Rejuvenate – A Quiet Upcoming Week on Ate by Ate

1 Comment

For the next week, things are going to be much quieter around here.  Not because I’m sick or moving out of the country or high-tailing it out of the blogging universe.  Nope, nothing of the sort.  For the first time in nearly 2 years, I will be taking a much-needed break to refuel, recharge, and rejuvenate.  Ate by Ate has been my baby and my life for the last 2 years and I’ve never skipped writing for more than a day or a day and a half.  At one point, I even went through an entire month without missing a single beat.  But I’ll be honest.  I’ve been feeling the pinch both with my sleep and the pressure I’ve put on myself to churn out yummy offerings at a consistent clipped pace.  Not to mention I miss scrapbooking so much, something I’ve sadly neglected to do simply because of full-time work and going out to round up blog content during the weekend.  I desperately need to refocus my energy so I can come back feeling refreshed and ready to rock the holidays.

I’m going to keep posting photos to Ate by Ate’s galleries on Facebook and if I get the chance, I’ll definitely update the What’s New, What’s Hot feature, but otherwise, the next week will be quiet.  There is so much I’m looking forward to and so much I’m excited about so when I come back, I will officially kick off Ate by Ate’s holiday blitz, dish out the December Food Calendar and its friends, and celebrate Ate by Ate’s 2nd birthday among many other fun things!  See you all in a week, everyone.

Food From the Heart & Cookbook Passion – A Blogger Brunch with Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman, Part II

1 Comment

“Oh my god, this apple cake is sooo good!”, “NOBODY TOUCHES ANYTHING UNTIL WE’VE ALL TAKEN PHOTOS!”, “Brownie cookies are here!”, “Ooo, the orange juice is fizzy, I wasn’t expecting that!”  Smush 15+ food bloggers into a Random House Canada conference room with a mini brunch buffet chock full of goodies from Deb Perelman’s brand spankin’ new cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, along with the cookbooks and the celebrated blogger, photographer, home cook, and newly minted cookbook author herself and enthusiastic food banter and chatter ensue!  I had the special opportunity of attending Deb Perelman’s blogger brunch event organized by Random House Canada Saturday morning during the Toronto leg of her Smitten Kitchen cookbook tour!

I was beyond excited when I saw the invite in my inbox nearly two weeks ago.  Brunch?  An event devoted to food bloggers and cookbooks?  What an exciting moment!  It’s not every day I get to attend cookbook author events, especially ones involving women as down-to-earth as Deb Perelman.  I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’ve followed Smitten Kitchen since the beginning or that I’m her biggest fan.  I’ve only been familiar with Smitten Kitchen for a few months at best, but that certainly didn’t affect my level of excitement and jubilance for this blogger brunch devoted to celebrating her cookbook and her work.

I, along with a number of food bloggers including our FBC’s (Food Bloggers of Canada) Mardi Michels, eagerly took photos of and noshed on Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns, Mom’s Apple Cake, Cluster Maple Granola, Brownie Cookies, fruit, and orange bubbly as we asked Deb Perelman questions about everything from recipe development and testing, aversions to food (we all have them!), cookbook writing, family, and more.  I love stories.  Especially food ones.  And that’s exactly what Deb Perelman’s new cookbook is full of – stories about her upbringing, her loves, her not-so-loves, and her whirlwind journey as a home cook navigating the sometimes choppy, sometimes peaceful waters of recipe development and testing, blogging, and now, cookbook writing.

While I do wish that the event was more engaging and more of a round-table, personal discussion between and amongst us food bloggers and Deb Perelman about how being a food blogger has informed our approaches to cooking, baking, food writing, visiting restaurants and other foodie establishments, and forming and maintaining relationships via our blogs and social media, and how we feel food blogging as a whole has influenced processes of cookbook writing, I still feel like I took away a valuable experience.

I love the cookbook.  I haven’t read it from cover to cover, but I have paged through it and I love how I can relate to Deb Perelman – her outlook on food, eating, cooking and baking, and blogging.  Her cookbook reads like a personal food journal, chronicling her endeavours and experiences in and outside the kitchen and that’s exactly how I feel about this blog.  This is my personal food journey and I feel like Smitten Kitchen captures the opinions we form through blogging, cooking, and eating, the learning curves we go through, the frustrations we deal with in the online community, in the restaurant industry, and even in our own kitchens, and the pure joy we feel radiating from us when we that recipe just right, when we stumble upon that hole-in-the-wall gem, and when we’re completely in tune with our passion for food.

That is what I have taken away from the event, from Deb Perelman herself, and from her cookbook.  It’s not about how many followers we have on Twitter or Facebook, how many big wigs we may or may not know in the industry, or how many accolades we have.  Food is a labour of love and it’s an expression from the deepest parts of your heart.  Food is much bigger than any of us will ever know and ever be, and it’s this journey that truly matters in the end.

Apple Cake, Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns & More from the Smitten Kitchen – A Special Blogger Brunch with Deb Perelman, Part I!,

3 Comments

The *NEW* Smitten Kitchen cookbook!

A big batch of photos of a very special brunch event I attended this morning!  Hint: it involved celebrated food blogger, photographer and home cook, and newly minted cookbook author, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen fame!  This is Part I of my two-part post on this yummy event where I noshed on amazing apple cake, maple cluster granola, cheddar swirl breakfast buns, brownie cookies, drank fizzy orange juice bubbly, chatted with fellow food bloggers from the online community, and munched and sat in on a group Q&A with Deb Perelman herself during her Toronto stay on the Smitten Kitchen cookbook tour.  Check out the photos!

Me, with my copy.

Deb Perelman answering questions as we munch away on food.

We love cheese, hurray!

Grab a plate and load up on Smitten Kitchen goodies!

I loved this maple granola SO much!

Orange bubbly!

Fellow food bloggers tweeting, mingling, and grabbing eats.

“Nobody touches anything until we take photos!”

Deb, meet Deb. I love to bake. So do I!

What’s New, What’s Hot – What’s New: Celebrate & Steep Away the Holiday Season with David’s Tea ’24 Days of Tea’!

2 Comments

Source: David’s Tea website

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know where to start!  A tea collection from David’s Tea with 24 different teas, one for every single day of December leading up to Christmas?!  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL!  I’m so happy and excited I could pirouette around my living room!  I love this so much.  It’s cute, its’ seasonal, and I WANT IT.  This set allows you try 24 different teas (24 tiny single-serve tins, $29.50) and, HELLO, it’s modeled after an advent calendar, like those adorable Christmas chocolate countdown windows!

You know, the ones with 24 perforated cardboard windows, each with a chocolate hiding behind it.  You open a window every day until Christmas day and it’s jolly good fun because not only do you have a guaranteed sweet treat each day, it totally gets you pumped up for Christmas and the holidays as the big day inches closer and closer with each passing “window” opening.  My brother and I have had many a field day with these chocolate countdown windows and we would always make it a tradition (or at least a point) to open the day’s window and eat our chocolates together.  Except for the random days I would forget.  I know, I’m awful; how in the world do you forget to eat chocolate?!  My brother never forgot.  So a few times I ate two chocolates in one day.  And, um, there was one time I had to eat three to catch up.

ANYWAY!  Now David’s Tea has released a cute-as-a-button countdown to Christmas tea set clearly inspired by the advent calendar and chocolate windows!  And this is even better because each tea behind the tiny window is a surprise!  The website has a listing of the teas that are included in the set such as Read My Lips, Vanilla Oolong, Chocolate Rocket, and many others.  The element of surprise and suspense is still there though because everything is quietly tucked behind the little flaps, just waiting to be opened, brewed, and sipped.  Part of me almost doesn’t even want to drink the tea because the tiny tins just look so darn adorable in their sleeves and packaging.  But we know that won’t happen.  I’ll be steeping and enjoy tea till the cows come home!  And for a person like me who drinks tea every single day, this is AMAZING.  I am all over this like peanut butter on jelly.

*****

For a list of all David’s Tea locations in and around Toronto, check out their store locator HERE.  There are currently 17 locations in the GTA!