A Fresh Start for Ate by Ate: Macaron Day TO 2013 & Warming Up with Hot Chocolate & Macarons at La Bamboche

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Creamy hot chocolate and lavender and green tea white sesame macarons at La Bamboche!

I have a lot of explaining to do.  Because I really dropped the ball this time.  I’ll let myself off the hook for the month of December.  I was on-again, off-again and Christmas just swept me off my feet.  There was family, there were friends, there was work (was there EVER work – I was doing paperwork on Christmas eve!), there was my sweetheart and just like that, the month was over.  But the last two months?  I have not been here.  And I should have been.  But it was not happening because life just kept happening.  Things at work became much more hectic and demanding (why, hello there promotion!), I got to travel for the very first time (hello and goodbye, Florida!), I got sick, weekends disappeared before my eyes (if I wasn’t out and about gathering content, I was editing photos and if I wasn’t editing photos, I was sifting through e-mail, and if I wasn’t doing that I was trying to catch up on sleep).  I was utterly exhausted.  I could not keep up anymore.

Forget the clipped pace I was operating on – I hadn’t been to a farmers’ market in weeks, my scrapbook supplies were yearning for attention, and I was literally falling asleep as I was typing on my laptop at 7 in the evening (you don’t even want to know the incoherent gibberish I typed as I dozed off).  When that started happening, I knew I had to stop.  I always took pride in being the best supergirl I could be, balancing everything in life and still feeling happy, fulfilled, and overall, really content.  But things in my life had changed and I needed to be honest with myself about what my limits were, what I could and couldn’t do, and what truly made me happy.  So I took a break.  What the exception of putting together the January and February Food Calendars, blogging and I took a break from one another.  Because if I couldn’t be at my best, I didn’t want to blog at all.  Ate by Ate is my baby and it deserves a lot better than half-hearted, half-ass efforts.

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There was one day where I ambled around downtown in Baldwin Village and Kensington Market on my own, something I hadn’t done in what felt like ages.  And I actually felt a lump form in my throat and I could feel myself start to get choked up because, even though it was chilly and damp and just a gloomy kind of day, I felt SO GOOD.  I felt free and happy.  And I was reminded of how much I missed it and how important it was for me to actually soak in and enjoy everything as opposed to just robotically moving through it and frantically trying to get something done. 

Maybe it’s spring coming up (yes, it WILL come!), maybe it’s the love and excitement for Macaron Day; I finally feel like I’m ready to be back for real and I am so excited.  Admittedly, things won’t be the same around here.  I won’t be able to post every day like I used to.  But I will be here again full-time and as much as I can and I’m really thankful and appreciative of everyone and all of you who’ve stuck around for me.  THANK YOU x a million!

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So, first order of business: Macaron Day Toronto 2013!  If you don’t already know or if you haven’t checked out the Food Calendar listings, Macaron Day TO returns for its sophomore year on Wednesday, March 20th!  Organized by and spearheaded by La Bamboche, the event celebrates macarons worldwide and benefits Red Door Shelter here in Toronto.  You can check out the official website HERE for info on Red Door Shelter and how Macaron Day came to be.  There are some new new participants this year (including my beloved Le Dolci!) and we have a dedicated group of Macaron Day TO ambassadors promoting the cause and event – including me! 

I am SO proud to be a Macaron Day TO ambassador and I will be promoting and sharing all Macaron Day TO content all month long until the 20th, when I’ll be out and about participating in the festivities!  Follow the other girls on Twitter and Facebook (click on the ambassadors link above for blog  and Twitter contact info), follow @MacaronTO on Twitter, and “Like” and keep up with the Macaron Day TO Facebook page for fun photos, news, surveys and more!  Check out Ate by Ate’s journey last year:

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If you need some visual cues and suggestions for the day, you’ve come to the right place!  My most recent macaron purchase from La Bamboche included chocolate, espresso, eggnog rum, green tea and white sesame, lavender, caramel sea salt, pistachio, raspberry chocolate ganache, yuzu, and strawberry champagne!  And let’s not forget about their fabulous green tea mango macarons!  My favourites have to be the green tea mango and the strawberry champagne (the adorable minty green one with the little edible silver pearl on top in the photos!) and I’m hoping to try more fab flavours during future visits. 

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La Bamboche serves two locations in Toronto.  One is located at 4 Manor Rd. E., off Yonge St. south of Eglinton Ave. and the other location is at 1712 Avenue Rd., north of Lawrence Ave. East at the corner of Avenue and Fairlawn.

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M is March, Maple Syrup, and Macaron Day TO! The Sweet & Fabulous March Food Calendar!

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Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival, March 2 – April 7.  All day, every day.  2 locations: Bruce’s Mills Conservation Area (3291 Stouffville Road in Stouffville) and Kortright Centre for Conservation (9550 Pine Valley Drive in Woodbridge).  $10 for adults, $6.50 for children and seniors, and students, children 4 and under with family are FREE.  Prices include HST.  Welcome the spring season with a month-long maple syrup festival!  Engage in syrup tastings, demos, pancakes, a maple syrup dinner, learn about the history of maple syrup, get maple syrup recipes and so much more!  Click the link the schedule of events and more info.  http://maplesyrupfest.com/

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Roland & Russell Brewers Launch Party, March 3.  8:30pm-11:30pm.  36 Harbord Street at the Wolfond Centre.  $35 for pre-booked, early bird tickets; $50 at the door.  Payment can be made directly through Paypal on the event website or by calling 905-738-3339.  Enjoy an evening of beer tasting, food, and music at this exclusive event benefiting the United Chesed, an organization in the Jewish community that supports low-income persons and families in the GTA with financial support and assistance.  Join beer expert, Ben Shillow, for a tasting of 3 craft draughts brand new to Canada by R&R Brewery including He’brew Jewbelation, Southern Tier IPA and Bush Pilot Stormy Monday, plus Mackmyra First Edition, single malt whiskey!  http://www.unitedchesed.com/events.html

Senior’s Community Kitchen at Evergreen Brick Works, March 5.  11am-1pm.  550 Bayview Ave.  FREE (please inquire about transportation arrangements if necessary by calling 416-596-1495 x340 or by e-mailing sforfar@evergreen.ca).  Senior’s Community Kitchen is just one of the many monthly senior’s activities offered by Evergreen Brick Works to provide senior’s and elders with an opportunity to socialize and mingle with others, to share skills and knowledge, to learn about healthy food choices and options, and to have fun preparing nutritious meals.   http://ebw.evergreen.ca/whats-on/seniors-in-action#kitchen

Get to Know Karma Food Co-op, March 6.  7pm.  739 Palmerston Ave.  FREE.  To register, e-mail karmaorientation@gmail.com.  Have you ever wondered how a food co-op operates, the types of products that are sourced, or just what a food co-op entails?  This informative session will inform you about everything you want to know about co-ops and the Karma Food Co-op specifically in the context of food politics and sustainability, and food sourcing.  Learn about food products, the people who run the co-op and more.  http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/listings/listing.cfm?listingid=800069150&subsection=&category=&nav=1

Kitchen Sisters 2013 – A Benefit for Sistering, March 8.  6pm reception, 7pm dinner.  85 Hanna Avenue at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.  $500 ticket/person ($350 tax receipt issued).  Celebrate International Women’s Day in the company of some of the city’s most exceptional and admired women chefs in the industry!  The night, in support of Sistering, an organization that provides assistance to homeless, underhoused, at-risk, and low-income women in the Toronto community, will include a cocktail reception, 4-course dinner, wine pairings, door prizes and more.  http://sistering.org/events/kitchensisters.php

California Crusin’ Wine Tasting by the iYellow Wine Club, March 9.  7pm-10pm.  69 Bathurst Street at The Hoxton.  $55/person; to purchase tickets, visit the website.  Forget spring break in Florida; California taste and sunshine come to Toronto with this exclusive wine tasting event presented by iYellow Wine Club!  Sip over 60 wines from California, nosh on delicious food truck eats, and enjoy a vibrant Saturday night party celebration!   http://iyellowwineclub.com/upcoming-events-tours/california-cruisin?regevent_action=register&event_id=3

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Seedy Saturday, March 9.  11am-4pm.  Evergreen Brick Works at 550 Bayview Ave.  $5 or PWYC.  Take part in this annual, national event where you can buy, sell, and trade seeds!  Swap seeds and heirloom varieties with other passionate seed and plant enthusiasts, buy seeds from local vendors, and learn about this long-standing tradition.  You just might end up with some special heirloom tomato seeds that you can plant in your very own backyard!  http://ebw.evergreen.ca/whats-on/special-events/seedy-saturday

Toronto Underground Market at Evergreen Brick Works, March 9.  5pm-10pm.  550 Bayview Ave.  Online tickets ON SALE NOW (February 22nd on); tickets are $22.60 + $2.50 service charge.  The Toronto Underground Market is a special, monthly event that aims to bring our community together via food pathways by uncovering and illuminating hidden culinary talent within our city.  TUM offers food entrepreneurs and budding chefs a platform to share their food and stories, as well as an avenue to promote local food and businesses.  Tickets for the April TUM will go on sale on March 22!  http://yumtum.ca/index.html

Food 4 Thought: A Taste of Lebanon, March 15.  7pm-9pm.  631 Crawford Street at the Kadampa Meditation Centre.  $20/person or $35 for two; register through the website.  Find your inner zen at this relaxing meditation and 3-course vegetarian meal session at the Kadampa Temple.  Meet new people (community volunteers serve the meal!) and enjoy a taste of Lebanese food.  http://kadampa.ca/event/food-for-thought/

Get to Know Karma Food Co-op, March 16.  10am.  739 Palmerston Ave.  FREE.  To register, e-mail karmaorientation@gmail.com.  Have you ever wondered how a food co-op operates, the types of products that are sourced, or just what a food co-op entails?  This informative session will inform you about everything you want to know about co-ops and the Karma Food Co-op specifically in the context of food politics and sustainability, and food sourcing.  Learn about food products, the people who run the co-op and more.  http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/listings/listing.cfm?listingid=800069150&subsection=&category=&nav=1

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St. Patrick’s Eve Céilidh at Montgomery’s Inn, March 16.  7pm-11pm.  4709 Dundas Street West at Islington Avenue.  $5 +HST/person; cash bar.  Party the evening away, Irish style, at Montgomery’s Inn!  Enjoy hearty Irish stew, fresh baked bread, and plenty of music!  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#montgomery

St. Patrick’s Day Tea at Montgomery’s Inn, March 17.  1pm-4pm.  4709 Dundas Street West at Islington Avenue.  $10 +HST/person.  Pinkies up at this St. Patty’s Day themed afternoon tea!  Enjoy classic porter cake, shamrock cookies, and more.  http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm#montgomery

Macaron Day Toronto, March 20.  All day at 20 participating cafes, patisseries, and bakeries across Toronto!  For the 2nd year in a row, Toronto is celebrating the delicate, dainty, and delicious macaron in support of Red Door Family Shelter!  Patisseries will be offering complimentary macarons for the entire day, while supplies last.  25% of all additional macaron sales will go toward the Red Door Family Shelter helping abused women and children, the homeless, and families in need with emergency support and shelter.  Check out the official website to find out about our ambassadors and which patisseries are participating this year!  http://macarondayto.com/macaronDay.html

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Get to Know Karma Food Co-op, March 23.  10am.  739 Palmerston Ave.  FREE.  To register, e-mail karmaorientation@gmail.com.  Have you ever wondered how a food co-op operates, the types of products that are sourced, or just what a food co-op entails?  This informative session will inform you about everything you want to know about co-ops and the Karma Food Co-op specifically in the context of food politics and sustainability, and food sourcing.  Learn about food products, the people who run the co-op and more.  http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/listings/listing.cfm?listingid=800069150&subsection=&category=&nav=1

Pati’s Mexican Table at The Cookbook Store, March 23.  2pm-3pm.  850 Yorkville Ave.  FREE.  Pati Jinich comes to The Cookbook Store to promote her new cookbook, “Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking” and to share her love of all things Mexican!  Meet Pati Jinich, learn more about her Mexican cooking and techniques, her PBS tv show, “Pati’s Mexican Table”, and enjoy a number of Mexican treats straight from her cookbook!  http://www.cook-book.com/events/index.html

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Book Launch at The Stop Community Food Centre – The Stop: How the fight for good food transformed a community and inspired a movement, March 24.  Time TBA.  601 Christie Street at The Stop Beer Garden.  FREE; beer, food and books will be available for purchase at the event.  Celebrate the book launch and support The Stop’s mission to continue fighting for equitable food politics in and around our city.  http://thestop.org/event/24-mar-2013

Korean Lunar New Year Temple Feast: A Rusholme Park Supper Club at The Depanneur, March 24.  7:30pm; 8pm dinner.  1033 College Street.  $40+HST/person.  Join Chef Jonna Pedersen for a fresh, spring, meal inspired by the Korean Buddhist temple cuisine!  Pedersen, who studied cooking in Korea, will be serving Korean-style tapas (Temple Food Banchan) including pumpkin porridge, acorn jelly and soybean stew; Korean soup (Ddeok Guk soup) with crispy seaweed, seitan, ricecake, julienned egg, along with dumplings and more; and to finish off, a traditional Korean tea service!  http://thedepanneur.ca/event/supper-club-korean-lunar-new-year-temple-feast-by-jonna-pederson/

Get to Know Karma Food Co-op, March 31.  1pm.  739 Palmerston Ave.  FREE.  To register, e-mail karmaorientation@gmail.com.  Have you ever wondered how a food co-op operates, the types of products that are sourced, or just what a food co-op entails?  This informative session will inform you about everything you want to know about co-ops and the Karma Food Co-op specifically in the context of food politics and sustainability, and food sourcing.  Learn about food products, the people who run the co-op and more.  http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/listings/listing.cfm?listingid=800069150&subsection=&category=&nav=1