Summer Food Throwdown – Southern BBQ, Colombian Dinner & *NEW* Tasting Plates at The Depanneur!

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More food, more yumminess at The Depanneur!

Upcoming Food Events & News at The Depanneur

In addition to The Dep’s fab drop-in dinners, supper clubs, workshops, and classes, the cafe menu has expanded!  Not only can you stop in for their famous frittata breakfast sandwiches and grilled cheese, but now you can also feast on tasting plates full of seasonal, local food!  Each week The Dep will be offering up a handful of dishes that you can pick and choose from for $3 each.  Have one, have two, or have all 5 and create your very own tasting plate masterpiece!  There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options to go around, and just think, you can combine any one of these tasting dishes with one of their soups and sandwiches to make your meal extra special!  This week: roasted potato salad with a creamy lemon herb dressing; spicy carrot salad with feta; grilled plums with honeyed ricotta; organic mixed greens with apple cider vinaigrette; and homemade oatcakes, grilled sourdough or walnut-raisin toast.

*Upcoming Drop-In Dinners and Supper Clubs*

Friday Night Drop-In Dinner: Colombian Ajiaco with Cookie Martinez, July 27.  6pm-8pm.  1033 College Street.  $12 including tax.  Join South American cuisine and cookie baking guru, Cookie Martinez (you may have tasted her wares at the Liberty Village Soft Choice office markets!), for a summer feast of chicken stew straight from her home of Colombia.  Known as ajicaco, this is a hearty bowl of chicken, corn, capers, creme fraiche, cilantro and creamy yellow potato (papa criolla) distinctive to Colombia’s capitol of Bogota.  This meal becomes even more amazing with a side of rice, avocado, and crispy, melt-in-your-mouth fresh corn arepa.  Grab a seat and enjoy a summer evening at The Dep!

Rusholme Park Supper Club at The Depanneur: Texas vs. Tennessee BBQ Throwdown, August 11.    7:30pm-10:30pm.  1033 College Street.  $40 supper club membership for the night.  Get down and dirty with southern fare as Texas squares off with Tennessee in a BBQ battle like no other at this southern tour supper club!  Savour food the Texan way with slow-cooked, dry rubbed beef brisket and succotash while sinking your teeth in Tennessee style ribs dripping in a smoky, sticky whiskey sauce and sweet molasses baked beans.  End the night on a sweet note with southern pecan pie!  http://www.facebook.com/events/467269889959034/

Rusholme Park Supper Club at The Depanneur: Summer Lovin’ with Emily Zimmerman, August 12.  7:30pm-10:30pm.  1033 College Street.  $4o supper club membership for the night.  Bask in the lazy days of summer with seasonal, local, vegan feast by Chef Emily Zimmerman!  Emily has been cooking up and hosting supper clubs at The Dep for months now and she’s back again for an August evening dinner bash showcasing the beauty of Ontario food.  Enjoy stuffed summer vegetables with arugula pesto, buckwheat crepes with homemade fruit chutney, tomato, and spiced chickpeas bitter greens with strawberry balsamic, and a fabulous cherry-berry cupcake trifle with lemon coconut cream!  http://www.facebook.com/events/439514426070944/  

AND, be sure to check out the mini farmer’s market on Tuesdays from 4:30pm-7:30pm out on the side patio, the truckload of frozen summer treats on hand (Augie’s Ice Pops and Organic Meadow ice cream!), and Pork Ninja drop-in dinners EVERY THURSDAY for the summer!

*****

The Depannuer is located at 1033 College Street between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin Street.  They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) with a number of cooking classes, food workshops, drop-in dinners, and supper clubs throughout the month, which you can keep up with on the Food Calendar or on their Twitter @TheDepanneur.  Their cafe operating hours are as follows: Tuesday-Friday 8am-6pm (6pm onward for Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday drop-in dinners), and Saturday-Sunday 9am-6pm for weekend brunch and lunch (6pm onward for supper clubs).  You can view The Depannuer’s Facebook page here.

The Amazing Feta & Ontario Asparagus Egg Frittata Sandwich, and Upcoming Food Events at The Depanneur!

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In less than a week, we’ll be kicking off the official first day of summer (although if you ask me, summer came knocking on our door two months ago and I’ve been sweating it out and being wimpy about it ever since) and things are certainly heating up at The Depanneur!  With new supper clubs, workshops, and more drop-in dinners than ever before, the dogs days of summer are looking mighty tasty and promising!  Not only has The Depanneur upped the ante on their weekly drop-in dinners from once a week to 3 times a week, but they’ve also opened up a sweet little terrace out front on the side for more good food action.  Kawartha farms and ecological growers have teamed up with The Depanneur to host a market on the terrace every Tuesday from 4pm-7pm.  It’s the perfect combo: a farmers’ market straight from the source AND a drop-in dinner (6pm) to enjoy at the same time!  Here’s what we have to look forward to in the next little while:

  • Paleo Dinner with Summer Innanen of Haute Life – Rusholme Park Supper Club, June 24.  7:30pm-10:30pm.  1033 College Street.  $40 supper club membership for the night.  Sit back and relax with fellow supper club members at this easy, breezy Paleo-inspired meal prepared by holistic nutritionist and owner of Haute Life, Summer Innanen.  The Paleo diet is comprised of meat, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and fats such as coconut and avocado, while at the same time excluding processed and refined sugars, grains, dairy, and legumes.  Summer’s menu will include dishes such as 100% grass-fed braised blade roast with roasted seasonal vegetables and a seasonal berry tart with whipped cream among great food spreads.  It’s a great chance to explore a different diet and that could very well impact your habits and lifestyle, so c0me on out for a fab ‘Summer’ meal!  http://www.facebook.com/events/481088045249968/

  • Make Your Own Condiments with Kate Leinweber – Workshop, July 11.  6pm-9pm.  1033 College Street.  $67 +HST/person.  Let’s face it – some of our favourite store-bought sauces and condiments are, unfortunately, loaded with excess sodium, sugars, and preservatives.  We love them, but wouldn’t it be fabulous to learn and explore the art of making your own spreads and dips?  Join holistic nutritionist and microbiologist, Kate Leinweber, at this do-it-yourself workshop solely devoted to fermenting and whipping up delicious condiments such as mustards, mayos, ketchups, and more.  This workshop is comprised of an educational and learning component and sit-down dinner and social hour where everyone will have the opportunity to try their homemade creations alongside a delicious slow-cooked tagine.  http://www.facebook.com/events/378207642216568/ 

In addition to the drop-in dinners, supper clubs, workshops, and Kawartha partneship,the frittata breakfast sandwiches just keep getting better and better!  I’ve had their breakfast sandwiches 3 times now ($4 for half, $7 for a whole) and the latest was their best EVER: feta and Ontario asparagus egg frittata with greens, smothered in a thyme and paprika flavoured mayo, sandwiched between two slice of grilled sourdough bread.  The bread was so toasty and crunchy and it tasted just like crostini with olive oil, and the egg frittata was AMAZING.  It was so super thick and the asparagus and feta made it crunchy and creamy all at the same time and the mayo, with its slight kick from the paprika, was just foodgasmic.  I would have eaten this sauce by the spoonful, slathered it on everything, and dipped everything in it.  Just thinking about the sandwich now makes me hungry for more.  This was my favourite egg frittata sandwich so far and I’m mighty curious to see if any future sandwiches can top this one!  Hands down, the best $4 I ever spent on breakfast.

Upcoming drop-in dinners for this week, and supper clubs and workshops happening later on in the month and early July will be posted soon!  I’ll be updating this post and The Depanneur’s Food Calendar page as soon as I get the weekly news.  And if you happen to stop by, pick up the latest issue of City Bites magazine while you’re at it too!  I hope everyone’s enjoying their weekend!

*****

The Depannuer is located at 1033 College Street between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin Street.  They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) with a number of cooking classes, food workshops, drop-in dinners, and supper clubs throughout the month, which you can keep up with on the Food Calendar or on their Twitter @TheDepanneur.  You can view The Depannuer’s Facebook page here.

It’s Soup & Sammie Time at The Depanneur! Sweet Potato, Kale, & Bacon Soup With an Egg Frittata Sandwich

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It’s soup and sammie time at The Depanneur!  I hadn’t been back to the cafe since Christmas and I really missed their soup and sandwiches so I made a return trip last month and had myself a warm and yummy comfort meal.  Not only do I enjoy noshing on the good eats here, but I also love just being amidst the hustle and bustle in the commercial kitchen.  On any given day, you would find either Lisa (@afoodgypsy) cooking up one of her fabulous soups, Sara of Nice Buns kneading and baking fresh fougasse, sourdough, and buns for her bakery and the farmers’ markets (and brushing olive oil and herbs onto the mouthwatering finished products!), and local musician Laura Repo making her homemade family recipe granola.  It’s so much fun being a part of the cooking atmosphere and watching homemade food from scratch come together right before your eyes. 

Soups and sandwiches are The Depanneur’s forte and while it’s one of the simplest meals in the book, the crew keeps things interesting and delicious by using simple ingredients and just combining them in different and delicious ways.  At The Depanneur, you get to see food in all its various complexities.  They break out the big guns for the supper clubs with unique interpretations of North American classics (a vegan tv dinner supper club that encourages you to think about the historical and social construction of food?  Oh, hell yes) and plenty of ethic flavour, and they keep their daily cafe menu simple yet insanely scrumptious.  Eggs, bread, potatoes, green vegetables, smoky meats, and a lot of love!

Sara of Nice Buns hard at work baking!

Brushing olive oil and herbs onto the fougasse!

 My breakfast sandwich was a soft, warm, heavenly green pea, red pepper, and potato egg frittata sandwich on St. John’s sourdough with miso aioli.  I think I loved this one even more than the first sandwich I had here.  It was so good.  My favourite parts of the sandwich were the peas, the chunks of potato, and the miso aioli.  The peas and potatoes gave the soft eggs, and the sandwich as a whole, a delicious “meaty” starchiness to it that was totally kicked up a notch by the miso aioli spread.  It was so creamy and savoury and it complemented the bread and the potato chunks so well.  Imagine dipping starchy, potatoey fries or soft-on-the-inside, crunchy on the outside wedges of bread into a creamy garlic mayo.  It’s that, only better because every bite and mouthful is a party of egg, potato, veggies, bread, and creaminess!  I really loved this and I only wish I could have a foot-long baguette sandwich of this.  

The Depanneur takes pride in using as many local ingredients as possible from the city and province and the sandwiches are a prime example of that.  Bread will normally come from St John’s Bakery and Nice Buns, organic eggs from H.O.P.E. Eco Farms (and according to Len, specifically from brown hens kept on grass), and some vegetables from Fiesta Farms here in Toronto. 

The wonderful thing about The Depanneur is how resourceful they are with their food.  They always think big and they always consider, “how can we make the most of the ingredients we have and how many different dishes can we create using these items?”  The vegetables they use for their breakfast sandwiches might make their way into a soup, into that night’s drop-in dinner, or into a weekend cooking workshop or supper club.  It’s exactly how their sweet potato, kale, and bacon soup was created and as soon as I saw it on their menu board, I knew it would be the perfect savoury soup partner for my sandwich and that it would be just as delicious as it sounded!

It’s a combination that I had never encountered before and I was immensly intrigued to try it out.  With onions and red peppers to round out the bowl of soup, it was a bowl full of hearty, feel-good goodness.  The sweetness of the sweet potato balanced out the smoky savouriness of the bacon pieces (yes, that’s right, PIECES) and the kale was very mild in flavour which was perfect because it didn’t interfere with the other two flavours.  Instead, the kale gave the soup most of its body and an aspect of leafy lightness, lifting the soup a little so that the heartiness of the sweet potato and bacon wasn’t overwhelming.  One of the best things about it?  It didn’t need anything.  You know how some soups are too bland and others are too spicy and others are too salty?  Nothing of the sort with this one.  I love cracked black pepper and I always sprinkle some onto my soup (and food, when appropriate), but I found that I didn’t need it or even want it.  The flavours of the soup were bold and spoke for themselves. 

The whole meal was the embodiment of warm comfort food with hearty starches (potatoes and sweet potatoes), smoky flavour from the bacon, and full body from the leafy kale.  There is so much great food to look forward to at The Depanneur and given how the menu is always evolving, this is just the delicious beginning.  

*****

The Depannuer is located at 1033 College Street between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin Street.  They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) with a number of cooking classes, food workshops, drop-in dinners, and supper clubs throughout the month, which you can keep up with on the Food Calendar or on their Twitter @TheDepanneur.  You can view The Depannuer’s Facebook page here.

The Goodness of Food at The Depanneur – April Supper Clubs, Drop-In Dinners, and Grilled Cheese Month!

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Never a dull food moment!

Easter weekend has come and gone for another year and while mine was rather uneventful and forgettable, I hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful time with their family and friends eating treats, dyeing eggs, baking, hunting for eggs, and cooing at cute bunny things!  Given how lackluster my weekend was though, I’m looking forward to the rest of the month and that means getting my grilled cheese on!  Now that everyone’s bellies are happy and full of chocolate eggs and bunnies, marshmallows, and Easter dinner, it’s time to bring on the grilled cheese for the month of April in honour of National Grilled Cheese Month.  I’ve been having ridiculous havarti and cheddar cheese cravings lately and I desparately need to satiate them with some ooy gooey crunchy sandwiches this month. 

Aside from Cheesewerks on Wellington and Bathurst, Grilled Cheese in Kensington Market, The Construction Site at Yonge and Eglinton, Leslieville Cheese Market on Queen East and West, and Cool Hand Luc on King West, The Depanneur (at College and Dufferin) is yet another wonderful spot you can go to to satisfy those grilled cheese cravings!  While my last and latest visit didn’t involve any grilled cheeses, I’m here to remind everyone that The Depanneur normally serves two kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches every day for lunch (except Mondays because they’re closed), using plenty of ingredients from local farms and businesses and fresh baked bread from local bakeries such as Nice Buns and St. John’s.

A sneak peek of tomorrow's post!

The grilled cheese menu selection ($4 for a half, $7 for a whole, tax inclusive) could be a mozzarella with peameal bacon on raisin walnut bread, a cheddar sandwich with arugula pesto on sourdough, or a cheddar and sauteed mushroom mix.  I’ve been enjoying their breakfast sandwiches thus far, so regardless of whether I get around to having a grilled cheese from The Depanneur this month, I’m just excited to try one at some point in time!

This month also brings a whole slew of upcoming Drop-In Dinners ($10) and Supper Club events!  If you’ve been keeping up with the The Depanneur’s Food Events in the Food Calendar, you’ll have noticed that Len and his team have been churning out some amazing, creative events: evenings of vegetarian and vegan Mexican and Jamaican, a black and white coloured themed supper club dinner, Nonya and Malaysian cuisine, Cuban flavour, and meat-centric ribs, sliders, and pork meals.  I love, love, LOVE how creative and all-encompassing these supper clubs and drop-in dinners are.  You have meals that cater to meat-lovers, you have ones that are vegetarian and vegan up and down, you have an emphasis on soups, on grains, on dessert, everything could possibly want and think of.  Trust that when I live in the thick of Toronto in the future, I will be at these events!

April Supper Clubs and Drop-In Dinners – I’ll be adding these to the Food Calendar with full descriptions as they come!

  • Sunday, April 21st – A Mexican Culinary Affair With Chef Natalie Ryan (Supper Club)
  • Monday, April 22nd – Vegetarian Eritrean (African) Dinner With Live Music & Coffee Ceremony (Supper Club)
  • Friday, April 27th – Homemade Popovers and Soup (Drop-In Dinner)
  • Sunday, April 29th – Island Fever!  Spicy I-tal Vegan Dinner With Kalmplex

*****

The Depannuer is located at 1033 College Street between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin Street.  They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) with a number of cooking classes, food workshops, drop-in dinners, and supper clubs throughout the month, which you can keep up with on the Food Calendar or on their Twitter @TheDepanneur.  You can view The Depannuer’s Facebook page here.

Breakfast & Lunch Cafe By Day, Supper Club By Night – The Concept Space and Food Experience at The Depanneur, Part I

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"Where interesting food things happen"

Have you ever been to a place that makes you feel so inspired, so excited, and so at home that you can’t believe it hasn’t always been a part of your life?  A place that makes you feel so full of life that all you want to do is soak in everything that goes on around you when you’re in this space?  If you have, you know the amazing sense of warmth and comfort I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, I’m about to tell you about the best foodie discovery I have made since I started Ate by Ate.  No wait, scratch that, the best foodie discovery I have EVER made.  I KNOW, this is a big deal!  You all know how I feel about finding gems around the city so when I say I’ve found a holy grail, you know it’s a monumental phenomenon.  Not only have I found a wonderful, exciting food spot in the city that serves healthy, delicious eats, but encompasses everything I love about food.

The Depanneur, located on College Street between Dufferin and Dovercourt, isn’t just an eatery that serves weekend brunch, organic food, and daily breakfasts and lunches.  It’s a concept space.  A breakfast and lunch cafe by day; a supper club by night.  The Depanneur holds workshops, cooking classes, serves breakfast and lunch, hosts themed dinner parties, provides an open kitchen space for passionate lovers of cooking and food, and functions as a launching pad for food entrepreneurs and independent food businesses.  I am so happy I got the chance to sit down with Len, owner and brains behind The Depanneur, to talk about the space and its contextual situation within the greater food community.

At the very heart of The Depanneur is community and accessibility: building relationships between neighbours, passerby, supper club members, chefs, and foodies; creating and maintaining an open, accessible space for budding bakers, chefs, and food entrepreneurs; introducing independent businesses and their products to the greater community; providing the community with healthy, organic food choices; and utilizing the cafe and kitchen space as a catalyst for change.  Change in the way we think about food experiences, and change in how we see our relationship to cooking and eating.

Known as the Rusholme Park Supper Club (named after the road the space is situated by), The Depanneur’s supper club is a huge part of Len’s enterprise.  On average, Depanneur hosts 6-8 supper clubs a month with different themes (Japanese home cooking!  Vegan TV dinner!  Mexican Mole!) and the idea behind these dinner events is to make cooking and eating more personal, more intimate, and more transparent.  Each supper club has 20 spots available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Those who are interested in upcoming supper clubs can sign up for Depanneur’s newsletter and mailing list or keep up-to-date with events through their Facebook page.  The dinner is an intimate, family, communal-style affair where everyone sits together around a large wooden table and watches as the chef prepares a meal right in front of all supper club attendees.  The chef then sits down and enjoys the meal with everyone there.

It’s a beautiful concept because it involves the idea of reciprocity in SO many ways.  The Depanneur basically hosts community dinner parties that offer an eating space and kitchen to budding chefs, and to anyone who just loves to cook and share their passion for food.  Chefs are reimbursed $20 per guest (therefore up to $400 if all 20 spots fill up) and it is entirely up to the chef how they wish to use the money.  They have complete creative freedom and control over the menu, ingredients, and how they wish to allocate their funds.  In a sense, the supper club is a stage in which chefs who aren’t necessarily professionals can shine and share their work and creativity in a positive, open environment. 

In addition, aside from the kitchen counter work space, there is no separation between the cafe space and kitchen.  Everything is completely accessible and transparent.  No frosted glass, no barriers, no hidden cooking.  The chef(s) can see you and you can see the them hard at work.  This type of space thus fosters a rich learning environment where supper clubbers can ask questions, learn about the ingredients and dishes, and so on.  It encourages discussion and it allows the relationship between guests, and between chef and guest, to blossom.

Finally, the act of joining the guests for dinner means that everyone involved has the opportunity to soak up the supper club experience.  It removes the sense of alientation that seeps in when one doesn’t get to enjoy the fruits of their labour so to speak.  The Depanneur gives those who wish to cook for an audience the opportunity to put on a delicious show, the chef in turn shares their passion and food with supper club guests, guests are able to provide feedback, and everyone is given an unforgettable eating experience.

There is so much more to The Depanneur and this is just the beginning!  I haven’t even begun to scrape the surface on all the wonderful things this space provides, but writing about the supper clubs is a start!  I’ll have part II for you all tomorrow where I’ll be talking about some of their workshops and classes, the rental kitchen, and yes, the delicious food!  I love this space and I am so happy I stumbled upon it several weeks ago.  I might just take the plunge, jump in with both feet, and use The Depanneur as my own cooking and baking launching pad.

*****

The Depannuer is located at 1033 College Street between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin Street.  You can view The Depannuer’s Facebook page here.