Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Black Hoof: Two Years Later

April 2010 was when I started this little food blog of mine. During April 2010 I wrote a blog post about having dinner at The Black Hoof (@TheBlackHoof) back in December 2009 (still the Grant van Gameren days) for a friend's birthday. To be exact, that was the 18th post on my blog. And what do you know. After 2 years and 336 posts later, I'm blogging about The Black Hoof again today. 

Reading that old post made me smile. Why? Because I realized the following: 1) "tartare" and "offal" were words still  unbeknownst to me at the time, 2) that dinner in December 2009 was the first time I've ever had charcuterie, and 3) I used flash. HA! The evolution of me and how I've grown (older) is obvious *groan*.

I know its been way too long since I've been back to The Black Hoofespecially when I ended the first post with "I really really want to go back soon". Not sure what happened to "soon" but hey, what matters most is this: I went to The Black Hoof this week for the second time in more than two years and I'm truly happy to say that it was just as, if not more, outstanding as I remembered it to be. It was fantastic.

I went with a friend who has not been to The Black Hoof yet (a rare breed). The perfect companion.

This equation works. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hopgood's Foodliner

Formerly from the Hoof Café (which is unfortunately no longer in existence), chef Geoff Hopgood (@chefhopgood) opened his own restaurant in February. Located in Roncesvalles along with popular spots such as The Westerly and Barque, Hopgood's Foodliner focuses on contemporary renditions of chef Hopgood's childhood favourites...comfort food from the Maritimes. The restaurant is named after a supermarket chain owned by chef Hopgood's family in the east coast.

Hopgood's is divided into two dining rooms by an open kitchen in the middle. Designed by chef Hopgood's younger sister, Sarah Hopgood, the restaurant has an industrial-themed decor: dark grey walls, white brick walls, exposed ducts, and metal bar stools. 

Regular menu items can be found on the chalkboard. Our server recited about eight specials to us that night.

Evaporated milk cans and Triscuit boxes on display. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwoods Brewery (@bellwoodsbeer), an Ossington Ave. microbrewery, opened its doors earlier this month. Bellwoods Brewery joins The Saint Tavern and Hawker Bar in a slew of restaurant and bars to open up on the Ossington strip in April. Yes. All in one month.

Chef Guy Rawlings (@guy_rawlings) (formerly Lucien, Brockton General) is in charge of the snack menu at the brewpub. Categorized as "bar snacks", "sticks" (or skewers) and "plates", everything on their snack menu is meant for sharing. I went with three friends and we pretty much tried everything on the menu, thus turning "snacks" into a full-out "dinner".

Located at an old garage, you may miss Bellwoods if you're unfamiliar with the neighbourhood (as I didn't see any signage). They will be opening the front door to a spacious patio in the summer. Awesome.

We went last Wednesday and the place was already packed at 5:30pm. Lucky we got the last table.

The kitchen. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Snacks at Fuel House

I lost my foursquare mayorship probably a week after bragging about it on my previous Fuel House post. Doesn't matter, I still consider Fuel House (@FuelHouseTO) my second home (actually Toronto Temperance Society is creeping up there; I just can't say no to their live music and exceptional cocktails!) But no, in all seriousness, when it comes to sandwiches and casual snacks, nothing beats Fuel House. Nothing.

There are a lot of exciting things happening in the summer for Fuel House, actually even earlier than summer. First and foremost, if you love food trucks, you will love what Fuel House has to offer at Toronto's 'Next Food Truck Event' happening today! From 7pm to 10pm at Steam Whistle Brewing Co., Fuel House will be offering tasty eats along side vendors such as Fidel Gastro's, Ninja Piggies, The Tempered Chef, Rock Lobster Foods, and many more. Aside from that, starting in May, Fuel House will be offering BRUNCH on weekends (from 10:30AM to 3PM), a WHOLE PIG ROAST (reserve 72 hours in advance, minimum 8 people, recommended for 8-10 people, $45 pp including sides such as mac & cheese, slaw, corn on the cob, bread) and SEAFOOD BUCKETS (they are still ironing out the details so follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook for updates). Now that I think about it, I may just win my Fuel House mayorship back next month =D

I've been chilling on Fuel House's patio the last few times I was there. It is quiet and serene, a perfect place to relax and enjoy a pint. The cherry tree in the middle has now fully blossomed since this picture; it is absolutely gorgeous :)

My last post on was all about Fuel House's sandwiches and burgers. This time, I want to exclusively feature Peter Pietruniak's (@food_nirvana) snacks at Fuel House. Although I didn't have the whole snack menu at Fuel House that day, it was pretty close (missing were the Mussels in XO Sauce, Fried Calamari, and Pork Belly Cubes).

Chickpea Fritters

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I was invited to Boehmer Restaurant's (@BoehmerResto) second anniversary party last week. The party, hosted by chef Paul Boehmer (@ChefBoehmer), was such a delight! Boehmer definitely delivered all the essentials to a excellent party; great music, delicious hors d'oeuvres, flowing wine, amazing cocktails and an overall awesome vibe. Better yet was bumping into my friends Joallore (@clickflickca) and Graham (@beachrockinc). The three of us stayed close to the kitchen most of the night  and needless to say, we got first dibs on a lot of tasty plates (the oxtail honestly didn't stand a chance in getting by us LOL).

This is Boehmer's Signature Cocktail (Pimm's #1, tanqueray gin, lavender limeade, cucumber, soda). This is insanely good. Trust me. I had probably five or six of these that night. I LOVE PIMM'S!!!

Anyway, contrary to what you may think, this post is actually not about the party but rather about my dinner with Amy (@lu_amy7, Amy's Food Adventure) at Boehmer a month or so ago. To be honest, I've always wanted to go to Boehmer but with so many new restaurants in the city (or even yet just on Ossington!) sometimes I lose track.

A bit about chef Paul Boehmer....

Chef Boehmer started his career under the apprenticeship of chef Michael Stadlander in 1993. He moved to Scaramouche in 1985 as chef tournant and thereafter, went on to Bistro 990 as sous chef in 1987. Chef Boehmer rejoined Michael Stadtlander for two years at Nekah before accepting an appointment as Chef of Lakes Bar and Grill in 1990. He advanced to executive chef at Opus Restaurant from 1992 to 2001 and then as the executive chef of Escabèche at The Prince of Wales Hotel. Chef Boehmer has also worked with Charles Khabouth, opening Ultra Supper Club, and with Galen Weston Jr. at The Spoke Club.

I've said this many times before but I'll say it again: Boehmer is such a beautiful restaurant! Every time I walk by it I would look in through their floor to ceiling windows and be blown away at how alluring and elegant the space is. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


After quitting his position as Executive Chef at Mercatto, Rob Rossi and Ryan Sarfeld opened Bestellen on College. Bestellenwhich means "to order" in German, is focused on "simple food". In Rossi's interview with Acquired Taste Magazine (@acqtaste), he explained exactly what he means by that:

"Simple is hard to explain because it doesn't just mean one or two ingredients. I guess what it would mean though is keeping things manageable. I'm not going to put three sauces on a plate. I'm not going to do duos of stuff. I just want to focus on the ingredients and cook them properly. To me that is the most important thing. You order a nice piece of ribeye, bone marrow or sausage and the most important thing are those ingredients. Before I do anything else the focus of the fodd is to do it properly."

Rossi (@ChefRobRossiwas one of the three finalist on Season One's Top Chef Canada along with Connie DeSousa (CHARCUT) and Dale Mackay (Ensemble), with MacKay ultimately winning the inaugural competition (note: I've had the opportunity to visit CHARCUT a month ago, read about it here). Rossi described the experience as "challenging in the best sense" and it ultimately gave him the push to go and do his own thing.

My friend and I went to Bestellen (@BestellenTO) last Saturday. Its dry age room across the bar separates the front and the back of the restaurant. 

Pretty eye catching, huh? =P

Aging steaks and house-cured meats on display.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TBD #9 with Chef Coulson Armstrong

An intimate dining experience for no more than twelve diners, TBD (@TBDtoronto) is a monthly pop-up event organized by Dan Gutter (@dangutter) (Chantecler, formerly Drake Hotel, Auberge du Pommier, Susur) and Sukko Stach (@sukkops) (Nota Bene, formerly Acadia). By invitation only, TBD brings together some of Toronto's top chefs (previous dinners have featured Matt Blondin, Patrick Kriss, Steven Gonzalez, Dustin Gallagher, etc) where a multi-course tasting menu is thoughtfully prepared and served to enthusiastic foodies and diners. With a different chef at a different venue each month, TBD dinners are highly sought after and always a sold-out affair (tickets are sold on a first come first serve basis).

TBD dinner #9 took place last Sunday at Waseem's (Origin) apartment and featured Auberge du Pommier sous-chef Coulson Armstrong (@Chef_Coulson). For $90 with wine pairings, chef Armstrong created a five course menu that showcased his personal style and creativity. 

Two tables and a dozen chairs were all that was needed to transform the apartment to accommodate the twelve of us; surrounded by candlelight (how romantic!) it was a casual yet cozy and intimate setting.

Some really really tasty and incredibly delicious kick-ass butter =P

Sunday, April 15, 2012

La Carnita Presents UNO, The Art Show

La Carnita (Twitter: @la_carnita, Facebook: LaCarnita), Toronto's very own legendary pop-up shop, hosted a massive party at Evergreen Brickworks on Friday, April 13. UNO was a free, one-night only event that showcased original street art from North American artists complimented by chefs making Mexican inspired street food: tacos, tostadas and churros.

For those not in the know, La Carnita is a pop-up taqueria that pairs street-inspired original art with street-inspired original tacos. This kitchen-less restaurant has been popping-up now and then across Toronto since August, 2011 and brings together Toronto’s passionate food and art enthusiasts. So how does street art and tacos go together you ask? Well, every time you go for to their pop-up events, whether it be on the street, at concerts, or at the Toronto Underground Market ("TUM"), you would get a limited edition piece of art; the tacos are essentially a gift (the art piece from UNO is shown above).

Andrew Richmond, the mastermind behind the travelling taco party.

Photo Credit: The Toronto Star

I saw some of the coolest street art that night. Incredibly cryptic and edgy. From La Carnita:

"These artists, who have destroyed walls across the globe in both galleries and alleys, will be creating works inspired by the skulls that act as the visual focus of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos. During this holiday, communities and families gather in the cemeteries around the city, having fiestas and picnics to honour both the living and the dead. This gathering and celebration of art and food is exactly what La Carnita and UNO is all about."

Can't have tacos with out tequila =) Tequila Tromba (@TequilaTromba) represent!

Music by Fathom (left) and Don Valley (right). You guys were awesome!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Le Dolci Giveaway Winner is...


Congratulations @Mommy_Instincts! =D Le Dolci will be contacting you on Twitter for details on your Cake Pops class this Sunday!

I also want to say a big THANKS to the 29 contestants who participated in the contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #ldcakepops stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first person who entered right the contest. To enter, the person has to tweet "I want to win a free Cake Pops class from @LeDolci! #ldcakepops". Once the contest was over and everybody's entries were accounted for in my spreadsheet, I went to check if they actually followed me on Twitter (I also sent the list of contestants to Le Dolci for them to look over).

After confirming that all the contestants follow both Le Dolci and I on Twitter, I used the "True Random Number Generator" from to randomly pick a winner for me from 1 to 29.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maialino Media Tasting [VLOG]

Maialino Enoteca Italiana (Twitter: MaialinoTO, Facebook: MaialinoTO) is an Italian restaurant located on Queen street east of Roncesvalles (right next door to Keriwa Café). Maialino opened their doors in December 2011 to bring Sicilian cuisine with "traditional recipes, updated classics, and Old World flavours" to the city.

With owner Mike Rutigliano and chef Roberto Marotta's initial plan to open a small charcuterie bar, the name Maialino, which translates to "little pig", seemed to be a perfect fit. However, when the idea of a charcuterie bar was scrapped in favour of a traditional Sicilian restaurant, the name Maialino was stuck.

I was invited to Maialino's media dinner on Tuesday night where I had the opportunity to indulge in a five course tasting expertly prepared by chef Marotta and his team. 

Patrizia Rosati, who designed Rutigliano's other restaurant, Barista Espresso Bar, also took on the task in designing Maialino. I love this "graffiti" accent wall....

The Green Living Show Giveaway Winners are...


Congratulations! =D Each of you have just won a pair of tickets to the Green Living Show! I'll be DM'ing you on Twitter soon to give you the details on where to pick up your tickets. 

Congrats again and I hope you and your +1 will enjoy the Green Living Show!

I also want to say a big THANKS to the 20 contestants who participated in the contest. 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #foodieyugls stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first ballot entered right after the contest went live. An entry ballot was given for each contestant that tweeted "I want to win a pair of tickets to the Green Living Show! #foodieyugls #gls2012". I then checked to see whether or not each contestant follow me on Twitter (see contest rules here). 

I used the "True Random Number Generator" from to pick five winners for me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stirling Creamery at Ruby Watchco

I fully anticipated overdosing on butter when I RSVP'd to Stirling Creamery's "Introduction to The Butter Collection" event held at  Ruby Watchco on March 19. But no, nothing could have prepared me for the buttery deliciousness that evening. I mean not only were Stirling Creamery's butter served with bread for everyone to enjoy, chef Lora Kirk from Ruby Watchco also prepared numerous savoury and sweet creations that featured a variety of Stirling Creamery butters. From hush puppies made with honey butter to brown butter sugar pie with brown butter fried raisins, I was fully butter'd out. Butter coma was in full effect!

Stirling Creamery has been cold barrel churning some of Canada's finest butter since 1925 in Stirling, Ontario. Globe and Mail's food reporter, Chris Nuttal-Smith (@cnutsmith) called their butter "exceedingly creamy and voluptuous tasting" and Saveur Magazine declared it " of the World's 30 Great Butters". Not surprised as Stirling Creamery butters are all-natural, artisanal crafted butter that eschews colourants or preservatives.

I had several of these Stirling Stirrup cocktails :) It was made with Sailor Jerry Rum, Ginger Syrup, Lime and Apple, Carrot Puree and Stirling Creamery Brown Butter Sugar Rim (yeh you read right, BROWN BUTTER RIMMED =D)

Master Butter Maker Chet Blair of Stirling Creamery with Rossy Earle (@PanCanCooks). By the way, Rossy makes the best hot sauce in the city! Check it out at SupiCucu (@SupiCucu).