Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The 2015 Almanac Dinner

On Monday, April 20th, six of Toronto’s top chefs – Kevin Castonguay (Provisions), Steve Gonzalez (Valdez), Robbie Hojilla (The Harbord Room), Basilio Pesce (Porzia), Scott Vivian (Beastand Nate Middleton (Home of the Brave) – collaborated with Ontario farmers and beverage producers for The 2015 Almanac Dinner in support of The Stop Community Food Centre.

Hosted by Provisions and Pass The TableThe 2015 Almanac Dinner (#2015AlmanacDinner) took place at The Burroughes BuildingThe evening began with a cocktail reception at the beautiful loft space.

Photo Credit: Brooke Wedlock (IG:@brookewedlock)

Delicious cocktails + Canapes = No more Monday blues!

Photo Credit: Brooke Wedlock (IG:@brookewedlock)

I enjoyed the following tasty snacks prepared by the chefs:

Squid ink rice chip, lemon grass, ginger and Acadian Sturgeon caviar

Crispy salmon skin, avocado, anaheim chili and raw cucumber

Multigrain raw cracker, kozliks mustard, parmesan cheese and chives

Walnut and goats yogurt espuma, anjou pear and earl grey raisin puree

Photo Credit: Brooke Wedlock (IG:@brookewedlock)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

&Company Resto Bar

Looking for a place to wine and dine with your friends then party late into the night? If your answer is a resounding "Yes!" then you should check out &Company Resto Bar (Twitter: @AndCoRestoBar, Facebook: &Company Resto Bar). Located across from Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, &Company Resto Bar is a bar, a restaurant, and a club all in one. 

The supper club was opened in December 2011 and has now become a popular local hotspot.

As &Company Resto puts it: "Go for dinner and stay for the party!" The full experience at this Mississauga hangout begins with dinner with friends and transitions into bustling nightlife at 10pm.

A few shots I took of &Company Resto Bar before dinner. The venue can host up to 300 guests for dinner and 800 guests for cocktails comfortably and seamlessly (great for corporate events and private parties).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Boralia (formerly "Borealia")

People ask me this a lot: "So where have you been lately that's good?" and of course by "where" what they really mean is "what new restaurants". Normally I would need at least a good 20 seconds to recap in my head all the places I've been to in the past couple of months (which is usually a lot) and at times, to his / her disappointment, my answer would just be "Nowhere really". Sure I may have had a few good / decent meals but to specifically name a place knowing that the person may end up going because of my recommendation? That's pressure, guys. Major pressure. In my head their question actually becomes "So where have you been lately that's spectacular? Somewhere you would go back to again and again" Well, these days my answer would be "Boralia". No hesitation whatsoever. Boralia (Twitter: @Boralia_To, Facebook: Boralia Restaurant) is certainly one of the tastiest, and one of the most interesting dinners I've had in a very long time.

Unlike the other two memorable dinners I had earlier this year at Buca Yorkville and SplendidoBoralia doesn't offer a tasting menu. Instead, a group of us (five to be exact) ordered Boralia's entire menu minus three dishes (that would be a total of nine "To Share" dishes, three "Snacks" and three "Desserts"). The actually worked out quite well for us; we didn't leave feeling gross or overly stuffed. Just right.

So, what makes this cozy little restaurant on Ossington so unique? Well, it's the fact that there's no other establishment in Toronto that serves their kind of food. Boralia's menu showcases Canada's indigenous cuisine; think dishes inspired from historic recipes of Canada’s early settlers and First Nations, with some plates dating back as far as the 1600's. As Boralia puts it, their dishes are

"...created through the inspiration provided by the wealth of tradition and history in old recipes melded with the simplicity of Chef’s preparation and modern techniques and a lighter, more sophisticated touch.

Chef and owners Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris' distinctive dishes celebrates the rich bounty of Ontario farms, and feature game and sustainably sourced seafood. Long story short, prepare yourself for one-of-a-kind dishes like braised whelk, bison bresaola, mussels smoked in pine needles and pigeon pie. To me, Boralia's menu is a breath of fresh air in a city saturated with fried chicken, bone marrow, and Mexican food (there's a time and place for all of those things but it's getting extremely redundant).

Boralia’s space is modern and polished, with a definite European feel to it. I really like all the wood accents especially the arched thick wood beams wrapping the ceiling. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

7 Enoteca

If you're ever looking for exceptional Italian food, try venturing outside the downtown core to Oakville's 7 Enoteca (Twitter: @7Risto, Facebook: 7 Risto). Yes, I said Oakville! I know it's a bit out of the way for some of you urban dwellers living in downtown Toronto but if you own a car and don't mind driving a bit further for good food, then I highly suggest you check out 7 Enoteca (and if you're already in the Mississauga / Hamilton / Oakville then you have no excuse).

Serving authentic and inspired dishes from Italy, this upscale pizzeria in Oakville's Town Square strives to bring to their diners the authentic Italian dining experience. With many of their products flown in from Italy - from the wheat flour for their Neapolitan pizzas and cheeses, to truffles and wines - 7 Enoteca is fully dedicated in having the most authentic Italian ingredients and flavours on their menu. Having said that, the restaurant still sources fresh seasonal ingredients from local vendors whenever possible.

7 Enoteca reminds me of the restaurants in the King West neighbourhood; the crowd is bustling and lively, and the decor is modern with a touch of rustic. Those uber cool Edison light fixtures immediately caught my eye when I walked in. I want one in my house.

Notice the cowhide-lined marble bar. And FYI, those bar stools are upholstered in Lamborghini leather.

This is my first time seeing arched ceilings at a restaurant. So pretty.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dinner with Master Charcutier Gilles Verot

On March 23rd & 24th, Master Charcutier Gilles Verot visited Café Boulud (@CafeBouludTOat the Four Seasons in Toronto for a special dinner and charcuterie night. Gilles Verot - originally from the Loire Valley in France and a third-generation Gallic charcutier - is the legend behind the charcuterie programs in many of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants, including Café Boulud and dbar. Ever since a chance encounter ten years ago with Daniel Boulud, Verot (@GillesVerot) has been working with the Chef in bringing his artisanal approach to French charcuterie across North America.

I was one of ten lucky guests to be invited and savour a special three-course dinner at the Yorkville restaurant designed exclusively by Gilles Verot with wine pairings by Wine Director Drew Walker. 

Master Charcutier Gilles Verot (middle) explaining his specialties to us.

Here's a look at what we had:

Provence style marinated poultry, salad of olives, tomato, zucchini & eggplant

Nantua sauce

Meat pie, reduction jus, pommes anna