The holidays are just a license to eat and to buy treats for friends that we hope will share them with us. Sunday’s sunny weather brought many people out to Toronto’s Distillery District to eat and drink to keep warm. There are only about two weeks left for the annual Christmas market. If you’re going on the weekends, get there before 2:00 p.m. so that you can shop and then settle down in one of the many good restaurants for lunch and cocktails.
The rush I guess began on December 1 or maybe you’re really organized and started your planning last year for this year’s entertaining.
This year I’ve included tips for getting organized and ready as well as some pairing suggestions for charcuterie. There’s also a great new Blood Orange Martini from the LCBO Holiday issue that I have included as a link. It’s a beverage that I would savour alone once all the cooking is done! Click on the links below the images for the recipes and tips.
Happy holiday planning and enjoy your entertaining!
It’s a sunny Sunday morning and there’s a lot of bustle outside the hotel room window, nothing unusual I think, it’s Manhattan and there’s always something going on. I head out and make way to 46th Street where vendors of all kinds are setting up, jewelry, scarves, suitcases, T-Shirts, pretty much anything you want is there. It’s like a big bazaar is coming alive in the street.
As I get closer to Lexington Avenue the smell of grilling food is getting stronger and it is with much excitement that I see the food vendors prepping and setting up for the day. It’s early morning still and it’s all just getting started, but already I’ve gotten a new suitcase from one of the vendors to bring home all the new pairs of shoes I’ve bought on this trip.
There is an endless variety of summer items like sunglasses and towels but there are lots of foodstuffs as well, like teas, herbs and varieties of curries.
The crowds grow as we get closer to 59th Street and 5th Avenue it’s lunch time by now, and on this day there’s nothing I was looking forward to more than eating again – which is pretty much how I spent the first forty-eight hours of this trip. Of course, that was the original purpose, to do food recognizance for my next articles.
The bottom of 59th street is looking a bit more like a carnival with everything from the usual hot dog and sausage vendors, a lemonade stand and everybody’s favourite, the Wafels & Dinges cart. I am, however, craving authentic foods, dishes that are full of flavour and spice. As I get a little deeper into the crowd, I smell something that will satisfy me at the “Authentic Mexican Grill”. If you read this blog regularly, you know Mexican food is a big favourite of mine.
We have Mexican food in Toronto, but there’s something about street food like this that somehow makes it more interesting and certainly tastier.
I order the Nacho Platter with chicken, it’s a ton of food for $8.00. There’s some confusion with the order because they thought I’d ordered beef and not chicken. Some words are exchanged in Spanish with the man on the grill, then there is some laughter as they apologize to me in Spanish. They ask if it would be okay to put some chicken on top of the beef. You can’t beat that, and I couldn’t have been happier.
It’s a great heaping mess of deliciousness, beef, chicken, salsa verde, sour cream and cheese. My daughter and I could barely finish it, but we did our best. Our next stop was something sweet to top the nachos, because we really did need more carbs and desert was not too difficult to find here.
I have a tremendous weakness for all things Italian, men, wine, food and oh yes, sweets. So when I spotted cannolis that were brought in all the way from Brooklyn at the Fortunato Brothers stand, we immediately bought two. The cannolis were sweet and creamy inside the fresh crispy shell. I really could’ve used a latte to finish, but it was very hot and I think I would’ve exploded!
When I am away from home and exploring new foods and places to eat, I always consume way more than I usually do. The energy that I had used to walk my way all the way through this street fest was now replenished. It was time to walk back to my hotel for a nap and to plan for the evening’s eating destination. I always have food on my mind.
So if you’re in New York on a summer weekend, make sure that you find your way to Central Park by 5th Avenue and 59th and eat something for me. Happy eating my friends!
Going to Bodega is kind of my own personal signal that summer has officially started. For the past four years Bodega French Restaurant the first stop on my Summerlicious itinerary. So why is Bodega my favourite? Well, there’s a few things.
First, it’s in Baldwin Village on the very quiet and quaint Beverly St. This wonderful little enclave of restaurants north of Dundas feels like a getaway from the usual downtown core. The interior of Bodega is cosy and is the popular spot for couples, but as I dine alone quite a bit, the patio is a great place for single dining and people watching.
Second, Bodega’s Summerlicious menu is one of the best values on the list of restaurants. For an extra $3.00 to the Summerlicious $20.00 lunch menu you can get a glass of house wine. An option I always take. The multigrain bread is homemade and served to you slightly warm, a great start with my glass of white. Rabbit terrine is a regular feature of the Summerlicious menu and a choice I look forward to every year.
The crispy skinned duck leg confit is savoury and tender. The grilled Stealhead is a rustic dish of trout atop a bed of quinoa topped with mustard sauce. Third, the service is very attentive. A very hard-working efficient wait staff make sure that water glasses are refilled, orders arrive at the same time and are hot and well-timed.
I whiled away the afternoon with my wine watching the lunch crowd slowly leave. I am firm believer that there’s always time in your life for traditional French food, don’t you? Enjoy the Summerlicious 2014 opportunity to try the menu because there are only a few days left.