Celebrate Ice Cream day with these Toronto cones

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This Sunday, July 17 is National Ice Cream Day. The day you can legitimately eat as much ice cream as you want.  I think 2016 can best be described as year of the cone, as the lowly ice cream wafer waffle is making way to more substantial dough based cones from Mexico and Europe.  Stuffed with sweet fillings, they’re oversized and over the top.

Pancho’s Bakery in Kensington Market features a churro cone.  This sweet baby is freshly made, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served slightly warm.

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Sauce is poured into the cone, filled with ice cream and topped with fruity cereal, walnuts or coconut.

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Dulce de Leche, chocolate ice cream and walnuts is a delicious combination.  It’s served in a plastic cup and spoon so that you can scoop up all the deliciousness.

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The next great cone is Eva’s Original Chimney’s which started as a food truck but you can find them at the Union Summer market until September 5. A very popular vendor at the market where you’ll find Bay St. suits lining up at lunch for  one of these.  Try to get there earlier in the week, Monday to Wednesday and later in the afternoon, there will be a much shorter queue and a lot less waiting.

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These crispy and light chimneys are baked and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Fillings include apple compote, Nutella and strawberry preserves and topped soft-serve ice cream, more chocolate, bits of brownies or fruit.

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So far  I’ve had Eva’s Apple Pie and Berrylicious.  The soft-serve is great tasting and better than what you’ll get anywhere else. There are still a couple on the menu, so I guess I’ll have to go back!

Enjoy National Cone day on Sunday.  Drop me a line and let me know how you indulged.  Bon Appetit, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week in food – Musings of a restaurant bon-vivant, Week of Sept.14-20

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This week’s food and restaurant scene news as I see it from Toronto and across the universe.

Lately it feels like a lot of restaurants are opening, making it seem like the Fall is the season for new eateries to come onto the scene, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  The reality is that many restaurants planned to open in the Spring, but get caught in delays with building/renovating the space, getting equipment, getting permits, passing inspections,  hiring, training staff and at some point probably ran out of money,  which pushes back a restaurant opening to months later.

It’s exciting when a long-awaited restaurant opens.  When a restaurant closes on the other hand, it is a sad finale and a financially crippling end to a dream. I folded the first page from Bourdain’s Kichen Confidential chapter on Owner’s Syndrome a few years ago when I first read the book –

Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To want to own a restaurant can be a strange and terrible affliction.  What cause such a destructive urge in so many otherwise sensible people? Why would anyone who has worked hard, saved money, often been successful in other fields, want to pump their hard-earned cash down a hole that statistically…will prove dry? That chances of ever seeing a return on your investment are about one in five.  What insidious spongi-form bacteria so riddles the brains of men and women that they stand on the tracks, watching the lights of the oncoming locomotive, knowing full well it will eventually run them over?”

This passage always comes to mind when I read about celebrities and other people with lots of disposable cash, opening restaurants or worse yet, chains of restaurants.  This week I read about Eva Longoria’s new Las Vegas restaurant SHe which will open on January 1, 2013.  It’s a steakhouse for women, high rolling women nonetheless, yup the ones who smoke cigars. Her previous entrepreneurial venture, Beso Restaurant in Las Vegas is now closed (didn’t do well)  and SHe will be in the same place.

Based on the descriptions, it sounds more like a Hollywood soundstage, where the decor is everything and well, yeah, they also serve food. Not sure if this is true, but given the restaurant’s tie with Mortons Steakhouse, it’s highly probable that a Wagyu Porterhouse will be offered for a mere $250.00.  But this is the type of meal you’d want to eat while wearing your Manolo Blahnik’s, n’est-ce pas?  Let’s watch this one, any bets on how long it will last?

So onto stories about real people and real food.  Seems like American style food trucks are finding a niche for themselves in Paris!  Street food is not new to Paris by any means, it’s one of the few places where you can find a sidewalk vendor hawking crepes made with real French butter.  Cantine California and Le Camion Qui Fume (The Smoking Truck) are two that have parked in the streets of Paris since April.  Although many of the customers are American ex-pats, the trucks are very popular with the younger French crowd who are fans of the New York and California lifestyles and food culture.  I will be following this one closely.  Read the related articles to find out more.

Speaking of French food and food trucks, Smoke’s Poutinerie  will be holding it’s very own World Poutine Eating Championships on Saturday, October 13 between 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Yonge Dundas Square.  There will also be FREE poutine, so you know I’ll be there.

Well that’s it for this week.  Have fork will travel.  Happy eating!

 

Food Trucks rise up

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An article today in the Wall Street Journal speaks to the battle that’s starting between food trucks and traditional bricks and mortar restaurants.  Traditional restaurants are feeling the squeeze by the innovative food truck entrepreneurs.  Several cities in the U.S. and have enacted challenging parking laws and time restrictions for food trucks.  With the popularity and demand for easy to access street food, more issues will no doubt emerge.  Here is a link to the story http://ow.ly/cT2H8 

Toronto City Council recently voted to expand the menus of Hot Dog carts to include some pre-packaged items.  As the demand number of food trucks continues to grow in Toronto, we will continue to support the vendors and hopefully get support from Toronto City Council with issues such as parking and designated area for the trucks.

What are your thoughts on street food?  How popular are food trucks in your town?

Toronto Food Trucks

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There are many things that I love, but there are two things that I am passionate about, food and technology. I love food, all kinds of foods, comfort foods, ethnic foods, vegan foods, and especially dessert.  There isn’t much I haven’t tried and there isn’t much that I don’t like.  For me, a vacation to a new city means hours spent researching the best places to eat, not necessarily your five star, upscale, reserve six months in advance type places, but just good food of any kind.

So last summer when I was in L.A. I was on a quest to find interesting food trucks.  Every Tuesday night in Santa Monica food trucks gather in the parking lot of a local museum to serve up some of the best fusion fare on wheels.  Maria’s featured amazing homemade pastas and sauces made by real Italian women as the truck states and Global Soul had an interesting mix of tasty plates. 


Returning to Toronto, it was with a bit of disappointment when realized that we didn’t have as many trucks on the road as some other Canadian cities including Calgary and Vancouver, who are very much ahead of us.  However, I was not the only one who believed that we too, should have more mobile food availability.

Despite some challenges mainly with city by-laws and the licensing required to operate a food truck in Toronto, I am happy to say things have picked up considerably since last summer.  Last summer three guys, whom I think are brothers since their last names are all MacDonald set up a site called http://www.torontofoodtrucks.ca and have been advocating, supporting and reporting on all developments in the city related to getting more food trucks on Toronto streets.  Now, they have a daily update of all food truck locations across Toronto as well as Hamilton (which was ahead of Toronto in term of food trucks).  

Today I ventured down to Queen and Jarvis to a parking spot on the south side of Jarvis where four trucks, Blue Donkey, Buster Sea Cove – which you may recognize from their location in St. Lawrence Market, Gourmet Bitches and Sweetness Bakery.  Craving seafood I opted for the lobster roll from Buster’s Sea Cove.  For $10.00 I enjoyed a roll filled with fresh lobster, mayo with a side of lemon, a slice of dill and a bag of  Miss Vicky’s chips.  

Buster’s Sea Cove

Of course, I had room left for dessert.  For  $3.00 I had the chocolate sundae cupcake from Sweetness Bakery, moist homemade chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, chocolate glaze and a Maraschino on top.  It couldn’t have been more complete or delicious  Indeed, it tasted just like a chocolate sundae, only maybe not as filling.

Chocolate Sundae Cupcake from Sweetness Bakery

Follow Toronto Food Trucks on Twitter for daily locations of all food trucks and visit their site to get updated on all food truck events and news as the MacDonald guys and their growing number of followers advocate for less stringent parking restrictions and more opportunities and visibility for what is a growing legion of foodies.