Toronto FOOD 2012

We went to Toronto! I didn't take pictures of the 10 million book stores we visited. (Other travelers put the number closer to 7.) But I did take photos of food, because being in such a huge city (2.6 million) means there are so many good places to eat. We did our best to try lots of things in our ~45 hours there.

After settling in at our B&B, we walked over to Kensington market. Our first Toronto food was a spicy beef Jamaican patty. Why don't they have these in Brattleboro?? They seem so simple, and cost less than $2 each. Check out Hungry Canuck's patty post for a photo and musings.

After a lot more walking, we had a late dinner on Baldwin Street at Etsu, an adorable Japanese place nestled next to a Chinese place and a Korean place. It had a cute water feature and lovely planters full of flowers creating a mini-jungle on the minute patio. My companion had Bulgogi (below), a Korean beef dish that was highly spiced and highly succulent. I had a Japanese sampler (sushi, tempura, teriyaki). We both got awesome seaweed salad & miso soup for starters, and tiny scoops of ice cream for afters--one tasted like Thai basil and the other like burnt caramel. Afterwards the owner came out to chat. Baldwin Village is ADORABLE.

This below is at Shi Shawarma for lunch the following day. We'd walked MILES down shopping streets Queen St. West and Yonge St before we finally agreed on a lunch spot.

I was very happy with my chicken shawarma--it had strange flavors and large skinny peppers that I wasn't expecting but totally loved. The fries were clearly handcut and served with a dollop of mayo (see blob in center). They tasted like a Middle Eastern vacation. Shi Shawarma had free wifi and said they were open til 4am to cater to drunk Torontonians. I highly recommend Shi Shawarma.

Next is another photo fail--I did not take a picture of the yummy PEI oysters or the sautéed mushrooms with bleu cheese & toast, that we enjoyed in Leslieville's Ceili Cottage for dinner that evening. But they were SO GOOD. I'll blame it on the local hoppy beers that I was trying, which were also so good. We sat out on the patio on a perfect summer evening, but The Ceili Cottage was so cozy inside I almost wished it was winter so we could pile in to the Irish-looking bar area and recite poetry scraps.

After Ceili Cottage we retired to Fynn's of Temple Bar on King Street West--more Irishness. At 1am it was imperative that we have some snacks from Hero Certified Burgers. The beef in these burgers is described as 100% hormone free and antibiotic free. I didn't have a burger though.

I had a giant container of poutine. This made me feel very happy and very Canadian.

The next morning, my ultimate brunch request: dim sum.

I've been to a few places that are OK, but I wanted something new. So we wandered Dundas St. in Chinatown until we found the answer. Dim Sum King.

I may have some problems chilling out in life, but quality dim sum is so grounding and satisfying. What are these dumplings? Who knows! Bloody good though.

What I loved about Dim Sum King was the Chinese-speaking ladies who Did Not Care if you couldn't understand them, the amazing flavors that I really can't remember ever tasting before, and the little chin-lift-smile that you learn, which indicates: "Please show me what's on your cart because I have no idea what you said."

There is even dim sum with greens in it! This fantastic rice noodle roll was filled with some bitter yet perfect tender green, a little like pea shoots, a little like nettles. Fabulous.

The last items we got were the first I recognized--shrimp har gow and pork siu mai. I wish I could come back here every week with 20 people each time and try everything. Maybe even the chicken feet.

The dining area at 10am.

Now you know.

Tropical Storm Irene

When Irene spoke to the mountains
They flooded to the seas
Along with the flood waters
Went my sweet Jean Marie
Irene, Irene, you scrubbed our state clean
Irene, Irene, where is Jean Marie?

I saw the houses and the trees
Fall into the stream
Our bridges and our roads are gone
And so is Jean Marie
Irene, Irene, you scrubbed our state clean
Irene, Irene, where is Jean Marie?

This is the beginning of an epic ballad about Tropical Storm Irene that I began last month when I decided that in the "olden days" there would be many songs sung and tales told about Irene and what she did to Vermont. (Naturally, Jean Marie is a fictional construct to represent personal loss and statewide confusion.)

It turns out that the Connecticut River Watershed Council felt the same way--they put together a song contest called Goodnight Irene that will be performed today (August 28, 2012), on the anniversary of the storm. The show is in Deerfield, MA. Check it out if you're in the area!

Here's some dramatic video footage of what happened in our town one year ago:

Hooray for Bluebies!

I've been eating salad! The profusion of vegetables that are available and IN OUR HOUSE right now is forcing even me, Lazy Lunch Lady, to do more than just slap together a pbj or grab leftovers as I run off for work each day. Instead, I take an extra few minutes to make a salad. It is surprisingly easy. Tons of tomatoes from Grandma's garden. Crisp cucumbers, bright peppers, and heirloom carrots from the farmer's market. Tender vermilion beets pre-cooked and stored in the fridge. Some leftover corn kernels or beans from Meatless Monday. And what's this on top of my salad? Blueberries!

I am obsessed with the taste of blueberries in salad dressing. Blueberries could be the new bleu cheese. Generally, I like a fresh-picked apple, a juicy plum that overflows to drip from my elbows, or handfuls and handfuls of berries. Watermelon chunks stolen from what I'm cutting up for children. But I don't really MIX fruit into other things. It's too good! 

This week though, I am changing my ways. Blueberries in salad add an unexpected little bite. They're a touch of sweet among the massive vinegar/garlic wallop of my homemade dressing. They're pretty. They're adorably bite-sized. And they're superfoods. I highly recommend this combo!

Are you eating more salad these days because it's crazy harvest time? Do you like fruit in an otherwise "normal" salad?