the stockyards

Over the weekend, I really needed a burger. Joe and I attempted to go to The Burger's Priest since we happened to be in the east end of the city, but the line was out the door (as usual). So where to? Well, I've been to The Stockyards a couple of times over the years. Once for a truly indulgent breakfast and another time for a quick lunch of pulled pork sandwiches. I remembered hearing that they added burgers to the menu last year and that they were supposed to be top notch, so off we went. Joe conquered the fried chicken dinner (four, yup FOUR pieces of fried chicken, a mountain of crunchy fries and a side of coleslaw). It was ridiculous. Easily shared between two people—or one hungry Joe.
To satisfy my burger craving, I chose the green chili pimento cheese burger. This was a perfectly seasoned and cooked (medium-well) burger topped with smoked jalapeno, cheddar, mayo and butter lettuce. It was messy, but so good.
I'm pretty pumped to go back and try some of their other burgers—especially the "butter burger" topped with bone marrow (what!?!) and the mustard-seared "animal burger."

The Stockyards
699 St. Clair Ave. W.


chili con carne

I usually make a pretty wicked meatless chili with lentils, beans and veggies, but this time I unleashed my inner carnivore and made a true chili con carne (well, not really, because I'm pretty sure that authentic chili doesn't have beans). No ground beef here, just pure chuck beef...
...Simmered for hours and hours with three kinds of beans until oh-so-tender.
The best toppings? Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, green onions, sour cream, candied jalapenos and a handful of Fritos.


english muffins from scratch

I recently acquired a copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and have spent many nights poring over the pages and ear-marking recipes to try. First up, english muffins.
Mine turned out bigger than usual english muffins and were a little misshapen, but they tasted delicious. And were perfect for Sunday morning toasted egg & cheese breakfast sandwiches:
While I was at it, I decided to bake up another dozen homemade bagels too. Now I've got breakfasts covered for the next couple of weeks.
You can find the english muffin recipe over here.


mo po boy

The soft shell crab po boy at Porchetta & Co. is one of my current food obsessions. 
A mountain of tangy slaw, a crispy whole soft shell crab and a sprinkling of salty bacon bits (or maybe it was proscuitto? or pancetta?) all on a soft hot dog bun. It's holy-eff-amazing. 
Check out Porchetta & Co's twitter for availability (usually Saturdays starting at 4 p.m.). Hurry and eat a dozen before soft shell crab season ends!

Porchetta & Co.
825 Dundas St. W.


rad rummaging

When I was in Ottawa, I stumbled upon a little church rummage sale while on my way to the Byward Market. It was nearing the end of the sale when I got there, but I still managed to score a Royal Albert bone china dessert plate and a hilarious cookbook:
This suet pudding recipe looks interesting (for those who don't know, suet, is the fat found around the kidneys and loins of beef and mutton):
I'll be trying this gingerbread recipe hand written on the inside cover come Christmas:
Heading back home, I stopped by a couple of other second-hand stores and found an entire set of the Little House on the Prairie books, plus this bright orange fondue pot that I couldn't pass up:


oh ottawa

Me and the fam recently spent a weekend in Ottawa, but before skipping town my bro and I stopped by the Lakeview for a quick breakfast. While I ate my mediocre toast and eggs, I was pining for bro's disco breakfast—fries topped with melted cheddar and havarti cheese, crumbled bacon, sliced maple sausages and a runny fried egg. 
First stop in Ottawa? Parliament Buildings obviously.
The Byward Market is always fun to walk around, though around this time of year there aren't too many local food vendors. Most of the produce looked like it came from a food terminal, but there was plenty of local maple syrup, honey and even some cheese. 
The French Baker in the market, offers a large assortment of French breads and pastries. I tried a pain au chocolat and a pair of macarons. Both were just alright.
I stared at the bronze replica of Louise Bourgeois' Maman outside the National Gallery of Canada for way too long. It's just so fascinating.
And check out this retro Zellers store. During my trip, I heard that this downtown location is too small to turn into a Target so the building will be put up for sale later on this year.


macaroons (not macarons)

These coconut macaroons may not be as elegant as French macarons (and actually aren't at all similar other than their name), but they're much easier to make and a fast way to ease a craving for something sweet. I drizzled some with milk chocolate, some with white chocolate, and left some au natural.
2 1/2 C shredded coconut
1/3 C sugar
2 egg whites
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt

1. Combine all of the ingredients. Using an ice cream scoop, make mounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

2. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 325 degrees or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the baking sheet before drizzling with melted chocolate.


brunch @ l'ouvrier

On a recent Saturday, I happened to walk by L'Ouvrier just as it was opening for brunch—and there was no line. Perfect timing! L'Ouvrier has been open since last fall, but this was my first visit.
I chose the fried egg sandwich with bacon and aged cheddar. The egg was still runny, the bread buttery and crisp, and they didn't skimp on the thick-cut bacon. It came with a huge mound of crispy frites too. Joe had the basic breakfast: two eggs, house-smoked bacon, grilled tomato, toast and frites. Both were tasty and really filling (I barely made a dent in those fries).
Even though I rarely go out for a proper brunch (pho and dim sum don't really count), any place that serves frites with breakfast is definitely a winner in my books.

791 Dundas St. W.


fish tacos

I've been craving fish tacos ever since I had Grand Electric's version way back in January. So after a quick trip to Kensington Market for fresh tortillas and fish, Joe and I collaborated to make these crispy fish tacos with red cabbage slaw.
For the fish, we chose grouper. It was dipped in a simple tempura batter and fried until crispy. All it needed was a squeeze of lime and some tangy slaw.
We also made shrimp tacos using the same tempura batter. I threw together a quick pineapple salsa and added a spoonful of salsa verde to each taco to finish them off.
The salsa verde is from La Tortilleria, where we get our tortillas. It's usually pretty mild, but this batch was really spicy—which made it that much more delicious. I cut up some of the tortillas into triangles and fried them for fresh chips.


weekend bites

I stayed in the city over the long weekend and I felt like all I did was eat. Starting with Friday morning dim sum at Dim Sum King:
I also tried the new self-serve frozen yogurt joint that opened up down the street. It was ok, but nothing I'd rush back for.
Nadège was super busy all weekend, but I managed to squeeze in for a trio of mini canelés and a few macarons (green tea, cotton candy and salted caramel). The bright pink cotton candy was surprisingly my favourite. I think it's time for another trip to Paris.
The ice cream trucks are out and I couldn't resist grabbing my first street cone of the year:
Happy long weekend!


fried rice, fried chicken

This recent night dinner started out sorta healthy enough: fried rice and Asian-style cucumber salad...
But then I decided to attempt making homemade Korean fried chickenSecond weekend in a row of fried chicken! 
I think it's time to go on a bit of a hiatus (even though I think it's obvious that I love fried chicken in all forms).


some snacks

Some Asian snacks I'm loving as of late: 
1) salty milk chocolate Pocky
2) onigiri (stuffed rice triangles wrapped in nori)
3) Japanese Cheetos! These are crazy-good. They're not as cheesy or salty as the North American version and are a little bit sweet, but, crap I can't get enough of them!  


momofuku compost cookies

When the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook came out, I remember the compost cookie recipe getting a lot of flack; that the measurements were "off" resulting in burned-edge-raw-in-the-middle cookies. When I finally got around to trying the recipe myself, they actually turned out almost identical to the real compost cookies I had at Milk Bar in NYC—kinda flat with a crunchy, caramelized edge, salty, sweet, and slightly greasy (makes sense since there are potato chips in there). I followed the recipe exactly, but do have a few tips.
Tip #1: Use the weight measurements. I weighed my flour then scooped it out to see if it equalled the said cup amount, and it didn't.
Tip #2: Freeze your baking sheets. It helps the dough not spread as fast.
Tip #3: Use a 1/3 C to portion out the dough, if you try to make regular-sized cookies the dough will spread too fast and burn. 
Tip #4: After baking, the edges may seem scraggly and much browner than the rest of the cookie (the middle will still be a bit raw), use a spatula to "push" the edges in and shape the cookies. This way, as the cookies continue to bake and cool on the baking sheet, the edges won't burn and the cookies will end up more even. 
You can find the recipe hereLike the name suggests, there's a bit of everything in these cookies. I used chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toffee bits, graham crust (it's in the recipe), and kettle-cooked chips. Since I didn't have any pretzels, I almost put some crunchy Cheetos in there, but that would have been weird, right?