Category Archives: Food

My Best Bite in Greece

Saganaki and Fig Marmalade at Assyrtiko in Fira, Santorini

I’ve been holding onto all of the images from my trip to Greece for far too long. I finally put them on my computer and the first thing I want to share with you all is the hands-down best bite I had on my 9-day trip to Greece. The best part about it was probably that I happened upon it by surprise. Nestled in an article in Food & Wine was a mention of a restaurant Assyrtiko that said you had to try the fried saganaki with fig marmalade. To my dismay, I could not for the life of me find the restaurant when we arrived in Santorini.

It wasn’t until my last day in Greece that I stepped out onto our hotel’s terrace to spot the restaurant sign, and less than a block from where I was staying no less. I convinced my friends to pop in to try what I was promised would be a delectable treat. There are so many words for delicious, but nothing comes close to describing the incredible ride my taste buds were on. The way the salty-sweet combination of the melted cheese blends with the fig marmalade, as the flaky pastry melts on the tongue, it’s positively exquisite.

Assyrtiko Restaurant
Ipapantis 40, Fira, Greece
(take the stairs up to the restaurant)

Recipe: French Onion Grilled Cheese

I love french onion soup and I love grilled cheese, combine the two and I don’t know what to do with myself except eat!

French Onion Grilled Cheese

I adapted the original recipe I found on Chatelaine’s website here.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 Servings

1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, sliced thinly (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 900 mL carton low-sodium beef broth
1 thyme sprig
8 slices rye bread
4 slices gruyére or swiss cheese (about 120 g)

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high. Add 1 tsp oil, then onions, broth and thyme.
Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until liquid is reduced, about 15 min.
Remove thyme.
Top each slice with about 1/3 cup onion mixture and 1 cheese slice.
Top with remaining bread.
Wipe pan clean.
Heat over medium. Brush pan with 1 tsp oil.
Cook 2 sandwiches at a time, about 2 min per side.
Repeat with remaining oil and sandwiches.


Twenty-Four Hours in… Toronto

If I could have any super power, I’d want to be able to teleport. I’d go as far as to dive into a vat of toxic goo to get it…

Yes, that’s how much I love to travel. I fantasize about teleporting from one place to another constantly, so the question is – if you had twenty-four hours to spend anywhere, doing anything (minus the airplane rides and the jet lag) where would you go and what would you do?

If you’re teleporting to Toronto…

Niche Coffee Bar - Niche Benedict Nadege Toronto - My favorite patisserie! REDS Bistro Click to Enlarge Image Map

Start your morning off right with breakfast at Niche Espresso Bar. While I’d usually do this a little later and call it brunch, if we’re going to pack as many events into twenty-four hours as possible – this is where you start. I recommend the Niche Benedict. Yes it’s an espresso bar, but if it’s a choice between coffee and my eggs benny, I’m going for the latter. The signature eggs benedict plate at Niche is the picture of perfection with two poached eggs, pemeal bacon and hollandaise sauce piled on top of a generous portion of simply delicious cornbread. (BEST. COMBO. EVER.)

Ed Note: If you go in the summer – ask for a seat out back.

Now that you’re full, it’s time you walk it off. If you’re going to see a city properly you can’t stumble upon the best things in the city in your car – you just can’t! Since I was in high school, I’ve been walking down Queen St – finding jewelry, dresses, vintage shops and so much more – go ahead, window shop and browse. Here are my usual stops on the lane… Spoof, Get Outside, Style Garage, Black Market Vintage, The Beadery and whatever else catches my eye.

For the good stuff, make your way to Kensington Market for a mix of vintage shopping and yummy snacks. Whatever you do – you must try a spinach, feta and pesto scone from Cobs. If you’re interested in vintage scarves and buttons – head to Courage My Love. I’ve been known to sit on the floor and rifle through their scarf bin – each scarf goes for about $3.00 (CAD). On the subject of buttons, some people are content with whatever buttons a garment comes with, for the rest of us Courage My Love has the wall of buttons. I’ve probably spent $100 dollars here – which is saying something because these buttons aren’t that expensive. Peek into Flash Back and peruse the vintage shirt racks on the street, then make sure to take a long and leisurely stroll in Bungalow – my favorite vintage store of all time. Almost every vintage pencil skirt I own came from this place, and I’ve also scored quite a few blazers here too. Their stock is carefully curated to give you just about everything you could want when you walk through those doors.

Lunch Time: saunter back down to Queen St, heading further west to my favorite French patisserie – Nadege. Order up a croissant sandwich – whichever one your heart desires. I’m likely to grab the one with smoked salmon, cucumber, dill and cream cheese (but Fresh Figs and Goats Cheese on a Nadege croissant are equally as delectable). Grab some goodies to go, like mini madeleines and homemade marshmallows – chocolate covered, regular, or flavored (I’m still savoring my strawberry and basil marshmallows).

Walk around the city some more, sit in the park across from Nadege, or head up to Dundas and head east towards Yonge Street. You’ve still got time to pop into the Art Gallery of Ontario – so go. Or, make your way to the waterfront and take in the sunset over Lake Ontario before you head over to REDS… When Holly Golightly said that thing about the mean reds, these weren’t them. With the greatest wine selection in Toronto, this is a must stop for the visiting wino. Order the crab cakes and lap up the vino. And, in the event that you’d like to dance the night away – head to Wet bar on Peter St or Guvernment on Queen’s Quay down by the lake shore.

Ed Note: Full disclosure, I don’t think I could ever get everything I wanted to do crammed into 24 hours in Toronto. I grew up there, so having to see friends and family trumps this itinerary.

The Great Googa Mooga

The Great Googa MoogaI don’t spend enough weekends in Brooklyn, but I’m glad I stayed home this weekend to witness the food-loving splendor that is The Great Googa Mooga. With all the crazy, bad weather we’ve been having, this weekend was a slice of heaven. Sprawling over Prospect Park, the grounds of Googa Mooga were littered with people on blankets and booths serving some of the best food in NYC. It was an all around perfect day to be outside, soaking up some rays, drinking a few beers, and consuming half my weight in food. Music poured through the airwaves and we danced around trying not to spill our beers but refusing to put them down.

Never mind the fact that I had absolutely no cell phone service and couldn’t upload anything to Instagram and Twitter. It was a bit like the dark ages in a way that makes you yearn for the days when life was simpler. I didn’t find myself checking my email every two minutes, instead I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and spread of delectable culinary goodness. My favorite was a toss up between the pork belly tacos from Colicchio & Sons and what I’m almost sure was crawfish mac and cheese from Crawfish Monica. Lest I forget, the summer heat bearing down on my shoulders – beyond the booze was a special treat from People’s Pops. One ice block, a shaver and a tasty plum tarragon syrup made for a refreshing shaved ice treat.

people's pops

There may have been an almost intolerable swarm of people, but the music and food made it bearable. I’m looking forward to next year and I’m making my way to The Spotted Pig and Red Rooster as soon as possible to get a real taste of their offerings.

The Pairing Principle: Food & Wine Cocktails App

Food & Wine Cocktails App

My best friend’s a chef, and for all intensive purposes, I love cooking and trying new restaurants more than I enjoy getting dressed in the morning and shopping for clothes. (Blasphemy, I know!) In all my dreams of being an editor, my first recourse was through fashion, but my true first love is food.

Today, Food & Wine, in partnership with Belvedere Vodka, released the perfect foodie/menu planning app for the summer season (or any other for that matter). Just in time for Cinco de Mayo the free Food & Wine Cocktails app offers a slew of cocktail and snack pairings for all sorts of spirits. That’s right it’s not just all about Belvedere Vodka, they’ve got recipes for Apertifs & Digestifs, Brandy, Champagne & Sparkling Wine, Gin & Genever, Mocktails, Rum & Cachaca, Tequila & Mezcal, Vodka, Whiskey, Wine &  Beer. This weekend, I’m planning on mixing up a batch of the Blood Orange Margaritas with the app’s recipe for Chunky Guacamole. For those crazy people with an aversion to tequila, I’m gathering the ingredients for the Belvedere Crimson Crush, served alongside plates of Pulled Chicken Grilled Corn Tacos. Yum!

Download the app here for your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and start making the perfect pairings yourself.

Thought for Food: Guinness & Baileys Cupcakes

St. Patty’s Day rolls around once a year, and the streets of the city are strewn with wanna-be-Irish-decked-out-in-green-drunk-on-copious-pints-of-beer people. Savoring the tastes of the emerald isle had a few layers this time around. My friend Melissa and I started off St. Patrick’s Day with a cup of Irish coffee, complete with Baileys Irish Cream and the Baileys flavored coffee creamer. We engaged in the obligatory bar hopping, attempting to avoid the pseudo “Irish Pubs.” But somewhere between that, we whipped up a batch of Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s buttercream icing. The recipe below makes the best things I’ve ever had.

Guinness & Baileys Cupcakes

Cake Mixture:
1 cup Guinness Stout
16 tbsp. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
⅔ cup Daisy sour cream

Baileys Ganache Filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅔ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. Baileys Irish cream

Baileys Buttercream Frosting:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
8 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
Green food coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium saucepan, combine the stout and butter over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

2. In a medium/large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

3. In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Then, add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ full. Put cupcakes in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 325° F. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, give it a very short burst in the microwave (10 seconds). Add the butter and Baileys and stir until combined. Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be injected into the center of the cupcake. Using an injector tip you can put the filling straight into the cupcake or cut out the center of the cupcake and spoon in the ganache filling.

6. To make buttercream icing, dice the room temperature butter into small pieces. Add powdered sugar and Baileys and mix with electric mixer. Add green food coloring to get the desired color green. Add more sugar, Bailey’s or butter as needed. Pipe icing onto the cupcakes (we did swirls and four leaf clovers).

Original Recipe found on (Blue Eyes Curly Qs)

Pining for Paris

I’m pining for another vacation, throwing ideas out on where to visit next as if aiming darts at a spinning globe. One thing remains – I miss Paris…

I Miss Paris(Top Left to Bottom Right: éclairs from some random bakery near Porte de Clignancourt; one of the many Soupe à l’oignon – I can still taste the broth soaked cheesy bread; where decadence is born – Pierre Hermé; the view walking along the Seine; Angelina’s famous hot chocolate with a brioche roulée au chocolat; one of my favorite side street discoveries – my heels would hate me but I’d love to live in the apartment that overlooks this nook.)

Perhaps I’ve become obsessed with one too many Audrey Hepburn movies set in Paris. My days in Paris were spent munching on macarons, drinking decadently thick hot chocolate, and walking along the Seine. My nights were spent marveling at the splendor of the city. I’ve never known a city to be more beautiful in the gloom of the rain, but when Audrey in Sabrina said: “It must rain on your first day in Paris,” I took this very seriously and submit myself to the beauty of the city of lights. Maybe a part of me is just dying to live out the Paris Nights/New York Mornings music video from Corinne Bailey Rae, but I’m dying to go back.  Perhaps I’ll return for a visit later this year. So I can dive into a bowl of French onion soup, and head over to Pierre Herme.

For now, the destinations on my hit list (it’s sure to grow by tomorrow):

1. Portugal
2. Brasil
3. Hawaii
4. St. Lucia
5. Jamaica*
6. The United Kingdom
7. Italy
8. Thailand
9. France
10. Australia