Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Rainy Saturday

While the temperature warmed up a bit today, it came along with drizzly rain during the day and rain in the evening. After picking up our veggies and dried goods at Kensington Market, Mr.T and I went for a walk in the drizzly rain to Home Sense and Winners on Spadina. We then made our way west King Street to the Winners and Loblaws on Portland, where I found a Good Grips small ice cream scoop, perfect for scooping out cookie dough (an idea encouraged by Martha Stewart). We then made our way back home. 

For dinner, we were both craving dhosa so we made our way in the rain to Madras Masala, a South Indian dhosa place on the west side of Christie Pits on Bloor Street West. The place was our favourite dhosa place and a couple of times a year we would venture our for their really yummy dhosas. Sadly the place recently changed hands and we were disappointed not only by the service but also the food. 

From the minute we entered the reception was less than friendly. Gone are the young friendly waiters, who knew how to serve, replaced by a couple of young woman who just didn't care about their customers. Instead ensuring basic customer service they spent the majority of their time fussing over their children. While we were disappointed by the service we hoped for the same quality of food. Sadly, the food also has changed for the worse. The dhosas are now a pale imitation of what they once served. Gone are the crisp finished edges replaced with a mushy, wet exterior showing that the lack of attention. The potato and onion interior was also a mushy mess replacing the original chunks of potato and onions. We asked if the place had changed hands and were told in less than friendly way, that yes it was under new management. A note to the new owners/managers if you want to survive in Toronto's cutthroat restaurant market, the quality of your food and service is paramount. If nothing changes I would not be surprised to see the place shuttered.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday at the Junction

This morning, because it was a tad warmer than yesterday Mr.T and I decided to pull up all our leeks from the back garden. They are supposed to be kept in the ground until the first frost and since the snow on Thursday night counted as a frost it was time to pull them all out. After topping and cleaning them I ended up with three big bags for the freezer. We then cleaned up leaves in the front yard. 

A funky test-tube chandelier at Cornerstone

A retro sculptural sofa at Phil's 20th-Century Design 

Because it was a warmer day we decided to go for a little walk north on Bathurst Street to St.Clair Street West. Then we caught the streetcar to the Stockyards. I was hoping to see the new grocery store that had replaced the Target that left years ago. Sadly, we were a week early, the store doesn't open till next week. Instead we explored the shops at the Stockyards and then the Canadian Tire and Home Depot before walked south to explore the furniture stores on Dundas Street West in the Junction. After walking back to Keele Street we caught the bus to the subway getting off at Christie station for a yummy chocolate donut at Apiecapylse on Bloor Street. It was the perfect afternoon snack for a cool November day. 

Two shots of the demolition of Honest Ed's from Markham Street. 

We then made our way home walking along Bloor Street, where Mr.T picked up some apples and a huge basket of strawberries for only one dollar. The strawberries were really ripe so I decided to turn them into freezer jam in order to use overripe fruit. For dinner, I broiled some bourekas I had in the freezer which we the perfect nibbles for a cool, November night. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Cold Saturday

This morning Mr.T and I had to bundle up for our trip to Kensington Market. While the little snow that fell yesterday disappeared it was still a bright, crisp morning well below 0. After the market we took our usual stroll south to the Home Sense and Winners on Spadina, then walked west on King Street to Portland. We then checked out the Winners at Portland and Queen before heading back to our warm cozy house. 

For dinner I was craving warm and toasty Tibetan food so we caught the subway to Lansdowne Station we caught the 47 bus south to Queen Street. We then walked a little west to Shangrila for their warm Tibetan steamed rolls, some yummy chilli fish and beef soup (for Mr.T). There is something about their food that really makes you feel warm on a really cold night. Because darkness descends so early now, we then made our way home for a quiet cozy, warm night at home. 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Pie Day

The weather has finally started to cool making today the perfect day for pie, after all cool days are pie days. Inspired by a book I have been reading, Michael Twitty's The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American culinary history in the Old SouthI decided to use up some pecans and dates making a really yummy vegan pecan pie. Instead of Grand Marnier I substituted some bourbon, making it a truly Southern-styled pie. Twitty's book is a fascinating look at the history of Southern food and how it relates to slavery, African and Native-American cultures. The book is a personal journey, a memoir of sorts, that allows Twiity to explore his own genealogy and family history and how food played a role in who he is. 

  • 1 9" Pie Crust
  • 8 Ounces Dates, Chopped
  • 6 Ounces Pecans, Halved
  • 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
1.Preheat oven to 350˚.
Prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust and bake for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. 
2.In a large bowl, toss together the remaining ingredients until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to the pre-baked pie crust, pressing down the filling with the back of spoon. 
3.Bake for 25-30 minutes until filling is lightly browned and crust is golden.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

A Cold Saturday

Walking to Kensington Market this morning for our veggie and dry goods made us both realize that we had to break out the winter coats. For the first time, the thermometer dipped below zero last night making for a cool, grey, Saturday. We decided after the market to head down to College Street to check out a couple of the computer shops for a Chromecast dongle that would enable our television to talk to our new Google Home. Only one store had one but after realizing that it would mean another device, we decided against it, hoping instead to buy a smart television in the future that would enable us to reduce the number of devices in the house. 

We then walked south on Spadina to the Winners near King Street, and the Home Sense just north. From there we made our way west along Richmond Street to Portland before heading back home. I was craving a hot chocolate and so we decided to stop at a place on the southwest corner of College and Lippincott Streets, Thrive Organic, that advertised vegan options. 

Looking out on both College Street and Lippincott Streets the place features a long bar on the western wall that leads into a kitchen in the back. The decor is light and airy with a selection of tables that face the windows on Lippincott Street and barstools that look onto College Street. Following in the tradition of Fresh, probably Toronto's oldest plant based restaurant, these places always feature a lot of staff, that always seem to be busy doing something but that never results in fast service. Every time we go to a vegan restaurant, cafe or shop we are always shocked by how slow the service is. It seems the staff in these places, across the city, are not trained how to handle more than one order at a time, resulting in really slow service. This place was no exception, they were even slower than Starbuck's which says a lot. At the same time, all these places charge a premium for their products, because they are all artisanlly made using obscure products farmed under special conditions that are way too precious. In this case it was some fancy chocolate mushrooms (yes, chocolate mushrooms in a hot chocolate) that were used in their overpriced hot chocolate. I guess the clientele who support these businesses have a lot more disposable income than we do, and certainly a great deal more patience. 

For dinner Mr.T and I decided just to order pizza from the Pizza Nova located just a couple of doors away. We wanted something simple because we were going out later to the opening of a new store Jux-ta-Pose Home on Bloor Street West just west of Bathurst Street. Owned by a friend the store features products for the home in the tradition of his other store Jux-ta-pose located on Bloor Street West in the Annex. The store is beautifully laid out with lots of home furnishings and knick knacks in a light and airy style that is really inviting. If you have a chance check out everything they have to offer.