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TUM, TA TUM, TUM YUM!

Yesterday my pal – and faux business partner – Vern and I hit the one-year anniversary of TUM – the Toronto Underground Market. It’s not a farmer’s market, not a food expo, it’s more a place where budding chefs/official gourmands/people cooking in their home kitchens all meet to showcase and sell their wares. Some are restauranteurs. Some are food truckers. Some are caterers. And some are phenomenally talented cooks who want to shill their shit and have nowhere else to do so. Toronto by-laws are such that to make and sell food you need to jump through a lot of hoops. Which is why certain people who cook and sell homemade goodies out of their homes Do. Not. Exist. Anyhoo, whichever way you…um…slice it, TUM is a festival of food. We ate our way through it and here are our greatest hits…

To begin, we each wolfed down a “Cannele”.

Cannele. Not Canelle. No cinnamon here….

Originally hailing from Bordeaux these little custard treats came in orange and vanilla. I liked. Vern loved. And we were off.

Next stop: Caramels. Vanilla and sea salt. Sadly, the evidence has been ingested and there’s no photographic proof that I ever had any. So maybe I’ll pretend it wasn’t me that sucked back 5 in about 5 minutes. But I will tell you that real deal caramels (again, made the “French” way) don’t stick to your dental work!

Tucked away between an outer wall and storage units was a line up. A couple of guys cooking, a lot of yelling…Who were these people?

Fidel Gastro. Rebel without a kitchen.

Fidel Gastro. Brilliant. Hilarious. Cute. They were the rock stars of the entire event. People were lined up to sample their wares. Including us. We skipped the “Phad Thai fries” (WTF?! Next time!!) and went for the Gorgeous Jorge (peanut butter pulled pork, bacon jam and crackling. Grilled.) Saltiest and tastiest $5 I’ve ever spent. Our version became the “High Maintenance Jorge”. Because they cut in half. A good thing, ‘cuz we may have come to blows over this sandwich. So good we had to go back (and line up) twice. To bring home the bacon for our men.

And speaking of bacon…..That was definitely the theme of the day.

Cayenne-candied bacon. SPECTACULAR!

Leonard Pig Candy were flogging candied cayenne bacon ($5 for 2 pieces!) as well as chocolate-dipped bacon and bacon jam. We tried the milk-chocolate dipped strips. Yuck.

Not everything tastes better with chocolate.

Bacon-jam however, was $8 well-spent. Divine! Not to be confused with President’s Choice “Bacon Marmalade” (which is revolting). I don’t know what I’ll be doing with it, aside from sneaking a spoonful every once in a while. I just know it was incredible.

Ideas for Bacon Jam. I’m not the only one who needs it but doesn’t know why.

The accompanying bacon-mouth necessitated we bypass the line-ups for butter-chicken and waffles, Rock Lobster Company lobby-rolls and the carvery offering up “Canadian-Canadian Food” like roast beef and turkey.

Theeeeeere’s the beef.

Until we saw yet another line-up at “Hot Bunzz”. Korean Short Ribs with egg bun?! Three mushroom with cheese bun?! How could we resist?

Resistance was futile….

These were a bit herb-y but still….great texture! Needless to say, it was time for the sweets. Donuts from Dough by Rachelle (maple bacon, double chocolate, sprinkles). Cinnamon Buns by Little Tomato Catering (PB&J, maple bacon – again with the bacon!) and brownies, brownies and more brownies.

Not as good as kitchen co-op….

The most beautiful sweet things were the baked goods by Sullivan & Bleeker Baking Co. .

Taste as good as they look.

We split a “dirty dozen” mini-cupcakes. Flavours included mint chocolate, cookie dough, red velvet, ‘smores and more. Deeeelish.

Samosas filled with fresh veg and butter chicken. Cairo street food. Philippino BBQ. Thai curry boxes. Indonesian shrimp sticks. Backyard kitchens. Random tacos. On and on and on it went.

And that was just the daytime market! Apparently the night market is even better with booze, tunes, concerts and more vendors. Maybe by next month – turns out TUM is on monthly. So are weight watcher weigh-ins….. But until then….bring on the bacon!

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October 1, 2012   No Comments

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Mmmmmm….MIAMI!

Aaaahhhh, Miami…. America’s Riviera. Playground for the rich & famous. Southern home for Canadian Snowbirds. And some damn fine food. Everybody’s got their go-to’s in Miami. For every name dropper at Joe’s Stone Crab, there’s someone waiting at Prime Italian. While Micheal’s and Michy’s battle out over in the design district, fressers cruise the inland strip mall “Bagels” looking for jumbo bakery baskets and salad scoops in sloppy second reincarnations of Wolfie’s and Rascal House. Locals claim there are no Asian restaurants in the 305! They oughtta head on over to Hakkasan or Zuma. Or stop into any number of sumo/samba/samurai spots for fabulous maki and bizarre sushi combos.

Yup, everybody’s got their fave Florida finds. Herewith, some of mine!

PRIME

Be warned: at this hip American steakhouse they make you wait. And wait. And wait. Luckily, their cocktail list is sublime and, better still, the complimentary bar snacks:

Yep - that's one tall glass o' bacon!

The menu is outstanding – carnivore or not. In fact, for us the steaks were the least interesting part of the menu. It was all about the starters and “accessories”. We went for tuna sliders, house chopped salad, rapini and truffle fries. And of course a lovely whack of tenderloin. Tater tots and beets ‘n blue? I’m coming for you next time!!

Tuna sliders on Brioche. Just as tasty the next day!

Hardly healthy. But oh so tasty. Enough for 6.

Deep fried oreos. That's right. Deep. Fried. Oreos.

My pal and I split everything. And we shared the entire meal again the following day. Yup, we doggie bagged half of it – and there were leftovers from the leftovers. All in all over the top, in the best possible way.

OLA and THE DINING ROOM are sister restaurants. Actually brothers. I was torn between the two Latin lovers so, in the end, had both!

OLA – or, Of Latin America – has Chef Douglas Rodriguez at its helm. My pal loved loved loved her meal at his eponymous, now closed, resto at The Astor so this was a must-dine for her. Slick and sophisticated in The Sanctuary Hotel with over ten ceviches to choose from, it was crudo paradiso. We ordered a few but the lobster ceviche was the standout. Homemade corn bread nearly put us over the edge, but we pushed our way through shortrib empanada, braised pork, and sugar cane tuna…..YUM!

Gedempt pork.

Seared tuna pops!

Little brother’s The Dining Room was just as good. A tiny space south of 5th on Lincoln with only a handful of tables, we sat street-side, protected from the rif raf (ok, hungry starers) by a sweet white picket fence. We were warned that they didn’t serve OLA’s crazy bread (thanks goodness, a girl’s gotta bikini to fit into!) but that their butter was better! Garlicky – and true! Ceviches lobster and cobia were fresh and tasty, while the duck salad was a hit. We taunted our friend M for ordering the vanilla squash soup….Until we tried it. Divine! Next up came a delicate halibut, fantastic filet churrasco flanked by tomato, blue cheese and chili salad, and a crazy crispy brazed pork.

I still don’t know which sib I preferred! Do both!

One of the prettiest places in town has got to be Cecconis.

Beautiful. And boasts a retractable roof!!

Located in the old school glamour of the chic and understated Soho Beach House hotel, it boasts an extensive Italian menu and incredible staff. Sure they meander off the menu a little – shrimp became lobster tail, accompaniments were swapped – but they do it with such aplomb that it works, even when it shouldn’t! Chopped tuna salad is made table-side with bespoke spicing. The pizza is paper thin and perfect for sharing, the risotto with sausage was surprisingly light and delicious, and the snapper carpaccio was practically inhaled. In fact, at our dinner we were so busy chitchatting with the enchanting waiter we forgot to take pictures!! Except for the dessert.

Disappointing Dolci

The list of “must-eat” Florida resto’s goes on….Sra Rodriguez, Carpaccio, Barton G, Wish, Nobu, The Miami food trucks. No wonder there’s an obesity problem in the States. Miami alone is a 5-pounder weekend. But worth every ounce.

February 26, 2012   2 Comments

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What Happens in Vegas? Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao, Pride of the Philippines.....

Sin City. Lost Wages. The Entertainment Capital of the Worrrrld.

I’ve just returned from my maiden Vegas voyage and am already plotting ways to get back to that desert oasis. Yep, it could be an addiction. Garish, smoky, crowded and cheesey, I absolutely adored it. And I’m not even a gambler! I tried to be. I really did. Roulette, craps, blackjack and slots – gave each one a shot and lost, lost, lost and lost. I got on a bit of a…. ahem …roll at “Casino War” but my luck soon turned.

Did I care? No! Because Vegas is fantastic. Shopping, eating, checking out the human freakshows, both on stage (“O”) and in the streets (never seen so many surgesized racks). What’s not to love? And we went on a quiet weekend! Sure, I would’ve liked to have lounged poolside, but this was a special occasion getaway. Not only was it my man’s birthday, but we were there as VIP guests of renown photographer David Drebin as his incredible Manny Pacquiao book hit the stands (and the web!).

From the shops....

To the screen via Miss July...

To the toilets...The Book is everywhere!

Our all-access pass took us from the pre-party (Giovanni Ribisi! Jason Lee! Jeremy Piven!) to the floor (Mike Tyson! Magic Johnson! Too many basketball players to name! Or recognize!). Playboy playmates and Idol castoffs, Mexican Grammy winners and “Eye of the Tiger” Survivor singer, this show had it all. Plus Bill Compton.

Team Bill ('til Eric shows up)

The fight itself was somewhat lukewarm, but being there was hot!!!

Modern day Coliseum

I’d always liked Rocky (and, um Sugar Ray Leonard) but now I can honestly say I’m a fan of the bloodsport. Bring on the Boxing!!! Or at least, another trip to Vegas!!

Ringside!

EAT: We hit Milos for fine Greek (via Montreal) dining. Their octopus and stone crabs were divine, but their “Milos Special” (razor thin fried slivers of zuchinni and eggplant on a bed of tzaziki) were sublime. Their whole fish was, I thought, overrated, its consistency not unlike chewed gum. Eeeewwwww.

Breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi at (The?) Paris was hilarious. French signs, servers greeting us with “bonjour” and baguette served in paper bags. All we needed were some cyclists avec paniers to make the experience complete. Funny thing is, apparently they have ’em, but we didn’t spot any in Le Casino.

Wolfgang Puck – he’s not just for airports! The guy’s got spots all over the town. We headed over to MGM’s version post-fight for pizza and salads. Tasty.

Beso, Eva Longoria’s Latin Steakhouse, was recommended to us. We were hesitant. But it also happened to be attached to our hotel. So we went. And, despite the stacking of chairs and closing up rituals of the servers (while we were still eating!!) la comida está buena. As were the drinks – in particular their Skinny Colada (coconut vodka, pineapple juice, lime. Zoinks!)

The Buffet. You can’t go to Vegas and not sample their legendary hotel buffets. Or can you? We went once and loaded up on shrimp and bacon. The rest was, well, too buffet-ish. Still, had we known the all-you-can eat extravaganza was included with our daily rate we may have gone back to sample the breakfast pizza (for real) or the award-winning dessert.

I lied. We did sample the award-winning desserts at Jean-Phillippe Patisserie. Their cinnamon danish? Not. Normal. Mind you, the brown sugar coffee cake at the hotel beanery wasn’t too bad either!

Despite eating like piggies, we managed to squeeze ourselves into some new duds. For as much as Vegas is a gamblin’ town it really is all about the shopping.

My fave find was DNA 2050, located in the slick ‘n stylish Cosmopolitan Hotel. His ‘n hers, jeans ‘n tops with a side of footwear. Loved it. Shopped it. Bookmarked it. Also fell for Dutch cosmetic emporium Skins. See ya Sephora, this all-white, upscale product shop has stuff we’ve never seen – nor heard of!

But they was just the beginning. Forum Shops at Ceasar’s (where they really do have folks in Ancient Roman get ups announcing the arrival of the emperor! And Scoop NY!), Crystals for the hoitiest of toity (even the…um…adult shop, Kiki De Montparnasse was couture-ish), the Fashion Show Mall for weekend Runway shows and a myriad of department stores, Miracle Mile for more common finds, and of course the Outlets. It’s impossible to get to them all. But it can’t hurt to try!

VIVA LAS VEGAS!!!

View from (almost) the top of The Aria

November 16, 2011   1 Comment

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XOXO KOKO

I’m a big Open Table user. I’m like a glutton for punishment with this site. For out-of-town bookings – I’m in anytime, anyplace. Locally? SOL. And yet they’ve got me coming back for more. Definition of insanity? Perhaps. I’ll look up the same spots over and over and they’ll be booked, regardless of how early I try to snag ’em. And then there are The Others. Those places that always have space. ALWAYS. I could search for a table for 10 for the next night, et voila! – I’m in. Except I’m not. Because of course I’d never book somewhere that was so readily available. Y’know, the whole not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member thing….

Such was the case with Koko Share Bar. Any time I visited Open Table, there it was. Table for 2 on a Saturday night during Winterlicious? No problem. Last minute table for 10? Sure, come on in. Rent out the whole place for a private function? The more the merrier. The reviews were uniformly good. The menu sounded kinda perfect for me – modern Korean/Japanese Tapas. And yet they were always willing to have me.

What was wrong with this place?

Curiosity finally got the better of me when I had to find a table for 6. Six who didn’t want the twilight dinner special or the 9:30 seating. Since my top five (ok, ten) weren’t having us, I was left with no choice but to finally bite the bullet, book ‘er down, and head on over to the subterranean spot on Yorkville. Our first impression was that it was yet another cheap ‘n cheerful sushi bar. The kind you’d walk past without registering (which, um, my Man has. Daily.) But a cheery “how ya goin'” from our Aussie server won us over. And once the food started coming, we were hooked.

We decided to go family-style – it was called “share bar” right? After ordering a slew of Soju-based cocktails we were primed. (Soju, for those not in the know, is like the Korean version of Vodka). And then the food started coming. And coming. And coming. First up were veggie gyoza – nice ‘n light ‘n crispy. Next came their “signature modern” sushi and sashimi. YOWSA!!! Tuna marinated in a maple-balsamic reduction was ridiulously tasty. And the torched butterfish with daikon and ponzu was melt-in-your-mouth mmmmm goodness. Maki rolls were unlike anything I’d seen before. The Scallop with armelized shallots were just “ish” for me – I prefer raw to seared. But the Maguro Tuna with the spicy kimchee mayo and okra??? Spec. Tac. U. Lar. Equally unforgettable were the Oysters KOKO – battered and flash fried they gave the traditional raw bad boys a run for their money.

Next came a “Bossam” platter: Spicy chicken, slow roasted crispy pork belly and Korean BBQ beef served with rice, lotsa fun sauces and lettuce leaves to wrap it all up. It was enormous, but we took it down. And fast. A plate of miso black cod was practically inhaled. It was all a little different. And a lot of delicious. Unusual. And incredible.

To share. Or not.

We were tempted to ride this food train until it’s final stop: Grilled Short Ribs… Spicy Boullaibaisse Hot Pot… Wok-tossed mussels…And so much more sushi, so little time… Unlike some of us who gnawed on garnishes and practically licked the table (you know who you are, L), this place was all class. They handled an allergy issue with aplomb and service was impeccable. Each dish was brought to us already divided into 6, ensuring no one was left out. Maybe they always serve in sixes – I’ll find out when I return. Oh yes, I’ll be back. All of us will. So don’t be surprised if you try to book on Open Table and it’s no longer available. KOKO Share Bar is a secret just waiting to be spilled.

March 13, 2011   2 Comments

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Glutton for San Fran

My man turned 40 last week. Trying to figure out where to go and what to do for this particular fellow was a bit of a nightmare. He’s one of the most social cats I know, so a party could be deadly – in every way. And trying to pick a handful of pals for an intimate soiree would result in no end of ribbing, jabs and possibly even stabs, so that was out. A weekend away with the family was out of the question. Aside from the fact that we’d be going South in December, hanging with the under-6 crowd wasn’t really the ideal way to ring in a 40th. Plus we do that every day, so no chance Lance. The whole thing was giving me enough anxiety to give me a mid-life crisis.

So away we went. Gone. Outta here. Sa-yo-na-ra. Adios suckers.

Aaaaahh….if only it were that simple. Planning an escape in mid-November is less than ideal. The hot spots aren’t hot, the exotic spots are too far for 3 days, and the close ones had the same weather sitch as being home. Hit or miss. My man claims he’d be happy in a neighbouring basement with a couple of bottles of wine. But we all know that would suck. Everybody says that – they don’t care, they could go anywhere, etc. CRAP! Having spent one birthday in Niagara Falls, and another in Los Angeles, can you guess which was infinitely more enjoyable?!? Uh-huh, go west young man.

And so we did. Our surprise destination was San Francisco. My man always talked of it adoringly and I’d never been so it really was a no-brainer (once I got the idea into my head, that is).

The big reveal came the day of his birthday. In verse. I contemplated the at-the-airport suprise but post 911 airports aren’t so festive. Plus half the fun of going out of town is bragging….I mean, getting excited about it. Plus, let’s face it – it’s hard enough to pack for myself, let alone choosing his outfits.

He read my dare-I-say awesome poem (which I wanted to post but he wouldn’t let me and it is/was his birthday) and, as I suspected, he hadn’t a clue. Genius surprise! California wasn’t even on his radar for this birthday, which could be why it was all the sweeter…

That, or the food.

Who knew the City by the Bay was such a gourmet paradise? “Fog City”??? Totally inappropriate. Every day was sunny and glorious. It should be renamed “Food City” because, aside from walking off all the meals on those crazy hilly streets, all we did was eat. And some other stuff which I shall leave to your dirty little imaginations. This is a family site for f&cksake!

Frisco. NorCal. SF. San Fran. In three days we couldn’t possibly sample all the city had to offer….Nor did we have a chance to venture away from the city limits, let alone the rest of the Bay Area or 49-Mile Drive. But we did see – and eat – blew our mind.

First off, the Hotel.

Campton Place
in Union Square. We thought of a couple others but this was the winner for us terms of location – and price. It’s part of the Taj group of hotels. Swanky swanky. Tho this once was kinda Taj-lite, it was still AOK. Especially because of the INCREDIBLE concierge, Kyle. He figured us out in about 7 minutes. Maybe he’s somewhat telepathic, or maybe we’re easy reads, but either way, he had us down and pointed us in the right direction.

Taj Campton Place

But back to the food….

First stop, Yank Sing. Best Damn Dim Sum. Ever. Apparently there are two locations. We hit the one in the Rincon Center. As we walked through a deserted (and very clean) financial district we hit this odd – and empty – mall. And then we followed the waft of garlic and found ourselves in dumpling heaven. Traditional dim sum like Har Gow and Sui Mai? Stupendous! Szechuan chicken? Crazy. And the chili fried green beans? We wanted to take the sauce home….Oh, wait, we did! Yes, you can even get their “delightfully spiced” (their words) chili sauce to go. the only regret? That we didn’t buy some more when we had the chance. And they don’t do mail order (I’ve already checked).

From there it was a short walk to the Ferry Building. On Saturdays there’s a farmer’s market there. We were too stuffed from our dim-sum-a-thon to go too wild, but there’s an old saying that you feast with your eyes. So we did.

After sleeping off the jet lag (and dim sum hangover) we hit Spruce in Pacific Heights. The bar and main dining room were pretty amazing sights to behold. Which is why we were somewhat amused to find ourselves sandwiched between the pensioners’ table in the back room. Kinda felt like losers, to be sure, but, as would be proven time and time again in this town, the food made up for it. Fine food, fine wine, and the nicest waitstaff in the west.

Sunday found us skipping breakfast and hitting the hotel’s open air gym. Nothing like a sweat to get you ready for brunch! Especially at Absinthe in Hayes Valley. Kyle pointed us in its direction, but we ordered two massive breakfasts and some (literally) bad-ass pork product sides all on our own. Duck Confit Hash? Corn Cakes with wilted chard and poached eggs? Homemade sausage and bacon? Accompanied with beers and cocktails? We were outta control. And so was the food. Again. Best Bacon we’d ever had. And, like so many of Our People, we know bacon. A little too well…This one was smokey and maple-y and ridiculous. And stayed with us for hours, so we could enjoy it throughout the day.

Next stop was Foreign Cinema. No, not a movie, another bloody restaurant! This one was in the Mission. With an enormous outdoor patio and screening of flicks on their outdoor screen, we’d heard this place was not to be missed. But to be honest, we could’ve. Missed it that is. The setting far-surpassed the meal. It was tasty enough, and the wines were nice, but we probably should’ve blown it off for a Sunday night movie instead.

Monday took us to Nettie’s Crab Shack on Union Street. We stumbled across it by mistake and it was a damn fine find. Especially the Cobb Louis. And the Bloody Mary. Oddly enough, the woman who ran the place had worked at all the restaurants we had been to. In fact, she overheard us arguing about the gluttonous theme of the weekend and insisted we keep the reservation we had for dinner that night.

Yes, we argued. Once. All over Gary Danko. The restaurant, not the man. I managed to snag us a reservation – apparently quite a challenge. And I’d heard that if there was one place you HAD to go to, it was there. And my man felt full. He was finished with eating. He couldn’t stomach another restaurant meal. It was our last night in Frisco and he was done with dinners.

Except, in the end, we went to Gary Danko. And, in the end, he didn’t like it. He LOVED it. Riding the cable car over there helped, but the meal was over the top. The service was impeccable, the food divine AND they brought us a birthday dessert. They remembered why we were there in the first place – even tho’ I seemed to have forgotten! They have a roving cheese plate that they cut ‘n serve table side. They have petit-fours that come with the coffees. And they send you home with a prettily-wrapped breakfast cake for the next day. Yum yum and yum.

We did other stuff too! I swear. Union Square was shopper’s paradise. A little overwhelming but we managed. Hayes Valley is a great afternoon out. Restaurants and cake shops aside, they have some awesome independent boutiques. Sean, Gimme Shoes, Flight 101 to name a few. Chinatown, North Beach, Russian Hill, Cow’s Hollow… All walks, all the time. And yes, we walked UP Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world.

We also hit Alcatraz. The cruise, the walk, the audio tour. Aside from being iconic, cool and a great morning out, it saved us hundreds – in shopping and calories. We needed the break between meals. And we needed to NOT spend it shopping. Being shipped off to The Rock was just what we needed to round of our 4-pounder weekend.

If you’re heading to San Francisco, enjoy….And bon appetite!

November 22, 2009   No Comments

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It’s a Kind of Magic

My name is MOAM, and I’m an addict.

It’s the bullet. The Magic Bullet. I’ve been shot.

Huh? You don’t know from Bullet? Wha? Where have you been? Obviously not hanging out in flea markets or watching late-night shopping channels. Well, neither have I. So there.

Neither grinder nor blender, cuisinart nor mixer, it’s combo. A sit-on-the-counter, throw-in-your-dishwasher, who-knew combo.

My intro to the Bullet came through a friend. A friend with fantastic taste and an immaculate kitchen. She swears by the Bullet. Claims she uses it every day. Don’t ask how we got on to the subject. I haven’t a clue. I don’t know how I end up talking about half the crap I come up with. I just do. But back to the Bullet….So she swears by this thing and I humour her. Like I need another gadget.

And then I went trolling through my mom’s house looking for an extra hand held blender. Yes, she stocks small household items in her house. My job is not to ask why. But if she’s got an extra Braun, I’m all over it. Turns out, she didn’t. But what she did have, sitting on her counter in all it’s TV-endorsed packaging glory, was The Magic Bullet.

Again with the Magic Bullet!

Call it fate, call it curiosity, or call it shamelss consumerism, whatever. The Bullet came home with me. And then…and then it sat on my counter, in its box for a week or so. I didn’t get it. I didn’t buy it – literally or figuratively – so I was hardly impressed. Until one Saturday afternoon. It was freezing. It was snowing. I was home alone, and I opened it. And I made a Pina Colada. I did! And I was hooked – on cocktails, maybe. On the Bullet, for sure.

Sucker for smoothies? Now you can make ’em, in about 30 seconds. And you can customize them too in yur own Magic Bullet mugs. It come with four. Pop your ingredients in, screw on the blender bottom and, well, bottoms up. Salad dressing? Five seconds or less. Grating cheese? (I didn’t think I’d do it either, but I did). Done like, well, dinner. And it even comes with a shaker top, should you be so inclined. Throw in a garlic clove, a handful of brocolli and some chicken stock. Put on the steamer lid and pop it in the microwave for two minutes(carcinogens be damned). Then, press, presto – soup! Chopped herbs? Check. Salsa? Check. Hummous, fat-free hummous, bean dip and guac? Check, check, check and check. You can also grind coffee beans, nuts, and – god knows who would or why – meat. It’s incredible. It’s handy. Abracadabra!

It’s…..maaaaaagic.

I now call my friend, the original Bullet-head, for the daily Bullet report. And it’s not just me. My Man has also, erm, bitten the Bullet. He’s ready to go all Oprah and buy one for everyone. (Don’t get too excited. It’ll never happen. ) But we’ll stand proud and say it loud: we’re a Magic Bullet Family.

Look, I know you think I’ve become an infomercial. And I kind of have. Without the show. Or the daily make-up ‘n hair. Or the big pay day. But what can I tell you? I’m obsessed. And you will be too. For now, forever, or until the next great American gadget comes along….

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

I’m sold! What time is the infomercial???? I’ve got my credit card out and I’m ready to chop some brocolli. If all else fails, you’d make a mighty fine saleswoman.

10:21 AM

Anonymous said…

MAGIC BULLET? It ‘s changed our lives!!!!!!
Our whole family that is! We look for ways to bullet!
Who is the most original? who is the fastest? Those that keep it on the counter qualify! Those that keep it in a drawer don’t count!!!!!!
You know that neighbour friend of yours, the one who Bullets everything? Yup, she is our family winner!!!!
Keep Bulleting and we will let you in on our contests!
xxxxx j

5:32 PM

Anonymous said…

Thanks MOAM– now I’ll be singing “Choppin’ Brocolli” for days!

February 12, 2008   No Comments

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Resolve This

I will, I won’t, I swear, I’ll try…..Talk, talk, talk, doesn’t anybody…erm…do anymore?

I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions. It’s January 12th. Do you know where your resolutions are? Are they down the crapper? Come on, you can admit it. Still eating? Smoking? Lounging? Working too hard? Not working enough?

Probably.

Rather than fall off various wagons and miss crucial deadlines, I didn’t even bother making resolutions. It’s not that I think I’m perfect. Far from it. I’m just as much a fixer-upper as the next gal, if not more so. Always in need of a fine tuning here, a slight shaping there, a little motivation…

Motivation!! Maybe THAT’s the problem. I’m so unmotivated (insert: “how unmotivated are you?”). Well, I’m so unmotivated that I can’t even make a bloody New Year’s resolution.

But with all the studies showing how fruitless they are, really, who can be bothered?

VIVA LA REVOLUCIONE!

Yep, I’m rebelling against resolutions. For me, this New Year’s backlash isn’t about staying home on New Year’s Eve. Au contraire!!! But Jan 1st? Could there be a worse time to start making empty promises? I mean , puh-lease people – it’s a national holiday! We’re all still on vacation!

The good intentions of Christmas – I mean – The Holiday Season – are sweet. Nice. Charming. But come January? Buh-bye. I almost want to start smoking – almost. Except I need to be supportive to those who resolved not to. Eat less? I resolve to do that every week. But in January? Sheesh…I’m a Weight Watcher’s Lifer and haven’t been since the ‘007 began. Working too much? A non-issue for me. Starting work? Erm…It’s January. Isn’t showbiz dead in January? Isn’t it?! All the best movies came out in Dec and the best TV is on hiatus ’til, well, Sunday. And people are just starting to get their work-groove back. Right?

That’s what I tell myself.

And then there’s the working out issue. Talk about been there, done that… I used to be a daily do’er. Complete with trainer. Mr. Mexico, no less. That’s right, the real Mr. Mexico. While Miss America was saving the world or getting wasted, Mr Mexico was training me. Until I fell for someone else – Bikram. Cuz folks, let me tell you – nothing beats a Bikram body. Nothing. Except you can’t do hot yoga pregnant. So that was replaced by walks. Power walks. Then strolls. Then stepping into the car. And now? The closest I come to a workout is lifting my fork to my mouth.

But not for long. Because I joined a gym. I joined a new, hot, fancy shmancy gym. I figured the price alone will drive me onto that treadmill. Except for one thing. My gym isn’t open yet.

That’s right, I’m so loathe to make a new year’s – or anytime – resolution that I pre-joined a gym. Back in Sept. I figured I’d give myself a couple months to procrastinate and then, when it opened, I’d go. Is it a coincidence that it looks like it’ll be opening in January? Perhaps. But because I joined a while back, and didn’t make any announcements, it wouldn’t be a real New Year’s resolution. And thus I wouldn’t be breaking it.

Here’s the thing – while it’s still not open officially, it’s getting close. Every week I get emails informing me of the club’s progress. The lobby’s done. The equipment’s in place. The classes are up and running. Unlike me. All that’s left are the showers. And any minute now those changerooms will be rarin’ to go – but will I? What excuses will I have left? By the time it opens it won’t be about breaking New Year’s Resolutions. It’ll be about breaking in my shoes and breaking out of my lounging habit. The other day they even left me a message about setting up a fitness consultation. Is it too late to resolve not to waste time talking on the phone? Would that count?

Tick tock….January’s flying by….If the resolutions are out the window, does that mean we have to keep the secret promises we made to ourselves…in September? I’m changing my mind. I am going to make resolutions. And stick to them too. If Jan 1st is the day, so be it. January 1st, 2008. Shame I missed the boat this year, then….A real, lovely, lazy shame…

January 12, 2007   No Comments

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Gone Fishing

Saturday night. Every new restaurant you wanna try is booked. Every old fave is, well, old. So you (I) let down your (my) guard and let the friends take care of the venue. Some place they went to a while back and liked. A place we never heard of, and had no on-line reviews (that counted). A place at the wrong end of the right street. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

WRONG! Tho’ it did start out a bit iffy…

Ferillo. We’d booked a table, but there really was no need. ‘Cuz it was Saturday night and the joint was anything but jumping. In fact, it was Deadsville. I guess no one else had heard of Ferillo either. But what the hell! We’d bring our own atmo. We braved the subtle bleachy/worn mop smell and took our seats in the window.

And were we glad we did!

We started off with champagne. OK, it wasn’t really champagne. It was the Portuguese version. But at $130 for a bottle of Veuve vs. $32 for the cheap swill, do you blame us? Guess what? It was delicious!

Maybe it was the bubbly, but what followed was a feast that met – and surpassed – even the snootiest of gastrosnobs: a massive appetizer platter filled with grilled octopus and squid, fried calamari and shrimp, and their tasty (but somewhat mismatched) salsa. House salad for four was served family style, complete with feta cheese and chickpeas.

And then came the mains: the fish.

This was the kind of place that brought out various fishies and mollusks so we could pick ourselves a winner. We ordered, they told us they’d run out of some things, we thought was strange (considering no one, but no one, was there), and we re-ordered. The fish arrived, heads or tails in tact for those that wanted it; deboned and perfect for those who didn’t. The chef put together a platter of sides too – mushrooms, potatoes and a smattering of veg. But I didn’t pay attention because I was too busy ooh-ing and aah-ing over my porgy and sampling my man’s dorado.

In a word? Deeee-lish.

Homemade sugar crepes and frothy caps finished us off. We marvelled how such a yummy spot could be so, well, not hot. Why why why? They had a massive saltwater fishtank in the entrance, and even that was nearly empty!

You know how desperadoes are extra super nice? And how those who, erm, lack in physical perfection can compensate with sparkling personalities? That’s Ferillo. It’s a Meditteranean fish joint that, while having much in common menu-wise to that swanky hot spot at Ave and Dav, couldn’t be more different.

In other words, Ferillo may be the poor cousin, but so what? It’s tasty, the folks there are lovely, and food is great. All it needs – aside from some (any) customers, is a chance. The menu was nearly identical to That Other Fish ‘n Tits joint – but with lower prices. The food was on par – if not superior.

And the only tits in the place were ours.

Ferillo
924 College W.
Doubt you’ll need to book, but here’s the #: 416 840 1144

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

Could told you all that– it’s in me ‘hood. Thanks for stopping by to say ‘hi’! (ummm… not)

November 27, 2006   No Comments

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Afternoon Delight

I hate 4PM. 3:30 too. Hate ’em both. The day is winding down. It’s finish-up-and-get-ready-to-go-Time. Too-late-to-start-something-new-Time. Too-tired-to-care-Time. For some, it’s TV Time. For others, time to hit the gym. For me, it’s please-perk-me-up-before-I-empty-the-fridge-Time. In other words, it’s Coffee Time.

It used to be all about Grande Soy Lattes and low-fat, no-whip fraps. Then the unsweetened green tea lemonade took over, followed by my current fave, the non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte. Spending my children’s tuition at Starbucks? Uh, yeah…Who isn’t?

Well, as of today, I’m not. Because there’s a new drink in town. One you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home/office/personal space. And one that, while not all that cheap, is definitely cheerful and absolutely delicious. It’s not really winterized, but who cares?

It’s Pom Tea.

That’s right, Pom Tea. I am now a walking ad for the stuff, ‘cuz it’s incredible.

Y’all know Pom, right? Or, sorry, PomWonderful (but who in their right mind actually calls it that? Puh-lease). It’s that sexy bottle full of pomegranate juice. Some freakshows drink it straight, but it’s far more palatable diluted. Better still diluted with fizzy water to make Pom Pop. Yum.

And now, the sequel has arrived. Pom, the Tea. Blackberry Black, Passion Peach White and, my personal fave, Lichee Green. All with pomegranate o’ course. It’s not too sweet, doesn’t need to be diluted at all, and the packaging’s kinda fun too, if a little odd. All Pom Teas come in their own somewhat ceremonial glass. Yes, a glass. I dunno know why. It just comes that way. With a lid.

Shake, sip, enjoy. But wait! It gets better: You can convince yourself you’re actually drinking some sort of anti-aging elixir of the gods. A potent potion to ward off evil (lined) eyes. They call it PomRx but whatev. It just tastes good.

Will I be giving up my Starbucks fix forever? Of course not. What kind of gal do you take me for? I’m true blue loyal to their ripoff fancy coffees. But I’m also true blue loyal to all the friendlies, which is why I’m passing on the Pom.

Try it, you’ll like it. And if it ends up being as good for you as it claims, you can thank me later. When we’re all old, happy, healthy and hot.

Salute.

November 22, 2006   No Comments

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Soup’s On

Summertime, and the livin’ is…soupy….

That’s right. Hot ‘n bothered? Nothin’ like a steamy bowl of soup to cool you down. I’m serious, by the way. When I was travelling in Southeast Asia a million years ago it was crazy hot. And where were the locals? Not running for shade, but sipping soup. I tried to too. My bowl of pho soon became sweat soup. Not a pretty sight. Or taste. I’m a salt person but that was too much, even for a diehard like me. But I remembered the hot meal/hot weather thing and decided to try it again for the very first time.
We-e-e-e-ll. Not exactly. More like I was out food shopping and ab rav (that’s absolutely ravenous for those not in the know). I’m telling you – starving! And you know the old adage? Not the one about soup but the one about not shopping hungry? Well I’m glad I ignored it today because I discovered the most spectacular soup I have ever tasted. Ever.
I know soup. I make soup. And I rarely buy soup because I’m one of those who tends to sneer at store bought soup, convinced I can make bigger and better soup by myself. There is one exception: Covent Garden Soup Company in the UK. Now that’s fab f&ckin’ soup. But here? Tried ’em all. The best part about them is you end up with a mason jar for your own soups.
Besides, let’s face it, whether you eat soup in summer or not, making it in the summertime is a whole different kettle of fish soup. It’s just gross. And I don’t care how good your air con is. Smelling like soup? Gross in winter. Uber gross in summer. Hot ‘n soupy on the outside AND on the inside? Uh, no thanks.
But back to my discovery! It’s the Soup Man soup! Y’know… the soup nazi. The guy immortalized on Seinfeld? THAT soup. It’s incredible. It’s (ahem) super! I went for Al’s Garden Vegetable and I doubt I’ll ever make my own soup again. Why bother? With soup this good who needs homemade? Not me. On the bag it says it’s “world renown”. Maybe it is. Maybe I’m the last to try it. Doubtful, but maybe. It’s also billed as “what New Yorkers line up for”. They’ve always been a little ahead of we Canadians. And I’m telling you, judging from the veggie one, it’s worth the wait.
Only now you don’t have to. ‘Cuz it’s here. And it’s cheaper here in the Great White North than it is there (or at least on line) (Mind you, it’s worth every penny. But still, it’s nice to know). See? I was so crazy for this soup I even went on to the Soup Man’s website (www.originalsoupman.com) It’s kinda funny – funny-strange, not funny ha ha. This guy’s got a cultish following – or so he’d like us to believe. But cheesiness aside (the website, not the soup – tho’ I’m sure there are cheesy ones too) go and check out this soup. (hee hee…grocery humour…)
Once you’ve got it in your hot little hands, waste no time in getting it home. And don’t share it. This bag ain’t big enough for the both of us. Microwave users, be warned: don’t trust the bag. Despite the cooking instructions, you cannot stand it up and go for broke. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’re not supposed to nuke in plastic. Gimme a break, I hadn’t eaten all day. But just when I thought it was safe to eat, I opened the door and saw the bag, lying on it’s side. And get this – the soup is so chock-a-block barely anything spilled out. OK, a couple of bits managed to escape and I was left spooning bits of veg from the mic into my mouth—I mean, bowl. So? I couldn’t let a drop go to waste.

Run, don’t walk and pick up some soup. I fear I’m not the only one who’s on to this liquid gem. The freezer was half empty. No, not half full. I’m not so positive when it comes to limited grocery shleves. It was half-empty. And by tomorrow it could be completely bare. Cuz I’m goin’ back to get me some soup!!!

Bon appetite!

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

I can’t believe you bought that soup! I keep seeing it and am ever so attracted to the display (logo, photo, etc) – but then it’s soup in a bag. It raunched me out. Of course I never stuck around long enough to figure out why they were showing the No soup for you episode. It’s all so chrystal clear. Thanks maven – I trust your soup taste. And I still think we could make it better – or at least my mom. Challenge?

7:45 PM

Mother of all Mavens said…

No one – or their mother – does it better. I’m telling you. This soup rocks the hooooose. Embrace the bag and give ‘er a whirl!

8:12 PM

Anonymous said…

The New Yorkers DO line up for it, but be warned– if you buy the bag and then decide you gotta get it from the source (i.e. – take a soup run to NYC) summer soupin’ = no soup for you. The Soupman is closed for the summer months! Nice racket. Apparently, nice packet, too.

June 19, 2006   No Comments

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