SalivAte – September 2010

 

Oh we ate some tasty things this month, my friends. Despite being sick for the past month, I’ve managed to drag myself out to a few places for a bite to eat (I know, the sacrifices I go to for this website), and have documented them all for you lovers of the food porn.

The above dish is not a pizza, or a tart. Rather it’s the very intriguing presentation of the duck and foie gras ravioli at Scarpetta (550 Wellington Street West). Drizzled with a marsala reduction, it was earthy, homey and sweet all at the same time. Possibly my new most favouritest thing.

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One City, One Table

It could have been, truly, a clusterfuck, but the weather gods and organizing gods shined down on the One City One Table event today at the Distillery District. Part of the Luminato arts festival, this food fair took over a whole block with one long table down the centre, and local restaurants offering tastings and street food items for $5 a pop along one side.

While it was busy, it wasn’t stupid packed, and there was very little wait time at each booth to get the food. Most chefs had put some thought into their offerings so it was mostly hand-held stuff like sandwiches, tacos or things that didn’t need a fork and knife.

Enamoured of the food as I was, I completely missed getting a shot of the 500-seat table, although it was never all full at once as people kept getting up and moving around as they tried new things. I missed photographing a few things that we tried and really enjoyed like the baked perogies from Chef Nathan Isberg at Coca, and the braised hangar steak sandwich from Chef Ted Corrado at C5.

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Flipping the Hunter Gatherer Misconception at Coca

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As is the case in any field where an individual demonstrates an area of expertise or even interest, this area of interest can become what that individual is known for, whether they like it or not. This is especially true of chefs who pioneer certain ingredients or techniques. Martin Picard of Pied de Cochon in Montreal will always be known as “that foie gras guy”, just as Ferran Adria will always be known as the pioneer of molecular gastronomy.

Based on the reviews I had read of Coca (783 Queen Street West), and the general trend of tapas (or small plates, if the restaurant isn’t serving specifically Spanish dishes), I had always assumed that Chef Nathan Isberg was one of those chefs who was all about the meat. I’d actually never eaten at Coca because I assumed the menu was heavily meat-reliant. So I was surprised to run into Isberg at the Green Carpet Series – An Evening of Local Cuisine last month, standing proudly behind a table of vegetarian tapas.

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Taking a Walk on the Green Carpet

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Normally, the north building of St. Lawrence Market is the focus of local food only on Saturday mornings as farmers and food producers fill tables with all things edible and Torontonians descend upon the place in search of tasty treats. This past Tuesday evening, the market building was a bastion of local food again as a number of chefs and wineries offered samples of their wares as part of An Evening of Local Cuisine, one of the many events put on by The Green Carpet Series.

Attendees had the opportunity to wander the space sampling food from local restaurants that had been paired with wines from Ontario wineries. Participating chefs and restaurants included Chef Ben Heaton from Globe Bistro, Chef Marc Breton from the Gladstone Hotel, Chef Nathan Isberg from Coca, and Chef Anthony Rose from the Drake Hotel. Participating wineries were Henry of Pelham, Frogpond Farm, Flatrock Cellars and Vineland Estates Winery.

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