Beau’s Beer Dinner at the Queen and Beaver

Sometimes it’s hard being a princess. As a food writer, when it’s my job to eat what’s put in front of me, I try not to be (a princess, that is), but sometimes, it just can’t be helped. Sometimes, when it comes to eating lamb, other people get all princessy on my behalf, as was the case with the Beau’s beer dinner at Queen & Beaver on September 19th. Before I arrived at the Toronto Beer Week event, Greg had already mentioned to Chef Andrew Carter that I don’t eat lamb, which was to be the main dish of the evening.

Instead, I got the very tasty duck leg (above) with Spanish cherries. What I also got was an unmercilessness teasing from Chef Carter for well, being a princess.

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Lucky Dip – Monday, September 19th, 2011

The best brewery in the country – is a little place in New Brunswick called Picaroons. [National Post: The Appetizer]

Can’t get a recipe to work? It might not be you, in these days of lean times at publishing companies, skimping on testing and editing is pretty standard. [Guardian: Word of Mouth]

Although it’s probably been brought on by the popularity of the restaurant Noma, the trend towards Northern European foods explains the sudden plethora of hip German, Alsatian, and Croatian restaurants around town. [Food Navigator USA]

And so starts the tide of Toronto food trucks. Let us now brace ourselves for the tsunami of bitching by self-entitled foodies when said food trucks are not in the locations previously publicized. [Toronto Life: The Dish]

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Lucky Dip – Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Will a national food day convince people to eat better in the way that an earth day made us more aware of environmental issues? [The Atlantic]

You’ve heard of calorie counts on menus, but what about CO2 counts? Would you eat less of something at a fast food restaurant if you knew its carbon footprint? [Globe and Mail]

Is it the end of days for professional food critics? [The Atlantic Wire]

Soda, juice and booze… they’re tasty, but they’re screwing with your weight. [Toronto Star: HealthZone]

Are there too many dates on your food packages? In the UK, they’re looking to scrap the “sell-by” date and maybe the others, depending on the food. [BBC]

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Lucky Dip – Friday, August 19th, 2011

My evil plan to shame restaurants into improving their websites is growing. Others are catching on and joining in. Excellent. [Torontoist]

Anthony Bourdain is at it again, spouting vitriol against people he thinks he’s better than, this time Paula Deen. But he might have picked on the wrong lady, because Deen doesn’t strike me as someone who backs down. And unlike other Bourdain victims who have tricked him into rolling over and showing his belly by sending him a fruit basket, Paula Deen is not taking his shit. Maybe Bourdain should stick to picking on dead people (like his assaholic comments about deceased musician Stiv Bators) – at least they can’t fight back. [New York Post]

Milk better than water for kids? During the years where I mostly did nutrition writing, I always made a point of asking who paid for a study that seemed particularly biased. Oh, Dairy Farmers of Canada, you guys need to clean up your act and stop trying to trick people into thinking that they need milk to be healthy. No matter how many studies you pay for and try to present as fact, the truth is against you. [Globe and Mail]

Seven tips for chefs on Twitter – please to note #7. Seriously, stop retweeting every nice thing someone says about you. [Grub Street Boston]

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SalivAte – Toronto Beer Week Edition

By all accounts Toronto Beer Week was a resounding success. Many beers were consumed, and there were some outstanding beer dinners and other food pairing events that took place at restaurants across the city. Greg made it out to more of them than I did (stupid allergies), so many of the photos here are his (which explains why they might get a touch out of focus as we go through each course, as pretty much every one of these dishes came with an accompanying beer pairing.)

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Stirring the Pot with Chef Jesse Vallins

Jesse Vallins is a native of Toronto and has spent the last 12 years working in some of the city’s best restaurants. He has spent the last four years as the chef at Trevor Kitchen and Bar (38 Wellington Street East).

What inspired you to become a chef?

For as long as I can remember I’ve fallen asleep and woken up thinking about food. I love eating and sharing food with people and the experience of restaurants. I don’t care if it’s Canoe (66 Wellington Street West) or a dive in Chinatown, all restaurants are as much about experience as eating. I’ve always loved that and wanted to be a part of it.

What is your favourite dish at the restaurant where you cook and why?

The bacon and tomato salad with avocado ranch and crispy shallots. I love it because it’s got a great mix of different flavours and textures that really work together…and it’s absolutely lousy with bacon.

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