SalivATE – February 2011

Yeah, we thought we’d bring back the SalivAte column, because there’s so much good food going on in our city and it’s fun to share. Above is the soon-to-be-infamous duck confit French toast from Origin (107-109 King Street East). The toast is a soft cinamon-ny brioche style bun with plenty of tender duck meat, pickled blueberries, hoisin sauce and crème fraiche. Maple syrup on the side. It’s a fantastic combination of sweet, savoury, salty and tart.

This is Origin’s version of Huevos Rancheros, made with beans that had been cooking overnight.

The creamed spinach also appears on Origin’s dinner menu. It’s served with walnuts, spinach and Reggiano cheese.

We watched Chef Claudio Aprile and his chef de cuisine Steve Gonzalez make two different versions of this granola dish. Housemade granola full of nuts and apricots is topped with pickled blueberries, crème fraiche and dried mango. The milk to pour over top is flavoured with vanilla and maple. We deemed this to be the cozy version, while the other one was served in a bigger dish with mixed berry preserved on the side and had a more sophisticated presentation.

The winter green salad from The Gabardine (372 Bay Street) with citrus, walnuts and Quebec blue cheese. Great flavour combinations (and check out that gorgeous grapefruit) made this a winner.

Gabardine’s Ploughman’s platter featuring rabbit rilettes, house terrine, chicken liver pate, apple butter and devilled eggs.

Our friend and TasteTO writer Jodi was enthralled with this beet risotto made with goat cheese and beet greens. She left scheming about trying to recreate it at home.

The ice cream sandwich, made with burnt marshmallow ice cream. Definitely better than those soggy ones from the corner store.

Chocolate cake with buttercream and ganache shows up impersonating a Hostess cupcake.

We checked out Pangaea (1221 Bay Street) for lunch one day during Winterlicious and I had this really amazing ocean trout gravlax on potato rosti, with celery root remoulade, and fresh horseradish crème fraiche.

This is Pangaea’s maple pecan tart with macerated dried fruit and bourbon whipped cream.

Also for Winterlicious, we visited Trevor Kitchen and Bar (38 Wellington Street East) where Chef Jesse Vallins creates the most wonderful flavour combinations and does amazing things with beets. This shaved winter vegetable salad with arugula, spicy candied pecans and pomegranate molasses seems simple, until you start eating.

I’m not a fan of shrimp but couldn’t resist this wild B.C. spotted prawn atop Alberta sirloin and paired with goat cheese poutine. Because Vallins makes fantastic poutine.

And finally, Trevor’s dark chocolate and caramel torte with peanut butter chantilly. No, really, chocolate, caramel, slightly salty peanut butter ice cream. Best way to end a meal ever.