Lucky Dip – Friday, August 26th, 2011

Could you live for a week eating food from Dollarama? How about at least throwing some canned fruit and veg in there, for fibre? [Toronto Star]

Pop-ups, food trucks, facial hair, they’re all there in this list of bad restaurant trends. [Village Voice: Fork in the Road]

Speaking of pop-ups, Diner En Blanc is scheduled for tonight in NYC. So is a hurricane. But don’t forget that if you bring an umbrella, it has to be clear or white. [Village Voice: Fork in the Road]

All chefs are called Matt. Okay, not all of them, but 3 of Toronto’s most-well known chefs share the same name, if not the same philosophies about food. [Toronto Star]

Really, when are food bloggers going to realize that if even one of us falls for the scams from viral marketing companies it devalues the work of every blogger out there? [Virginia Willis Culinary Productions]

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Lucky Dip – Monday, August 22nd, 2011

When you hear about the CNE’s “30 food on a stick”, you never really consider eating all of them. Or do you? My hero Jennifer Bain and the lengths she’ll go to for a story. [Toronto Star]

Did you know that Alex James of rock band Blur owns a farm and makes cheese? It’s so popular, he’s signed a deal to sell it in UK supermarket ASDA. [Orange News]

Crinkly bag = crunchy potato chips. Not that simple? It could be to our brains. [Good]

Biscuits, waffles, pickles and red velvet cake batter. The sometimes wacky things served with and done to fried chicken. [Eatocracy]

Food that fight fatigue. For when the 3pm coffee and donut and the 4pm crash and burn just aren’t on the schedule. [Toronto Star: Health Zone]

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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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Lucky Dip – Monday, August 8th, 2011

Dear restaurants, please don’t go thinking that hundreds of posts about your restaurant in the matter of a few hours, all using the same hashtag and (if you retweet every single tweet) flooding the twitter feed of everyone who follows you, is necessarily a selling point to make your place seem hot and vibrant and trendy. In fact, it’s annoying as hell and a real turn-off. Although that hashtag does make it easy for the rest of us to mute all the tweets and never have to see anything about your tweet-up (and possibly your restaurant) ever again. Social media can be a fabulous tool, but only if you use it judiciously. [The Grid]

It’s almost CNE time. You can tell because the ubiquitous (and horrifying) food-on-a-stick articles have started. Seriously, fudge? Why do you need a stick for fudge?? [National Post: Posted Toronto]

Fish-eaters – you know that all of these great promotions to get us to eat more sustainable species of fish really only work if you switch from the typical cod, salmon, tuna, right? Eating more fish overall, because you’re still eating just as much cod, but now are also eating mackerel, really defeats the purpose, yes? [The Guardian]

This will get your goat – Ontario’s goat industry (milk, cheese, tasty curry) is booming. [Toronto Star]

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Lucky Dip – Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Could the Calgary Stampede be considered a preview for the CNE? Because who isn’t fully expecting to see a donut-burger this year? [National Post]

Warning – do not read this piece by Jay Rayner if you do not plan to have fish and chips for dinner. Because you will crave them immediately after completing the article. [The Guardian]

If you’re one of those people who set up a mini-office in the local coffee shop, follow some basic etiquette, as laid out by coffee shop owners. [Mashable]

Is this the year of beer? It’s sure looking that way with craft beer exploding in popularity. Even NOW is getting in on the action with a sleek pull-out beer guide. [NOW]

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The Incredible Edible Royal Winter Fair


Once again, it’s time for the country to come to the city. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is in town until November 16th. Now in its 86th year, the Royal is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world, and sees over 300,000 people come through its doors each November.

And since the majority of agriculture is food-related, the fair is a great place for foodies to check out new local products, admire prize-winning produce, and see up close the chickens, pigs, cows and sheep that will eventually end up on their dinner tables.

Here are some not-to-miss high-lights: Continue reading “The Incredible Edible Royal Winter Fair”

Flights of Fancy

It’s almost over.

It’s ten to four on Labour Day afternoon, and we’re sitting here waiting for the air show to finish. Make that the fucking air show. It’s an annual tradition – they fly a bunch of loud planes past the CNE grounds on Labour Day weekend, and we sit at home comforting the dogs and listening to car alarms go off as the F-16 passes overhead.

I don’t know a single person in the neighbourhood who actually likes or watches the air show. Yes, if I’m out on the street and catch some of it in the sky, it’s visually impressive, I won’t argue that fact. But for four days (the three days of performances and a practice day on Friday) our neighbourhood is inundated with noise and the stench of jet fuel.

Yet if we complain, if we dare to point out how disturbing it is, we’re big party-poopers. It’s a tradition, it’s for the kids, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then hold it in the ‘burbs. Not over the Toronto neighbourhood with the highest percentage of recent immigrants; people who left their countries to escape the terror of jet fighters flying overhead and noises that sound like bombs going off in the distance.

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Good Eats at the CNE

cnecorndogsImmediately after entering the CNE grounds on opening day, we ran into a neighbour and her young daughter. The little girl was eating slices of fruit. Not an odd sight normally, but at the Ex, not the kind of thing you’d expect to see. The mind really isn’t able to connect watermelon slices and the midway full of vendors selling cotton candy, candy apples and corn dogs.

On one hand, I sort of felt sorry for my little friend – coming home from the fair with a big bag of spun sugar was always part of the allure when I was a kid. But given the fuss about childhood obesity, trans fats, plus additives and preservatives, I can understand why her Mom would want to limit the amount of junk. Which left us wondering if it was even possible to eat healthy, let along vegetarian or vegan at the CNE. The midway is almost a barren wasteland of healthy options; burgers, corn dogs and candy corn aren’t going to register on anyone’s healthy eating scale. We did encounter a couple of booths with roasted corn, and if you lay off too much butter, this could be considered a passable treat.

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