Flavour Flash – The Festive Special

As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, we ponder the annual question associated with this holiday with trepidation. Not what to be thankful for, but rather… will it be too hot in Toronto to actually cook a roast bird and five side dishes on Thanksgiving Day? It’s about a 50/50 draw; some years early October is cool and rainy, other years temperatures can hit the high 20s.

Since it’s just Greg and I, we usually just cook a chicken, but I don’t relish standing in a hot kitchen with the oven and all the burners going if it’s going to be a warm day with a humidex. Besides, I can roast a chicken any time, I don’t need a holiday to do it, so while we want to do something to celebrate the day, I’m never inclined to actually break a sweat.

For the past couple of years in pandemic times, upscale local restaurants have filled the void with gorgeous multi-course menus delivered to our door. One of the options we considered this year included seared foie gras, so there’s lots to be thankful for.

In the past, though, the delivery options got no more fancy than Swiss Chalet.

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Congratulations to my friend, colleague and mentor Jennifer Bain, for winning the Best Newspaper Food Column in the Association of Food Journalists Awards Competition. A well-deserved win by an outstanding writer. [Toronto Star]

Those vegetables in your dinner may have been harvested by a child. Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer for this new documentary. [Village Voice: Fork in the Road]

Don’t shit where you eat – and by that I mean don’t treat restaurant servers poorly. And if you just can’t help yourself, then at least remember to pay cash before you steal the tip jar and tell the waitress she’s fat, since if you use a credit card, you just might find your personal info plastered all over the intarwebs. [Globe and Mail]

Dear marketing companies – can we please get past this idea of products like beer and soda being for “girls” or “boys” only? Leaving aside all of the issues with diet soda in general, a product marketed just to men is as lame-ass and douchey as that shitty pink beer meant for women. As consumers, we’re above it. This little “girls stink/boys are dumb” game you’ve got going is insulting to everyone – and isn’t making you look particularly brilliant, either. [Toronto Star]

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Shut Yo’ Mouth – What I Wrote This Week – October 8th, 2011

 Goodbye Cafe Taste

Toronto chefs take part in the Delicious food show

Scarpetta throws itself a party

Casa Loma does Thanksgiving in style

Burger King wants to be your poutine destination

Toronto chefs join the fight against the megaquarry

It’s still Oktoberfest at beerbistro

The stars will shine again – Chef’s House reschedules dinners

Susur takes Dundas

Thanksgiving dinner – part 1

Thanksgiving dinner – part 2

Thanksgiving high and low

Spice it up at the Latin American Gourmet Festival

Lucky Dip – Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Michael Schmidt continues his hunger strike after the courts ruled against him last week in his efforts to sell raw milk. [Toronto Star]

The difficulty of converting cookbooks to eReader format. [New York Times]

Dave Bidini’s new column Coffee Run explores the allure of Krispy Kreme. [National Post: Posted Toronto]

Okay, the “sexy” Halloween costume thing really needs to be over. Sexy fruit salad? Sexy Chinese take-out? Eesh. [Village Voice: Fork in the Road]

Go ahead, eat that sushi – it really is good for you. [Globe and Mail]

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Shut Yo’ Mouth – What I Wrote This Week – October 1st, 2011

Vintner’s Harvest Dinner

Doug Neigel takes over the stoves at Mercatto

Just opened – The Monk’s Kettle

Just opened –  L’ouvrier Kitchen Bar

Lotsa Matzoh

The Sausage League finals

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Thanskgiving Brunch at the Palais Royale

Holidays are a little weird at our house. Both our families live down east, and being childfree, there’s usually less incentive to get into the decorating and feasting than if we had spawned. Because it’s just the two of us, we seldom end up doing anything huge for occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. And while we’re mostly good with not having to get on a plane to go eat some turkey (and not dealing with the potential squabbling about who “gets us” and for how long), the various holidays often seem to be missing a sense of celebration.

I always cook the traditional dinner, but it ends up being like any other evening meal, only with more dishes to wash. So this year, we decided to do something different.

We found out that the Palais Royale was serving a Thanksgiving brunch. It was over $40 per person, and we waffled for a bit over the price, but threw caution to the wind and went anyway.

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Grocery Store Musings

How very sad is it that the local supermarket had cans of cooked pumpkin (for piemaking) priced at $2.09, yet a pre-made pie was going for $1.97?? No wonder people are more inclined to buy the pre-made crap. Even if you use the excuse of a lack of time and skill (and really, pumpkin is the easiest of pies to make, seeing as it tastes better with a graham crust and you just have to mix the can of pumpkin with an egg and some spices), there’s no way you can argue with the fact that a pre-made pie is going to run at half the cost of a from-scratch pie once you calculate all the ingredient costs.

Taste should be a factor, of course, and one look at the ingredients label should convince anyone with a brain to go for the homemade version, but even the day after Thanksgiving, those pies were flying out the door.


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