June 2012 Archives

The Stop Farmer's Market | Wychwood Barns

Besides all the lovely fresh organic food and general fun-ness, there were two main reasons I wanted to go to The Stop Farmers' Market at Wychwood Barns yesterday. One was to get some Kurtis Coffee, which is so fresh and pure and fair-trade and all that awesome business. There are so many different blends. I wish the pic below was scented!

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The other reason was to let my little man loose in the splash area which is so perfect for toddlers. It's not too big and not too small. My little shirtless tank of a baby got pretty brave after a few runs through the very cold jet sprays.

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Most of the farms at the market are organic. Everything is crazy fresh. The produce is amazing and looks the way fruits and veg are supposed to. Bring lots of cash, prices are a little steeper than No Frills. Have you seen the price of arugula? ;)

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The Stop's Farmers' Market happens every Saturday from 8am to 12pm at the Wychwood Barns (601 Christie St, at St. Clair.) Rosie :)

Campagnolo on Dundas St. West | NOW CLOSED

This guest post is from by friend Erin, whose latest dining adventure took her to Campagnolo for Italian food inspired by the chef's Venetian nonna. Campagnolo means "country bumpkin" in Italian, but as Erin tells us, you wouldn't know that from the cuisine. Rosie :)

I love Dundas West. What used to be a tired strip of dilapidated real estate is now a thriving restaurant destination attracting diners from all over the city. Nestled amongst an eclectic group of newly sprung eateries is Campagnolo, where hipster gentrification meets the farm-to-table movement. The menu is concise - just 13 items with five staples, and is printed daily to take advantage of what's fresh and seasonally available. To start, our knowledgeable waiter wisely steered us towards the fresh burrata cheese on top of delicately flavoured toasted bread, drizzled in olive oil, garlic and adorned with roasted grapes. I fell in love.

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However, I was less enamoured with our second appetizer, the ceviche. Normally bursting with citrus, this one mostly tasted of salt. Fortunately, our mains reminded us of why a dinner reservation at Campagnolo is so sought after. Smoky Norwegian trout tasted freshly caught, and my delicately stuffed ricotta agnolotti was paired perfectly with firm, fresh summer peas and beet puree. Farm-to-table indeed. Salted caramel budino then capped off our excellent summer meal. Budino (Italian for pudding) was smooth decadence with just the right amount of salt to complement the caramel.

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Campagnolo's popularity is evident the moment we walk in the door, no doubt thanks to great word-of-mouth and glowing reviews. The room itself is fairly compact (so make a reservation) and sparsely decorated. Wood beams, tables and unadorned walls pay homage to the rustic menu, but the hard surfaces do little to soften the noise of other patrons. I frequently had to ask my dining companion to repeat himself throughout our meal, so if you're hoping to have an intimate conversation over dinner this may not be the spot for you. After dinner, we lingered over our wine - well chosen by our waiter who convinced us to try it after sharing that the producer frequently played opera to the grapes on the vine for a more robust flavor. Well played Campagnolo. Erin.

Images From The City: Eight Teams, Eight Beers

There is Euro 2012 fever around here. The beer drinker in the house has managed to procure a beer to represent each of the teams remaining in the tournament. I have never heard of Mythos or Super Bock but I'm guessing the best of the bunch is Peroni. As a matter of fact, if there happened to be a competition between all eight of these beverages, I would say that the Peroni, from ITALY, would beat the rest of them easily.

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Send your image from the city to rosie@mytorontoscoop.com or tweet it to @rosieintoronto. Rosie :)

Toronto Music Garden | Harbourfront Centre

It doesn't surprise me at all that Frommer's lists the Toronto Music Garden as an attraction to see if you only have one day in Toronto. It is free, right by the water and just exquisite.

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The garden was designed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Bach's First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, each section of the garden corresponds to a movement in the music.

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I highly recommend getting to the Sarabande section if you have a little one, because there is a small pool of water that is really lovely. This area is meant to be a reflective poet's corner, and we reflected on how totally fun this pool of water was.

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The Toronto Music Garden is located on the waterfront at 475 Queen's Quay West (between Bathurst and Spadina.) It is open year-round. Free concerts take place in the summertime on Thursday and Sundays, weather permitting. You can find out more by calling 416-973-4000. Rosie :)

Victor Restaurant | Entertainment District

I was so happy when David Chrystian cooked his way back into the finale of season two of Top Chef Canada. He is my favourite kind of chef. He took interesting chances all throughout the competition and was so exciting to watch. I also really loved his passion for Toronto, which was evident in the final challenge where all his dishes were inspired by a neighbourhood in the city. We decided we had to have dinner at his restaurant Victor in the Hotel Le Germain. He is the executive chef and co-owner. The flavours in the deconstructed chicken noodle soup blew away the judges, and I loved that it was inspired by the farmers' market at Wychwood Barns. The little triangle of jelly on top of the terrine was very concentrated and had a tasty chicken noodle soup flavour, and there was a dusting of crushed soda cracker crumbs on the plate:

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All the plates in the Toronto tasting menu were beautiful and delicious, inspired by areas such as Little Portugal, Koreatown and Little India. The Roncesvalles cabbage rolls were topped with the beetroot horseradish that judge Marcus Samuelsson (owner of Red Rooster Harlem in New York City) said he wanted to take home with him. The corn pudding dessert that the judges also were so impressed by is my favourite kind of dessert, both sweet and savoury and very, very light. Those are truffles rolled in sage beside it:

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I nearly freaked right out when David himself came out of the kitchen to visit the table beside us. Our lovely waiter, seeing my unconcealed excitement, made sure to introduce us. David Chrystian is not just an amazing chef, he is also super sweet to take the time to chat with us while he was clearly running a very busy kitchen. I can't wait to rub my steaks with his Original Toronto Spice Blend, David's signature spice mixture inspired by the multicultural flavours of the city. Awesome chef and an awesome night. Rosie :)

Bake Sale Cupcakes | Etobicoke

Cupcakes are a total symbol of indulgence. They may as well be cocaine for good girls. When we want extreme gratification, what's more satisfying than a really high quality cupcake? Sensational cupcakes are grossly overpriced but so worth it for the stunning high. Remember Hannah in the legendary "All Adventurous Women Do" episode of Girls? Plagued with an STD and unemployment, Hannah buys four cupcakes and confesses to Shoshannah that she ate one in the bathroom. She didn't buy butter tarts, or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She bought cupcakes. I have a few cupcake dealers I get my goods from, but my very favourite is Bake Sale. Their cupcakes are to die for. There are two locations in Etobicoke (one in the Kingsway and one in Six Points Plaza) that will hook you up. Rosie :)

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Montgomery's Inn Farmers' Market | Etobicoke

This afternoon I made it over to the Montgomery's Inn Farmers' Market before the skies opened up and sent most of Etobicoke racing for cover. What a beautiful selection of local produce...

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There are all the usual market goodies including Ontario meats, freshly baked bread from the Inn's wood-fired oven and the pure and perfect cheese from Monteforte Dairy. Wow. They so know what they are doing with cheese.

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Babi & Co. also popped up selling their incredibly flavourful Indonesian street food.

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The Mie Kuah Kacang... so good! Fun and yummy outing. SO, if you want to go, the Montgomery's Inn Farmers' Market happens every Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. until December 5th. Historic Montgomery's Inn is located at 4709 Dundas Steet West in the heart of Islington Village. I ♥ Etobicoke! Rosie :)

La Société on Bloor: NOW CLOSED

For me, Friday is the perfect night to dine out. The end of a hectic work week is an occasion worth raising a cocktail to, and most Toronto establishments have a celebratory yet relaxed vibe heralding the onset of the weekend. Also worth celebrating is the return of warm weather, which led me to one of my summer Friday night faves, La Société. The inside of La Société is truly beautiful with its stained glass ceilings, dark interiors and chandeliers reminiscent of a 1920's Parisian bistro. But outside on one of the restaurant's two patios is really the only place to dine and be dined. After cocktails on the lower patio, we took our spots upstairs at a small, candelit table over looking Bloor Street (and Toronto's best-dressed pedestrians). After ordering from the extensive wine list, we settled on our appetizers - simple fresh oysters with house made horseradish, lemon and mignonette, and a meltingly delicious yellow fin tuna tartar with apple and pine nut mixed in for sweetness and crunch.

The bistro's mains are full of French classics, which I sheepishly veered away from in favour of a linguini with pesto, cherry tomatoes and zucchini. My dining companion chose the perfectly pan-seared Rainbow Trout Grenoboise, accompanied by a side of roast Yukon potatoes.

And of course because no meal is adequately judged without a sampling of dessert, we went with the lemon baked Alaska - perfectly browned on the outside, cold, crisp and lemony on the inside. Served with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream, it was devoured before it had the chance to melt on the plate.

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Summer fine dining in the heart of the city doesn't get much better than this. Rosie :)