Archive for the ‘Eat’ Category
For those of you not already “in the know”, Toronto’s Danforth is a hot neighborhood for food and wine with lots of great finds. And in this growing and energetic area one of the real treasures is Globe Bistro. Our television crew pops by Globe a lot and so we decided we should blog about it. You can always count on us to share great finds.
When you produce television around the globe (ahem, no pun intended), you have the pleasure of trying out a variety of restaurants internationally, from little holes-in-the wall with great secret recipes to outstanding five star experiences, and Globe Bistro is a favorite haunt of ours that definitely stands up globally (pun intended).
Globe is comfortable, elegant and friendly, and offers a lot more than dinner. This eatery looks small on the outside, yet is huge when you get inside, and has a pretty open style (somewhat casual to dressy). The menu and the ambiance will suit many, from the carnivore to the vegetarian, or date night to plans with a crowd! It’s also a great place to hang out at the bar and enjoy Toronto’s atmosphere.
Wine Portfolio’s team really likes the brunch. Our faves include the Swine & Dine which is an exercise in pork and eggs (pork done 6 ways, all house-made), Red Fife Dutch Pancake (the walnut butter is to-die-for), Beet Salad (probably off the menu soon, as beets are going out of season) and Smoked BC Albacore Tuna dish (served on cucumber Udon noodles), yum. Everything is fresh and local as the two main Chefs, Dave Sanders (Executive Chef) and Adam Fowler (Chef) clearly take a lot of pride in sourcing and preparing the menu. The new Spring Menu is coming soon, so stay tuned, we’ll keep you updated.
Globe will also soon be opening their beautiful seasonal rooftop patio, which is one of the best places to hang on a sunny Sunday in Toronto while enjoying half-priced bottles of wine (Sundays only!). When you’re wine people, half priced bottles are a beautiful thing. There are a lot of dining spots on the Danforth and some have been there forever, but the next time you’re thinking about say, Allen’s (nothing wrong with Allen’s, coughsnootystaff), we suggest you cross the street and pop into Globe, you won’t be disappointed!
There’s a great spot on King West for authentic Italian and European groceries, from that coveted French cheese you can’t find anywhere to the best imported olive oils, antipasto and quality meats. In a time when real food, quality ingredients and attention to detail is becoming more in demand, ALIMENTO FINE FOOD EMPORIUM is growing in popularity for great food finds, catering and full family meals. This market is a funky treasure trove filled with modern conveniences and an old-world vibe. What you may not realize is the King West location is so much more.
An open concept space divided into two, on the other side of Alimento sits BAR MOZZA, an exposed, modern yet cozy, Nouveau-Italian restaurant with an ambiance that slides from bistro lunch chic to a sexy evening groove with ease. A selection of unique seating, inclusive of a stunning marble communal table, comfortable back bar with bright red stools and elegant glass tables; the space artfully blends contemporary décor elements with traditional charm. It’s important to note that BAR MOZZA takes on a very lounge-vibe on weekends, becoming a cool place to pop in for a cocktail, a meal, a snack or just to hang out and soak in the ambiance while enjoying a great wine list.
The kitchen is overseen by the renowned and skilled Chef Joe Friday; French trained and raised in Japan, Joe brings a diverse and modern spin to traditional Italian fare. Rightly recognized for their hearty yet simple lunches, inclusive of rustic sandwiches, pasta and coffees; dinner at Bar Mozza adds a few unexpected elements to the traditional Italian offerings. House made pasta and pizzas are certainly a hit, with unique toppings such as spaghetti with crispy pork guanciale, Pecorino cheese and egg yolk; simply delicious. However, if you’re looking for a little variety, there is something for every palate here; the poached halibut served with shrimp and scallops on a bed of cauliflower puree is a real treat; vegetarians are in for a few savoury surprises with the breaded eggplants stuffed with cheeses, basil and tomato sauce, or something as simple as the superb Funghi Pizza, and from the filet mignon to the pork loin, the mains are a meat lovers paradise. Attention to detail and a very well thought out menu seem to be the anchors that should allow Bar Mozza to become a favored West-end Italian eatery for years to come.
Check them out on twitter @joefridaychef and @alimentofoods
Foodies have long regarding Taiwan as being one of the world’s great culinary destinations. The island’s varied cuisine reflects the influences of China, Japan and world flavors, while the restaurant scene, especially in the capital Taipei, has been steadily gaining notoriety for its diversity, quality of service and exotic offerings. From hearty Chinese eateries to subtle Japanese restaurants; from classic French bistros to inventive Mediterranean Café’s, Taipei’s culinary scene is alive with innovative ideas and luxurious presentations. Service is definitely always in style.
Taiwan was known by the Portuguese as Ilha Formosa which meant beautiful island. The original European settlers immediately recognized Taiwan’s verdant beauty and rich bountiful seas. Today this helps to define the luxury restaurant scene on the island. Fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables combine with some of the world’s best seafood to give Chefs a treasure trove of raw ingredients and the results are spectacular. Seriously check out how many amazing dishes are uploaded to the social media site Instragram everyday from all across the island.
In addition to the amateur foodies, Taiwan’s burgeoning epicurean scene gets a major boost from the I See Taiwan Foundation, which is dedicated to being Taiwan’s window to the world by promoting Taiwan’s unique cultural touchstones to international travelers. Food is an important aspect of culture and the I See Taiwan Foundation is dedicated to promoting more tourism and enhancing the professionalism and scope of the island’s offerings. “This is how seriously the Taiwanese people take food. Food is an essential lifestyle. We love it and are justifiably proud of our culinary traditions” says Jessica Huang, the Chief Executive Director of I See Taiwan Foundation. “Taiwan is a very competitive market and we have smart and innovative luxury restaurants that impress travelers with taste, service, décor and of course, style. Hence, make sure you spend a few nights out to indulge your senses” Huang says.
And we sure will. Our team is looking forward to exploring Taipei’s bustling restaurants and sampling the latest twists on traditional Chinese dishes, tasting the hottest new Asian Fusion menus and indulging in world class Continental cuisine. It will be an evening of fashion, the finest wines, mouthwatering cuisine and being pampered with first class service. Taiwan’s restaurateurs have panache and a sense of style that has inspired foodies’ dreams. This is a food lover’s paradise.
So what are your fav restaurants and must-try dishes in Taiwan?
As grilling season is upon us, the task of pairing wines with your favorite backyard foods can be intimidating, but is actually quite simple. Grilling is centered around meat, which holds two characteristics that are important wine pairing. The first is flavor. For heavy red meats like steaks and lamb, the most dominant flavor will always be in the meat itself, even with the addition of marinades and spices. Chicken and fish, on the other hand can be easily overwhelmed by their marinades, sauces or spices. As such it is always important to recognize the dominant flavor of your foods and pair to those.
The second important characteristic is the heartiness of the meat itself. If you are grilling fish, vegetables or chicken, you will want to match those with a lighter bodied wine. Steak, burgers, or other red meats will pair well with heavy bodied red wines.
Here are some suggestions:
With Red Meats, Barbecues & Game
These meats call for fuller-bodied styles of wine. Beef and lamb in particular tend to be complemented by tannic red wines. However, the sauces served also affect the choice.
Powerful reds such as Shiraz or Zinfandel
Beef (hamburgers, steak au poivre, or in pastry)
Powerful, full-bodied Zinfandel from California.
Beef (roast beef or steak)
Full-bodied Shiraz, Cabernet or Cabernet-Shiraz blend.
A good-quality Pinot Noir from Oregon or Sonoma.
A good-quality Cabernet Sauvignon.
Good Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet-Merlot blend.
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or light red wines
Spicy reds like a peppery Shiraz
Lighter cool-climate reds such as a pinot noir from Oregon
An aphrodisiac is a substance that is said to increase ones sexual desire, enhance arousal, and amplify libido. Aphrodisiacs can cause an increase of sexual desire through changes in chemical balances, physiological responses, or symbolic representations. Some foods and drinks may contain certain chemicals that elicit aroused physiological responses. Other aphrodisiacs may evoke sexual desires solely through their symbolic representations. In the Ancient times, undernourishment created a loss of libido and a reduction in fertility rates. Substances that represent seeds or semen, like snails and eggs, were seen to inherently have sexual powers, and increase libido. Similarly, other foods were considered to be sexually stimulating due to their physical resemblance to genitalia.
Alcohol: Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases confidence.
Bananas: If not already obvious, the shape of a banana is a phallic symbol. On top of this, some studies have shown that one of its enzymes, bromelain, can enhance male performance.
Caviar: Not only is caviar considered to be a sexy food due to its exotic nature, but it also contains high amounts of zinc, which stimulates the formation of testosterone in men.
Chocolate: Chocolate is known to contain both a sedative, which relaxes while lowering inhibitions, and a stimulant, which increases one’s physical activity levels and desires for physical contact.
Ginseng: Ginseng is known to increase one’s desire for physical contact.
Puffer fish: In Japan, the puffer fish is considered both a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. This fish has a poisonous gland that if not properly removed, can instantly kill. The sexuality of this food comes with the flirt with death that the consumer plays with in eating the food.
Oysters: Oysters have long been considered an aphrodisiac. One reason for this lies in the sexual nature of the oyster. Some oysters repeatedly change their sex from male to female and back. This gives rise to the thought that oysters can let one experience the masculine and feminine sides of sex and love.
Wine: Wine relaxes you and helps stimulates your senses. The experience of drinking the wine, examining its colour, caressing the glass, swirling the liquid and sipping it slowly is known to be a highly sexual one. Be careful how much wine you drink though. Too much wine can make you drowsy, and falling asleep on your partner is hardly sexy.
Truffles: Truffles are said to arouse the palate and stimulate the body. The rarity of this food gives it an exotic and sexual feel.
Strawberries: Strawberries earned their reputation as an aphrodisiac from their large number of tiny seeds, which symbolize fertility. Throughout literature, art, and Folklore, they have been portrayed as symbols of sexuality. Containing more vitamin C than any other berry, this fruit is said to aid in strengthening the libido by providing the body with essential vitamins.
At the end of the day, and after much scientific research, there is inconclusive evidence as to whether aphrodisiacs truly exist. This being said, the mind and the imagination are one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. While a food in itself may not cause an aroused physiological reaction, the hope of a certain response may lead to an additional sexual reaction, but attributed back to the consumed food. This heightened sexual awareness can then be passed onto their partner, increasing the overall sexual experience.
90 Points, International Wine Cellar
Saturated ruby. Graphite, cherry, dark chocolate and vanilla on the nose, with a sexy floral quality coming up with air. On the palate, the wine’s sweet red and dark fruit flavors are at once juicy, precise and seamless. The cherry and floral notes echo on the very sweet finish. This is delicious now. (Sept/Oct 2010)
With its beautiful beaches, easy access and laid-back vibe, Waiheke is a popular weekend getaway for Auckland residents, much as the Hamptons are for New Yorkers. And, similar to Long Island, Waiheke boasts a small, but high quality wine region.
Accommodations on the island are varied with backpacker options at the low end and five-star, luxury lodges on the other. We had the good fortune to secure one of the four rooms at the Te Whau Lodge, located near Rocky Point. Its elevated position provides guests with an amazing view of Putiki Bay. Hosts Liz Eglinton and Gene O’Neill pamper you from the moment you dock, arranging for transportation from the ferry terminal and greeting you upon your arrival at the lodge. Although it is optional, choosing to dine with your hosts is highly recommended.
Guests who opt to partake in dinner are invited to meet at 7:00 PM in the guest lounge for wine and hors d’oeuvres. Gene is an amazing chef, well regarded on the island. Scallops, gouchères and chicken rolled in fresh herbs from the garden were served with complimentary (and complementary) wine – SoHo Wine Co’s Carter Chardonnay from across the island.
After the appetizers, guests are welcomed into the dining room for a three-course meal and can choose to order wine from the lodge’s selection of local wines. We chose a Montepulciano from Whispering Sands, Obsidian’s second label.
As our visit was coincident with Valentine’s Day, a single red rose adorned each place setting, adding to the festive atmosphere. Post-dinner, Port and Cognac were offered as was coffee. At $60.00 NZ/person, it was not only a fabulous meal, but it was a terrific bargain.
Te Whau Vineyards is a short walk from Te Whau Lodge and a perfect place for a relaxed, al fresco lunch, featuring locally-caught fish. In fact, our server’s husband was among the local fishermen. The restaurant’s wine list features wines from throughout the island as well as more international selections.
After lunch, we tasted through the line-up of open wines, all of which were Bordeaux-style blends, but from different vintages. Unfortunately, our visit on the island was too short to visit any other wineries, but I have tasted wines from Waiheke’s Stonyridge and Man O’War at trade tastings in the U.S., further attesting to the quality of the island’s wines.
Cooking can be considered both an art and a science. We experience it as an art in its presentation as a multisensory experience.
What a chef creates in the kitchen, in their food’s aromas, flavours, textures, sounds, and appearance is a unique amalgamation of a creative mind alongside a systematic one. This idea becomes amplified in the modern cooking discipline of molecular gastronomy. This field uncovers the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. All cooking is a chemical reaction but the way we might cook something may create a very different end result. Cooking and egg for example. Think of all the many different ways and products we can come up with by heating an egg. The difference though is the process. What are we doing to the egg before we expose it to heat, how are we heating the egg, and at what temperature are we heating it.
In the 1980′s, French chemist Hervé discovered that cooking involved a systematic method. He devoted his time to looking for the mechanisms of phenomena that occur during culinary transformations. He discovered that the perfect temperature to cook an egg is around 65°C. At this temperature the white coagulates, but not the yolk. He coined the scientific term “Molecular and Physical Gastronomy.”
Today, many chef’s are beginning to experiment with this idea. Some of these molecular gastronomy techniques include using carbon dioxide as a source for adding bubbles and making foams, liquid nitrogen for flash freezing and shattering, syringes for injecting unexpected fillings, edible paper made from soybeans and potato starch for use with edible fruit inks, spherification to create a caviar like effect, and avant-guarde presentation styles.
Many chefs of this discipline do not like the name molecular gastronomy, and so have referred to it as modern cuisine, experimental cuisine, or avant garde cuisine. Alvin Leung, the Demon Chef, owner of Bo Innovation, with whom we had the pleasure of meeting with while we were filming in China, referred to the molecular gastronomy cuisine made at his Michelin awarded restaurant, as X-treme Chinese Cuisine. http://wineportfolio.com/sectionEatTheDemonChef.html
We’d love to hear some of your feedback on this modern take on cooking. We think its absolutely an experience to try!