Drink Recipe: Piña Calypso

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This is my favourite cocktail that I’ve created. It’s tropical, boozy, sweet, and interesting. You won’t be able to make it spontaneously, as creating a shrub takes about a week if you’re doing it properly. But a shrub is a great, versatile ingredient to have on your bar, and if you’re serious about mixology I recommend coming up with a couple of different flavours to play with. Every time I needed a drink to be brighter or more interesting, a bit of this pineapple shrub usually did the trick.
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On changes, standards and not waiting for the right waiting job

It took a while, now I understand
Just where I’m going
I know the world and I know who I am
It’s ’bout time I show it

The last several months have been full of huge changes for me, professionally. I left Splendido, despite being asked to stay, in favour of being the General Manager at a new Jamaican-Chinese restaurant called Patois. A few weeks ago I chose to leave that position as well. I continue to try to find a professional home that fits me, that fits my standards in all respects Continue reading

The Workshop by Latitude Review: cheese and wine lovers, prepare yourselves

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I recently finished reading “The Apprentice,” Jacques Pépin’s stunning autobiography. Among other important lessons he imparts in the novel, I loved how the classically trained Frenchman wrote without fear or arrogance about accepting an American style of dining. Food that tastes good is the objective, rather than strictly following scripted French techniques. Fussing over guests can be overwhelming for them, as well as for the host, but casual American service actually serves to put everyone more at ease.

So it was fitting that just days after putting the book down, I found myself having dinner at The Workshop by Latitude on Roncesvalles. Composed cheese plates are one of the restaurant’s core concepts. Accompanied by charcuterie and a glass of wine (or four — the wine list changes every couple of weeks, so you’ll always have a great variety), Workshop can feel very French and simply refined. But, like Pépin would recommend, the atmosphere is like dining in the home of an old friend. Service is knowledgeable but familiar. The music is soft (typically they play a lot of Beatles) and the candlelit romance of it all makes the place a perfect date or girls night spot. Whatever the occasion, you’re likely to lounge for hours, as I did. Though you may be luckier with the weather and get to enjoy their large, charming back patio. In all, Workshop is host to the kind of food and atmosphere that spurs deep conversation and the sharing of secrets.
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Big Slur: Celebrate California Wines on April 7th and 8th with these incredible events

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Spring is always an exciting time in the Toronto food scene. Moods lift, patios open up, and our many seasonally-focused restaurants now have a full new set of fresh produce to play with. And as aways, great food needs great wine.

Enter the California Wine Fair: over 100 producers and suppliers blowing into town with the first wisps of warm spring air

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Gallery: Provisions Catering “Chef’s Charity Almanac Dinner”

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February 24, 2014: Held at Loft404, Provisions Catering brought together an all-star lineup of chefs for an intimate dining experience benefitting The Stop Community Food Centre. Additional event volunteers included service staff from Splendido, Woodlot and Bar Isabel.

Provisions Catering brings chefs together for The Stop fundraiser

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Click here to read my CityBites blog post on a new catering company, Provisions.

5 Reasons You Need To Watch the Wahlburgers TV Show

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This Valentine’s Day, I’m writing a love letter to my new favourite show: Wahlburgers.

REASON #1: They’re blatantly manipulating you into wanting to be their customer, and it’s working. Continue reading

Chimay Beer and Cheese Pairing Notes

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I love Belgian beers. They’re delicious, rich, and high in alcohol. After a few elegant sips the drinker sinks into a thick, happy stupor.

I’m currently enrolled in the Introduction to Cheese course at George Brown College, as part of their Professional Fromager Certificate program. Moving into the fifth of six classes, I have to present a particular cheese to the class. Naturally, I gravitated toward Belgian cheeses, because I’m 1. awesome and 2. type A, meaning that I can’t wait to bring in beer to share with the class as part of the presentation. Getting buzzed in class to earn a better grade, it’s win-win.
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Learning to love sushi and cooking at home

I dumped a guy once for taking me to sushi for my first time.

I was 19 and I hadn’t really worked on developing my palate yet. I wasn’t very into dating the guy, either, so when I put the first piece of sushi in my mouth and my body started freaking out like something was terribly wrong, it drove home that I had no desire to have either of those experiences ever again. I made up something about not wanting to date anyone when I went back to school and got on with my life, sushi-free.

Until recently, when I determined I had to get over my seaweed prejudice and sought out the best sushi in the city to cram into my face until my tastebuds accepted it. Continue reading

Clear Eyes, Full Bellies: 2014 at Splendido

We’re officially into the new year and there are so many exciting changes going on at Splendido.

Now that Carlo has moved on and Chef Victory Barry is 100% in charge (and a new father!), we are working to make his vision for Splendido a reality. To further ourselves from being one of the city’s most respected restaurants to a world-class one, we’re trying out a tasting menu only format. A great idea since the reputation of the restaurant is long-standing and our guests trust us to cook for them. It’s the best way to give everyone the best experience possible, to wow even those who were just planning to try out a dish or two. Continue reading