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Sushi Fix

2 months later, and it’s only a quickie. I haven’t stopped eating (clearly). I’ve simply paused writing. Rather, only writing I’ve done lately are emails to clients…and Instagram captions. And sadly, not even that witty.

Just wanted to share our weekly sushi fix. Well… weekly for J & E. Personal track record tends to be a wee bit higher. But, let’s not dwell on mercury levels.

Avocado quota anyone? We met ours yesterday. And while not immediately apparent in this pic, these are big, fat, generous rolls. The way we like ’em.

So, until we save up our money jar for Sushi Kaji’s 7 or 8-course delectable feast, Asahi Sushi suits us perfectly! Thanks to the beautifully ripe avocado (or two) sacrificed for our satisfied bellies.

p.s Asahi – what happened to your wickedly spicy kimchi soup that used to come served bubbling hot in your stone bowls? Not quite the same with the ceramic whites. And don’t worry, the leggy blonde can handle the heat.

We beg you, bring the stones back.

http://www.asahi-sushi.com/

640 Church Street, Toronto
416.934.9990

Sukhothai & Khao San Road

SUKHOTHAI: Tucked away on not-so-charmingly Parliament E. Deliberately unassuming.

KHAO SAN ROAD: Prominently located for all to stumble upon on Adelaide W. Vibrantly welcoming.

Both owned by husband wife duo Jeff & Chef Nuit Regular. Menus are 90% similar. And the common thread, despite vast differences in locale, decor & ambiance, is the food. Simply phenomenal. Ask anyone who has eaten at either. No competition. Easily the best Thai in this city.

Hold up. I do say this with a tiny caveat, as Mengrai is another hidden gem & deserves more recognition than it’s been given. Another time, another post :)

Ok, the elusive recipe for success. Is the food really that good? YES.

If you think you’ve had a good red curry, try the Gaeng Phed. If you think you’ve had good pad thai, try the Sam Roas. None of this one-note business. Chef Nuit offers dishes that are beautifully complex, flavourful, lingering with fantastic heat. Seriously satisfying.

If you’re trying for the first time, may I recommend two dishes? Dishes that may easily be passed over, simply because you don’t recognize:

  1. Gaeng Massaman: With a hint of tamarind, bolder hand with peanuts & chunks of potatoes, this curry is one the most fantastic balance of sweet heat you’ll ever taste.
  2. Khao Soi: A rich, velvety smooth yellow curry with coconut milk, with added texture from the crunch of crispy noodles, this one is crave-worthy special.

khao san road: khao soi & squash fritters

{Quick tip!} I’m a medium-heat kind of gal. If you’re the same, go hot for the curries & get an ice cold Singha to help you get through the medium pad thai, as it’s infinitely more spicy. In a ridiculously good way.

Thai food fascinates, because I haven’t been able to re-create at home. One-note wonder. Same for you? So, until George B. teaches some of the finer points of Thai cuisine in May, will happily get my fix with Sukho or KSR.

Although…what would be even better… if Chef Nuit (in her abundant spare time of course) would graciously think about opening up her kitchen for cooking classes! Wouldn’t you just love to make a good tom yum soup from scratch & throw away that tom yum paste?

Hey now, don’t look at me like that. Bet you have a jar stashed in your fridge.

Below are dishes from both menus. Begrudgingly ranked as friends tell me I must be objective & not love EVERY dish I try. Hrmph.

Outstanding:

    • Gaeng Massaman: Thai curry with tamarind sauce & cooked with onions, peanuts, potatoes & bay leaves; topped with crispy deep fried shallots.
    • Khao Soi: Egg noodles in a coconut milk enriched curry, garnished with crispy noodles, green onion and lime.
    • Sam Roas: Pad Thai “three flavours style” topped with home-made roasted peanuts, dried chili & fresh lime.

Honourable Mentions:

    • Gra Bong: Fried squash fritters battered with red curry paste, shrimp paste, and lemongrass.
    • Gaeng Phed: Red Curry with squash, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, red/green peppers & coconut milk.

It Pains, But Forgettable:

    • Khao greup goong: Large airy shrimp chips with a tart tamarind dipping sauce.
    • Tao hoo Taud Samoon Prai: Nuggets of fried tofu breaded in a crispy garlic/fresh kaffir lime coating, served with sweet & tangy garlic sauce.
    • Fresh rolls filled with homemade chicken sausage, lettuce, carrots, mint leaves, Thai basil
    • khao san road: tom yum soups

      http://www.khaosanroad.ca/
      326 Adelaide W.
      647.352.5773

      http://www.sukhothaifood.com/ 
      274 Parliament St.
      416.913.8846

Coq au vin cravings

Chicken thighs braised in a bottle of red wine. Paired with beautiful herbed potatoes & french-style green beans à la V. Doesn’t get any better than this.

Quintessentially French. Deliciously involved. Made for the first time a few weeks ago. Obsessed with the sauce. Someone, pls throw a dinner party so I can devote another 2.25 days to this recipe.

first coq au vin!

Asparagus envy

What to do when you have a lot of asparagus: Fold it ‘discreetly’ into an omelette. Toss with orzo, feta & basil pesto. Works every time!

Truth: Only reason why I’m making this post is because I like to impart useless words of wisdom as I walk out the door, for brunch, leaving behind a lot of asparagus.

definitely taken a few months ago.

Canteen Creations

Speaking of reused lines…will shamelessly do it again.

Look at this dish. Look how beautiful is it! And not just a looker, sinfully good too. Seriously, crave it all the time.

Ok, point here is that Chef Bangerter & his talented team create visually stunning dishes. And as with the nature of all my posts – slightly delayed – the kitchen was having fun that night (oh, but a mere few months ago) at Canteen. This was the result.

Updated now with a little spiced pumpkin for the season, but just as fab.

I know, right? Simply gets better and better, every single time.

The food people, the food.

chef's famed chicken liver parfait

O&B Canteen
330 King St. West, TIFF Bell Lightbox
647.288.4710

Vietnamese Seafood Salad

Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Wait. I’ve used this line before… it’s like a pick up line, reused.

My former piano teacher would be slightly horrified.

I, on the other hand, find it somewhat fascinating I can still synchronize finger movements.

For serious. It’s been over 10 yrs. Muscle memory does exist! But it teases. One of my most favourite classical pieces and motivated to re-learn properly one day. 2nd & 3rd movements. All 11 pages. That’ll be fun for everyone involved; repetition at its finest.


I was plain chuffed (a phrase I feel my old writer L could’ve penned herself) when Mary Luz Mejia invited me to hear internationally acclaimed food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier speak at an event called “Eating Words: The Art of Food Blogging” last week.

While the name did not immediately resonate, Clotilde’s blog Chocolate & Zucchini was instantly familiar, as I’ve been a reader & subscriber for years! Visiting from Paris & spending two weeks in Stratford and Toronto, she made a concerted effort to visit George Brown College for this event.

Mary Luz, for those who may not be aware is a food writer, researcher, food TV producer/director and “one of Toronto’s most dedicated and passionate food journalists”. Isn’t that a lovely summation? My goal? Striving to be “one of Toronto’s most dedicated and passionate restaurant-enthusiasts” ;)

While having never met in person, Mary Luz tweets about all things food (@MaryLuzonFood), and I – much to the exasperation & teasing of M&S – also tweet incessantly about food (@_KimLe). Ah, the little windows that open up through Twitter.

Thursday came with eager anticipation. What a geek I am. Pourquoi? Simply to be in the presence of other like-minded, food-crazed strangers. Friends, who bless their hearts, tolerate it with infinite patience, are relieved to have me channel my blatherings elsewhere for a night.

Clotilde, with her lovely French accent, was here to give us a glimpse of her success (but not limited to) as a food blogger. How it all began, personal experiences and tips for writing. Born & raised in Paris, into a family of engineers (like me!), she created her blog in 2003 as an outlet to express her obsessive desire to talk about food (always) and to extend the conversation beyond the dinner table (24/7 if possible). It became a space she called her own (true), and a space that provided her tremendous joy (yes)…from readers’ reactions to the latest fervent dialogue over the best places to try in Toronto (overwhelmingly so).

{Sidebar I}: Isn’t it funny how you grasp onto similarities & identify with those whom you admire?

{Sidebar II}: Writing this from Montreal. Surrounded by family who speak French beautifully. Meeting Clotilde. Reading “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry” – a true story of a journalist who pursues a lifelong dream to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. All serve to heighten ever-long desire to learn French. Someone…anyone…wave a linguistics wand & bestow this magical language upon me, s’il vous plaît.

Interesting note was that Clotilde’s 10 tips to a successful food blog could effectively be applied to ANY blog. From finding a focus & setting yourself apart to giving credit where credit is due, these weren’t food-specific or necessarily revelations, but simply guiding stars (and made richer with her stories). A warm & vibrant woman – she exuded a natural passion that was infectious, and for me, stirred up a renewed enthusiasm & commitment to writing. Merci Clotilde for sharing your stories & insights. And thank you Mary Luz for the invitation. How did you know this was just the thing to nudge me into action again? ;)

À bientôt!
kox

Le Slaw

My fridge is like the fridge from Chopped. Random at best.

Cabbage. Grainy mustard. Artichokes. Sundried tomatoes. Chives. Bacon. Now, why wouldn’t we combine all of these?

Anything goes when your last meal was a plate of dirty nachos. No story to be told. Move along now.