Archive for February, 2010

Fresh shrimp rolls

So, I helped my mama cook this past weekend. 

Caveat: This consisted of me rolling shrimp rolls poorly (harder than it looks folks), eating those rolls (as a favour of course) & snapping pics on iPhone (while desperately wanting the G11)

After a while, she gave up. Just shook her head, and let me be. 

Content, eating poorly-rolled rolls. 

Nothing but the freshest ingredients. Vermicelli noodles, shrimp, pork shoulder, cucumber, egg, cilantro, asian herb (purposely vague until someone enlightens) etc. 



Look! It was V-day. I had to. 

yep, that's a heart.


How delicious do these look?! Well, I would know. Ate 3 while “helping”. 

gỏi cuốn (fresh shrimp rolls)


Assemble a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.
Tuck the sides & roll. Nice & snug.
The first will look deliciously fat & sloppy. Eat that one. Then, try again.
Each roll will look better than the last. Enjoy!


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Vietnamese, at its best

Home is where the heart is… or in our case, our tummies.

Delicious. Home-made. Vietnamese food. 

Hands down, my mama is the best cook. Ever.

Oh, I know. Big claim. Everyone feels that way about their mama’s cooking. Though, you may just be swayed (i won’t tell, promise) if I take you home with me for dinner.

No pressure Ma.

Sharing a few snaps to whet your appetite. Here are some of my absolute favourites. What we grew up eating…and what I crave all the time now. Will share recipes soon. Happy Tet! 

bún chả giò thịt nướng & tôm (rice vermicelli w/ spring rolls, pork & grilled prawns)

siu mai & wonton noodle soup

gỏi cuốn (fresh shrimp rolls)

 It wouldn’t be Vietnamese, if I didn’t include a steaming bowl of pho.

phở tái, bò viên (rare beef, beef balls)


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V-day at O

Beautiful red roses delivered anonymously… to our secret admirer, you made us (M,S,K) feel so special. Thank you!

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Tutti Matti

It’s becoming a bit of a tradition at O – birthday lunches at Tutti Matti.    

And we were back, celebrating our lovely M last Friday.     

Getting nine people out the door, at the same time, on time, for a reservation – a feat in itself. Best part, the restaurant is next door (literally). And, bless them – we’re forgiven each time. So, shortly after 12:30pm, we walk in.      

And our eyes widened.     

Packed. Every table, every seat. Conversations swirling. Cutlery clinking. Lips silently smacking. The restaurant was humming. Ahh, Winterlicious. Alida Solomon’s cooking.   

Some of us opted in, some opted out…pourquoi?     


You know what I’m referring to. When a dish is that good, it inspires loyalty. So, why deny yourself the pleasure? I would never judge. And if I did, throw “arctic char. black cod. Foxley” back in my face.   

That’ll teach me.     

On the other hand, we thought we knew every pasta on the menu. Oh, were we mistaken!  6 days later, still thinking about them. That’s right, plural.     


Stand-out dishes:     

Pappardelle con stracotto
(changed my life. well, for 90min. And for a few others as well.)    

hand cut pappardelle with pulled brisket, tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs


Tortelli di asparagi
(complete surprise. “WOW.” one bite, that’s all it takes. sweet deliciousness in each tortelli)    

tortelli: ricotta and mascarpone cheese, pumpkin, mint with butter & sage


Tagliatelle con cinghiale
(inspires loyalty in many,  you’ll be next – i guarantee it.)     

hand cut pasta, wild boar stew, porcini mushrooms



Honourable mentions:    

Fettucine aglione
– hand cut pasta with organic tomatoes, garlic and extra virgin olive oil –
(one of my personal favs. simplicity wins.)    

Carpaccio di manzo 
– beef carpaccio served with fresh arugula, shaved parmigiano reggiano –
(earlier claim still stands. best carpaccio in the city)    

Zuppa di Funghi e Ceci
– chickpea and mushroom soup –
(plentiful & delicious, served in the greatest soup bowl)    

Open-faced panini: Dado   

bufala mozzarella, oven roasted tomatoes, basil



It pains, but easily forgettable:    

Fettuccine di piero
– hand cut pasta with meat sauce –
(simply pales in comparison to the others)   

Gnudi di Spinaci e Ricotta
– spinach and ricotta “naked” ravioli in butter & sage –
(disappointingly naked. that’s all.)   


fyi: you’ll never look at pasta the same way again.  Alida makes sure of it.   

364 Adelaide Street W.

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Who doesn’t love avocado?

Have said this before & will say it again.

I could eat an avocado a day, for 365 days straight, and not tire of it.

In advertising, we’re conscious of creative fatigue. And we swap out creative that appears to be underperforming due to perceived wear-out, overexposure etc.

That, my friend, would never be the case. I would never swap you out.

Top 5 fav d’après-midi snack:
roasted tomato & olive oil crackers w. avocado + tomatoes



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Last last Friday eve (timely, this post is not), we had a much-anticipated ladies night.   

Why? Because it had taken us months to get together. And 5 out of 7 live in the city. For shame.   

Restaurant chosen? After much debate, Politica.   

Located inconspicuously between Queen West & Libery Village, tucked away on Strachan, it was completely different from what I had expected. The resto pic from dineT.O featured a brightly lit, casual, Mediterranean-style space. What we walked into was warm, intimate, & darkly romantic.   

The perfect date spot.   

I was about to have a date with 6 beautiful ladies.   

photo cred: kingwestrestaurants.blogspot.com


Over a few bottles of vino, shared appetizers & our entrées – we traded stories, updates, escapades of the single life (and there were lots), relationship insights, woes, travel plans, career advice…imagine it all.     

The food was delicious, but will be honest, not outstanding. Ranging from fair to excellent, the sea bass was the highlight (for me personally).   

And remember, I’m a highly visual person. Beautiful presentation makes me love a dish that much more.   

As romantic as the ambiance was, could barely make out what was on the plate. Didn’t know if I was cutting into lightly grilled peppers or sea bass. You should never have to guess.   

Unless, you’re at O’Noir.    

Add a few more candles please, and we’ll be back to give it another try.  


Stand-out dishes:   

Sea bass with grilled market vegetables, asparagus, mini potatoes   

photo cred: TT


Honourable mentions:   

Osso bucco
Pisa salad
– baby arugula, fennel, apple & artichoke, golden raisins, pine nuts, gorgonzola cheese, white balsamic pink peppercorn dressing –  

It pains, but easily forgettable:   

Avocado & buffalo mozzarella salad
Oven baked tomato, roasted red peppers, zuchinni & topped with buffalo mozzarella (think veggie lasagna, without the noodles)
Soup of the day: Leek & potato topped with old cheddar   

Until next time:   

Stuffed calamari (with apple & fennel sausage)
Truffle wild mushroom parpardelle   

And any one of their pizzas (just feast your eyes on those ingredients):   

– danish brie, anjou pear, candied walnuts, proscuitto, topped w. arugula & house dressing – 

Politica’s Brother
– basil pesto, spicy Italian sausage, red onion, roasted red pepper, goat cheese –  

– gorgonzola cream sauce, proscuitto, grilled chicken, roasted garlic, asiago, old cheddar – 

– basil tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, rapini, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes mozzarella – 

Gamberi Diavolo
– basil pesto sauce, spicy tiger prawns, shaved red onion, baby spinach, mozzarella –  

127 Strachan Ave

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12 minutes flat

Grilled salmon w. zucchini & mushrooms in a black bean sauce

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Sharing good food with friends. The best. 

Sharing good food with a friend you haven’t seen in 3.5 years…even better. 

But of course, not completely out of touch. Impossible not to know a snippet of their life, if that news feed algorithm or semi-stalking works as it should. Wait. The algorithm, not the stalking. 

Anyway, instead of the “i can’t believe how much time has flown by” conversation starter, we dive right into the good stuff. 

Our passions. 

Well, you all know mine. 

His? Ideas. Opportunities. Action. 

Plate after plate, story after story – the combination was heady. TJ, you’re heady. Or bait. Enjoy either reference. 

The setting: Torito. Kensington. Tapas bar. 

photo cred: ACRiley.com



Stand-out dishes: 

White bass ceviche with corn & yam
(tender chunks of white bass in insanely good cilantro-citrusy juices…the love only grows stronger) 

white bass ceviche


Shrimps al ajillo
(succulent & saucy… yep, my greatest description yet) 

shrimps al ajillo



Honourabe mentions: 

churros w. dulce de leche
(“like beaver tail, but 100 times better!” “wait, like those cinnamon sticks from taco bell but 1,000 better!” – ok, NOT our greatest descriptions) 

churros w. dulce de leche


Piquillo peppers stuffed w/ salted cod & tapanade sauce
(would not have ordered…but ohh, the power of reviews. now, you go & try!) 

Grilled flatiron steak, gallega chips & fried egg
(medium rare) 

Roasted quail, pomegranate glaze & sweet squash
(too salty for my taste, but mixed w/ glaze & squash and it redeems) 


It pains, but easily forgettable: 

Crab croquettes w/parsley aioli 

crab croquettes w/ parsley aioli


Braised beef tongue & cheek
(tongue & cheek. cute eh? not so much on the tongue action. PASS. 
won’t even attempt to describe texture. never again.)

braised beef tongue & cheek



Until next time: 

Andalusian spinach & chickpeas stew
Chilean tripe stew 

Yes, we ate our way through half the menu. But, these two stews warrant a visit back. Along with a repeat performance of the ceviche & churros.  


fyi: all food photo cred goes to TJ & his MannLanders wit. 

276 Augusta Ave

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A day’s worth of food

Home-made & delicious. Mama would be so proud.    

vanilla yogurt, muesli, strawberries


spinach salad with tomatoes, snap peas, corn, raisins


Singapore Laksa (leftovers!)

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