Batter Up: Canteen Serves Up Corn-Dog Realness

Listen up Toronto and listen up real good. I have found some legit corn-dogs.

None of this fried and disgusting stuff that makes you feel like you’re going to be sick afterwards. Oh no. This corn-dog was heaven-sent and thy heavens name is Oliver & Bonacini’s Canteen!

To celebrate the beginning of a new Blue Jays season (I wonder if my homeboy Drake has stocks in the Jays too?), the O&B team developed this fab new deal titled, Dugout Dogs. Beginning on April 4th, enjoy a blue cornmeal Dugout Dog, doubled up, for your pleasure for just $12 with a pint of Mill Street Tankhouse to wet the whistle for $5.

The Dugout Dog offers up more than just dogs & beer, which in theory you could get at the Jays game (for way more than $12, might I add). This thick and juicy realness is all beef, gluten-free served up with house-made mustard and ketchup and plated up with dem thick Yukon Gold fries.

This deal happens on every time the Jays play at home from 11AM onwards. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat dem dogs in-house at Canteen, then don’t feel like you’ll strike out on this deal. Take them to go!

Go march your butt down to Canteen and check em out for yourself. Sports fan or not, Dugout Dogs are where its at.

50th Annual Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

By Megan Stulberg

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I was recently invited to spend a weekend at the farm where my best friend grew up in Elmira, Ontario. Visiting a town with a whopping population of 9,931, you’d expect a relaxing and quiet weekend in the country, no? Well, it certainly started off that way: I spent Friday evening playing with the family’s seven household pets and watching Come Dine With Me reruns. The next morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 7am and then walked around outside in the cold for the next 10 hours. And I had the best time.

The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival has been an annual event for the past 50 years. The main attraction is, of course, the maple syrup and related food vendors. The event attracts 60,000 people every year, and most can be seen walking around, munching a lamb’s leg, a stack of pancakes or something deep-fried.

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Oh, the maple syrup! It was heavenly. There was maple syrup on everything: maple lattes, maple taffy, maple kettle corn, maple syrup baked beans, maple syrup candies, and Beaver Tails with maple butter. I didn’t want to slip into a sugar coma, so I decided to limit my syrup intake. Well, I tried.

First, I decided to sink my teeth into some maple taffy. Maple taffy is made by boiling maple sap over a fire until it turns into maple syrup and then continuing to boil it until it becomes thicker. It is then poured onto snow and picked up with a stick, once partially cooled, and then served. I had to wait a solid 45 minutes for one small piece, but it was worth it to get such a decadent start to the morning.

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Next, I tried maple sugar. By “tried” I mean I sampled a small piece for free and then proceeded to buy 12 more. Maple sugar is prepared much like maple taffy, but is boiled for much longer until it solidifies. These soft and sweet candies were sold by countless vendors all over the festival, but I bought mine from a small table run by local Mennonites on the outskirts of town in front of a McDonald’s for 25 cents a piece. I also bought a few small tubs of pure maple syrup to take home for loved ones.

By midday, my friends were getting hungry so we decided to venture away from the festival for a bit in an attempt to get a healthier lunch. Luckily for us, there were tractor-pulled wagon rides available: the town’s adorable version of a free shuttle bus. This was the first — and probably last — time I rode to a fast-food restaurant sitting on a bail of hay, sandwiched in between two teenage girls in bonnets.

The festival really is an event for both the locals and the tourists.

Overall, it was an incredibly fun, family-friendly day. Sometimes I forget how Canadian I am — and then I go to something like this and have a blast. To keep updated on next year’s festival, “Like” their official page on Facebook here.

I’ll just go ahead and tempt your tastebuds with a few more photos that show off some of the many treats that were enjoyed at the Maple Syrup Festival:

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Salted soft pretzel with Dijon mustard

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Deep-fried Mars bar on a stick

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“Tornado Potato” paired with ghost pepper ketchup. Other ketchup flavours included maple and banana

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Deep-fried apple fritters

Select photos by Aine Davis

Friday Foodie Five

Normally here on Friday Foodie Five I try to bring you some of the best stuff I’ve seen and heard online during the week. But I have to tell you, we here on the Toronto Squad have been working hard for a long time on something and we need to share.

For what feels like months, but has really only been a few weeks, Ama, Megan and I have been busy planning and co-curating an open call group art show called Fat In Public and the show’s opening was last night!

I would love nothing more than to share a few images with those of you who could not make it out to the opening and will not be in Toronto for the show’s week-long run at 2186 Dundas Gallery.

1.

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From Hamilton Squad Leader Carly’s Instagram, the hand-drawn window detail done by me.

2.

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Amarina Norris of Ursa Major+ made this one-of-a-kind piece that we featured in the front window, entitled ‘Sorry, Not Sorry.’ Look how PACKED 2186dundas was! Photo cred: Andrew Williamson.

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Here’s me being forced to melt my robot heart by Ama. Photo cred: Andrew Williamson

4.

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This was the beautiful wooden chalkboard signage that Megan drew to drawn people in. Thanks to Food 416 for the rad photo that we found on Instagram!

5.

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Ren Bostelaar told me Drake was really into Melody Krauze’s Soft Core pillows featuring some ladies having a good time.

6.

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Set up was an absolute blast and all of us loved Sookie Bardwell’s plush piece, “Lady Bear”. Photo cred: Andrew Williamson

7.

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The crowd was bumping all night long with people showing up at 6:45PM! We couldn’t have done this without the love and support of all of YOU, our readers! So thank you for all your support. ❤

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For those wondering about our gallery hours (who live in Toronto), please refer to our Facebook event page! Come and visit Fat in Public while it is happening Thursday Jan 30 – Wednesday Feb 5, 2014.

It Gets Fatter Project is Reorienting Desire Tonight in Ottawa

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Tonight Ottawa is lucky enough to have the It Gets Fatter Project in town, hosting an event on Reorienting Desire. The It Gets Fatter Project is a body positivity project, started by queer fat people of colour FOR queer fat people of colour, and this workshop will serve as a space to examine how fatphobia structures our visions of desirable bodies.

We reached out to It Gets Fatter Project and they were awesome enough to answer some of our questions. We can’t wait to go hang out with them tonight.

Is this your first event in Ottawa? We’re excited to have you!

It’s Asam’s first time, but Sara presented the keynote at last year’s Project Acorn gathering. We are excited to be back!

Obviously being fat is a gendered conversation, but can you give us a quick rundown of why it was important for IGF to be a poc led project, for poc?

I think for fat folks who are racialized the answer to this question is as obvious as fat being a gendered conversation. The ways in which we experience body shame and body policing are so intimately tied to processes of racialization that I actually don’t even know how I could think about fatness without thinking about race, (or really, how I could think about the body without also thinking about the ways in which it is gendered and raced and classed etc).

Just to start off with, fatness & race are rarely discussed together within white fat activism. And yet, discourses around obesity often visibilize and centre on fat poc – even as these campaigns have little to no input from the people who are being used as props to signify the dangers of obesity. The idea that Black people have “bad” eating habits and only have themselves to blame for being fat is so pervasive in US pop culture it goes almost unquestioned or even unnoticed. And how fat racialized bodies are policed and shamed is intimately tied to histories of colonialism and imperialist and orientalist stereotypes of “the Other.” (For instance, it might be “liberating” for a white woman to walk around without shaving her armpits, but the same choice from a dark-skinned woc will mean she will often get read as a “savage” who doesn’t know how to conform to Western standards of hygiene and needs rescuing.)

When we started IGF it was because we didn’t feel there was any space in fat activism to talk about these things. There is a long history of fat activism being centred and being dominated by the voices and narratives of white fat people. Unfortunately, for a lot of poc these voices just don’t resonate because we don’t see ourselves in these narratives. It is impossible for poc to divorce their race from any aspect of their lives, and any discourse or activism that doesn’t even notice or mention race is obviously not gonna be very useful for most poc.

Finally, 500 years of colonialism has meant that so many Black, Indigenous and poc communities have internalized white, European standards of beauty and aesthetic norms. One of the most painful experiences I have had as a fat brown guy has been the constant fat shaming in my own community. But this is painful especially because I know skinny white bodies were not always idealized in my culture. There is so much anecdotal evidence (art, poetry, music, etc.) that shows us that all kinds of bodies were revered in South Asian culture. And yet because of colonialism that history is often lost or remains unspoken. These are conversations white fat activists wouldn’t even begin to know how to have. So I think all of these things illustrate the importance of poc only spaces for fat poc’s.

Are conversations about fatness, and specifically about fatness and race easier to have in queer spaces? How much does intersectionality play into the IGF project?

I think it really depends on what kind of queers are present in the room. Sometimes folks will internalize dominant ideas about race & fatness, and so obviously those conversations are even harder to have than with say, straight white folks who just don’t like fat or queer people. But IGF is born through the intersections we carry as queer, racialized, fat folks and so we try our best to make sure the spaces we create and facilitate are always keenly attuned to the ways in which intersectionality impacts our experiences of marginalization.

What’s the best response you’ve witnessed to fatshaming?

“Fuck you, no one cares about your diet!”

What do you think of the recent articles about how fat positivity isn’t just for bigger women? I noticed you used ‘self identify as fat’ on your tumblr. At what point does thin privilege take over self identifying as fat? Does it?

There’s definitely this hierarchy of who gets to be celebrated for speaking out on fat issues and who gets completely ignored. Even within fat activism supersize folks have often felt excluded (even at NOLOSE!). There’s also the danger of who becomes the “face” of “fat positivity”. The idea that Lena Dunham’s body is radical or revolutionary in any way to be so nude all the time on Girls just shows how much work there still needs to be done when it comes to body positivity. These are things we are still thinking about, but so far we haven’t had any issues with workshops or video submissions. At the end of the day, as long as folks are aware of the privileges they carry and how much space they take up, we’re not interested in policing definitions of fatness. Just don’t be a jerk about it.

Reserve tickets for tonight’s 6:30pm event at venusenvy.ca, by phone 613-789-4646, or in person at the Bank St. Ottawa location. 

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Friday Foodie Five

Every Friday we bring you our favourite foodie sights and sounds. Everything from food packaging and food inspired art, to recipes and reviews. 

Nothing but MAGIC this week.

1. Food Art – Edible Glitter

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Seriously, why has no one showed me how to do this before?!

1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of food coloring mixed, bake10 mins in oven on 350* to make edible glitter!

2. Food Styling – Beach Bonfire Cooking

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Take me here!

3. Sweets – Indoor S’Mores

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You know, for those times when you can’t be on a beach with a bonfire, like the image above, you can do this indoors.

4. Local (Toronto) – l’ouvrier

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Always wanted to brunch/dine here, but I’ve seen this wall art a million places and it’s magical.

5.  Sweets – Ritz Crackers Ice Cream Sandwiches

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[ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT] – Fat In Public an Art Show Presented by Fat Girl Food Squad

After spending the last several weeks accepting applications from artists (far and wide) for Fat Girl Food Squad’s first gallery show, Fat in Public, we are pleased to make the official announcement of the artists whom will be displaying art.

*Sam Abel
*Sookie Bardwell
*Ronald Caddigan
*Derrick Chow
*Elana Delaney
*Amanda Drodge
*Kristina Groeger
*Melody Krauze
*Jessica Levy
*Amarina Norris of Ursa Major +
*Megan Stulberg
*Yuli Scheidt

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With Fat Girl Food Squad‘s first gallery showing and through our artists selected pieces, we intend to de-stigmatize the (fat) body and give an outlet for art featuring imperfect and sybaritically characters in equal measure.

FAT IN PUBLIC’s opening reception will take place on January 30th at 2186 Dundas (located at, well, 2186 Dundas in Roncesvalles, Toronto) from 7-11pm. Please come celebrate with us and help celebrate our artists.

We have been beyond excited about this show for quite some time now. You can click on “attending” here on Facebook, should you feel obliged.

One final thing to note! All of our artists pieces will be for sale that evening with 100% of the sales going back to the artists. So please, support your fellow artists!

Body Positive Sex: What’s Self Love Got to do with It?

We here at Fat Girl Food Squad are huge supporters of sex positivity and body positivity, which I think is pretty evident in all the work that we do.
So when we were approached by the University of Toronto to put together a workshop on body positive sex for Sexual Awareness Week, we were beyond thrilled.

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Come join us on Saturday January 25, 2013 at Innis Town Hall for our two-hour workshop titled Body Positive Sex: What’s Self-Love Got to do with It? In this two hour workshop, we invite one and all as we discuss body positive sex and self-love. We will journey through all types of topics including (but not limited to):

* importance of self acceptance leading to the path of good & healthy sex
* our personal experience coming to live in and love our bodies
* ways to come to accept your body
* dating horror stories
* how to not fall prey to fetishization as validation
*how movement and a body in motion is a great way to love thyself

During our “Juice & Cookie & Dance” break, we invite attendees to take part in our set-up activities:

*Yuli Scheidt, co-founder and lead photographer of Fat Girl Food Squad will be setting up Photo Booth where you can express yourself (all photos taken are free). You can find some of Yuli’s work here: http://yulischeidt.com/

*HaFA will be organizing a “Body in Motion” session, where you can be instructed how to move your body with a hula-hoop. If you would like to make a hula-hoop with HaFA, you can attend their session the day before our, Friday Jan 24!

For more details our on workshop (which is free to attend), peep the Facebook event page here. We really hope you’lll come out and support us.

Greece makes its mark on the Beaches with Trinity Taverna

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Originally posted to Ama’s twice-weekly column on Toronto Is Awesome.

It is not often that food has brought me out to the East End, but on this cold blustery night – Yuli and I decided to make the trek to an oasis hidden within a beachfront restaurant property with promises of authentic Greek food stylings. That place was Trinity Taverna.

Owned and operated by Peter Morentzos of Morentzos Restaurant Group and Danny and George Foulidis, the team has spared no expense at making this expansive (600 seated) restaurant with stunning lakefront views pleasing to both the eyes and stomach.

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Upon entry, you’re greeted by bold Mediterranean colours and a gorgeous ceiling made-up from thousands of birch branches, creating a Greek villa feel. The bench seating comes equipped with glorious pillows and a beautiful view of the open-kitchen. Beside the kitchen, you’ll notice the fresh seafood counter, whom Peter Morentzos told us shipped in fresh almost daily. They also have a very expansive wine list, including many Greek wines. If you’re uncertain of which wines to pair or have never had a Greek wine, not to fear — their sommelier is very wise and knowledgeable in all things Greece and wine. For example, he treated us to a beautiful red (Boutari Naoussa Xinomavro), which just made the top 100 of the Wine Enthusiast list.

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Chef Pierre Restivo and his kitchen team turns each ingredient into journey through the roads of Greece. For our appetizers, we were delighted with the Trilogy of Spreads, which included six different tastes such as house-made tzatziki (using a goat-milk yogurt, bringing out a smoothy richness and tang), tarama (smoked salmon, caviar and garlic) and htipiti (feta and spicy red pepper). Each of the dips had their own richness and I was seriously considering asking the kitchen to send me with a vat home. Alas: I did not work up the courage to do so. If only snacking at home could be this — elegant.

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Next up, we were brought out a Lamb Tartare (lean lamb loin, fresh mint, shallots, thai chilli oil and quail’s egg). I have never been much of a tartare fan but thought, when in Rome. So I took a chance on this dish and have been dreaming of it ever since. The kick of the thai chilli oil mixed in with the beautiful fresh taste of tartare. Perfect, especially for a lamb tartare. Something so very rarely seen.

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To balance things out, we tried out their Iceberg and Romaine Slaw where razor-thin cucumbers and julienned iceberg are married together with a sweet, simple white-wine vinegar dressing. The results are light and refreshing.

We decided to take the seafood counter out for a spin, testing out the following hot offerings: Shrimp & Feta, Baked Scallops and their standout trophy dish, the Octopus. The tomato and feta sauce served up with the shrimp was hearty and brilliant. If I’m not mistaken, we scooped up every last bit of the sauce. Now let me tell you about those scallops in three words (and trust me you’ll thank me later): saffron béchamel sauce. If that doesn’t scream to you: get in my mouth, I don’t know what will. But that Octopus – it was glorious. Grilled and prepared with an aged balsamic, it was pretty much everything.

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We also munched on some of my favourite offal meat, sweetbreads. Pan-seared in a lamb stock, white wine reduction and truffle oil, the meat was juicy and tender and packed many of the flavours in. The house-made sausage was up next, delivered with hints of citrus and delicious flavour.

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But let me tell you this: the main dinner offerings is where they win everything. We were treated to a sampling of four dishes: Rabbit Stifatho, Veal Cheek Moussaka, Trinity Taverna GYRO and Pan-Seared Lamb Chops. From these four dishes, the two that stood out to me the most were Rabbit Stifatho and Veal Cheek Moussaka. First things first, the rabbit in a delicious stew of onions, tomato confit and cinnamon. The braise leaves the meat to be tender and the flavouring really comes out in this winter hearty Greek dish. With the Veal Cheek Moussaka, you’re taken into a cosmic heaven of foodie delight with layers of scalloped potatoes, braised and stewed veal cheeks, tomato-confit sauce and eggplant once again in a beautiful béchamel sauce. Decadence at its best.

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A note of advice: leave room for dessert because you will want it and well, by the end of this feast you will be sluggish with so much delicious food. Treat yourself to the wondrous Feta Cheesecake (topped with caramelized figs) or Baklava.

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This restaurant is a perfect escape from the everyday Winter blah’s and also to find your own road to Greece right here in Toronto.

All photos by Yuli Scheidt.

Meat on Meat on Meat: the official FGFS Turducken Potluck Experience

For those of you following FGFS, you may have come to realize that we’re all about community. The FGFS HQ is located in Toronto and lots of times, we love to just kick-back and hang together with our writers in the GTA as a big grrl gang.

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With the holidays coming up, many of us had families we just couldn’t get to or other circumstances that just didn’t have us partaking in the holiday season. For that, we decided to do what any righteous and bodacious grrl gang would do: have an End of 2013 Potluck!

Each of us were tasked with bringing our own inspired dishes to the table and we invited some of our nearest and dearest friends to join us. Thanks to the lovely people at Echelon Foods, we were treated to the fine wonders of what any holiday dinner should have: a huge ass turducken. So what exactly is a turducken? Well, for those of you not in the gastronomical know: it’s meat (turkey) on meat (duck) on meat (chicken). All in one bird. All prepped.. for your pleasure.

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We ended up getting a Italian Sausage stuffed Turducken and well, the Potluck journey was on! The lovely Leigh Van Maaren took over official turducken cooking duties and well, she did a marvellous job. Not only is she a babe but she’s a badass ninja in the kitchen providing us with gravy, stuffing and glazed carrots as well. The charming and hilarious Aviva Cohen took on the vegetarian pot pie and also provided us with the most badass dessert of the evening: Momofuku Birthday Cake, made from scratch. Yes, we got spoiled. We love you, Aviva. Provided by yours truly (that’s Ama) was a holiday classic: brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower gratin, made up in four-cheeses. And lest we forget the OG Mac & Cheese and Grandma’s Classic Broccoli and Tomato Mac & Cheese put together by FGFS fave Tabby. Oh, plus we had some mashed potatoes. Because: fuck yea.

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It was a night of friends and FGFS family and well, Turducken. The prep time of the turducken took seven hours and well, wasn’t all that difficult. The bird (which weighed in at about 10 pounds) fed between 10-12 people with several leftovers. The taste of the Turducken was… magical. Given there was so much density to the bird, I wasn’t sure how all those meats (on meats) would taste. But it was juicy and tender and full of turducken goodness. If I’m not selling it, check out our Twitter feed for the live results.

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Each of our plates were full of delicious food and cups filled with FGFS writer Siobhan Ozege beautifully handcrafted rosemary-infused vodka. We were all feeling in fine form and quite thankful for the year we’ve had as individuals but also, the (almost) year we’ve had together as Fat Girl Food Squad.

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Praise be to the Turducken overlords for gracing us with this beautiful bird. You gave us just another reason to hang out and well, be our awesome foodie selves.

Say No to Bad Food: Chef Edward Furlani’s Inspired Brunch Pop-Up

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Photos by Yuli Scheidt

For some time now, both Yuli and myself have been following the epic food ‘Grams of a chef who went by the name of @PrettyBoyLarge (real name Edward Furlani). He would throw down photos of incredible dishes following his Italian kitchen upbringing and nods to his Spanish roots (with family living in the Dominican Republic) and inspirational hash-tags/quotes (#SayNoToBadFood).

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After many comments and mutual admiration’s shared over Instagram, we decided it was time to sit down and finally have the in-person meeting over food that we had been longing to have. Thus, we were invited to Furlani’s newest kitchen venture: pop-up brunch at noted Argentina/Mexican cafe, El Almacen Yerba Mate Café (1078 Queen Street West).

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Walking into El Almacen that cold Saturday morning, we were greeted with PrettyBoy’s large smiling face inviting us into “mi casa”, as he called it. Hugs exchanged and deep chats regarding all things food and drink. Edward told us that he started the brunch at El Almacen as fun but also in memory of his father. “For my Dad, breakfast was something special. With my mom living back in the Dominican and my little brother in London, all I’ve got is feeding the masses!” With his inspiration leading the way, we were more excited now to try his brunch menu.

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The menu is changed from week to week, with the offerings scrawled out on a simple white piece of paper. Edward tells us they try to include both the Argentina and Spanish roots in all of the dishes, which was evident from the offerings. All of the brunch dishes fall into hugely affordable range ($7.75 – $13.75) for some inspired brunch. For my dish, I decided to take in the Huevos Coramajo ($8.75) which consisted of 2 baked eggs, home fries, onions, red peppers and ham. Yuli took in an order of Chorizo Benedicto ($13.75) which consisted of house-made chorizo, 2 poached eggs, hollandaise and home fries. To round out out brunch, Edward suggested we try out the Argentina tea ritual of sharing the Yerba Mate.

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As we sat around the table in the bright and open cafe, passing around the Yerba Mate in its traditional guard, our brunch dishes came out quickly after ordering. They were complex but simple. For my Huevos Coramajo, the plate looked like a piece of art being presented with finely chopped veg and perfectly cubed home fries sprinkled a top the plate. The eggs were perfect and inviting me to eat them as soon as the plate set itself down on the table. First bite: heaven. All I could think was, “this is so fresh and doesn’t feel heavy, yet there is so much food.” It seems like my sentiments were echoed across the table with Yuli and our beautiful brunch companion for the day, Kristina feeling similarly about their dishes.

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Edward has told us that what started out as a fun brunch pop-up has turned into something a bit more and they have extended the run into the New Year. So if you’re looking for new and exciting places to check out with a passionate chef in the kitchen, you should check out this brunch pop-up on Saturday and Sunday at El Almacen Yerba Mate Café from 10AM-2PM.