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.

Amaya Group of Restaurants take on Indian Street Food

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I am a huge Indian food fan. One of my go-to take out joints on Just-Eat.ca is Amaya Express on Ossington. So when we were invited to check out the new spring menu at Amaya the Indian Room on Bayview, I was pretty excited. This would be some OG stuff, as it is one of the original Amaya Group of Restaurant locations.

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The Amaya Group of Restaurants was founded back in 2007 by Chef Hemany Bhagwani which currently has 15 locations to date. Chef Bhagwani told us that for the new spring menu he waned to recreate the Amaya experience from start to finish with some new dishes drawing inspiration from India’s vibrant street food culture whilst dipping its toe into some molecular gastronomy.

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Chef Bhagwani started us off with a beautiful amuse bouche consisting of a Yogurt Egg filled with Pomegranate Juice. This was a light airy and simple bite that started off our meals just right.

From there, we were given another amuse bouche of sorts, which was one of their street foods inspiration dishes: Prawn Papdi Chaat with cumin and chutney. Very similar in texture to a ceviche, it was absolutely delicious and all the flavors married so well together. I could have had several more of these, if offered.

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Next up, we were served this new version of Pakoras. Now with kale and tomato chutney. Oh my glob, these were out of this world. Kind of like crispy, deep fried kale chips but little balls. Then with the chutney? Get out of here!

We were finally shown a bit of the seafood side of Amaya with some Scallops paired with pickled lemons, shallot confit and coconut snow. It was beautiful presented and a lovely light taste.

You would think that Tandoori Chicken could not be any different but this was incredible. Spicy, tender and delicious – something about it was great. Plus the foam on it that created a enhanced simple flavor.  Oh, and dem cheese balls. Need I say more?

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Back on the seafood tip, we were treated to some more Prawns (simply titled the Amaya Prawns) – which were juicy and bursting with flavour. Add a bit of beet gel to it and you have yourself a whole new dish. Plus: I am not lying that these were some of the biggest prawns I have seen in my life.

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I would have to say that my favourite dish of the evening though was the Lamb Tenderloin with the Wasabi Ice Cream on top. I was a little bit taken aback when I heard Wasabi Ice Cream but trust me: it works and with all of these flavours. I want more. Please just give me more of this dish forever and always.

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If I haven’t sold you on Amaya’s new menu or on heading to Amaya, then I don’t know what could. They have put so much heart and soul into all of their new offerings, it comes through in each of the plating’s and each of the menu offerings. All of the menu items are so innovative yet so familiar that it’s so comforting. Worth heading to the main location on Bayview! Also of note: all menu items are reasonable priced (between $12-$18) so this makes a great dinner out.

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Photos by Yuli Scheidt

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. 

 

1. Little Bits – Cauliflower Tots

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Tots!

 

2. Big Bits – Cantaloupe & Brie Grilled Cheese

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3. Little Bits – Gougère bits

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Come to me.

 

4. Sweets – Quinn Candy

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Gorgeous!

 

5. Big Bits – Butternut Squash and Bacon Pizza Source

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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. 

 

1. Food Words – NYT Magazine 15-Year-old Flynn McGarry

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Must read!

 

2. Menu Design – Holly Burger

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Just lovely.

 

3. Sweets – Polka Dot Cake

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So simple!

 

4. Kitchen Envy – japanese cypress hinoki wood mug

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5. Little Bites – Spinach Feta Pull Apart Bread

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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.

1. How To – Pearls

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2. Sweets – Rock Candy Cupcakes

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3. Little Bites – Adult Lunchables

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4. Elsewhere – Holybelly, Paris

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5. Sweets – Green Bark

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Bloggers Who Brunch is Back!

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Fat Girl Food Squad presents

Bloggers Who Brunch – a brunch for bloggers, writer, photographer, freelancers, and other new-media types!

Join us on Sunday March 30th at 11:30am for an informal gathering at

THE LIBERTINE (1307 DUNDAS ST WEST)

all-in $25 pre-fixe brunch including:

family-style served brunch, one mimosa, tea or coffee (other drinks available for purchase at the bar) – vegetarian option available.

psychic reader will be available – $25 cash per reading

TICKETS – https://www.uniiverse.com/BloggersWhoBrunch2

special thanks to food partners Blue Goose Pure Foods

Scaddabush Left Us Giddy and Full at Yonge & Gerrard

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Words by Leigh van Maaren, photos by Yuli Scheidt

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The night that Yuli and I visited Scaddabush was an evening in severe need of a pick-me-up. As a student working on my thesis who’d faced a major deadline the day before, and on one of the coldest days of the year, the warm, friendly and delectable experience that Scaddabush offered up is exactly what that cold day needed.

Over several hours we were able to sample large portions of the extensive Italian menu that Scaddabush offers, so much so that we’d be here all day if I tried to describe every one of the dishes we sampled to you. Instead, here’s some highlights for every category to give you a crash-course on deliciousness:

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DRINKS: While both Yuli and I loved the not-too-sweet Babba Straga cocktail we sampled that featured apricot puree, gin and egg whites, the real winner was the Blood Orange Bellini. We spotted them farther down the communal table that the 30 or so people in attendance had gathered at, and were both immediately drawn to the hot pink, sugar-rimmed slushy concoction. It wasn’t too sweet and perfectly refreshing – and showed up looking like something that had been styled for a photo shoot.

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CHEESE: I was excited to try the made-to-order mozzarella a week before we’d arrived. Upon our arrival, we were able to watch some of the cheese being made through a window that allowed us to look into the kitchen. It’s an impressive set up, but nowhere near as impressive as the cheese it creates. The mozzarella platter with prosciutto and toast was delicious, but it couldn’t compare to the burrata.

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El Caballito Tequila Bar introduces the Midnight Taco

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El Caballito located on King West is serving up more than just midnight tacos, it also is a lovely little tequila bar in the home of downtown Toronto. Opened since the beginning of February and located near Simcoe Street in a dimly lit basement, as you walk down the stairs you are met with feast for your eyes & ears.

With a live DJ (at least on the night I was in attendance) and lots of neon lights with Mexican style murals, the space feels like you’ve entered this authentic Mexican speakeasy of sorts. With plenty of banquettes and tables (the restaurant seats 120 comfortably), you have the ability to come with a large group or a couple pals. Whatever the choice may be, you will feel cozy and comfortable and still be able to have a conversation – even with the music playing. This I can absolutely attest to.

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As mentioned, El Caballito has a private tequila tasting room which seats four people at a time. Bar Manager, Manny, will walk you through the ins and outs of all things tequila and keep you in good hands. El Caballito currently has an extensive tequila list containing of 64 blanco, resposado and anjeo tequilas and mezcals sold by the ounce.

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But in order to keep all the down, how does the food size up? We were given a small tasting of the menu to discover including the Flank Steak Tacos to start loaded with bell peppers, roasted onions, salsa verde and cheese. The slices of steak were cooked to perfectly and thinly sliced making it juicy and tender. The salsa was heavenly, and the cheese cooked onto the tortilla. I could have eaten about 10 of those tacos in no time.
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Photos by yuli scheidt

Next up was the Tamarind Ceviche (including tortilla shells made of jicima and mango) and holy flavour explosion. This was probably one of the best dishes of the evening. It was light and a quick bite. But it was the perfect sweet and spicy. Plus: jicima tortilla shells? Get out of here!

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I was brought to cheese heaven via El Caballito empanada dish which had chicken, tomato sofrito, chipotle and arrived covered in cotija cheese. Delicious and packed a perfect 1-2 punch.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, we were delivered the Quesadilla de Quintero which was stacked with zucchini, bell pepper, cheese & salsa roja on a corn tortilla; Cheesy, light and so good.

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Nothing finishes off a dinner like dessert, so we saddled ourselves up to face the finish; churros! El Caballito provided us with cinnamon doughnuts with vanilla custard, and while I may not be a sweets person, I was most  into this. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that churros are something that are hard to do right, but El Caballito’s did them justice.

So while Toronto is filled with many Mexican restaurants, journey out for something a bit different and take on this tequila bar and midnight taco for size.

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Cafe Boulud makes home in Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel

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For many foodies, Daniel Boulud (New York based celebrity chef) is a commanding force in the realm of french cooking. When he decided to bring his restaurants (on the second floor and the downstairs bar) to the Four Seasons hotel chain, it would be an understatement to say those in Toronto were excited.

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photos by yuli scheidt

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

Cafe Boulud sits on the second floor overlooking the beautifully iconic neighbourhood that is Yorkville. We were seated by a window which gave us a great 180 degree view of the restaurant whilst still being able to peak outside to see fabulous men and women outside walking the streets. One of the things that I wasn’t too sure about when coming to the Cafe was how the dress-code would be since being housed in one of the cities finest hotels. Let me assure you: while dealing with fine dining at its best, the atmosphere is not stuffy at all or entitled.

The first thing that caught my eye (upon walking up the stairs into the Cafe) was the pop-art portraits of some iconic celebrities such as Madonna. It added a bit of whimsy to the space but also gave a little nod to the indulgent celebrity nature of our city. The dining room is quite large and spacious with a bit of romance in the air.

Just recently, Cafe Boulud released their winter menu which would take on tradition, classic French cuisine while exploring all things worldly. Both Yuli and myself were excited to try this but also try out their Winterlicious menu, which was also happening at the time of our visit. We decided to eat, drink and be merry.

For the three course pre-fixe Winterlicious menu ($45 per person), we decided to indulge in the Lentil Dahl (made with Garam Masala, Coriander and Yogurt) and Grilled Albacore Tuna for our apps. The Lentil was simply rich with full flavour pop. It was one of those dishes where if you could stick your face into the bowl and lick every last drop, you probably would. Alas: I don’t think that is Four Seasons behaviour. The tuna was juicy and tender with beautiful citrus undertones. I’ll have to thank Yuli for sharing with me.

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Next up, we decided to order a couple of appetizers from the Main Menu to see what this new winter menu was all about. We ordered up some Sunchoke Risotto ($21) and the Crispy Duck Egg ($18). Ever since my first experience with Sunchoke I have been obsessed and this risotto did not disappoint. Keeping it simple with porcini mushroom and aged parmesan cheese, it was cooked to perfection and simply wonderful. This would be perfect as a main, as well. Now onto the Crispy Duck Egg which was serving up all kinds of brunch realness. The Duck Egg coupled with the button mushrooms and crispy bacon and all the yolk. I can’t know even handle the goodness. I would like this delivered to my bedroom each and everyday. Hopefully this could be arranged.

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Back to our Winterlicious main courses, where I decided to par-take in the Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Heirloom Carrot and Potatoes. This dish was not too heavy with beautiful cuts of lamb. The natural jus added a great flavour. Perfect for the diner who loves meat & potatoes: hearty and bountiful.

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On the Main Menu, we decided to check out two of their Main Courses from the winter menu: Pan Seared Digby Scallops ($38) and Ontario Venison ($41). Large Nova Scotia scallops arrive with some fingerling potatoes, in a tomato-saffron broth and left my mouth singing. The scallops were beautifully caramelized and were perfectly cooked. Yuli mentioned that her Venison dish was seasoned perfectly and had a nice rich glaze of natural jus.

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The desserts here are show-stoppers and although we stuck to our dessert pairings from the Winterlicious menu, our choices were hard. I opted for the Carmel Pear Sundae and was not disappointed.

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From the kitchen staff to the wait staff, the team at Cafe Boulud have worked hard at executing Chef Daniel’s vision into this exciting Toronto restaurant and the results resonate all throughout. If you are looking for a beautifully romantic evening out or simply a fancy brunch, you will find everything you are looking for and more at Cafe Boulud.

  Cafe Boulud on Urbanspoon

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. 

1. Food Art – Fresh Baked Goods

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2. Pretty Packaging – Buck O’Hare Sunshine Beer

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3. Little Bites – Fried Ravioli Hearts

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4. Food Words – Sorry For What I Said When I Was Hungery

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This one has been making the rounds, but it is so-so accurate.

5. Sweets – S’more Donuts

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