Monthly Archives: June 2012

Food Truck Friday

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Intersection of Yonge/Dundas, photo taken in March 2012

I have to admit that Dundas Square is not my favourite place in Toronto.  It’s always busy, it’s hectic and there always seems to be at least one person shouting into a blow horn that “Jesus will save you!”  Not that I have anything against Jesus, I just happen to really hate blow horns.

But I have to give Dundas Square some credit because you can never complain of being bored there. There is always something to be seen and heard, with events happening all summer and throughout the winter too.  But even with all the excitement going on, there is really only one thing that can draw me into the square – food.

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So when I eyed the Buster’s Sea Cove food truck on my way back to the office, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  They were parked in Food Truck Alley last Friday, when I passed up their Lobster Rolls for some ceviche at another food truck.  I’ve eaten at Buster’s Sea Cove in St. Lawrence Market before and always loved it, so I was curious to see how their food truck offerings were.

I decided to try the Crab Roll instead of the Lobster Roll this time.  It was the mango salsa in the Crab that sold me.

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That’s not a Wonder bread hot dog bun (in case you are thinking what I first thought when they handed me my order).  It’s actually a slice of grilled bread folded in half to hold the crab meat.  It was very tasty.  The mango salsa mixed into the crab meat added some sweetness and was refreshing.  I didn’t eat the potato chips that came with my order.  They’re a little too greasy for my liking.  I think I would have preferred something like a fresh coleslaw to go along with this meal.

I enjoyed the crab roll, it was very good, but for $10 it would have been worth every penny if the serving size was a little larger or came with a side of something other than potato chips.

Like I said, there is always something interesting to see in Dundas Square.  Toronto mime artist, Kate Mior, has been around miming on busy street corners and busker events for a long time.  It’s always cool to come across her when I’m out and about in the city.

All in all, it was another good lunch date alone.  The time always seems to go by fast, but with so many things to see and do in close proximity to my office, I can never complain of running out of places to eat or things to see and do.

Check out the Toronto Food Trucks website for daily locations of Buster’s Sea Cove.

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The Third Time’s the Charm

So here we are at my new blog home. I know, I know, this is the third move for this blog and you’re probably wondering “where next?”

Over the weekend, I decided that Tumblr was not the right place to host my blog. I didn’t realize there would be so many limitations over there, but the only way to really know something is to try it out and that’s what I did. I loved the template that I chose, but I kept running into problems that made my blogging experience less than enjoyable. The html was weird, centering my photos and content was a pain, it didn’t allow for a blogroll widget, and people reported problems with the Disqus comments. Tumblr is great for micro-blogging and photo blogs, but for me and my purposes, a traditional blogging platform is best.

I originally started callmeSheBear with Blogger, so my first thought was to import all my Tumblr posts back there. But I found that importing content from another blog was a complicated process in Blogger, which led me to looking into WordPress. Once I got my account set up, it was pretty easy to import all my content from Tumblr to here. It was all done within a matter of minutes.

I’m still finding my way around WordPress, but so far I like it and I won’t be moving the blog again. Sorry to my mom and the three loyal friends who have been following my random blogging. I know it’s a slight inconvenience to update your blog readers and blog rolls again, but I know you’ll do it cuz you love me!

1000 Tastes of Toronto in the Distillery District

My kids have never been to Toronto’s Historic Distillery District, so when a friend invited us to join them at the 1000 Tastes of Toronto event this weekend, I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation.  I have heard great things about the event and hey, it gives me something to blog about!

The Historic Distillery District is probably one of Toronto’s hottest tourist attractions.  The brick lined streets, and restored Victorian style industrial buildings are populated by dozens of hip cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries that draw thousands of tourists every year.

The mixture of antique machinery and vehicles, and modern art adds an interesting element of old and new to the area.  And a lot of the outdoor artwork is kid friendly, which  is to say it is sturdy and good for climbing.

But we weren’t there for the artwork.  We went for the food and we were determined to enjoy as much new tastes as possible.

This year, as part of the annual Luminato Festival, the Distillery was host to the 1000 Tastes of Toronto food event.  There were dozens of food tents set up on the brick streets from chefs and restaurants in and around the city, offering up gourmet food servings for $5 each.

I always forget to take pictures when I’m having fun.  I missed the delicious nachos with fresh guacamole and black bean dip, the home made apple wood smoked bacon sliders, and fancy poutines, but I did remember to take a pic of the fresh oysters.  They were the hands down favourite of the day.  For $5 for a serving of three fresh oysters, you can’t possibly go wrong.  They were deliciously refreshing with our Pinot Grigio wine.

Even some of the kids, not mine, loved the oysters and got the chance to show off their oyster eating technique for the local news.  I tried, but I couldn’t convince my kids that eating something cold and slimey out of a shell would taste good.  (shrugs shoulders) They don’t know what they’re missing.

We had a long day yesterday, as we were outdoors for most of it, and I resolved to stay home today and chill.  But this morning I found some leftover food tickets in my pocket.  It would be a shame to let them go to waste when I know that today is the last day to attend the event.

Its’ gonna be a hot day, but I’m working on convincing the hubby to go back today for more gourmet street food deliciousness. The oysters are calling to me…

Check out the Historic Distillery Website  for some history and cool photos of the Distillery way better than mine

and

the Luminato event website  for more details.

A lunch date for one – Just me, myself and I

Gourmet Food Trucks are all the rage in downtown Toronto these days.  I first heard of them from a friend who is a food blogger, so I started following some of the kitchens on wheels on Twitter.  From there, I learned that the corner of Queen and Jarvis, aka Food Truck alley has become a reliable spot to find food trucks that serve up something different from the usual street meat most of us are used to.

No one was around the office today, so I decided to jump on the subway and head down to Queen & Jarvis for a lunch date alone – just me, myself and I.  When I (or, we) got there, the parking lot where the food trucks were parked was filled with food lovers patiently waiting in line for some good eats.  All the menus for the different trucks looked delicious.  I couldn’t decide between Lobster Tail from one truck, or Pork Belly Tacos from another.  It was hot and the lunch clock was ticking.  I chose the Bitchin’ Ceviche Salad with Spicy Tortillas from the Gourmet B1tches.  I  have to admit, it was the word “bitchin’” in the menu that sold me.

There were so many good things to choose from that I was unsure if ceviche was what I really wanted.  I chose it because the line-ups were big, I was hungry, and ceviche would be faster as it would already be prepared.  And of course, I chose it because I love it.  But I’ve ordered it before at local restaurants and I have been disappointed.

In case you don’t know what ceviche is, it is basically fish or seafood that is “cooked” in something acidic like lemon or lime juice, sometimes even vinegar.  It is actually not cooked with heat at all, rather marinated in the juice for at least three hours, the acid cooking the fish. The dish is served most often with bread or crackers and is popular in Central America and other coastal nations. Once in a blue moon I make ceviche at home so maybe I will share the recipe here in the future. It’s super easy to make.

I first had ceviche in Costa Rica many years ago at a restaurant called Playa des Los Artistas.  Their menu changed daily based on their daily catch from the sea.  Tasty and unique variations of this dish were always on the handwritten menu.  Satisfying my taste for fresh oceanside ceviche is hard to live up to.  I’m picky and I know what I like.

I’m no Foodie, nor do I really know what I’m talking about when it comes to fine foods.  But I do know that ceviche tastes best served at room temperature.  There’s nothing worse than being served an ice cold dish of ceviche that has been sitting in the refrigerator.  In Canada, we put everything in the refrigerator!

You can imagine how delighted I was when I picked up my order and found that the ceviche was not ice cold!  I knew it was going to be good, so I took a few quick snapshots for my Instagram feed, and proceeded to find a spot to sit down and enjoy my meal.

There aren’t exactly very many good places to sit and eat outside at Queen and Jarvis.  I decided the best place to enjoy my meal was on the nearby grass at St. Michael’s Cathedral at Queen and Church.  I found a nice patch of grass in the shade, laid down my jean jacket and sat to finally enjoy my meal.  It was about time after practically salivating over it in the two blocks it took me to walk there.

Oh boy, it was delicious.  I’m telling you, the ceviche was heavenly – all fresh, served on a bed of Kale with spicy tortilla chips served fresh out of the deep fryer.  OMG.  A glass of chilled dry white wine would have been perfect, but the can of grapefruit SanPelligrino that was recommended to me, sufficed and was quite refreshing with my spicy ceviche salad.  Perfection.

While I took delight in every morsel of my lunch, a musical duo performed music and spoken word poetry in front of the church.  Could there be a more perfect lunch date then this?

I enjoyed my lunch hour so much that I immediately thought, “I have to blog this”.  I didn’t start this out as a food blog, but when the inspiration strikes, you have to take it.  So here we are.

Maybe I should blog about food more, and my other adventures in and around Toronto.  It would certainly be better than my lack of blogging anything interesting here.  I cross post my Instagram photos, but I started this Tumblr so I could have a place to write.  I enjoy good food, conversation and family outings, so why not write about that?  And with family, there is always food involved.  But there are a lot of things to consider when starting a food blog, like the cost of eating out often (with a family of four) for blog fodder, scouting good places to eat, and taking photos to make it interesting.  I like taking snapshots for Instagram, but food photography is completely different than general shots around town.  Can I do it justice?  Would anyone be interested in reading about what I like to eat?

All those questions and considerations are important, and they are manageable.  I can figure it out and learn as I go.  The real question that I’m pondering at the moment is…how do I expand my taste buds and food horizons to make blogworthy reading, without expanding my waist line? Hmmmm…

Check out the Gourmet B1tches website

and

Toronto Food Trucks for news, locations and reviews

Grove Community School Art Show

I think my kids attend the coolest school in all of Toronto (my opinion may be a little biased).

It’s a small alternative school focused on social justice, environmentalism, and community activism. I could be wrong, but I think the American equivalent to a Canadian alternative school would be a Charter school…? Maybe? Actually I’m not sure. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Basically, the Grove Community School still follows the provincial curriculum and is a public school, but has a lot more freedom as to how they go about meeting the standards. This means they can do a lot of creative and unconventional things you wouldn’t see in a standard school.

For example, every morning they start the day with the Grove Gathering. This is when they have announcements, they sing the school theme song, the national anthem and my favourite part – they read a short statement of recognition saying that we stand on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation.

I’m telling you, this school is pretty amazing and it means a lot to me that my children are learning in a school environment that is so open minded and recognizes the contribution of Aboriginal peoples to our city and our country.

Anyway, this past weekend, the Grove School had an art show to raise money for the school at the Toronto landmark building, the Gladstone Hotel. The building is known in the city for being an arts and music hotspot for hipsters, so it was a pretty big deal for the kids to have their artwork displayed on it’s walls. It was a proud moment for all the parents of the up and coming artists.

Here’s my daughters piece, called “We do not care about you”.

The text was a picture she took of some graffiti in the neighbourhood that originally said ‘We do not care about you”, and someone came along and scratched out the “not”, completely changing the message. I was told that someone came in and purchased one of the ‘limited’ prints. It was a person who we don’t know and is not involved with the Grove School at all. Pretty cool. She made her first sale!

And here is my son’s piece. He calls it “Rainbow”.

The weekend art show represents the completion of months of work on this project and I’m so proud of my kids, all the students and the Expressive Arts teacher for putting together such a fabulous show.

I can’t wait for next years big art event.