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Boxing Room

I went for lunch at the Boxing Room right after landing in San Francisco. Having awoken at 4 am to catch my flight (and slept like a senior citizen at 9:30 pm the night before) I was ready for my first real meal. (Airplane food doesn’t count.) When I saw Louisiana-style food, I was excited.

At lunch, Boxing Room offers a prix fixe for $15, but I chose the lunch portion of the duck and sausage jambalaya ($11) instead and three $1 oysters. I enjoyed the oysters, although they were a touch small for my liking, and felt the accompanying sauces were flavourful and bright. The jambalaya was dense and had all the right ideas, but it just felt like it was lacking in soul to me. More practically, it probably was under-spiced, even with hot sauce and pepper-soaked vinegar, and that’s disappointing for Southern cooking.

I wouldn’t say no to returning, but I don’t have a burning desire to go another round either. The busboy and hostess were great, while the waiter was just a hair too curt.

HOLD

The pulled pork grilled cheese at Prohibition is scarily big. I guess at $17, it makes sense. Could’ve been din for two.

I thought the balance between the bread, pulled pork, and cheese was perfect, with enough flavour from each component. The mashed sweet potatoes that came with it were only average, and I’d suggest the duck-fried frites instead as an option.

It makes me happy that a gastropub has great beers available and a decent menu. The only thing that keeps me at bay is the higher price point.

Sent with Xobni Mobile - http://xobni.com/mobile

The pulled pork grilled cheese at Prohibition is scarily big. I guess at $17, it makes sense. Could’ve been din for two.

I thought the balance between the bread, pulled pork, and cheese was perfect, with enough flavour from each component. The mashed sweet potatoes that came with it were only average, and I’d suggest the duck-fried frites instead as an option.

It makes me happy that a gastropub has great beers available and a decent menu. The only thing that keeps me at bay is the higher price point.

Sent with Xobni Mobile - http://xobni.com/mobile

Chippy’s was a perennial spot for me when I used to live in West Queen West, part of a trifecta that included Golden Turtle and the Lakeview. It was an internal struggle to cook at home, so convenient these three restos. Chippy’s isn’t my favourite fish and chips, that title still belongs to King’s Table, but it was reliable.

I’m talking about Chippy’s because there was a disagreement and one of its owners created the One That Got Away. Recently I had a chance to try it and in my books it’s a stronger fish. (I can’t say about chips, since I opted for a salad that came with a light apple cider vinaigrette, although the chips have always been a weak spot for Chippy’s, often too salty and uneven in texture.) The batter is just right and the fish is cooked nicely inside. I liked it a lot better than the grilled fish that I accidentally got first, which was done fine but lacking in flavour.

I’m looking to going back and seeing if it holds up. If it does, I’ll make sure to let this one get away.

Chippy’s was a perennial spot for me when I used to live in West Queen West, part of a trifecta that included Golden Turtle and the Lakeview. It was an internal struggle to cook at home, so convenient these three restos. Chippy’s isn’t my favourite fish and chips, that title still belongs to King’s Table, but it was reliable.

I’m talking about Chippy’s because there was a disagreement and one of its owners created the One That Got Away. Recently I had a chance to try it and in my books it’s a stronger fish. (I can’t say about chips, since I opted for a salad that came with a light apple cider vinaigrette, although the chips have always been a weak spot for Chippy’s, often too salty and uneven in texture.) The batter is just right and the fish is cooked nicely inside. I liked it a lot better than the grilled fish that I accidentally got first, which was done fine but lacking in flavour.

I’m looking to going back and seeing if it holds up. If it does, I’ll make sure to let this one get away.

I love carrot soup around the year: from the spring until the fall, it’s warm, hearty, and just sweet enough to not need extra sugar; in the summer, it’s great chilled like gazpacho. I also can never finish those giant packs of baby-style carrots, so this is a great way to use them up!
For this version, I made carrot soup with bacon, cilantro, and lime. A good carrot soup, to me, has those base notes that balance out the thin, mid notes in the carrots. Then, the lime adds brightness. I just finished a bowl and might go for another… excuse me… :P

I love carrot soup around the year: from the spring until the fall, it’s warm, hearty, and just sweet enough to not need extra sugar; in the summer, it’s great chilled like gazpacho. I also can never finish those giant packs of baby-style carrots, so this is a great way to use them up!

For this version, I made carrot soup with bacon, cilantro, and lime. A good carrot soup, to me, has those base notes that balance out the thin, mid notes in the carrots. Then, the lime adds brightness. I just finished a bowl and might go for another… excuse me… :P

In my fridge was leftover tilapia that had been marinated in lemon and orange juice and cooked on a barbeque. I’m such a fan of tomato fish stews and it seemed the perfect way to use the leftovers. 

Here, I’ve added celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and a whole lot of lime juice. A touch of sriracha gives it some heat. Yum!

In my fridge was leftover tilapia that had been marinated in lemon and orange juice and cooked on a barbeque. I’m such a fan of tomato fish stews and it seemed the perfect way to use the leftovers.

Here, I’ve added celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and a whole lot of lime juice. A touch of sriracha gives it some heat. Yum!

Beta-testing my pomegranate mimosa: 1 part juice and 3 parts sparkling. :)

Beta-testing my pomegranate mimosa: 1 part juice and 3 parts sparkling. :)

Looks so good, and yet. And yet.

Whenever I am in the mood for good soul food people throw Harlem (or its sister restaurant Harlem Underground) in the mix. I’ve eaten there twice now and I am just not impressed (granted both times weren’t during peak hours, but still!). 

Let’s start with what didn’t work: I’m not a fan of how the restaurant cooks catfish. I like my catfish to be firm (or as firm as catfish gets when does properly); it shouldn’t be mushy in my mouth, as has happened with the catfish nuggets and the fish and chips. The batter unevenly coated the fish so parts were undercooked. And something in the sweet potato fries threw me off, which is a huge disappointment for a fan of the fries like me. The fries lacked earthy, sweet flavours and some were burnt. It’s so sad because if all the elements hit, this dish would be a no-brainer for $12. 

The fried chicken was better… with a few reservations. First, I found the flavour combination a bit scattered, between the meat, the batter, a sweet and spicy sauce drizzled on the chicken, and a side of syrup on the side. For me, a great fried chicken comes from a subtly-marinated chicken in a seasoned batter in a bristling heat that seals in all the flavour. (I’ll put my chicken in a spicy brine before I batter it so the meat is juicy with a hint of spice.) That’s all it needs. A smartly made gravy is bonus, but unnecessary for properly-done fried chicken.

I found I needed gravy for the drumsticks, which were slightly dry in parts. I think that’s when my heart sank. The smaller pieces (half a thigh?) on the other hand were done perfectly, showing that again, with tweaks, Harlem could be up there, but let’s not forget it’s cooking the larger pieces that demonstrate expertise.

Overall, I’d rank this way below Drake, Stockyards, and 3Speed. In the east end, for half the price, I’d be tempted for Popeye’s instead, around the corner from Harlem.

Looks so good, and yet. And yet.

Whenever I am in the mood for good soul food people throw Harlem (or its sister restaurant Harlem Underground) in the mix. I’ve eaten there twice now and I am just not impressed (granted both times weren’t during peak hours, but still!).

Let’s start with what didn’t work: I’m not a fan of how the restaurant cooks catfish. I like my catfish to be firm (or as firm as catfish gets when does properly); it shouldn’t be mushy in my mouth, as has happened with the catfish nuggets and the fish and chips. The batter unevenly coated the fish so parts were undercooked. And something in the sweet potato fries threw me off, which is a huge disappointment for a fan of the fries like me. The fries lacked earthy, sweet flavours and some were burnt. It’s so sad because if all the elements hit, this dish would be a no-brainer for $12.

The fried chicken was better… with a few reservations. First, I found the flavour combination a bit scattered, between the meat, the batter, a sweet and spicy sauce drizzled on the chicken, and a side of syrup on the side. For me, a great fried chicken comes from a subtly-marinated chicken in a seasoned batter in a bristling heat that seals in all the flavour. (I’ll put my chicken in a spicy brine before I batter it so the meat is juicy with a hint of spice.) That’s all it needs. A smartly made gravy is bonus, but unnecessary for properly-done fried chicken.

I found I needed gravy for the drumsticks, which were slightly dry in parts. I think that’s when my heart sank. The smaller pieces (half a thigh?) on the other hand were done perfectly, showing that again, with tweaks, Harlem could be up there, but let’s not forget it’s cooking the larger pieces that demonstrate expertise.

Overall, I’d rank this way below Drake, Stockyards, and 3Speed. In the east end, for half the price, I’d be tempted for Popeye’s instead, around the corner from Harlem.

I love having my versions of classics, and last night I wanted to do a definitive chicken salad. I was too lazy to make fresh mayo, so I used extra citrus to give the brightness I prefer. As always, season to taste. I’m not sure when creamed consistency was a good thing, but I am so not down for that. Instead I like plays on texture and to have geometry in my salads. The main ingredients are chicken, celery, green apple, and toasted almonds. Making all that delicious is mayo, lemon and lime juices, worchestire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Start by combining 1.5 cups of cubed chicken (I used poached skinless breasts in vegetable broth), 1 cup of celery, 0.5 cup of green apple, and 0.25 cup of toasted almonds. In a separate bowl, mix 0.5 cup of mayo and the juices of 1/3 of a lemon and 1/3 of a lime. Adjust based on your preference for brightness. Then add 1 tsp of worchestire sauce, 1 to 2 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of curry powder, 0.5 tsp of paprika, 0.5 tsp of smoked salt, and 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh ground pepper. (Adjust these also to taste.) Now mix everything in and the dressing should coat everything without being runny nor lumpy. Eat with a side of dill pickle chips and some bread. Ta-da!

I love having my versions of classics, and last night I wanted to do a definitive chicken salad. I was too lazy to make fresh mayo, so I used extra citrus to give the brightness I prefer. As always, season to taste. I’m not sure when creamed consistency was a good thing, but I am so not down for that. Instead I like plays on texture and to have geometry in my salads. The main ingredients are chicken, celery, green apple, and toasted almonds. Making all that delicious is mayo, lemon and lime juices, worchestire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Start by combining 1.5 cups of cubed chicken (I used poached skinless breasts in vegetable broth), 1 cup of celery, 0.5 cup of green apple, and 0.25 cup of toasted almonds. In a separate bowl, mix 0.5 cup of mayo and the juices of 1/3 of a lemon and 1/3 of a lime. Adjust based on your preference for brightness. Then add 1 tsp of worchestire sauce, 1 to 2 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of curry powder, 0.5 tsp of paprika, 0.5 tsp of smoked salt, and 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh ground pepper. (Adjust these also to taste.) Now mix everything in and the dressing should coat everything without being runny nor lumpy. Eat with a side of dill pickle chips and some bread. Ta-da!

One of my favourite contestants on Top Chef: Texas was Beverly Kim Clark, of Aria in Chicago. I liked her perseverance, her bountiful technical chops, and her culinary point-of-view. Her, Grayson, Nyesha, and eventual winner Paul helped keep an otherwise dull season interesting for me. (Expect another post soon on how much I disliked this season, save for Charlize Theron’s appearance.)

On my way home from GDC in San Francisco, I decided on a brief layover in Chicago to clear my head before returning to Toronto. When I realized I was in the same city as Aria, I quickly booked a reservation. 

While Bev wasn’t on-site the night I went (I hadn’t asked, because I would have been nervous; instead, the hostess let me know when I mentioned I was a Top Chef fan) I felt the food I ate was what I could expect from her appearances on the show.

The food started on a good note with fresh naan with garlic butter and a series of dipping sauces. I don’t really remember most of them (creamy, tomato-ey, and legume-y, I think), because one stood out, made of cilantro and jalapeno. I’m a huge fan of chimichurri and salsa verde and this dip had the perfect blend of acidity and earthiness. Paired with the garlic butter and soft naan, I really could have eaten this all night.

The other dish that lingers is the Korean bouillabaisse (I wanted a picture of it but Aria is very dimly lit), with perfectly done seafood, chewy rice cake noodles, and a rich, spicy broth. I was relieved by the spiciness because a starter, the kimchi and pork belly with quail egg, had been tame, apparently pulled back to make kimchi suitable for a Western palate. It left me horribly depressed after the delicious naan.

What you’re seeing here is my leftover naan, which I asked the waiter to take home. He added a few extra pieces and two of the cilantro and jalapeno dipping sauces. It made an amazing brekkie before flying home to Toronto. Next up on my Top Chef list will be trying Paul Qui’s food at Uchiko.

One of my favourite contestants on Top Chef: Texas was Beverly Kim Clark, of Aria in Chicago. I liked her perseverance, her bountiful technical chops, and her culinary point-of-view. Her, Grayson, Nyesha, and eventual winner Paul helped keep an otherwise dull season interesting for me. (Expect another post soon on how much I disliked this season, save for Charlize Theron’s appearance.)

On my way home from GDC in San Francisco, I decided on a brief layover in Chicago to clear my head before returning to Toronto. When I realized I was in the same city as Aria, I quickly booked a reservation.

While Bev wasn’t on-site the night I went (I hadn’t asked, because I would have been nervous; instead, the hostess let me know when I mentioned I was a Top Chef fan) I felt the food I ate was what I could expect from her appearances on the show.

The food started on a good note with fresh naan with garlic butter and a series of dipping sauces. I don’t really remember most of them (creamy, tomato-ey, and legume-y, I think), because one stood out, made of cilantro and jalapeno. I’m a huge fan of chimichurri and salsa verde and this dip had the perfect blend of acidity and earthiness. Paired with the garlic butter and soft naan, I really could have eaten this all night.

The other dish that lingers is the Korean bouillabaisse (I wanted a picture of it but Aria is very dimly lit), with perfectly done seafood, chewy rice cake noodles, and a rich, spicy broth. I was relieved by the spiciness because a starter, the kimchi and pork belly with quail egg, had been tame, apparently pulled back to make kimchi suitable for a Western palate. It left me horribly depressed after the delicious naan.

What you’re seeing here is my leftover naan, which I asked the waiter to take home. He added a few extra pieces and two of the cilantro and jalapeno dipping sauces. It made an amazing brekkie before flying home to Toronto. Next up on my Top Chef list will be trying Paul Qui’s food at Uchiko.

Top Chef Canada Season 2

  • Episode 1 (8m00): Oh good: continuing in the tradition of Top Chef and Just Desserts, we get to hear cheftestants talk about how hot the hosts are. *whee!*
  • Episode 1 (9m00): I hope Lisa Ray finds her groove as host. She's reminds me more of a crossing guard right now.
  • Episode 1 (10m00): "Top Chef is something I couldn't get anywhere else in the world..." —Cheftestant. Except, maybe, the States?
  • Episode 1 (24m00): I'm worrying that the disparate gap in experience is going to make for an uneven season. I hope I'm proven wrong.
  • Episode 1 (34m30): When will cheftestants learn that risotto is the kiss of death on Top Chef?
  • Episode 1 (43m00): Three flavourless and a few overcooked dishes. Not exactly a great show for Canadian cuisine, eh?
  • Episode 2 (5m00): Using only construction tools for the quickfire is pretty fucking brilliant.
  • Episode 2 (8m00): Lisa Ray, you've found that groove.
  • Episode 2 (33m00): Mike Holmes is doing a great job as a guest judge: succinct, funny, charming, and open to trying new foods. Bring him back.
  • Episode 2 (43m00): Bye, Kunal. I thought you would have lasted longer but also *shrugs*—I spent most of that episode checking Twitter.
Ah, to Sundays. Hendricks, vermouth, and some garlic-stuffed olives.

Ah, to Sundays. Hendricks, vermouth, and some garlic-stuffed olives.

Boxing Room

I went for lunch at the Boxing Room right after landing in San Francisco. Having awoken at 4 am to catch my flight (and slept like a senior citizen at 9:30 pm the night before) I was ready for my first real meal. (Airplane food doesn’t count.) When I saw Louisiana-style food, I was excited.

At lunch, Boxing Room offers a prix fixe for $15, but I chose the lunch portion of the duck and sausage jambalaya ($11) instead and three $1 oysters. I enjoyed the oysters, although they were a touch small for my liking, and felt the accompanying sauces were flavourful and bright. The jambalaya was dense and had all the right ideas, but it just felt like it was lacking in soul to me. More practically, it probably was under-spiced, even with hot sauce and pepper-soaked vinegar, and that’s disappointing for Southern cooking.

I wouldn’t say no to returning, but I don’t have a burning desire to go another round either. The busboy and hostess were great, while the waiter was just a hair too curt.

HOLD

The pulled pork grilled cheese at Prohibition is scarily big. I guess at $17, it makes sense. Could’ve been din for two.

I thought the balance between the bread, pulled pork, and cheese was perfect, with enough flavour from each component. The mashed sweet potatoes that came with it were only average, and I’d suggest the duck-fried frites instead as an option.

It makes me happy that a gastropub has great beers available and a decent menu. The only thing that keeps me at bay is the higher price point.

Sent with Xobni Mobile - http://xobni.com/mobile

The pulled pork grilled cheese at Prohibition is scarily big. I guess at $17, it makes sense. Could’ve been din for two.

I thought the balance between the bread, pulled pork, and cheese was perfect, with enough flavour from each component. The mashed sweet potatoes that came with it were only average, and I’d suggest the duck-fried frites instead as an option.

It makes me happy that a gastropub has great beers available and a decent menu. The only thing that keeps me at bay is the higher price point.

Sent with Xobni Mobile - http://xobni.com/mobile

Chippy’s was a perennial spot for me when I used to live in West Queen West, part of a trifecta that included Golden Turtle and the Lakeview. It was an internal struggle to cook at home, so convenient these three restos. Chippy’s isn’t my favourite fish and chips, that title still belongs to King’s Table, but it was reliable.

I’m talking about Chippy’s because there was a disagreement and one of its owners created the One That Got Away. Recently I had a chance to try it and in my books it’s a stronger fish. (I can’t say about chips, since I opted for a salad that came with a light apple cider vinaigrette, although the chips have always been a weak spot for Chippy’s, often too salty and uneven in texture.) The batter is just right and the fish is cooked nicely inside. I liked it a lot better than the grilled fish that I accidentally got first, which was done fine but lacking in flavour.

I’m looking to going back and seeing if it holds up. If it does, I’ll make sure to let this one get away.

Chippy’s was a perennial spot for me when I used to live in West Queen West, part of a trifecta that included Golden Turtle and the Lakeview. It was an internal struggle to cook at home, so convenient these three restos. Chippy’s isn’t my favourite fish and chips, that title still belongs to King’s Table, but it was reliable.

I’m talking about Chippy’s because there was a disagreement and one of its owners created the One That Got Away. Recently I had a chance to try it and in my books it’s a stronger fish. (I can’t say about chips, since I opted for a salad that came with a light apple cider vinaigrette, although the chips have always been a weak spot for Chippy’s, often too salty and uneven in texture.) The batter is just right and the fish is cooked nicely inside. I liked it a lot better than the grilled fish that I accidentally got first, which was done fine but lacking in flavour.

I’m looking to going back and seeing if it holds up. If it does, I’ll make sure to let this one get away.

I love carrot soup around the year: from the spring until the fall, it’s warm, hearty, and just sweet enough to not need extra sugar; in the summer, it’s great chilled like gazpacho. I also can never finish those giant packs of baby-style carrots, so this is a great way to use them up!
For this version, I made carrot soup with bacon, cilantro, and lime. A good carrot soup, to me, has those base notes that balance out the thin, mid notes in the carrots. Then, the lime adds brightness. I just finished a bowl and might go for another… excuse me… :P

I love carrot soup around the year: from the spring until the fall, it’s warm, hearty, and just sweet enough to not need extra sugar; in the summer, it’s great chilled like gazpacho. I also can never finish those giant packs of baby-style carrots, so this is a great way to use them up!

For this version, I made carrot soup with bacon, cilantro, and lime. A good carrot soup, to me, has those base notes that balance out the thin, mid notes in the carrots. Then, the lime adds brightness. I just finished a bowl and might go for another… excuse me… :P

In my fridge was leftover tilapia that had been marinated in lemon and orange juice and cooked on a barbeque. I’m such a fan of tomato fish stews and it seemed the perfect way to use the leftovers. 

Here, I’ve added celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and a whole lot of lime juice. A touch of sriracha gives it some heat. Yum!

In my fridge was leftover tilapia that had been marinated in lemon and orange juice and cooked on a barbeque. I’m such a fan of tomato fish stews and it seemed the perfect way to use the leftovers.

Here, I’ve added celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and a whole lot of lime juice. A touch of sriracha gives it some heat. Yum!

Beta-testing my pomegranate mimosa: 1 part juice and 3 parts sparkling. :)

Beta-testing my pomegranate mimosa: 1 part juice and 3 parts sparkling. :)

Looks so good, and yet. And yet.

Whenever I am in the mood for good soul food people throw Harlem (or its sister restaurant Harlem Underground) in the mix. I’ve eaten there twice now and I am just not impressed (granted both times weren’t during peak hours, but still!). 

Let’s start with what didn’t work: I’m not a fan of how the restaurant cooks catfish. I like my catfish to be firm (or as firm as catfish gets when does properly); it shouldn’t be mushy in my mouth, as has happened with the catfish nuggets and the fish and chips. The batter unevenly coated the fish so parts were undercooked. And something in the sweet potato fries threw me off, which is a huge disappointment for a fan of the fries like me. The fries lacked earthy, sweet flavours and some were burnt. It’s so sad because if all the elements hit, this dish would be a no-brainer for $12. 

The fried chicken was better… with a few reservations. First, I found the flavour combination a bit scattered, between the meat, the batter, a sweet and spicy sauce drizzled on the chicken, and a side of syrup on the side. For me, a great fried chicken comes from a subtly-marinated chicken in a seasoned batter in a bristling heat that seals in all the flavour. (I’ll put my chicken in a spicy brine before I batter it so the meat is juicy with a hint of spice.) That’s all it needs. A smartly made gravy is bonus, but unnecessary for properly-done fried chicken.

I found I needed gravy for the drumsticks, which were slightly dry in parts. I think that’s when my heart sank. The smaller pieces (half a thigh?) on the other hand were done perfectly, showing that again, with tweaks, Harlem could be up there, but let’s not forget it’s cooking the larger pieces that demonstrate expertise.

Overall, I’d rank this way below Drake, Stockyards, and 3Speed. In the east end, for half the price, I’d be tempted for Popeye’s instead, around the corner from Harlem.

Looks so good, and yet. And yet.

Whenever I am in the mood for good soul food people throw Harlem (or its sister restaurant Harlem Underground) in the mix. I’ve eaten there twice now and I am just not impressed (granted both times weren’t during peak hours, but still!).

Let’s start with what didn’t work: I’m not a fan of how the restaurant cooks catfish. I like my catfish to be firm (or as firm as catfish gets when does properly); it shouldn’t be mushy in my mouth, as has happened with the catfish nuggets and the fish and chips. The batter unevenly coated the fish so parts were undercooked. And something in the sweet potato fries threw me off, which is a huge disappointment for a fan of the fries like me. The fries lacked earthy, sweet flavours and some were burnt. It’s so sad because if all the elements hit, this dish would be a no-brainer for $12.

The fried chicken was better… with a few reservations. First, I found the flavour combination a bit scattered, between the meat, the batter, a sweet and spicy sauce drizzled on the chicken, and a side of syrup on the side. For me, a great fried chicken comes from a subtly-marinated chicken in a seasoned batter in a bristling heat that seals in all the flavour. (I’ll put my chicken in a spicy brine before I batter it so the meat is juicy with a hint of spice.) That’s all it needs. A smartly made gravy is bonus, but unnecessary for properly-done fried chicken.

I found I needed gravy for the drumsticks, which were slightly dry in parts. I think that’s when my heart sank. The smaller pieces (half a thigh?) on the other hand were done perfectly, showing that again, with tweaks, Harlem could be up there, but let’s not forget it’s cooking the larger pieces that demonstrate expertise.

Overall, I’d rank this way below Drake, Stockyards, and 3Speed. In the east end, for half the price, I’d be tempted for Popeye’s instead, around the corner from Harlem.

I love having my versions of classics, and last night I wanted to do a definitive chicken salad. I was too lazy to make fresh mayo, so I used extra citrus to give the brightness I prefer. As always, season to taste. I’m not sure when creamed consistency was a good thing, but I am so not down for that. Instead I like plays on texture and to have geometry in my salads. The main ingredients are chicken, celery, green apple, and toasted almonds. Making all that delicious is mayo, lemon and lime juices, worchestire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Start by combining 1.5 cups of cubed chicken (I used poached skinless breasts in vegetable broth), 1 cup of celery, 0.5 cup of green apple, and 0.25 cup of toasted almonds. In a separate bowl, mix 0.5 cup of mayo and the juices of 1/3 of a lemon and 1/3 of a lime. Adjust based on your preference for brightness. Then add 1 tsp of worchestire sauce, 1 to 2 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of curry powder, 0.5 tsp of paprika, 0.5 tsp of smoked salt, and 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh ground pepper. (Adjust these also to taste.) Now mix everything in and the dressing should coat everything without being runny nor lumpy. Eat with a side of dill pickle chips and some bread. Ta-da!

I love having my versions of classics, and last night I wanted to do a definitive chicken salad. I was too lazy to make fresh mayo, so I used extra citrus to give the brightness I prefer. As always, season to taste. I’m not sure when creamed consistency was a good thing, but I am so not down for that. Instead I like plays on texture and to have geometry in my salads. The main ingredients are chicken, celery, green apple, and toasted almonds. Making all that delicious is mayo, lemon and lime juices, worchestire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Start by combining 1.5 cups of cubed chicken (I used poached skinless breasts in vegetable broth), 1 cup of celery, 0.5 cup of green apple, and 0.25 cup of toasted almonds. In a separate bowl, mix 0.5 cup of mayo and the juices of 1/3 of a lemon and 1/3 of a lime. Adjust based on your preference for brightness. Then add 1 tsp of worchestire sauce, 1 to 2 tbsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of curry powder, 0.5 tsp of paprika, 0.5 tsp of smoked salt, and 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh ground pepper. (Adjust these also to taste.) Now mix everything in and the dressing should coat everything without being runny nor lumpy. Eat with a side of dill pickle chips and some bread. Ta-da!

One of my favourite contestants on Top Chef: Texas was Beverly Kim Clark, of Aria in Chicago. I liked her perseverance, her bountiful technical chops, and her culinary point-of-view. Her, Grayson, Nyesha, and eventual winner Paul helped keep an otherwise dull season interesting for me. (Expect another post soon on how much I disliked this season, save for Charlize Theron’s appearance.)

On my way home from GDC in San Francisco, I decided on a brief layover in Chicago to clear my head before returning to Toronto. When I realized I was in the same city as Aria, I quickly booked a reservation. 

While Bev wasn’t on-site the night I went (I hadn’t asked, because I would have been nervous; instead, the hostess let me know when I mentioned I was a Top Chef fan) I felt the food I ate was what I could expect from her appearances on the show.

The food started on a good note with fresh naan with garlic butter and a series of dipping sauces. I don’t really remember most of them (creamy, tomato-ey, and legume-y, I think), because one stood out, made of cilantro and jalapeno. I’m a huge fan of chimichurri and salsa verde and this dip had the perfect blend of acidity and earthiness. Paired with the garlic butter and soft naan, I really could have eaten this all night.

The other dish that lingers is the Korean bouillabaisse (I wanted a picture of it but Aria is very dimly lit), with perfectly done seafood, chewy rice cake noodles, and a rich, spicy broth. I was relieved by the spiciness because a starter, the kimchi and pork belly with quail egg, had been tame, apparently pulled back to make kimchi suitable for a Western palate. It left me horribly depressed after the delicious naan.

What you’re seeing here is my leftover naan, which I asked the waiter to take home. He added a few extra pieces and two of the cilantro and jalapeno dipping sauces. It made an amazing brekkie before flying home to Toronto. Next up on my Top Chef list will be trying Paul Qui’s food at Uchiko.

One of my favourite contestants on Top Chef: Texas was Beverly Kim Clark, of Aria in Chicago. I liked her perseverance, her bountiful technical chops, and her culinary point-of-view. Her, Grayson, Nyesha, and eventual winner Paul helped keep an otherwise dull season interesting for me. (Expect another post soon on how much I disliked this season, save for Charlize Theron’s appearance.)

On my way home from GDC in San Francisco, I decided on a brief layover in Chicago to clear my head before returning to Toronto. When I realized I was in the same city as Aria, I quickly booked a reservation.

While Bev wasn’t on-site the night I went (I hadn’t asked, because I would have been nervous; instead, the hostess let me know when I mentioned I was a Top Chef fan) I felt the food I ate was what I could expect from her appearances on the show.

The food started on a good note with fresh naan with garlic butter and a series of dipping sauces. I don’t really remember most of them (creamy, tomato-ey, and legume-y, I think), because one stood out, made of cilantro and jalapeno. I’m a huge fan of chimichurri and salsa verde and this dip had the perfect blend of acidity and earthiness. Paired with the garlic butter and soft naan, I really could have eaten this all night.

The other dish that lingers is the Korean bouillabaisse (I wanted a picture of it but Aria is very dimly lit), with perfectly done seafood, chewy rice cake noodles, and a rich, spicy broth. I was relieved by the spiciness because a starter, the kimchi and pork belly with quail egg, had been tame, apparently pulled back to make kimchi suitable for a Western palate. It left me horribly depressed after the delicious naan.

What you’re seeing here is my leftover naan, which I asked the waiter to take home. He added a few extra pieces and two of the cilantro and jalapeno dipping sauces. It made an amazing brekkie before flying home to Toronto. Next up on my Top Chef list will be trying Paul Qui’s food at Uchiko.

Top Chef Canada Season 2

  • Episode 1 (8m00): Oh good: continuing in the tradition of Top Chef and Just Desserts, we get to hear cheftestants talk about how hot the hosts are. *whee!*
  • Episode 1 (9m00): I hope Lisa Ray finds her groove as host. She's reminds me more of a crossing guard right now.
  • Episode 1 (10m00): "Top Chef is something I couldn't get anywhere else in the world..." —Cheftestant. Except, maybe, the States?
  • Episode 1 (24m00): I'm worrying that the disparate gap in experience is going to make for an uneven season. I hope I'm proven wrong.
  • Episode 1 (34m30): When will cheftestants learn that risotto is the kiss of death on Top Chef?
  • Episode 1 (43m00): Three flavourless and a few overcooked dishes. Not exactly a great show for Canadian cuisine, eh?
  • Episode 2 (5m00): Using only construction tools for the quickfire is pretty fucking brilliant.
  • Episode 2 (8m00): Lisa Ray, you've found that groove.
  • Episode 2 (33m00): Mike Holmes is doing a great job as a guest judge: succinct, funny, charming, and open to trying new foods. Bring him back.
  • Episode 2 (43m00): Bye, Kunal. I thought you would have lasted longer but also *shrugs*—I spent most of that episode checking Twitter.
Ah, to Sundays. Hendricks, vermouth, and some garlic-stuffed olives.

Ah, to Sundays. Hendricks, vermouth, and some garlic-stuffed olives.

Boxing Room
Top Chef Canada Season 2

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What is ugly eating? It's when the food is so damn good you don't care if you act a fool while devouring it. This site is a shrine to the ugly eat.

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