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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Dîner à Toronto

The best of Toronto list was updated yet again. Best French restaurant was finally updated (Ici Bistro has been closed for a while now). Thank the lucky stars! A place near us! Except the school year has started, and so has my gym access. Normally I would have been thrilled with a (relatively) short walk down to the Distillery District. That day in particular I was cursing my dead legs.

Cluny Bistro was new to the Distillery District (since I had been there last a few years ago, or I had never noticed it, who can say). I was excited for dinner, as the last two times I had French cuisine in Toronto it was amazing (La Societe and Ici Bistro). I looked up the menu beforehand and noticed that they had grilled skate. I had to Google what exactly a skate is (I had a vague idea, something like a sting ray?). I was right. And now I would get to eat another type of animal!

We ordered the sweet breads as an appetizer. I was intrigued, as they were served a-la buffalo wings. They weren’t lying when they said “buffalo fried”, it was like eating buffalo wings without the pesky bones. I still do not understand the appeal of celery or blue cheese dipping sauce. They are unnecessary and take up precious space where there could be more wings. Feeling fancy we decided to split a bottle of wine (even though it was Ontario wine and not French). I had noticed when we came in that the bottles seemed rather small, still we split a half bottle instead. This amounted to a generous glass each. As we ate our mains, Brent overheard at the other table that they had beer. We ended up getting a second round of drinks. I finally got my glass of French wine, a delicious rose from somewhere in France.

Was it the best French food in the city? The steak frites Brent had were tasty. The skate was good until I got to the all the tiny bones. Not only were they annoying to eat around, but it was suddenly very clear how skates move and I could picture it swimming in the water and it unsettled me. But I still prefer La Societe (as I cannot prefer Ici Bistro, it has shut down).

 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I had the brilliant idea in my head one day to make my own spaghetti sauce, it would be so much better than store bought I thought! Plus now that I was making it at home I could control the amount of tomato chunks in it. With my fresh Ontario tomatoes I set to work. Step one, peel the tomatoes. This would prove to almost be my undoing. Tomatoes are about the worst thing on the planet to peel. To get the skin off “easily” you pour boiling water over the tomato. Only if you wait for it to cool the skin doesn’t come off and you have to repeat this all over again. I had to boil an inordinate amount of water. I haven’t burnt my fingers so many times since I worked as a barista years ago, turns out I’m not as immune to it as I had thought. Towards the end I stopped caring and hacked at them. Going into this I already hated tomatoes*, but now, now I had some new reasons to hate them. I hate how they feel and I hate how they smell.

I had just gotten over the “frozen green things in my freezer frustration.” The recipe called for basil and parsley. I had dill and cilantro. How many green cooking herbs are there?! My anger soon dissipated as a delicious smell filled the house, it smelled like an Italian restaurant and made me super hungry. After an hour or so of cooking on a low heat my sauce was done, so said the recipe. I took one look in the pot and thought NO WAY. I fished out the tomato chunks and tossed them in my blender (as opposed to when I usually encounter them in the store bought and I leave them on the side of the plate awaiting a toss into the garbage). My sauce went from a deep red to an orange-y colour that reminded me of tomato sauce. OK, so my spaghetti sauce is more of a thick tomato soup, even though it lacks any soup base. I ended up with two jars of it! Unfortunately the store bought sauce was on sale, and it comes in good mason jars. I had to make room in the freezer for my spaghetti sauce, I will eventually eat it. I promise.

 

* this hate does not extend to tomato products like spaghetti sauce and ketchup, actually even bruschetta is tasty

 
 
 
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