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Well That Was Weird…

A while ago we had tried to go to Eative in Kensington Market but it was closed. I was not going to risk another disappointment. This time we would go there on our way to dinner, rather than after. Eative did not disappoint. I had heard that nitro ice cream was the current summer trend and I can totally see why that is. It was fun to watch them make it as the steam (smoke? I don’t know) billowed out and over the counter. It tasted amazing and the sorbet took much longer to melt (which was great given the heatwave).

For dinner we were going to Home of the Brave. I had seen it on Instagram and I had to go there. What’s not to love about American comfort food? I didn’t even know that it was run by the same guys who started La Carnita and then later Sweet Jesus. The Kentucky handshake sandwich sounded so good, fried chicken with spicy mayo! Brent warned me that it had a foot sticking out of it, I thought it would barely be peeking out and made edible. I did not expect an entire chicken leg sticking far out from my sandwich. It was hilarious and but for a brief moment unnerving. The sandwich came with a knife stabbed down into the center. Clearly this was to cut off the leg. I did try to cut some meat off, but there was barely anything and all I got was a bit of crispy skin. Brent had the ribs, they were OK but nothing outstanding. The sandwich was the clear winner of the two but the spicy coleslaw that came with the ribs was a close second. The actual real winners of the dinner were the drinks and the dessert. The Colonist cocktail was amazing and so refreshing.

There was no way we were going to pass up an ice cream concoction from Sweet Jesus. The offerings at Home of the Brave however seemed limited compared to what I remembered at Sweet Jesus. Eventually I caved to temptation and we split a marshmallow-chocolate swirl adorned with potato chips. It was wacky but oh-so-delicious and just what I needed. It was a good thing we got our ice cream at the restaurant instead of from Sweet Jesus because as we walked by the line was really long. Those suckers, they could have had an amazing cocktail while they waited for their ice cream instead of standing in line!!

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Late Night Pizza

Best late night pizza recently got updated. Now it was Amico’s pizza in Parkdale. I happened to be in Etobicoke for a few days this week. I thought, heck, why not reinstate our Fooding Wednesdays Date Night? I could walk over and meet Brent there. And then it is only a short walk to Bang Bang for an ice cream dessert. It is unbelievably hot this week after all, and it is my last week of summer.

The plans were set. I was so looking forward to a greasy slice of pepperoni pizza. I did not expect to have a sit-down meal in a bar. Late night pizza should not involve any thinking. You look in the case and order whatever pizza is left. The greasier the better. Instead we found ourselves sitting in a bar (maybe that is why it was voted best?) and deciding on toppings. The garlic bread with cheese was good. The pizza, well, that was another story. It honestly tasted like a frozen pizza. Were it not for the wide variety of toppings available and pizzas built to suit, I’d swear I was served a frozen pizza. Even at half price, it was not a good deal. I had two slices and that was all I could take. The pepperonis were bland! The cheese barely there!! What a travesty!

Bang Bang proved to be equally disappointing. After a 25 minute wait in the sweltering heat (even though it was 9pm) I made the mistake of ordering the wacky instead of the trusty. I should have gotten a ginger cookie, instead I opted for a taro chiffon cake. It was not that good. The rocky roadkill ice cream was very tasty yes, but not worth 25 minutes of waiting. It was about the same as Toronto pothole ice cream from Summer’s in Yorkville. The cookie is what makes it at Bang Bang, and I screwed up.

 

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Florida 2015- The 15 Year Reunion- Day 2

Sat. June 6, 2015:

It was decided that because we would be tackling the “kitchen sink” (read: 44 scoops of ice cream, give or take) we would have a lazy beach day. We grabbed our beaching supplies and headed out. Marianne had mentioned a great place to stop for bagels on the way. I pictured stopping at a little bakery and each of us getting a bagel and some coffee. I had no idea what I was in for. We went to Einstein Bros Bagels and ordered a baker’s dozen, thirteen bagels and three cream cheese ”shmears” as they are hilariously called. The guy tried to short us one bagel, but Marianne fought for it and Camilla got her garlic bagel.

Sitting on the beach at John U Lloyd park we tore into the box of bagels almost as soon as we sat down. A bagel brunch on the beach, it really was quite lovely. I had chosen sweet bagels (blueberry and cinnamon sugar), but I was still curious to try some “shmear.” Turns out that blueberry bagels and salmon spread really truly do not mix, not even the slightest bit. I don’t know if it is being on vacation, or that we were having breakfast and lunch, but I was voraciously hungry. Whereas back home I would eat half a bagel, I wound up eating both of my bagels. By the time we were through with the box, there were only two or three left.

Having eaten our fill of bagels, we slathered on the sunscreen and headed out into the water. From there we still had a good view of our bags. At first it was mildly disconcerting; people kept stopping by our bags. Then I realized it was because we had set up camp near a turtle nesting spot, oops. Even in Florida, with the sun behind clouds, the water was not that warm. I dreaded the cold water in the belly button, just about the worst feeling you can get when swimming. We lounged about, letting the current slowly push us and then swimming back to our original spot. Eventually I got cold and bailed, I left for land. When I went to the bathroom, there were a bunch of kids warning me that there was a raccoon. At first I thought, haha silly kids. Then lo and behold, a raccoon came out of the women’s bathroom. The kids scared him off, when I thanked them they looked at me a little puzzled like why is this lady thanking me? It was nice to lay down on the beach and listen to “How Ocean Currents Work,” especially given I knew exactly what Josh & Chuck were talking about.

We eventually got restless and headed back to the house. It felt so good to shower and wash off the layer of sunscreen before it managed to get into my eyes, as it always does. Once everyone was ready, we went to the mall. We had all been craving some shopping and there was no better time than a rainy afternoon. Alas I had no luck, not even with the Victoria’s Secret pre-sale. The sales lady even pulled out her stock boxes from under the table and started pulling stuff out for them, alas I was out of luck. We stayed at the mall while Ela went to pick up their mom from work. The nerves were starting to set in, were we going to be victorious against the “kitchen sink”?

The mood in the car was tense, full of dread and anticipation. We were on our way to Jaxsons’ to tackle a behemoth of ice cream. The mood was temporarily lightened when we accidentally drove to the airport. Many “don’t send us away, you can have all the ice cream” jokes ensued. We were momentarily distracted by the new elevated runway which had a highway underpass. There were four of us in the backseat, thus we were not wearing seatbelts and all crammed. A sheriff whizzed by and scared us all, Marianne had to duck down. Luckily the sheriff had more pressing matters to attend to. No sooner had the tension passed, we saw another cop. This one drove behind us until we pulled into Jaxson’s.

In our planning we forgot that an ice cream parlour/family-style restaurant might be kind of busy on a Saturday night. Might. The line-up was fairly long, but we busied ourselves by taking turns going to the nearby dollar store. We wound up waiting for maybe 30-60 minutes. It is really hard to say, as we were distracted. Part of the reason we had to wait so long was because we were a group of 6, and thus we had to wait for a larger table to clear out. At first we were distracted by two girls behind us in line taking duck-face selfies. I joked that it was a “face-off.” There was also a guy selling balloons and a guy with a monkey. As we waited we could hear a siren ring a few times inside. We figured it was people ordering the “kitchen sink.” Just how many people were in there eating “kitchen sinks”? I counted at least 5 rings. The feeling of competition was growing, I imagined us being surrounded by other people all with their own “kitchen sinks.” As we waited we watched a promotional segment on a TV mounted above the door. The video showed the making of the “kitchen sink” and only added to “we will never make it” mood. We did figure out that each person chooses one flavour and they serve monster-sized scoops. I had originally thought you get to choose up to 44 flavours, which in retrospect does not make sense as it would take forever to prepare. To save time, and aprtly because we were bored, we decided on the six flavours as we waited in line: coconut, vanilla, mint chocolate chip, rocky road, pecan praline, and chocolate brownie. Everyone was counting on me to do the bulk of the eating, I made sure they were aware that 1.) I refuse to eat the bananas and 2.) I would not even touch the vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice creams. Blech.

Once we were inside we found out that the siren was for birthdays as well. No one was eating a “kitchen sink.”

The restaurant serves complimentary popcorn and we devoured the bowl within a few minutes of sitting down. We had not eaten much that day in anticipation of the “kitchen sink” and so we were starving. When the waitress asked if we wanted a refill we had to decline, it was a bad idea to fill up on popcorn. When the girls at the table beside us heard our order, they looked amused and asked if they could take a picture of it upon arrival. Before the ice cream behemoth arrived, we had managed to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, to two different parties. We joked about saying that it was all of our birthdays just for kicks. Where we were sitting I had a great sight-line of the kitchen, I could see them making it. The sheer sight of the monstrosity off in the distance made my mouth water. As they paraded it through the restaurant to our table, we garnered a klot of attention. When they server brought it to us, she asked if it was anyone’s birthday. At the last second we all simultaneously chickened out of claiming our own birthdays and all at once shouted and pointed that it was Ela’s birthday. This was not a lie, her birthday was in fact a week away. She was caught off guard to say the least.

At the beginning it was fun, it was novel, the ice cream was served in a plastic “kitchen sink” with a giant serving spoon. There was a bowl of walnuts on the side. The ice cream was beneath a pile of whipped cream and maraschino cherries, flanked on the sides by bananas. We passed the spoon around, serving ourselves a few scoops and whipped cream. Each person searched for the flavours they wanted. Camilla worried that they had forgotten the mint chocolate chip, just as had happened in her dream the previous night. It emerged in round two of serving. And so it went, we passed the serving spoon around, the idea being that by the time it got back around to you, you were ready for your next serving of ice cream. This method fell apart quickly. Not everyone made it to round 3. As I as on bowl 4 some people had thrown in the towel, others were still nursing bowl 3. Marianne and I were out in the lead, Lucy was trailing us. The coconut ice cream turned out to be a total flop. It sat there, a sad mountain amidst almost-completely-eaten ice cream puddles. I had to dig around the mint chocolate chip, however the spoon had been tainted with mint flavour. The pecan praline added some much needed crunchy and lightness. The chocolate brownie was too rich for this dish. The rocky road came out on top as the clear winner, made with really good marshmallows. I finished off bowl 5 and folded up my napkin. I was on the verge of throwing up; one more bowl would have done it. Lucy, eating bowl 4, looked over at me in utter shock. Had I really been beaten?! (Previous record: two and a half servings of soft serve, if that doesn’t count, then half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s). Lucy intoned that if she were to eat one and a half more bowls she’d beat me? I pointed out she had ot first finish her current bowl. That did not happen. I had a few more spoonfuls from the sink itself, but I was done. Marianne was the winner by a few spoonfuls. Having been defeated, we smashed down the coconut mountain, so it would not look as bad, and called the waitress over. She had stopped by two times before, but we persevered, unable to accept defeat. I was getting the ice cream sweats, feeling dizzy and I wanted to go back and just lay there and not move for the rest of the evening.

In the end we had made an incredible dent in the “kitchen sink”, having eaten 3/4 to 4/5 of it. We had eaten a lot of ice cream, 2-5 bowlfuls each, if not more (you’ve got to count the spoonfuls directly from the sink). It was a long slow and quiet drive back, we were exhausted.

The trouble with ice cream is it is not that filling. Soon after we got back I was feeling peckish. I was not alone in this, Lucy was also hungry. We snacked on cucumber and avocado sandwiches, in an attempt to balance out all the sweet. Their mom told us that one of the cats, Przemek loves avocado and so we entertained ourselves for a bit, feeding him pieces. Not to be left out, we also fed Kazik (the other cat) his favourite vegetable: steamed asparagus. Tired and suffering ice cream comas, we settled in and played Ticket To Ride. Marianne wiped the board with us, I lost miserably, coming in a paltry last place. Instead of going to bed, I found myself catching up on Pinterest.

 

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I Can’t Even…

Turns out we had declared it the summer of patios too soon. Spring was back and with a vengeance. It rained for a few days, we thought surely it cannot rain for a third day in a row? It didn’t. But it was cloudy and cool- enough to scare people away from Java House’s patio? We thought so. We are down to the last few patios on the list– the popular ones on Queen West.

The cool weather and ominous rain clouds did not just scare patio patrons away. It scared the restaurant owners away too. The patio was closed. No worries we had a few back-ups. As we walked towards Roncesvalles I had a brilliant idea: why don’t we try going to Electric Mud??? Enough time has surely passed that it won’t be crammed full! Grand Electric was packed as ever, this made me nervous. What I had not anticipated was Electric Mud being closed on a Tuesday. Who knew.

Back to our Ronces plans! On the way we passed Mabel’s, Brent did a double-take and we backtracked a few steps. Apparently they have the city’s best granola. We walked in and could not find it. As I was paying for a pecan square, I noticed granola bars by the register. As we turned to leave, Brent found bags of granola. We had walked right by them when we came in. Oops.

The granola bar was amazing! The granola was more roasted than what I was used to, but not overly roasted. It had a nutty and caramely flavour that was to die for. I fear I will eat the whole bag of granola in one sitting.

As we neared Cafe Polonez my eyes nearly bugged out of my head. Ed’s Real Scoop had opened a second location! And they had piernik flavoured ice cream!!! Dessert plans were settled.

Cafe Polonez was voted best perogies. I had eaten there before, and other than homemade, yes they are amazing perogies. You can order them in batches of 6 or 12, so it is easy to try a few. Brent almost ordered the pork schnitzel dinner. Until I warned him about the enormous dinner he was about to get. Polish people love their food and give generous helpings. I’d seen the dish before, my mom ordered it and remarked on how much food it was. Thankfully they also offer a pork schnitzel sandwich. We settled on 6 meat and 6 potato and cheese perogies. It was a close tie, to order the cabbage ones instead of potato and cheese. But Brent made a face when I mentioned that they have mushrooms.

Fully satiated and with just enough room in our bellies we walked a few doors down to Ed’s. I was unbelievably excited. Ed’s! Ice cream! Piernik! Piernik is about the Polish equivalent of gingerbread- but better. I forgot that you can get two different ice cream scoops per serving at Ed’s. To match the piernik I ordered coffee-toffee. The ice cream connoisseurs at Ed’s do not eff around. The coffee ice cream tasted like coffee. Like an actual cup of coffee- no fake sweetness. The piernik ice cream won out. Easily the best scoop I have ever had.

My legs are dead now. We walked god only knows how many kilometres (Brent says 16, I say a bajillion). We have cleared out most of the places near us and will have to start venturing out further via transit.

P.S.: I had that pecan square the next morning and nearly fell out of my chair. It was unbelievable. Think butter tart but less sweet and instead of the pastry tart a chewy blondie.

 

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Would You Like Some Insulin With That Lunch?

An old post from Jan. 22, 2012 that never got published:

 

Having had a rough couple of weeks, I insisted that this weeks fooding be comfort food as well as sweet & sugary. What a perfect solution: pancakes! Who doesn’t find comfort in a giant stack of warm fluffy pancakes (twice after morning plans did not pan out, Brent and I found ourselves in Ihop eating pancakes)? It seemed fitting to go out and eat the best pancakes in the city at Mitzi’s on College. Oatmeal pancakes at that.

First the good. It was nice to have the best of both worlds, oatmeal and a pancake! The apple mush onto was also a nice touch. It tasted pretty good, no complaints there. Except some parts did have a mildy burnt taste. And I did not care for it being soaked in syrup, I would’ve rather done that myself (with much less of it). And more apple! It was so good! Thanks to the syrup soaked nature, the pancake was rather soggy and that ruined the light & fluffiness of it. I did not care for the potatoes on the side, gross. Who wants that with their pancake? The only time those two go together is in potato pancakes.

I had a bite of Brent’s french toast as well. Not good. The egg mixture did not soak into the bread and kind of sat on top. It was almost like eating a fried egg on a piece of bread. I have had better pancakes and I have had better french toast. Or maybe it is just me? Maybe I like my pancakes simple, with just some fruit (on top of or inside, either way)?

Afterwards we headed to Bakerbots for some dessert. As if we had not had enough sugar already. The line at Bakerbots was to the door and we had to stand outside because the jerk at the end of the line would not make room for us. I was tempted to hit him with the door. Bakerbots has amazing ice cream sandwiches. You get to choose the type of cookie (I think there were about 5) and the ice cream (maybe 10 different ones?) and you can have a whole or a half. Which means you can have 4 different cookies and 2 different ice creams in total! If your pancreas can take that. As if that was not enough sugar, we also got some macarons. Sadly we could not eat them right away, being too full of ice cream sandwiches.  When I finally did eat them, meh. The macaron part was nowhere near as light as the ones I had from Nadege and there was too much cream filling, making it heavy. That does not really matter much, because those ice cream sandwiches, man alive! THEY WERE AMAZING. I had the ginger molasses cookie with sweet cream icing, it was heavenly. And the serving size? More than generous. I think the price for the ice cream is cheaper than getting a scoop at Ed’s with the same/more ice cream.

 

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Near Embarassment & Ice Cream

Friday night I went out for dinner with Mike, after having watched The Muppets Movie (which was absolutely amazing!). We went to Beer Bistro after I mentioned that it was close by and that they have an amazing pulled pork sandwich (Mike’s eyes just lit up!). I had never been there for dinner so the menu was different. I was going to order whatever the cookbook was open to, which had worked out really well last time with the pulled pork. Alas, it was open to the Kobe beef tacos, which I had the first time I ate there. I was considering getting the rabbit pasta, but I was really intrigued by the steak tartare.

When it arrived it was so nicely arranged and fancy looking. Then I tore into it with my fork. I was mildly taken aback by the fact that the meat seemed, undercooked is not a strong enough word…. raw. It was raw. I continued eating it, trusting that the chef was not incompetent and that the waitress was in the back panicking and unsure of what to do. I wondered if it was supposed to be like that, so I just very slowly and cautiously ate it. As I later found out, that is indeed how it is supposed to be. So thankfully I did not totally embarrass myself.

I had mentioned in a text to Brent that I was at Beer Bistro and he replied “enjoy the fries” and I was a tad confused. Mike queried what was so good about the fries that he would say that. Somehow Mike and I ended up ordering and splitting a basket of fries. No complaints here. They were just as delicious as I remembered.

You would think after all that we would be stuffed. Almost. Mike kept talking about dessert an I just could not resist. I had to at the very least look over the dessert menu. And after having looked it over I would have been remiss had I not ordered something off of it. I was torn between the crème brûlée and the dragon stout & Skor bar ice cream. But I was strategic about it. I had the “beer scream” so that I could later gush about it to Brent. I was trying to secure another dinner date at a future point in time so that I could get the rabbit pasta and the crème brûlée next time. Genius. The ice cream itself was delicious. It still had a faint hint of fizziness from the beer and the Skor bar bits were more than plentiful.

 

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