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86’d at The Drake Hotel’s Wild Blueberry Bacchanal

Alexa Clark, www.unsweetened.ca, Wild Blueberry Association of North America.

Photo Credit: Alexa Clark, www.unsweetened.ca, Wild Blueberry Association of North America

At last month’s 86’d Wild Blueberry Bacchanal held at The Drake Hotel, Heather Mordue from L’Unita restaurant was the crowd favourite with her delicious wild blueberry Nanaimo bars (above).

The competition had dishes featuring wild blueberries going head to head for guests to sample and vote. Michelle Edgar of The Sweet Escape presented a wild blueberry cheesecake éclair, while Farzam Fallah of Richmond Station, created a duck liver mousse on deep fried French toast with a wild blueberry whiskey sauce.

thevandyksAlong with the sweet and savoury blueberry treats, an original cocktail, The Van Dyk’s, was crafted by Drake mixologist, Gord Hannah.

The Van Dyk’s

Featuring Van Dyk’s 100 per cent wild blueberry juice, by Gord Hannah, Mixologist at The Drake Hotel.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 muddled grapefruit
  • 1.5 oz Maker’s Mark
  • .5 oz Creme de Violet
  • 1.5 oz Van Dyk’s wild blueberry juice*
  • .25 oz lemongrass syrup

Preparation:

  1. Shake ingredients with ice, serve in rocks glass over ice.
  2. Garnish with grapefruit peel and frozen wild blueberries.

The Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) is an international trade association of growers and processors of wild blueberries from Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Maine, dedicated to bringing the wild blueberry health story and unique wild advantages to consumers and the trade worldwide. For recipes, nutritional information or to learn more about wild blueberries visit wildblueberries.com or follow @WildBBerries4U on Twitter.

86’d at The Drake takes place Monday Nights at The Drake Hotel and is hosted by Ivy Knight, publisher of Swallow Daily.

August 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

Eat Up TO Alumni Cheesewerks and Hot Bunzz Team Up for the Ex!

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Heading to the CNE this year? Griffin Gastro are running craft beer and wine lounge featuring Cheesewerks, the pairing partner for food in this zone. Cheesewerks has teamed up with fellow Eat Up TO alumni Hot Bunzz for a special EX themed “ColloborationZZ” offering, a Mac & Cheese bun.

The bun itself is Hot Bunzz’s traditional brioche style dough but added in is some cracked peppercorn as an homage to the bread Kevin Durkee at Cheesewerks uses for his traditional mac. Packed into the bun is a combination of cavitappi pasta, curds, double smoked Balderson cheddar and Cheesewerks’ Bechemel sauce. Once the bun is cooked its topped with a brush of bechemel, breadcrumb, black pepper and a topping of more smoked cheddar.

This is the first in what they hope will be a line of collaborative products between the two brands. Both are super excited as this is a great alternative for CNE goers instead of the typical fried offerings found each year.

We are proud that Eat Up TO was able to foster this great collaboration, and look forward to future creative mashups from Hot Bunzz and Cheesewerks, and our other alumni.

Cheesewerks is located at 56 Bathurst Street in Toronto. Visit cheesewerks.com and like them on Facebook and follow them Twitter.

Hot Bunzz is located at 21 St. Clair Ave. W., inside the Urban Bistro. Follow them on Twitter, and like them on Facebook.

August 24, 2013 | By | Reply More

The 19th Annual Toronto’s Festival of Beer

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Toronto’s Festival of Beer, frequently referred to as Beerfest, is an annual event taking place on Exhibition grounds in Toronto. The festival celebrates Canada’s rich brewing history, featuring over 200 brands including many Ontario craft breweries. The 19th annual Festival of Beer took place July 26-28th.

With entry you are provided a glass to use for sampling. This year’s glass was an impressive and hefty glass beer mug. Sampling tokens were available for $1 each. At most vendors, samples were 1 token for a half glass (4 oz.) or 2 tokens for a full glass (8 oz.). We attempted to work our way through the festival.

Some of our beer highlights included:

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A noticeable change at the festival over the past few years has been the increase of quality food offerings. Here were some of our favourite food finds:

  • Fidel Gastro (@FidelGastrosFacebook) was serving up a mix of his famous sandwiches including the Gorgeous Jorge (pulled pork, peanut butter, bacon jam and pig crackling) and Lisa Marie menu favourites like the Alabama Tailgaters (smoked bacon wrapped beef carpaccio, cheese and kimchi).
  • Melt Grilled Cheese (@MeltgrilledchzFacebook) was dishing up ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwiches including the decadent Tattooed Chicken (cheddar, mozzarella, grilled chicken, bacon, herbed tomato and garlic aioli).
  • Rock Lobster Food Co. (@RockLobsterFoodFacebook) had their popular lobster rolls (also available as tacos). Unfortunately, festival favourite “pickle on a stick” were all sold out by the time we got there.
  • Pizzeria Libretto (@PizzaLibretto / Facebook). Rocco Agostino was serving up pizza pies as quickly as they came out of the wood fired oven.
  • The International Centre’s Crafting Fuzion had one of the most interesting offerings, the Seoul Bandido Nacho Libre, a Korean-Mexican mashup featuring pork bulgogi and kimchi.

We also bumped into our Eat Up TO friends from FoodShootr (@FoodShootrApp / Facebook) in the social media lounge (which was sponsored in part by Neal Brothers and NOW Magazine). FoodShootr has just released version 2.0 of their app and were at the festival capturing the festivities. The images above are FoodShootr‘s foodie finds at the fest.

Another great festival year. We’re looking forward to the next one!

For more information visit beerfestival.ca, follow @TOBeerFestival on Twitter and like TOBeerFestival on Facebook.

August 13, 2013 | By | Reply More

LobsterAnywhere.com: Fresh Lobster, Overnight Delivery

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The following is a true story.

It started with a direct message on Twitter.

May 29:

Joe: “Hi, it’s Joe from lobsteranywhere.com. Would you like to try our seafood and blog about it?”

Who wouldn’t. So I wrote Joe back.

Me: “Thanks for your interest! We’d love to try your seafood and blog about it. We are located in Toronto Canada. Do you ship up here?”

Unfortunately, Lobster Anywhere doesn’t ship to Canada yet. So I contacted a friend, Dave, who lives in Los Angeles.

Me: “Would you like some lobster? Joe from Lobster Anywhere offered to send over some lobster for us to try and blog about.”

Dave along with his girlfriend Sarah, eagerly accepted.

June 3:

As the big day approached, I followed up to make sure that Dave was ready to receive the Lobster.

Me: “Will you be around on Wednesday? The lobster is gonna be delivered. But you’ll have to be there during the day.”

Dave: “I think so.”

Me: “Ok. I’ll give your number to the Fedex guy. Tell Sarah to plan to cook Lobster on Wednesday!”

I gave Joe the go ahead. The lobster was on it’s way.

Lobster-Anywhere

June 5:

The big day arrived. The lobster was being delivered. That’s when the emails started:

Sarah: “They are alive?? I am not killing them. and we don’t have the proper tools to take the claws off and stuff. What are we supposed to do?”

Me: “Hahaha. This is all part of the experience. Take lots of pictures! 😉 You have to cook them live. You just throw them in a pot of boiling water. Here’s a guide. I don’t think you need any special tools. Once it’s ready, you just break them open with your hands. Make sure you have lots of melted butter on hand! So jealous…

Sarah: “We don’t have a pot that big! I was going to grill them I thought they would be frozen. Seriously I can not kill them, I can’t do it. If I had known they would be alive I would have been better prepared.”

Me: “There must be someone you know who can cook a lobster… It’s really easy!”

Dave: “Yeah. Sarah’s dad is more then happy to cook them.”

Sarah’s father was on his way home from San Francisco. He picked up the LobsterAnywhere package that afternoon and brought it home with him to San Diego.

June 7:

It seemed as though everything worked out perfectly. Dave and Sarah didn’t have to cook live lobsters and Sarah’s parents lucked out with an amazing dinner. I was just waiting on the pictures for this blog post when I received another message.

Dave: “Way to blow it. That package had 2 lobster tails, some clam chowder and a blueberry pie. We would have totally eaten that!”

Me: “They didn’t say what they were sending. They just said lobster.”

Dave: “Bit of a difference between what was in the box and live lobsters.”

Me: “Hahaha. That’s pretty funny. Next time you should prob open the box. Did Sarah’s parents enjoy their meal?”

Dave: “I’m not going open a box of live lobsters if I can’t cook them. Besides they came just before Sarah’s dad picked them up. Which was great timing.”

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Sarah’s Dad:

“We have lobster at home often. We normally will grill the tails over our outside grill but we followed the cooking instructions provided by Lobster Anywhere and boiled them for about 7-8 minutes.  This turns them the bright red that lobster are famous for.  We served the tails with warm drawn butter, some vegetables and a Sauvignon Blanc wine. They were perfectly cooked (using the instructions) and they did taste yummy.”

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Lobster Anywhere

For lobster lovers everywhere. Lobster Anywhere is the spot for lobster delivered next day via air. Since 1999 LobsterAnywhere.com has shipped the finest Live Maine lobster, lobster tails, and New England clam Chowder to customers coast-to-coast.

Lobster Anywhere specializes in lobster and seafood gift packages. All of their gourmet gifts include free overnight delivery and a how to cook lobster manual.

Lobsteranywhere.com also does indeed ship live Maine lobster, any time of the year. Their live lobster gift packages come complete with steel crackers and forks wrapped in fine red and white checkered cotton napkins, step-by-step cooking instructions, fresh lemon and lobster cooking instructions.

Lobster-sweetheartThe package received was close to the Sweetheart Cove for Two; the only difference being it had the Blueberry tart vs. the heart-shaped chocolate truffles.

Sweetheart Cove for Two

Light the candles, melt the butter and crack into two genuine cold-water lobster tails direct from the North Atlantic.

Select a dinner with their 6-7 oz cold-water tails or supersize with their colossal 16-20 oz. tails.

Warm-up with their chef prepared New England clam chowder for two. And for the grand finale you’ll fall for their heart-shaped chocolate truffles.

Lobster Anywhere offers free overnight delivery, anywhere in USA

For more information visit lobsteranywhere.com.

August 6, 2013 | By | Reply More

Product Spotlight: De L’Aubier Sap Water

delaubier01De L’Aubier sap water, is an epicurean still water from Quebec, now available in Ontario. Not just another water, De L’Aubier sap water is 100% plant-based, filtered naturally by Quebec maple trees and a unique co-product of the springtime maple syrup production. Named for the sapwood or “aubier” where the tap is placed to extract sap from the maple tree during spring flows, each bottle of De L’Aubier is a “vintage selection” sourced entirely from one harvest. Not to be confused with raw sap, this innovative specialty water is the inspiration of a brother and sister team, Mathieu and Élodie Fleury, whose family owns a maple “sugar shack” in Quebec.

Designed for consumers who value the highest quality, ecologically sound products, De L’Aubier sap water relies on a proprietary process developed by Mathieu, a food and beverage engineer. “Today’s maple syrup producers filter maple water by propelling the sap at high pressure through a series of membranes to extract a sweet concentrate which is then reduced by boiling into maple syrup,” explains Mathieu. “Through filtration it is estimated that nearly one billion liters of sap water are discarded each year. We realized how distinctive this water was and how meaningful it would be for eco-conscious consumers to discover such a remarkable reclaimed resource,” notes Élodie.

How does it taste? Completely sugar-free and calorie-free, De L’Aubier sap water retains a small quantity of naturally occurring minerals of organic origin imprinting it with the pristine character of the Quebec maple forests. The 2012 vintage was prized for its silky full-bodied texture and delicate vegetal notes. An ideal complement to a fine meal, much like wine, De L’Aubier sap water is best served in a stemmed glass to showcase the subtlety and smoothness derived from its plant origins.

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De l’Aubier sap water is a still water of vegetal origin made from maple sap. Unlike other bottled waters, this water is not pumped by a machine. Through the biological phenomenon of osmosis, it rises to the tree’s branches during the night and flows back to the roots during the day. Suction causes the maple water to rise from the roots to the branches overnight, and exudation makes it flow back during the day. The tap is a hole made in the maple sapwood, 4 cm deep under the bark, allowing the maple water to be harvested as it flows downward.

The maple water has benefited from organic purification in the tree during the seasons before spring. It is drawn by the leaves in the summer, transported to the roots in the fall, dormant in the roots over the winter, and then rises by osmosis to the branches in the spring. The tree thus protects it from air pollution and any other external attacks.

The harvested maple water, about 2.5% naturally sweet, is propelled under high pressure through a membrane, which separates a “concentrate” with a sugar content that increases to about 10% in 15% of the initial volume, from the maple water separated fromits sugars in 85 % of the initial volume. The concentrate is then reduced by evaporation to produce the famous maple syrup. The challenge for La maison Eau Matelo was to recover and properly treat the maple water separated from its sugars in order to guarantee absolute purity from the production sites in the middle of the forest to the consumer’s table. Less than one hour passes between the time when the drop emerges from the tree and the time when the water contained in this drop is sealed in a De l’Aubier sap water bottle.

85% of the maple water harvested is returned to nature immediately after filtering to concentrate its sugars in the maple syrup production process. Élodie and Mathieu Fleury, a sister and brother whose parents are maple syrup producers, decided to take a different look at this natural resource and recover this maple water, separated from its sugars, to create the world’s only still water of its kind, a made in Quebec product of irreproachable quality: an innovative idea in a traditional sector with a sustainable development approach.

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At a recent media tasting at Canoe Restaurant, we were introduced to De L’Aubier by Joel Solish of Culinary Creative. Chef de Cuisine John Horne, of Canoe, paired some hors D’oeuvres with De L’Aubier. Since being appointed Chef de Cuisine of Canoe in 2010, John Horne has incorporated his passion for refined flavours, seasonal ingredients and explosive presentation with his love of Canadian cuisine. At Canoe, John is able to take his cooking to the next level as he is constantly inspired by quality Canadian ingredients, a revelation that came as a result of his travels abroad. Respected for his dedication to Canadian cuisine, he has collaborated with those who share his philosophy Recognized for its unique artisanal Canadian cuisine, Canoe is considered one of the top fine dining restaurants in Canada and is the flagship of the Oliver & Bonacini portfolio.

delaubier_asparagus

Spruce Tip Asparagus Tempura with Sumac Sour Cream

delaubier_ceviche

Turbot Ceviche, Sea Buckthorne Berry, with Wild Leek Buffalo Milk Yogurt

delaubier_tortiere

Beef Tortiere with Branston Pickle and Cedar Jelly

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Maple and Screech Cured Salmon atop a Cat Tail Pancake with Sea Asparagus and Crème Fraîche

Canoe has been serving De L’Aubier for the last six months in their restaurant, offering customers a premium bottled water at an affordable value. Different than a typical bottled water, De L’Aubier has a texture to it that is both velvety and silky. It pairs well with dishes that include vegetables and fish.

For more information on De L’Aubier visit delaubier.com.

For more information on Canoe Restaurant visit oliverbonacini.com.

August 6, 2013 | By | Reply More