POUTINEFEST 2019

Events, Food

Happy Friday!! I’ve got some good news… POUTINE FEST is back!

IMG_1329Poutinefest on Sparks Street is on this weekend and will fulfill all your gravy-soaked, cheese-curd loving dreams. I was invited last night to the VIP Poutine Parlour tent where we were able to sample just about every vendor’s poutines as well as some tasty cocktails. Topshelf Gin, and Big Rig Brewery were some of the sponsors serving in the drinks tent. The bartender shook me up a concoction of gin mixed with cider… and it was INCREDIBLE.

 

Some of the poutines samples they were giving out in the tent included:

–          Buffalo Cauliflower Poutine

–          Montreal Burger Poutine

–          Mac and Cheese Poutine

–          Nachos Poutine

–          Thanksgiving Turkey Poutine

–          And even a VEGAN Poutine

9FA01D81-AD7A-49A8-A574-204DCE482EEBI absolutely LOVED the Thanksgiving Turkey Poutine. Thanksgiving is my favourite food holiday and I can never get enough of turkey (like seriously, why can`t there be a Thanksgiving every month..)

If you’re as big of a fan of poutine as I am (and I think the rest of Canada), Poutinefest is a MUST visit this weekend! Be sure to take lots of photos of your poutines, and if you post them on Instagram – tag me!

Winter Presdelicious 2019

Events, Food

Presdelicious is BACK! If you haven’t heard of Presdelicious it’s an annual festival that aims to highlight the diverse restaurant scene Preston Street has to offer. There’s a total of 10 restaurants that participate each year and the list has been announced on the Preston Street website. The way it works is – each restaurant creates their own fixed menu offering the patron a choice between 3 appetizers, 3 entrees, and a choice of dessert (you pick 1 from each course). The restaurants can price their menu at either $28, $38 or $48. I was invited to do a few menu samplings from the restaurants included in this year’s festival! I brought my good friend Line Pelletier (who you may recognize as MasterChef Canada Season 2s runner-up).

Our first stop was Trattoria Cafe Italia and their menu is priced at $38. They’re a traditional Italian restaurant that’s been open for years. I chose the bruschetta to start, and Line chose tortellini in brodo. I love bruschetta and feel like you can’t really screw it up, so it was as good as it should have been. As our mains, I chose the sundried tomato & aspargus cream chicken, and Line picked the filet of sole. I substituted my vegetables for pasta (because of course, carbs all day) and had a nice side of housemade spaghetti. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the cream sauce was all kinds of yummy. For dessert we had the panna cotta and chocolate tartuffo. Both were really good but the panna cotta is what really stood out for me. I don’t know if I’ve ever even tried panna cotta but it was scrumptious! They served it with a berry compote on top that was the perfect balance of sweet and fruity.

Our second stop was Kuidaore Izakaya and their menu is priced at $28. It’s a Japanese pub food style restaurant and hasn’t been open for fairly long but has become quite well known fairly quickly! We started with a SAKE BOMB (see video), then for appetizers had the veggie tempura and karaage (japanese fried chicken). The karaage was probably some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. For mains, I got the pork belly ramen with black garlic oil, and Line got the salmon poke bowl. And last but not least, for dessert we had DEEP FRIED matcha ice cream, and sakura mochi! This was my first visit to Kuidaore and boy did they ever blow it out of the water! I will be back SO very soon…

 

Presdelicious is on now until March 10th, don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to experience the restaurants in Little Italy! Go to their website for more info 🙂

The Blueberry Jam

Food, recipes

WOW! Who knew a stupid story about me making blueberry jam at 7AM on a Tuesday would garner so much attention! If you saw my Instastories explaining the story of how and why I ended up in that situation you can ignore this next part, but if you didn’t happen to watch my story-telling time – here’s your chance.

On Monday night I realized I had a ton of blueberries in the fridge that were going bad. And I thought of this master idea of making blueberry jam with them. I LOVE blueberry flavoured things, from pies, to muffins, to smoothies, if it’s blueberry, I’m THERE. So lo and behold (is that how you spell it?) there I was googling blueberry jam recipes at 11PM. The plan was to wake up really early on Tuesday morning and make this jam… and so I did exactly that. Fast forward to 7AM and I’m leaning over the stove stirring blueberries in a saucepan, the sun isn’t even up yet and neither is my brain. But I did it! And it turned out sooooooo delicious! And now your probably wondering, why do we care? Well I posted a picture of one of the jars of jam I made and my DMs went OFF. People were messaging me for the recipe, suggesting I should start selling them, etc. The power of social media, right?!

I probably sent the recipe to 15+ people within the first two hours of posting about it, so I decided I’d write a permanent blog post about it and have the recipe here!So it is as follows:

Blueberry Jam:

  • – 3 CUPS fresh blueberries (or frozen)
  • – 1/2 CUP sugar
  • – 1 TSP lemon juice
  • – 1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Put everything into a saucepan and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes! Stir it occasionally and mush up the blueberries as they get warm and begin to melt. It’s going to look SUPER WATERY the whole time until it literally hits the 30 minute mark. You’ll know it’s done when you scrape the bottom of the pan and you can see the bottom for like 1 SECOND before the blueberries cover it again. It’ll thicken even more after it cools. Pour into jars and it’s ready to eat, or boil the jar to preserve it!

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If you end up making it yourself – let me know how it goes! I promise you I’ll never buy a store-bought jam again after learning how EASY and DELICIOUS it is to make your own 🙂

 

MY (FOOD-FILLED) TRIP TO MONTREAL

Food

 

 

Where do I begin… Montreal, your food never fails to amaze me. I took a quick 1-night trip to Montreal last week for a little getaway before university started kicking my butt again. Every time I visit Montreal I make sure to carefully select NEW restaurants that I haven’t been to before (while still visiting old favourites). On this visit I’m happy to say I visited two old favourites and discovered two new favourites!

First things first:

Mandy’s Salads

Mandy’s Salads are a staple to Montreal. Or at least in my eyes. I’ve been going to Mandy’s ever since I was in high school and it’s almost become mandatory to grab a salad anytime I’m in the city. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mandy’s it’s exclusively a salad bar with over 10 different options of unique and creative salads (or of course you can build your own). I try to try a new salad each time I’m here and this time I got the Asian salad! The Asian salad is made up of mixed greens, sesame seeds, mandarin oranges, crunchy noodles, cherry tomatoes and avocado – it definitely takes the cake as being one of my fav salads I’ve had yet.

Tommy

Tommy is also a famous name in Montreal that I somehow only discovered now *cries*. It is the cutest, quaintest, picture-esque little café I ever did see. Whoever designed the interior deserves an Oscar or something because this place is beautiful. Not to mention the food is incredible! We went for brunch and had the vegetarian omelette as well as the waffle french toast. I don’t even need to say how good the waffle french toast was, I think you can just imagine it yourself… ridiculousness. I’m obsessed with plants and there’s greenery hanging from the ceiling, on the walls and across the floor so I was just loving everything about this place!

Moleskine

It’s my understanding that this is a fairly new restaurant to Montreal but don’t let that hinder your view of it – their pizza is PHENOMENAL. We had the Margherita pizza and …. wow. I didn’t even know a plain Margherita pizza could taste that good! They toss the pizza dough infront of your eyes and it is ART. For some reason I can’t upload videos onto here but if you check the post on Instagram there’s a video attached with one of the pizza makers “throwing dough”! We also got the gnocchi, and I’m not kidding it was also probably the best I’ve ever had (sorry Nonna). The gnocchi was doused in a ricotta lemon cream sauce with ground almonds and LITERALLY took my breath away. I would drive back to Montreal tomorrow JUST to re-live the food at Moleskine again.

Frites Alors

And last but not least, Frites Alors. Frites Alors is a french fry shop and let me tell you their french fries are CRAZYYYYY. Like fully crazy. They have like a hundred different dipping sauces to pair with their perfectly crispy french fries. I honestly devoured my entire tray of fries before taking a photo of it which, if you know me you KNOW that’s not normal. [I promise the next time I go I’ll get a photo!!!!]

CONSTANTLY Consumed by Carlo: Datsun

Food

Elgin Street is packed with great restaurants, cafes, shops and local businesses. If you know me, you know I’m CONSTANTLY on Elgin. From Italian to Mexican, to gelato, and everything in between – Elgin Street has it. The strip is also home to one of my all-time favourite restaurants, Datsun. If you’ve been following the page for a while, you KNOW how frequently I visit there. Datsun offers Asian fusion plates and their entire menu is to-die-for. Their steamed buns are some of the best you can find in the city, not to mention their tasty ramen bowls and fried cauliflower *wipes drool*. It’s open late and also has a walk-in take out window – making it the perfect spot for those late night cravings!

P.S. just a reminder that Elgin Street is now CLOSED to vehicle traffic, but remains completely open to pedestrians. As I mentioned above there are SO many delicious restaurants on Elgin that will need our community’s help in keeping busy over this difficult time. The street will reopen in 2020 with a MASSIVE face lift, but until then let’s support our local businesses as much as we can! A community campaign and Instagram page has been launched that is ALL THINGS ELGIN -> @idigelgin for more!!

Books, Brownies & Brainpower

brunch, Food

IMG_4461I had heard SO many good things about this little coffee shop on Bank Street that’s half a used book store, and half a cafe. It’s called Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar, and it is one of those special hidden gem spots in the city! To add to the hipster-ness of this place, there isn’t even a sign on the outside of it! Instead of the title “Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar”, it just has their logo which features a circle with a squirrel in the middle of it. I’ve also heard that at night it turns into a bar-like environment serving alcohol with live music!

I went during the day for a quick bite before class and boy was I impressed! I got the breakfast sandwich which is layered with; kale, tomato jam, cheddar, dill, and a fried egg all served on a house-made scone!!! I’m always on the hunt for a great breakfast sandwich, and this one goes to the top of my list of favourites.

Whether you’re a book worm, live music fan, or breakfast lover (like ME) Black Squirrel should be on your next-to-visit list!

Ottawa’s FIRST EVER Food Hall

Events, Food

IMG_4491As you probably already know (because I’ve posted about it a million times) Ottawa has officially opened its own food hall! The concept comes from major cities like NYC and Boston but is the first of its kind. It’s called Queen Street Fare and its the second food hall in Canada, the first being in Toronto. Queen Street Fare is special however because it’s the first food hall to offer live music every. single. day.IMG_6115 That’s right, no matter what day of the week, there will be live music playing at some point in the day. This is HUGE. There’s no other food hall doing this, we are the first. I worked closely with QSF during their launch phase. I was one of the only people that got to see the space grow, visiting regularly and giving my followers exclusive sneak peeks on the space. I also was the first to try Capitol Burger Counter and attend the VIP Launch Party!

Now for the food, and oh my GOODNESS where do I start?

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Capitol Burger Counter is changing the burger game here in Ottawa. Their standard burger is inspired by that of Shake Shack (a famous burger chain in the U.S.) and is like nothing Ottawa has seen before. They feature a double patty, cheddar cheese, special sauce, pickles, lettuce, tomato, all served on a POTATO bun! I also tried their chicken burger which is Nashville inspired and, I honestly was left speechless.

Bar Robo is open for coffee, tea, donuts and everything in between. They also serve cocktails in the evening. I have yet to try their donuts but at the launch party I saw them and- they look God-sent.

Green Rebel is pretty self-explanatory, Everything GREEN. From salads to fresh juices, they have everything to keep your body happy and healthy. At the VIP party one of the dishes they made were AVOCADO BROWNIE CAKE POPS… need I say more?

Fiazza is already Ottawa famous. They make thin-crust oven fired pizzas that are ready in 3 MINUTES! Not to mention they taste phenomenal and have some pretty unique flavours (my favourite is the prosciutto & arugula).

Mercadito offers Mexican street-style food crafted by the one and only Top Chef Winner, René Rodriguez. I missed my opportunity to try Mercadito at the launch party (and I’m still mad at myself for it) but I can’t wait to try it ASAP!

Sen Kitchen offers traditional Vietnamese cuisine, like bao buns, banh mi etc. Their first location can be found at Lansdowne Park in the Glebe!

And last but not least, Q-Bar. Q-Bar offers a long list of speciality cocktails with expert mixologists. They also have a killer happy hour with $1/oz of wine from 4-7PM during the week!

I had SO much fun and was honoured to play such a big part in the launch of QSF. I can’t wait to make a return! *wipes drool*

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