I don’t even know where to begin on this one. This tiny, and I mean tiny little spot on Queen Street East at Coxwell is called The Burger’s Priest. It opened its doors just this past summer and is already booming with business, with a second location opening at Yonge and Lawrence. On any given day you can find people lined up literally out the door waiting to bite into the tastiest burger they’ve probably had in a while, or ever. Foodies all over the city quickly discovered this goldmine and labelled it Toronto’s Best Burger in 2011. The menu is pretty simple, including items such as a plain burger, cheeseburger, fries, and the vegetarian option, which is actually called “The Option”. This is like no other veggie burger. Take two portobello mushroom caps, stuff them with cheese, roll it in flour and deep fry it, and there you have it, “The Option”. If that isn’t enough, this magical burger haven has a secret menu which is not posted in the restaurant. You can find it online or just by word of mouth. There are some pretty crazy items, which you will see below.
Jonty and I have eyes bigger than our stomachs most of the time, as I’m sure you have noticed. Pictured here is an item from the secret menu, called “The Tower of Babel Pope Style”. Two beef patties, topped with cheese, “The Option”, deep fried jalapeno pepper, fried onions, lettuce, ketchup, all in between two grilled cheese sandwiches! Let’s just say Jonty could barely breathe, talk, or walk after inhaling this. As for my burger, I kept it simple with a single pattie topped with “The Option”. The patties themselves aren’t exactly huge, but the freshness of the high quality meat cooked on a flat top grill is the perfect fix to any burger craving.
Now I know the title of this post may sound intimidating. I figured I would warn you for what you are about to see. Let’s just say that we were appologizing to our hearts and arteries after this night. The Canadian National Exhibition is a fair that comes to Toronto every year at the end of Summer. Along with games and rides, there is TONS of food! Of course, Jonty and I knew this was our calling.
We decided to start the evening off by ordering a blooming, fried onion. This however was just a side dish to something that was all the talk this year at the Ex- the Donut Burger. We have had a donut burger before this, but I will save that for another post. It is a burger between two Krispy Kreme donuts, topped with lettuce, an egg, bacon, and cheese. They were out of egg on this day and Jonty and I do not eat bacon, but I’d say we still had quite the burger. This may sound revolting to some, but we had to try it! To be quite honest, it was strangely tasty.
After wandering the fair grounds, playing games and going on rides, we had room for some more! Next we tackled mac and cheese, which oddly came with a hot dog. Surprisingly it was all pretty delicious, as the mac and cheese was quite creamy and cheesy.
Even after all this food, I’m sure you could have guessed what I needed…It was a toss up between a deep fried Oreo or a deep fried “Ah Caramel”. If youaren’t familiar with this, it is kind of like a Joe Louis but it is caramel filled white cake covered in chocolate. Since Oreos are more popular, I decided to for the “Ah Caramel”. For those who know me, you know I cannot eat anything fried or basically any hot dessert without ice cream. That’s where the waffle ice cream sandwich came in! The combination of the fried batter, the caramel, chocolate and ice cream was truly all I needed to complete this calorie laden evening.
Once in a while instead of going out for dinner, Jonty and I like to stay in and cook. This time around we decided on pizza, which is pretty easy, yet always delicious.
We tried to be a little healthy by using whole wheat dough (which we bought pre-made). As for toppings, we went crazy. Avocado, homemade pesto, salami, sauteed onions and mushrooms, roasted garlic, chicken, potatoes, oregano, and of course tomato sauce and a blend of cheeses. On the side, we made a Caesar salad and roasted salami in the oven to a crispy perfection.
So I think it’s safe to say that I pretty much have dessert on my mind at any given time during the day. This being said, I naturally thought of making a dessert pizza. We smothered the dough in peanut butter, topped it with chopped oreos, milk chocolate pieces, sprinkled with cinnamon and a caramel drizzle. Hot out of the oven, I indulged in this masterpiece with a side of vanilla ice cream.
This past summer a couple friends and I decided to take a last minute trip to NYC. If you hang with me, you gotta love to eat! Thankfully, we did just that!
As featured on the Food Network on shows such as Unwrapped, we visited The Donut Plant. Our pick was the Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jelly donut. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!
Next, we stopped at Cafe Habana in Nolita. This is also a well known little Cuban restaurant featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate. The most famous dish is the corn on the cobb smothered in mayonnaise, cotija cheese (kind of like parmesean but a little tangier) and cayenne powder. I am not a huge fan of any of these ingredients but somehow the combination along with the corn is truly a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Naturally, I was beyond thrilled to visit a CAKE BOUTIQUE called Lady M. There were a variety of cakes on display and our choices were strawberry shortcake, chocolate mousee cake, layers of crepes in a cake, lemon cake, and a banana cream cake. They were all to die for.
The most important meal of the day was enjoyed at Sarabeth’s. It is a cute, warm, homey restaurant which all started with selling only jam years ago. Today you can find this place lined up out the door with tourists and locals edging to try homemade pastries, breads, and breakfast favourites. They do also serve lunch and dinner which I’m sure is just as delicious! Since I can eat anything sweet at any time of day, I ordered the french toast topped with strawberries, powdered sugar, and served with a side of maple syrup and butter. Nothing says “Good Morning” quite like this!
Next we tackled Rice to Riches in SoHo. It is kind of like an ice cream shop, but for rice pudding. To tell you the truth, I have never been a fan of rice pudding, but Cassi insisted I try this place. With an open mouth and stomach, we decided to try two flavours- french toast and rocky road. To my surprise, it was delicious! It was extremely flavourful, creamy, yet very rich even for my sweet teeth. If you ever visit New York, just be warned that this is definitely a snack to be shared.
The streets of Toronto are seriously lacking in food trucks. Apparently there are some strict laws and permit issues. Anyways, there was this incredible, well-needed event at the Distillery District this past summer called Food Truck Eats. An array of trucks came out to this event from all over Ontario. Participating in this event was a grilled cheese truck, a Mexican truck, cupcakes, ice pops, pies, along with many others. I decided to tackle this event with Cassi, who also adores food.
Our choice of grilled cheese was one filled with ooey mozzarella, onions ( I really dislike raw onions so I picked them out), and tomatoes. It was simple, yet classically delicious. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I begged Cassi for us to try the dessert grilled cheese as well. This was my favourite. It was a blend of nutella, mascarpone cheese and strawberries all nestled between buttery, grilled to perfection bread.
While Cassi waited in line for the grilled cheese, I could not wait to get my hands on one of the individual pies. My choice was the sweet, flaky, buttery peach pie.
Once again, this past summer, Jonty and I took to the kitchen during a weekend getaway at my cottage. By the time we grocery shopped, prepared, cooked and cleaned it had been a whole night’s affair. However, we have tons of fun together along the way! As you will see in the following photos (and throughout this entire blog), we have huge eyes. Just a heads up, it may look like there was an entire army over for dinner.
To start off the weekend, we concocted one of the most classic, refreshing cocktails- a mojito. PS-How cute and perfect are these glasses?!
Below is a photo of the entire meal before I break it down into pictures of individual dishes.
When it comes to barbecuing, I steer clear and leave that job for Jonty. On the grill here we have chicken wings in Jonty’s homemade secret marinade, two steaks cooked to a juicy medium, and shrimp, lobster, vegetable and mango skewers.
While Jonty was out back taking care of the grill, I started on some other dishes inside. Pictured here is fried calamari and shrimp in our own homemade batter which consisted of a dip into an egg bath and then rolled around in a mixture of Italian flavoured breadcrumbs, flour, salt, and garlic.
This potato heaven is a combination of purple, sweet and small white potatoes which were first boiled and then broiled in the oven to crisp up. They were combined with onions, mushrooms and garlic.
*Not pictured individually,but buttery garlic bread, grilled shrimp, and a side salad made it into our bellies as well!
Although we may have had to unbutton our pants after this meal, as always, I was in need of something sweet. The chilly August night had approached and the fire pit was calling our name. Nothing goes together with a bonfire better than s’mores! We made our own version with a cookies and cream chocolate bar, milk chocolate, peanut butter, and of course marshmallows and graham crackers! I am still dreaming about these.
Last summer, two of my best friends, Cassi and Cassandra, and myself took a trip to Israel and Greece. The sightseeing and relaxation was incredible, but as always, I had my eye out for some good eats. Cassi and Cassandra love food as well, so I knew they would join me in my search for everything delicious!
If you love chocolate, I suggest you take a trip to Max Brenner. This location was in Tel Aviv, Israel, but they have locations all over the map. It is a chocolate restaurant, including dishes from crepes, to milkshakes, to fondue, to cocktails, and to anything imaginable. They do also have a savoury dinner and brunch menu which can be enjoyed as a prelude to the ultimate chocolate experience. The restaurant’s chic interior definitely adds to the chocolatey experience. Pictured here is a banana crepe drizzled with what else, chocolate, served with vanilla ice cream.
Now is this a dessert or what?! A warm, gooey brownie, topped with walnuts and chocolate sauce, paired with cookies and cream and chocolate ice cream all in a waffle bowl topped with various fruits. This was amazing!!
In a small area in Israel called Tzfat, we came across this delicious, pizza-like item. It is like a flat pita/tortilla with various spices which are popular in Israel such as za’atar. It is topped with basil, and usually tomato (I omit the tomato due to preference) and a variety of cheeses. The three of us were starving, and this definitely hit the spot!
Next, we took our travels to Greece. Since I am a HUGE fan of pesto, I was super excited to find these chips. The three of us absolutely loved this unique flavour , so of course we wanted more. As we continued our way through Greece, we were constantly searching for these, but sadly, they were nowhere to be found. These chips will forever be missed!
What’s better than breakfast by the beach? This waffle by the beach! I have eaten quite the amount of waffles in my day, however this tops my list. Something about the warm, crispy outside, yet perfectly soft inside, smothered in nutella and fresh fruit literally made me dread the last bite.
Loukoumades are a traditional Greek dessert. They are fried balls of dough soaked in honey, and usually sprinkled with cinnamon. These particular ones were stuffed and topped with nutella. I thank Cassi for introducing me to these. They are so traditional that they were difficult to find, yet we were determined, and came across a few bakeries who made them fresh to order. I would go back to Greece just for these!
This wonderful photo was taken at the Shuk. It is an Israeli market with basically anything imaginable. There was jewelry, antiques, any kind of food-desserts and pastries, candies, fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, spreads, and the list goes on. Cassi, Cassandra and I visited this market on a number of occasions whether it was just to browse, grab breakfast, or get snacks to bring to the beach.
During my Spring Break Jonty and I decided to take a trip to Miami to scope out the edible possibilities. We knew that the United States was a great destination for all things food. Although I go to Miami once a year during Winter break, I decided that it was time Jonty experienced this for himself. We basically dedicated our entire trip to satisfying our taste buds. This is going to be a long post with many pictures because it is crucial that we leave almost nothing out. Keep in mind we were only there for a week!
DULCE DE LECHE CHEESECAKE!!!! This is not only my all time favourite cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, but I would say it is my favourite thing to eat overall! The smooth, silky, creamy consistency and swirls of caramel truly make my mouth water just at the thought of it.
As for savoury dishes at The Cheesecake Factory, this is my pick-Chicken Picatta. This dish comes with chicken breasts, topped with angel hair pasta in a creamy lemon sauce with mushrooms and capers (I usually hold the capers). Jonty decided to go for the Shrimp Scampi. Lightly battered shrimp tossed in a cream sauce, served with angel hair as well.
As we continued eating our way through Miami, we decided to give The Cheesecake Factory’s sister company, The Grand Luxe a try. Pictured here we have calamari, shrimp, and assorted vegetable tempura, cheeseburger sliders, and no burger is complete without a side of fries. Next of course comes dessert. These beignets are one of their made-to-order desserts which are to die for. The hot, sweet dough dipped in either vanilla, chocolate or strawberry sauce was quite the party in our mouths.
My grandparents were also in Florida while we were so they insisted on taking us out for dinner. We went to a restaurant called DiSalvos. We ordered a fried platter for the table which included fried calamari, fried mozzarella, and fried ravioli. Also pictured is one of my favourites, a chicken pesto spaghetti.
According to my grandparents, a trip to Florida is not complete without visiting Moe’s for breakfast. It is a very casual deli with food that will not disappoint. We have here scrambled eggs with salami and home fries.
Jonty’s birthday happened to fall during our vacation, so I decided to take him to one of my favourite South Beach spots, Sushi Samba. Pictured here is a Brazilian skirt steak cooked to a juicy medium perfection alongside tuna tar-tar tacos. As well we have a classic necessary dish (in my opinion), the rock shrimp tempura which is slathered in a spicy creamy yet tangy sauce.
It is nearly impossible to leave Florida without indulging in a piece of their world famous key lime pie. Most restaurants have their own version and recipe, but my favourite and highly rated is the one at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach. The combination of the buttery graham cracker crust and the smooth lime filling makes for one perfect ending to any meal.
After long days lounging by the pool and browsing through malls, it definitely works up an appetite. Flashback diner is open 24 hours and is always a great spot for a late night bite. Featured above is the classic grilled cheese with crinkle cut fries.
My addition to the meal was this giant milkshake and key lime pie, yet again. I requested a cookies and cream milkshake, which they did not have so I settled on chocolate. However, when the waitress brought it over, she told us that she secretly concocted a cookies and cream milkshake just for us. It was delicious and we are ever so thankful!!
A truly unique, elegant and extraordinary experience! Barton G serves every dish with a wild presentation. Pictured here is the popcorn shrimp served in a popcorn container along with what else than real popcorn. The dessert is a colossal warm brownie stuffed with cheesecake and topped with ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream!!! I think that speaks for itself. It is such a jaw-dropping experience to watch the waiters deliver your food, along with everyone else’s in the restaurant.
Jonty and I have eaten countless burgers. However, this is one of our faves. The thick, juicy, cooked to perfection burger at Le Tub in Hollywood, Florida is a must-eat. Listed number one in GQ Magazine for “Best Burger” and featured on Oprah, it definitely lives up to its hype. This restaurant is a very casual outdoor scene on the intracoastal with picnic tables and water in serve-yourself picnic jugs. It is seat yourself, and the wait time for a burger is usually close to one hour. The menus are folded, handwritten white paper, the cutlery is plastic, and they only take cash. This place is like no other, truly unique and perfect for a sunny, warm Florida afternoon, or gorgeous evening.
I cannot possibly post every single thing we indulge in, so I have decided to start with last summer. My cottage is about an hour and a half North of Toronto. It is where my parents spend most weekends, and where I tend to visit a couple of times a month as well. While Jonty and I went up last summer, we debated going out to a restaurant, or cooking the ultimate feast of our own. We decided to get creative and have some fun in the kitchen. To say we had a lot of food is an understatement. As you will soon find out, our eyes tend to be bigger than our stomachs, but that’s the fun part, right?!
I have posted a photo of the finished product. We each had a steak, a lobster tail, shrimp skewer, corn on the cob. As side dishes, we made curly fries, mini yellow potatoes with sauted onions and garlic, and a salad. Of course, who can forget about one of Jonty’s favourite beers, Stella, and a nice girly homemade cocktail for myself!
Since no meal is complete without dessert, we took a lesson from Jonty’s South African background and scooped out the sweet and sour grenadilla (basically a passionfruit to us Canadians/Americans). We also bought fudge from this divine little shop. The flavours pictured are cookies & cream, peanut butter, and toffee.
To start the morning off right, I prepared homemade pancakes topped with berries, bananas, maple syrup and a dusting of icing sugar. (Jonty clearly set the table as you can see…the fork and knife are on the wrong side)