Saturday, January 28, 2017

Southern Accent opens new digs on College Street



What:     New Southern Accent Location
When:    Wednesday January 24, 2017
Where:   839 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 
Contact:  Phone(416) 536-3211
Website:  http://southernaccent.com/
I was invited to check out the new digs for Southern Accent after they recently had to close up shop on their Mirvish Village location after over 30 years there because developers purchased Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village for Re-development.  It's very sad to see Toronto lose these Icons in the city to replace them with non descript boxes.  My dad loved to go to Honest Ed's to get a lot of things for our home when I was a kid so I find it's like losing a piece of my childhood.  
Francis Wood the Owner of Southern Accent had a great reputation for building a great music and food loving community in her Restaurant with many little nooks and crannies tucked inside the building as well as the lovely patio outside.  It was an institution for all things New Orleans.  
I even used to do makeup for a show called Real to Reel with host Richard Crouse and we would film at the restaurant once in a while.  
The location and the design of the restaurant may be different with the move to College street and it now being in an up and coming foodie destination as other locations run out of room for restaurants they move further north of King and Queen to Dundas and College Streets.
The new location is long and narrow.  It has pretty much mostly the same menu as before but because of the new location they are opening it for more extended hours to serve beignets for breakfast in the mornings and they also have a take-out section at the entrance where you can get Muffaletta sandwiches and other things on the additional menu to go.

There is also a weekend brunch.  You could spend a lot of time in their new digs with all the food and music they plan to serve up.
The other interesting additions are the new Memory wall as you walk in on the left side of the wall up to the bar.  Thirty years of photos and memories in a collage.  

There are also a couple of cosy nooks at the back of the restaurant and an area for live music.

I tried a few things on their menu at the Preview including their hush puppies, blackened chicken fingers, bruchetta, crab cakes, calamari and the new beignets.








 And they made sure to bring this guy with them to greet everyone old and new to Southern Accent.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Food for Thought - #bellletstalk


I wanted to write a Food for Thought post today as I think about today's #BellLetsTalk initiative to spread awareness about Mental Health and raise money by sharing on social media.

Although it's not a typical food blog post I thought it was important to write a few words that can relate to food as well.

January 25th, 2017 is Bell Let's Talk day where Bell will donate .5 cents for every social media tweet, Instagram etc.

It's meant to spread the word that people aren't alone in their struggles with mental health.

Everyone is going through some sort of struggle that you might not be able to see.  Mental health struggles are not always visible.  When they are that's usually when there is no hope left.



People can be struggling with:


  • Health issues
  • Financial Issues
  • Lack of Employment
  • Harrassment
  • Family issues
  • Lonliness


and many other things you may never know about because they have become part of their daily lives and sometimes the don't want to share their struggles with others.

Even with modern conveniences life in the modern world is hard.  The cost of living goes up but wages don't increase at the same speed.  Trying to keep up with technology is a job in itself.
Trying to deal with the ever changing world and the senseless violence in the world make watching the news overwhelming.

Some people have to choose between buying groceries or buying a metropass to get to work at their minimum wage job or they have to juggle bills to survive.

People living on the streets are obviously in crisis mode but there are lots of working poor people that struggle to keep up and don't have people or government programs to help them.

Be kind to people,  think about what you post on social media and how you criticize people or put your expectations on other people as to how they should live.  You are not walking in their shoes and don't know the journey they have gone through to get where they are.

Support or Shut Up...

My mother had a saying...."it costs nothing to be nice"


  • Share a hug
  • Share your food
  • Share helpful information
  • Share your time

Please feel free to share this post and share your thoughts about your struggles.



Friday, January 20, 2017

Trashed & Wasted - Food Rescue Event

NEW CHARITY EVENT FOR SECOND HARVEST

TRASHED & WASTED: TORONTO

A charity event rethinking food waste, repurposing trash, and reclaiming refuse.

Date:            March 1, 2017 
Time:            6 to 10pm, 
Location:       Artscape Wychwood Barns 
Event:           Food rescue charity event benefiting Second Harvest


The public are invited to join local chefs and food suppliers, designers and innovators at Wychwood Barns in Toronto for a one-day celebration of the sustenance, beauty, and benefits of what was once simply trashed and wasted. 

Enjoy delicious dishes, cocktails, and treats made from the most unexpected ingredients, and explore installations
that will make you rethink your next disposal or purchase.
Trashed & Wasted: Toronto will pair innovative chefs with ethically-minded suppliers to create
dishes from rescued food. Local brewers, distillers, and drinks experts will be challenged to concoct
libations from repurposed ingredients. Local artists and designers will create booths from disposed
and found objects. Local musical groups will share exciting ways to repurpose instruments.

“We have come to live in a disposable society,” says event coordinator, Brock Shepherd. “And rarely
is the reckless disposability more shocking than when it comes to food. Every day, tons of edible
food is wasted in this city. We allow it to rot in our fridges, grocery stores prematurely dispose of
‘expired’ products, and restaurants watch bins fill up with perfectly good but uneaten ingredients.
And, while so much is thrown out, thousands of people go hungry.”

Trashed & Wasted takes its inspiration from the recent Olympic games, during which a Michelin-star
chef Massimo Bottura took leftovers from the athletes’ village and turned them into meals that fed the homeless.   You can read about the documentary about the dinners in a previous review post on the film.

In 2017, Toronto-based food and beverage innovator Brock Shepherd is bringing these concepts to an event here in our own city.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Distilled spirits made from fruit pulp donated by local juicer
• Craft beer made from bakery bread scraps
• Gourmet dishes made from rescued food
• Proceeds will support Second Harvest’s Food Rescue Programme

Participants will include:
Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Porchetta & Co, Hooked, Arepa Cafe, Blackbird
Bakery, Montgomery’s Restaurant, Montforte Dairy, Soul Roasters, Elee Design, Sumo Project,

Tickets - 
Social -
instagram.com/trashed_wasted

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Founder


You will never look at another Big Mac the same way again after you watch the new movie The FOUNDER.  It's a true story of the beginning and the end of the fast food industry and the man that changed the fast food industry forever.

It's the story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman from Illinois, who unintentionally sells multiple Milkshake machines to a couple of genius fast food restaurant owners in San Bernadino, California.  He travels to San Bernadino to find out the story of the 2 brothers, Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman), who ran a small takeout burger stand in the 1950's.  They had a system of serving up burgers and fries faster and more efficiently than anyone else in the business, they called it the speedy system.

The 2 brothers found ways to custom design tools to make service faster and they choreographed every move in the kitchen like it was a ballet.

Then the start of what I think was the beginning of the end of the food industry happened when a desperate but greedy and obsessive struggling salesman Ray Kroc decides he wants a piece of the pie.  He convinces the brothers to franchise the restaurants and he starts the first one and through kind of shady tactics he builds and empire while pulling the original restaurant founders out from under their business.  It's a very sad story but very well told and well portrayed by Keaton.

You will wonder what would have happened to the food service industry had this man never gotten the opportunity to change it.  It really presents clearly what greed and the bottom line has done to North America mostly but in huge part in America.  Where real food becomes less important than making a buck.

This is a film everyone should see because it's a piece of history, it's interesting and it's also an entertaining piece of film.  The production value of the locations and the details of the clothing and sets are also amazing.

Luckily I had a burger for lunch before seeing it but it's less food porn and more about trust, business practices, persistence and manipulation.

Go see it... but don't go hungry.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Little Sister big Indonesian flavours


Where:  LITTLE SISTER
When:   Sat, Jan. 14, 2017
Address:  2031 Yonge Street, Toronto
Social:    @littlesisterto

Website:  http://www.littlesisterto.com/

I tried Little Sister's food for the first time at the Taste of Toronto Festival and the first year they won a prize for their mind blowing sweet pork belly dish.  I had their fried rice again last year but even though their restaurant was on my TO DO List of places to check out, I never seemed to have the right opportunity to go until this past weekend.  My fellow food blogger Natalie (http://www.cookingquidnunc.com) and I decided to go see a movie and after a long search of places that were near the theatre at Yonge and Eglinton we both thought the best choice would be Little Sister.  We didn't realize it was only a few blocks south of Yonge and Eglinton.  It's got one of those signs that don't pop out when you drive by so you have to pay attention to the address.  We have both been saying for a long time that we should go so early Saturday evening was the perfect time.
We got there around 5pm before the crowd and the reservations started flowing in.  That was the perfect time for us because we sat by the window and actually had some daylight for our first items but as you can see the food looks a bit more yellow as we lost the sun.


I ordered the Chicken Satay.  I love Chicken Satay this one had a great satay sauce.  It's made with chicken thighs, although not my favourite, I prefer the white meat, but it keeps the chicken a lot more moist when it's the chicken thighs.


We both shared the Beef Wontons with Sriracha sauce.  Nice and crispy and a bit of spice kick.

 

I also ordered the Roasted Cauliflower with Puffed Rice.  It was served cold.  I expected it to be a warm dish but I guess it was more of a salad or street food type of dish.  The flavour was really good and it's one of their popular dishes.


The dish that blew our minds was Natalie's Braised pork in Star Anise.  The balance of flavours was perfect.  The star anise wasn't overwhelming.  The pork was perfectly seasoned and all of the flavours were rich and satisfying.  I really want to make this dish in my slow cooker one day and if I go back to Little Sister soon I am having this again for sure.  

Natalie also ordered the fried rice which was good but the photo didn't really make it look great so I didn't include it.

The place is really cozy with rustic wooden tables and a beautiful bar.  It feels like a downtown hipster westend restaurant but it's tucked away Uptown.  It would be insanely packed all the time if it was located on Queen Street but I am really happy that it's Uptown where people really appreciate that there isn't anything else like it in the area.

It's one of those places you don't want to tell anyone about because you want to save it for yourself.

They aren't open for lunch and I would suggest making reservations because it's not a huge space.

Enjoy.

*This is not a sponsored post.  We paid for our own meal and the opinions expressed are my own as well as the images.

Little Sister Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year, New You... Blah Blah Blah..

Are you tired of hearing NEW YEAR, NEW YOU yet?   


It's only January 8, 2017 and I am already tired of hearing it on every TV channel I turn on the TV and walk by a Newsstand and you will see it on every cover.  I admit that I was guilty of perpetuating this in the past in blog posts and I even wrote said article for B Magazine a free Beauty magazine that was available in TTC stations many years ago.   It's about this time when people are already starting to get tired of going to the gym and they start dropping off.

It's kind of stating the obvious that we all want spectacular lives all the time but is it realistic?


After a couple of months of celebrating with food at Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners or even Hannukah food traditions and then add all those work events and other family and friend get togethers and Potluck's that all revolved around eating massive quantities of mostly high fat, sugar and salty foods.  How many of you are feeling snug in your clothes now?  Yes I bet a whole bunch of you unless you have a crazy workout routine everyday if you had the time.

But as soon as the Calendar turns to January 1st, you are expected to put down that fork and pick up dumbbells instead and hit the gym hard and get in the best shape of your life instantly because last years version of you wasn't good enough.  You have to be a smarter, fitter, younger version of yourself and you also have to have more money to be seen as acceptable in the North American Society.

Would you tell the 2 year old pictured above that her 1st year of life wasn't good enough and now that she is 2 she needs to become a NEW person and be better and look better and do better.   Well of course not, so why are we so hard on each other and ourselves as we become adults?

I don't know about you but I try and be a better person everyday and it's a struggle.  I have my own high expectations of what I thought my life would be like but it turned out to be very different than what I pictured in my head when I was a teenager.  I am hard enough on myself that I didn't achieve my goals and I don't particularly appreciate the constant media messages that I am a failure because I don't have the perfect body, family, friends, home, job.    If everyone had all of those things there wouldn't be any homeless people on the streets.  It's just not real.  Nobody can have it ALL.. something gets sacrificed somewhere.  


Every year I say to myself that I want to be fitter and healthier because every year when I am at TIFF I feel the effect of me being out of shape when I have to run up the stairs at Roy Thompson Hall. But every year I seem to gain more weight and have a bit less energy.  Well I know better but I also have a highly stressful life trying to find work and keeping up with my blog with not a whole lot of help.  Age is creeping up with me and after a couple of falls this past couple of years and not always eating clean while going to all the food events it takes a bit of a toll and I really feel it at the end of the year when I stay home more and hibernate.

My goal this year is to try and up my cleaner, healthier food quotient.  I started my week off at work with Green Tea and a fruit and nut oatmeal and I always have a bottle of water with me to stay hydrated.  The Builder's bar is to carry with me when I am starving at work or out and about so that I have something to grab quickly.

In the winter because there are less festivals and events to go to I go back into my kitchen a lot more.  I go back to what I did way before blogging started and that is making more things like Chili, Sheppards Pie, Stews, and roasted vegetables.

I used to do a thing called veggie Sundays when I was at home with my Mom and brother.  Sundays were always a day when nothing much was happening and I would watch cooking shows on TV or get bored so I would go into the kitchen and start to cook something and then would end up cooking a whole bunch of vegetables because I was trying to use things before they spoiled or I would start to prep a vegetable and then have some left to make something else.  One thing usually turned into 3 or 4 things at least.  Even though yesterday was Saturday I did that again and made Baba Ganoush, Roasted Red Peppers in Garlic Oil, a Vegetable stock and a roasted tomato jam.  Now I have things in the fridge to make or eat quickly.

I need to get back into this habit of doing prep at least 1 morning or day on the weekend to have things ready to eat quickly during the week.   More Batch cooking for less time in the kitchen and also less cleaning up time.    Cook once eat twice or more.

Here is my 1st TIP to start your new Year Batch cooking. Make this recipe if you have these things:

Fridge Clean Stock

1 medium onion cut in quarters
1/2 of a leek, use the green parts that normally get discarded
1 to 2  carrot roughly chopped in a couple of pieces
2 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp of fresh parsley
2 to 3 celery sticks.  Use the interior or ends that you would throw out.
1 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tbsp salt - add more at the end if needed

Optional:  add garlic, parsnips, ginger or other things that will add flavour or you might want to use up.

Fill a stock pot half way with water and add the vegetables.

Bring water to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium low heat.  Cook for at least an hour or more or until all the vegetables have lost their color and are falling apart soft.

Pull out the vegetables and you could either blend them into the soup or discard for a clear stock.

Put the stock into plastic or glass containers and let cool and then put into the fridge.  You can freeze the stock in plastic containers or even in ice cube trays for instant stock to add to stir fry's etc.




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