Last Friday, we couldn't agree on a place to eat dinner and found ourselves driving around aimlessly when it hit me - Aprile Bambina Cucina ! Shack will never say no their grilled caesar salad so when we can't figure out what we want to eat, this is one of those places that always solves our dilemma. It was almost full when we got there so it was lively enough to give it a nice, festive atmosphere but not so packed that we couldn't get in without a wait. Shack had the grilled caesar salad, as always, and it was just as delicious as ever. I think I have talked about it before but it really is so tasty. I love the smokiness that you get from the slight char on the wedge of romaine, then comes the saltiness of the crisp disc of pancetta, follwed by the creaminess tartness of the salad dressing and finished off with the crunch of the toasted slice of bread. LOVE
I almost didn't order the tomato basil soup because it sounded kind of boring but I really wanted soup so I went for it and I was very happy that I did. The soup comes in a really big bowl, which is refreshing, and it was rich and creamy and very satisfying, indeed. It wasn't my choice to share the spicy sausage pizza, to be honest. Their pizza is good enough but I am forever spoiled by Libretto and since I am not a huge pizza person to begin with, it's not something I would ever order anywhere else. Shack really liked it because he just loves pizza and, like I said, it's a good pizza, just not my thing. Service was great, the place was warm and toasty and we had a really nice dinner. I keep hearing that this place gets some bad reviews but I don't get it. To me, it's THE perfect neighbourhood spot that you can go back to again and again. Sure, if I want really great Italian, I am going to go elsewhere for consistently tasty food, nice, well priced wine, adorable decor, homey atmosphere and friendly service that isn't going to break the bank, this is what you are looking for. Like The Wren, if this place was a km from my house, I would eat here every week.
Saturday, we forced The Kid to get out of bed, get dressed and come out for lunch with us. He grumbled about it right up until we walked into Porchetta and Co and he was overcome with the aroma of toasty pig. We all got our porchetta sandwich dressed to our own liking- mine was Porchetta, mustard, truffle sauce, hot sauce but next time I am going to try adding shaved parmesan to turn it into absolute pork perfection. Happy people eating delicious pork on the incredible portuguese buns from Caldense Bakery, across the street. Happy.
Speaking of Caldense Bakery , we popped over there after we inhaled our porchetta "sangwitches" for a coffee and some dessert. I do not possess the ability to turn my back on a portuguese egg tart and I do love the egg tarts at Caldense. Shack tried the bolo de arroz, a lovely little rice cake. These things are always shaped kind of like a tall, thin muffin (no muffin top here sister) with a little wax paper wrapper and it is as charming to look at as it delicious to eat. Don't let the whole rice cake thing fool you because these little cakes are the bomb. They are tender and moist and sweet and sit somewhere between a sweet muffin and a cake with nothing but a sugar dusted lid. So good. The Kid chose some sort of vaguely black forest cake like thing and was not as happy as the two of us were with his dessert. I tried to warn him to choose more wisely and to listen to his mother and stick to a more traditional Portuguese confection but, like all teen agers, he did not. Oh well, sucks to be him.
|all that was left of our dessert feast when we were done|
|filed under WTF, The Kid announced "this would be a great place for a casual date"|
|something that looked like black forest cake|
|Portuguese egg tart or heart of my heart|
Sunday meant the start of a mild kitchen reno and we took down all of the cupboard doors, primed half of them and generally made a huge mess of the kitchen. This required a run to The Sultan. For under $20 we all eat till we have to undo the top button of our pants and usually have enough leftover to send in The Kid's lunchbag. As always, I get the vegetarian plate with some of the crispiest, freshest falafel that you are ever going to see in the east end, lots of crispy pickled things, salad, roasted veg, addictive garlic sauce, hummus and hot sauce. It's all just incredibly fresh and I can't get enough of it. The boys had sandwiches, a falafel and a chicken shwarma. I asked them if they were enjoying them but they both had a mouth full of food and were too busy eating to talk to me. I will take that as a yes.
On Tuesday, we were still in the throws of kitchen fixing and for a change, we order thai from Jatujak, a newish thai restaurant on Kingston Road at Warden in Scarborough. I had lunch there a couple of weeks ago and was looking forward to an excuse to order take out. It came really quickly, probably half an hour after I hung up the phone and the food was hot, the pad thai wasn't all gummy and stuck together the way that take out pad thai can be and their green curry is like crack to me. It is one of those dishes that I just keep eating even after I am clearly too full to be eating more food. I am really exited about this new option for thai home delivery in my 'hood and this is definitely my new go to.
Now,here it is Wednesday already. The floor was being put down and I had to go to work to do makeup on an actress so I left the boys to fend for themselves. Instead, they came to pick me up after work and we went for a late supper at The Wren. Again. I know. It's a problem but I can't help myself, I just like this place so much! This time I tried the wings and I loved them. They serve them dry -lightly breaded and fried and the sauce of your choosing on the side. They will toss them if you ask but I wanted to eat them the way they like to serve them so I got them dry with chimichurri. They were nice and crispy and were actually very big, meaty wings for a change. I love wings but I get sick of ordering wings and feeling like I might as well just order deep fried chicken skin tossed in sauce so I was very happy that this was not the case. Shack had the burger, which he deemed quite good and The Kid had the chimichanga. I assume he loved it because it lasted about 3 minutes on his plate. The chimichanga has been ordered by someone at the table every single time I have eaten there so take that under advisement.
|pulled pork croquettes|
Not a ton of cooking going on this week due to the kitchen spruce-a-thon but here is my new floor at long last.
A trip to Target for hamburger buns. The buns must have been code for new kitchen mat, door hangy towel rack and new black hand towel. I also bought a couple really nice baskets to go on top of my fridge. I live a very cluttered life and we have a very tiny kitchen and now that I have been forced to remove all of my crap and prune, I don't want to go back to the same degree of clutter and so I am going to try to live more like a grown up and I thought baskets would be a good place to start.
|the cupboard doors are just partially primed - they aren't going to look like that when we are done|
As a pilot project, they have started with this Exclusive Offer deal which is a good wine selected by top wine critics at exclusive prices (hence, Exclusive Offer) , ordered online and delivered to your door. These are all wines that aren't available at the LCBO and the deals are anywhere between $5 and $10 off of their usual sticker price if you were to buy them directly from the winery.
So, this week's wine deal for those of you who are in Ontario is the 2012 Lailey Canadian Oak Chardonnay for $19.20 a bottle. It sells for $25.20 at the winery so it's a steal to order it from Kwaf. I thought that the perfect thing to serve with this nice, lightly oaked white would be my spicy cheddar shortbread since the holidays are almost upon us and these buttery little savoury shortbread are a staple in my freezer in December and they a perfect complement to the wine.
So, onto the weekly picks:
Pin of the week: because Gnocchi, short ribs and cheese
Facebook share of the week: I will never stop trying to make brussels sprouts happen
Instagram of the week: such a nice shot
Food find: scroll down to the pic of the knives stored in what looks like bamboo skewers jammed into a vase...what??
Tweet of the week:
Someone make me these: Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs: http://t.co/Lo2k9YyynJ #DontForgetTheRadishes”
— carole nelson brown (@SMmamashack) November 19, 2013