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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Week in Yum Nov 8-14 Crack Smoking Mayors, BBQ Ribs and The Wren, Oh My!

Korean sweet red bean cake

Okay, lets talk about the drunken, crack smoking, sexual bearcat in the room for all of us here in Toronto. Mayor McCracken, Rob Ford,  has dominated every second of news coverage all around the world, every late night comedy show and every inch of newspaper coverage. It is on everyone's minds and although I understand that there are still people who stand behind this inarticulate bully for reasons unknown to anyone I know, I vacillate between gleeful amusement and embarrassment and pity for this sad sack of a man and the family who are enabling him instead of forcing him to get help for his glaringly obvious trainwreck of a life. His most recent remarks about his sexual diet were almost enough to put me off sex AND eating for the rest of my days and it is nothing short of a miracle that can manage to do either of those things again. Thank god I am approaching 50 and can barely remember where I left my purse, never mind the fact that Mr Ford is getting enough to eat at home.

Moving on.




The week started out with a trip to The Galleria, our friendly, neighbourhood Korean supermarket with two of our MVP's for some Korean fried chicken, dumplings, some sort of spicy noodle dish and the weirdest donuts I have ever had. It said that they were Cream Donuts but it was like a damp donut that had been soaked in cream and, perhaps, rolled in cake crumbs. It might not sound appetizing but it was shockingly delicious. This is becoming a weekly trip for us and I am A-Okay with that.

If anyone knows what the hell these cream donuts are, please let us know

fried chicken and dumplings from The Galleria




Guacamole at The Wren

Sunday,  it was back to The Wren with friends. Okay, so that makes 3 trips in one week which might mean I have a problem but I am choosing to not dwell on such things. I am really loving this place so much even though I didn't love the pumpkin mole with chicken that I ordered. It wasn't bad, by any means, it was just not fantastic. The pulled pork chimichanga, jalapeño wings and braised beef that the boys ordered were clearly loved and inhaled. I have actually never seen anyone eat a giant chimichanga this quickly to be honest. We shared guacamole and the pulled pork croquettes and it took everything in me to not stab my table mates with a fork so that I could steal theirs off of their plates. Crispy and hot on the outside and soft and delicious pork on the inside - these could be the perfect bar food ever invented. I wish I could get better pictures of the food for you but it's just too dark in there and everyone refuses to respect the NO TOUCHING UNTIL I HAVE TAKEN A DECENT PHOTO rule.






On Tuesday, I enjoyed tasty greek food, wine and some phyllo pulling at the cookbook launch for The Everything Mediterranean Cookbook written by Peter Minaki, who's food blog,  Kalofaga , has served as inspiration to me and countless others for years. It was a really fun, joyful event, full of family, friends and supporters to celebrate this man and his passion for the food of his heritage. I was thrilled to run into my blogging buddy, fellow gastroposter and frequent dinner date , Libby Roach. We both washed our hands and totally intended to pull some phyllo with Peter but I underestimated how popular this activity was going to be so, instead, we got to watch a bunch of other people attempt to do try their hand at this delicate endeavour. It is NOT as easy as Peter makes it look so I am kind of happy that I didn't get a turn because I am not sure my manhands were up to the task. I was much happier eating the Strifti Spanakopita (spiral phyllo pies) than making a fool out of myself in public by trying to make them. I came home with his new book and will enjoy trying out the recipes that bring back memories from my time living and working in Athens.





now THAT'S a mug o' wine
On Wednesday I taught a workshop on hygiene and grooming to a group of preteens and so I thought I deserved a giant platter of smoked things after it wrapped up. I met Shack and The Kid at Hogtown Smoke, our newest gem in the Beach, for some pulled pork and whatever else they were dragging out of the smoker that day. I took a sampler platter home the very first day that they opened to the public but this was our first sit down visit. I got there at around 6pm and the couple in front of me snagged the last table. Let me just say that they are lucky that they looked pretty nice because I was seriously contemplating clotheslining them both so that I could get that table. It all worked out in the end because by the time the boys got there, our table was almost vacated by the previous tenants and we only had time to order a drink before settling in at our table. Let me start by saying a guy who pours my beautiful shiraz into a jam jar (and filling the thing half way up) is the wind beneath my wings. The Kid, who is still gavaging, ordered the 2lb poutine with pulled pork and I am disgusted to report that he ate the entire thing. It was delicious but no human should consume a 2 lb platter of fries, gravy, cheese and pulled pork by himself, especially when that human barely weighs 125 lbs soaking wet. These guys are making the jump from food truck service to full table service and so it's a bit of a bumpy ride at times but they will get the hang of it soon enough. They certainly don't lack any enthusiasm for good service and everyone there appears to really care about their customers which goes a very long way with me. It's not their fault that people are over the moon about our newest restaurant here in The Beach and are eager to try to it all at once. I am confident that they will work out any service bumps (and they aren't big bumps, just nit picky little things like cleaning the table quickly, forgetting water etc - nothing big). The food, once ordered, came quickly, it was hot and delicious and gobbled up by everyone in the place. I did not see much uneaten food being cleared at the end of everyone's meal which means that plates were being cleaned which means that the food was enjoyed which means that people will return which means that they will stay which means that I am a happy girl.



Shack and I shared the sampler platter for two that lets you pick 3 meats and 3 sides for about $45. We chose pulled pork, pork ribs, smoked wings, baked beans, creamy slaw and the chili. I am not sure I would order the wings again, not because they weren't tasty, but I prefer my wings to be crispy and I have trouble choking down wiggly skin and if I find myself pulling off the skin, I would rather eat a meaty thigh. For me , the whole point of the wing IS the crispy skin. The pulled pork is very good too but if I had to pick a favourite thing, it would be the ribs. I am a sucker for a smoky, saucy pork rib and because I don't eat them often, it's always a really special treat. It's so great to see the place packed every night that I don't even mind the lineups although I have heard that the wait can be well over an hour on the weekend. Luckily I live close enough to the restaurant that I can stick to mid week dinners and lunches until the hype dies down a bit.


this peanut chipotle sauce is highly addictive


Thursday saw me attending a screening of Saving Mr Banks so dinner was comprised of appetizers like lobster croquettes, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, red wine and buttered popcorn. Dinner of Champions in my book.


My pin of the week:  this chicken laksa makes me want to swim in it

My facebook share of the week: as always, a sucker for a pavlova

My instagram of the week:  delicious looking isn't it?

My food find of the week:  Wouldn't this make a great gift using a beloved family recipe?

Tweet of the week: