Search This Blog

The Week in Yum - Ascari, Pukka

beautiful welcome cocktail of prosecco with pomegranate at Pukka

Ascari Enoteca
The Kid had a sleepover on Saturday night so Shack and I were lucky and loose, once again. Originally intending to go out clubbing ALL NIGHT, we ended up taking cab to Leslieville with the intention of popping into Goods and Provisions at long last. We walked in the door and turned right around and walked back out. Honestly, how the hell can people hear themselves think when it's that loud? Never mind hold an actual conversation with another human being. Maybe I am just getting old and cranky but I just can't do it. I am sure the food is wonderful and the libations delightful but if I wanted to blow my brains out with super loud music, at least I will pick my own playlist. 

We passed Glas wine bar and stopped to read the menu but Shack poo pooed that too and I feared that our night was going downhill fast when I spied Ascari Enoteca across the street. We first dined at Ascari when it was a brand new restaurant back in 2012 (you can read my review here ) and since the only real way to Shack's heart is through a great bowl of pasta, I knew this was the way to go. Because it was crowded (It was now almost 9pm on Saturday, after all) we sat at the bar, which is our preference anyway. 

I started off with a glass of prosecco and Shack got a glass of some sort of Italian red. I am ashamed to admit that I forgot to write it down because it was very good and I would like to have it again. Because I also knew that he had been craving carbonara for a couple of weeks, we ordered that immediately, as well as rabbit arancini, the salumi plate and some hen of the woods mushrooms in a light broth with a poached egg on top. This is the second time in a couple of weeks that I have seen rabbit arancini on a menu so it must be a thing and that is something that I am not going to argue about. It was a great little crispy ball of bunny and the salumi plate was the perfect size with a nice little trio of meats to amuse and delight but those mushrooms were my favourite thing of all. If you would have given me that plopped on a little bit of pasta I could have skipped the rest and called it a night but Shack needed his carbonara. 

Because we told our lovely bartender that we would be sharing it, he had the kitchen split the order into two little bowls, each with it's own raw yolk perched on top, waiting to be stirred into the hot pasta. I was actually pretty full from our apps so I ate half of my portion and slid the rest over to Shack. This is love, people.

With the intention of catching the streetcar up to the subway so we could have a nightcap at The Wren, we ended up at the corner of Broadview and Queen just in time to experience a little gaggle of drunk girls fighting. As charming as they were, the fact that my handy TTC app told me that the King car was still about 7 or 8 minutes away but the car back to The Beach was coming up in about 1 minute, we hopped on the Queen car and made our way back home instead. 

Clubbing all night, indeed.

so rare that I can get great pictures at one of these events

Filed under starting my week off with a bang: Fellow blogger, momwhoruns, invited me to a media event a new restaurant that has been getting a lot of good buzz in the west end called Pukka, a hot, new restaurant serving fresh, modern Indian food with a kick ass little wine list full of unexpected treasures. I know, I know, you think that if you are eating Indian it's either beer or maybe a safe, riesling but you are dead wrong. Co owner, Derek Valleau is a sommelier in his own right and he has collaborated with his long time friend, wine man about town, Scaramouche sommelier Peter Boyd.

Boyd comes in one day a month to head up a wine event for a very reasonable $50 a person and I love that they warn you, right up front, that it's going to get boozy so don't drive. 

You can find a full review here but let me tell you, this place is great and if you live in the west end, this place (on St Clair W of Bathurst) should go into your regular rotation. If I didn't have to take a bus, two subway trains and a streetcar to get there, I would be going back by the end of the weekend.

indian that is beautifully plates, delicious and really great, unexpected wines to go with

Props to Vicky at momwhoruns for organizing one of the best media events I have attended in a long while. Not only were both owners and the resident wine guru in attendance and eager to answer all of our questions, she had them plate up each dish specifically for photographing. The beautiful plates were lined up right beside the window and we all descended on them like a pack of starving piranhas

From the welcome glass of prosecco with pomegranate to a little trio of desserts and a cup of fragrant chai tea, it was a lovely evening and a meal that I would have happily paid for.

At that little media dinner I had the good fortune to meet Adam Waxman who is the publisher of a brand new magazine called Dine Travels. It's a new offshoot of the popular Dine Magazine , published my his mother Sara, and he invited me to the launch party that very week. My invite included a +1 so, of course, I dragged along the lovely Robyn, of Planet Byn to the rooftop bar at The Thompson Hotel. Bowls of crab legs, oysters and huge shrimps on one side of the bar and long platters of giant hunks of beautiful cheese and charcuterie on the other provided me with my bloggers dinner of bites and cocktails. We met some great new people who I think will provide me with some fun new experiences to write about in the coming days and we had a great time. The magazine will come out yearly and it's a really beautiful, big, glossy thing full of interesting articles and nice photography.

As far as the rooftop bar at The Thompson Hotel, I will most certainly be dragging Shack back there for a cocktail as soon as the weather warms up. It is beautiful with stunning views of the city and even though I am not quite fabulous enough for such a place, I am hoping Shack's coolness will make up for it.

So, I am hoping to start teaching cooking classes at the Loblaws Cooking School and since my very first "What's For Dinner" demo is coming up, I decided to go catch a class and see what it's all about. When I got there I was thrilled to bump into my friend, Andrew, who is also going to teach a What's For Dinner class this month!  It's a good thing I went as well because, as it turns out, Loblaws and I had the dates messed up and so I decided to stick with the date that they had me booked for. This means that I am no longer doing the June 5 class. I am now going to conduct the May 29 class, same bat time, same bat cave. If you want to come and heckle me, here is the info on booking a spot.

Andrew and I sampling the competition's fare
Some fun things coming up for Toronto area peeps:

26 Niagara Region Wineries participate in this event that will take place every weekend in May, Friday to Sunday. You get to winery hop and taste grilled foods paired with tasty wines for the cost of a $43 dollar pass that is good for every weekend

Chocolate Dinner
A dinner for chocoholics everywhere is happening on Thursday May 9 at Boccone, 1378 Yonge st. For $130 (25% of proceeds go to Second Harvest) Patissier Eyal Liebman will thrill you with 6 courses of his culinary creations while his sommelier wife, Rebecca Mer pairs each course with wines from Henry of Pelham

Facebook share of the week: I truly will die of kitchen envy one day

Tweet of the week: 

Featured Post

Lobster Fondue Mac with Crispy Bacon and A Giveaway from duBreton

I don't trust people who don't love bacon. Even my friends who don't eat meat will admit that the smell of frying bacon is ...