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The Week in Yum Aug 9-15 The County General, PanAm Food Fest, Patois and Sauvignon Bistro

brunch at The County Cocktail

Saturday was the first day of the Pan American Food Festival so I didn't want to eat anything heavy for breakfast or lunch. I had a night of eating tamales ahead of me and I had to keep my game stomach on so I passed on going to The Wren. I love the Wren, as you all know, but all of the dishes are pretty heavy and I generally make that my meal of the day when I brunch there so I talked the boys into trying someplace new.

At the County General Riverside, they have an Albacore Tuna Nicoise that is chock full of sous vide tuna, crisp bean beans, pistou and potatoes that makes me want to dance in the street. I, quite literally, licked my plate clean which made up for the fact that Shack sent his croque madame back because he deemed it far too dijony. I thought it tasted just fine but he is, as we know, my picky toddler. I can't wait to go back for more salad nicoise and leave him at home to watch F1 and eat chips and dip.

PanAm Food Fest

Trade Commissioner of Peru Jose Luis Peroni, Peruvian Chef Roger Arakaki and culinary curator of the event, Mary Luz Mejia 

The 2nd annual Pan American Food Festival was last weekend and I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening there. I sat in on a few chef demos, I ate tacos and ceviche and joined in on the Totalmente Tamale competition, eating and then voting for my favourite tamale.

Representing Chile was Chef Cristian Heise from the Empanada Shop with his Paella Tamale. It was a combo of quinoa and masa and stuffed with braised short rib, smoked chorizo, stewed chicken thigh and tiger shrimp and served with a really nice salsa verde. This one got my vote for most tender masa.

That  little, orange oval up there was my overall favourite though. It was a Duck and Chicken Confit with Smoked Pork Belly Tamale from Panama's Chef Rossy Earle. It was, hand's down, the most tender, moist tamale I have ever tasted and the kiss of chipotle made it just spicy enough to tickle the tastebuds without burning the old esophagus. My only criticism would be that it was too small and there should have been half a dozen of them on my plate. 

Other contestants were:
Chef Claudia Gaviria from Cruda Cafe representing Latin America with a raw, vegan tamale

Paula Solorzano from Santo Pecado Catering representing Mexico with a Toasted Pecan and Chocolate Tamale

The delightfully named Cookie Martinez doing Columbia proud with her Colombian Pork Tamale

Last, but certainly not least, we had the dancing fool, from Venezuelan Hallacas with a Sabrosito Style Tamale, Chef Carlos Fuenmayor.

There were quite a number of food vendors serving up all sorts of exotic fare, food trucks, a patio bar manned by Valdez, some dancing workshops and a pisco tasting on Saturday night so lots of stuff for everyone.

I had a blast, ate some amazing food and will definitely be going back next year (I might even volunteer if they promise to pay me in food)

scallop ceviche from Valdez

the beautiful colours of South America

tacos from Santo Pecado Catering

More deliciousness from Santo Pecado


The Whole Shebang at Patois
On Monday we took The Neighbours and their niece, who is like our adopted niece, to Patois to celebrate her birthday. Since it was a special occasion, we not only ordered the Whole Shebang (everything on the regular menu for $99), we also got all of the specials so you could say we got the WHOLE DAMNED SHEBANG.

When I say the whole menu, I mean the whole menu. The $99 dollar version, which feeds four hungry people (or three veeeerrrry hungry people) comes with 1/2 order of OG Chicken and 1/2 order of Juicy Jerk but for an extra $12 (Yardbird upgrade) you can bump that up to a full order of both. We were 6 hungry people and went for the Yardbird upgrade, plus a jerk chicken chow mein, a beef with broccoli dish and my absolute favourite thing, Crispy Nori Green Beans with Miso Dressing and everyone had to be rolled out of the joint on a fridge dolly but man, we were all happy campers. As my friend, Rhonda from Olive and Ruby says about Patois "WEAR YOUR DRAWSTRING PANTS!"

As always, the fried chicken was the bomb but this time, I couldn't choose between the Juicy Jerk Chicken and the Fried if I were forced to choose a favourite. We all took a bite of the pineapple bun burger and the double down but the surprise star of the show for everyone was the OG Fried Cauliflower - everyone said if they were going to order ONE more thing, like that could even happen at the that point, it would have been the cauliflower - vegetarians rejoice!

Taking a cue from the famous "special tea" you can get at many chinatown haunts in the wee hours, Patois gives you the option of ordering your cocktail of choice in bulk for $35

Sauvignon Bistro

a lovely dinner at Sauvignon
 I don't know why we never go to Sauvignon. It's basically in the Beach, it has not one but two fabulous patios and it's charming as all get out but for some reason, we never think of it when wracking our brains to come up with someplace different for dinner. I had a great meal earlier in the summer and so when I found out that this was going to be the place that some of my friends had chosen for one of our dinners, I was really happy to try it again.

Unfortunately, despite being mid August, it was freezing outside so both patios sat empty while we all huddled together inside, wearing sweaters and fall jackets and pining for squash soup and turkey dinner. Instead, we ordered some lovely wine and the Poached Nova Scotia Lobster Salad and we slowly warmed up and everyone started to feel festive and summery again. The salad has an alarming amount of rich, buttery lobster despite only costing $14. Lots of new potatoes, cucumbers and a nice citrus aioli make it hearty enough for a main, especially if you round it out with an order or two of their crispy frites.

I am going to make a concerted effort to visit this bistro more often and you should too.

The week ended with my What's For Dinner class at Loblaws. I was given a recipe for an Italian Egg Drop Soup that was full of kale and chickpeas so I thought the ladies would like a dessert. It was supposed to be this frozen, berry concoction that should have had the texture of soft serve ice cream but I took the sherbert and ice cream out of the freezer a bit too early and they both softened up too much, resulting in more of a thick smoothie. I was about to apologize for messing it up when I noticed that all of the ladies were doing that thing you did as a kid when you tip your head way back and shake the glass out onto your outstretched tongue to get the last dregs of a milkshake.

at my Loblaws "What's for Dinner" class I let the ladies have dessert before soup because I know how to make friends

Pin of the week: Don't you just want to eat the screen?

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