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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Week in Yum Oct 10-17the - La MexiCanada, Feed Tomorrow Week, Nuit Blanche and Tilde Tacos



Pretty much the only interesting things we saw all night at this years Nuit Blanche



We had so much fun last year at Nuit Blanche that we stayed out til the wee hours, just wandering the downtown core, looking at all of the cool stuff and enjoying being out in the city while it was alive and bustling and full of life. It was like falling in love with the city all over again and all year, we have looked forward to going back. On Saturday night, we bundled up, hopped on the subway with our $11 special events pass and hoofed it down to University and Queen. 


I am sorry to report that it didn't even feel like the same event. Shack thought it appeared that the job of curating the event had fallen into the hands of one of the account managers this year. There was nothing even close to last year's Ai WeiWei's amazing bicycle piece at Nathan Philip's Square. Things were on a much smaller scale and it was impossible to get close enough to see most things. After four hours, I was left with nothing but really sore feet and a headache from all of the screaming drunk kids. Those stairs at Fort York were cooler than any of the actual installments and the guys with the colourful heads giving out the disease juice were fun at least.

FBC Weekly Meal Plan with Yours Truly


Oh yeah, check out my weekly food plan over at Food Bloggers of Canada. They let a featured blogger plan a week's worth of dinners, comprised of recipes from their blogs. Anyone who knows me, knows that planning ahead is not really my forte but I managed to pull one together and I am toying with the idea of starting to do a little bit of planning ahead myself this winter as a result. I said I am toying with the idea, so settle down.

Some very tasty poutine at the hot counter at the new Whole Foods at Yonge and Sheppard
On Sunday we took a spin to check out the new Whole Foods on Yonge at Sheppard and it is a really nice store. The prices were not as bad as expected and, in fact, I got a couple of really great deals and the food at the hot counter looked great. The poutine, at $7, was huge, fresh and tasty. It's still no Trader Joe, but I'll take it.


La MexiCanada


Shack and I took a drive out the Holland Marsh and stopped in at Mexicanada  for lunch while passing through Bradford, Ontario. The restaurant was originally opened to service all of the Mexican migrant workers who come to work in the Marsh. They were homesick and wanted to eat food that was familiar and comforting so a restaurant was born. Because the food is so great, it soon became popular with the local residents too, serving fresh, authentic Mexican food to happy customers.

We had not been for some time so I was thrilled to see that they have done some renovations since my last visit and the place seems to be almost twice as big with a bright, airy addition in the back.
On this visit we had guacamole and chips ($6.95), tortilla soup ($6.50), five mixed, soft tacos($9.95) and something off the new menu called Choriqueso (($8.95). The Choriqueso was tasty but a bit on the dry side but it was really big and rich and so it would certainly serve a few people as an app. The only thing I wouldn't order again was the soup. I am not sure why a bowl of tomato broth with a ton of crispy fried corn tortilla strips costs almost $7 and I am not saying it was bad. It was just too much tortilla strips, not enough substance to the soup and too expensive for what it was.

That said, the guacamole with chips was delicious and a great price, the five tacos (beef, pork and chicken) were simple and delicious, the service is slow but warm and friendly and I love it there. Don't come here looking for fancy, designer, downtown tacos or upscale Mexican cuisine because it's not about that. The food is simple, fresh and delicious and, although I have only ever been for lunch, I get the impression that can be quite lively in the evenings.


La MexiCanada on Urbanspoon 




Second to last week for the Fairmount Farmers Market resulted in those gorgeous radishes and golden turnips

Feed Tomorrow Week

inspiring kids from the 3:30 club, a volunteer mom who feeds over 2000 kids every day at Thorncliff Park PS at the launch
Food publicist, writer and all around superwoman, Mary Luz Mejia always invites me to the best events. When she asked if I would like to partake in some of the things happening to promote Feed Tomorrow week, I was thrilled. I know, I know, I write about delicious food, I photograph it, I eat it in restaurants, I cook it at home and I travel to eat some more but I am also a mother. The fact that 1 in 3 children here live in poverty and at some of Toronto's schools, up to 70% of the students live below the poverty level makes me stand up and take notice.

The Toronto Foundation for Student Success, or TFSS, helps students in need by dealing with issues of poverty, hunger, poor nutrition and the effects that those things also have on a child's ability to learn. Study after study shows that when children are being fed nutritious food, their test scores improve noticeably, especially in math and science. Not only are hungry kids too busy being hungry to learn, our brains cannot function without fuel.

The TSFF supports over 700 breakfast, lunch and snack programs, providing more than 160,000 meals a day within the TDSB. I am particularly interested in the 3:30 program that keeps more than 1200 middle schoolers in high risk areas safe and engaged from 3:30 to 6:30 every day. All of our servers and kitchen helpers throughout the two days of events I attended were 3:30 club kids and they were an engaged and enthusiastic bunch of kids.
Sang Kim hosted the launch at his restaurant, The WindUp Bird Cafe, where we heard from various speakers, people on the board of directors as well as a parent volunteer and some students.

Rifat Khan is a mom who moved to Canada almost a decade ago and although she no longer has kids in elementary school, she is still active in the system and is now the parent coordinator of the meal program at Thorncliff Park School. Here, she and her merry band of about 30 parent volunteers feed over 2000 kids a day. Yes, you heard me. There are 1400 children between grades 1 and 5 and then there are 700 full time kindergarten students at the attached Fraser Mustard Kindergarten Academy, which makes it the largest in North America. Oh, and they do it twice a day since Thorncliff Park has both a breakfast AND a snack program. That means they make over 4000 meals day. I am exhausted just saying that.



On Thursday our big group of sponsors, media and supporters met up at the St Lawrence Market Kitchen for a quick coffee before boarding a yellow school bus to take us first to Nelson Mandela School where we were introduced to some of the teachers and kids and heard a bit about their breakfast program. The TFSS was presented with a giant cheque for $658,000 from the Breakfast Club of Canada while we were there which was a very large cheque, both figuratively and literally.

Back on the bus and off to Spruce Court, a Toronto Model School where another benefactor, Glen Haddon of the Haddon Family Foundation, handed out another giant cheque for $150,000 to TFSS. We were divided up into small groups and were joined by students who took us back to their classrooms with their snack box where they chatted with us, showed us their classroom and answered questions about themselves, their school, what sort of things they like to eat and how much they LOOOOVE snack time. After big hugs all around, we hopped back on our yellow school bus to return the the market for our big, group Sushi Making For The Soul Class with award winning writer, chef, restaurateur and TedX speaker, Sang Kim. 

 

I had taken The Kid to a children's class at Sang's restaurant,  The Windup Bird Cafe a couple of weeks ago and so it was my turn to take the class with the adults. Sang, a tireless advocate for food security, especially for children, uses his sushi class to teach lessons about poverty, hunger, compassion and love. We learn a bit of sushi trivia, some techniques to improve our rolls and leave with a little extra something to chew on for the rest of the day. If you have never attended one of his classes, you must check it out. 
Click here for more info
For more information about TFSS and how you can get involved, click here

Tilde Taco


We ended the week with a trip out to Danforth and Pape to have some tacos at a new spot I keep hearing about called Tilde Taco . The place is long and narrow, and surprisingly well lit, so I was pretty happy as soon as we walked in the door. I know that most people might not care about that but I always want to take a couple of decent photos to share with you guys AND unless I am on a romantic date where it is important that I am lit by the flickering light of tea lights filtered through the finest baby angel hair, I like to see what I am eating. Two of my pet peeves are music played so loudly that I can't have a conversation and lightening that is so dark that I can't tell if I am eating steak or flourless chocolate cake.


The wines by the glass are offered by the oz, which is something I am seeing more and more and I heartily approve. As much as I appreciate a generous pour, sometimes I don't want 2 nine ounce glasses and at $1/oz, I can get just another couple of ounces as a second glass. I can't tell you how much I love this option. It's also a great way to see if you even like it enough to have an entire glass.

We shared some guacamole while we perused the menu and was relieved to see that it was really tasty, fresh and it had some texture. Lately, everyone seems to be pureeing their guacamole and I don't get it - I am always slightly suspect of pureed guacamole, much like the fact that I don't trust people who don't like bacon. Irrational, perhaps but I find that it works for me. I like a fork mashed guacamole and this one was very nice. The chips seem to be fried in house as opposed to bagged, commercial chips, another score.

We had an array of the tacos off of the regular menu and we loved a couple and a couple were not as beloved, as is to be expected from a brand new place. Highs were the Bengali Fish, the Korean Chicken and The Manchurian Mushroom Tostada and, of course, that guacamole. We will definitely be back  to taste more of engineer turned chef, Gauravi Shah's food as the restaurant finds it's sea legs. I am sure this is not the last you will hear about Tilde from me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends. Now, go eat some turkey!


So, coming up:


Hurry up and get tickets to The Delicious Food Show Oct 17-19 and catch some of the hands on cooking workshops in the Sub Zero Wolf Classrooms

BlogTo's list of restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner

There is Chocolate High Tea happening from Friday to Sunday starting this weekend and ending Nov 2 at the Omni King Edward Hotel. The $45 lunch ($5 of that is a donation in support of the prostate and breast cancer initiatives program) will get you an array of savoury sandwiches, chocolates and chocolate pastries and their special blend chocolate teas. Take your mother.

I bought this gadget in the gift shop of the AGO. It is a peeler that has two extra blades - one to julienne and one to do that serrated cut up there. LOVE IT. It's a rotary peeper by Joseph Joseph


Pin of the week: hone your culinary samurai skills

Instagram of the week: This guy's feed is worth a look see

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