|Detour Coffee has brought out the camper to the the Green Living Show|
Highlights of the food variety at this years Green Living Show:
There were a number of organic food delivery services on hand this year and these were two of my favourites:
What I like about this company is that, unlike many other fresh box delivery services, you can shop online for what you want, ending the box full of cabbage, carrots and potatoes week after week all winter long conundrum that often plagues these types of services. Complete your order online by Sunday night and your booty will be delivered to your doorstep at some point between the next Monday to Thursday, depending on where you live.
I also really loved about this outfit is the fact that they have a six acre urban, organic farm at Downsview Park, complete with a greenhouse. Besides growing all of this wonderful food, they alsorun tours of the farm and host events and workshops. It doesn't stop at produce either because Fresh City also partners with companies like Kozlik's Canadian Mustard, Ying Ying Soy Food, Ace Bakery and many more to bring you more than just a basic produce box.
You can choose between a veggie bag, a fruit bag, a fruit and veggie bag, there are different sized bags and you can also order recipe bags with all of the ingredients for a dish plus the recipe card that will cost your approx between $10 and $12.50/portion. Like Farm and Forks you can top up your produce bag with a plethora of other grocery items as well. In a sea of home delivery produce services, this one stands out for me mostly due to the fact that this is a true, urban farm, growing most of the produce they are sending out and serving the community in many ways.
These were a couple of the more inventive and impressive things that were totally new to me:
The absolute coolest new discovery was Flow - an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bottled water that comes from a local alkaline spring water source.
The water comes from a deep artesian aquifer in Southwestern Ontario and it is bottled pure - straight out of the earth. Don't even get me started on the packaging. It has an incredibly low carbon footprint, made from paperboard that comes from trees in managed forests with none of the resources coming from old growth trees or rainforests - 70% of the packing material comes from renewable sources which is one of the highest in the industry. Yes, we should all be just filling up our glass, reusable bottles but that is not going to happen anytime soon so, if you are going to purchase packaged water to take on the go, this is an awesome, new alternative. It's also impossibly thin, standing at only 3-5% package and 95-97% water - as Monty Python would say, it's waaaafer thin.
This is brand, spanking new, debuting this weekend at the Green Living Show and it will be available on April 10 at major stores. Starting in Toronto, Flow will also be offering a home delivery subscription based service and they will even deliver it in their eco friendly SUV.
Most importantly, the stuff tastes amazing - it tastes like fresh, unadulterated water and I think my days of driving to Buffalo to stock up on my beloved Polish Springs bottled water are numbered.
The most clever monkey award goes to Landscape designer/farmer Abbagail Jewel for her pre fab, pre planted boxed gardens. She will curate, build and deliver a ready to harvest ceder planter box. All you have to do is care for it, try not to kill everything and harvest your garden. For your $450 not only will get a 4x4 box pre planted with 16 different seedlings, but you will be provided with an inhome lesson on how to care for your new garden after they finish installing it. If you live in a condo with an oddly shaped deck or balcony, they can also build you a custom sized planter box. I think this is brilliant.
Also check out Matcha Ninja, Good Food For Good, Made Good Foods and the amazing butter from Rolling Meadow Dairy
If you get peckish, stop by the make shift food court area for some snacks and let the good people from places like Pizzeria Libretto, Stone City, Paint box and Hawthorne feed and water you.
Oh, and if your back gets sore from carrying all of your booty, stop by booth 826 and see Deborah, The Massage Lady. For $20 you will get 15 minutes of heaven in the form of a seated chair massage.
Make sure to check out My top ten food finds at this year's One of a Kind Show before you head to the show to make sure you don't miss any of these amazing offerings.
Ok, let's be frank, shall we? I am certainly no hot dog connoisseur, although I do appreciate a Nathan's All Beef charred to within an inch of it's life on the grill once or twice during the summer. In fact, I don't really feel like the BBQ season has officially begun until this happens and my preferred dressing of a good quality dog is a simple swipe of relish, spicy deli mustard and a soupçon of ketchup nestled in a toasted bun - maybe a handful of pickled chili peppers if I'm feeling feisty. When a hot dog is as tasty as a Nathan's dog, I want it to shine.
So, knowing all of this you might understand that I find many of these hot dog on steroids combos a bit challenging but I am nothing if not open minded so it was with an open mind and empty stomach that I walked into the doors of Let's Be Frank this week for a media tasting.
First off, the good. The three people behind this place are lovely. They have turned their original hot dog stand gigs at food events into a food truck and now they have a brick and mortar establishment, complete with liquor license and lots of seating in what is a pretty large restaurant, considering that it is a niche market.
|I think I could get on board with that Dorito Dog but, alas, I didn't get to try one of those|
They serve Beau's beer and, much to my surprise, I actually loved my pint of Tom Green milk stout...who knew? I don't drink a ton of beer but I know what I like and this beer has whatever it is that I like in spades.
Their Katsu dog, which I did not manage to get a decent photo of, was probably the only dog that I would order for myself and it was really well done. The coating was not too thick, was really crispy without being too greasy with just enough Katsu sauce and I am going to assume that because they were making us little sampler sized dogs to try out, that it would normally come with more of the wasabi mayo for much needed heat to balance out the sweet from the sesame bbq sauce.
I think that the corn dog was also a universal hit with the crowd, with it's tasty corn bread batter. My Kid would eat one of these in two bites while he peruses the menu.
Although the pulled pork Po Boy was pretty tasty, I would have preferred to just skip the dog and go with the pulled pork sandwich but if you are a hot dog lover, you will like this one. The hickory sticks really work and I think that, from now on, I am going to add them to every pulled pork anything I ever eat from this day forward. It's like the hot dog version of meat lover's pizza.
Okay, now the not quite so good ....got to keep it real, right?
You can order your preferred dog as a slider, a regular sized or a big dog at 8". While I love that they offer a slider for people, like me, who either don't want a large hot dog or would like to try two different flavour combos, the buns need some finesse. They use those little New England style buns that are more like a folded piece of white bread than a bun. What makes them glorious, in a lobster roll, is that they are buttered and toasted and so there is still a nice, buttery crust to hold in any juices and give a nice crunch to the sandwich - kind of like a grilled cheese treatment. Let's Be Frank doesn't toast the outsides so they are just all soft and they get kind of mushy from the sauces and condiments. It reminds me too much of my childhood when my mom would wrap my hot dog in a slice of Wonderbread and try to convince me that it was a bun. If those little buns were buttered and toasted, it would be perfect.
The unanimous opinion at our table was that the cheese curds did not behave like cheese curds but more like chunks of cheese that melted when they should have stayed firm, fell apart where they should have squeaked - cheese curd lovers know what I am talking about. The only reason to eat poutine, for me, is to enjoy that glorious squeak of the curds with every bite because otherwise it's just fries and gravy with some cheese thrown in to mush things up.
I might be alone in this, but I like to be able to eat things without them falling apart on me and some of the hot dog combos were just too overloaded with toppings and they fell apart at the first bite, forcing me to take a bite and then use my fingers to scoop up toppings from the basket and shove those into my mouth before chewing, the Katsu dog being the exception.
I would absolutely go back but I would most likely go for a great quality naked dog with my preferred condiments or maybe a Katsu dog and stick to the plain yukon gold fries, passing on the poutine.
Lets Be Frank is open til 2am on Thursdays and it just says "late" on Friday and Saturdays, so they stay open later than 2am on the weekends. I imagine that once the El Mocambo reopens, they will do steady late night/wee hours business since, lets be honest, a pulled pork hotdog with hickory sticks is the epitome of past your bedtime drunk food.