Search This Blog

The Week in Yum Oct 23-30 Pukka and Chiptole's Boorito to Benefit Second Harvest.

Tandoori Calamari from Pukka

Saturday night was the first cooking demo in my "Not Your Grandmother's Rutabaga" Series at The Kingston Social

Mumbai Sour
My week started off the way I like my week to start off - with dinner at Pukka. Along with a gaggle of food bloggers, I was invited to have dinner there to sample a couple of old favourites and a bunch of new menu items, just in time for fall.  In case you have forgotten, you can refresh your memory here, when I gave the restaurant a full review after my first visit. I was super excited about the place then and nothing has changed. I LOVE this place.

The first dish we tried was a Tandoori Calamari served with Coconut Chutney and Citrus Slaw, which everyone at the table loved. We had all eaten the Herb Infused Chicken Tikka before but that didn't prevent a fork fight over the last, tender morsels. Pretty, bright green chicken that is soft enough to cut with a spoon is served with a smear of Tamarind Chutney - this is not a spicy dish but it is brimming with bright, herbaceous goodness.

String Chat also made my heart sing - almost a salad full of apple, crispy, puffed rice, pomegranate seeds, sprouts, yogurt and chutney - I can't believe this was the first time I was trying this as they say that it is one of their most popular dishes.  

Boatman's Fish and Prawn Curry, Punjabi Chicken and spicy Beef Short Ribs with Black Cumin, Garlic and Ginger Masala were all more traditional Indian dishes and all were fabulous. The one dish that took everyone by surprise was the Pumpkin Curry. A rich, creamy vegetarian curry made with Kashmiri Chili, Curry Leaves and Tomato, everyone was pleasantly surprised  and more than one person decided that this was their favourite dish of the night. I will admit that the name does not do this particular dish justice and they might want to come up with something with a little more panache.

Cocktails were great (I had the Mumbai Sour - Bombay Sapphire Gin, Aperol, grapefruit, cardamom  bitters with a frothy, egg white cap) but the real star at Pukka is the wine list.  Rock Star sommelier, Peter Boyd, never fails to thrill with his risk taking wine pairings.

Yes, it was a media dinner so it was all free but Pukka is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in the city and its most certainly my very favourite Indian restaurant and i eat there as often as I can and  you should too.

Pukka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On a personal note, Trish, a hair magician from Textur Studio in East End Toronto managed to get me from faded out purple with grey roots to THIS in one afternoon and for this, I will love her forever and if I weren't too old to have a baby, I would give her my second born.

We closed out the week with a visit to our home away from home, The Wren.

For those of you who will be out boozing around in costume, hopping from party to party, Chipotle is going to donate some of the the proceeds from the sale of $3 burritos and other menu items to Second Harvest.

This year’s BooRito event theme is centered around the “unnecessary” to bring awareness to how unnecessary additives are so just add something unnecessary to your costume to score a $3 burrito, like that dinosaur with a pirate hat over there. 

This will all be happening from 5pm to close at all Toronto area Chipotles. 

Instagram of the week: 
A photo posted by lc (@lynleabinly) on

Tweet of the week: because I am a politics geek

when a wine writer is forced to drink Jager in the Mud at a heavy metal happened lol
Posted by The Yum Yum Factor on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Two Weeks in Yum - Vote for Pedro, Mushrooms Canada, UFeast at Raca, Kyouka Ramen and Feed Tomorrow Week

The Week In Yum has been on hiatus so that I could go about my business adulting for the last month or so. For this week, I am going to show my week in photos with more posts about some of these things coming at a later date.

So, first up though:
Last week, I found out about a contest to become the next blogger ambassador for Canada Beef a couple days before the deadline. Of course, the only free day I had was THE DAY OF THE DEADLINE. That was when the wonderful folks at Heatherlea Farms came to the rescue and allowed me to run amok on their Caledon farm, communing with their Black Angus cattle. Frankly, the cows were not particularly impressed with me and my new selfie stick but Farmer Gord was a stellar host, driving my friend, Nancy, and I all over the place, letting us tag along to feed them and check up on these delicious looking beasts.

So, if you are so inclined, voting ends tomorrow, Oct 25 at 11:59 CT, whatever time that is because I can't keep it straight. Just click on the old link below:

Farmer Gord must be THE most patient man on earth

I also shot a For Your Life spot for Mushrooms Canada last week! I was joined by fellow blogger, Brittnay Stager of My Daily Randomness in a bit of a Blend and Extend Mushroom smackdown. As soon as it's available and ready to air, I will share it here with you. I just hope I don't look like Fred Flintstone's older sister in it.

It was a week of firsts! Last Friday I cooked and served my first drop in dinner at The Depanneur  and I am happy to report that I sold out of my BiBimBap Sopes with an assortment of Mexican/Korean banchan. There will be more culinary events happening for me at The Deppaneur so stay tuned for that in the new year.

Have you been to a U Feast dinner yet? I attended my first (certainly not my last) U Feast dinner at Parkdale's  Raca bar.  Chef/Owner Ivana Raca whipped up a multi course dinner showcasing the food of Bali, a place that holds a special place in Ivana's heart. The food was fabulous as was the welcome cocktail, courtesy of Havana Club and Colio Winery provided a pairing with each course, all for about $85/ticket - includes all tax and tip.

The next event will be hosted by Matt Basile on November 9th and the secret location will be divulged to those who purchase a ticket three days before the dinner. Get on that.

I also got to visit four more downtown Toronto Schools who benefit from the meal programs that are made possible by the Toronto Foundation for Student Success as part of Feed Tomorrow week. As always, I was blown away by the dedication of the educators, parent volunteers and the students who are actively involved as well. We got to meet a group of kids in grades 5 and 6 from both the First Nations School and Dundas Jr Public School (they share a building which means they also work together on their meal programs, allowing them to benefit from bulk buying and manpower) being taught food handling by high school students from SEED Alternative School, across the street. The SEED kids are all fully certified and are actually qualified to not only teach the course to the younger kids, they will certify the participants as well. This group of younsters were PUMPED to learn all about safe food handling and excited about the prospect of being actively involved in the preparation and distribution of the meals that will served to their classmates.

Did you know that, for example, to provide a breakfast with items from 3 food groups, it costs $1.32 cents but the schools only get 14 cents from the city and 11 cents from the province. That is a pretty huge gap that must be bridged and thanks to private and corporate donations of food and money (minute maid donates OJ for example) they are just managing but the need for more help never goes away.
You can donate to TFSS here

I always bitching that there just aren't many places in my neighbourhood of The Beach (or The Beaches, depending on how uptight and old you are) but NO MORE

Kyouka Ramen has arrived and I could not be more thrilled! Head chef, Kenji, is an apprentice of Mr Machida of Kyouka Ramen in Japan. The place is small, modern and spotless and the menu is also small, modern and spotless. We tried the shoyu and the kyouka ramen and The Kid also devoured a bowl of slow cooked beef tendon donburi (at $5 this rich, filling dish is a steal). Like the Beech Tree, this ramen is great, not just "great for The Beach". It's worth a trek out to the east end of Queen to enjoy one of their rich, filling, delicious bowls of soupy noodles.
And there is much rejoicing.

At this point, the hours are 5pm-10pm during the week but closed on Tuesdays and weekends:

11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 5 PM to 10 PM
11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 5 PM to 8 PM

Kyouka Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My week ended with an invite to a lovely lunch to celebrate the last day of Toronto Fashion Week. Our hosts were S Pellegrino and Vogue Italia and they put on quite a lovely lunch. I am not sure who actually prepared the food but it was delicious as was the wine enjoyed by myself and my lovely plus 1, Libby Roach. Thanks to PolarisPR for inviting me.

So, that was the week that was. It was busy, my dogs are barking and after my cooking class at The Kingston Social tonight, I am going to put my feet up and stay in my pjs all day tomorrow.

Korean Refrigerator Pickled Carrots

typical selection of banchan
I am presently designing a set of banchan (the small plates of delicacies that accompany any Korean meal) for an "open mic" dinner that I am making for a place in Toronto called The Depanneur. I will be serving a version of my BiBimBap Sopes so we are already starting from a Korea meets Mexico kind of place and that means that I want the banchan to reflect that as well. I have been experimenting with replacing some of the more traditional Korean ingredients with things that you might find on a Mexican dinner table with great success so far. For starters, both cultures love to pickle things and since the flavours meld together beautifully, it's been a ton of fun to experiment with different combinations although some have been more successful than others.

Because I am not crazy pants, I am only sharing the success stories with you and trust me, there are often spectacular failures.

The first recipe that I will share is this recipe for pickled carrots. Pickled carrot with jalapeños is quite popular in Mexico so I already knew that this would work purely from a pickling standpoint. I have replaced the peppers with gochugaru, the smoky, red chili powder that is responsible for the colour and heat in kimchi and added some ginger, garlic and soy sauce as well.

Korean Refrigerator Pickled Carrots

i used multi coloured carrots because they are prettier to photograph but by the time they are pickled, they all look the same so all orange carrots are just fine

1.5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into long strips
1 cup of cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tbls kosher salt
1 tbls sugar
2 tbls korean chili powder
2 tbls soy sauce
2" piece of ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 scallion, slivered

prepare a large glass jar - I just poured boiling water in a clean jar and let it sit while I prepped the carrots because it is going into the fridge but you can boil them like you would for canning if you like.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the carrots for three minutes. Pour them in a colander and run cold water over them to cool them off.

Put the garlic and ginger into the bottom of the jar. Pack the carrot strips into the jar - don't be afraid to really wedge them in, alternating with some slices of scallion.

Bring the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to the boil and then remove from the heat. Stir in the chili powder and soy sauce, stir and then pour the hot liquid over the carrots, filling the jar almost to the top. Try to leave about 1/2 inch of head space, wipe the jar rim clean and put the lid on. When the pickles have cooled to room temperature you can put them in the fridge, where they will last 3-4 weeks.

It's Time For All Good Moose to Get Their Turkey On - Canadian Thanksgiving eh

Yes, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving. It always coincides with Columbus Day in the States so if you Americans are looking for another excuse to enjoy a magical turkey dinner, claim yourselves some Canadian relatives, throw together a cornucopia and start a new family tradition.

Turkey for Columbus Day!

Knowing that most families never deviate from the sacred Thanksgiving menu that your great grandmother Alma set out, if you are feeling like you would like to shake things up a bit this weekend and switch out the mashed, buttered and brown sugared turnip,here are some ideas for you:

Don't feel like actually cooking a big turkey but still want all of the flavours? Try this Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf and serve it with all the trimmings.

Bust out of your stuffing doldrums and try my recipe for Portuguese Corn Bread Stuffing (if you can't find cornbread you can use any heavy, country style bread like sourdough or something)

You can make these ahead and keep the log of dough in the freezer to slice up and bake off as many as you need right before guests arrive. A savoury, buttery cookie with your cheese plate is unexpected and delicious.

Don't boil the bejesus out of those brussels sprouts this year. Shred them raw and serve them in a salad - that'll keep them on their toes

Try adding a little spice into your dinner by serving this Curried Parsnip Soup to start things off.


Give everybody a break from pumpkin pie and make this Gooey Apple Upside Down Cake instead. If you really feel like you have to, add pumpkin spice seasonings to it.

Finally, what to do with the inevitable leftovers after everyone is sick to death of turkey/stuffing/cranberry sandwiches?

Turkey Quinoa Soup is a nice spin on my turkey scotch broth

Turkey Tamales should not be intimidating because although easy enough to make, they are more to make with friends

Korean Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich - Vegetarians Rejoice!

Some pretty fun stuff is on the horizon for this old gal and one of the things I really excited about is my stint as the guest chef at an upcoming drop in dinner at The Depanneur on Friday, October 16. Diners will be eating my BiBimBap Sopes  as well as a whack of banchan and I have been recipe testing like a mad woman for the last couple of weeks. The only thing that hadn't occurred to me, was that I was also going to need a vegetarian version of my dish as an entree.

A vegetarian option to pulled pork???  I work with a knife, not a wand!

The Week in Yum - Toronto's Lamesa - New Chef, New Menu, New Direction

Tuna Kinilaw-  a Filipino style ceviche made with albacore tuna, a coconut calamansi vinaigrette, fresh chilies, and coconut guacomole served with shrimp chips

So, there are exciting changes afoot at Lamesa, Toronto's favourite modern Filipino restaurant. New Head Chef Daniel Cancino is changing things up in the kitchen, putting his own, personal spin on the food he grew up on. 

I have eaten here many times (you can read my first review here) when Rudy Boquila was there, and I have always really enjoyed it but this meal felt like marked departure for the place and I, for one, really like where the menu is going. Molecular gastronomy + Filipino food? I would not have envisioned a happy coupling but in Chef Cancino's hands, it works. The food was lighter and more sophisticated, the presentation was beautiful and everything we tried on the new Fall/Winter menu was pretty amazing. My personal favourites were the Tuna Kinilaw, a Filipino style tuna ceviche that was set off by the bright zing of fresh calamansi juice with the Cauliflower Gintaan coming in second but just slightly. Don't let the unassuming name fool you either - there is roasted and raw cauliflower, cauliflower foam (hello science!) sitting beside an addictive smear of green cauliflower sauce made from pureeing cauliflower with coconut milk although my entire table thought it tasted like a beautiful, mild Thai green curry and we were arm wrestling over the last dregs of this dish and after talking to the other people who attended this menu preview, it seemed like it was a universal favourite.

As much as I enjoyed photographing the technicolour dessert, I absolutely assumed I was going to hate it, based on the colour of the custard. The creamy purple hue of custard reminded me of the terrible bubble gum flavoured ice cream that my kid used to eat at Lick's in the Beach and I also assumed that the texture would be sort of gelantious so it was with great reservations that I took a small, tentative taste.

I have no problem admitting that I was absolutely wrong. It was delicious, the custard was rich and creamy, almost like a creme brulee, it was not overly sweet and the puffed rice added the perfect amount of crunch. Four of us had to share one portion and it was a bloodbath by the end of it.

Beet Malaat  Salad

From top:  Cauliflower Ginataan, From left: Pork Octopus Dinuguan, Beef Bulalo, Corned Beef Lumpia
Ube leche flan- a Spanish style custard made with sweet purple yam served with puffed wild rice and apple tapioca

Talong Salad - eggplant, abodong caponata, salted egg, creme fraiche
Boracay Breezy - dark rhum, coconut rhum, banana liqueur, house made peach liqueur, massereated strawberry syrup
Of course, Justin the bartender made sure that our liquid needs were met as well with a lovely welcoming cocktail called a Boracay Breezy made with a peach infused liquor that he made himself with some tasty Ontario peaches.

Owner, Les Sabliano assured me that they will continue their Sunday night Kamayan dinners ( I reviewed that bit of dinner theatre here) so I will look forward to seeing how this new chef interprets that meal. 

I have to tell you that this was a media menu preview so the meal was free but my opinion is not for sale yadda yadda. It's great. Go eat there.

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen
669 Queen St W
Toronto, Ont

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So, as for the rest of the week, there isn't much to report in the food department but I did get to attend my fourth We Day at the ACC as a chaperone for my son's former school, Avalon Children's Montessori school. As always, it is incredibly inspiring and heartening to sit in an arena with 20,000 school kids who are excited about changing the world for the better. It's like lefty social justice church and it's a beautiful thing.

Pin of the week: Its not often that I really want to make a cake but this one has it's hooks in me

Instagram of the week: This guys's feed is wonderful and his plating videos are AMAZING

Posted by The Yum Yum Factor on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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 ...