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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Week in Yum - Rashers on Ossington, Pearl Diver and Taste of Toronto


I am still getting back in the saddle, as far as attending media dinners and events so this is really more of a "a few weeks in yum" than a true week of it. 

As part of my personal code of conduct, I tend to only accept invites to places that I either already know that I like or that I have been dying to try, because I like to keep it real but I also like to keep it positive. Think of my posts about places i have been and stuff I have tried more as enthusiastic recommendations than reviews. As much as I love and appreciate a chance to enjoy some free food, I also visit the restaurants I write about on my own time, spending my own scratch (or, if it's new to me, I will visit in the future) and if I don't like a place or a product, I don't write about it. There have been one or two instances where something was so disappointing that I do share that information but, for the most part, I like to share things with you the way I share things with my friends and family.

Just want to make this clear as mud.

So, here is what I liked recently:


Rashers


I happily accepted an offer to attend a media dinner at the newest Rashers on Ossington because I am already a big fan of their original, little shop in Leslieville. Their new spot is bigger with more tables and the food is just as delicious so there is nothing bad to report.

You can get smoked strip bacon, peameal bacon, British style bacon or maple glazed smoked strip bacon and they encourage substitutions so the possibilities are kind of endless.


I almost always order the Full Monty, a giant sandwich that celebrates British style bacon (provided by Perth Pork Products of Stratford), fried egg, tomato and mushrooms with lots of homemade brown sauce. At this media dinner I finally got to sample most of the other offerings and now my life has been made more difficult because I can no longer just automatically go for the same sandwich. The Brie and Bacon was an ooey, gooey bun full of porky goodness, the Bacon Caesar was rich and decadent and full of caesar tang while the Apple and Maple Grilled Cheese had that blend of sweet and salt that I live for. The only thing that I wouldn't order, myself, was the bacon burger but I took one to feed to Shack afterwards and even cold, he said it was amazing. I am just not much of a big, thick burger gal but I AM a fan of all forms of bacon and that means I am a fan of both Rashers shops.


The prices range from $8 to $11 and besides curly fries or handcut wedges, it's all about the sandwiches. You can take out or eat in with an ice cold pop - the Stewart's cream soda is my beverage of choice. They are open from 10am until after dinner every day but Monday so don't think a bacon sammy is only for breakfast either - I will take a bacon sandwich for supper any day.


This was a media dinner so all food was provided free of charge but my opinions are absolutely only my own.

Rashers
182 Ossington
closed Monday
Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 9pm
Sunday 10am to 7pm



Pearl Diver Cooper Dinners 

Chef Michael Blackie with Rudy Guo, delicious treats and a Pearl Diver Shucking God



I LOVE Pearl Diver, so let's get that out of the way. I have written about my first visit for a media dinner where they were promoting their WeChat thing here and I have been back a ton since then. Their nightly specials cannot be beat - Tuesday $30 Seafood Tower and 100 oysters for $100 on Thursdays are my favourites but it's not just about the seafood. The rest of the menu is wonderful, including the desserts. I wish I lived a bit closer because then I would shuffle over in my PJs for their late night special of a dozen oysters for $18 on a bi weekly basis. On second thought, mabye it's good for everyone that I live too far away for that.


Anyway, the owners of Pearl Diver have decided to pay homage to the late Brian Cooper, the former dean of hospitality and tourism at George Brown College. They hosted a dinner to announce the scholarship program started in his honour as well as to officially inaugurate the Cooper Room. Co Owner and George Brown Chef School grad, Rudy Guo credits Brian Cooper (and his wife, Midge) with teaching him the true meaning of hospitality and says that without their direction, he wouldn't be where he is today. Even after Cooper's death, his wife Midge continued to host culinary students in her home and both Rudy and his partner  and chef, Tom Milosz Malycha both lived in the Cooper home while they were at George Brown.


Ottawa's Chef Michael Blackie, on loan from his restaurant NeXt, was the first guest chef to come to the restaurant to prepare a feature menu with 50% of the proceeds of these specials going towards the Spirit of Hospitality scholarship. Going forward, there will now be a regular series of Cooper dinners where they will pair young chefs with an experienced chef like Blackie, with proceeds going towards the scholarship, so keep an eye out for the next one.

For this dinner, Blackie's specials were offered to our group to try as well as a few items off of the regular menu and, for regular customers, it's nice to be able to try a few new things alongside your normal favourites. It's equally nice to know that some of the money spent is also going to a good cause, helping out some lucky culinary students in their efforts to become chefs at a Toronto landmark, George Brown College.

The dinner was on a Wednesday and I returned the next night with Shack and The Kid to destroy 100 oysters for $100. I ate about 12 oysters. There were no oysters left behind. Someone ate about 45 oysters each. Just saying.

Blackie's Pork Belly with Digby Scallops was a personal favourite and by personal fave I mean I threatened people with death by fork if they touched it before I was finished with it. YUM

This was a media dinner so all food was provided free of charge but my opinions are absolutely only my own.


Pearl Diver
100 Adelaide St East
click the above link to check out the hours of operation



I still can't believe how much I love gardening. Full on old lady gardener.


The Belgian Moon Night Market


Big thanks to my pal, Libby Roach, for dragging me along as her +1 to the Belgian Moon Night Market, a free, outdoor gathering curated by Vice in collaboration with the beer company. There was a small but mighty selection of food vendors - no need to bring every man and his dog out when you have Patois, Dailo, Pai, Momofuko, Hopgood Foodliner, Grand Electric and Bar Fancy, right?

We got there an hour before it opened to the public at 7pm and by the time we left and around 8pm, there was a line up that stretched more than a block, waiting to get in for some free beer, tasty food and great music. The next time this one goes down, make sure you are there early and first in line to get in.


Finally, this weekend is Taste of Toronto at Fort York so if you haven't got your tickets yet, click that link and correct that, pronto. Keep an eye on my social media because I will be taking tons of photos and sharing all the best stuff

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