Tag Archives: Toronto

Blame Canada…that my pants don’t fit.

The phrase “I can’t complain” has always confounded me.

When pressed, I could always complain about SOMETHING.

Like, right now? I’m laying on the couch. It’s very relaxing. …but the clock is ticking a LITTLE bit loudly. It’s mostly a goof, but it’s rare to find something you can’t complain about AT ALL. Humans, by nature, are complainers.

And this GD clock is so loud I’m going to murder it.

But one thing I don’t think I can find much to complain about is the food scene in Toronto.

I spent a week there shooting a spot (for those not in the biz that’s a “television commercial.”) And it’s just silly the variety of food that they have up there.

While it sounds incredibly glamorous (Callbacks! Lights! Fake Snow!), a lot of the reality of production is more like this: Emails! Phone Calls! Room Service between Emails and Phone Calls! So one of the most exciting treats of being on production is getting to go explore a city’s food culture.

And I could not complain. Well, I COULD….it was very cold.

First amazing meal? Acadia on Clinton Street.

The restaurant was surprisingly empty when we went, apparently a common occurrence due to just how many restaurants there is. (Things pick up later in the week, too.) But the food was spectacular. Piping hot cornbread with bacon butter, mini oyster po-boys, with a main of hominy, mushrooms truffles and a slow cooked egg. It just spoke to me. And the words were magical.

Miniature Oyster Poor Boys

Miniature Oyster Poor Boys

Next amazing meal? Bar Isabel on College Street.

This tapas place was jam packed, with music reminiscent of the 40s. The cocktails were delightfully named. I did not pick the “Choose Yer Own Adventure” and instead selected the “Hopeless Mermaid,” which sounded unbelievably sad. Like a salty sea captain fell in love with a mermaid who he knew would never love him back because he walked on two legs. But he loved her so much anyway, his ‘hopeless mermaid.’

Anyways, the tapas.

We got everything. We had a group of 6 and we each selected two items from their amazing menu. Some traditional. (A selection of meats and cheeses!  Patatas bravas! Beefsteak tomato with boquerones and onion!) And some incredibly inventive. (Deviled duck egg with salt cod, morcilla and hollandaise! Whole fish ceviche!)

But the meal to top all meals was at Buca. My friends Jon and Dennis had told me about this place back when I was up in Toronto in April, but we couldn’t get a reservation. But we got one this time. OH YES, WE GOT ONE THIS TIME. And despite me trying to get us lost on the way there, I had one of the most interesting meals evar.

We started with crispy pig’s ears.

THAT’S RIGHT.

If you are a lover of pork and you have never had crispy pig’s ear’s than your pork card is getting revoked. (What does that even mean?) They’re crispy (obviously), but they’re also tender. It’s like a chicharon, only softer. It’s out of this world. Get some now.

We split two amazing pizzas—one with truffles and one with a bunch of mushrooms. Delicious.

And my main was insane. I got something I’d never had before and it was delicious. I got the ravioli doppi, which is a double stuffed ravioli. One half of the ravioli was stuffed with goose. The other half of the ravioli was stuffed with butternut squash puree. The whole thing was accompanied by a parmesan  espuma (foam) with rosemary and a hazelnut brittle.

I still dream about this ravioli…

This has got to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The gamey/oiliness of the goose was balanced wonderfully by the sweetness of the butternut squash. The parmesan espuma gave sharpness. And man, that ravioli was cooked perfectly.

It was an amazing meal. It was an amazing trip. And I could not complain about it at all.

Well. I COULD.

Because it had to end.

Awww.

 

…lame.

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Mi Viaje a Barcelona (Part 3): Market Cuina Fresca and Being a Douchebag

This may just be the douchiest thing I say today, but: the way to eat at the most delicious restaurants on the earth is to have friends who know the owners of the most delicious restaurants on the earth.

I know, I know. I’m SO fancy. I put my Christian Louboutins on the same way you do: in my mind and not in reality.

I digress.

I serendipitously happened to be in Barcelona at the same time as a very cool friend of mine, Director Jonathan Barber. (I like calling him Director Jonathan Barber because he is, in fact, a director. He asked me to call him ‘sir’ but I have no evidence that he has been knighted. PROVE IT, JON.)

The last time I saw Jon, we shot a spot together and he bought me a Nintendo Game Boy fanny pack. We also ate 7 dozen oysters (calm down…with the help of 4 other people) and had a SICK meal at this place in Toronto called Parts and Labour. Jon is friends with one of the owners of Parts and Labour, which just got written up as one of Food and Wine’s Insider Picks for Toronto restaurants.  So, I trust Jon with the foods. And all of my Nintendo-based accessories, obviously.

Jon’s friends Ana and Damien own this little place on Carrer de Badajoz in Barcelona. And it is legit. If you are in Barcelona, go find Market Cuina Fresca.

Every morning, Chef Damien gets up at 6 and goes to the market to shop and put together that day’s menu. Everything is incredibly fresh. And not to mention, incredibly delicious. (Bonus? It’s healthy. WHAT?!)

They’re just open for lunch, but that’s more than enough. In Spain, they do this terrific thing called a “menu del dia” or “menu of the day.” (Now you know Spanish!) For a fixed price–at Market,  it’s 12 euro–you get a first and second course and a dessert, plus a drink. I mean, that’s kind of awesome.

The restaurant is light and airy. Which is amazing when I saw the pictures that Ana showed me of what it used to be. It was literally brown and orange inside. And now it reminds me of something that could be in the less pretentious parts of Santa Monica. Wherever those are.

And the food. Shit, y’all. I ate lunch there twice, which breaks my travel rule of not repeating restaurants. But the food is just that good. And the menu is always changing. It’s whatever is fresh and at the market that moment, hence the name: Market Cuina Fresca.

By the by, sidenote. The whole farm to table thing is a seemingly new trend here in the US. But the reality of the way Damien shops for Market and the care that he puts into his menu, it’s just the way things are done over there. And doesn’t that make sense? If a tomato tastes best and is in season in the summer, why would you want to eat it in the any other time? (And why would you want to eat a tomato from like Iceland to eat one in December…??)

Market Cuina Fresca. Go. Seriously. Look at all these foods I ate.

Photo credit: Director Jonathan Barber

Photo credit: Director Jonathan Barber

Jon told me I had to credit him for taking this picture. And to be fair, seeing as he is an actual director with an eye for visual composition, the food photos on this blog have lit’rally never looked better.

This was dessert: Cheese, quince, pear. AMAZING.  The photography? Awful.

This was dessert: Cheese, quince, pear. AMAZING.
I took this picture. It’s ain’t great.

I highly recommend a trip to Market. And a trip to Barcelona. If you happen to run into Jon there, it’ll be even more fun. (Stop by Drunk Beach. The half liter Estrella Damms will get you.) I’m looking forward to running into him in another city. And I fully expect him to have a pair of Sega Genesis legwarmers for me.

Sadly for me, this is my last Barcelona post. But I shall carry it in my heart. And on my thighs.

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I’m back, baby.

Oh. Hello. I didn’t see you there.

What’s that you say? You’ve been standing there for three weeks since my last fake blog post?

Well, first of all, that’s just creepy.

And second of all, I KNOW. I’m the worst.

On a scale of one to bonkers, the past three weeks have gone to 11.

I went on an 9 day work trip to Toronto, co-hosted a surprise engagement party, produced a video for a new brewery that’s coming to Winston, all while trying to maintain my obsessive viewing schedule of Friday Night Lights. (Tim Riggins, amiright?)

But I’m back. And I’m RULL excited to share some shit with y’all. So buckle up, cause I’m going to get you. Like Smash Williams gets touchdowns. ALL DAMN DAY.

…I’ve been watching too much Friday Night Lights…

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