Saturday, May 31, 2008

Salad days
Shakespeare used the phrase 'salad days' in Antony & Cleopatra. When Cleopatra lavishes praise on her new love, Antony, one of her attendants reminds the queen that she once felt the same for Caesar.

Cleopatra replies that she was in her 'salad days, when I was green in judgment: cold in blood.'

Cleopatra meant it as, youthfully naive, but it has come to mean the best days of one's youth, when life is still full of unexplored potential.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Felix Meritis
The Felix Meritis is the independent European centre for art, culture and science and an international meeting place in Amsterdam. They cleverly turned these concrete building shields into mini tables, added some chairs and voila, a mini patio.

A great place for enjoying a drink and snack along with some Dutch sunshine along the canal!

The ArchesAte dinner at this cafe off brick lane near the Truman Brewery and Vibe Bar where we were having a Tuaca event. Tuaca is an Italian liqueur flavored with vanilla and citrus.

I used to work next door and ate at this cafe every day, not by choice but as there was not much selection at the time and also due to laziness. More to be added, busy week!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Simple spaghettiPasta with garlic and olive oil -recipe posted already here, but took this pic on the weekend. Garnish is fresh mint from the garden.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

TLCA mother's love for her sons was a topic of conversation yesterday. It is a great thing to hear about or witness first hand. A & I spoke about it over lunch at Mercatto on Toronto Street (yum!), he mentioned how he really appreciates his mother and really can see how much she means to him more and more as an adult.

I see it with my sister and her two little boys, who are under the age of 5, who are completely smitten with their momma. Then there is teacher Tami has three little males in the house that she is completely enamored with, rightly so, as they are all wonderful little people. She made these cakes for two of their birthdays; she and her husband the Karate Kid were up until midnight crafting these yummy, lactose-free creations. The soccer ball was a difficult one to make and needed extra engineering at the last minute. Will try and post the recipe - you could never tell that there was no milk in any of these cakes.
Not sure if this is completely accurate but perhaps, like fine wine, men appreciated their mothers more with age?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Daisy DukeLocated in the TD Tower on Wellington Street the Duke of Devon is a favourite of many city boys in Toronto. Not because it has an ok selection of Brit-inspired grub, or that is has traditional pub art (fox hunting prints and iconic old British countryside stuff) hanging on its walls, or that it serves Guinness - it is probably because it is a Hooters wannabe.

The waitresses in there, who are all female and good looking (bar one or two), are all wearing school girl type uniforms. Knee high socks, black short, short skirts (perhaps they are supposed to be kilts -they are way too short for my liking) and tight tops make them quite a sight.

Upon entering I thought we went to Hooters on Halloween with a black school uniform theme. I guess you have to cater to your clientele - rich city boys who want to watch some sport and be served by some pretty ladies who am sure do very well in the tipping department.

But how about the high flying female traders (are there any in TO?) or female banking or business professionals - what do they get to look at? The equestrian prints circa 1867 on the wall?

I asked our Hooter-esque dressed waitress why the men that work there are wearing ill fitting trousers, horrible black button down shirts and are not fit for Men's Health covers like the women are? She laughed and said that the men did wear kilts at one point but the women patrons were too aggressive so they switched back to boring pants (and probably hiring non-hunks). She said the servers wear a special white belt that is kinda sexy, when I saw the servers I did not see a white belt or anything 'kinda sexy' about them either.

If I opened a pub and hired only sexy men in tight slacks with their muscles and pecks busting out, would it cause an uproar? I wonder.
Now I know why my friend took me there, although he said this pub is his favourite for other reasons - am sure it is the smell of the hand wash in the men's toilets or something like that?! C'mon men, why do you try to fool women, we know the real reason. My question is why is there not the same number of places for women to appreciate a fine looking male, if there are such places at all?

p.s. They did have good sweet potato fries.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baxters at Borough

Monday, May 19, 2008

Relaxed atmosphereDining al fresco on a bridge overlooking a canal and the relaxed and liberal attitude to sex, drugs and rock 'n roll makes Amsterdam a really chilled out place.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Smurfs would love theseDid you watch The Smurfs? When the characters went to Smurf village they all went into their mushroom homes. They did live in the deep forest and could never be found by humans - the only way someone could find Smurf village was if one of the Smurfs led them to it. Ahhh the mystery! When I saw these mushrooms at the market in Amsterdam I thought of Smurf village. They are wonderful to look at - the stall was only selling different varieties of mushrooms. The smell was great and they were quite busy. I especially like the pink and yellow ones (which I think are a type of oyster mushroom) and the little Piopinos.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pedal powered - travelling beer bar
Only in Amsterdam. We gawked at it for so long I only managed to get out my camera at this stage. There are about 10men on that thing, each pedaling and there is one bartender in the middle serving beer. With loud music playing it grabs a lot of attention, very popular with men on stag weekends.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

11 Bar & Restaurant, AmsterdamThe entrance - below the restaurant are artists' studiosThe restaurant
Prawn lasagna

My vegetarian tagineThe diagrams in the women's toilet -very educational

Our Dutch friend Talia and the screens showing various art installation videos - one particularly interesting one was the whole screen was cut into 5 sections and in each box a woman was having an orgasm- but all you could see was her face...some of the diners didn't get that - they just thought the women were making strange faces.My oyster starter - I do love oysters!
Website: 11 Restauarnt Bar & Club
Myspace page : 11 Myspace

It won't be at that location for long but if you are in Amsterdam you should check it out! It is very cool and there is a space for dancing attached to it which after 23:00hrs the place becomes a cool dance club. Make sure you don't drink and bike like the Dutch do, they are apparently good at riding their bikes a little tipsy.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Shoppers go nuts for squirrel pasty
(not sure about this but it could become a trend....there are lots of squirrels in TO!)

May contain nuts: Butcher Dave Simpson with a wild grey squirrel pasty

Squirrels have long been on the menu at some top restaurants – but now they have found their way into the humble pasty.

And it seems shoppers can't get enough of the healthy meat which tastes great, is good for the environment and is very free range.

Butcher David Simpson, who sells the pasties in Fraddon, Cornwall, said: 'People like the fact it is wild meat, low in fat and local – so no food miles.'

David Ridley, who owns a fish and game store in Northumberland, is also surprised by the success of grey squirrels, which apparently taste like wild boar or duck.

'I wasn't sure at first, and wondered would people really eat it. Now I take every squirrel I can get my hands on,' he said.

'I've had days when I have managed to get 60 and they've all sold straight away.

'It is moist and sweet because its diet has been berries and nuts.'

There are about 2.5million grey squirrels in Britain and killing them for food could help control numbers as they are over-running the native red squirrel.

Keith Viner, former chef of Michelin-starred Pennypots in Cornwall, said: 'Southern-fried squirrel is good. And tandoori style works.

'It is especially tasty fricasséed with Cornish cream and walnuts. But the one everyone seems to like is the Cornish squirrel pasty.'


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Going to the Beijing Olympics?
It will be a gastronomic adventure! Chinese food is always very interesting and these pictures depict how interesting it can get. Although, I always thought sea horses were magical and fairy tale-like - to see them skewered on a kebab stick shatters some childhood images. We had a dead starfish in our rental car when we went to Disney World as kids, who knew we could've deep fried it and ate it if we got stranded anywhere in Orlando!

I saw some sea urchins in Borough Market this week and was curious to buy one and try it. Maybe next week!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Breakfast or beef jerky in a bottle?I think this is a joke created by Banksy or his artsy friends. It is disgusting and interesting at the same time. Their website is very cleverly made if it is a hoax, which I think it is! Check it out as it is amusing to see the different bottle labels and descriptions.

Some of the combinations of drinks are disgusting e.g

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fried Febo
Fried food out of a machine...mmmm! You can find these Febo fast food outlets all around central Amsterdam. They are always quite busy too. Not sure what is in each of the little boxes, I think some were fried cheese, deep fried hamburgers and others friend cheese and meat. At the counter there was also a clear box with some disgusting looking chicken legs and very oily French fries. Needless to say, all of it looks questionable, it is definitely grease laden, has maximum cholesterol potential, is fatty and calorific! Proper heart-attack food.

Am sure it tastes good, I couldn't bring myself to try anything - especially after I saw the man who works there stick his dirty hand in each one to see if they were still warm. If they weren't he pulled them out with the same dirty hand and I'm not sure if he put them in the deep fryer again or under a heat lamp?! It just felt greasy being beside the Febo.

Will have to ask B, who is from the Netherlands what this place is all about.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Can you spot the cow in the pics?

Back from a long weekend in Amsterdam, it is so lovely...I want to live there and ride my bike every day! Will write more soon, but for now - can you spot the cow? The owner of our B&B has a classic jukebox and old album covers adorning the walls of his breakfast bar, as I looked up from my continental spread (toast, ham, cheese and boiled eggs) I saw Grace Jones' album cover - she looks so freakishly weird in it!

Stay tuned for more food fun from Amsterdam.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Grace the cowThis is not a food posting but it has been a busy week. So if I say that Grace Jones is a cow that relates to food, non? The legend was scheduled to perform at the Scarlett Launch party on Wed and at the last minute didn't turn up and demanded another £25K to leave her hotel room to come and perform. In the UK people call mean women cows, for all you international readers.
Some people are awful!

At least the food and cocktails were good. See even Noel Fielding was enjoying one of the raspberry cocktails (pic below), will try and get the name of the catering company - their staff were fabulous and nice to look at too. It always helps when there is a cute bartender serving drinks right?
The party was for a new TV series - but there was a clever marketing twist as it wasn't a new TV series but a launch for a new series of flatscreen TVs. by LG...good one Ms. Lima & co.!

Off to Amsterdam for the long weekend, am sure there will be some interesting Dutch food stories to report back with.