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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for March 19 to 25

Want to learn how to make mustard like this? Head to the Brick Works on Thursday (Image: Danielle Scott)

Monday, March 19

  • 86’D: Join Ivy Knight for the bread-and-butter battle. Watch contestants from Brockton General, The Gabardine, Bread Bar and more show off their kneading and churning skills. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Order of Good Cheer Dinner at Gilead Bistro: A four-course menu prepared by Jamie Kennedy paired with wines from Prince Edward County’s By Chadsey’s Cairns winery. Gilead Bistro, 4 Gilead Pl., 647-288-0680. Find out more »
  • Tastes of Tomorrow: George Brown Chef School hosts a molecular gastronomy demonstration with Chef John Placko. Find out more »
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the field house at Sorauren Park. 50 Wabash Ave. Find out more »

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Inside the fridge of chef Marc Thuet and restaurateur Biana Zorich

In our new series, Crisper Chronicles, we ask the city’s top food personalities to let us into their most intimate alimentary enclave: the home refrigerator. This week, chef Marc Thuet and his wife, front-of-house master Biana Zorich—both back in Toronto after shooting a new season of Conviction Kitchen in Vancouver—talk about the treasures (and trash) that lurk in their icebox.

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The Dish

Openings

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Just Opened: Knife, a Queen West shop devoted to the world’s best kitchen blades

Cutting edge: knives on display at Knife (Image: Jason Soo)

Tucked into a diminutive second-storey space at Queen West and Tecumseth, Knife feels like an art gallery: high-end Japanese blades are laid out on blood-red felt backdrops and showcased in white display cases. As the name suggests, this shop is devoted to the one truly indispensable kitchen tool: the knife.

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The Informer

People

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Matt Galloway: 10 things I can’t live without

The new host of Metro Morning, the city’s top-rated wake-up show, shares 10 things he can’t live without

Soccer season
I’ve had Toronto FC tickets behind the home net since the first year. I go with a big group of friends and friends of friends. We’re Toronto sports fans, so we’re sort of bonded in misery. It’s all about measured optimism.

Christie Pits Park
I’ve lived in the same neighbourhood for 20 years, so I’ve seen the park change from being sort of sketchy to a place where you can take your kids. It’s where I taught my daughter to skate.

My neighbourhood butcher
I go to Vince Gasparro’s Meat Market (857 Bloor St. W., 416-534-7122), around the corner from my house. I was a vegetarian for 14 years, and when I decided to start eating meat again, I wanted to know where it was coming from. Gasparro’s has amazing lamb and huge Mennonite farm–raised chickens. The guys there are so much fun, it’s like an old-fashioned barbershop.

My man purse
About six years ago, I decided to graduate from the starving student backpack. As soon as I saw this one, I just sort of knew. It’s the perfect size.

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The Dish

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Celebrating the Week of Eating In with the nine “grossest packaged foods ever”

Licence to eel (Image: Tesco)

Pork brains in milk gravy contain 1,170 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily intake of cholesterol (though the upchuck factor may mitigate any long-term effects). This is just one of the meals featured in the Huffington Post’s new assemblage of “grossest packaged foods ever”—a parade of grotesqueries that break virtually every food rule in the book. Number one, Armour Potted Meat Food Product, contains traces of meat from several different species (beef hearts, separated chicken, partially defatted “tissue”). The canned eels occupying the penultimate slot are jellied, as if they weren’t putrid enough on their own. HuffPo is running the slide show to honour the Week of Eating In, which encourages readers to cook from scratch in their own kitchens. To be sure, even those faced with the barest of larders could do no worse.

• Grossest Packed Food Ever [Huffington Post]

The Goods

Shopping

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What a slice: a gorgeous toaster that’s fit for the best artisanal bread

Lately, designers have been rethinking the toaster, with results ranging from the sublime (this minimalist, transparent version) to the ridiculous (a dot matrix throwback that singes designs into the bread), and covering everything in between (like this one, which looks like a cross between a sex toy and a dish rack). And though those models might not make it far from the drawing board, they got us wondering which toasters are worth the artisanal bread we put in them. After all, next to stoves and fridges, toasters are one of the most well-used (and often underperforming) kitchen appliances.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Digital gastronomy: the latest blog-fuelled food theory “prints” meals out of flavoured goop

The food printer: ASCII seems like a distant memory (Photo courtesy of MIT)

Hungry nerds are rejoicing over the invention of two graduate students at MIT: a three-dimensional food printer. This strange next step in food technology, dubbed Cornucopia, resembles a mutant toaster oven that, in theory, mixes up liquid flavours in canisters, heats or cools the mixture, then “extrudes” the ordered dish at the press of a button. Its inventors extol such virtues as “ultimate control” over a dish’s origin, yet something tells us 100-mile dieters won’t trust goop from a canister.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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The truth behind turducken, Corey Mintz now cooking for monkeys, the suffering of Roncesvalles

Get stuffed: turducken weighs in at a hefty 900 calories per slice (Adam Selwood)

Get stuffed: turducken weighs in at a hefty 900 calories per slice (Adam Selwood)

• With the charm of a bloated pit bull and packing a painful 900 calories a slice, turducken might be a “guaranteed show stopper,” but how much do we know about this beast of a roast? Though some say that the chicken-in-a-duck-in-a-turkey is distinctly American, created by either Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme or Hebert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana, the roots of the roast go well back into culinary history.  The evolution of meat stuffed with meat, however, reached a likely unbeatable pinnacle in 19th-century France with “rôti sans pareil,” which consisted of 17 stuffed birds ranging from a bustard to a tiny garden warbler. [L.A. Times]

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Eric Ripert’s forced shopping trip to Costco caught on camera

On the PBS television show Avec Eric, Le Bernardin’s head chef, Eric Ripert, retreats to nature looking for five-star meal ideas, then teaches the audience how to cook as though three Michelin stars depend on it. GQ recently put a joyous twist on this concept, sending Ripert and James Beard award–winning journalist Alan Richman down the canyon-like aisles of Costco, hoping to expose the world-class chef to how the other half (well, the other 95 per cent) eats. It is the first, and most likely last, episode of Avec Alan.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Cooking guide reaches new heights in egg-related tips and puns

(Photo by Laura A.)

Great eggs have seductive properties, or so says Serious Eats (Photo by Laura A.)

Cooking eggs is a deceptively difficult undertaking. Nothing could seem easier, but despite conflicting attempts to establish some sort of egg-boiling rubric, results are frustratingly unpredictable. That’s probably because the scrutinizing eye of science has not been trained on the endeavour for extended periods. That is, until now.

Serious Eats offers this pun-riddled examination of how to cook the ovular miracles, which, if nothing else, is remarkable for its staggering thoroughness. The page includes numbers, timelines and labelled diagrams, but the gist of the guide is that if two factors can be mitigated—time and temperature—perfect eggs are within reach.

• The Food Lab: Perfect Boiled Eggs [Serious Eats]

The Dish

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The world’s top eight food cities, McDonald’s moves into the Louvre, how to carve the perfect turkey

(Photo by Kevin Steele)

Will shamrock shakes change the Louvre? Unsurprisingly, the French say yes (Photo by Kevin Steele)

• In a clash of cultures, McDonald’s plans to open a restaurant and a McCafé at the Louvre next month. One curmudgeonly art historian working at the famous museum deemed it “the pinnacle of exhausting consumerism, deficient gastronomy and very unpleasant odours.” In a statement sure to make any Yankee’s heart swell with pride, the Louvre said the McDonald’s would represent the American segment of a new food court featuring other world cuisines. No word yet if Harvey’s will represent Canada. [Telegraph]

• Barcelona tops the list of San Francisco Weekly’s top eight foodie destinations in the world. Other highlights include Marrakech, where one can dine on a vast array of couscous varieties and kebabs, and New Orleans, famous for its revelatory gumbo and jumbalaya. The closest the list gets to Canada? New York City. [San Francisco Weekly]

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Constant gardeners: Young Urban Farmers shows us how to cheat at backyard farming

Backyard bounty: Tomatoes are just one of the 17 plants on offer from YUF (Photo by jeremiah)

Backyard bounty: Tomato plants are just one of the 17 types offered by YUF (Photo by jeremiah)

Most urban foodies would love to grow their own organic spinach, but most of us barely have time to stop at Sobeys on our way home from work. Recognizing Torontonians’ collective lack of time (read: laziness), three recent business grads started Young Urban Farmers, a service that turns clients’ yards into produce departments. For $155, YUF plants a vegetable garden of the customer’s choosing, then builds a shelter to keep out the raccoons. For $495, they’ll weed, water and even harvest the bounty. This means that naughty hosts can claim their organic salad greens are from their own garden, without ever lifting a spade.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Chubby folks live longer, free lunch at Mandarin, booze hoarding at the LCBO

Monopoly winners: The strike is off, but the shelves are empty

Monopoly winners: The strike is off, but the shelves are empty (Photo by Karl Baron)

• The LCBO has reached a tentative deal with its union, but in the past few days restaurateurs and the public played it safe by stocking up on alcohol, leaving stores with empty shelves. If we didn’t know better, we’d call the strike threat a genius marketing move. [Canadian Press]

• Nothing says Canada Day like Chinese food. Buffet chain Mandarin is offering free meals to celebrate July 1 between noon and 8:30 p.m., but diners have to show proof of citizenship before they can load up. [City TV]

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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TV chefs attacked for wastefulness, the dangers of at-work eating, Toronto restaurants raise money for HIV/AIDS

Ontario farming initiatives will receive over $700,000 from the provincial government (Photo by Bill Barber)

Local farmers will benefit from new provincial government funding (Photo by Bill Barber)

• Cash-strapped diners can eat out without feeling guilty on April 29, when 50 Toronto restaurants will team up with Fife House for an HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Participating businesses—including hot spots Sassafraz and Crush Wine Bar—will donate part of the day’s proceeds to the cause. Talk about win-win. [Martini Boys]

• The provincial government jumps on the locavore train, giving farming another big-brotherly boost. Ontario will spend over $700,000 on local food projects in an effort to strengthen agribusiness. [Country Guide]

• The rule of thumb is no tip on tax, and, as Corey Mintz explains, it may be no tax on tip, too. The Star food critic takes a look at the legal—and moral—issues that govern gratuities earned by servers, and the cut taken by their employers. [Toronto Star]

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The Dish

People

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TV chef Laura Calder moves to Toronto and wants to teach us to pour a great glass of water

Laura Calder comes home to Hogtown

Laura Calder, home in Hogtown

The Food Network’s effervescent face of modern French fare, Laura Calder, is bringing her continental expertise home to Toronto. The long-time expat and host of French Food at Home, who has been stationed in Paris for the better part of a decade, landed back in her native Canada earlier this year with a not-too-shabby James Beard Foundation Award nomination, a new book, and a mission to update the artery-clogging cream-and-butter concept of French gastronomy.

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