All stories relating to maple syrup

The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for April 9 to 15

Experience a Toronto version of the annual Thai Songkran at Khao San Road on Wednesday (Image: Wyndham Hollis)

Monday, April 9

  • A Taco Beer Tequila Fundraising Dinner: A feast hosted by Victoria Taylor, Jamie Kennedy, Parts and Labour chef Matty Matheson and rooftop farmer Katie Mathieu, with proceeds going to the Parts and Labour rooftop garden project. Tacos will feature spring shoots from the garden. Beer by Bellwoods Brewery, tequila by Tromba. 18 Bellwoods Ave., 416-722-6947. Find out more »
  • 86’D: Ivy Knight hosts a battle for the best hot sauce. Bring your own and compete! The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. 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

Restaurants

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Must-Try: Bannock’s pickerel taco, the city’s most elaborate steamed bun

Must-Try: Hot PocketFrom the description on the menu, Bannock’s pickerel taco (which stretches the definition of the term taco) sounds like the work of a chef who hit the sauce and emptied his pantry onto a dim sum bun. The fish—sticky and sweet from a glaze of chili, tamarind and maple syrup—is paired with rutabaga slaw dressed in tangy nam prik dressing (fish sauce, chilies and garlic). On top, there are scallions, cilantro, salty whitefish roe from Lake Huron and creamy house-made tartar sauce. It’s an unlikely mash-up of Chinese, Thai, Latin American and Canadian flavours that, by the magic of umami, somehow work together beautifully. $13. 401 Bay Street, 416-861-6996.

The Dish

Random Stuff

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Another reason to celebrate the warm winter: maple syrup is flowing early this year 

One of the warmest winters in recent memory is apparently making for an early maple syrup season—and some delightfully bad puns from the Toronto Star (“sticky situation,” “sweet combination”… you get the picture). The paper reports that the mild winter has put trees into what one expert called “late-winter mode,” meaning sap has already started flowing through the trees—something that typically doesn’t happen until late February or early March. Some cooler days in mid-February stemmed the flow temporarily, but warmer temperatures in the forecast should have things running again soon. One syrup expert did warn the paper that a quick transition to spring could cut the production season short, making for less syrup. Fortunately, though, this season’s yield is reportedly a “nice, light syrup.” We’re just happy there are experts aplenty devoted to the study and analysis of our magical national condiment. Read the entire story [Toronto Star]»

The Dish

Food Events

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GALLERY: Our 10 edible picks from this year’s Toronto Christmas Market (mulled wine very much included)

The organic waffles at Über Delicious (Image: Caroline Aksich)

You don’t have to be a wide-eyed, rosy-cheeked tot to enjoy the second annual Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. Heck, you don’t even have to be the world’s greatest fan of carollers and reindeer songs—because the edible offerings at this year’s cheery fest are the perfect remedy for holiday exasperation (especially the mulled wine). We hit the Distillery’s cobbled streets to seek out the best the market had to offer. Here’s what we found.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Stasis Local Foods, the new Roncesvalles emporium for all things pickled and jarred (and preferably local)

Inside Stasis Local Foods, looking out onto Roncesvalles (Image: Caroline Aksich)

Up at the northern tip of Roncesvalles, just south of Dundas, sits the neighbourhood’s newest gourmet food shop, Stasis Local Foods. The store carries a tightly curated selection of local and seasonal gems, but the focus is on the made-in-house jams and preserves prepared by the shop’s young owner, Julian Katz. Katz has cooked his way across the Toronto dining landscape (C5, The Drake, Lucien, Ruby Watchco), but when not preparing $30 mains, he would pickle in-season produce and whip up scrumptious jams. One day, he had a revelation: “I looked around and saw that I had 30 or 40 cases of jam in my house, and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous! I can only give away jam as Christmas gifts for so long!’ ” Katz left his gig with Lynn Crawford in January to brave the city’s farmers’ markets, and then founded his company, Stasis Preserves. After a year of pestering his chef friends for access to their kitchens, Katz decided it was time to get his own.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Recipe to Riches Reviewed: Episode 5, The Smart Cookie

RECIPE TO RICHES Season 1 | Episode 5

Last things first: at the end of this week’s episode (the sweet and savoury snacks challenge), the producers flashed a disclaimer explaining that “due to unforeseen circumstances,” the winning contestant would “not be competing for the grand prize in the final episode.” Our minds rife with conspiracy theories neither sweet nor savoury, we dashed off a note to the show’s publicist, who reassured us there was nothing untoward going on. Apparently, after the show was taped, the producers found out that the winner had a family member who worked at a company connected to the show, making her technically ineligible. But since that family member wasn’t in a position to have any influence on the show, they decided to let her keep her $25,000 in winnings while barring her from the grand prize. Given how badly she wanted to win (see below), we have to admit we feel a little bad. After the jump, our weekly recap and tasting panel.

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The Informer

Politics

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Presidential hopeful Rick Perry tricked by the Globe and Mail, cites fake Occupy Toronto protester 

A clueless Occupy Toronto protester was easy prey for Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who cited the dunce last Friday in an attempt to mock the U.S. version of the populist movement. According to Perry, a 38-year-old named Jeremy said, “Those bankers that we came to insult, they’d already been at work for two hours when we got here at 9 o’clock, and when we get ready to leave, they’re still in there working. I guess greed just makes you work hard.” Great anecdote: protesters embarrassed, whole room laughs, Perry clinches the nomination and the presidency, right? Too bad the quotation is fictional, pulled from a Globe and Mail article clearly labelled as satire. The Texas governor can’t really be blamed for the blunder—it was his son who sent him the quote (and really, when do elected officials ever need to check facts?). Also, rumour has it Perry may have indulged in a little liquid courage to get over the gaffe; he delivered this ostensibly drunken speech later that day. Skip to the end to watch Perry marvel at a gift of maple syrup like it was the Golden Fleece. Read the entire story [Washington Wire] »

The Dish

Random Stuff

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Two U.S. senators propose calling in the feds over fake maple syrup

(Image: Kai Hendry)

Champagne must come from its eponymous region in France, Parmigiano-Reggiano from specific areas in Emilia-Romagna (ok, and Lombardia) and Colombian Coffee from, well, Colombia. U.S. Law may soon dictate that maple syrup must have a specific origin as well—and no, Canada doesn’t take that honour. Maple trees do. According to the Toronto Star, two U.S. Senators are sponsoring a bill to make mislabeling a food product as maple syrup a federal offence punishable by a sentence of up to five years in prison.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Bannock, Oliver and Bonacini’s new café and restaurant at The Bay’s flagship store

Inside Bannock, the new collaboration between Oliver and Bonacini and HBC (Image: Renée Suen)

It’s no secret that Hudson’s Bay Co. has undergone some big changes in recent years. The retailer’s revitalization project at its Queen Street flagship store, in partnership with Compass Group Canada and Oliver and Bonacini, is the first move toward a national conversion of its food services. To that end, it’s opened up two new restaurants aimed at attracting an increasingly food-conscious public: Foodwares Market, a modern food hall on the lower level, and Bannock, a new restaurant and café at the corner of Queen and Bay.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Ex marks the spot: eight culinary innovations at this year’s Canadian National Exhibition (including deep-fried cola)

Four culinary delights at this year’s CNE (Images: Gizelle Lau)

In the days of yore, people flocked to the Canadian National Exhibition to see the year’s prize cows, pigs and horses. It’s only fitting that in these fallen fast-food times, people now gather round the warm, greasy glow of the deep fryers in the CNE Food Building. Indeed, gawking at the year’s fried fare has become something of an annual tradition, so we headed back to the Ex this year to bring you eight gut-busting indulgences, including this year’s headline grabber: deep-fried Coke cola.

See photos of all eight, along with a readout of our regret-o-meter »

The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Don Quixote, Canadian Music Week and six other events on our to-do list

Janelle Monáe, Jessica Greenberg in The Middle Place, and Piotr Stanczyk as Don Quixote

1. THE MIDDLE PLACE
Based on interviews with workers and residents at one of the city’s many youth shelters, this moving piece was written by young playwright Andrew Kushnir and drew significant acclaim at last year’s SummerWorks Theatre Festival. An exploration of what it means to be young and homeless, Kushnir tempers the heavier moments with the generous addition of humour. Directed by Alan Dilworth. To March 12. $29–$49. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., 416-368-3110, canadianstage.com.

2. CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK
Music lovers have been eagerly counting down the days until Canadian Music Week, and for good reason. The mind-blowing lineup is 800-plus musicians strong and includes some of the biggest names in music (think Janet Jackson, Good Charlotte, Melissa Etheridge and Janelle Monáe), as well as more than a few next-big-things (Zeus, Down with Webster and Hollerado). Oh, yeah, and there’s also the film festival, conference and awards show portions of the fest. March 9­–13. Wristbands $35–$150. Various locations, cmw.net.

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The Informer

Culture

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30 Rock comes to Toronto: what they got right, what they got wrong

We can pretend Alec Baldwin’s at the Convention Centre too

Last night’s jaunt to Toronto by 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and Avery Jessop (Elizabeth Banks) continued the long-standing tradition of American sitcoms making jokes about Canada, ranging from the obvious to the factually incorrect to the just plain weird. In the episode, a pregnant Avery goes into labour while the couple is visiting Toronto, raising the spectre that the child will be born Canadian.

We like to laugh at ourselves, so here are our favourite jokes at Canada’s expense. We like to laugh at Americans, too, though, so we’re throwing in a list of all the things 30 Rock got wrong.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Sweet Relief: Anne Yarymowich’s maple-apple-caramel concoction

Anne Yarymowich’s maple-apple-caramel concoction takes the cake

(Photograph: Edward Pond; Illustration by Jack Dylan)

“At Frank, when we send a dish out from the kitchen, I want it to elicit ‘mmms’ rather than ‘wows’—I want it to be comforting, not complicated. Our pouding chômeur, which loosely translates as ‘poor man’s pudding,’ is the perfect example. It’s a French-Canadian dessert that dates from a time when maple syrup was cheaper than sugar. I first tasted it when one of our banquet managers, who’s from Gatineau, brought it to a staff potluck; I knew right then it had to go on the menu. We developed a few different versions, but the best was a sort of hybrid of pouding chômeur and tarte tatin. It’s a beautiful marriage.”

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The Dish

Food Porn

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Holiday Gift Guide: 13 edible present ideas

We prefer to pass the holiday season by eating our way through it and forcing loved ones to do the same. So we’ve come up with 13 inventive edible gifts (and not a mini-muffin basket in sight).

See our foodie gift guide now >>

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TIFF Talk

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The swag series: George Stroumboulopoulos’s celeb guests take ketchup chips and Clamato back to the U.S.

Exotic Canadian Clamato

What it is: Guests of Strombo’s new show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, get their pick of some sweet swag in the Made in Canada Lounge at CBC headquarters. Housed behind the set in an area normally cordoned off for props, the space has been transformed into a CanCon cloud nine complete with furniture from The Bay and Queen West shop Design Republic.

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