Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekly Roundup - October 5, 2012

Sara's Goodbye - Working at a pub this summer we saw a lot of staff come and go, but none was as significant and as bittersweet as Sara's goodbye. Sara was one of the most loved bartenders at the pub, and the one I was lucky enough to enjoy working with every Friday. I had so much fun gossiping about regulars, gushing about boys, talking about great food and music, and chatting about just about every other topic under the sun with Sara, so it was certainly bittersweet to hear that she had been offered a fantastic job that would keep both her and daughter secure, and would be leaving our pub. On Friday after working a shift full of "lasts" with Sara, the whole pub filled up with regulars and staff to celebrate Sara's new job! Cheers to your future Sara!

Wychwood Barns Farmers Market - On one of those "sunglasses and Advil" mornings on Saturday thanks to Sara's goodbye party, my mom and I woke up early to view yet another rental. We have seen so many rentals both great and bad, but unfortunately, none have come through for us. It's been terrible getting your hopes up time and time again, while at the same time dealing with this difficult transition. We were let down once again, only 15 minutes before we were to arrive at the showing, when the landlord called us to say that it had just been rented. It felt like a blow to the stomach. Both my mom and I looked absolutely distraught. After some tears and hugs,  we decided we needed to take our minds off of our troubles and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. We hopped in the car and headed to the Wychwood Barns Farmers Market to check out their selection. I loved walking around the many different booths seeing the beautiful fresh produce, baked goods, cheeses, meats, and more! One organic vegan stand grabbed our attention with their beautiful presentation. What particularly struck us was their vibrant beet and carrot spring rolls. We couldn't resist picking up two to have for lunch later. Although the spring rolls looked absolutely beautiful...I hate to say that they were lacking in flavour. It really could have used either a vinaigrette or a spicy dip to bring the flavours together.

25th Birthday - After spending Saturday night celebrating my last evening as a 24-year old and ringing in 25 with a few close friends, it was so nice to stumble into my bathroom to see a lipstick birthday message from my mom written on the mirror. How cute! The next morning she also made me chocolate chip pancakes! The best mama ever!

Birthday Dinner - Being the procrastinator that I am, I of course left my birthday dinner planning to the last minute. Very last minute I decided I had to have fresh pasta on my birthday, so my mom booked a reservation at Terroni on Yonge for my family and I. Here's a pic of my entrĂ©e, Ravioli di Zio Paperone, homemade ravioli stuffed with duck confit, fig, roasted butternut squash, sauteed with oyster, button mushrooms and parmigiano. It was delicious, although I couldn't really taste fig.
25th Birthday - After years of writing this blog, it's become clear in the numerous blog posts I've written about my birthday that I am not a fan of the occasion. I can't help but fret over my birthday each year, worrying about how to celebrate, how to please all my friends who I'd like to come out, and, most of all, I can't help but worry over the fact that my life seems to be flashing by faster than ever. Each year I always find myself saying aloud "I can't believe I'm [insert age here]!". This year hitting that quarter-century mark, my birthday felt very strange. It felt like a forceful push into adulthood. Twenty-five is five years away from thirty, and that means time to get your sh*t together. As my friend Alex put it in her birthday card she wrote to me this year, nows the time to take your life into your own hands and make your dreams tangible. It's a scary and intimidating thought, but also an inspiring one. My hopes, dreams, and goals have changed a lot over the years but they're still as big as ever and I feel ready to take that leap and make them a reality now. Change is in the air and, as much as I've resisted it in the past, I'm now ready to embrace it and see where it will take me. The above photo is of two of my close friends Danielle and Robin and myself on the end, celebrating my final evening as a 24-year old. 
Birthday Dinner - You can't celebrate a birthday dinner without dessert. Even though we were stuffed to the brim, we had to order one of my favourites, tiramisu, to finish off my birthday meal at Terroni on Yonge. You can't go wrong with tiramisu!

sip & Savour Ontario: Duck Liver Ice Cream Cones - Every Fall I not only have my birthday to look forward to, but also one of my favourite food and wine events, sip & Savour Ontario! For as long as I can remember I have been helping out with sip & Savour Ontario, so each year I look forward to the exciting new chefs, wineries, and changes they have in store for the event. This year was a very exciting year, with four chefs from this years Top Chef Canada participating by preparing food pairings and taking part in live cooking demos. Although there were so many delicious pairings at the event, the one that stole my number one spot as my favourite of the night was Duck Liver Ice Cream Cones from Chef David Chrystian from Victor Lounge. I know, it sounds totally scary. Being someone who doesn't even like duck liver to begin with, I didn't want to try the strange combination either, but after hearing about the success he had with that exact dish on Top Chef, and hearing guests rave about the tasty bite, I had to give it a try. The duck liver ice cream was subtle and delicious but it was really the cones that brought the whole dish together, with specks of nutty sesame seeds baked in. The little bite was finished with a jelly of some sort that was spooned inside the cone before adding the ice cream. It was perfect! I had to go back for seconds to wrap my head around this unique combination. This dish definitely blew my mind!

sip & Savour Ontario: Lamb Manti - Last year the exciting change for sip & Savour Ontario was the addition of food trucks! We received such a great response about the food truck addition, in particular El Gastronomo Vagabundo, that we had to bring Chef Adam Hynam-Smith from El Gastronomo back on board with us again this year. His Lamb Manti food pairing was another favourite of mine!

sip & Savour Ontario: Chicken Noodle Soup Terrine - My job for most of the evening at sip & Savour Ontario this year was to monitor the live cooking demos, a perfect fit for me! I was really excited to start off the evening with a chef demo from Chef David Chrystian from Victor Lounge as he was making another dish that he found great success in on Top Chef, his deconstructed dish, Chicken Noodle Soup Terrine. It was really neat to be able to learn from the chef himself how to make this complex dish in my very own kitchen! I also felt very exclusive hearing Chef David proclaim that this was the last time he would ever be preparing this dish!

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Listening To:
Cat Power - Metal Heart

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