Saturday, May 28, 2016

Get Inspired to Taste Canada


EVENT:  Taste Canada Event HBXTasteCanada at Hudson’s Bay Queen Street
                176 Yonge St., 7th floor (Housewares dept)

DATE:     May 12, 19 and 26th, 2016

WHO:     Taste Canada's Renowned Cookbook Authors and Chefs,
                Matt Basile (Lisa Marie, Fidel Gastros),         
                Mairlyn Smith Cookbook author & television personality, 
                Derek Damman (Maison Publique) and writer Chris Johns.

HASHTAG:  #HBxTasteCanada

I attended 2 out of 3 of Taste Canada's events and I am sorry that I missed Mairlyn Smith's session because I heard she was hilarious as I knew she would be.

The events were hosted by Taste Canada's English Language Chair Jennifer MacKenzie who I had the pleasure of meeting on last year's Farm Food Tour.

The event was to showcase some of the recipes in a few of the cookbooks submitted to the Taste Canada Awards which will be held on November 14, 2016.  It is open to the public if you want to purchase tickets.  It is held at the Bay as well.

The shortlist will be announced on September 13th and I hope to see some of these cookbooks on the short list.
Last year they introduced Food Blogger Awards and for the second year I have submitted my Blog for the Award.  I know it's a long shot but you never know if you don't buy a ticket as they say.  Last year the bloggers were also invited to be red carpet correspondents which was really fun and a great way to finally meet some of the other bloggers and cookbook authors.

I attend the first session just for fun since it was my birthday and wanted to have something to do after work.
Matt Basile made his popular Sriracha Maple Syrup Cauliflower and I think there was other stuff but I didn't get a chance to try it.  The first session was a bit more chaotic because I was trying to figure out all the stations for Beer, Wine, Coffee, Godiva chocolate covered strawberries, Flow water and Kale Chips.
By the time I went to the one with Derek Damman I knew where everything was and already tasted a few of the things so I had more time and a better view of Derek's demo of some amazing fresh Wild Garlic (Ramp) pasta with Wild garlic sauce.  Derek wasn't used to the induction stoves and had a bit of a challenge trying to get them to the temperature he wanted and he said he never used the pasta attachment on the Kitchen Aid Machine but that never stops a true Chef even though he was a little flustered by it he still produced the most amazing pasta.  Imagine the freshest pasta with a full flavour of fresh garlic.  Simple but amazing.  He also made potato croquettes that were passed around and they were fantastic too.  I could have eaten a half dozen of those.

There were deals on products from All Clad and lot's of different beverages to try.  After the quick cooking demo the Chefs sat down to sign their cookbooks and meet everyone.

I have all 3 of these cookbooks and I can tell you that they really represent all that is Canada.  Matt's book is wild and decadent with recipes from all over from his food truck travels. Matt likes to go BIG.  Mairlyn Smith is a people person so her cookbook is just that.  A collection of recipes from fellow Home Economists from across Canada and some are healthy and there are Canadian classics like Butter tarts.  Derek and Chris' cookbook is a superb collection of local ingredients from the West coast to the East Coast of Canada and it could be a lovely coffee table book with the photos from their seasick photographer.  For more info on these Cookbook Authors here is their info:

Matt Basile
Thursday, May 12, 2016 
Featuring Matt Basile, author of “Street Food Diaries” 
Twitter: Matt Basile @fidelgastros 
Presented by Penguin Canada @PenguinCanada
IG: fidelgastros 

Thursday, May 19, 2016 
Featuring Mairlyn Smith, author of “Homegrown” 
Twitter: Mairlyn Smith @MairlynSmith ; also @OntarioHEA
Presented by Whitecap @whitecapbooks
FB:  Mairlyn Smith Author 
IG: MairlynSmith

Derek Damman

Thursday, May 26, 2016 
Featuring Derek Dammann & Chris Johns, authors of 
“True North”
T: Derek Dammann @maisonpublique 
Chris Johns @chrisandvinegar
Presented by HarperCollins @HarperCollinsCA
IG: maisonpublique 

To find out more info about the Taste Canada Awards:

Please follow Taste Canada and these other sponsors on Twitter: 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A perfectly spiced meal

 I have a bit of a spice obsession.  Not the kind of obsession that I have to have the hottest spice but more that I like to use spices to flavour plain foods like chicken and potatoes so that I can change it up to any flavour from the Globe.   Recently I was sent some of Qualifirst's incredible spices and my favourite Sherry Vinegar.  Sherry vinegar is super hard to find and it's a great vinegar for salad dressings and even marinades.  I use it when I do quick pickles because it's milder than white vinegar and is the right balance of flavour and sourness.

Qualfirst has all kinds of gourmet products like oils and vinegars, spices, coffee and teas, ingredients for desserts and cocktails and a whole lot more.

I told them I love spices so they put together a box of some of their products for me to try.
I made a few different but simple things with them.

I live within walking distance of a Whole Foods so I took a walk over and picked up some freshly shucked East coast oysters and made a minionette sauce using the Sherry Vinegar and finely diced shallots and hit it with a squirt of lemon and some tabasco sauce.

Then I used the Sherry Vinegar Again for a Mediterranean salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped Kalamata olives, feta cheese and topped with pea shoots and a drizzle of oil. Super easy and fresh.

Then I went crazy with the spices, well not so much as crazy but I used 3 of the spices in one dish.
I had a piece of chicken breast and coated it in the Ras El Hanout (Middle Eastern) spice and also used the Espellette pepper spice and then on a sheet tray I drizzled a bit of oil and seasoned with salt and added some crushed garlic.  On the side of the baking sheet I had a mix of roughly chopped onions and some mixed grape tomatoes and on the other side I added some par boiled fingerling potatoes that I coated in oil and added some of the Smoked Paprika, yes this is my favourite spice. I use it all the time on chicken and potatoes but I added some of the Espellette pepper too and seasoned it all with just added salt and baked the whole thing together.   The tomatoes and onions caramelize and develop some amazing sweetness and the potatoes get crispy on the outside and the chicken stays tender inside and the skin gets crispy while it makes a bit of a sauce that can be poured over the chicken.  I actually mopped up the sauce with bread because it was so good.

Although I made this for myself I think this would be a perfect first date meal because it is really easy to make or an Anniversary or Birthday meal for someone you love because it's healthy, and flavourful and leaves you time for other things.

For more info on Qualfirst products check out their website:
Follow them on Twitter at

*Disclaimer - I was provided products but was not compensated for this post and all of the opinions are my own and so are the images.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Taste of Toronto returns to Fort York from June 23-26

The must-attend culinary event of the summer returns again this summer from 
June 23-26 at Garrison Common at Fort York 

Visitors can participate in hands-on cooking lessons at Metro Master Class, watch live cooking demonstrations in the Taste Theatre, sample and learn about various wines in the Tasting Room, enjoy intimate conversations at the Toronto Life Chef’s Table, sip the newest Grand Cru at the Nespresso Boutique Bar and shop at the Taste Marketplace filled with over 80 artisan and premium producers and brands. American Express Cardmembers can take advantage of the American Express Lounge, offering complimentary water, snacks and a private bar.

Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes kicks off opening night, leading a live demonstration of
gastronomic delights at the Taste Theatre, in partnership with Metro and All-Clad. More top
chefs to take centre stage throughout the week include Mark McEwan (McEwan Group), Victor
Barry (Piano Piano), Kazuya Matsuoka (Miku Toronto) and more, each revealing their own
industry tricks.

This is the third year in Toronto and it really pulls together the who's who of the top restaurants in Toronto.  You gotta wonder who's in their kitchens that weekend because you will see so many chefs at the Taste that you won't be able to get a reservation anywhere else.

Some of the notable restaurants participating in the Taste include:
Barque Smokehouse, Carver, The Drake, El Cabalito, Little Sister, McEwan Group, Miku, Nota Bene, Piano Piano, Mamakas, Richmond Station, Los Colibris, Rasa, Alo, Antler, KanPai, Kinton Ramen, Kintori Yakitori, Kinka Izikaya, County General and Fat Pasha.

A few of the participating restaurants are new and a few have participated in the past but it's a great way to sample the food of a bunch of restaurants without trying to get around all over the city.  These days with the subway delays and traffic having it all in one place is a real time saver.  While you won't get full entrees, I promise you that you will have very full bellies.  I had to go back over a couple of days because I just couldn't try all the ones I wanted to try in one day.

For updates on the full list of exhibitors, visit

Tickets for Taste of Toronto are now on sale through Ticketmaster, starting at $19 for general
admission. For more information visit

Facebook: TasteofToronto
Twitter: @TasteofToronto
Instagram: @TasteofToronto
Hashtag: #TasteofToronto
Photos: Taste of Toronto 2015

About Taste Festivals

Taste Festivals, an IMG event, is considered the world’s greatest restaurant festival. The festival
concept began 13 years ago in London, England, and has rapidly grown into an international
event with festivals in 20 cities around the world including Dubai, Amsterdam, Milan, Paris,
Hong Kong, Dublin, Sydney, and Moscow, to name a few. Everywhere it goes, Taste represents
a gourmand’s dream come true: delicious food created by the city’s greatest restaurants, world
famous chefs, superb drink and outstanding entertainment, set in stunning surroundings.

Tapas Essentials not just for Tapas


You usually think of Tapas as a something you eat at a party or while restaurant hopping in Spain.
I was given some samples of Espuna Canada's Tapas Essentials and made them in 3 different ways.

I used the Chorizo salami in my Spanish Omellette for what could be a Breakfast, Lunch or even dinner because it really  has everything in it.

I sliced and fried small pieces of the chorizo with diced onions, and green and red peppers and then I added scrambled eggs.  I used smoked paprika for the spice but skipped salt and pepper because of the chorizo. You could make a fold over omelette or a fritatta but this was based on an omellette my mom used to make for my dad who had some Spanish heritage.  My mom would add tomatoes instead of salami but sometimes my dad would make omelettes with salami in them.

I kept everything pretty simple because I didn't have a lot of time to prepare fancy things and it's also a super easy way to have these things on hand in case friends stop by at the last minute.

I used the fantastic salami just the way it is on a piece of sliced baguette and topped it off with some Spanish Manchego cheese and some olives and grape tomatoes on the side.  Some Marcona almonds and grapes would probably be great to have with this if I had some.

The last thing I made were the classic Prosciutto wrapped dates.  I also stuffed them with some more of the Manchego cheese but you could use any kind of cheese that melts well or even put a Marcona almond in the middle too.  These would be great for parties but I just made them for an afternoon snack.

I wanted to use the products to have a Fiesta party with friends but we didn't have the time to pull it together so I just used them in my everyday life and you can use them for appetizers, lunch, a snack or cooked in your dinner.

You could also use the chorizo salami on your favourite pizza or use the prosciutto in a paninni.

If I was having a party I would have used most of these products for a charcuterie board with some great cheeses, and fruits and nuts.

Espuna products were founded in 1947 in Olot, Spain by the Espuna family and have been family fun since then. They export 300 products to 49 countries.

To find out more about their line of products visit their website at

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Father's Day Gift Ideas for Food Lovers

My dad Jacques and me

Father's Day is on Sunday June 19th this year.  

You have no clue what to do with or for your dad, right?

My dad has been gone for a long time so I won't be celebrating Father's Day and he wasn't much of a gift guy anyway.  When we asked him what he wanted he always said "nothing", but we always got him something anyway.  He was the kind of guy that did things for himself and was the shopper in the family so he would get what he needed.  Yes that's how I learned how to shop and why I probably do the same thing.

I know some people aren't the best gift givers and really don't have a clue what to do.   I am going to help you with some really great choices.  These are all geared to the food lovers.  Maybe your dad is a DIY'er or maybe fancies himself a budding chef, or maybe he can't cook anything but likes to stay fit and healthy, or he would just prefer to spend time with you.  Well I got you covered in this list of great options for your Food Loving Dad. All of these are curated for Toronto but even if you are outside of Toronto you can use some of these ideas or some of them can be delivered or maybe a visit to Toronto is in order.


There is a great online store that has a whole section of unique gifts for Men and this Avocado Tree Starter caught my eye as a really unique gift.


Maple Leaf Tavern has been around for decades and had bit of a reputation but the new owners have brought the place back to life with a lot of spit and polish and a whole new look and menu.  This place is beautiful and warm and comfortable to spend time in.  The food is fantastic and it is a place that you can take the family or just hang out with friends.  One side is a more formal sit down restaurant while the other side of the bar is a more bar style atmosphere with booth seating and stand up tables and the bar.  They have restored it down to the original brick and built it up in places that needed modernization.  Maple Leaf Tavern has some Father's Day Specials that will make it worth your while to take Dad and the family there for.
Mascot Brewery is a great new Restaurant/Bar located in the hip entertainment district in the centre of what I call condo ville downtown.  They just opened and have 3 levels.  On the main level is the bar/restaurant and the middle level is a club space but the upper level is a rooftop patio.  They have great burgers and fries and their own beer.  If your dad is young at heart he will love this place.

Paramount Fine Foods  is offering a free hummus and pita with every two entrees. Treat your dad to a Middle East meal in the GTA. All of their items are made in house and are fresh and healthy. The pitas are made fresh in a wood burning oven. They also have a pastry and cookie section that includes Baklava.  There are over 30 in the GTA.  
To find the nearest location:

Aga Khan Lam Burger
Aga Khan Museum - Why not get some culture in and check out the museum and their New Patio Menu, Highlights at Diwan include:
• A choice of chicken, lamb, and prawns ($12 each) prepared on the outside grill.
• A generous mezes platter of Middle Eastern and South Asian delights designed for sharing ($28)
• Paratha Tacos, offering an innovative twist on the traditional taco with Shawarma-style Chicken and Shirazi Salsa garnish ($7); and a range of mocktails and cocktails, featured daily.

Diwan’s full grill menu is offered 11:30 am–6 pm Tuesday to Sunday. From Thursday to Saturday, sharing platters and other light mezes are available from 6–8 pm. A full patio menu and photos can be downloaded here.


Is your dad a beer connoisseur?  Do you think he would like to make his own beer?  There's a place he can learn how to do that at the Toronto Brewing Co.

If he isn't a beer drinker but fancies a great bottle of wine then he can learn about wine and make his own wine at the Wine Butler


Looking to give your dad an experience instead of a thing?  What about giving him a Culinary Adventure tour with the Culinary Adventure Co.

Toronto Food Tours is locally owned and operated by partners Chef Scott Savoie,  and John Anderson, a local restaurateur and pub owner for over 25 years. They are dedicated to featuring the culinary & cultural diversity of the city through Food Tours, Drink Tours, Edible Escapades, Cooking Classes  & Tastings.  


Is your dad a BBQ guy but he isn't always great at it?  Why not take a BBQ class with him at the  Weber Grill Academy


Chef's Plate is great for those single fathers who don't have time to shop for groceries,  prep food, cook it and clean up afterward.  Yeah that's most of us.  My friend uses this service because he is a bit clueless in the kitchen and this helps him learn and make real food instead of doing take out all the time.  What they do for you is pre measure and package ingredients  and provide recipe instructions so you just open the ingredients and cook it up fresh.  It's great for small condo kitchens that don't have space to store lot's of spices and pantry ingredients.  It literally will just give you the spices and other ingredients needed for that recipe.  There is no waste except for maybe the containers it comes in.  There is always a deal to get you started too.
Rexfords Chicken Souvlaki

Rexford's is a new food system that is perfect for someone that is health conscious but doesn't have time to cook or just doesn't know what or how to make something nutritious.  They started by providing refrigerators to local gyms and stocking the pre prepped meals for people to eat after their workouts.  They have now expanded to deliver to pick up points like gyms or directly to you. All of the meals are around 500 calories and low in fat, sodium and sugar.

The Healthy Butcher is a great place for the serious meat lover to get your meat delivered directly to you.  They have other things too and you can shop for all of your Big BBQ needs.  The meat is antibiotic free and I believe organic too.  You can even order up all the fixings to your Dad's place and go and make hime a great meal while he relaxes and enjoys a great meal.

Fresh City Farms is a local food deliver service that can deliver salads in jars, lunch bag meals that you prep like the Chef's Plate meals and they deliver local produce and other products.  You set up the service you like and they will deliver it to you weekly.  You can put your order on hold if you are away and change it and modify it anytime.


Here's a fun idea of something you can do with your dad on Father's Day.  If he loves the combo of a beach, a brew, BBQ and music then this is the perfect event for him at Beach BBQ and BREWS

Waterfront Artisan Market (WAM) presented by The Waterfront BIA in partnership with Toronto Market Company (TMCo), brings together a carefully curated mix of 50 top artisans, crafters, chefs and bakers. This unique open-air market will take place over six weekends at HTO Park (339 Queens Quay West – between Rees Street and Spadina Avenue). Explore new items and foods from exciting up-and-coming vendors on May 28-29, June 18-19, July 1-3, July 30-Aug 1, September 3-5 and October 8-10 from 10am-6pm. Visit for more information.

Enjoy Father's Day with your dad as long as you can because you never know when the time will come when you won't be able to so appreciate the time you have now.

*This list has been curated by me and I have not been compensated for this post.  All of the opinions are my own.  The photos are my own except for the Aga Khan Burger provided by Holmes PR and the Paramount photo provided by Liquid Communications .

Rexford's new Healthy Meal Delivery service

Rexfords Foodbar hosted a Culinary Tasting at Acme works recently to showcase  some of their meal delivery service meals.  They had a selection of about 6 meals and I chose the Chicken Souvlaki but I think they called it Shawarma.

They started out by supplying local gyms with Freezers where they would stock orders for their clients.  When you are a busy professional it's a great way to maximize your time by going to the gym and picking up your dinner right there.  It gives you more time for other things.

The meals were developed by nutritionists and the reason they paired up with the Gym's at first was to cater to people who wanted to get proper nutrition without spending a lot of time figuring it out and preparing it.
You can still pick up your meals at your local gym but they will also deliver to your home or office.
The meals are all around 500 calories and are low in salt, fat and sugar.  All of the flavourings are natural spices and herbs.   They are about the size of those grocery store frozen meals but when you look at the sodium and preservatives listed on the back of one of those boxes there is no comparison.

They are great for people that don't have the time to cook but also if you live alone you most likely wouldn't cook a complete meal for yourself.  If you had to stock all of the food included in one of the meals you really would spend a lot more time and money per meal if you wanted the variety of food choices unless you are super efficient at using all of your groceries but as we know 50% of groceries purchased end up in the trash.  This is a great way to cut down on waste.

While it is difficult to make frozen food as good as individually cooked freshly cooked foods I can tell you from the sample I had they had great flavours and I was told that you could also heat them up in a pan or in the oven.   Basically the microwave steams it and makes it a bit dry so I would experiment with timing and see how it works for you.

They come in a BPA free microwavable container that you can heat up in a couple of minutes.

To find out more about Rexfords check them out here:

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Stop's Night Market returns for it's 5th year.

The Stop’s Night Market Returns In June to Celebrate Its 5th Anniversary!

I attended this event for the first time last year and it was a blast.  Some of the best restaurants in the city participate in this event and create amazing vendor carts where they serve their food.  
A little tip though, ditch the stillettos and fancy outfits.  It's held in a gravel parking lot, so wear comfy shoes.
You can read about last year's event on this post I wrote after the event.

The event will be held in the open lot at 158 Sterling Road. On Tuesday, June 14th and Wednesday, June 15th, The Stop Community Food Centre’s most popular fundraising event will transform this new vacant lot into a bustling and aromatic market, bringing together Toronto’s most talented creatives from the culinary, design, performance, and graphic arts sectors to celebrate diversity, community, and the power of food. 

Tickets, each valid for one night only, are on sale now through the event website at  

The Stop’s Night Market will feature more than 70 of Toronto’s best chefs and more than 35 unique food carts, each created by local design teams. This year, cart designs will be subject to evaluation by a four-person jury, including Alex Bozikovic, architecture critic at The Globe & Mail; David Liss, Curator Advisor at The Museum of Contemporary Art_Toronto_Canada; Casey Mecija, multi-disciplinary artist, musician, and host of “The Doc Project” on CBC Radio One; and Vivek Shraya, artist.

All proceeds from The Stop’s Night Market support The Stop’s critical food access and community-building programs.

For a complete list of food and beverage vendors to date (subject to change), as well as design teams, see the event details below, or visit our event website at
About The Stop Community Food Centre
Located in Toronto’s west end, The Stop works to increase access to food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality. From its origins as one of Canada’s first food banks, The Stop has blossomed into a thriving community hub where neighbours participate in a broad range of programs that provide healthy food, foster social connections, build food skills, and promote civic engagement. Underlying all of The Stop’s efforts is the belief that food is a basic human right.

Visit the organization’s website at thestop.orgFollow The Stop on Twitter & Instagram (@TheStopCFC) and use The Stop’s Night Market hashtag, #TheStopNM. 
Updates are also available on the event Facebook Page at  

Event Details

When: Tuesday, June 14 and Wednesday, June 15, 2016, from 7PM to 11PM

Where: Vacant Lot, 158 Sterling Road, Toronto (please note the new location!)

Tickets: $100 (includes all-you-can-eat-and-drink!), available at

photo fun at the Stop Night Market

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Food Revolution 2016 - Chef's Plate Contest

WIN 1 of 2 $25 Gift Certificates for Chef's Plate

I have been a Food Revolution Ambassador for  over 5 years now.  When I started there were just a handful of Ambassadors and now there are thousands all over the world and about a dozen in Toronto.
We all do different things but it all falls under the umbrella of FOOD REVOLUTION.
This year they have changed the website to JamiesFoodRevolution
Jamie Oliver created the Food Revolution movement over 5 years ago to get people all around the world involved in taking control of their food, whether it's learning how to cook or growing your own food or getting involved in the food system in whatever way you can.  In the past it was focused on ONE DAY.  Usually the 3rd Friday in May or if you are in Canada the day leading up to the May 24 long weekend.

This year the Jamie Oliver Foundation want to change the focus from one day to YEAR ROUND.

I joined because I was inspired by Jamie's Food Revolution series and when they sent out a call for Ambassadors I applied to see what I could do.  Over the past 5 years I have had a dinner party at home, a Mexican Fiesta at Aphrodite Cooks,  Cooking Italian food from Scratch at the Depanneur and last year a Middle Eastern food demo at Hendrix Restaurant Supplies

This year due to time I wasn't able to do a public event, so I am going to do something completely different this time.   I want to get you into the kitchen but I am not going to do a demo, YOU are going to try and teach yourself how to cook.

Jamie Oliver has provided 10 RECIPES to get you started in the kitchen if you want to DIY it.  Download them and try them and then make them your own and don't forget to tag them with #FoodRevolution so that we can all see how you did.

If you think that might be a bit of a challenge if you really are a beginner or you can't even "boil water" as they say then I have a GIVEAWAY for you to get you started in the kitchen.

You can WIN (1) of 2-  $25 gift certificate towards the purchase of your first Chef's Plate order.  
Their mission is to put real food back into people's diets.
They are a meal-kit delivery services based in Toronto that delivers pre prepped portioned ingredients and recipe cards for meals that you put together fresh yourself.  It saves you time gathering the ingredients and measuring the quantities.  Real, whole meals don't have to be boring, difficult or expensive and we want people to fall in love with cooking again.

To WIN (1) of (2) gift certificates you need to:

1.  Follow Chef's Plate on Social Media:

2.  Follow me on my social media:
  Twitter  & Instagram @lindamatarasso
  Join my facebook page

3.  Tweet the following message:
"@lindamatarasso I want to be a #FRD16Chef & Join the #foodrevolution & start with +Chef's Plate"

Eligibility and contest rules:
– Contest begins on Monday May 16th 2016 at 9.00am EST on and closes on Food Revolution Day on Friday May 20th 2016 at 12pm EST.
– Prize consists of one (1) gift certificate towards a Chef's Plate meal (Value $25CAD each)
– Open to readers or the age of majority with a Toronto mailing address.
– Winners will be chosen randomly from all qualified entries and notified on Friday May 20th 2016 after 1pm EST.
*Only 1 entry per person is eligible to win.
You will receive the prize by email after being notified and an email address provided by you.

Good luck

You can also JOIN the REVOLUTION at

You can also see what other Toronto Ambassadors have planned by joining the Facebook Group:
Food Revolution Day Toronto

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mascot Brewery opens 3 level bar restaurant

Mascot Brewery
31 Mercer Street, Toronto
T 416-979-0131
FB, IG, Twitter +Mascot Brewery 

Media Preview
May 13, 2016

A new 3 level restaurant and bar opens up in the Entertainment District in downtown Toronto on Mercer Street.  The main level is a classic bar/restaurant with booths and high top tables and the bar in the centre.  The second level is a club I believe but it wasn't opened and didn't look ready yet.
The third level is a rooftop patio that I am sure will annoy the condo dwellers that surround it as it was already packed and it just opened.

The concept by owner Aaron Prothro and Chef Rory McGouran, who is classically trained is to have tapas style bites.  Smaller portions of dishes that won't break the bank.

I sampled their fantastic Burger which was served medium with a Brioche Bun.  

I also tried the Bone Marrow Applewood smoked cheddar Mac and Cheese and really liked the flavour of it.  I had a tiny sample of it but enjoyed it.

I could smell their fries while on the rooftop patio but didn't try them.  The menu seems to be a bit all over the place with a Tuna Ceviche, Schnitzel, Mole chicken and oysters.  I would like to go back and try a few things from their menu to see what they are like but I can tell you that the sliders that I tasted were fantastic.

It is named Mascot Brewery because they have 2 house beers that are made in partnership with Parkdale's Duggan Brewery.  They serve German Pilsner and German Hefeweizen.

I think it will be a popular hangout for the 30 something set that live in the condos in the area.  

What is Israeli Cuisine?

In a new documentary a Jewish American Michael Solomonov, a James Beard Award winning chef and co-owner of acclaimed restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia
is the host who travels to Israel "In Search of Israeli Cuisine".  

I got a chance to see Canadian premiere of this documentary at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) and enjoyed every minute of this film.  It is kind of like a less edgy Anthony Bourdain style travel film where Michael Solomonov is the Anthony Bourdain who takes you through different places in Israel and discusses with Chefs at different restaurants and locals what the origins of their food is and what exactly is Israeli food or is there such a thing.  Some of the experts say of course there is and others say that there isn't an Israeli cuisine because what is eaten is Israel is influenced by Sephardic and Eshkanazi jews and other residents who bring food from their roots from Poland, Spain, Morocco, Iraq and all of the surrounding countries which are many.
The one thing that most of them all have in common seems to be Pita or some version of it and Hummus or some version of that.  They must have said hummus at least 20 times in the film and by the end of the movie I had a serious craving for hummus and pita.

I have never been to Israel even though my parents were married there.  I really enjoyed the films look at the different regions in Israel and the comparison of the modern Tel Aviv versus some of the smaller areas around Israel.
This film is a mix of travel, food porn and politics.  You wouldn't think food would be political but it is.  They say that some people stole their food.  Can you really call developing similar recipes stealing?  Either way it seems to me that the food eaten in Israel is a hodge podge of different european influences from eastern european to the more exotic and spicy foods.  I grew up similar to this with my mother having Polish heritage and my dad having Greek heritage and their influences of having lived in Israel, Belgium and their birth countries and the mix of influences from their friends all developed my own palate from the food that my mother prepared when I was young.

This film will make you hungry so find your local Israeli or Middle Eastern restaurant nearby where ever you see this film because  you are going to want to go out and eat some hummus and pita and eggplant by the end of the film.

I can only imagine how good the food at Solomonov's restaurant Zahav is after eating food all over Israel.  I hope to have the chance to go there one day.

Get you appetite and your passport ready for this film.