Merry Christmas! + Breadventures

 Carmen's Bread Project, or how about "Breadventures"?! I'm trying to make that happen. Almost a year after I stumbled upon Tartine's bread video, I was finally ready to commit and make my own bread! What was supposed to be a summer project turned into me getting an "apprentice job" at a bakery. So my actual breadventures began 3 weeks ago (I've been keeping a pretty detailed log...all or nothing right?! My childhood journals aren't even this detailed or frequently logged. Then again, what would my recounts be about? "Saw a squirrel chase another squirrel today", "Marcus was being weird and followed me from one play station to the next" <- story="" true="">


Bar Isabel

It’s been under a year since Grant Van Gameran ­­(Exec chef, former co-owner/chef of Black Hoof) & Max Rimaldi (of Enoteca Sociale) opened Bar Isabel (@BarIsabel797) and just two months since they were ranked “#1 Best New Restaurant of 2013” by EnRoute Magazine (very well deserved as you’ll squint to see). Along with Guy Rawlings (GM, former chef of Brockton General), Brandon Olsen (CDC, former chef at Black Hoof) and Mike Webster (mixologist, formerly at Momofuku, Splendido) the food & drinks that they make plus the unpretentiousness of it all will have you coming back again and again.


Richmond Station: Dessert Tasting

If you haven’t been to Richmond Station (@richmondstn) yet, call up a few friends, make reservations (save yourself the hour or more wait) and mark that date on your calendar with smiley faces and coloured sharpies--I did that mentally… Opened last October by chefs Carl Heinrich (@ChefHeinrich) & Ryan Donovan (@ryanPdonovan), Richmond Station is a farm-to-table restaurant that uses whole animals, makes their own charcuterie AND serves killer desserts thanks to their pastry chef, Farzam Fallah (@Farzam_Fallah). 


Victoria: Blue Fox Café

BRUNCH. The meal that I use as an excuse to indulge in my favourite breakfast fare that I’d otherwise feel too guilty eating in the early hours of the day. Blue Fox Café is one of THE brunch places to hit up in Victoria. After a relaxing morning of sleeping in, reading, and just overall calm, we were ready to eat.


Death Row Meals: Youngblood


If I’m not mistaken, last week’s Death Row Meals: Youngblood dinner was the first one since their 3rd annual Olde Hunter’s Feast earlier in February this year. It was one not to be missed. Featuring up and coming chefs in some of the city’s hottest restaurants, it definitely garnered a lot of attention fast. Using the movie, Youngblood (starring Rob Lowe, Cynthia Gibb and Patrick Swayze—what’s important is that it’s set in Ontario! ;D) as inspiration, the seven chefs came up with a tasting dinner fittingly held at the Air Canada Centre’s Hot Stove Club.


Victoria: The Soda Shoppe

When in a new place, do not do the touristy thing. Do not pretend you’re holding the pyramid outside Le Louvre. Do not stand in front of random monument whose history is lost on you and snap photos. Do not explore the city’s culinary scene through the hotel restaurant below your suite. And don’t you dare order room service when there’s a farmer’s market close by. Who am I kidding?!


Victoria: Red Fish Blue Fish

Final day of racing: 200m races x 4. Distance-wise, very short but they are insane. Imagine exerting all your energy in 40-some seconds, it’s over before you even know it. After our races, we waited around for what seemed like hours (oh wait it was a few hours!) to find out if we qualified (top 5 teams in the country qualify to compete in Italy in 2014). Well, while we waited, we snacked on blackberries growing at the race site and eagerly anticipated this meal:


Richmond Station

It finally happened!! Finally, being dining at Richmond Station. I’ve been wanting to go to (Top Chef season 2 winner) Chef Carl Heinrich & partner/butcher Ryan Donovan’s restaurant ever since they opened last year! Dun dun dun that day night has come!! Here are some photos and a bit of story about the meal I had there.


Victoria: Ferris’ Upstairs Oyster Bar

 Racing in Victoria has just finished and we were ready to chow down on some oysters! I’d been looking forward to being able to try some of the fresh seafood for almost a week now. I didn’t know where to go for oysters but supposedly, Ferris’ Upstairs Oyster Bar is a good bet. Thanks to a few teammates, reservations were made and we just had to show up. Perfect!


Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium #AKS


A couple of Sundays ago, a few hundred people gathered inside the MOD club during the day. There was good food, celeb chefs, a member of Rush and many hungry individuals brought together by a great cause and love of food. So what was all this for? Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium that’s what!


Victoria: West Coast Waffles


One more mini pre-race food adventure. A few of us were planning on spending a few days after racing in Vancouver, both to explore the outdoors and to EAT so I’d done ample research on food spots to hit up. As for Victoria, I ran more on recommendations, West Coast Waffles being one of them. As I fully trust this friend, we didn’t look any further into this spot other than its address. Yay surprise time!

Victoria: Sushi Matsuri


The end of summer was both beyond stressful and a blast. Instead of the normal food road trip to NYC, I had Canadian Dragonboat Nationals in Victoria. The gluttony had to wait until after competition, but that’s fine. After several days of racing, I’d like to think that we earned the food we gorged on ate…with restraint. After days of eating oatmeal, raw veg and tasteless cereal with skim milk for dinner (not gonna lie, I didn’t mind it that much but still), it was nice to finally be able to check out all the places we had on our spreadsheet.


Lemon Granita


My all-time favourite (dessert) flavour: lemon. I can’t get enough of it! In fact, I’m eating Liberté lemon yogourt as I’m typing this. One of my friends once told me that you’re either a chocolate or a lemon person (is that true?)—I’m a lemon person all the way!! Gimme a cup of lemon juice, ooh yes. Nah, I’m kidding. I’m not that hardcore but there’s just something about its scent filling the room when you zest or juice a lemon that instantly makes me happy.


Home of the Brave

A few days before I left for Victoria, a new restaurant on King West opened: Home of the Brave (@theHOTB)! From the same guys behind La Carnita (@la_carnita), the concept this time is all-American goodness. Taking over the space above Lou Dawgs, HOTB is that chill space you want to dine at where the food and drinks are seriously good but they’ve still got a sense of humour about it all.


Canoe: Taste Berry

From the Oxford dictionary, canoe /kəˈnuː/: noun. A light, narrow boat with pointed ends and no keel, propelled with a paddle or paddles. Now in my personal food dictionary, canoe: restaurant. Incredible, top-notch restaurant from the Oliver & Bonacini group located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower with Chef John Horne and Chef Anthony Walsh in the kitchen serving Canadiana cuisine. A must go.


Bouchon Bakery Cookbook: Cream Puffs

For my birthday last year, my co-captain had gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever received: an autographed copy of the new Bouchon Bakery!It was so unexpected!! And now, months later, I finally grew the cojones to begin tackling this thick, beautifully photographed and written cookbook.


Roasted Peach Crumble


Hey there! It’s been too long since my last post…kinda feeling out of touch with the whole food scene. I promise I have my reasons for being so mia! Bah! This happens every summer around this time. There’s a bit of a backlog of food adventures that I’ve yet to post so the next few will be a bit dated, sorry!


YVF Organic presents #LegsAndTie at Edulis

 Last week was food adventure gluttony for me! Back-to-back food adventures is definitely cause for excitement in my books! Sabai sabai on Tuesday, then Edulis for #LegsAndTie on Wednesday, how lucky! So what’s all this #LegsAndTie shenanigans about you ask?


Sabai Sabai


Thai time! It’s been awhile since I’ve gone out for a quiet meal with friends. Sabai Sabai is the latest Thai spot that involves the husband-wife duo Jeff and Nuit Regular. If you’ve been to Khao San Road or Sukhothai, you know what I mean. You know you will be enjoying the real stuff, no ketchup pad thai here! Actually, no pad thai at all…


Momofuku Milk Bar Toronto


Last year, David Chang’s Momofuku empire migrated up north to (almost) everyone’s delight, moving right next to the new Shangri-La hotel on University. Three levels, four concepts. As recently as last month, there was denial of Milk Bar would join the party up north. And now, a new Milk Bar “boutique” occupies the once empty glass cube of a room on the second floor next to Nikai! Let’s face it, it was begging for some compost cookies, savoury croissants (not available—yet?) and crack pies.


Montreal Eats: Garde Manger

A couple of weekends ago, the team had their last regatta of the season in Montreal! For myself, it was a tense and nerve-wracking weekend to say the least. I’d like to think that we work hard enough to play hard. And by play hard I mean ultimate cheat dinner sort of thing. 


Lemon Pudding Cake

How long has it been since my last post? Too long. I've been mad busy and haven’t really gone out on food adventures besides cheap team dinners. I thought I didn’t have anything to post, then I found photos of a few things I baked. Oh the nostalgia of being in my kitchen downstairs baking late at night!


BOXED Toronto


Last month, Chef Matthew Sullivan, the man behind the BOXED Toronto, finally announced the next installment of his pop-up dinner. It’s been awhile since the last one so I’m sure people had been anxiously waiting for this just as much as I was. A week or two after tickets started selling, the menu theme was announced:


Magnum Gold?!

Growing up, summer meant playing outside, swimming, and cold treats; the ultimate treat being either chocolate mint ice cream or that purple, green and magenta rocket popsicle. Such simple pleasures! Now there are so many more options when it comes to cooling down in the summer. Here's the latest, rather luxurious option: Magnum Gold?!


L’Ouvrier Chef Appreciation night: Nick auf der Mauer


Most of you will know Nick auf der Mauer from a little shop he runs with his wife Vicky that serves one of the city’s best sandwiches. It’s called Porchetta & Co. Ya heard of it? Well it’s a good place to be whenever you’re hungry, and even more so when they’ve got specials coming out of their kitchen such as their Breakfast Sandwich and Soft Shell Crab. A few doors down there’s L’Ouvrier, a restaurant and bar that recently began having a “Guest Pass Chef.” Last Monday, for their third one, it was Nick’s turn.


AGO: Florence at FRANK

A little over a week ago, a small group food / lifestyle bloggers met up just inside the AGO (@agotoronto) to tour the Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art exhibit. There was to be a really neat exhibit-inspired tasting menu afterwards at FRANK as well. Not bad for the middle of the week! It was one of the most enjoyable art gallery exhibits I’ve ever had.


Milk Bar’s Banana Layer Cake

After a couple of posts leading up to the culminating “cake assembly”, it’s here! Most of the recipes in the Milk Bar cookbook require planning ahead with the preparation of different components before final assembly or baking. That “entirely from scratch” approach is, for me, what sets this cookbook apart from others.  


Milk Bar’s Banana Cream


Time to move onto part two of my Banana Layer Cake adventure! This component is actually part of the original recipe unlike the Cornflake Crunch that I substituted for the Hazelnut Crunch (my brother’s allergic to nuts). I found some uses for the leftover cream beyond the suggested ones in the Milk Bar cookbook so make a full recipe and enjoy what’s left after you slather it on your cake!


Milk Bar’s Cornflake Crunch

Happy Victoria Day!! ‘Tis finally time for a post and this one’s about baking. After I received the milk bar cookbook as a birthday present a couple of years ago, I’d been bookmarking a few dozen (who am I kidding, I want to bake everything single thing in that book!) recipes to try out in the attempt to relive my milk bar experiences in New York. Cereal milk soft serve with cornflake crunch was at the top of that bookmarked list.  


Daily Bread’s Ultimate Chef Challenge

In Canada, we’re proud of the food we grow and make. Despite the wide range of great ingredients found in our country, there still exists a lack of access to food. The Daily Bread Food Bank (@DailyBreadTO)not only addresses the causes of hunger in their goal to end it, but they also provide long-term employment opportunities through the Food Services Training program and the Daily Bread Catering Kitchen.


Wordless Wednesdays: Skin & Bones


There were easily over 100 restaurant openings last year in 2012. How many are notable and which are “return-worthy” depends on whom you talk to. For me, Skin& amp; Bones (which opened in late November) merits multiple return visits. It’s taken me awhile to go back, but better late than never! 


Forced hiatus

 You may be wondering why I’ve been so MIA the past couple of months! My answer: that’s what teacher’s college does to you. I’ve been meaning to post more and in particular, write a post very similar to this over a month ago but I was too busy (ironically enough).


The Return of the Hoof Café Brunch


Could there be better news than owner Jen Agg’s tweet about the return of Hoof Café?! Since it re-opened in January, it is now a permanent pop-up at Raw Bar. For four days a week, you can get your fill of Hoof Café brunch to fuel you through the rest of your day!


Tweetup: The Gabardine

For me, there isn’t much guesswork when it comes to eating in the downtown core. There’s only about a handful or so restaurants that I’d dine at, no questions asked. With the right combination of great food, atmosphere and decent price points, The Gabardine (@TheGabardine) is one of those few restaurants.


Cookbook Giveaway: Finally…Food I can Eat!

Happy Easter! To some, ‘tis the day of gorging on those Cadbury mini eggs. As for me, I find myself hunched over my laptop, frantically getting work done for tomorrow. Oh, and I got offered the same summer job position in France as a couple years ago and this time, I took it! After training, I’ll be leaving for France at the end of June!!!!!!



 Toronto has become somewhat “ramen city.” It was a bit overwhelming…to the point where I only hit up my first ramen joint here last month. Yup. I finally jumped on the bandwagon! It’s hard to say no to a warm bowl of broth and noodles when your face is freezing. And then there was also just about everyone raving about their favourite ramen place.


Apple Crumble Cheesecake


Being that I’m super busy these days, I find it really hard to find time to bake. And the thing is, I love baking so this baking-drought had to end stat!  I finally put my foot down. I WANT CAKE. Question was, what to bake? With three bricks of cream cheese in the fridge, there was but one choice: cheesecake.


Happy Two Years to CARMENHUNGRY!

I can hardly wrap my head around the fact that I’ve been blogging about food for 2 years now (+ one day)! CARMENHUNGRY has developed into so much more than I anticipated and it's still very much a work in progress. To those who supported me from the beginning and to those who started following my blog (and on twitter!) along the way, I gotta thank each and every one of you! My stomach also thanks you too for giving me the excuse to seek out delicious meal after delicious meal!


Grand Electric


Although Parkdale is not very commuter-friendly, I’ve come to realize that it’s amazing. So many of the restaurants that I want to hit up are all within this 1-km radius it’s insane! Ever since that first time a year ago, I’ve been itching to return to Grand Electric (@grandelectricTO). I’m super lucky that my friend was totally onboard to go too. Amazing tacos here we come!


BEAST restaurant


I’ve been to Beast (@BeastRestaurant) restaurant a few times now and have never been disappointed. A few years ago, they took over the quaint house off of King st west that used to be Amuse Bouche (Chef Bertrand Alépée) a few years ago, owners and Chefs Scott and Rachelle Vivian have a really great thing going on. (psst! Both Scott and Bertrand recently partnered up to host "The Tempered Beast" which was delicious!) They’re huge on local and sustainable ingredients and even have a link for their suppliers! From the artwork (by Rachelle) on the walls, this place is definitely for meat-lovers.


Pizzeria Libretto


Pizzeria Libretto (@pldanforth). Real Neapolitan pizza. Two locations. Wood fired ovens that bakes pizzas in less than 90 seconds. I’m surprised I haven’t gone here earlier! Chef Rocco Agostino (@ChefRoccoTO, also part-owner) has created a solid menu that doesn’t disappoint. The calamari appetizer is a keeper and a favourite amongst regulars. Their pizzas have been touted to be the best in the city.


The Tempered Beast (Winterlicious Culinary event)


As I mentioned in my last post, Winterlicious is so much more than just prix fixe meals at restaurants. The Tempered Beast is but one of 14 culinary events happening this time around. For two nights last week, Chef Bertrand Alépée (@TheTemperedChef) and Chef Scott Vivian (@BeastRestaurant) teamed up for a couple amazing dinners. Here’s what we had…


Canoe (winterlicious)

Twice a year, Toronto has a two-week city-wide culinary event highlighting local restaurants; Winterlicious & Summerlicious. Right now, there’s Winterlicious going on (January 25 – February 7) and fret not, reservations are very much still available! After all, the celebration of sorts has grown to 191 participating restaurants this year! And on top of that, there are culinary events as well that offer over-the-top food adventures!


Parts & Labour


Parts & Labour (@partsnlabour). Just next to Cowbell in Parkdale, it’s an uncommonly large space (converted convenient store) where one can enjoy a relaxed dinner at long communal tables. Opened in 2010, they quickly expanded from dinner to brunch and even catering. Chef Matthew Matheson has a rooftop garden from which he sources some of his ingredients. The food’s well-executed and very affordable, the cocktails are supposedly stellar, and there’s live music downstairs in The Shop. How can this not be promise of a great meal?!


Skin + Bones


Where to go on the last repeating digit date of the century (12/12/12)?  How about the relatively new restaurant in Leslieville, Skin & Bones where Chef Matthew Sullivan heads the kitchen?! Sounds about right. Quietly opened in November last year, it hadn't yet broken through onto the foodie scene yet. Oooh I had no clue how great of a meal I was in for.


Bestellen: suckling pig


Bestellen (@BestellenTO), the dream-come-to-life of Chef and owners Rob Rossi and Ryan Sarfeld. Standouts here include their dry-aging room (we’re talking glass panes that you can see into), their burger (made of strip loin, chuck and short ribs) and family-style dishes.


la carnita (errday)


La carnita. Where to begin? For starters, this is the first of an increasing number of vendors / concepts that went from being a featured pop-up at the Toronto Underground Market to a bricks and mortar location. To be successful enough to afford a permanent location along with staff really speaks to the quality of the food they dish out. You should definitely go try ‘em out if you haven’t yet gone.


momofuku daishō


As word got out that Chef and restauranteur David Chang would be bringing his momofuku restaurant empire up across the border to Canada, anticipation amped up quick. Then it was announced that the Canadian outpost would be in Toronto, at the yet-to-be-finished Shangri-La hotel in the form of a three-level, quadruple restaurant concept. Finally, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity, they finally opened individually at the beginning of September!