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!
Most memorable dinner outside of Canada: Ken & Cook (NYC)
This was my second time back to NYC for the sole purpose of eating our way through the city. I think it’s safe to say that NYC will be an annual trip? (Who wants to come next time?!)
The chefs behind all those eyes-rolled-back-blissed-out meals are gaining a lot more notoriety these days, which I think is great! A “celebrity” chef who’s been steadily gaining attention: Chef Chuck Hughes. I’ve been watching his show, Chuck’s Day Off since it first aired and was finally able to check out his restaurant, Garde Manger (in Montreal, where the show’s filmed) a few months ago. A major highlight, the salmon tartare. I can eat that all day errday no problem!
Chuck also came to Toronto around November/December for the Chef’s Challenge. Huge thanks to a friend, I was able to attend one of his fundraising events, the Cookie Battle where I met the man himself. (cue super giddy smile pasted on my face for about 3 hours...).
It’s a no-brainer that local, sustainable, farm-to-table fare is widely embraced here. But this new trend of twist-on-the-familiar slash “new fusion” fare, is really settling in and getting cozy. This past year was the year of the taco (slash Mexican fare in general), ramen, izakayas, street food/pop-ups, and family-style dining. Can’t say I’m bored of any of it yet! :D
My go-to restaurant / pop-up turned tacqueria: La Carnita (Toronto)
Another huge trend I observed and gluttonously enjoyed: the chef collab. Awwww yeah! (P.S., the food industry is such a small world!) One of those dinners that I remember with perfect clarity—Death Row Meal’s Olde Hunter’s Feast II. 6 chefs, 7 courses, talk about being spoiled! It was the first time I’d experienced such an intricate meal.
Then there was the outstanding Group of 7 Chefs’ collaboration with Chef Matt Jennings back in November. The level of culinary mastery that chefs in this city possess is insane! It’s hard to go wrong when you eat out nowadays because Toronto is saturated with great chefs and restaurants. I’m not complaining the least bit. ;) Bring it on!
As a wee (scrawny) little kid, I’d help my mom bake banana muffins using her ancient Sunbeam mixer. Only last year did I retire that 30ish year-old mixer! But before I tucked it away, I had my fare share of fun with it, including this Lemon Coconut Layer Cake where I used the turntable of the mixer to stack it. The set-up looks mad ghetto but the final product was delicious.
Despite my love of baking, I have yet to have a cake turntable in my possession. However, I did fulfill my childhood dream of owning an empire red Kitchen Aid stand mixer! Some of the favourite cakes I’ve made with it so far were ones for my parents. There’s the Matcha Layer Cake for my mum for Mother’s Day and a Tiramisu Cake for my dad for Father’s Day. I still do the odd batch of banana muffins (or more like banana bread! ohshmorghagshdg YES.) once in awhile for old time’s sake. ;)
Tiramisu: my dad's favourite. :)
Tiramisu: my dad's favourite. :)
An ongoing project of mine, macarons. One day I will master making you!
Speaking of French food...Montreal. I was offered a job in France this past summer but ultimately turned it down to be with my team for the full season. And you know what, I don’t regret it one bit because I got to see my paddlers grow and become a TEAM. That camaraderie and perseverance was worth staying in Toronto for.
And then there was our team dinner at Au Pied de Cochon where a few of the guys and I converted the entire team onto foie gras. Please tell me that the Plogue à champlain is back on the menu!
Come to think of it, November was a particularly crazy month for eating out. The final culminating dinner that capped it all off was the Canoe Wild dinner (oh! Another collaboration dinner. This one with Société Orignal).
Reminiscing about all these meals and experiences has really got me thinking. And plotting many new food adventures. The ultimate goal of my food blog is to give you guys a sense of what’s out there and to hopefully pique your curiosity enough that you’ll want to try out these restaurants. The best way to anyone’s heart is through food. ;)
Happy eating and here’s to many more food adventures, great food and quality time with old & new friends! Sometimes the greatest meals aren’t the ones where you dropped the most money (actually, that’s seldom the case). Lemme know about your most memorable meals! :D