So what exactly HAS been happening? Let me tell you! Picnics, Summerlicious, Farmer's Markets, the Night Market, cheeses and brunches and dinners Oh My! I'd say the Summer of Salads has died a painful death here, folks. RIP, buddy - you were a great idea while you lasted but it looks like lipo is the answer now.
Picnics. It's amazing the great stuff you can have on a picnic. Like wine. Cheeses, boar pate, crazy cakes, and friends. Took the ferry to the islands with some friends and the Beau a while ago for a bike ride and a picnic. I know, I was on a bike. A sign of impending Armayouknowwhat. Get your affairs in order, because it will happen again. But I digress. The hosts, the ever enchanting Madame Sarah and her hubby Robert, made a killer spread for us - friend chicken, asparagus, baby potatoes, etc. Our friend Andrea brought some wonderful cheeses, and Patrick & I brought some Chimay and a cake from St. Lawrence market which apparently wasn't going to let itself be taken alive and threw itself around in the box on the way there. Sunshine, larfs, good tunes good food and good friends. I have a great life.
And then we have Summerlicious Happenings. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a couple of weeks in the summer where various restaurants open their doors to the hordes, creating prix fixe menus that give folks who might not consider a place an opportunity to try their food at a lower price point. Great idea in theory, but I've had some crap-ass experiences in the past that make me a wee bit hesitant. Teensy-tiny portions, snotty service from waiters who have calculated the 15% on a 25$ prix fixe in advance and are going to make you pay for it and desserts made two weeks before so the chef can go to Muskoka for a week. But the Beau and I were good to give it a go, and due to his amazing organizational skills it all fell into place.
A mini-gang went to Caju on Queen - Jayne and David, Patrick and I. Only four, but hey, we count as a gang. I LOVE Brazilian food, so I was really looking forward to it. Plus, a Brazilian place would undoubtedly make a kick-ass caipirinha.
So, being me, I didn't order one. I had a caipimorango instead. Hadn't had one of those since, well, I lived there! And it was delicious. We all had gazpacho to open (yummy), then I had the pork and beef skewer with farofa and cassava fries, and a passion fruit mousse for dessert. Gazpacho = great, skewer = delicious, dessert, quite nice. Smaller portions generally make big people cranky, but the company was good and the cocktails scrumptious - no complaints. I'd go back for the regular menu (which is why chefs opt in for Summerlicious, it's the positive exposure and possibility of repeats) and try the feijoada mineira. Man o man, it's been a while since I've had that, and I WANT SOME.
Up early the next morning to meet Liz and head to the Farmer's Market at the Brickworks. Let me say that I'm now addicted to it. Liz, anytime you need a burrito buddy for the Brickworks, you let me know. My neighbour and friend Vickie had gone the weekend before and brought me back Saskatoon berries (and if you know me, you know what a terrific gift that is!) so I had to check it out. I forgot my camera, but suffice it to say that I came home laden with goodness. Lots of great veg, some elk steaks (P & I grilled them that night with some asparagus and an heirloom tomato caprese salad using the bajillion dollar balsamic vinegar Eric gave me), some boar bacon to try, bread, a Saskatoon berry pie and a wonderful quilt. All in all a success. Plus, Liz bought a Loon Painting, which is always a good thing.
And I went to the Night Market in Markham! Started with Patrick (Hunkalicious), Liz (Superduper) and Alexa (Cheapeats Goddess) coming to my place for cocktails and cheese before we left. Gerry (Man of Quality) joined us as we piled into the Lizmobile and made the trek to Northern Ontario to check it out.
Gentle Reader - they did NOT mislabel Stinky Tofu. There was a big booth called "Mama Bear's Stinky Tofu" and although I did not actually see Mama Bear I have no reason to doubt her existance. Especially since the Stinky Tofu part was so very very VERY factual. Undoubtedly she was there, prob deep in the back holding a gas mask to her face. It was like rotting durian. Swear to God. Picture that.
I am guessing that that's a Stinky Tofu behind the rapper guy onstage. Underneath the Stinky Tofu Man are his victims, all passed out from the fumes and wishing they were dead.
Basically, we ate our way through the market. Like the one under the bridge in Richmond, it had a ton of food to try, and we made a valiant effort. Highlights? The lamb shashlik and the watermelon juice. The squid skewers were a bit boingy for me though. Apparently they haunt milkshake people though, as evidenced by the picture below.
That pig has no idea.
And another Summerlicious event! Jay, Jess, Yolaine, the Beau and I went to Czehoski on Monday. I've had good food there, and OK food there. But on Monday I had excellent food there. You got a starter, a main and a dessert for the prix fixe - regular menu. Which meant regular portions. Unheard of.
Figs wrapped in double smoked bacon, then a roasted little chicken, then a spiced creme brulee. And because I love it so, I had some grilled rapini with the chicken. Other foods on the table - cauliflower soup, truffled brie perogies, a sous-vide flatiron steak, chicken liver pate, chocolate terrine and many kinds of boozy goodness.
All in all, a success. I'd go back in a heartbeat. The chicken was delicious and perfectly done (not to mention a huge freakin portion!), the brulee was nicely spiced, and I can't stop thinking of the perogies.
But don't get the sangria at La Hacienda - ERROR! Cheap red plonk with cheap orange juice on the bottom.
Missed last night's Trevor experience for Summerlicious, but P says I really didn't. WHEW!
More as it's eaten, JP