kb / no KB!

kb FoodWhat a cryptic little post title! Turns out we went to kb Food in Whitby right after Little K(B)’s graduation ceremony, so while we were at kb, there was no KB, since she was at the subsequent dinner/party with her classmates.

Off we convoyed, into Whitby, after figuring out where to go, as it was a late weeknight. kb to the rescue! Had been wanting to try it, as recommended by my youngest kiddo, and tonight was the night.

Quaint, small, but easily accommodated our group. Table set up quickly, menus handed out and drinks on the way. Drinks arrived, and toasts to the (absent) newly graduated, the recently graduated, and the whenever graduated, took place :D. The studying of the food choices continued in earnest. The menu changes regularly, and had lots of interesting and varied choices, all fresh and local ingredients. So many people, so many preferences. We had burgers (with and without bun) soup, meat topped mac and cheese, flank steak, pork belly, ravioli, again, all fresh made, locally sourced. You can imagine the quality of the dishes, and the presentation was an equal compliment to the experience.

Now, I had the pork belly, and it was a thick (1″) layer of crispy, and super crunchy, but beautifully melting, inside layer… of fat, with an afterthought thin base of solid meat. I am not doing it justice, and alot of you are screaming “eeeeeeew!”, and I get it.  It sure isn’t for everyone, but it sure was for me. All of the accompaniments were well executed, except for giving potato instead of polenta on one dish, which was really missed. And then we were done.

Wait! Were we really though?? Of course not. Who can resist a fresh, well constructed dessert!? Flourless chocolate torte, that tasted so deeply chocolate, fresh raspberry sorbet made in house, a jar of liquid banana bread??? Yes, get the dessert. If you only treat yourself when it is a quality, worthwhile expenditure of your caloric currency… get the dessert. Any dessert there.

So another awesome superfoodie discovery, as recommended by one kiddo, while celebrating the achievement another kiddo, who we still need to take there. Please visit and enjoy the menu roulette for yourself… always a different mix up of dishes, but as I check online periodically to see what they have come up with now,  I am intrigued, and then disappointed, when I miss any of the many, tasty sounding concoctions.

The menu is here all week folks, try the veal… or duck… or pork belly… and tip your waitress.

K&L :D
KB Food on Urbanspoon

 

 

It’s allll Greek to us

Chef Tommy'sHad to go with the tried and true phrase to name this post.  This outing was a combination of birthday celebration of one kiddo, and also somewhere interesting and new to celebrate hitting 15000 clicks for this very blog.  We were marking every thousand clicks, but as interest ramps up, we have now settled on every 5000 for now.  So here we are, trying a local Greek restaurant that has been open some time now, but we hadn’t made it to quite yet. It comes with the unlikely name of “Chef Tommy’s“, and resides in a defunct Taco Bell believe it or not.

Atmosphere/decor was in the spirit of what I would expect in a Greek restaurant. Staff very welcoming, helpful with the menu, even with a bit of a language barrier, but no real issue communicating ultimately. This ain’t no cookie cutter chain establishment.

We had to have Saganaki (flame included at this place, which was cool!) and one of my faves, Dolmades, both delicious as they should be. Then we all ordered from the Specialties menu, 2 Shrimp Saganakis, a Papoutsaki and I rounded out the choices with a Lamb Kleftiko.  We were mostly full from the appetizers, which included endless and tasty servings of pita triangles, and salads, etc. and everyone made a solid effort on the entrees, which looked and tasted fantastic, but I have to say, my Lamb Kleftiko, with its gorgeous, rich flavour, and thin, crunchy envelope of filo was the highlight of all of the dishes, and I would highly recommend you try it.

Dessert was still attempted, despite my previous paragraph outlining our already straining appetites and waistbands. Have to always try the baklava, which was okay, but again, not my favourite as far as my tastes in baklava go, a little too gooey, fruit cakey, but others did enjoy it. We also asked about their Greek coffee. Is it the cup of dark, richness with the puddle of mud at the bottom? Yes! So of course we had one, it really has a different flavour than any other coffee I’ve had. Our waiter said that people read the mud (grounds) when the drink is finished, so he came by and flipped the cup upside down and then returned a short while later.  You know, I don’t remember what the reading was, but if it involved money or fame or great, spontaneous muscle growth with no effort at all, welllllll, none of those things happened, but it was a fun end to the dinner none the less.

So there it is, another food fest for hitting another click milestone, and of course the birthday thing in there too :) Ahhh now I remember what the reading was… it predicted that we will visit Chef Tommy’s again!

K&L :D

Chef Tommy's Greek Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Two years already??? Absolut(ely)!

2nd AnniversaryHard to believe that it’s been 2 years since superfoodies said: “Let’s Eat!” I mean: “I do”… but there it is… I started plotting our celebration awhile back, and when L mentioned a vague question about what were we going to do, I said I was already on the case! (And that he could have next year exclusively). A good plan, we decided, so that our general nature to surprise each other didn’t result in a clash of events.

Last year was a super fun time at Pravda in Toronto, and I thought it would be easy, fun, to keep up the theme. My plan was to stay home this year, and have a vodka tasting party. And then the choices began… there are so very many vodkas and it was hard to narrow it down to 4, but I managed to choose brands that I thought we would appreciate most, and hadn’t tried before.

Right in the middle of my purchases (which happened over several weeks), L developed a taste for gin… right about the same time that the liquor stores started highlighting the stuff, with big displays!… and interesting, new varieties! Maybe next year… we were committed to our vodka past at this point.

After much research and shopping, I settled on: Pravda (no mistake, a nostalgic nod to year one fun), Chopin, Absolut Elyx, and Russian Standard Platinum. The next step was to make up score cards, since you can’t do a legit tasting without some scoring! After picking up and numbering 4 small carafes and 8 small glasses, my next dilemma was how to get the vodkas into the carafes without me knowing what they were. Kid L to the rescue. She came over and poured, and then wrote up the “vodka key” and stuck it on the basement fridge for us to open when we were finished.

In the meantime, I had shopped for, and then arranged, an awesome charcuterie plate! Meats, cheeses, pickled onions, rye bread, crackers, spicy pickled green beans, olives, asian pear… all of our favourites… which were eagerly consumed during the tasting. I made sure not to look at L’s scorecard and he did the same, so we could have a fair assessment. So how did they all stack up??

1st Place: Pravda, 2nd: Russian Standard Platinum, 3rd: Absolut Elyx and 4th: Chopin. Pravda really was the stand out for sure.

What to do next?? Well, the night was young, many drinks were already consumed, and L was now on clean up crew for all the carafes of poured vodka. Sensing this might be the logical flow after the tasting, I planned for us to make perogies from scratch! A needed and forced break in the imbibing, if you will…

Again I researched, and actually found a vareniki recipe (click here) that sounded very delicious and interesting (note: I did change the filling to potato/cheddar). I sprung the plan on L, and I’m sure that he did NOT see THAT as the next activity, but he sure was happy about it. (we have always said we’d make perogies from scratch) As I started the set up, L continued to scarf the entire rest of the charcuterie platter… and vodka… then he was up, stuffing the dough as I cooked. L is a champion vareniki stuffer, gets waaaay more in than I do! We boiled them and then fried in a whack of butter and onions… yes we did.

They turned out fantastic! Puffier than regular perogies, and as tasty as any I’ve had in a long time. We ate as many as we could, which was considerably less than our usual intake of course, after the giant meat/cheese fest.

It was nice to be home this year, and be able to waddle over to the couch after the remaining vareniki were safely tucked in the refrigerator. What on earth will next year hold??? L… anniversary #3 is in your court :D

K&L :D

 

Grill of My Dreams

Korean Grill House… or of our dreams.  We love our meat and we love our BBQ. Add in a Korean touch and you have a perfect superfoodies scene. So a few weeks ago superfoodies ventured to Toronto with Little K in tow, to pick up her surprise guitar gift, and we decided that if we were going to eat there, we might as well go somewhere that we would enjoy (of course!), that would take us some time, and provide some “pageantry”.  Oh, and not be somewhere we could eat closer to home. We settled on the Korean Grill House, which has several locations throughout Toronto, and one right near the music store that we needed to wind up at.

It was another freezing, windy day of 2014, but luckily, clear and sunny, so the drive was easy… but the walking was another story.  We parked and headed the few blocks to the restaurant and were happy to arrive and get seated somewhere warm, with a table in front of us, that would soon be hot and flamey!

This location is not a fancy one, but not looking for fancy either, so no worries.  The other locations may have a more upscale look, but I’ve never been to another one. Ordered beverages, all reasonably priced and a very decent selection of non alcohol choices as well. And then the table was lit!

The process for the all you can eat selection is: you get papers with all available selections, then you write the number of servings you want, of what you want, in the boxes, and then once picked up, your orders appear very quickly.  Lots of raw meats (we typically have korean beef ribs, beef, chicken, pork, salmon, white fish, sausage) and we tried a new cube ground meat this time as well.  On the extras, we like rice, lots of kimchi, spicy spouts and radishes, potatoes etc. As long as you fill out the papers, the dishes keep arriving.

We grilled up quite a few bowls of meat and fish and downed a lot of extras, but it’s nice to have a leisurely lunch and an activity to go along with it.  The restaurant did start to fill up as we were there, it was fairly empty at 11:30 ish when we arrived.  I know from experience it fills up at dinner time as well, quite a busy place. In the warmer weather, not as big a deal as in the colder times when you may find yourself waiting in a windy entrance area.

We finally backed away from the chopsticks (I vow to keep practicing my skills!), paid our very reasonable bill, and headed off into the tundra to pick up what may have been one of the very few Blue Burst Ovation Acoustic-Electric guitars to be found for purchase in Ontario, or perhaps Canada! So pretty! And very appreciated by a surprised Little K.

We can’t help but try to figure out how to get a hot, flamey grill installed in the table in our house (soooo not kidding, we really have thought about it), but until then, we’ll depend on the Korean Grill House… Get grilling at a location near you!

K&L :D
Korean Grill House on Urbanspoon

Get us to the Greek!

Zante BowmanvilleThe Christmas season has officially ended….. now! My sister and I get together for a Christmas dinner every year, and we used to get it accomplished before the actual day.  As time has gone on, and our “spousal intricacies” have grown, and life remains busy etc. we have started deferring until a bit into January, when things have calmed down and we can enjoy a quiet, non-crammed in, meet up.  We still call it “Christmas get together”, but it may be a bit of a misnomer at this juncture.

The suggestion of Zante in Bowmanville was put forward. L and I had never been, but checked it online and it looked quite delicious. L asked when was the last time we had Greek? And then we chuckled… “never!” So Zante it was.

We met up on a snowy night, end of January… which characterizes almost any night of the 13/14 winter season.  The place is not fancy, but nicely lit (not too bright!) and cozy, no door flapping in the cold air every time it was opened. We were quickly seated and a wine ordered for me. Appeared to have a decent selection.  Sister and J arrived and we set about to ordering.  They choose a wine recommended by the owner, whom my sister calls “Mr. Zante”. I continued with my white, but did sample theirs, and it was a good choice (picture below). Dolmades for us, Saganaki for them, to start. Funny, they flame the cheese in the kitchen, as their ceilings are too low to do it safely at tableside! Both decent portions and great tasting. So far so good!

Onto the mains.  Sister and J ordered the Zante Platter, consisting of Roast Lamb, Mousaka, Pork and Chicken Souvlaki, Dolmades and Tzatziki, along with Greek salad, potatoes, vegetables and rice.  We were keen to observe as a possible choice for us next time. L had Pork Souvlaki and I had Beef Shishkabob, which also came with salads, rice, vegetables and potatoes. Sounds like an overwhelming amount of sides, but they do keep it reasonable, along with the prices.

Food arrived in a timely manner, all was tasty.  No “showstopping, crazy, gotta come back tomorrow” vows were made, but it was certainly more than good enough to make a trip back soon.

Onto dessert, which we normally don’t indulge in often, but hey, it’s “Christmas” ;) L and I shared a Baklava, and sister and J had a sundae/parfait type dish that I can’t recall the name of, and desserts aren’t listed on the website for me to reference! Oh well, I’m sure if you want to try it and describe it, they’d be more than happy to point you in the sweet direction. Baklava was okay, but a bit over congealed and the nuts may have turned a bit… we still finished it of course.  Sister and J seemed to hit the jackpot with theirs.  L and J had Greek coffees, espresso like, and while the taste was different and good, there was 1/2 inch of sludge on the bottoms of the small cups. Maybe we needed instructions? Or maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

All in all a very enjoyable evening of taste and company (who were a bit camera shy, but willing to hand model!), that I would happily do again with the same people… but better weather!!!

K&L :D
Zante Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wing’n It!

T-fal ActifryOn the heels of the last post about the superproduct! T-fal Actifry, I figured I may as well have a little write up about the last thing we cooked in there… which was wings! Delicious, glorious wings…

L procured a couple of pounds from a farm in our area and as usual, is really persistent about us enjoying them as soon as possible (he really digs wings… so do I) After some fridge defrosting, we cook them in the oven for a bit first, so the Actifry doesn’t have to run forever.  This was a batch of fairly small wings, so about 20 mins or so in the oven at 300 works just fine. After removing, it is important to pat them dry before putting them into the Actifry “belladrome”, since you want them to crisp, not steam! But for goodness sakes, don’t SQUEEZE them when drying! The reason for that should be obvious… same reason you don’t squash your burger patties with a spatula when you cook them. Just say no to removing all flavourful cooking juices from your meats… m’kay?

I spooned a few scrapes of coconut oil around and about the soggy looking, circular assembly of chicken, closed the lid, and let em go for around half an hour, with no intervention required from me.

Time’s up! The lid opens to the crispy, golden brown bounty.  Into the bowl they go, and are then liberally coated with our favourite topping (as noted in previous post for Shagwell’s wings) roasted red pepper, with a touch of cayenne as well, to make it of the spicy persuasion.

The quantity was decidedly light in proportion to our appetites and enjoyment of the Actifry’s magic. It was all over so quickly in a whirlwind of gnashing and crunching. We debated, and decided that 3 times this amount would have been sufficient.

If you own one of these nifty devices and have some interesting, successful concoctions to share, please send them our way! We are happy to have more reasons to keep extracting value out of this pricey, but useful little gadget.

K&L :D

T-fal Actifry

T-fal ActifryI had looked at this product for quite some time… and dismissed it as often (price, space consumption, silliness). Now that our way of eating has shifted somewhat, cooking in large quantities of coconut oil was not practical, or cost effective. The serious entertainment of the T-fal Actifry began.

A discussion completed, and the location of a sale price secured, we purchased… and I immediately questioned the value of our expenditure.  I had read lots of reviews and knew that quite a few were not as favourable as I would usually like, and/or be persuaded by.

Onward we plunged and have since cooked plantain chips, yuca/cassava chips, and chicken wings. A good sprinkling of coconut oil, and some time without a lot of monitoring, produces results that we are ultimately pleased with, so we are very happy with the Actifry. It now makes regular appearances and it’s also super easy to clean – big bonus.

Not sure if this is for everyone, but it’s definitely for us. Check it out for yourself!

K&L :D

superfoodies Shanksgiving!

Lamb ShanksShanksgiving (or it’s more well known name in the superfoodies’ household: “lamb shank night”) is one of our most important celebrations. It is the first dinner I cooked for L not long after we had met.  It also included beer cheddar soup to start, but the yearly tradition does not include that part as a standard. I also roasted garlic and made some spectacular mashed potatoes with it, but nope, also not mandatory, but you can see why he stuck around :D .

This year, we missed the date, then bought some shanks quite awhile later… and STILL didn’t get around to the concocting… so they chilled in our freezer… waiting for the call.  Finally, we realized we just needed to get them out and get on it, or we’d be eating them on the proper date a year later (well, we would have purchased some fresh ones if we did wait that long… months of living in the Kenmore side-by-side would not make for an optimal taste experience)

Foraged around the still fairly new, and therefore rearranged (read: I still can’t find a damn thing), kitchen for the good old hard copy of the Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks recipe, and went to work.

I mostly follow the recipe quite accurately, and it turns out as we like it, but of course adjust it where you need to, or like.  I used powdered thyme (feeling cheap about throwing out a mostly full package of fresh, since it won’t get used), but used fresh rosemary, even though I WILL throw most of that out, because dammit, it’s in the name of the recipe! I do however use less than is called for, as it can be a bit overpowering for us. Noticing the sauce was just a little thinner than we wanted this time, I did throw in a good teaspoon of potato starch to tighten it up and that did the trick.

The presentation was to be over a bed of boiled, mashed yuca/cassava, but as L started peeling, he realized it had gone bad, so we quickly cooked a packaged quinoa blend to substitute. Polenta would have been nice, but would have taken a bit too much thought for me to pull off.

All was rich, and flavourful, though the shanks were not quite as soft as I prefer them, but that is my only real criticism. Of course we paired dinner with a delicious bottle of red: one of our favourites: Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel.  L loved everything!

A few things learned from this episode of lamb shank night: it is a bit of a production, so pick up some really nice shanks from the butcher, no more vacuum sealed freezer packs, verify before you start to cook that your side dish has not decided to go south, and for goodness sakes, don’t wait 8 months past the anniversary date to celebrate!

Hope this inspires you to have your very own Shanksgiving!

K&L :D

Shagwells for the Win(gs)!

Shagwells on the RidgeRestaurant wings, while a steady go-to in the superfoodies world, have been an infrequent guest of late. We just don’t seem to make the effort much anymore, as a certain element does not fit in well healthwise with our way of eating.  Surprisingly, it is not the delicious, crispy wing creating, deep fried process itself, or the chicken skin etc. that is our problem point, but the type of oil used to cook said deliciousness. No preaching, we just avoid most processed oils. However, we also like to stay flexible and on the social/public grid in terms of food and health, so we eat less than optimal things from time to time… and this was a time!

Back to one of our most favourite wing haunts: Shagwells on the Ridge! Now long ago, I told L that every where in town claims to possess the “Region’s Best Wings!” and if you aren’t from around here, you might believe this the first time you read such a proud claim, blasted from a hole in the wall’s billboard, and maybe the second time?? But now we notice this faux stamp of culinary success at all sorts of places… heck, they can’t all be true! Which brings us back to Shagwells. No claims of such there that I am aware of, but L awarded his own proclamation of “Best Wings!” in any geographic region, on this very day.

For this reason, we do not usually stray from the pull of the wing basket on our visits, and on Wednesdays they are half price, which is great, but we still have no problem paying full price since they’re well worth it. Good size, crispy, crunchy, not greasy, and a large selection of sauces and/or dry seasonings, they really can’t be beat. Our hearts and tastebuds are solemnly committed to the spicy red pepper dry seasoning, with a side of hot sauce.

We used to order a cider with them (miss you Strongbow), but now we have pretty much switched to wine, and they have a perfect, standard sauvignon blanc, and the good grace not to skimp on the pour.

Of non-food note, they play country music in this here establishment, and L and I enjoyed guessing whether the songs would have a truck, car, beer, whiskey, and/or women in them, and we also noticed that every one in a country song seems to be going somewhere… or somewhere else.

Wouldn’t be fair not to also mention the great service, and though it was less than busy this time, we have been many times in the past where our drink choices and wing preferences were always remembered, always a nice touch.

Head on out to the ridge if you are in need of some fantastic, yet under celebrated, well kept secret wings.

K&L :D
Shagwells on the Ridge on Urbanspoon

superproducts! sodastream

sodastreamWow, it’s been awhile since a superproduct has been posted so here we go! While this is not a food or drink itself, the sodastream is the creator of fantastic, on tap, low cost soda.  And when we say “soda” we actually mean just plain old, straight up carbonated water.

We were buying, and lugging, and storing, and consuming, and of course disposing of many bottles of soda every week.  Lots of bother, lots of space consumption, lots of waste, and lots of $. I had mentioned picking up one of these slick little units a while back… but L was not particularly enthusiastic, so we just didn’t bother. Eventually though, I pulled the idea out again and by this time, enough hassle had gone on that L was getting downright chipper about the prospect.

sodastreamI did a bit of research and price hunting and ended up buying the Genesis model, as I wanted to be able to use both the large and small bottles. Wow, what an immediate love affair! We just fill the bottles and keep them in the fridge, takes only a few seconds to turn them into our favourite beverage that doesn’t carry and alcohol percentage. We don’t drink from the bottles so we don’t need to wash them every day, and the sodastream itself really requires no maintenance, it doesn’t even require power. The only requirement is to pop in a CO2 cartridge once in awhile, and we get them as an exchange at Home Outfitters, and use a coupon, so the cost is only around $17 or so.

If you happen to like flavoured sodas, they have over 60 to choose from. We don’t drink em, so we can’t comment on the taste, but perhaps one of you good readers could send us any comments you may have from that side of the glass? Pick one up today and get your fizz on…

(To check out all of our superproducts! just click on the “superproducts!” category below)