Toronto Food Trucks II

My food truck journey never stops. It’s just such a unique feeling walking up to a food truck, and it’s kind of a treasure hunt when you get the tweet telling you the location, finding it, and then munching. I love how these gourmet food trucks are so well intertwined and interactive with online social media. This definitely caters and aligns to my modern urban lifestyle and attitudes.

Gorilla Cheese // Twitter // Facebook

So I was in Hamilton visiting family when I remembered that the famous Gorilla Cheese is stationed here all the time. So we went on a mission. On this day, they were parked at Mohawk College, Stoney Creek Campus. Lucky students.

The Lumberjack // $7.50 : Bacon, Cheddar, Apple, Maple Syrup

I dare you to read that description and not drool uncontrollably over your keyboard. Bacon? C’mon. Bacon. The apple is a surprise, but apparently a not-so-secret secret amongst grilled cheese connoisseurs. The bread was crispy, the apple — crunchy. The bacon was salty, the syrup – sweet. The sandwich of beautiful opposites attracting. And each sandwich comes with a nice tart pickle!

The Sarducci // $7.50Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato, Red Onion, Balsamic

A classic combination of ingredients, one that I absolutely adore, and molded to work in the beautiful mechanics of a grilled cheese sandwich. Like all their other sandwiches it’s an integration of the classic comfort and the exclusive gourmet. I approve. The balsamic was sweet and not overly tart. The multigrain bread had wonderful sunflower seeds and oats, which made me feel healthy.  Although the elegantly browned exterior screams oil and grease, the sandwich itself tasted wholly fresh, with the tomatos and red onions. Eating the sandwich was definitely greasy though, but that satisfying, “damn-that-was-so-worth-it” kind of greasy.

Cupcake Diner // Twitter 

The Cupcake Diner has access to my work schedule. Or so it would seem because they like to taunt me by parking a block away from my apartment, but only on days that I’m away at work. Luckily, they have a permanent store that sits on the lower floor of the Hamilton Farmer’s Market. Or as my parents call it, “Ba-nam-bay” or “3-5-7” because it’s only open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays. Or that’s how it was way back when I was growing up in Hamilton. And it had been at least a decade since I’d been back to the Farmer’s Market and oh my, either I never really noticed what it looked like as a kid, or it has really undergone a totally modern renovation.

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcake $2.75 // Cookie $1.50

So I went and had the cookie dough cupcake. It originally had a wedge of cookie on top but I was too quick to dig in and forgot to take a photo. The icing was extremely dense and almost like biting into butter. Really sweet and almost a dessert in and of itself. The cake part was equally as decadent, and I had to share some of it with my brother. Not even expensive for a cupcake, and it really goes the mile. The Rocky Road cookie was bought by my brother and it was huge! The size of my whole hand. It was thick and soft. Made of oats and raisins, I was eating so healthy today! Man, my waist is feeling smaller already! The cookie was sweet and very cinnamon-y. Nom nom nom. I only had a few bites in the car before I had to run for my bus back to Toronto.

Toasted Tangerine // Facebook // Twitter

As fate would have it, Toasted Tangerine was at Yonge-Dundas square for “One Day Without Shoes” event that was going on there. Couldn’t pass that up!

Went twice; ever-changing menu.

Toasted Ravioli $6

The filling for this was SO good. Bolded, capitalized, and italicized. That’s how you know I’m serious. It was creamy, filling, delicious, not too cheesy, light, melty-on-your-tongue. I could go on. The marinara dipping sauce was quite good as well. I loved how the container was big enough so that the ravioli can be dipped it without crushing it or turning all kinds of awkward angles. The only thing I can complain about is that it was deep-fried a little too dark for my liking so the outside was really hard and crunchy, which cut up the roof of my mouth. I’d eat it again though, which is telling of good that filling is!

Toasted Sweethearts $6

Another deep-fried ravioli, but dessert style! This suffered from the super-hard outside as well, but it took me a little while to get to them, so they did soften after a little while with that strawberry glaze. Mmm, strawberry glaze. These were so cute with their heart shape and powdered sugar. Inside was so thick with bananas, mascarpone, dulce de leche, and probably cocaine. This was so yummy!!

Sweet Rider Sliders $7

So after the one day at Toasted Tangerine, I knew I just had to go back for some more. This was at one of their regular appearances at Queen and Jarvis. The buns were nice and soft for a ciabatta, and the pulled pork bbq sauce was nice, sweet and sticky. The stand out piece of this was the pineapple mint salsa. I’m not a big fan of mint but this was absolutely wonderful. The pineapple giving a sweet & juicy tang and just a hint of mint to highlight the sweetness of the pork and bbq sauce. I ate these while walking, and it wasn’t too messy. Everything stayed rather well in the bun, nothing wasted!! Uguughghgh I want pulled pork.

This will not be the last food truck post. I think I’m obsessed. I’ve got tickets to the “Next Food Truck Event” presented by Food Truck Eats that takes place tomorrow. So prepare yourself for that as I prepare my belly for it. I’m really looking forward to trying Ninja Piggies, Rock Lobster Company, and Fidel Gastro! I want to try all the food trucks. I don’t need to worry about my belly, I just need to worry about whether I’ll have enough time to eat everything! I know I will barely be able to sleep tonight knowing that tomorrow I’ll get to stuff my face with delicious things. This truly is the life.

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Oh. Hey. Hi. PHOTODUMP. :)

Delicious, delicious photodump.

Image

1. Hello. Bacon, onion, and spinach quiche. I know, so fancy. I made these because my eggs were going to expire and these quiches were supposed to last me a few days. However, after they came out of the oven, they smelled too good. So I ate one. And then another.

And then I ate all of them.

No regrets.

2. My vegetarian friend made too much spaghetti sauce so she gave me a bag of frozen sauce and I finally got a chance to use it. It was so hearty with some things that I’ve never put in pasta sauce before, like zucchini. Hahah. I had gotten home from one of my ridiculous days and was just starving. All I needed to do was boil pasta, brown some ground beef, and then dump in some sauce. Thanks Zizi!

3. I had some leftover pulled pork that I had made from the day before and a nice organic brie loaf and some cheese. What else to make but an inside out grilled cheese filled with pulled pork? I made one sandwich and left the ingredients on the counter because I knew I was going to make another one. And then I did.

And then every once in a while my mom comes over and cooks me food. Which is amazing. I mean, some of this Vietnamese fare, you just can’t get at a restaurant.

4. Bun thit nuong. She made me all the things and I just assembled it. The grilled beef though, I think I used this recipe off the internet. It turned out really nice, especially with a bit of lemon tang. Other than that, we’ve got nem nuong, carrots (no daikon -sadface-), cucumbers, and green stuff and vermicelli noodles.

5. Bun reu cua. She taught me how to make this and this pleases me. :D It’s an egg, tomato, and shrimp-based soup with vermicelli noodles and served with mixed greens with chili pepper and salt on the side.

Not going to lie, it’s been rough. Working too much, not sleeping enough, and not enough time to eat! That being said, it’s rare that I’ll fully get to go out and eat at delicious restaurants, and I can barely afford to either. The first three photos are from Utopia Cafe on College, west of Bathurst.

6. Utopia Nachos With tons of awesome melted cheese, chicken, beef and other nacho staples. They also serve with a side of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. But, as always, there’s never enough salsa or guacamole, and they do charge if you ask for more (which we found out on the bill). Though the middle of the nachos are great, the edges were sadly neglected crispy chips. The nachos are piled on top of this crispy baked pita which was really nice as well. $15

7. Steak & Cheddar Burrito The burrito was a bit on the smaller size (this coming from eating Burrito Boyz burritos, those things are MASSIVE), and was served with a side of spinach salad (even though I’m pretty sure I ordered coleslaw.. but didn’t realize this till right now), and black bean rice. The burrito, though, was really good. The mayo was excellent and tangy, the meat juicy. The burrito just seemed a bit sparse and empty, like there wasn’t a lot of filling inside. The salad was great and featured a nice balsamic dressing on top. I was sharing the plate and did not try the rice. Overall, this was an okay dish, I probably wouldn’t order it again, but I hear the burgers are amazing.  $12.50

8. Flourless Chocolate Cake The waitress had told us that they were newly just trying out desserts at Utopia but they got this cake bang-on. Definitely couldn’t have eaten this by myself (oh who am I kidding, yes I could have.) Flourless means gluten-free, which is great for the new gluten-free diet trend* and for those who are sensitive to gluten or have gluten allergies. However, being flourless means they replace the flour with… more sugar. So diabetics, hyperglycemics, and people with generally high blood sugar should beware. Other than that, it was really good, it was a flourless batter thing on the bottom (I’m guessing made out of butter and sugar primarily), nice and crumbly, topped with thick chocolate fudge. Served with a side of whipped cream and berries. Very delicious. $5

9. This is the Riverside burger from BQM Burgershoppe. They have 3 different locations in Toronto, and the one I’ve been to several times is the one on Queen, east of Spadina, right near my school. The burgers are great, nice and juicy patties that aren’t too small. I was craving burgers and onion rings so decided to kill two birds with one stone. It was great, with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, and garlic aioli, but while being great at the time, it did create some painful carnage on the roof of my mouth. BQM onion rings are really really crispy, which are great if you’re biting into them individually. Overall though, always a great experience here. Tiny seating areas though! Riverside Chuck Burger $9

*

Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback. ISBN 9780345529381

I’ve been seeing a lot of gluten-free diet books coming out at the bookstore lately, the most popular one being Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback, who everyone has been telling me was on that Survivor show that I never watched.

Okay, so what is gluten? It’s a protein found in a lot of wheat, rye, barley and other things. So, obviously, people with Celiac’s disease can’t actually eat gluten products because it causes their intestines to go all kinds of painful crazy. But what people don’t know, is that there’s a lot of people who are also gluten-sensitive. Humans ourselves can’t actually process gluten and wheat that well. It has less nutritional value and is a pro-inflammatory. So basically, giving up gluten is a really healthy choice and great for people who don’t have Celiac’s disease or a gluten allergy. It’s just one of those trends that I’ve been seeing popping up lately.

**

In other news, I saw this new beautiful book on display yesterday:

Meat Free Monday Cookbook ISBN: 978-1906868697

It’s this huge campaign going on in the UK started by Paul McCartney and his family, showing us that just by eliminating meat from our diet once a week has great environmental and personal benefits and effects. I’m a meat person, I really am, but this cookbook is actually amazing. And really beautiful.

What they do is they create a whole meal-plan for you, for each Monday in a year. If I recall correctly, they provide Breakfast, 2 snacks, a lunch, and dinner recipe for each day, which makes it incredibly easy to switch over to a meatless day. I mean, I know one of the major excuses for not participating is, “I wouldn’t know how to cook meatless” and now you do.

They also sort the recipes by season much like one of my other favourite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s everyday Food Light, which makes it great when you’re shopping for your ingredients because all of them are in season, which means they’re cheaper and they taste better too!

Everyday Food: Light ISBN: 978-0307718099

Other than that, my favourite food blogger is coming out with a new cookbook on March 13, called Food From My Frontier, which is chock full of simple recipes, and knowing Ree (not personally), everything is going to be delicious!!!! :)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Simple, Scrumptious, Satisfying ISBN: 9780061997181

Cheerio and happy eating! :)

Apartment Cooking

So, I have been doing some light cooking while at home. Man, do I love a great meal made with my own hands. Well, my own hands and the supermarket. One of the first recipes I made was this tomato-cream one from one of my favourite food bloggers, Ree Drummond. It’s so insanely easy to make, and so insanely delicious to eat, if you’re a fan of rosée ish sauces. Mmm. You basically just cook up some onions and garlic, then pour in some puréed or crushed tomatoes, cook till the tomatoes darken, then pour in some heavy cream. Mix it up, pour in parmesan cheese, and then mix in the noodles. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own photo to add here, too busy devouring. But it turned out more or less like that. So yummy. On non-lent Fridays, I’ll add some chicken breast in for more substance to the pasta, but even plain is good enough.

My first meal, with tomatoes tossed onto me from my friend Zizi after she cut up too much, I made some enchiladas. Just some taco beef and beans inside the tortilla, with melted Monterey Jack and medium Chedder, cilantro, and fresh tomatoes on top.

I do eat quite a bit of pasta, but only because I bought this one never-ending package of fettucini, 900g, and for 1.5 people, it’s lasted me a whole month. This one is an incredibly fresh pasta that is the easiest thing to make. There’s no cooking involved, aside from boiling the pasta. I basically took a bruschetta recipe that an italian mama taught me, but they’re a dime a dozen. It’s only 4 basic ingredients chopped and tossed in together with a bit of olive oil.

  • 2 small Tomatoes
  • 0.5 red onion (they’re sweeter, but you can use any, really. Depends on your preference)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (a fuckton)
  • 4 leaves of fresh basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar (I decided to add this on a whim, experimenting with your recipes is the fun part!)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

First, start boiling your water and cook your pasta. Remember to generously salt your water, as this is the only place you’ll be able to add some flavour to the inside of the pasta.

So, you chop up the first 2 ingredients. I only put a fuckton of garlic because I love garlic, so if you don’t like it, feel free to lessen it, but the garlic really does make a difference. These are the approximate proportions, but really, I go by what ‘looks right.’ If you don’t like that many onions, don’t put that many. The real workers of this recipe are the tomatoes, garlic, and basil. The onions are the least important ingredient, but is still kind of important.

I digress. Chop those first 2 ingredients. Mince the garlic. Chiffonade your basil aka cut it into thin-ish strips. An easy way to do this is to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and start slicing. Take all of that stuff, throw them together, lube them up with a bit of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. The vinegar is optional. Add some salt and pepper to your liking, then allow this beautiful mixture sit for ten-ish minutes and the flavours will marry each other. A big, beautiful Italian orgy.

Make sure your pasta is cooked to however you like it. Strain the pasta. Let it cool a bit, but not too much. Then mix it all up together. Eat it. Die happy.

I cannot believe that I actually craved Vietnamese food. So I called my parents up to ask them how to make Thit Bo Kho (some beef dish), they explained it to me, and then I went to the grocery store and for some reason, bought pork. Ha! Luckily the recipe was interchangeable. First, I made some molasses-like substance (boiling sugar and water till it turns dark). This process is actually pretty delicate, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re clumsy or accident-prone in the kitchen. I basically dissolved a bunch of sugar in water, and then boiled the water out of the mixture. This potion turned into a caramel-like substance and then I put it aside for a bit in a small bowl.

I then boiled the pork to cook it slightly, sliced it up, then browned it in some shallots and garlic. Added some of the molasses, which had hardened slightly, into the pork for flavour and colour. Picked up the small bowl, without realizing that I had JUST poured boiling sugar into it. Boy was it hot. I picked it up with a cloth around it after that. Put in some salt and pepper. Didn’t have Nuoc Mam (fish sauce), but it was alright. It didn’t taste like how my parents made it but it’ll do in a pinch. I also hardboiled some eggs, tossed them into the pork mixture with some water and simmered it for a bit so that it would absorb the flavour of the pork.

The green beans are incredibly easy to make. Look at that heavenly glow. It’s something that my mom makes, and I could eat a whole plate of this by myself. So delicious. First, you cut off the ends of the beans. Wash them. Then blanche them. You just need to get a pot of water to a rapid boil and throw the beans in. The beans will absorb the heat of the water and the bubbles will slow down or stop. Keep them in there until the the rapid boil starts again. It is at this point that you want to drain the beans, they’re going to be so crunch and crispy. ^_^

Mince up some garlic. Throw it into a pan of some sort (people say wok, but I don’t have one so it doesn’t quite matter), with a bit of oil, stir it around for a bit (less than a minute), make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Toss your green beans in, and stir it around. Careful if your beans are still wet because this might cause your oil to splash back at you. Stir around your beans and garlic. Add salt. Pepper if you like (I’m a pepper kind of girl). You can leave it at that or add some oyster sauce. This is rather salty so you’ll want to serve it with rice. But if you like salt, just eat as is.

Crispy inside-out grilled cheese sandwiches. The recipe (really, it’s just cheese and bread) and how-to is found here at Foodwish’s youtube channel. I highly recommend this. Again, I used the monterey jack and medium chedder that I had in my fridge. I had some slices left of the country loaf, so here’s to using what you’ve got on hand! I paired it with Campbell’s tomato soup, to which I added cream to make it .. uh .. creamier.

Mmm.. so that’s that for this post. I am quite pleased with my recent culinary adventures. Now, I’ve got to plan my next dinner. :D