Porchetta & Co

Oh sweet, succulent porchetta. This place is just beyond amazing. Porchetta is a fatty boneless pork roast that is seasoned with many different herbs  and then cooked in a way that the outside is crispy, light and the inside is melt in your mouth tender. So good that even Anthony Bourdain came in for a bite.

The ciabatta bun is stuffed with 4 oz of porchetta, crackling, and topped with (Kozliks) mustard and frank’s hot sauce. This time I chose to get some bitter rapini on top because I love rapini. When people come to Toronto, they’re always talking about that damn peameal bacon, the prized sandwich of Hogtown. But let me tell you, this porchetta sandwich is SO much better than peameal bacon, and let’s just say, I have too much experience with peameal.

Let’s get back to the porchetta sandwich. The bun is soft and fragrant. The meat is soft, but the crackling gives that satisfying crunch. Boyfriend of course got his piled high with mushrooms and added a bunch of extra mustard on top. Biting into this monster is one of the most satisfying things. I can only wish to have this sandwich every day. :)

Porchetta and Co Website // Twitter // Facebook

One Week

One week. One week. One week.

There’s something terrifying, exciting, and anxiety-ridden about that last week of semester. Holy crap did I not see it creeping up on me, and like any old bird with its head on fire, I’m just thinking about all the stuff I have to do! I’ve got one big project that I’ve got to finish for Tuesday. Sure, I’ve got today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Except that I go to school today, and work Friday-Sunday. Awesome. Let’s git ‘er done.

Except I feel like I haven’t accomplished much at all this semester except play catch up. I’m not taking a super full course load, and I’ve been spending so much time working that I look back and wonder, what have I really learned this semester? I bought a bunch of books that I haven’t had the time to read, work at a job that makes me want to read a bunch of other books, but again, no time. So what have I done this semester that I’m minutely proud of?

I’ve spent most of my time drawing these damn mushrooms.

As well as incorporating them into a poster series and pamphlet, both of which still need to be finalized before next week. Oh God. But aside from that, I’ve just got two exams in the first week of December and then it’s over. What’s that? The four most harrowing months of my life and it’s over just like that? For a few weeks anyway. For winter break, I’m planning on working a ton and improving both myself and my living space. Wow, I still haven’t written up about where I’ve been living for the last 7 months, have I? I’ll get that up once I finish putting up the final touches that’ll really make this place seem like mine. For right now, its just a place that I come home to sleep in.

But! I’ve got big plans for the 4 weeks or so that I’ll be off school.

I need a wall-mounted bookshelf because my proper bookshelf is full and I’ve been piling extra books on my desk, which is a monumental waste of space and makes my desk look cluttered all of the time. This bothers me.

With all of that space I’ll be clearing from my desk, I’ll have room for a tiny Christmas tree. :) We’ll just have a couple of presents, but it’ll be nice to look at, make this place really feel like a home.

From the Pioneer Woman <3

I want to make some pesto at home. :) I love basil. I love how pesto can be used on fucking anything. Plain pasta with pesto and chicken breast? AWESOME. Pesto pizza with some mozzerella, spinach, tomatoes, and balsamic? Double awesome. I haven’t cooked or baked in my kitchen for months now. It’s a right shame, really. Aside from the odd steak or bowl of cereal. :(

I want to read:

Graphic Design Books

  1. 100 Habits of Successful Graphic Designers – Sarah Dougher
  2. Graphic Design Manual – Armin Hoffman
  3. Sagmeister – Stefan Sagmeister
  4. Typographie – Emil Ruder
  5. Typography: Macro and Microaesthetics – Willi Kunz
  6. Typographie – Wolfgang Weingart
  7. Die Neue Typographie – Jan Tschichold (not pictured)

Other books:

Damn. It’s only after putting all of that together that I realise that’s a lot of fucking books that I want to read. I’m probably not going to get through all of them this winter. :( But, left to right, top to bottom:

  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins This is being made into a movie soon (trailer’s out) and has been such a popular book this year that I’ll have to read it. And then I’ll be stuck and have to read the sequels Mockingjay and Catching Fire. It’s basically a futuristic Battle Royal type thing where in the future, there are a few city states that, each year, send out a candidate and they battle for whoever has control of the country-world thing. That’s what I’ve been told, but I haven’t actually read it myself. There’s a bit of romance interweaved as well as, from what I can see, a bit of political warfare.
  • 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami My coworker has been raving about this book since it came out a few weeks ago. He’s a big Murakami fan, so I figured I’d have at this 900 page beast. Murakami is HUGE in Japan and this book is the latest one to be translated to english. It’s Murakami’s take on 1984 by George Orwell mixed with some romance and parallel universes. Or so I’ve gathered from his ravings and other sources of knowledge.
  • Damned – Chuck Palahniuk From the back, about a fat little girl who ends up in hell and something about marijuana? I’ve read a few pages of this when I was supposed to be working but it looks hilarious.
  • The Birth House – Ami McKay I read the back and wanted to read this. It was apparently a really big book when it first came out and was one of the first books I picked up and read when I first came to work at the bookstore.
  • The Virgin Cure – Ami McKay So her newest book that came out a few weeks ago and it’s been selling like hotcakes, so I figured I should read this one too. The Virgin Cure meaning the belief that if you have sex with a virgin, it will cure you of your diseases.
  • Dollhouse – The Kardashians HA. Seriously. They wrote a book. We read the first 5 pages. Should a quick and easy read and mostly want to read it to make fun of it.
  • A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard  An autobiographical book by a woman who was kidnapped when she was a kid and was held away from her family for a number of years.
  • Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern I’ve been told it’s The Illusionist intertwined with a tale of star-crossed lovers. Interesting concept about a circus that only appears at night every once in a while and a girl who was being trained in the circus to kill a guy, but she doesn’t know it, and she ends up falling in love with him.
  • Half-Blood Blues – Esi Edugyan Just won the Giller Prize and was written by a Vancouverite.
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt Just won the Man Booker prize and has been described to me as a modern Western.
  • The Cat’s Table – Michael Ondaatje Don’t know what it’s about, but been hearing such good things about it.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See About a chinese girl who has a pen pal and they get really close and tell each other everything as they’re growing up but then something happens and their friendship falls apart. It sounds to me something along the lines and feel of Memoirs of a Geisha, maybe it’s because they’re both asian-y.
  • Tell it to the Trees – Anita Rau Badami A reporter goes to a house to reports of domestic abuse. I think this book is a suspense/thriller book. I’ve been told it’s pretty scary. Something about a body being found on the lawn.
  • Steve Jobs’ Biography – Walter Isaacson Self-explanatory.
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein My coworker read this and said it’s really good. Also,  I’ve already been persuaded by the cover.

Well, I should probably get off my bum now. And do some things I’ve been meaning to do.

One. Week.


Warning: Vegetarians, look away now.

Mmm, there’s nothing I like better than a hunk of juicy, tender meat. I got these two honkin’ pieces of New York strip at the market where I now work, which is great because these weighty beauties only cost me $14 for both of them. Amazing! I love discounts, they make me feel special. The steaks were fresh, perfectly marbled, and almost two inches thick. $14 is a steal, considering the cut and quality of meat.

Blurry picture of seasoning

Some people like their steaks fancy, all marinated with dijon and rosemary. Others like it plain and simple, just a bit of salt and pepper and you’re ready to go. Me, I think there’s nothing better on a steak than Montreal Steak Spice. I can stick my nose in a container of it and smell it all day. I can eat a whole cow, raw, covered in this steak spice. I can eat this all day, e’eryday. Preparing steak is so easy that it’s almost a crime. If you don’t have time, just sprinkle some of this stuff on prior to grilling. I had some time before I had to cook the meat, so I put it on (I like a lot of it), threw some olive oil on top, and rubbed it lightly into the meat, working it in with my fingers. I covered it in saran wrap and threw it into the fridge to let it mellow until I was ready for it.

There are just a few general guidelines for making a good steak. It’s just such a versatile thing, and a simple steak is so easy to do.

  • Get your steak to room temperature (or close to it at least) before cooking. This will make sure that you get a good sear on it, and nice and pink on the inside without it being cold.
  • Get your pan (or grill) hot hot hot before throwing the steak on top. Melt a little butter, or olive oil, whichever, but make sure to not burn the butter.
  • Put your steak into the pan. Sear on one side, 2-3 minutes, depending on how rare you like your steak. I like mine bloody, so if you like it a bit medium, leave it in for longer. After 2-3 minutes, check the bottom of your steak to see if you’ve got a good texture, flip, JUST ONCE, and sear for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. You only need to flip your steak once. Don’t go fiddling around.
  • For God’s sake, do NOT take a knife and cut the middle to check for doneness. All this will do is let all the sweet juices run into the pan and wasted forever. Instead, use a warm spoon (or your fingers, depending on how hardcore you are) and press into the middle of the steak. The tenderness of this part will tell you how done it is. The softer it is, the rarer it is. It takes a little experience for you to get the hang of this, but there is a handy trick to it (analogies via MensHealth. You can find pictures there too).

  1. Touch your thumb and pinky together, and poke the inside pad (by the palm) of your thumb. It should feel hard and springy, like a tennis ball. This is well done.

  2. Touch your thumb and ring finger together. The pad feels like a racquetball. This is medium.

  3. Thumb and middle finger together, the pad feels like a nerf ball. Medium rare.

  4. Thumb and pointer together, feels like a sponge. This is rare.

  • If you’re scared of burning your steak, but want it well done. Get the fuck out of here. This is no place for a well done steak. I kid. But not really. Anyway, you can cook the steak to as well as you’re comfortable, then take it off the pan or grill, put it onto a warm plate and tent it with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. This will allow the steak to soak up the warmth inside and continue to cook. You can also just take the entire pan, with the steak inside and put it into the oven for a few minutes. But seriously, you should get over the whole well done steak thing, because a medium rare/rare steak is the perfect way to go. It’s just so much more flavourful and juicy. Mmm.
  • One of the most important things to do after you take your steak out of the pan is to let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This will allow all the beautiful steak juices, which have centralized into the middle of the steak, to redistribute and spread back out into each corner of the steak, ensuring a juicy bite in each piece.
  • Something you can do if you wanna get a little extra-fancy (I didn’t): After you cook your steak, you may have a bit of oil and meat juice and beef extras lightly caramelized on your pan. You can take about half a cup of cooking sherry, or red wine (leave your white wines for the fish and chicken), stock, or even some water, into your pan, and then use something to scrape off the bits at the bottom. You can cook it down till it’s thicker, and pour it on top of your steak, or add some butter and herbs, simmer till it thickens, to make a fancier sauce. Go crazy. Add some freshly cracked pepper if you want, I would probably forgo the salt though. You can actually do this for any kind of meat or saute or whatever. Though, I would only recommend doing this if 1. you’ve got a non-stick pan and 2. the little bits aren’t burnt, because this will only make for a bitter sauce.

These are just some general common knowledge tips, but are invaluable if you’re a steak noob.

I paired my steak with a mushroom and crouton salad. I don’t like mushrooms, but Ervin does, so I braved the waters, and this recipe lessens the overall mushroom taste, or maybe I just like the taste of mushrooms now, I don’t know. But I sautéed the mushrooms with a bit of oil and garlic. I bought a nice rustic country loaf, cut it into little cubes and stirred it in until it was a bit crispy. It’s an incredibly easy recipe that’s hard to mess up. The full recipe can be found here. I left out the parsley because of my incredibly picky guest. HA.

I also attempted to make thinly sliced, fried onion strings, like at the Keg. I kind of rivered the recipe, just throwing in a bunch of ingredients that I thought was right. Basically, I used some flour, mixed with salt and paprika, as my dry base. I sliced some onions really thin, dipped them in the flour mix, and deep fried them. They turned out pretty nice. Except for that one batch at the end where I left the pot of oil on the burner for an extra 30 seconds while I did something else. Yeah, don’t do that. The oil got too hot, and when I went to put on the last batch of onions, it burned up instantly and blew smoke into my badly ventilated apartment. I went ghetto 151 Queen Street style (shoutouts to my Hamilton homies. HAAAA) and had to frantically fan to smoke alarm with a pillow, trying so hard to make sure it doesn’t go off and evacuate the entire building. I put the pot outside on the balcony overnight because it scared me.

Other than that little incident, I would declare this dinner a delicious, delicious success. Mmm… I’m hoping for a recreation soon.