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May, 2011:

Burger’s Priest Secret Menu

Update: After you’re done with the secret menu don’t forget to read about the blind taste test we did between Burger’s Priest and Holy Chuck and the new BP location at Yonge and Lawrence.

This June The Burger’s Priest will celebrate its first anniversary of opening on Queen Street just east of Coxwell. For Shant Mandirosian and his team it has been a year of unexpected success. I’ve posted before about the place but the food is so good that just like the Stockyards it deserves another write-up.

Following in the footsteps of Now Magazine’s Steven Davey I’m going to risk a lifetime ban and list the Burger’s Priest secret menu. The blocks that build this menu are BP’s delicious house-ground, all-beef 4 oz. patties; the breaded and deep-fried portobello caps with cheese (i.e. the vegetarian alternative or “The Option” for short); and their pleasingly standard-issue compressible and absorbent bun. Here’s the standard menu as posted in the restaurant. (more…)

Sausage League at Marben

This spring and summer Marben Restaurant will be hosting semi-weekly sausage competitions between two Toronto restaurants. The winners will move on, tournament-style, to three playoffs in August and September and then the championship round on September 28th.

Last week I had the pleasure of joining friends Suresh, Bonita, Samantha, and Maria as guests of Marben’s Carl Heinrich for the second Sausage League competition. From the excellent perspective offered by Marben’s kitchen-side chef table we saw chef Ted Corrado of c5 take on chef Eran Marom of Marron Bistro. (more…)

Grapes in the Ground

Sow a seed, feed it, and water it and it will grow into a plant like the one it came from. That’s a no-brainer, at least on paper. A cool feature of nature is that a piece taken from an established planted can be put into the ground and eventually grow into a mature tree or bush.

Grapevines and serviceberry bushes are both good candidates for this process. Especially the latter case where the goal is usually to plant several vines for an arbor or even more so if they intended for later grafting for eating or wine grapes the cost savings of free rootstock is significant.

There is a sort of orthodoxy to the method for planting cuttings. They need to be cut in mid- to late-winter when the tree, bush, or vine is entirely dormant, stored in a cold (but not too cold) place, trimmed in a certain way, and then treated with rooting hormone. Or so we’re told.

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Preserved Citrus

Today’s post is a very short one but I think it is interesting enough to make the cut.

This is not one of those recipes where I read four recipes (after checking with Waverly Root for general and historical context), searched out the ingredients, and made a few test batches. I had some Seville oranges left over from marmalade making that had been kicking around for months and inspired by a Mark Bittman Minimalist podcast (his recipe is for lemons) decided to preserve them very simply. (more…)

Hockley Valley: Tomato Supports

If you haven’t looked over the fence into a neighbour’s backyard to see a neat system of cages and trellises for beans and tomatoes you may be the only Torontonian that doesn’t have a gardening Italian neighbour. In it’s native South America the tomato is a bit a hippie that sprawls across the ground and sends its vines in all different directions. Our “square” need for order and desire to concentrate as many as possible into our gardens lead to a variety of tomato systems.

Over the three summers that I’ve grown tomatoes at the cottage I’ve used all the usual suspects. In 2008 I called the pile of rusty, three-ring cages that were lying behind the old outhouse into service. The next year we replaced some of our most decrepit veterans with slightly sturdier versions. In 2010 I experimented with the system that puts the plants between two end-poles connected by twine that is woven between the vines as support. (more…)