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August, 2012:

Tequila Myths with Tromba’s Eric Brass

Many of you can’t help feeling a little queasy, I know, as you remember an early experience with Goldschlager, Doctor McGillicuddy’s peach schnapps, or tequila. I don’t have have any booze that are liquor non grata–for someone who writes almost as often about drink as food, that comes in handy–but my memory of tequila from my undergraduate days was that producers loudly announced that there had been a drought, supplies would be cut, and prices would rise. Coincidentally, this was also when the marketing strategy for Mexico’s spirit of choice changed from frat party to rap-star aspirational. (more…)

Swiss Chalet Fresh Impressions

Quarter chicken, white, with fries and an extra dipping sauce. That’s my standard Swiss Chalet order and has been for as long as I can remember. I may be projecting but I think that just about every Canadian who grew up in a part of the country that has Swiss Chalet franchises can rhyme theirs off in less than four seconds.

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a dinner at the location near Ryerson so that we could tour the kitchen, ask questions, and most of all try the new menu items that the chain is promoting under the “Fresh Impressions” banner. (more…)

New Longo’s in Leaside

New Longo's grocery store in Leaside.

Today the Longo family opened their 25th GTA location in 1919 heritage building Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood. Yesterday, I had the chance to tour the new Laird Dr. outpost of the grocery store chain. (more…)

Bacon Everything at The Ex 2012

There is a distinctly porky slant to the food items that will grab the most attention at this year’s CNE. Last year was the year of doughnut burgers and deep-fried Cok…er cola and in 2010 Twitter was filled with pictures of deep-fried butter. The three early candidates to take the crown this year are the Bacon Explosion from Bacon Nation, pulled pork on red velvet pancakes from Pull’d, and the bacon fudge from Northwest Fudge. (more…)

Dill Pickle Gear

This is my fifth year in a row making the wild-fermented, dill pickles that are also known as kosher sours. The unusual process (at least for our refrigerator-happy era) depends on leaving food at room temperature for a couple weeks so [there are some unusual challenges that have to be met.] This year I fine-tuned the equipment setup and I’d like to share my changes in the hope that you may find them useful.

The detail here is pretty intense and falls into the “nice-to-know-but-not-necessary” category. If you’re new to wild-fermented pickling have a look at my recipe for Wild Dill Pickles, or at the recipes for year-round favourites Pickled Turnips, and Small-batch Spicy Sauerkraut. If you’re looking to refine your dill pickling technique head over to pickle troubleshooting post(more…)