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Toronto

Goose Island Beer Dinner at Nota Bene

Goose Island Beer Dinner at Nota Bene giveawayBack in April, I was happy to find myself at Toronto’s Nota Bene Restaurant for a lunch built around two Goose Island beers. This was a pleasant situation both because the food was fantastic (my first experience with the Boudin Tart), but also because I appreciated the signal it sent: premium, carefully-designed beers are ready to be paired with food of the same caliber.

As someone who wrote a cookbook with craft beer as a central feature I always like to see my beverage of choice “movin’ on up” in the food world. (more…)

Second Draught: Rodenbach Classic, an easy-drinking introduction to sour beer

A tolerance for bitterness is probably what everyone means when they speak of beer being an “acquired taste”. When you get past that, drink through everything IPAs have to offer, sour beer is the next frontier. We innately associate bitter flavours with dangerous poisons and sourness with spoiled beer (though the latter connection probably isn’t as hard-coded by evolution).  It’s worth developing an appreciation for the style of sour ales (that are that way by design and not because of spoilage) not just for the notoriety but also because they are delicious and pair excellently with food.

If beer-writing gods were really on my side I would have been able to write about the Rodenbach first and the Panil second. They are both in the same Flemish sour ale style (though Panil is made in Italy), but the Rodenbach is lightly tart and makes  a better introduction for newcomers to the style than the funkier, more complex Panil. (more…)

Anthony Bourdain’s Layover in Toronto

At long last, Anthony Bourdain has ignored the critics in Montreal and Vancouver and brought his Layover film crew to Toronto to tape an episode. It aired this week in the States and won’t be coming to Canada’s Travel channel until next year. (Update: DailyMotion has a video up that Canadian viewers can watch.)

He praised the comedy scene and slagged the CN Tower (fair enough, on both counts) but we all know that my expertise and the interest we share lies in food. So here, now, a quick summary of Tony’s itinerary: (more…)

Firkin Pubs Revamped: $100 gift card contest

I have a long, if not always glorious, history with the Firkin chain of pubs. More than a decade-and-a-half ago the Frog and Firkin at Yonge and Sheppard was the bar my high school friends (all legal drinking age, I’m sure) chose to hang out at. Then there was that memorable but fairly annoying campaign of radio ads. But, this month 25-year chain has received a bunch of attention because they’ve redesigned four of their locations to be more authentically British, at least in a campy sort of way.

The food and drinks menus have also been shifted to augment the standard, North American sports bar choices. They still offer burgers, caesar salad, wings and calamari but have also added a Pot Roast Sandwich, Butter Chicken Pie and in the category that approximates British poutine and is called “Spuds ‘n’ Sauce” there are options like: Curried Chicken and Braised Beef.  (more…)

Fermentation Workshop at Uniiverse

I’m happy to share the good news that this week I’ll be putting on another fermentation workshop. This time I’ve teamed up with my good friend, Joel Solish of Death Row Meals and with a new site called Uniiverse. We’ve added a charitable, Movember-themed component that is explained on the event page:

MOTOFO: This event is part of MOvember TOronto FOod week – a week of unique food experiences brought to you by DeathRowMeals and Uniiverse, to raise funds for Movemeber. Check out other MOTOFO events on my profile. All proceeds will be donated to Movember.

Also from the event page here’s the description of what I’ll cover during the ninety-minute session:

David (of foodwithlegs dot com) will give a hands-on demonstration of the process that converts raw ingredients into some of the world’s most delicious foods. Kimchi, traditional kosher dill pickles, and classic sourdough bread all depend on wild fermentation. As well as the separate processes David will take a look at the easy-to-find ingredients and simple equipment (what’s good, better, and best?) that you need for fermenting on a small scale, at home. (more…)