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Archive for September, 2009

Forte dinner

Last Friday night JT and I treated ourselves to Forte again. This is a fantastic restaurant in the financial district in Toronto – unfortunately, we were the only customers all night long (which suited us fine, but not real good for business). The chef Greg Argent cooks mostly in French style for this place and it’s WONDERFUL! I had the Boulabais again. JT asked the owner, who was serving us at the time, “Is Greg here tonight?” and sure enough, he was. So the owner sent the chef out to our table. We chatted for a few minutes and then he sent out two most wonderful Amuse Bouches I have ever had: French onion soup dumplings (JT had this as an appi the first time we ate here), they are a compact flavour dumpling just bursting with the flavours of traditional French onion soup AND as a special treat, there was a sliver of foie gras – WOW! The second amuse was the Chef’s favourite triple cream cheese called Époisse OMG, OMG, OMG. This is like brie only about gaz-zilion times better.  We treated ourselves over the weekend (and by treat, it’s not only high in calories, but the 250g round runs about $25 – so although it will become one of our cheeses, it likely will happen only once or twice a year!).

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Let’s just say this was the first day of nylon stockings (UUUUUUUUUUUGH!) and my new shoes, of course! Almost made up for the stockings!

New Shoes

New Shoes

Friday JT took me to Forte again. I cannot say enough about this place. YUM, YUM and YUM. Much to my disappointment for them, we were the ONLY couple in the entire place (normally, that frightens me, but not at this place). We had the red carpet treatment. Served by the owner, our private waiter AND Chef Greg Argent. What a wonderful evening. No particular celebration, other than I was doing the Dr. B (actually going there) for the last two week, to try and recapture 8-10lbs that creeped up over the summer! – And, yes I dropped 9lbs in 12 days, so I was happy to be celebrating – with caution, of course).

We shared Melon Salad with Serrano ham, Mancego cheese arugula and a hazelnut vinaigrette – it’s good portion to share, and very tasty (although the Serrano ham tasted and had the texture of prosciutto to me) 5/5

JT had the Pot-au-Fue which was braised short rib, oxtail and potato soufflé, turnips, carrots and brussel spouts (there was marrow in the potato soufflé which made it almost too rich), but he finished everything on the plate. 5/5
I couldn’t resist so I had the bouillabaisse again. Although extremely delicious, it was not nearly as plentiful as the first time I had it (just as well, as I’m trying to get my portions in check again). The flavours of South France were expertly captured in this rich, wonderful soup.5/5
During our service, JT asked the owner if “Greg” was here tonight (Greg Argent is the chef). Yes, he replies, I’ll send him out. OMG, what are you doing JT? We don’t know this guy. But Greg came out twice with precious little amuse bouche each time: the first was his amazing French Onion Soup Dumplings, mini packages filled with braised veal and Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions – and if that wouldn’t be tasty enough, for us, he put a shaving of foi gras on top…wholly molly, I cannot describe how delicious it was. YUM.
The second amuse bouche was served after dinner and it was a wonderful French triple cream cheese EPOISSE on a slightly spicey home made flat bread, with caramelized champagne grapes – YUM. Both times it was Greg who delivered the prizes! What a wonderful treat.
This is an amazing restaurant to go to, and don’t get freaked out that you’re the only one’s there…just means better service and you don’t have to speak over the crazy drunken suits! DEFINITELY RECOMMEND.

Overall rating: Decor 5/5, service 5/5, food 5/5 and Value 5/5.

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JT and I rode our bikes (20km each way mostly along bike paths along the Lakeshore) over to the Port Credit Blues and Jazz Festival yesterday afternoon. WOW. By far, the best free outdoor event EVER. I cannot say enough about it. There was a band about every 100 feet or so, they alternated so bands played every two hundred feet at one time, and MAN they were good. I haven’t heard just good blues since our last time to the windy city! The weather was a amazing too. We’re going back today. I would highly recommend either today or next year.

The bike ride was 20km each way, and not too stressful (other than finding the paths/roads which were sometimes not marked well). But JT persevered and we didn’t falter once! Here are some photos of the event and our bike back.

Weather started off a bit on the chilly side, but with the hot sun and a nice breeze it was fantastic (similar weather to Saturday!!!)

Weather Sunday Sept 13

Steve Strongman Band

Steve Strongman Band

Steve Strongman Band is the first band we stopped at.

The Nomads

The Nomads

The Nomads are the second band we stopped at, really really great!!!!

David Rotundo Band

David Rotundo Band

Another great band, David Rotundo Band, really really bluesy. We stayed the longest here!

Dave Murphy Band

Dave Murphy Band

The Dave Murphy Band was at the end of where they shut Lakeshore down. It too was great, but we were already beat from being in the sun all day, so we decided to head home. 20km bike ride each way, 2.5 hours in the sun, and we were baked! Without a drop of booze!

Bridge One Eastward to Toronto

Bridge One Eastward to Toronto

I decided to take some shots everytime we came upon a bridge, which was about 4 in our 20km journey!

Bridge Two Eastward Toronto

Bridge Two Eastward Toronto

Bridge Three Eastward to Toronto

Bridge Three Eastward to Toronto

TO Skyline in between bridges

TO Skyline in between bridges

You can see how far away we are here.

Bridge Four Eastward to Toronto

Bridge Four Eastward to Toronto

We're almost home, on the suspension bridge by Palace Pier

We're almost home, on the suspension bridge by Palace Pier

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Our vacation to visit our good friends in Chicago was canceled due to illness. We were saddened not to be able to see our pals Paul and T. JT and I tried to book a last minute thing somewhere within driving distance for a night or two, but being the long weekend, and last minute, we were unable to find anything in our price range. So I decided to come back to work for Thursday and Friday. I know it sounds bad, but I like work and I’d rather not waste my vacation days watching TV. So here I am, obviously it’s not so busy 😉

On a positive note, we were able to catch one of our favourite Toronto-born entertainers, Matt Dusk who performed last night at the CNE (this is our exhibition which always signals the end of summer for all!). And what good fortune, the Ex has a special on Monday through Thursday after 5pm entry is five bucks. Matt Dusk was free!!

We got to the Ex around 5:15 and bummed around until 6:45 – we are not huge midway people, nor do we like midway food, so the Ex has never stirred the excitement for us as it does so many others. We found seats at the Band Shell (outdoors and the weather was lovely!). Matt Dusk and his band started on time (thank goodness, the benches were very uncomfortable!). The audience was 75% over 70 and the rest a mix of youngsters and very youngsters! It was good, no screamers and no standing (well, most of them couldn’t even if they wanted to!). As I sat waiting for the concert to begin, I noticed the line-up of walkers and scooters at the front, a contrast to the strollers lined up on Sunday morning at our local brunch place!

Check out a performance of his theme song from the second album on Youtube:

I was able to take a few shots with our crappy little camera…check them out on our photo site: Matt Dusk Live Toronto CNE September 3, 2009

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Savory French Toast (adapted from the LCBO magazine)

Serves 2 large portions or 4 small portions

Savory French Toast

Savory French Toast

  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/4 cup egg white
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 slices ham
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz goats cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • maple syrup
  1. Lightly Whisk egg, egg white, honey and milk. Set aside.
  2. Spread 1 tbsp each of Dijon on 2 pieces of bread.
  3. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the Parmesan.
  4. Top with 1 slice of ham for each of these two slices of bread, and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.
  5. Spread 1/2 of the goat cheese on the remaining two slices of bread and place face down on the ham side.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  7. Melt butter in a large cast iron pan (large enough to hold the two sandwiches)
  8. Dip each sandwich on each side into the egg mixture until all of the egg has been absorbed equally.
  9. Fry each side for about 5 minutes. Place in preheated oven for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  10. Enjoy with fruit and drizzled maple syrup.

Savory French Toast on Foodista

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We were down in Niagara on the weekend and picked up some locally grown peaches and yellow plums, so I thought I would make a traditional French Klafouti for nephew Brian this evening. I got the original recipe from Cooks.com, but of course, I altered it. This recipe makes three ramekins.

Peach and Plum Klafouti

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese (instead of heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmet
  • 1 large peach, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 plum, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  1. Blend all ingredients but the peach and plum with an immersion blender.
  2. Grease three 3 3/8″ ramekins.
  3. Put about 1/3 of the peaches and plum into each ramekin.
  4. Pour the liquid onto the fruit and stir a litle so the liquid is throughout.
  5. Bake for 1/2 hour to 40 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
  6. Allow to cool slightly, turn onto plates and serve with ice cream, frozen yogurt of raspberry syrup as shown.
  7. Enjoy.

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