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We’ve been to The Good Fork a few times now and I thought it was time to do a Kitchen Inspirations review. The folks at The Good Fork were incredibly generous around the Christmas holidays when Toronto experienced wide-spread blackouts and JT and I were without charging power for our phones for a couple of days — they let us plug in! The Good Fork is located just on the cusp of the Western edge of Bloor West Village and because it’s on the cusp, sadly it’s pretty easy to forget about it; I’m glad that on that cold December day we didn’t!

It’s about 1.6 km from our house which makes a good walk but there is street parking usually close by. I would recommend reservations if you’re going with a group because it does fill up quickly and there isn’t a bar to wait at. If you’re going for brunch, like we did, make sure you arrive before 10am because you’ll have to wait for a table if you arrive later!

The folks are very nice at The Good Fork and we have found the food to be very good quality. I like that their menu is not huge but what they do is very tasty and the prices are not bad. The portions are a good size and if you’re not starving you may even find it enough to share with an extra salad. The Good Fork is fully licensed and serves VQA wines and beers from Canadian micro breweries. The decor is modern and simple and there are many spacious booths. Their second floor can be rented for events. 

JT and I visited The Good Fork for brunch; I ordered the Nova Scotia Benny ($13.00) which came with two poached eggs, a generous serve of smoked salmon, cream cheese, preserved lemon and fresh dill on Gordy’s gorgeous house-made bun (it was so good that even I found it difficult to resist eating the top!). I chose a side salad instead of home fries and although the salad was very tasty, it was over dressed for my taste which is a mistake I find many restaurants make (note to self, ask for dressing on the side next time).

A delicious combination of flavours.

A delicious combination of flavours.

JT ordered a slightly more decadent dish: The Pulled Pork Benny ($13.60) topped with crispy fried shallots and a delicious slaw on the same house-made bun. The pulled pork had fantastic flavour and the crispy fried shallots added the much needed textural contrast to the sweet and tangy pulled pork. JT also ordered the salad as the side and it too was over dressed. Overall, I would say that both dishes were winners and we will order them again (perhaps to share next time).

TGoodFork_2455

Succulent pulled pork and a very tasty house-made bun.

 

Overall rating of The Good Fork: Decor 2.5/5, service 3/5, food 4/5, Value 3/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet).

Disclaimer: We purchased our meals for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

 

The Good Fork

2432 Bloor St. West
Toronto, ON M6S 1P9

 

Hours:

Monday and Tuesday 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9:00 am-10:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am-4:00 pm and 5:30 pm-10:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am-5:00 pm

 

Contact

647.352.5955
ALI@goodfork.ca
TOLGA@goodfork.ca

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Remember my friends Angela and Gordon? They are the super organized couple who put on incredible theme parties for 8 of their lucky friends (remember Titanic 100th Anniversary and The Truman Capote Black and White Ball?). Well, they did it again and a few weeks ago we were invited to their James Bond 60th Anniversary Party. We had a lot of fun with this theme. First I had to figure out who to be (yes, we were all encouraged to come in full costume!) So I googled it and found this really cool quiz. Now I already had an idea who I wanted to be, but the quiz absolutely nailed it and YES I would be Paris Carver that night! Paris was the wife of the evil Media Mogul in Tomorrow Never Dies. But she had also been Mr. Bond’s lover (but then who hadn’t?). JT decided to be Francisco Scaramanga from the Man with the Golden Gun and he did a great job in fashioning a rather authentic looking golden gun. It was a dinner party hosted by M and Mr. James Bond and thank you Donald “Red” Grant for the fabulous photography and Q for keeping the hors d’œuvres constantly coming. It was a very tasty evening.

The Menu:

Drunken Devils on Horseback (Nigella Lawson)
Minted Zucchini Soup (Jamie Oliver)
Arugula and Watercress Salad (inspired by a Williams Sonoma recipe)
Beefsteak and Mushroom Pie with Smashed Potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings
(stew modified version of a John Cordeaux/Royal York recip /puddings – Good Housekeeping circa 1980s)
Sticky Toffee Pudding (old recipe from a friend)
Libations:
  Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2012
  Thwaites Lancaster Bomber Ale (winner of the Best English Ale at the European Beer Star Awards)
  Chateau Timberlay Bordeau Superieur 2010
  Pere et Fils Chardonnay Laurent Miquel 2012
  Assorted Liqueurs/Port/Single Malt Scotch

The Cast:

James Bond M

Our generous hosts M and Mr. James Bond (complete with English accent)

Table
The table was beautifully set and we each had a “Classified Dossier” in front of our seats.
Donald Red Grant Q

Donald “Red” Grant and Q (who had a few tricks up his sleeve!)

TheDetails

It’s all in the details. Yes, those are bullets in the vase.

Dr.No HoneyRyder

Dr. Julius No & Honey Ryder
(they bought their costumes in Hong Kong on a recent trip to celebrate a benchmark birthday).

ErnestStavroBlofeld Jinx

Ernst Stavro Blofeld & Jinx.
Ernst was sufficiently creepy with his bunny (remember it was originally a creepy cat)

Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore

Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore

ScaramangaParisCarver

Francisco Scaramanga and Paris Carver
(Apparently Paris always had a champagne glass in hand, which I was perfectly happy to do!)

To give you an example of how much detail my friend M went into this is my Classified Bio, for your eyes only!

PARIS CARVER

Terri Hatcher Eva Taylor

Location: Hamburg, Germany.

Characteristics: Sophisticated, cosmopolitan, unhappy, pining for Bond.

Hobbies/Interests: James Bond. Sipping her husband’s (British media baron Elliot Carver) champagne. Prior to that drank straight shots of tequila. Lying to her husband about her relationship with Bond.

Associations: No known associations.

Scars/Notable Features: Possible scarring on hand from slapping Bond for abandoning her years earlier. Often carrying champagne flute.

Relationship with MI6: Described as “too close for comfort” by Bond. After spending a passionate evening together, Carver led Bond to her husband’s secret lab.

Status: Presumed assassinated by hitman Dr. Kaufman after her husband learned of her betrayal. Most recently spotted sipping champagne in Toronto, New York, Chicago, and Paris.

Dinner1
We were all quite taken back with the amount of detail in each of our dossiers.
Dinner2

There were detailed character descriptions in each folder.

Francisco Scaramanga

We took a couple of photos at home before we left.

ParisCarver

Can you believe it, I picked up my dress from Value Village and made a few alterations. Damn thing left sparkles all over the house!

Thanks again to M and Mr. James Bond for making such a memorable evening.

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The weather in Toronto is warm and crisp this week, the humidity is all but gone, which is a lovely change to the close weather we were having over the last couple of weeks (sadly, it will turn ‘oven-hot’ again tonight). We turned the A/C off and opened windows, taking full advantage of all the fresh air, but someone forgot to tell the birds that 3:30am is far too early to get up and start chirping. Did they not get them memo?

Here is one of the culprits, I’m sure (I didn’t want to scare him so I took the photo through the screened window). This Blue Jay (not to be confused with our team*)  and his partner were at the feeder by the kitchen window the other day — the small bird feeder. The partner was smart and was picking up the seeds from the ground. Can you see how ridiculously he is balancing to get to the seeds (his feet are hanging onto the feeder just below his neck and he is balancing with his tail); clearly this feeder is not his size!

It’s like he sitting at the ‘kids table’

This incredible weather also means that we can enjoy our meals al fresco under the canopy of the arbor in our garden. Our lives are a little topsy turvy as JT recently started a new job that has him working some nights until 8:30 which leaves me to prepare ‘dinners’ that will mainly be used as lunches for us both the following day. I guess this forces me to eat, because I can get caught up in various chores around the house or blogging and simply forget to eat (I can be pretty focused). In general, I come home, cook ‘dinner’ eat it and prepare our lunches for the following day. Then I sit and blog. Sometimes I cook something I can blog about, this is one of those times.

Would you say this is a 3 dressed up as a 9?

Sissi at With a Glass reminded me of Surimi Crab (yes, fake crab) and that it does have a place on the luncheon menu, as long as you buy good quality brand and pair it with a tasty side or salad (Sissi and Maria at A-Boleyn made fresh rolls out of them which for me ended up to be rather unattractive when I tried to make them, practice makes perfect!) So an Asian inspired Surimi ‘crab’ salad was to be on the menu on this day. Surimi ‘crab’ is low in fat, contains some omega-3 so it is a good low fat dinner/lunch option.

Incidentally, we are presently redesigning the packaging for Clover Leaf Surimi (we do all of their packaging, the photos in the link are NOT our’s, they were provided) so it’s apt that I post a recipe for it. Sadly, my photography skills do not compare to the skills at our studio, but then again, nor does my camera! The plate, however, is a hand-me-down from the studio!

We are heading out to Illinois and Wisconsin this weekend (it’s a long weekend for us too, in Canada we celebrate Canada Day on July 1) to visit our friends Paul and T, so I want to use up the fresh goods in the fridge so I don’t have to toss them (or worse yet, so they don’t walk out on their own!). Much of this recipe is what’s in my fridge right now, I was trying to go without purchasing new produce. The measures are eyeballed, go with your tastebuds. The trick to this salad (or slaw) is to cut all of the vegetables uniformly so you can get a little bite of everything. To keep this salad over a few days, separate the wet (cucumber and mango) from the rest and mix as required. The ratio should be about 1/3 wet to 2/3 dry.

Surimi “Crab” Salad

Serves 4 (2 for lunch and 2 for dinner, 100 g protein portions each)

Ingredients:

  • 4oo g Surimi Crab, flake style
  • 1./2 Jicama or Yambean, finely grated on  a mandolin
  • 1/2 celeriac or celery root, finely grated on  a mandolin
  • 6 radishes, finely grated on  a mandolin
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 5 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 10-20 Thai basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 regular basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, finely grated on  a mandolin
  • 1 slightly unripened mango, finely grated on  a mandolin

Directions:

  1. Combine the Jicama to the basil leaves and mix well. I use my hands so all the ingredients are evenly distributed in the salad.
  2. Combine the cucumber and mango. Keep the wet from the rest so that the salad doesn’t wilt in the fridge. Mix only as required.

Dressing Ingredients:

This is just eyeballing, make the dressing to your own taste.

  • Trim off bits of mango from the stone (keeping away from the stone) that you weren’t able to grate with the mandolin (you’ll be surprised how much fruit is left over).
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 lime cordial
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (or to taste)

Dressing Instructions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to your immersion blender container and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as required.

Assemble Instructions:

  1. Combine 1/3 wet ingredients with 2/3 dry and mix well. Add a few tablespoons of the dressing and mix again.
  2. Plate, adding about 100 g surimi crab.
  3. Garish with sesame seeds, if desired, I forgot.

What ever it is, it sure is tasty

Notes:

  • I use Rose’s Lime Cordial as a short cut for lime juice and honey. I find it has the right balance for sweet and sour for my taste buds.
  • About a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro is a wonderful addition. I didn’t have cilantro at home (my plant died) and in order not to buy anything new to make this meal, I omitted it.
  • Red cabbage also makes a great addition to this salad (see above for why it’s not in the recipe)
  • Mango has the same toxic ingredient as does poison ivy, therefore you want to ensure you remove ALL of the skin and stay about 0.5 cm from the stone. This ingredient causes stomach upset.
  • If you run out of mango, I have successfully substituted dried apricot (reconstituted with a little water) or even tamarind paste, both make exceptional dressings but you will need to adjust the salty and sour bits to taste.

*Sports reference provided for my friend Jed, the Sportsglutton

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Croissants. Sawsan over at Chef in Disguise inspired me to take on the lofty croissant. Usually I don’t feel intimidated by a recipe, but come on, these are like the French National Treasure! Could I possibly do them justice? Sawsan also posted a Julia Child video outlining each step. OK, I thought, I think I can do this! Well, I also thought, I don’t HAVE to blog about it if it failed (HA!)! So, I started the recipe on Thursday night, letting the dough rest in the fridge at each interval. I didn’t document the steps, there are too many more accomplished croissant makers out there, including Sawsan whom you can reference in the link above. I’ll just present the final photos.


They didn’t actually turn out too bad. I think they could have been a bit flakier but all in all, 3.5/5.

Needless to say, I’ve got another batch going for a second trial (don’t fret, they don’t go to waste!). I found this recipe at The Fresh Loaf where the author overhauls Julia Child’s recipe. I preferred the baking times a bit better than the first batch, the author recommends to Bake at 425°F for 10min, 375° for 15min. The recipe is also made for an electric mixer version, which I also prefer (I am having shoulder issues and the kneading really kills it!) We baked them off last night, but I made the mistake of proofing the last proofing on the kitchen counter and sadly the butter had started to melt within the croissants (we had been using both ovens for dinner and the kitchen was a little warm!). The overall texture is more flaky on this batch, but they looked awful (my tummy doesn’t care, though). We had them for breakfast this morning and they were really good :).

I am going to try one more batch this week, and hopefully they will be good enough to take to my brother’s cottage for Thanksgiving Weekend (this weekend).

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