Toronto: 60 Good Hours
Here’s a picture of Bri and me at the Sante/Bon Appetit Festival. I couldn’t believe that she and her mom drove so long and so far so that we could meet, but there’s no way I could have been happier.
The lowpoint of Friday was my little mishap on Canada AM, the country’s nationwide morning news television show. There I was, on camera with Beverly, the host, who often bakes with her two young children, making the Toasted Almond Scones, when, in a burst of exuberance, I knocked over the open bottle of almond extract! It wasn’t quite the same as when Julia dropped a roast beef, but it did kind of unsettle things – mostly me. However, Beverly and I got a giggle out of it when, at the end of the segment, the show’s team came on set to nibble the scones as well as the Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins and Blueberry Crunch Cake, which ace food stylist, Heather Trim, had prepped, and one of the anchors, oblivious to our mishap, took a bit of a scone and said, “Wow! What a great almond aroma it has!” Well yeah. And it was the same almond aroma I sported all day, since my little blue top had been soaked with the stuff.
Here’s a snap of what the set looked like pre almond-turn-over and the crew’s happy munching.
In between, there was a short walk around downtown and a long dinner at the new Colburn Lane, where the chef did a 10-ish-course tasting menu for us in which, late in the meal, there was a Pekin duck breast in a thick, sticky burnt-honey and licorice sauce! Licorice-loving me thought the sauce was inspired. Then, the next night, at a very late-night dinner at Coca, there was duck with caramelized black Moroccan olives (great!) and licorice again, this time added to the light duck jus.
Here’s the duck-and-licorice from Colburn Lane – sorry it’s not a better shot, but I’m not very good at getting a good picture in a quirkily lit restaurant at 12:30 am.
I should have gotten more pictures of my Saturday-morning market tour with Rob and Rachel, but I was too busy ogling the wild garlic and equally wild leeks, the season’s first morels, the suckling pigs and rabbits, local sausages of all kinds, Greek yogurt, artisanal feta and peameal, a.k.a. Canadian bacon. Our market breakfast was a few warm slices of the bacon on a puffy roll squirted with an ample amount of mustard. Eaten outside at a picnic table, it was swell!
And speaking of mustard, there’s Kozlik’s, the hometown favorite. There must have been 15 varieties on display and I think I tasted them all and, had my suitcase been less packed, I would have taken them all home. I also would have taken home Tom Green, the adorable mustard man:
And there was my demo of World Peace Cookies and Rum-Drenched Vanilla Loaf Cakes (both from Baking From My Home to Yours) in a park, not the easiest venue, especially because it didn’t have a heat source. But since Daniel et Daniel, a great Toronto caterer, had done the sweets ahead and organized the mise-en-place, it really wasn’t an issue – until we discovered that the butter, which needed to be melted so it could be folded into the loaf cake batter, was still in hunks. No problem – Steven and Ron just put the bowl over the kerosene heater that had been set up to keep little me warm while signing books! Ah necessity, the sweet mother of invention. Thanks guys!
When I got ready to leave Toronto this morning, here’s what I was squeezing into my suitcase:
I couldn’t buy all the mustards, but I couldn’t resist these:
Presents from Cream Puff Ivonne, all local, all delicious:
A tease of what’s to come:
My friend Cari Gray of Butterfield & Robinson, the company that leads some of the world’s most amazing bicycle tours, left these for me. I’m hoping I’ll be putting them to use soon when I join B&R as the resident foodie on one of their tours next year. More when I know more.
And, of course, there are the great memories – stuff that’s unpackable.