Food and Drink: Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins

Lately everyone's been talking about pumpkins. H recently talked about her trip to Knox Farm and an afternoon spent pumpkin picking. While I appreciate spending time outside in the fall, I prefer to show my favourite season a little love by spending time in my kitchen.


Food and Drink: Garlic and Herb Marinated Steak

As a secondo for my Italian inspired dinner I decided to serve Tagliata, a thick steak that is grilled and carved. Almost as famous as its relative Bistecca Fiorentina, Tagliata is delicious and impressive. It's also the epitome of an Italian meal since it's served family-style and meant to be shared. 


Food and Drink: Gramigna with Sausage and Cream

Over the summer J and I spent three amazing weeks in Italy. When planning our trip three weeks felt like it would be an eternity -- but oh were we wrong!


Hometown Tourist: Pumpkin Picking

Now I know that our Hometown Tourist posts are usually downtown Toronto based, but hear me out. Sometimes getting out of the city for an afternoon can be just as fun as time spent in our beloved T.O. On Sunday A and I ventured up to Knox Farm, only an hour outside the city, for a little good, clean fun. It is honestly the perfect place for kids, or kids at heart, to enjoy some time wandering the pumpkin patch, getting lost in the corn maze, making some barnyard friends or getting your face painted - which I only avoided because face paint gives me hives! (Personally, I would have gotten cat whiskers.)

Hometown Tourist: Cask Days 2013

Cask Days, a festival focusing on cask-conditioned unfiltered, unpasteurized craft beers, celebrated its 9th anniversary at the Evergreen Brick Works on October 19th and 20th.  


Happy 1st Anniversary On Crawford St.!

With September now officially over it's been a year since V and I started On Crawford St.! I know I'm sitting here wondering how the heck this year has gone by so fast and while I reminisce I thought it might be fun to look back on a few of our favourite posts. So happy anniversary On Crawford St.!


Food and Drink: Apple Cinnamon Zucchini Cake


A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Lemon Zucchini Cake, with a promise that I'd post a second favourite zucchini cake recipe. Well, here it is! This cake is a perfect way to mix the best of fall flavours, while clearing out any extra zucchini that you may have lying around.


Food and Drink: Rosemary, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Roasted Peaches with Vanilla Yogurt Sauce

Peaches are, and have always been, my favourite summer fruit. There's nothing better than biting into a plump, juicy peach on a hot summer's day. But let's get real... summer's over! As the Ontario peach season comes to an end, I decided that I wanted to spend an afternoon in my kitchen experimenting with flavours and cooking methods - something that I haven't done in a while. This recipe is my ode to the end of summer, a perfect way to expand all the ways you can love this fruit as we head into the fall.


Style: Add a Little Sparkle

Add a Little Sparkle: Statement Necklace / On Crawford St.

Today is overcast in Toronto, and if you are anything like me dreary weather makes you feel pretty blah. My solution? Add something sparkly to your look! Like wearing pretty underwear, adding a great piece of jewelry to your outfit really makes you feel better. The piece above is from J.Crew and makes even the simplest of outfits special. If you aren't a statement necklace kind of girl, try a ring or bracelet, which will give you just the tiniest hint of sparkle without being overwhelming. Plus you don't need a mirror to admire it!


DIY: Photography

So I've realized in the last little while that my favourite part about blogging is getting to do a lot of the photography for On Crawford St. posts. I've had a DSLR camera at my disposal for years but it wasn't until we started the blog that I even bothered to pick it up. Originally I figured I could get by with using the auto settings, but when I realized I wasn't getting the type of photos that I really wanted I decided to learn how to shoot in manual. I will tell you that at first I was afraid to shoot manual - I thought it would be too complicated and I had no idea what my shots would look like. I've only been shooting in manual for a few months now, but already I can't imagine shooting on auto settings ever again. I recently purchased a new lens - a 50mm Canon one - so that I would have more flexibility with depth of field. This weekend I decided to take it for a spin at the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market and this is what I ended up with.

Side Note: I can't take all the photo credits for this post, I had a special assistant this weekend who was kind enough to hold on to my camera while I was enjoying a ridiculously good yogurt parfait from the farmers market. He snapped a couple of shots that I thought deserved a spot in the post - especially considering he'd never shot in manual before.


Food and Drink: Lisa Marie

A few weeks ago, before my unbelievable trip to Italy (more on that later), I met my best friend C for dinner. C and I have been friends for 20 years – we met as 4-year-olds playing in the mud. Seriously. Over the past few years our schedules have made it increasingly more difficult to spend time together, but when the stars align and we find a free evening to hang out we always try something new and different. We decided to head to Lisa Marie, the new bricks and mortar eatery by the team behind the ever popular Fidel Gastro’s food truck.


Hometown Tourist: Christian Louboutin Exhibition @ Design Exchange

Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend Grand Soiree Thursdays hosted by Grand Marnier and see the Christian Louboutin exhibition at Design Exchange! Needless to say, I was enthralled by the beautiful shoes and spent an equally enjoyable time hanging out downstairs trying out the evening's three signature cocktails. The Grand Summer Garden cocktail was the clear winner for me - Grand Marnier and lemon juice garnished with strawberries and basil. Looking for a chance to see it yourself? The exhibition runs until September 15, 2013 and Grand Soiree Thursdays will be held on August 15th and September 12th. So, without further ado, photos of those works of art courtesy of Instagram...


Toronto Artisans: La Vela Bella

H and I were introduced to La Vela Bella at the 2013 Spring One of a Kind Show, where we spent 20 minutes swooning over all the adorable teacup candles and another 20 minutes deciding which ones to actually buy. Founded by Natalie Mancini and her business partner/boyfriend Adrian, La Vela Bella creates handmade soy wax candles in antique teacups, glasses and bowls. Natalie is extremely outgoing, with an effervescent personality and wholeheartedly loves what she does. We recently stopped by Natalie's studio space at N/A Collective to talk about La Vela Bella.


Hometown Tourist: Dundas West Fest 2013

On Saturday J and I headed to the first annual Dundas West Fest, a celebration of one of Toronto's coolest neighbourhoods. Stretching along Dundas from Ossington to Lansdowne, the festival aimed to show off the unique character of Little Portugal. The festival blended live music, delicious food, local shops and artisans with the traditional tastes and sounds of Portugal. J and I spent the afternoon wandering through artisan and vintage markets like By Hand, With Heart (curated by Alessandra Cardarelli of Carte Blanche Creations) and Diamonds & Rust, munching on yummy jalapeno and cheddar sausages from Grain, Curd & Bean, chatting with famed photographer George Pimentel, and enjoying a cold glass of Beau's in a beer garden housed in a garden center.

Here are a few pictures. 


Food and Drink: The Samuel J. Moore

A few weeks ago J and I headed to The Samuel J. Moore to celebrate my birthday. Occupying the ground floor of The Great Hall, at the corner of Queen and Dovercourt, The Samuel J. Moore is named for the 19th century businessman who built it. The Samuel J. Moore was widely talked about before it opened, and for good reason. With ex Brockton General chef Alexandra Feswick running the kitchen, The Samuel J Moore was virtually guaranteed a menu of locally focused classic items, each with an inventive twist. The exterior is plain, with only the smallest sign. Inside is a different story. The tin ceilings, black and white floor, marble bar and classic bistro tables and chairs give the room a refined feeling. Black and white photos line the walls, paying homage to the building's past - or maybe as a way to help the neighbourhood's hipsters feel at home.


Food and Drink: The Dinner Party with White Bridge Food Co.

On a rainy Wednesday night, H and I wandered down a graffitied alley off Dundas West to N/A Collective, an artist’s studio space and the home of White Bridge Food Co.’s monthly dinner party series. Founded by Declan Edwards and Jeremy Thompson, White Bridge Food Co.’s monthly dinner party series, The Dinner Party, was conceived as a way for Declan and Jeremy, who both work in the culinary industry, to serve their own food to guests. They do everything from setting the menu to sourcing the products they use. The aim of The Dinner Party is simply to provide their guests with a complete dining experience – great food and great conversation. After spending the entire day preparing the courses, the duo take on two very different roles – Jeremy acts as a host, welcoming guests to the cocktail hour that precedes dinner and offering them a feature cocktail and snack, this time Bourbonade and spiced boiled peanuts, while Declan stays in the kitchen adding finishing touches to each plate, coming out with each new course to explain its preparation.


Toronto Artisans: Carte Blanche Creations

I remember the first time I came across coasters by Carte Blanche Creations. I was at the Drake Hotel's Spring Market with J, perusing through crafts, baked goods and antiques. I was instantly drawn to Alessandra Cardarelli's creative spin on such a simple and sometimes mundane item. I was also drawn to her personality and boundless energy. Alessandra exudes passion. She genuinely likes to speak to customers, explain the stories behind the images she uses, and understand why people gravitate to the ones they do. That's why I was so excited when Alessandra invited the ladies of On Crawford St. to her studio at N/A Collective to talk about Carte Blanche Creations.


Food and Drink: Baked Eggs Florentine with Sweet and Spicy Turkey Bacon

Every few months my family forgoes a traditional Sunday lunch in favour of a homemade Sunday Brunch. Usually we do French toast or a Bacon and Eggs thing, but every now and then I like to change up our menu ever so slightly. While I was perusing one of my favourite food blogs, Lemony Thyme, I came across a recipe for baked eggs in bread bowls. I thought "Yum! This looks delicious!" However, I decided that my version needed a little something else, so I added spinach. This recipe is oh-so easy, savoury and really filling. It pairs well with the sweet and spicy turkey bacon. And don't forget a Mimosa.


Style Profile: Casual Friday

Since style profiles are still a new thing for On Crawford St. we thought it would be fun to feature ourselves every once in awhile, especially when a particularly nice day meets one of our favourite outfits. While I'm not the most stylish lady on the block, I feel like I know my way around weekend wear. 

Having to follow a dress code at work has made me realize how much I value a good pair of jeans and comfy sweatshirt. As an avid collector of denim my weekend uniform always includes at least one piece. Secret?  I think I have close to 20 pairs as well as a few denim jackets and a denim vest that I can't live without! This is one of my favourite ways to style my go-to wardrobe staple without feeling like a bum.

Jeans: Garage / Sweatshirt & Jacket: Gap / Bracelet: J.Crew / 
Clutch: Jenna Rose (I picked it up at the Spring One of a Kind Show)


Places We Love: Toronto's Best Vintage Stores - Queen Street West

For part two of On Crawford Street’s Best Vintage Stores in Toronto series, we’ll be focusing on Queen Street West.
Missed Part 1? Get caught up here.
Photo courtesy of Toronto Life
Magwood, the extremely successful boutique owned by namesake Sarah Magwood, recently relocated to Queen Street from Dundas West. The stock at Magwood spans decades, with gorgeous party dresses from the 60’s, Lanvin from the 70’s, and Ungaro from the 80's. Magwood ranges in price points, with lots of great “no name” accessories available for under $100. This revamped version of Magwood carries a selection of vintage bridal attire and kids clothes, as well. Rumour also has it that in-store tailoring will be available beginning in May.


Food and Drink: Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic Herb Butter

Usually, when I post recipes I tend to focus on entrees because they're just more fun to prepare. They require more thought and allow me room to experiment with flavours and cooking methods. But sometimes you need to have a go to side dish in your back pocket. These green beans are easy to make, only take about 20 minutes to prep and cook, and are great alongside meat and fish dishes.


Places We Love: Mama Loves You Vintage

Mama Loves You Vintage is the new kid on the block. Sort of. Although the store has only been open for 3 months, Melo and Marho Anfield, the mother-daughter duo behind Mama Loves You, have serious fashion know-how under their belts. Melo’s been a vintage clothing buyer for the past 30 years, buying for herself, other stores and clients, while Mahro recently graduated from Ryerson’s Fashion Communications program. Mama Loves You showcases their love of vintage clothing, with styles ranging from the 1900's to the 1990's.


Food and Drink: 3 Classic Cocktails

Lately there has been a resurgence of classic cocktails. They've slowly taken over bar menus across Toronto, edging us away from fruity martinis (bye-bye Cosmos) towards bourbons, whiskeys, and bitters. Personally I know very little about classic cocktails, so on Sunday night J and I headed to The Thompson Hotel’s Lobby Bar to get a lesson from our friend Ryan. Ryan has been bartending for the last few years, slinging pints and mixing drinks at various locales across the city. For me, there was no better person to shed a little light.

We started our evening off with a Moscow Mule, a vodka based cocktail. This refreshing drink had a slight citrus taste, a hint of sweetness, and a sparkling, crisp finish.


Food and Drink: Minted Green Pea Soup

On March 20th we officially welcomed spring (finally!). After the harshest winter in recent memory I was relieved to know that the worst was finally over, despite the chill that's still hanging around. One of the things I love most about spring is the shift away from the carb heavy diet most people opt for during winter months. I start to look forward to all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will soon be available, and the Farmers Markets that will spring up all over Toronto. Side note: I could spend all day wandering around a Famers Market. These happy thoughts put me in the mood for Minted Green Pea Soup. This classic flavour combination is bright and refreshing, and the vibrantly hued soup is a perfect way to welcome spring.


Food and Drink: Braciole di Patate

I’ve loved to cook for as long as I can remember. There is something therapeutic about spending time in the kitchen, transforming basic ingredients into a cohesive and satisfying dish. I genuinely believe that this love was instilled in me by my Nonna, who is herself a fantastic cook. Note: All Italian grand-kids think their Nonna is the best cook in the world, but mine actually is. A while ago I decided that I’d like to learn some of my Nonna’s specialities, those dishes that only she can make. But as always, life gets in the way. This past weekend I made a point of setting aside a Saturday afternoon and planning an overdue visit to my Nonna’s kitchen. The first dish I planned to learn -- and believe me, the list is long -- is braciole di patate.


Food and Drink: Baileys and Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding has always been one of my favourite desserts -- it's a classic! And, as with all classics, sometimes it's fun to switch things up a bit. Starting with a simple bread pudding recipe like this one gives you lots of room to make flavourful additions. For this version I scoured my pantry, and bar cart, for some inspiration. Enjoy!


Places We Love: North of Brooklyn Pizzeria

One of the things I love most about Italy is pizza al taglio, or pizza sold by the slice. It doesn’t matter what part of Italy you’re in because these by the slice shops exist everywhere. They dish out pizza slices that are always piping hot, and topped with fresh ingredients like mozzarella, prosciutto or artichokes.  In Toronto we have lots of by the slice options, but they’re usually greasy, old and cold. While these options will sometimes suffice – like at 3 A.M. when nothing else is open – I’m personally not a fan. Thankfully, North of Brooklyn is here to fill the gap between gourmet, dine-in options and cheap, by the slice pizza.


Places We Love: Toronto's Best Vintage Stores - Dundas West, Ossington and Parkdale

Over the next few months On Crawford St. will be profiling Toronto's best vintage stores, by neighbourhood. To start, we'll be focusing on Dundas West, Ossington and Parkdale.
Vintage clothing is something that scares people. The term conjures visions of Value Village-esque stores, where racks are packed so tightly you have to spend hours picking through polyester suits from the 70’s to find a true gem. Luckily in Toronto there are a chosen few who know good vintage. Their eye for fashion and highly selective shops are like a paradise to those who know the real value of vintage clothing – like how a vintage Pucci mini-dress from the 1960’s can be the focus of entire conversations.

Dalston Grey is the perfect mix of vintage and contemporary. Leah Gust's charming boutique stocks a selection of vintage clothing that is hand-picked, aligning perfectly to current fashion trends. This is actually what I like best about Dalston Grey. At a time when many vintage stores are stocking pieces that sometimes make me shake my head in disbelief (no, I will not wear items that are ripped or stained), Dalston Grey's stock is fashionable and wearable. Dalston Grey also stocks contemporary lines like Gat Rimon and Amour Vert (among others), meaning you could very easily leave the store with a brand new outfit that is totally unique, and won't bankrupt you. Plus, the shop also has a men's section and stocks great accessories like shoes, jewellery and Bay Cooper Neckties.


Places We Love: Bellwoods Brewery

On Saturday, after an afternoon of wandering West Queen West, J and I headed to Bellwoods Brewery. Housed in a former garage, Bellwoods is a microbrewery/bar/restaurant that really needs no introduction. Since opening, it has topped countless "Best Of" lists (like this one, and this one, and even this one).


Places We Love: Local Kitchen & Wine Bar

Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite restaurant in Toronto is, my response is always Local Kitchen & Wine Bar. Situated on the edge of Parkdale, Local is a perfect mix of traditional Italian and urban cool. Thanks to a small menu that changes seasonally, Local is able to focus on quality. J and I have dined here several times - including a seating at their chef’s table. I’m not sure if it’s the decor (hello mason jars full of tomato sauce that remind me of my nonna’s house), or the comfortable atmosphere, or the impeccable wine list and menu, or the friendly and knowledgeable staff that keep us coming back. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. But I am sure of the fact that in multiple trips, Local has never disappointed. That’s why J and I quickly made reservations when we heard about their 3 course dinner series, in collaboration with the culinary arts program at George Brown College. 


Food and Drink: Fennel and Orange Salad

The New Year inevitably brings about a long list of resolutions which usually includes, in some shape or form, a desire to eat healthier. Translation: lots of salad! The great thing about making salad is that it doesn’t really require cooking, and generally just means assembly. Salad also gives you the freedom to mix and match ingredients based on what you’re craving. Sometimes, all I want is a bowl full of romaine lettuce and a little vinegar. And sometimes a simple green salad just doesn’t cut it. When I’m in the mood for something that’s a little different, I turn to this Fennel and Orange Salad. The satisfying crunch and licorice flavour of the fennel, the sweetness of the orange, and the salty bite of the olives work nicely with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. This combination of flavours reminds me of the Mediterranean in the summer. This salad is great as a side dish served with meat or fish. Enjoy!
You’ll need:
1 bulb of fennel, washed and thinly sliced
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1/2 cup of pitted black olives
3/4 cup of good olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

To start, remove the fennel fronds from the top of the bulb. If you'd like, you can save the fronds and add them to the salad as a garnish. Next, cut the bulb in half and core. Slice the fennel into thin strips, and place into a bowl.

Peel and segment the orange. You can do this any way you'd like. Add the orange segments and olives to the bowl.

Finally, add the vinegar and olive oil directly to the bowl and toss. Adjust either to your liking, and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: this salad tastes even better if you dress it an hour or so prior to serving.

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