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.

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