Sunday, May 16, 2010

Toronto Edition

Pork Ramen Bowl

Toronto has been on my food radar for a very long time due to the fantastic television show, "Made to Order," chronicling the Rubino brothers' adventures in haute Asian fusion cuisine. Imagine my delight when I was able to travel there for work, and finally sample some great food! Unfortunately, Rain, the Rubino brothers' restaurant in "Made to Order" has since closed, but Guy and Michael have opened a new venture called, Ame.
My boss and I cabbed it over to Ame, to have some stellar Japanese food. We started the meal with shitake mushroom tempura, elegantly staked on nails. If you were able to get past the sadistic presentation, the tempura was fantastic: crispy and light and flavorful, all the things that should be tempura. My boss ordered the teriyaki cornish hen, which was nicely cooked, and a fresher take on the sickly sweet teriyaki options normally found, but I loved my pork ramen bowl. The pork was buttery, the noodles were firm, and the broth was deliciously salty. Until I can go to Japan, I really felt that this was the closest I am going to get to great ramen.

Bar Chef Martini Three Ways

After Ame, I left my boss at the hotel, grabbed my Agatha Christie, and headed for BarChef. Recently written up in Food and Wine as one of the best new innovative bars in the world, I could not pass up the opportunity.
When you walk into the dark bar, the first thing you notice is the chemist-like array of bitters and liqueurs lined across the bar and back wall. Frankie Solarik is known for his molecular creations, so I had the Bar Chef Martini Three Ways to start. I will explain it as my barchef, Aaron, explained it to me. The center drink is the classic martini with vodka and olives to act as your base, then proceed to the black olive ice in the spoon to the left, and then back to the center, then proceed to the glass on the left, which is the olive air martini, then back to the center, then on to the spoon on the right, which is your liquidized olive yolk, then back to the center, then on to the glass on the right, which is the rosemary infused vodka martini. This seems a bit pretentious and avant garde all at the same time, and it really is, but I just love it when food and science meet. The olive ice was interesting, but the olive foam was the very lightest essence of olive air, and the olive yolk was an intense burst of oliveness in your mouth! I really loved the finish with the simple, fresh rosemary infused vodka.
Okay, so after that bit of fun, I had to try a simple cocktail as well, and I decided on the Strawberries and Lavender, which is strawberry infused gin, strawberry and elderberry bitter, lavender infused grand marnier, fresh lime, and lavender sugar rim. The cocktail was fantastic! Everything that a cocktail should be: fruity, floral, bitter, sour, sweet, was all there; you could almost taste the flavors individually, and yet they were melded together as well. While I loved the molecular experience, the Strawberries and Lavender displayed the creative process behind cocktail creation.
I can't wait to go back to Toronto!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo!

My deep love of Mexican food has been mentioned before, but I have been inspired this week by Cinco de Mayo to make some really great tostadas. Here's the recipe:

Chorizo and Potato Tostadas with Guacamole


2 Links of Chorizo
3 Small Potatoes
1/2 Red Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
4 Pitas
1 Avocado
Juice of 1 Lime
1/2 Cup of Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
1 Cup of Cilantro
1 Jalapeno
1/2 Cucumber
Salt and Pepper


Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them in salted boiling water. Remove the potatoes after 5 minutes and strain. Heat the oil on medium-high heat, and saute the chorizo until it's cooked through. Remove the chorizo from the pan and set aside. Finely dice the garlic cloves, onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Add 1/2 the onion, all of the garlic and 1/2 of the jalapeno to the pan in which the chorizo was cooked. Saute on medium heat. While sauteing, dice the chorizo and potatoes then add to the onions, garlic and peppers. Cook until the onions are tender.
To prepare the guacamole, remove the skin and pit from the avocado and chop into cubes. In a mixing bowl, combine the avocado with 1/2 of the lime juice, 1/2 of the cilantro, the rest of the onion and jalapeno, with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
For a cooling element, mix the rest of the lime juice, and cilantro with the sour cream and a pinch of salt.
Warm your pita bread in the oven, then top with the chorizo-potato mixture, a spoonful of guacamole, and a dollop of the sour cream. Enjoy!