Best T.O. Resto (for home-cooking): The Intro

Hey all!

I’m taking a break from the Ideal Vacation series to bring you a new challenge: I’d like to create a series of entries that’ll serve as a resource to find awesome home-cooking restaurants in Toronto, Ontario.  To start off, I’ll pick an area of the GTA, and let you know where my favourite place to eat is, and why.  You can tell me if I’m nuts, or if you know of a better place.

Toronto sometimes gets a reputation for being a bit uptight, and it’s not hard to understand why: costs are sky-high for real estate in this busy city, so you gotta be good to make it.

However, you don’t have to be expensive, posh, or even that great of an atmosphere to have really good home-cooked food.  Although it’s sometimes nice to have a fancy meal out, with so many of us 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-generation Canadians living here, there’s something to be said for having a meal that reminds us of chowing down at the family dining table growing up.

I have explored some areas more than others, so if your fave spot doesn’t make it here, I might not even know about it!  If you have a suggestion of a place, tell me here and I’ll make sure to try it in the next few weeks.  Also be sure to include your favourite dish, so I can know what to order!

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Sweet…..meats?

Ever wonder at the origin of the term “sweetmeats”?  It was in Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, and I decided to look it up.  Thanks, Food Timeline!

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcandy.html#sweetmeat

To quote:

Why are confections sometimes called “sweetmeats” in England? Laura Mason, British confectionery history expert, explains:

“The anamolies in our own language are due to the origin of sweets or sweeties…as diminutives of sweetmeat. This word, still not entirely obsolete, was in common use for over 400 years to the end of the nineteenth century. The suffix-meat has an archaic meaning of food in the widest sense (surviving in the phrase ‘meat and drink’), so sweetmeat simply means a sweet food…To the inhabitants of Tudor and Stuart England, sweetmeats were sugary foods in general, including pieces of flavoured candy and sugar-covered nuts and spices, products of medieval theories on the medicinal value of sugar, as well as dishes which used sugar as one ingredient amongst many, for structure, sweetness and an air of the exotic…Medieval feasts had provided several roles for sweetmeats.”
Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 22)
[NOTE: We highly recommend this book if you need details on the history of all sorts of English candies.] “

My Random Five-Ingredient Recipe (Chicken Paprikas)

Well I don't know how this all will come together, but just read the ingredients in order….. but there is an optional ingredient at the end so read them all first in case you want to add it!

Basically: sear chicken, add lots of water, add carrots, add potatoes, add paprika and salt, and simmer on medium for a couple of hours (the more you cook it, the better the flavours mix)……

The reason for cooking so much is, trust me, it's even better on the second day!!

Chicken (cheap thighs work great)
Sear chicken pieces in bottom of large pot. (A little oil might be needed)

Salted water
Pour over seared chicken pieces to 2/3 of the pot full. Simmer on medium.

Diced carrots (2 or 3 large)
Nope, just throw ’em in!

Bite-sized chucks of skinned potatoes (4 large or as many as you’d like)
Also, no, just toss them in.

A little paprika for flavour, more salt
To taste, but always remember you’ll be consuming more than a teaspoon at a time, so allow it to taste a little weaker than you’d like — you can always add a bit more at the table.

(Optional) 4 inches of the celery heart thingy
Sorry for the bad description, it’s the part of celery where all the stalks join, and you usually don’t eat it….. Throw it in at the beginning if you have one, it adds some nice taste. If you like celery a lot, feel free to chop up some stalks too, that’s also yummy.

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Soy Milk and Cookies

I love lattes.  I love cheese.  I love ice cream.  I love melted cheese on ice cream.  Well, maybe not, but I might, if I tried it.  Sadly, that dream may be coming to an end.  I am now starting a lactose-free diet — the first and only diet I have ever voluntarily been on (i.e. that wasn’t for a procedure).  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  “Soy milk and cookies” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  “Pepperoni cheese pizza….. but hold the cheese” sounds depressing, and slightly doofus-y.

Oh, tummy.  The things I do to make you comfortable.  I hope you remember this when I’m old and gray and really, really want cheesecake.

Second Cup Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

….. is very gross!!  It literally tastes like rice pudding.  I like rice pudding but a.) don’t want to drink it, and b.) am expecting *some* peppermint or chocolate flavour!

Update:  I am now suspicious they gave me Candy Cane *WHITE* Hot Chocolate….. which we all know doesn’t taste like chocolate at all, just sweet.. milkiness.  Ew.  This is too gross to drink.