Mexican Feasting At La Carnita


There’s almost no better way to celebrate a birthday than with a taco feast. Tacos are one of many pleasures in my life (with an emphasis on fish tacos). All my taco tasting actually began when I declared my life to be a continuing hunt for the best fish tacos in Toronto. I have to say though, there are a bunch of bests. I can’t choose one, that’s silly. There’s so many yummy variations, and I love them all. So naturally, when my birthday-girl-of-a-friend asks if I want to go for birthday tacos at La Carnita…I say HELL YES.

I’ve been to La Carnita a few times and cannot get enough of it! This once pop-up turned perma-restaurant serves delicious Mexican street food and has a great drink menu as well! It’s definitely a Toronto taco hotspot. The food and drinks are moderate to highly priced. I’d say two people could spend within 50 dollars for drinks and a satisfying spread of food (including an app and dessert). Totally worth it though. The atmosphere is super relaxed and they play great music (not too loud). When you walk into the restaurant, you are instantly greeted by the wonderful aroma, old-school hip-hop, and friendly staff. And The charming restaurant is dimly lit with unique light fixtures and full of dark, rustic furniture. The walls are covered in custom free-hand graffiti and murals, and it is always packed. They don’t take reservations, so you just have to pray they won’t be too busy. You can leave your phone number and they’ll text you when a table becomes available for you.

The best way to pass the time while waiting for a table is to take a seat at the bar (if it’s not completely full), and choose a delicious drink from their drink menu. They have great Mexican beers as well as wines and some really unique, yummy cocktails. I order a drink and I’m usually seated before I even finish it. I generally order a mojito…because I love them. However, this time I decided to try something new. Our drink selections:

The boys ordered beers (boys do that), but didn’t end up choosing Mexican varieties. They went for a pint of Muskoka Mad Tom IPA and a bottle of Liberty Ale. We girls opted to try beer cocktails. They were new to us, and quite delicious! My drink was called the Bread & Butter and involved mixing a bottle of Negra Modelo with iced lime juice in a chili and salt rimmed glass. She chose to try the OG Michelada, which was like a delicious spicy beer caesar. This was a mix of Clamato, lime juice, hot sauce, and a cold can of Tecate. If you like caesars, that’s a good one to try. I have a friend who lives and dies by La Carnita’s Who Shot Ya, which is a pink bourbon-based drink, and apparently delicious. It’s a mix of bourbon, ginger, lemon, and hibiscus grenadine. So creative!

As predicted, a table was ready for us before we were even five sips into our drinks. We sat down, got comfy, and began to devise our taco plan of action.


If I could, I would order everything on the menu. They have a selection of yummy starters. We always start with the crispy housemade tortilla chips (that are dusted in ancho chile powder..yum!). The toasty chips can come with one side, or all three that they have to offer. We always do all three (again, don’t ask me to pick one). They make slight changes to the menu throughout the year. This visit we had a trio of guacamole, a fresh housemade salsa fresca, and a mezcal chipotle pate. I checked out their current menu and they’ve replaced the salsa with a sikil pak (Mexican pumpkin seed dip)…a reason for me to return! Chips are great! Dips are great! We ordered more tortillas to finish our remaining dip. “Umm, NO I’m not done with that!”

I’ve got to go back to try some other starters. I’ve had a swordfish ceviche there in the past that was delish. They also serve Mexican meatballs, avocado mango salad, and Mexican street-corn (when in season) charred to perfection with a Mexican crema drizzled over top.


Now for the main event…TACOS! La Carnita does a variety of different tacos. All have their own kind of flavour and are yummy in their own way. The restaurant also offers daily taco specials, so there’s a featured taco for every day of the week. One of the features I have yet to try (but I’ve heard all about) is a crispy squid taco that they’ve named Squid The Kid (love their fun taco names). Crispy squid + mango hot sauce + crema + lime cabbage + red chillies + cilantro…sounds like Mexican seafood heaven to me. I’d like to go there when I die, please.

Side note about the strategic food-ordering skills I’ve developed with my boyfriend to maximize how many yummy dishes we can taste in one meal (that I’ve mentioned in other posts)… Our taco eating secret is to order all different tacos and eat half each. This is the best way to enjoy all the different flavours, and not have your jeans burst open during your meal. (If you explode, you probably won’t be able to ever eat again…big foodie fail). We usually do four tacos between the two of us.


This visit, our quartet decided on two orders of In Cod We Trust, La Carnita’s famous voltron fish taco. I’m not religious, but I definitely believe in cod. 🙂 This taco is a MUST every time I go. (I told you about my fish taco addiction.) Fried cod + voltron sauce + lime crema + pickled red cabbage + cilantro = fish party in your mouth (pickled cabbage is one of my fave taco toppings).

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IMG_5185In Cod We Trust (half-devoured)

We also ordered two Crispy Avocado & Frijoles tacos.  These are so yummy and a great vegetarian option. Beans + crispy avocado + chipotle sauce + queso fresco (cheese) + cilantro = creamy, crispy, beany goodness.

IMG_3519Crispy Avocado & Frijoles taco

Another one I always go for is the Tostada De Ceviche. I gravitate towards the seafood options, and I LOVE ceviche. Swordfish + guacamole + coconut + habanero + tomato + cucumber…on a crispy tostada. The tanginess of the ceviche with the guacamole (and a bit of spice) is wonderful.

IMG_5157Tostada De Ceviche (two on the left)

A really good taco, if you’re not seafood-crazy, is the Pollo Frito. Chicken + peanut mole sauce + pickled green cabbage + salsa fresca. My favourite part about this is that the chicken is SPICY. I love a good kick to my food, and this was a very pleasant surprise. The pickled cabbage and spicy kick work wonderfully together.

The Beef Cheek!!! Another taco that offers some good, spicy flavour. Ancho braised beef cheek (tender creaminess) + lime avocado + green cabbage + pickled jalapeno + crispy shallots = spicy, cheeky love wrapped in a tortilla blanket.

IMG_3520Beef Cheek up front, Pollo Frito behind

One of the boys chose to go for the Thursday featured taco, the Cochinita Pibil. This is braised pork + orange jicama salsa + pickled onion + queso cotija. (The pictures tell me there may have been some guac in there too.) Never tried this one, but it looks almost like juicy pulled pork and I was told it was tasty and reminded him of chili.

IMG_5165Cochinita Pibil taco

When the taco platters start to arrive I get excited for what’s coming. We each bite into our first tacos and smile. So great sharing good food with good people. We spent our time eating, drinking, chatting, comparing tacos, and picking favourites. Before I even knew it, I was stuffed.

I’m not too much of a dessert person, but it was a birthday celebration after all. The dessert menu consisted of Churros, Paletas, and Tres Leche Cake. I pointed out that there were four of us, and three churros in a single order. We sort of hesitated to order six of these Mexican doughnut sticks. We were so full. However, the waitress laughed and said not too worry about it. People fight over churros, they would be eaten. We took her word for it and asked for two orders.

It was a smart decision, because they were delicious. Warm, crisp, and sugary, and served in a cup of warm housemade cajeta (sweetened caramelized milk). Non-dessert-eating me ended eating two churros, and scraping every last bit of cajeta from the cups. Sometimes I like dessert…

When you get your bill, it always comes along with a free limited print of a Dia de los Muertos inspired skull done by different artists. I think you can buy the prints too. It’s just one more thing I love about La Carnita. The work they do with art and the support they give artists. They’ve incorporated some amazing art in their restaurant, in the lighting and the art and murals on the walls. Super cool.

IMG_5209The print I got with my last meal to add to the collection 🙂

In a city as cultured as Toronto, there are so many great restaurants to try! La Carnita is one of my favourite Mexican restaurants. If you haven’t been there, you should give it a try. I think you’ll love it. 🙂

They’re located near College & Bathurst. On College St. just west of Bathurst St. (501 College St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.) Check out their website!

Happy feasting! xx

Matzah & Meatballs

Another day, another sheet of Matzah. I’ve been having fun trying to live without bread, pasta, noodles, and rice. Who needs spaghetti? Today I did matzah and meatballs. It was yummy! Use a bit more sauce and let it soak into the matzah. It’ll be saucy and moist…not so dry. 🙂


For The Love Of Oysters

If you even mention the word oyster, my face lights up. There are not many things in this world that fascinate me as oysters do. I adore them. For any true oyster lover out there, you know how I feel. There’s a tension, a sense of excitement, in the fact that we love these creatures and we can’t stop loving. It’s a strange kind of love, that cannot be explained. Oysters are not just a delicious food, they are a fascinating species! And most people know nothing about them! They date back to prehistoric times, they were around with the dinosaurs. Archaeologists have found large shell piles of oysters and other shellfish that date back to neolithic times. They were efficient at doing what they do, and have been doing it ever since. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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I’ve loved oysters since as far back as I can remember. While other kids could be cheered up by candy or ice cream, my mother would come into my room with a smile and say, “Sorry I got so angry…I picked up some oysters, want to do hot pot tonight?”. I would pretend I was still mad, but was actually so happy inside. Oysters make my day. Up until a couple of years ago, my experiences with oysters only went as far as eating cooked oysters and came mostly from my Asian side of the family. We would have sizzling plates of oysters with green onions, ginger and garlic, oysters at our Chinese hot pot dinners, Chinese deep fried breaded oysters, and the occasional oysters and chips on our road trips to the east coast of Canada. This was enough to keep me happy, but unbeknownst to me I had only uncovered the tip of the oyster iceberg.

hkoystercooked Delicious cooked oyster in Hong Kong, bought fresh at the market and cooked at the seafood restaurant next door. (Sam Shing, Hong Kong.)

Two summers ago, at Oysterfest in Toronto, I had my first raw oyster. It was love at first…slurp. For all the squeamish eaters that have never tried a raw oyster, PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! JUST DO IT ALREADY! I’ve heard all the excuses (my friends know who they are) not to eat them. “They are slimy.” “They are gooey.” “They look like dino boogers.” Raw oysters may not be your cup of tea, but you’ll never know until you try one for yourself. I’ve converted quite a few of my non-oyster-eating friends over this past year. Find an oyster bar near you, bring some friends for back up, and be ready to have your mind blown! (Do it now! Before you change your mind!)

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My first dozen oysters. 🙂


It’s hard to describe the flavour of an oyster, but there is definitely something that sets these creatures apart from all other shellfish. The French poet Léon-Paul Fargue said eating an oyster was “like kissing the sea on the lips.” An oyster takes me to the seashore in a mouthful. They taste of the ocean, like the smell of the sea breeze at low tide. They are more than just a tasty treat, an oyster excites both the palate and the mind. Rowan Jacobsen described it perfectly in an article I read when he said, “The proliferating category of oyster adjectives—cucumber, citrus, melon, copper, smoke—is useful, but doesn’t cut to the core. At some level, it’s not about taste or smell at all. Because an oyster, like a lover, first captures you by bewitching your mind.”


Pick up the half shell, tilt your head back and let the oyster slip into your mouth, along with the liquid that it’s resting in. The oyster’s “liquor” is seawater, and is part of what makes it so delicious. I’ve been told by shuckers how insulting it is to see people dumping the liquid out before they eat their oysters. Shuckers work so hard to keep that in there for you! Oyster etiquette rule #1: Don’t do that. The fresher the oyster the more sea-filled flavour is captured within its shell. The initial saltiness you will taste can range from really salty, to mildly salty or unnoticeable. This is why oysters are usually served with lemon or a mignonette. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar sort of cancels out the salt. Oysters are like miniature water filters. They feed on the plankton, algae, and other particles floating around them. An adult oyster can filter up to 5 litres of seawater every hour. That’s a lot for such a tiny little thing! That’s why the condition of the water in which the oysters are growing plays such an important role in the survival of the oyster and its flavour/texture. They are what they eat! The tastes of different oysters change with the climates, salinity of the waters, and what they feed on in different places around the world.

One question I’ve been asked a lot is, “Do you just swallow them whole, or do you have to chew them?”. Chew them! (I mean, you don’t HAVE to.) Chewing is where the real body and finish of the oyster comes through. You get to really experience its texture and sweetness. You taste its cool, buttery, salty, seaweedy, flavour. With some oysters you can go through a series of flavours. Some oysters have a flavour that lingers even after you’ve swallowed it, just like wine or whiskey. This is referred to as its finish. Some don’t have much of a finish, and the flavour disappears almost immediately. Flavour is also very dependant on season. A species will taste very different from one season to the next. Oysters fatten up right before the cold winter months. All the stored glycogen makes them extra sweet. Farmers know exactly when to harvest their crop. To farm oysters, farmers actually manipulate the oysters’ environments, moving them from slow moving waters, to waters with more current, waters with higher algae levels, to warmer or colder waters. This all has to do with feeding cycles, seasons, spawning… There’s so much to know about oysters! They’re just such amazing creatures!

Oysters are also good for you! Like most shellfish, they are low in calories and saturated fats. They are full of protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids. Like fish, they can improve your health by providing essential minerals and vitamins such as zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and vitamins A, B6, C, folate, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and a huge amount of vitamin B 12.

Apart from being one of my favourite treats, oysters provide me with this never-ending amount of learning. There’s way more for you to find out about these shelled beauties than you know. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some great shuckers, farmers, and other individuals involved in the oyster world, and they never run out of stories and fun facts to tell me. Did you know you can tell an oyster’s age by counting the ridges/rings on its shell? Each ring takes about a year to grow (one ring = one year)! An oyster can change its sex from male to female several times in a year. Their reproductive organs contain both eggs and sperm, and so they are technically capable of fertilizing their own eggs. Once the female oyster has been fertilized, she will release millions of eggs into the water. Within six hours these larvae develop. They move around the waters for two or three more weeks before settling into an oyster bed or reef where they will mature within about a year. I took a shucking class a few months ago. It was great! We learned TONS about oysters, learned to shuck, how to handle, and how to store oysters. Best of all, we each got 16 oysters and a shucking knife to take home with us. Learn to shuck! Then you can enjoy your oysters in the comfort of your own home, and save a bit of money! 🙂 But make sure you learn the right way. Shucking can be dangerous. You’re prying a rock-like shell open with a knife. I’ve heard some nasty shucking stories. (Shucking knives stabbing deep enough to hit bone.) Watch the hand that’s holding the oyster!

If you’re looking to do a great shucking class in Toronto (Canada), go to Oyster Boy on Queen Street W. It’s the best oyster bar in the city, and pretty much my second home.

Hopefully I’ll have more oyster posts in the near future and I can go through some of my favourite varieties and recipes! Here’s a fun gallery of oyster photos! I have so many.

Happy shucking! And if you haven’t tried a raw oyster yet, hesitate no more! Hurry on and try one today! xx

Get Creative With Matzah: A Passover Breakfast Creation

Who says matzah is boring? You can have so much fun with it. Here’s a quick post on another Passover-friendly matzah breakfast creation. (You can totally do the same kind of thing for lunch or dinner.) Just think of it as bread…really hard, crispy bread.


It’s breakfast time, and the boy is hungry. I’ve been having fun thinking up matzah creations, so I hurried to the kitchen to see what I could find. I only had one egg in the fridge. EMERGENCY! We eat more eggs than a family of komodo dragons. I took out some leftover brisket from last night and some other ingredients for my matzah work of art.


Here’s a list of ingredients I used. You can use any combination of ingredients you have and flavours you love. I’m a fried, runny-egg sandwich LOVER. So, that’s what I was going for…in a matzah, flatbread, open-faced kind of way.

Open Faced Egg & Brisket Breakfast Sandwich On Matzah


  • 1 sheet of matzah
  • leftover brisket
  • 1 large egg
  • oil to fry your egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter (or oil)
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • a tablespoon of chicken broth (if you like)
  • tomato slices (I used 4)
  • handful of arugula
  • salt & pepper
  • pinches of cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and paprika (whatever spices or seasoning you like)

Preheat the oven to 350 before starting everything else. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (You could use a toaster oven too.) Then fry your chopped shallots in butter in a small skillet.


When the shallots started getting nice and translucent, I added a tablespoon or so of chicken broth and let it simmer until the liquid reduced to almost nothing. This made a kind of saucy mixture. Add salt and pepper and whichever other spices you’d like. I didn’t have any garlic, so I added garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little kick.



While the shallots were cooking, I placed my sheet of matzah on the lined baking sheet. I lay the tomatoes on the matzah and the brisket over the tomatoes.


I stuck that in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. Just to warm it up, and get the tomatoes a little roasty.


Once the shallots are reduced, remove them from the heat and set aside. Now fry an egg. I left my matzah in the oven while my egg fried, and that timing worked pretty well. Don’t over cook the egg! Runny yolks are key! (Unless you don’t like that.)


I took the toasty matzah-tomato-brisket out of the oven, and put a handful of arugula over top. Arugula makes everything better.


I put the fried egg over the arugula, then spooned the shallots over the egg, salted, peppered, and sprinkled a little paprika over top for some colour. A mountain of yum.


Transfer matzah to a plate. Be careful not to break it! Cut it straight down the middle…and let the yolk ooze. 🙂

May be a little hard to eat because matzah breaks apart so easily. Try your best to eat over your plate…not the floor. We learned the hard way.

Hope you like it! xx

Middle Eastern Delight: Lentil and Split Pea Soup

Lentil soup should be in every cook’s repertoire. What’s more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of this fragrant hearty soup? It also doesn’t cost much to make and is good for you! Lentils are low in calories and high in nutrition. They are full of both protein and fibre and are said to help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar,and improve heart and digestive health. Lentil soup is one of my Middle Eastern favourites! I used chicken broth, but this can be vegan friendly by using vegetable broth instead. 🙂


If you’re from Toronto and you like Middle Eastern food, you must have heard of Jerusalem Restaurant. Established in 1971, it was the first Middle Eastern restaurant established in the city and is said to be one of the best. I remember going there as a child with my family. I love their lentil soup, and when I came across the Jerusalem recipe in the paper I figured it was about time I made this soup for myself. (Why have only a bowl, when I can have a whole POT?) I used the recipe as a guideline, but changed a few things here and there. For starters, I decided to add split peas. I also love split pea soup, so I figured combining both would be twice as good. I also chose to do it in the slow cooker, but you can totally make this in a pot on the stove if you don’t have a slow cooker.


Middle Eastern Lentil & Split Pea Soup


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup green lentils
  • 3/4 cup yellow split peas
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I made my own stock from scratch. You can substitute with chicken bouillon powder or store bought broth.) *Vegan option: use vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used fresh lemons)

First, saute the chopped onions and garlic in a pan with the olive oil, until lightly browned.


Rinse the lentils, split peas, and rice under cold running water in a sieve.

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Put the sauteed onions, along with the rinsed lentils, rice, and split peas into the slow cooker (or pot) and cover with 8 cups of chicken broth.

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I set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. (If you’re going to try it in a pot on the stove, you could probably bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour or so.) You want to cook until the rice, lentils, and split peas start to kind of dissolve. The soup becomes more mushy and creamy. If its not as creamy as you want it, let it cook for longer and break apart a bit more. (You can always add a bit more broth if it becomes too thick.)


I waited to add the rest of the ingredients near the end (at around 7 hours). Add the salt, pepper, ground cumin, and chopped parsley. You can add more or less of things. Taste it and adjust to your liking! Let the soup continue cooking for the remaining time set on the cooker. I find the longer you cook it, the better it is. An extra hour doesn’t hurt. (If you’re making this on the stove, I’d say stir in the remaining ingredients and let it simmer for another 5 or 10 minutes.)

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Mix the lemon juice in just before you serve. Always serve with lemon wedges! The yummiest thing about lentil soup in squeezing in the extra lemon juice. I love how the tartness of the lemon tastes with the flavour of the soup. So delicious!


Enjoy! xx

Springtime Sugar Cookies: A Healthier Recipe


Birthday party tonight. Springtime is coming. I want to bake. Those are enough reasons to dig out the cute springtime cookie cutters I bought last spring, that were never used, and bake some cookies! I didn’t have a lot of time, so I wanted a simple recipe. Sugar cookies are really easy to make and don’t require many ingredients. Looking up some recipes, I noticed that classic sugar cookies are not particularly health-friendly. They’re mostly made of flour, lots of butter, and lots of sugar. I decided to try doing a version that’s a bit healthier. I switched most of the flour for whole wheat flour and didn’t use as much butter. I used 3 tablespoons of butter, as opposed to the 1 cup of butter in most recipes. I also used brown sugar, and less of it. I browned the butter and added a bit of spice to the cookies, which I think also cut some of the sweetness. I passed on the colourful, sugar-loaded (but so pretty) royal icing and opted to do just a light sprinkle of sanding sugar over top. I still got the springtime pastel colours I wanted!

Get baking! Spring is here!

Spiced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies



  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • coloured sanding sugar/sugar crystals to sprinkle over top

In a medium-sized bowl, mix both flours, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.

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Now you’re going to brown the butter. Do this in a small skillet or pan on low heat. Keep stirring until fragrant and you can see it has become a slight light brown colour. It may take a few minutes (1-3). Don’t take your eyes off it, you don’t want it to burn. I love that buttery smell!

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When your butter has slightly browned, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool. Once it has cooled off, use an electric mixer to mix the browned butter together with the egg, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until well blended.



Add the wet mixture to your flour mixture. Mix on low speed until it’s combined. (I started using my hands.)

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Using your hands, flatten the ball of dough into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (you can leave it for up to 2 days).



When done refrigerating, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and remove the dough disc from the fridge. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough. I made mine pretty thin. 1/8 of an inch is usually pretty standard.



FYI, you don’t need as much flour as in the picture above. I got a little flour-happy. Too much flour will dry your dough out and cause cracking.



Now for the fun! Cut your cookies into fun shapes! I stuck to my springtime theme of ducks, bunnies, flowers, umbrellas, lambs, and chicks.  Transfer the cut cookies to your lined baking sheets. I used a butter knife to help me pick them up (or you could use a floured spatula).

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Once your cookies are all transferred, sprinkle them coloured sugars to make them extra pretty!



Bake your cookies for 6 to 8 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Let them cool for a couple minutes before you move them from the baking sheets. I ended up baking mine a little too long, and some of them were burnt. 😦

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Now, try a few! (I said FEW, NOT ALL.)

These cookies should stay good in an airtight container for about a week. Ha! They won’t last a week anyway. So tasty!

Happy springtime baking, friends!



MATZAH BREI! Breakfast: Passover Style.

It’s Passover! Whether you’re Jewish or not, this recipe is delish. Give it a try! Here’s your opportunity to get all festive and creative! 🙂

IMG_5601This is a yummy breakfast dish I came across today. As Passover begins, and all you can eat is matzah day and night, it’s fun to find new ways to cook with it. Matzah brei is a dish commonly eaten as a breakfast food during passover, sort of a Jewish version of a universal breakfast (eggs and something bready). It is typically made with matzah soaked in water, broken, and pan fried with scrambled eggs in butter or schmaltz (rendered chicken or goose fat). However, you can totally play it up by serving with applesauce or sour cream, adding veggies, or making it a sweet treat by adding sugar, vanilla, or syrup. Matzah brei can be scrambled or done as more of a frittata.

I chose savoury over sweet this morning. I added onions into the mix, sprinkled a bit of cheddar cheese on top, and served it with a baked sweet potato on the side. Play around with your own ingredients. Here’s my recipe:

Matzah Brei


  • 1 sheet of matzah
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Half a small onion diced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1-2 tablespoons of grated old cheddar cheese (optional)




Whisk your eggs together in a bowl.

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Run the sheet of matzah under water for about 45 seconds. Maybe a little more or less, depending on the type of matzah you use. Just until it starts to soften, don’t let it turn to mush.


Set the wet matzah aside and melt the butter in a pan.


Next, you break the sheet of matzah into bite-sized pieces. Add them into the pan along with the diced onions. (If you want to add any other veggies, add them into the pan with the matzah pieces now.)


Fry until the matzah is well coated in butter and your onions are translucent. About a minute or so.


Now add your scrambled eggs into the pan and mix them in with the matzah and onions. Cook the eggs for about two minutes. Just keep flipping them around. You dont want them to overcook or they’ll be dry. Leave them a bit mushy. You can add salt and pepper to taste while you’re cooking the eggs.



All done! Now just plate it and sprinkle a little grated cheese on top if you like.


Chag Sameach! Happy Passover! And happy breakfasting! 🙂


The Seafood Spree Continues: Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill


Continuing the seafood spree that is my life, I decided to finally head to Scarborough and try Diana’s Oyster Bar & Grill. I’ve only had oysters in a couple places in Toronto. I’ve always remained loyal to Oyster Boy (Queen St. West, Toronto), that place is like my second home. However, I love trying new things and I had heard so many wonderful things about Diana’s that I just had to go and see for myself what all the fuss was about (sorry, Oyster Boy).


Before the restaurant, Diana’s Seafood was a seafood store only (one of the best fishmongers in Toronto), selling all types of fresh seafood and oysters. I haven’t been to the store yet, but I definitely will go soon. The store is shaped like a ship, with the bow facing the street, it has the big swinging doors, and its walls are lined with portholes shaped windows. How fitting! I’ll hopefully find time to go this weekend. They’re having a special on sea urchin! (YUMMY! That got me super excited.) In late 2011, Diana’s took over the property next door and opened a restaurant. Customers can now enjoy their fresh seafood without having to wait to get home and prepare it themselves.


We went on a Saturday, later in the evening. It was an anniversary celebration, and what better way to celebrate then to indulge in dozens of oysters and delish seafood dishes. 🙂

The first thing I noticed was all the huge selection of oysters they had behind the bar, all on ice with name tags. I love trying new varieties of oysters. I try as many new ones as I can. The raw bar had about 14 different types of oysters along with fresh Cherry Stone clams and sea scallops. I was so excited to try them all! Apart from the Malpeques and Kumamotos, I hadn’t tried any of the other oysters they were serving. Boy was I in for a treat!


The restaurant was small, clean, well lit, and simply decorated.

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We started with some really good bread (plus a bit of olive oil and balsamic). The bread was warm, light, and with just a touch of toasty crispness. I’ve made it a rule to keep bread eating before meals to a minimum, but it was hard. This bread was great.

I’ve learned to order strategically when going to restaurants now. My eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach. It’s hard when I want to try everything! I start by looking through the whole menu. I try to stay away from entrees, unless they sound absolutely wondrous and too hard to pass up. We sometimes share an entree between two people and then order an assortment of appetizers. At oyster bars, we always start with the usual two dozen oysters. I was really looking forward to the fresh clams and scallops, but to my dismay, they had just run out of the sea scallops. Bummer.


A delicious assortment of oysters arrived at our table and I was bouncing up and down in my seat for joy. We asked for the shucker’s recommendation and I let the waitress know I wanted to try new varieties and which not to include. We had a mix of Lucky Lime, Shigoku, European Flat, Fanny Bay, Virginica, and South Lake oysters as well as some Cherry Stone clams. Each oyster had its own distinct flavour and texture. They were SO GOOD. Diana’s serves them with housemade seafood sauce, mignonette, and a scotch bonnet hot sauce (it’s hot, and so good) along with lemon and freshly grated horseradish.


Cherry Stone clams. They have a mild briny taste are a bit chewier than oysters. These were amazing, but I still love my oysters better.


European flats. These were sweet and meaty, with a weird metallic finish. I’ve never had oysters with such a strong aftertaste. I think it’s a hate it or love it kind of taste. I thought they were delicious.


The Virginica oysters were really delicious. They were plump, meaty, salty, and similar to a Malpeque.


The Shingokus have very deep shells, like little oyster buckets. They were sweet with a light clean salty taste. I almost found they reminded in the slightest bit of Kumamotos (which are a lot more buttery and rich). These are also much larger than Kumamotos.


Dressed Shigokus. We always do a cheers, it’s our thing.

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Fanny Bay oysters.


Fanny Bay.


European Flats.


Clammy goodness.


Doing what I do best.


Our waitress brought us an extra few Virginicas. 🙂


The oysters were the best part. I really enjoyed the variety and their freshness. I was so satisfied. Our other dishes began to arrive…

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We ordered the lobster bisque. I love lobster but don’t do bisque very often. Diana’s bisque was really good. It was rich, not too creamy, lots of flavour and lobster. I scraped my bowl clean. (Bad manners, I know.)


The steamed Gallo mussels were steamed in a white wine sauce (there was also a spicy marinera option). They were quite tasty, but the mussels were a bit overcooked. I must confess, after my recent trip to Halifax, I don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied with mussels anywhere else ever again. I had the BEST mussels I’ve ever eaten at The Five Fisherman Restaurant & Grill. They were fresh local mussels from Halifax and were cooked in white wine to PERFECTION. Absolutely divine. The biggest , juiciest, most plump mussels I’ve ever seen. My pre-Five-Fisherman-mussel-experience self would probably say these mussels would have been terrific, had they been cooked just a little less.


One thing on the menu that caught my eye was the sea urchin bruschetta. I haven’t always been a sea urchin lover, but I’ve grown to really enjoy its flavour and texture. The thing with sea urchin is that it has to be super fresh to taste great. I could eat a whole tub of fresh urchin. Fresh, raw seafood tastes so good on its own. You can really appreciate its true flavour this way.The bruschetta was yummy and so beautifully plated, although I think I personally prefer a fresh sea urchin sashimi. Really creative dish though, and delicious nonetheless.



Full and so satisfied, I couldn’t even imagine eating dessert. Part of me was dying for a takeout order of creme brulee, but they said it would be too hard to pack it up. (I didn’t need it anyway.) We ordered a cappucino and latte instead, and sat happily discussing how great the oysters were. We were the last customers there and got to enjoy our hot drinks in peace. What a great evening.

Check out their website for menus & raw bar selection:

If you’d like to visit the Diana’s fish market for really great, fresh seafood, they list their products and specials on their website:

Tea Party For Two: The Windsor Arms Tea Room

I started off my week with a marvelous belated birthday treat! Afternoon tea with one of my best girls at one of my favourite buildings in the city, the Windsor Arms Hotel.


The hotel is beautiful. It dates back to 1927, when it was first built. However, it was rebuilt in the late 90’s, keeping some of the old features and incorporating a 1920’s French style, along with some modern touches. Something about the building makes me happy. Its high ceilings in the main lobby and courtyard, dark mahogany hallways, and the warm textures of drapes, rugs, and other decor relaxes me. I love the bookshelves in the walls of the elevator. It’s a fun building to explore. There’s an old-world tranquility to the hotel, with a modern feel.

It was my first afternoon tea experience, and hers too. We didn’t really know what to expect. The french-styled lobby tea room was clean, bright, had mirrored walls and small tables, was full of pretty tea cups, and had a collection of ornate hats on a stand in one corner. (You can give a $5 donation to wear a fancy hat. Proceeds go to the Look Good Feel Good program.) After being seated at a cute little table, we sat staring at our menus for a while, enjoying the new environment and analyzing all the objects on our table. I was part in awe, like a little girl in a life-sized dollhouse ready to serve tea to her dollies, and part confused and slightly embarrassed because I didn’t know where to begin.




Our waiter explained to us that we didn’t have to worry about food, our “most important decision was to choose our tea”. There was a wide selection of loose leaf teas to choose from ( It was so hard to decide. White? Black? Chai? Fruit blends? I am the worst decision maker. I finally decided on the Earl Grey with Blue Flowers, with organic lavender flowers. She opted for the Chai Arms, a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, pepper, and organic black tea. I was so happy with my decision. It was delightful. I love the scent of lavender, and when my pot arrived I was instantly engulfed in the wonderful aroma. I decided not to add cream or sugar to my tea, it was so good on it’s own. We sat chatting and sipping, and of course happily taking pictures (how could we resist?).



Next, our tower of scones, sandwiches, quiche, and sweets arrived.


We started with the goat cheese and caramelized shallot quiche tart which was pretty tasty. We also had a selection of raisin and plain scones. They were warm, fluffy, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with housemade jams and Devonshire cream. Yum.





Our selection of pinwheel sandwiches included smoked salmon and wasabi sour cream with salmon caviar, cucumber with sundried tomato paste and dill cream cheese, and grilled chicken, granny smith apple citrus mayonnaise with Greek yogurt and chives.



By this time we were stuffed with scones, sammies, and tea. There was still cake to eat. We had a selection of pretty little petits fours including chocolate cakes, a white chocolate cake, and a raspberry cheesecake.


We finished off with a sparkling raspberry sorbet, which was quite sweet, but I love sorbet (or anything frozen and yummy) so I enjoyed it.


I was quite happy with the Tea Room at the Windsor Arms, although it was my first time having afternoon tea so I don’t have much to compare it to. I thought the scones were delicious, possibly the best I’ve ever had, however the sandwiches and tarts didn’t seem as fresh as they could have been. I sort of got the sense that everything had been prepared ahead of time and pre-plated. I’ve actually read quite a few bad reviews about the food at the Windsor Arms Hotel. The hotel has a long standing reputation as a luxurious destination for tea, Sunday brunch, or a hotel stay (the rooms are gorgeous!). It’s so upsetting to me that the current staff don’t seem to want to keep this tradition alive! For the price you pay, and the posh surroundings, I would definitely expect the food to be equally spectacular. The tea was wonderful and I loved the elegant, traditional atmosphere. It’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon, maybe catch up with an old friend, chit chat over hot tea and a light meal. (I say light meal, but I was surprisingly full when I left.)

I loved my first tea party. Can’t wait to do it again! 🙂


Check out the Tea Room website for menus, hours, and more details if you’re interested:

Lobster & Shrimp Linguine in a White Wine Sauce

As promised, here’s the second half of the heavenly dinner I created last night. Of all the different pasta I’ve made, this is definitely one of my favourites. The recipe is really simple and outrageously delicious.


I like to keep my pasta recipes simple. The fresher the ingredients, the less seasoning you need. Only add what you must. You want all the flavours to stand out, but also compliment one another. Keep it simple.

As we all know, I LOVE seafood. I was in the mood for shrimp linguine, but on my way to pick up the shrimp I noticed lobster tails were on sale. Why not make this pasta twice as good? I did.

Lobster & Shrimp Linguine in a White Wine Sauce
(Serves 2)


  • 10 white tiger shrimps, peeled and deveined (I used 5 shrimps per person, you can use more or less. You can also use any type of shrimp you like)
  • 2 lobster tails, de-shelled and cut into 1-inch cubes (My tails were not too big. Again, use more or less if you like.)
  • 3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic (I like lots of garlic.)
  • truffle salt/sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay…it’s what I had at home.)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (Use dry if you don’t have fresh.)
  • Linguine (enough for 2 servings)

I chose to cut my lobster tails in half, remove the meat, and then cut the meat into smaller cubes.



In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook the linguine until al dente. You don’t want your pasta mushy, it should be firm but not hard. You should add about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt for every 8 cups of water. Don’t get salt-crazy.

Melt some butter in a pan at medium low heat. This is to cook the shrimp and lobster in. I mentioned, in the ingredients, that you could also use olive oil for this step if you prefer using less butter, just make sure the pan is well coated. Add in your garlic and some pepper (to taste). Let the garlic saute for 1-2 minutes. Don’t burn it, just let it sizzle a bit.


Next add the shrimp and lobster. Spread the pieces out in the pan.


You want to cook the shrimp until they’re just pink. Cooking them for about 2 minutes per side should be enough, depending on the size. Shrimp cooks fast! Don’t overcook! The lobster will cook quickly as well. It will be firm, white, and opaque when it’s done.


Once cooked, move them quickly from the heat of the pan to a bowl or plate. In the same pan, add the butter and wine. Add some salt (I used truffle salt :)) and more pepper to taste. Let this simmer until the sauce starts to thicken a little.


Next, add your shrimp and lobster back into the sauce along with 2 tablespoons of parsley and stir a bit. Everything’s cooked, you just want to warm it up and get everything to the same temperature. Add your cooked pasta into the pan and toss it all together.


Now plate your pasta, you can add a bit of extra parsley on top, and dig in!!! This recipe is so simple and it tastes so good! Let me know how it turns out.

Happy eating! xx