All the best fine foods (Summerhill)

It was a nice Sunday afternoon and I had a couple of errands to run in the Summerhill area so I decided to go for a bit of a walk in the neighbourhood. Over recent years there has been an influx of high-quality (and costly) food markets. You can get almost anything you’ll need for a really fancy feast. There’s a butcher, a fish monger, gourmet cheeses, a boutique market place and a fresh bakery.

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Murrays Sandwich Emporium – Queen and Bathurst

Murrays Sandwich Emporium is a small hole in the wall restaurant located near the up and coming intersection of Queen and Bathurst. This neighbourhood has been undergoing lots of improvements with new condos and big box retailers popping up all along Queen. It is still a work in progress and small independent restaurants like Murrays are some of the great things that are bringing this area up a notch.

My first time around I had “The Murkey Turkey Club” ($9), with smoked turkey and double smoked bacon. Reading over the menu description again it’s no wonder I liked this. “Smoke” is probably one of my top 3 flavors. The club had a great taste to it that you wouldn’t expect from the looks of it. So often a sandwich with sliced deli-style turkey will have disappointingly bland turkey but this one isn’t one of those. It was possibly one of the best sliced deli turkeys I’ve ever had – moist and a ton of smokey flavor. The bacon as well was rich and crispy, just the way I like it. The other condiments were fresh, but this is to be expected as a minimum for the price you pay for premium sandwiches. I also ordered a side of fries which had a real fresh-cut taste, with lots of actual potato flavor. This is something that sometimes is forgotten with all the frozen fries that we eat, but these actually tasted like a potato.Walking in, there are two small wooden communal tables jutting out of an exposed brick wall and a vintage Pac-Man arcade machine on the other side. The atmosphere is laid-back and the staff are very friendly. On all the tables there are old copies of magazines like Vice and the TV plays a continuous loop of snowboarding trick shots. They clearly make their personal style apparent: young, hip, and “with it”. Their menu consists of mainly (surprise) sandwiches with clever names like “The Uncle Phil”, “The nutorious/mamma jamma” (sic) and “The BL-Tizzy”. They also have Okanagan Spring on tap and had a $10 pitcher deal the times that I went in. A great choice for a hot summer lunch. I recently had some work in the area so I took the chance to visit…twice. It’s always a good sign if you can draw me back in for a second lunch in an area so rich with great restaurants as Queen West. Continue reading

Toronto Underground Market – March 2012



After hibernating over the winter, the Toronto Underground Market had their first event of 2012. Last Sunday, March 4th was a freezing cold -12 degrees Celsius. Hardly the weather for an entirely outdoor event but the crowds of food fans were still eager as ever. I will apologize right out of the gate that some of the food shots aren’t my best work, but it was so cold out that night that we usually had to dig into the food right away before they got too cold. This was probably one of the only events where the longer you take to drink your beer the colder it gets!

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Hamantaschen: Purim desserts

This past week was the Jewish holiday of Purim. It is the celebration of the ancient Jewish people in Persia and the defeat of Haman, who was plotting their destruction. There’s clearly much more background to this holiday and I encourage you to read more about it. Part of the celebration includes eating Hamantaschen. These small triangular pastries that symbolize the hat of Haman.

This year my girlfriend decided to try her hand at baking them from scratch. The results were delicious. Below is the basic recipe that she followed, making about 20 cookies.

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Toronto Underground Market – March 2012 (Missed Vendors)

This is a few of the vendors at the Toronto Underground Market that I wasn’t able to get to. I snapped shots because they either were visually interesting or I had heard good things from my friends. Due to the cold I was less inclined to hang around and try as much as I had at the last TUM.  I honestly think that the cold made my stomach smaller.

This is just a photo journey as I don’t have much to say about each item since I didn’t eat them!

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My Top 10 Tips for Food Festivals

With the Toronto Underground Market making its return this Sunday, I have been thinking about my experience at last year’s event. It was one of my first big food festivals and I feel l picked up a few good do’s and don’t’s for new-comers to a food festival of this magnitude. Here’s a quick list of some of those tips. Hope to see you all there! Continue reading

Bruschetta

This is possibly the easiest to make appetizer that still makes a big impression. I prepped the bruschetta topping well ahead of time to let the flavors mingle and marinate the tomatoes in the seasonings but this can easily made just before eating. A fresh app like this requires the best ingredients to really shine so go all out at the market. I recommend looking for nice heirloom tomatoes because they tend to have firm flesh and bright colours to add some pop to the presentation. Continue reading