Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Ceili Cottage (guest post by Amy)

Mac 'N' Cheese

Two of my friends that I usually work out with, decided it was time we get together for a good meal instead of a good sweat. We decided to hit up The Ceili (pronounced kay-lee) Cottage in Leslieville – an Irish pub which was once an old auto shop. I started off with a Mill Street Lager and roasted and spiced Ontario peanuts – the beer was perfect, but the latter was neither roasted nor spiced. As I waited for my friends I noticed the smell of a wood burning stove that filled the air with a warm, “cottage-y” (go figure), type feel.
When my friends arrived through an entrance with virtually no signage, they sat down on wobbly chairs and ordered our mains from a not-so-friendly waitress. A sucker for a good mac and cheese I decided that I had to order just that, even though it’s not typically Irish fare. I must say, I was disappointed – it was ok – but quite bland and not rich and creamy like I was hoping for. ET had the special – a mutton burger with green tomato salsa and mixed greens and a Pinot Noir-McManis Californa 2007. The burger came with a side of some sort of dijon, horseradish spread which added a kick to the lamb and made me wish I had ordered it. SA ordered a Merlot - Tin Roof, CA 2005 and the Celtic and Canadian cheeses with Sausage Partners’ preserves and bread – the bread was delicious.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

To finish, my friends decided to split the sticky toffee pudding (note: waitress getting happier as night went on). For a girl that doesn’t like sweets, and I’m talking hasn’t eaten a birthday cake since her 4th birthday, I truly believed I wouldn’t like the dessert my friends demanded I try. Wow! I couldn’t have been more wrong, this was heavenly goodness. I even had a second bite, and a third, and ok, I even had a 4th. It was divine! I’d consider going back to this place for a few pints, but I definitely wouldn’t rush back for the service – the table beside me even commented on the waitresses’ attitude problem. The food was very reasonably priced, but it seemed to be hit and miss and that wood burning stove that cut the winter chill also made my hair & jacket stink for 2 days after!

I’m a small town girl who now resides in Toronto and can’t get enough of it…especially the restaurants! What can I say? I love to eat! Sometimes I wonder if I’m addicted to food. As one of Menu Maniac's roomies from university, I watched her whip up a roast leg of lamb while others ate Kraft Dinner. Her adventurous cooking has inspired me to attempt to cook, and although I try, living in Toronto is so hard when there are many tempting places to eat out. I’m an east-ender hoping to bring you some good options next time you visit Toronto.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

jamie oliver's chickpea & leek soup

I spent part of my day in Detroit doing a walk-through of the GM stand at the North American International Auto Show. Tomorrow is the first of two media days and I'm helping out with some of the broadcast interviews. Let me tell you, it was very chilly in the convention center today. Very chilly. All of the big doors were open so cars and trucks could be loaded onto the show floor. Seriously, I couldn't warm up so I decided to make a pot of my favourite soup for dinner -- chickpea and leek.

Tip: You can quickly make this soup on a weeknight if you change the first step. Rather than soaking the chickpeas and boiling the potato, use canned chickpeas and microwave the potato until soft.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

need some food inspiration?

While I'm on break, check out my three favourite food sites:

Fresh Eats - Maria is a Detroit-based writer and communications professional who prides herself on using fresh ingredients and incorporating the fifth food group...pancetta.

Big Girls Small Kitchen - Phoebe and Cara are 20-something food bloggers from New York City. They update their site regularly with tasty concoctions and plenty of recipes.

Food 52 - a food community led by Merrill and Amanda who are working on a cookbook created by user content. Loads of ideas, weekly recipe contests and an online shop.

Talk soon!