Tag Archives: Toronto

Recipe: Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is a side dish that I have always enjoyed. Sticky coconut rice is even more fun with it’s chewy texture and almost dessert like sweetness. I noticed coconut rice served as a side to a menu item at Hawker Bar www.hawkerbar.com in Toronto last summer. We ordered some and it was outstanding, in addition to the chili tofu, wings and greens. I was inspired to try and make coconut rice at home. Here is my easy version, using creamed coconut and coconut oil for the rich taste and nutritional value of medium chain fatty acids.

1 cup Thai jasmine rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon creamed coconut (available at health food stores)

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

Rinse rice in a strainer under cold water. Place rice into a medium saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Stir in coconut coconut oil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid and allow rice to continue cooking for 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat, let stand for another 10 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork and enjoy. This rice is great with sauteed callaloo and spicy shrimp or fish. Also great with curries.

Favourite Pie in Toronto









Pie, lunch and cocoa. My happy priorities in selecting a meal expressed on a chalkboard outside of Madeleine’s Cherry Pie and Icecream at 1087 Bathurst Street www.madeleines.ca   Madeleine’s sour cherry pie came highly recommended by a new friend when we discussed Wanda’s Pie in the Sky



I procured sour cherry pie from both Madeleine’s and Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and ran a little taste test…

My favourite pie is still Wanda’s (their apricot pie is my absolute favourite). I prefer the Wanda’s Pie in the Sky crust and the reason seems to be the taste of butter. Wanda’s pie crust is made with 2/3 butter and 1/3 non hydrogenated trans fat free shortening. Madeleine’s pie crust is 100% non hydrogenated trans fat free shortening (more vegetarian friendly). The Madeleine’s sour cherry filling does have a slight edge over the Wanda’s sour cherry filling. So, both sour cherry pies are outstanding, as they are both made by amazing pie makers.

Pie is not an everyday food. It is a special treat to be shared and enjoyed with love.

Vivian’s Picks at Foxley, Toronto

We had a special occasion to celebrate last night and our group of four friends had dinner at Foxley 207 Ossington Avenue, Toronto. Somehow I got carte blanche to do the majority of the ordering…I’m pleased to report all  four of us had a most inspired dining experience with all the amazing and unique flavours Tom Thai creates.

Here is what we ordered and shared. I highly recommend trying this list sometime. This is a top Asian fusion dining experience I have had and it won over three friends. Enjoy!

Blue Crab Avocado Salad

Seaweed salad with mango and herbs

Kale salad with pecorino cheese

Lamb and duck proscuitto dumplings

Oven steamed black cod with asian greens and truffle oil

Scallop ceviche with kumquat

Tempura oyster handroll

Lemongrass marinated grilled cornish hen


Food Inspiration: Kensington Market Tour

Kensington Market is one of my favourite spots to shop for food in Toronto. There is no other area where I can find so many unique foods that I love. I make a trip there whenever I can spare a couple hours to wander around, check out the ever changing new eateries and gather up my growing list of favourite items. Here’s my tour:

Caribbean Corner (171 Baldwin Avenue) -I stop in here for fresh callaloo they get flown in from Jamaica, caribbean hot sauce, and/or jerk sauce, among all things caribbean.

Essence of Life (50 Kensington Avenue)-is the stop for any health food or supplement you can think of with great selection and prices.

Salamanca(204 Baldwin Avenue)-I have been buying nuts and other dry goods here for over 10 years.

La Tortilleria (198 Augusta Avenue)-makes fresh tortillas daily, with organic blue available on the weekends only.

Jumbo Empanadas (245 Augusta Avenue)-I have been stopping here for a bite of lunch for over 10 years. Their homemade salsa is unbelievable. The chicken empanada with the salsa and Chilean salad are absolutely delicious.

Perola’s (247 Augusta Avenue)-This is a shop I just started frequenting this summer, as I developed serious taco obsession when I missed out on eating at Rick Bayless’ Torta in the Chicago airport. Tacos seem to be the trend of the moment as well. This shop has all the authentic fixings you could want.

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky (287 Augusta Avenue)-Sometimes I stop here first. Amazing dessert is required. This shop is even more fun here than it was when it was located in Yorkville. I love the dulche de leche coconut macaroons (gluten free) and the small fruit pies (which I cut into 4 pieces and share, maybe).

Seven Lives (69 Kensington Avenue)-My top pick for tacos in Toronto. There can be a bit of a wait, but service is quick and the tacos are incredibly flavourful and inventive.


New Toronto Restaurant: The Saint

Chef Melissa Saunders and I came across the Saint on Saturday night by accident. We had trouble deciding where to go with no reservation. I had almost convinced her and Prince Charming to go to Foxley for dinner, but we passed by and checked out the Saint instead. We were sold by the greeting of a familiar face we had met many times at Buca, a restaurant Melissa and I adore.

We enjoyed a cocktail at the bar while we waited for a table. The atmosphere is a sleek and lively tavern. The Saint delivers on the trend of well made cocktails. I decided on first glance of the menu that I had to have the fried chicken, a food I love and enjoy a few times a year.

Our dinner was pleasant. I enjoyed the perogies the most in our group. The menu was not descriptive, but we were told when we came in that everything was made in house. I felt the description of ‘perogies’ was a detriment to the dish, because the perogies had a delicious, tender filling of slow cooked pork. The cod fritters were well done, but perhaps a touch pricey at $18 for 2 large pieces. The fried chicken was half a chicken that was crisp, tender, juicy and well seasoned throughout. The lemon flavoured gravy was not worth the caloric intake in my opinion. My dinner mates quite liked the fries. I didn’t love them. My favourite fries are still Jamie Kennedy’s.


Well done veggies was a nice surprise from the Saint kitchen . The cauliflower with bacon was roasted well. The honey roasted fennel with cherry tomato was excellent. Best of all was the coleslaw that came with the fried chicken. Service fell short a bit when we needed to find our server to order a slice of pecan pie and get our bill. The pecan pie was good, but not anything too special.

We are not rushing back to the Saint for the food just yet, but it is a welcome addition to Ossington. Another fun spot for a cocktail and snack. The whole strip is great food and drink destination that keeps getting better.


Scaramouche Lobsterlicious

I had the privilege of being taken to Scaramouche last night for Lobsterlicious. It was a fabulous dinner. Started with the seared scallops with blood orange and avocado. Proceeded to grilled lobster with hurricane coconut broth and finished with rum panna cotta with mango sorbet.

Scaramouche had been a topic of discussion with a friend who went to chef school over the weekend. He does not like the restaurant although he does go for business dinners. I gathered that he feels the restaurant is dated.
I must say that I disagree with that opinion. I feel that Keith Froggett is exceptionally talented in the way he brings out the best of flavour and texture in the simplicity of his dishes. Even at a quick chef’s station at What’s on the Table, a fundraiser for the Stop, community food centre, he delivered a delicious, perfectly dressed raw tuna taster. I have used and recommended his most requested hummus recipe many times and am always amazed at how simple and exceptional it tastes each time. And of course, I have an exceptional meal and service experience each time I to go to the restaurant.
Perhaps the dining room has a bit more of an old school feel to it, but that is a good thing, because you can actually hear your dinner companion!