Tag Archives: Toronto

A Cupcake Spring

Distillery Cupcakes - Café Mocha


I don’t eat them often, but I have always enjoyed them. I have never made them from scratch, and have even recently made some from a box. Yes, I know – shame!!

This Spring, I plan to explore the world of the springy treat with gusto!!

The Plan: Visit a few different gourmet cupcake establishments, and see what it takes to be a delicious gourmet cupcake. Then, try my hand at making some. I am enlisting the help of some of my girls (and, undoubtedly, my guinea pig J) and we will all figure out what all the fuss is about!

My first stop was at a wee location tucked inside one of the buildings in the Distillery District, The Sweet Escape.

Being a smaller shop, they don’t have hundreds of cupcakes on hand. That said, I didn’t have any trouble finding exactly what I wanted to try. I narrowed it down to two: Red Velvet and Café Mocha. Before you start to judge – I didn’t eat them both myself!!! I split them with J (he deserves it!).

Distillery Cupcakes - Red Velvet

Sweet Escape Cupcakes – Red Velvet, anyone?
  • Red Velvet – nice light cocoa cake, with a rich cream cheese frosting
  • Café Mocha – rich chocolatey cake, with a delicious espresso buttercream frosting and topped with an espresso bean

I enjoyed both of these quite a bit, but my vote has to go with the Café Mocha. I prefer its richer chocolate over the light cocoa taste of the Red Velvet, and I’m a sucker for coffee infused anything! The icings on both were rich, creamy and nicely flavoured.  Definitely a great start to my adventure!

But it doesn’t end there. I had to try a new (to me) tasty treat.

Distillery Cupcakes - Macarons



I’ve been told that cupcakes are on their way “out”. That’s pretty funny. What’s supposedly coming up in popularity is the french macaron, which I believe because I’ve been seeing them everywhere. Having never tried one before, I thought this would be a good opportunity. I read that they are French macaroons, which led me to believe that they were full of coconut (even though I couldn’t see any evidence of it on first glance). Let me reassure you, these are NOTHING like the coconut-filled macaroons that we have here in Canada. The coconut ones are commonly found in Scotland, North America and Germany and really don’t taste anything like the French macaron.

This was heavenly – light, crispy meringue outer shell, a soft and chewy middle, with a fine nuttiness. I instantly regret buying only one. I didn’t even share it with J.

Is this the beginning of the end for me? Will I decide that cupcakes are an appropriate food item for every meal? Not likely. But I think this is going to be a fun Spring!!


Gimme Soma Chocolate!

In this installment of ‘Market Mayhem’, I visit the home of chocolate lovers to enjoy the ‘elixir of the Gods’.

Yes, my friends, I went to Soma Chocolatemaker, my very favourite chocolate shop in Toronto. While there, I enjoyed some some Mayan hot chocolate, some truffles (Douglas Fir, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar) and went home with a parting gift, to be enjoyed later.


Perusing chocolate, watching the machines in the Chocolate Lab (tee-hee).

Beware of the spooky faces I make in the video. Not sure what’s going on here, but I get all squinty and weird when in front of a camera. I need to practise in front of a mirror or something.

Can’t see the embedded video? Click here!

No, I didn’t buy the $75 chocolate bar… but I didn’t buy the smallest one, either. Yes, we did end up buying a Douglas Fir truffle, and yes it does kinda taste like trees… but in a good way. I know that trees, olive oil, hot chilis and balsamic vinegar all sound like bizarre ingredients for chocolate, but they are amazing and should be tried at least once. These are the ones I reach for the most – when I’m spending that much on a truffle, I don’t want to play it safe.

Go! Find your local chocolate maker! Indulge!

I Love a Man with Mussels

This is a post about love, romance, and eating weird little creepy things out of their shells.

Some people have a hate-on for Valentine’s Day, and I used to be one of those people. I’ve eased up a little since then, realizing that every holiday (like every other day) is what you make of it. I choose to make it all about food. Surprise!

This past year, we’ve been opting for less fancy meals out for some of these ‘romantic evenings’, and have often ended up at our new favourite place to get mussels, The Fat Belgian. It’s cute, and not at all pretentious, with a great selection of beer (Erdinger and Fruli Strawberry on tap, woo!) and mussels. I’ll admit that I haven’t actually tried any of their other food, because we ALWAYS get mussels, frites and beer… and the odd dessert.


Lots of yummy mussels, in a broth filled with gruyere, walnuts and leeks.

To top it off, we almost always get the same friendly waitress, who shares my name and alma mater but only knew me as ‘purple hair’ until our last visit (unfortunately, she no longer works there, so we didn’t get her this time). The view from the second floor is unfortunate, looking out to a bright green tire place on one side and a boob/owl-themed stinkbar on the other. I won’t hold it against them – they can’t choose their neighbours.

Mussels are a very strange thing. Unlike some other seafood, mussels are often paired with very flavourful things, at least partly because the mussel meat has a stronger flavour that can handle other strong flavours. Most of the time, you will find mussels steamed with very flavourful broth, often including some kind of alcohol, and only a scattering of thinly sliced veggies (if any at all). This is best paired with some fresh frites and/or artisan bread (like sourdough).

We had a great Valentine’s meal.

I took the plunge last year, and finally tried making them myself. It was as easy as friends had reported, and now I’m trying to make a chart o’ fun. Basically, I have some of the basics down and am coming up with a few variations on the basic steamed mussel dish. My recipe/chart o’fun will be featured in an upcoming post!!

Market Mayhem: A Trip To St. Lawrence Market (Part 1)

St. LawrenceMkt Steph

This past weekend, we took a trip to one of our favourite markets – St. Lawrence Market, in Toronto. We had a chance to pick up some of our “usual fare”, and took some pics while we were at it. Future posts will detail some of the specific finds there, such as Kozlik’s mustard and the fantastic selection of seafood. For now, we’d like to bring you a quick zip through the market, on a cold, cold Saturday.

We came home with armloads of greatness…