Mmmmmmomofuku. There is a reason you need a reservation on the third floor, the tables were continuously full right up until eleven-something in the evening. I know it was around that time as models from the last show were trickling in sans makeup and with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the raw seafood platter. The seating is unpretentious, the tables a pale wood, and the view unbeatable- Momofuku is encased in a glass cube that looks out into downtown Toronto. The amuse bouche was a bowl of marinated cucumber pieces that sound dull but were actually an excellent start. We ordered the famous duck buns and were thoroughly disappointed to learn they had run out of duck for them. Tip: go early and order the duck buns as soon as you sit down. Instead, we had to settle for the second place eggplant buns which were yummy in their own right but slightly ruined by the lingering disappointment of missing out on the duck. Next was a buckwheat noodle dish followed by two large plates which we shared: duck and pork. Our sides were brussel sprouts and carrots. Everything was so flavorful with unique combinations of textures (crispy puffs of rice in the brussel sprouts, a chewy taro cake underneath the duck). I would almost recommend eating each dish individually, one at a time. Our favorite dish was actually the brussel sprouts- they were golden brown, saturated in a delicious fish sauce, and the edges were slightly crispy along with the rice puffs which added a nice change to every bite. Dessert was skipped in favor of the milk bar where I picked up the Crack Pie® which is actually imported from the original bakery in Brooklyn, NY every day. Crack Pie® cannot be described in words, it must simply be eaten. So catch the next flight to Toronto or New York, stat. Click below for more photos.
Interpret however you like, my aim while working on this piece which was part of my Advanced Placement Art portfolio was for it to serve as an expression of female sexual repression in the modern world. This is certainly no freestone peach.
Landed in Toronto mid-day Saturday and quickly made a wardrobe change at the charming centrally-located boutique Hotel Victoria. Made it about three blocks and promptly had to return to change outfits as bare legs and a wind chill do not mix well. Reception thought I was legit crazy. Back in polka-dot pants, we made our way to the fashion week tent and chose Canteen for a pre-event nosh consisting of their creamy corn chowder. It was perfect for the weather. Fashion Saturday was surprisingly entertaining with a runway show consisting of a few pieces from a chosen set of Canadian designers as well as a panel discussion about upcoming spring trends in not just fashion, but also hair and makeup. Turns out everyone is a stylist/blogger/photographer- phones and cameras were out in full force making it a feat to capture more than the back of a head despite my second row luck.
Spring next year looks to be a nod to tradition, in three words: floral, feminine, and flowing fabrics. Of course there were the odd designers going the opposite route with structured more rebellious pieces, think Rudsak. I anticipate we will be seeing alot of fun prints as well, far from the plaid and houndstooth of this season. Hair was amp-ed up versions of our current classics: the top knot is sticking around but becoming more elegant, more tame (no longer the “face wash” bun), braids are getting inverted or even styled into a faux hawk, and un-done beachy waves are back (surprise, surprise). For makeup- it's all about brows (but you knew that already, thanks Cara), dewy skin preferred over matte, a bronze eye, and the ever-coveted coral lip.
The evening events took us to Momofuku next to the Shangri-La Hotel, stay tuned for photographs and an overview in my next where to eat in [insert city here] post!
Last night I stumbled across this amazing tumblr where Rosangela illustrates an Italian word each day in hopes of it helping her girlfriend learn her native language. Too sweet for words. Check out Italian for my Girlfriend: here.
Is it terrible to say that my favorite part about Tiramisu Bistro is the wall? Reading this makes me feel more satisfied than even their stellar pasta dishes, it's akin to buying Vogue instead of food (as I so often did on my university budget). Tiramisu Bistro is an absolute must, one of the darling locales adding a much-needed reason to ditch Jasper Avenue and head to 124th Street. The ambiance is casual and quite the opposite of stuffy. They have live music on Friday nights and is arguably one of the only places in Edmonton I will venture to order a pasta dish (the other is Cafe Amore). After six trips to Italy and six years with an Italian significant other, I now consider myself a bit of a pasta snob. Massi has a firm belief that there is never a good excuse for ordering pasta at a restaurant, especially in Canada, because it is always too expensive and not up to par. You would think mastering such a simple carb would be well...simple. But believe me, many have failed. A pasta must not be over/under-cooked, over/under-salted, over/under-sauced; a fine balance must be achieved in this trifecta. So if you find yourself in this city, craving an awesome spaghetti con frutti di mare, this is your place. I greatly appreciated having real shrimp in my dish, the kind that take more than one bite to finish and that do not taste like the freezer. Tip: only order this dish if your boyfriend is also ordering it too or if your aim is to keep away vampires during the night- the garlic is extraordinary and I mean that in the best way possible.
Other honorable mentions: the Bellini presentation and our heavenly Chocolate Cherry Cake that we "reserved" before even ordering our main course (there was only one slice left, what's a girl to do?).
This is the literal bread and butter of Italian cuisine. Take some bread (homemade would be best but that really big round monster of a bread that they make at the Italian Center will work just fine), slice it, and toast the pieces lightly on the top using your oven. You can even toast it by frying it in a bit of olive oil using your stovetop if you are opposed to oven use-age (translation: you do not know how to turn on your oven). When golden on top, take a slice of garlic (halve a clove) and rub it discerningly on the pieces of bread. The more you rub, the more you will reek. Next chop up some tomatoes into itty-bitty squares, throw into a bowl. Add some torn up basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Finally drizzle your very best EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil into the bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Best if you let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors become friends. Then spoon onto your lovely, garlic-infused, toasted bread and just like that, you have made magic.
I am headed to Toronto this Saturday for a quick three-day jaunt which I had sincerely hoped would include reservations at Momofuku (senza the booking roulette required at the New York location- 10 days in advance only or at random for the coveted 12-seats at the Momofuko Ko bar). This should come as no surprise as when I travel, I like to cover just three main components: food, fashion, and culture. Sometimes the culture IS the fashion, like in Milan, while other times it may be visual art, like Florence. Next on my Toronto list is of course a pilgrimage to Canada's fashion Mecca: the Holt Renfrew flagship store. While perusing the internet for other touristy ideas, it came to my attention that it will be the end of Toronto Fashion Week on Saturday when I arrive. With further perusing, I discovered Fashion Saturday which is an event in it's second year that is put on solely for the public to gain on inside look at S/S 2015 trends, highlights of the runway looks shown during the week, and the chance to purchase from pop-up stores from various Canadian designers. So far, my itinerary is looking extremely promising- Fashion Saturday at 4pm, dinner reservations third-floor Momofuku at 9pm, (followed by a midnight rendez-vous at the CN tower? Nope, just checked, this is no Empire State Building- it's closed at 10:30pm). I am actually quite please with this reservation as it is definitely trumped by the 10:15pm reservation I had at ABC Kitchen in New York last June (made 3-4 weeks in advance). Stay tuned, will hopefully have some fun #WMFW posts to share after Monday!
I have had my eye on this lemon wicker purse by Kate Spade ever since I saw it in a magazine in early spring. It was part of her Spring 2014 collection and the lookbook was shot on location, in Italy. I so desperately wanted my own little lemon slug over my shoulder whilst I zipped around on a Vespa. And today I found it...on sale! Now I am dreaming of taking it to the Amalfi Coast and wearing it amongst the lemon groves while Massi climbs fig trees in the background...There was a quote that made me giggle in the lookbook- "There can only be things to love in a country shaped like a shoe."
Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.