Tag Archives: food and drink
Last weekend I had the chance to attend a whisky tasting event for Auchentoshan where I was able to try three of their best bottles. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to drinking straight whisky, so these events always intimidate me, but as someone who always appreciates a good drink – I love learning as much as I can about every option available.
The first sample their ambassador introduced us to was their American Oak, the standard whisky of the three. It tasted of roasted malt and a toasty, nutty oak with a crisp, strong finish.
The second was their triple distilled 12 Year Old Single Malt which came off slightly fruitier, due to notes of tangerine and ginger.
The third, their Three Wood Lowland Single Malt, was my favourite of the three by far. Aged in three different casks (American Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso sherry and Perdro Ximenez sherry), I was able to taste notes of brown sugar, hazelnut, orange, cinnamon and toffee with every sip. As someone with a sweet tooth who can’t usually handle straight scotch, this one made me realize there is a scotch for everyone, you just have to find yours.
The best part is, it was all followed by an intimate show (it happened at Common Sort, a small vintage boutique in the east end) with Sam Roberts performing acoustically. It was free to the public, but like any in store in a small space, you had to arrive quite early to get in.
Once he took the small stage (aka the back of the store) he told us they had a couple new songs they would play from their latest, Terraform, and then they’d be taking requests from the crowd.
All the songs you’d expect people to request were yelled out incessantly, and while they did play “Don’t Walk Away Eileen” to a grand singalong, the crowd did not get to hear “Brother Down” despite not taking the hint and requesting it after every single song. Sam noted that they haven’t played some of these songs live in years, so it felt like a great risk pulling them out and hoping they’d come out right.
The set was short but fun, and having an open bar for everyone who made it in only made it all the better. Here’s to more great events like this popping up around the city.
Cider has easily become the drink of choice in Toronto, replacing our obsession with craft beer – and I for one am not complaining. The Toronto Cider Festival is back for its second year at Dundas Square, and if you love cider as much as I do, you should probably be there on August 27th.
Thanks to the lovely team running this much needed event, I have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the daytime slot, happening from 11:30am until 4pm.
There are also tickets available for purchase to the evening slot from 5pm until 10:30pm. For $30 you get a commemorative mug, 4 sample tickets, live music and entertainment, a photo booth, games, food trucks, a flair cider cocktail competition, and access to 20+ of the best ciders available.
To win a pair of tickets to the daytime session, email me at email@example.com with the subject “Cider Fest.”
Those who subscribe to the upcoming newsletter get a bonus entry, so be sure to mention if you are subscribed in your email. Sharing this post also gets you a bonus entry.
The winner will be contacted via email on August 24th!
The other week, I had the chance to take part in a bourbon tasting event with Jim Beam, before heading off to the surprise Yukon Blonde show they put on at the Mod Club (if you were lucky, you might have even won a pair of tickets to it from me).
There are few things that go together better than a good bourbon and live music, so this was the perfect night for me.
I arrived early at the venue, where a handful of bloggers were on hand to learn all about the different varieties of bourbon Jim Beam makes. Each bottle had various levels of aging involved, and there was even a Honey and Apple variety that I was proceeded to happily drink the rest of the night. Who knew flavoured bourbon was a thing? Turns out it’s a really, really great thing.
Their fabulously bearded mixologist taught us all about what goes into aging the perfect bottle of bourbon, and I found it interesting that whiskey barrels can never be reused for whiskey because, high standards (they do get recycled for aging other kinds of liqour though).
Also, there is a minimum rule that (I might be remembering this wrong) whiskey in Canada must be aged at least 2 years, and all Jim Beam bourbon is aged at least 3 years. So this might be why I find bourbon so much stronger than any other hard liquor I indulge in.
We each had the chance to create our own drink for the evening, and because I was so into the Apple bourbon during the tasting, he suggested I try this combo:
1 ounce regular Jim Beam
1 ounce apple Jim Beam
1 part simple cinnamon syrup
Top with ginger beer
No lie – it ended up tasting like apple pie. It is going to become my new go to staple at my home bar. So simple, so yummy.
After we had our new cocktails in hand, we headed downstairs to see the Luke Austin Band open, and then Yukon Blonde took the stage. As per usual they brought their uplifting, carefree west coast pop rock to Toronto and the packed venue was singing along to every song. While On Blonde hasn’t pulled me in quite as much as Tiger Talk did back in 2012, I still always have a blast seeing these guys live. Jeff and co. always give their all onstage, and the crowd of diehards that won their way into this event were definitely happy to see them again.
Overall, it was an excellent night of live music and great tunes, and I will be incorporating more bourbon cocktails into my bartending repertoire immediately.
I’m sure you all know it’s that time of year again.
While I will be spending the afternoon of February 13th with my favourite lady friends for #GalantinesDay, I will be spending the evening at iYellowWine’s annual South African Wine celebration at 918 Bathurst.
Thanks to the lovely ladies at iYellow, I have a pair of tix to give to one of you as well.
If you don’t know what to do on this Hallmark holiday (beyond watching How To Be Single, obviously), there’s really nothing better than spending 3 hours tasting 24 wines (including 8 from Vintages) with your favourite person.
To enter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “I Love Wine” and mention the session you prefer to attend (specify either 2pm or 7pm).
If you want to get your plans for the high pressure weekend solid asap, you can buy your tickets here today. There’s no better way to surprise your boo, promise.
Contest closes and the winner will be contacted via email on Wednesday February 10th.
The CNE is one of my favourite times of year.
Maybe that’s because I’m still a little kid at heart, or because I love spinning rides and the excuse to eat 2000 calorie fried foods. But it’s really because it feels like everything that is great about summer all rolled into one: long days spent outside with great friends in the sunshine, eating anything and everything you want, discount shopping at its best, entertainment in all its forms, and remembering how it feels to be truly alive via the risk you take letting your body be thrown around in metal contraptions controlled by teenagers working their first job (fair rides are truly the greatest adrenaline rush).
This year though, the CNE moved into our digital future. The Food Building – aka half the reason we attend the CNE every year – got an app that allows you to skip the lineups and order your food ahead of time.
Yes, that means you can be waiting in line for a ride, order what you want from your app, and walk back to the building just as it’s being prepared for you.
As we all know – because of the fanfare around the crazy foods at the Ex – the lineups can sometimes be insane in the Food Building, especially on a busy weekend around dinner time. The ability to skip the line is exactly what the CNE has needed all these years.
I loved that I was able to order while doing something else, and by the time I got to the booth in the Food Building, there it was, ready and waiting for me.
You can download the CNE Food Building app now, and use it this weekend while you’re getting those last CNE moments in before summer says goodbye for another year.
A couple things to keep in mind: it doesn’t have every item from each vendor listed (just specific ones); they charge a small service fee for every transaction; and if you use a gift card or a promo code – make sure you use it all at once or you will lose whatever funds you didn’t use. You also can’t order from 2 separate vendors at the same time – you have to go back in the app and process a separate transaction (which is to be expected, since you’re paying a different vendor).
The one thing I hope they improve on it for next year is the options – while there was a nice variety of food choices available on the app, there were many more options in the building that were not on the app. Here’s hoping they can get everyone on board next year!
To any food vendors unsure if the app is right for you – I can tell you right now – your customers want it, and it will definitely help increase sales when you have less people waiting in line. No one will turn away from your booth just because the line is too long, as I have done so many times in the past.