Tag Archives: food and drink
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.
As I mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Mohawk Racetrack last Thursday. Here’s a little rundown of how it all went down.
We started the evening at the Terrace Dining Room, which, after passing by last time, I was excited to check out.
After ordering a round of drinks and some apps, we watched the races begin and decided to try our hand at placing a bet on the horse with the name we liked best (great strategy, I know). Unfortunately, Deep Impact didn’t win, but our luck (and strategy) improved as the night went on.
For dinner we ordered the salmon tortellini and a pepperoni pizza, and despite being stuffed we had to follow it up with dessert because the brownie martini looked amazing (and the apple crumble was even better). The food was delicious – we were so full we could barely move once it was time to take the tour.
The dining room patio provides a perfect view of the track along with quick access to the betting machine, and the servers were all friendly and very attentive. If you head to Mohawk, I highly recommend staking your spot up there. But be warned – if you choose to sit on the patio, the mosquitoes get bad once the sun starts to set – my feet were covered in bites, so dress appropriately or bring bug spray.
After the meal and a little success betting on a couple horses with good odds, Mark, the communications coordinator at Mohawk, took us over to the Paddock to get a behind the scenes look at how it all goes down at the racetrack.
The horses arrive from all over Ontario in their trailers, then they’re moved inside and grouped together based on the race they’re running in.
At the back of the paddock there’s a special area where they test the urine of the horse that wins each race, along with a random horse from each race, to ensure they haven’t been given any performance enhancing drugs.
Each horse has their own caretaker who carefully bathes them and takes care of them before and after the race. These guys are the true unsung heroes of the sport, who unlike the drivers and coaches, get no glory and have to deal with literal horse shit – but have deep love for the animals.
At Mohawk, the horses are all Standardbred – which I learned means they are more durable horses than Thoroughbreds (who can only run once a month because of their daintier bone structure). Standardbreds are able to run once a week without causing too much stress to their bones.
By far the most exciting part of the evening was that, after the tour, we were able to get on the track in the car that drives in front of the horses to get them together in line as the race starts. Hearing their hooves clop along the pavement and being right beside them as they ran was an incredible once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. The power of the horses on the track is especially impactful when you get to be there right in the action of the race.
FYI Just a reminder that you still have time to make the quick trip to Mohawk this summer to take a selfie in front of the track and win $1000 gift certificate! Just post it to twitter and use the #OffToTheRaces hashtag and you’re all set. Remember, admission to the races is always free, and they’re open from 6pm to 11pm five days a week.