@TOfoodie, food & drinks, Toronto

What and where is your favourite hangover cure?

Caesar
(Photo by hfabulous)

After an evening of over indulgence, I woke up with a pounding headache and dry mouth. Eight bottles of red wine between five women will do that to you. My party days are pretty much over, but I talking about foods and drink. Through my TOfoodie Twitter, I asked “What and where is your favourite hangover cure?”

Here are their responses:

nicopop: Hair of the Dog Caesars at Hair of the Dog!
bigtrouble Juice! – wheatgrass, apple, carrot, celery, lemon, ginger. That and fresh air. Failing that, a Bellini or a Mimosa will do.
ericpl Believe it or not its a grilled eel on rice bowl at any decent Japanese resto…
ironsouschef hangover cure? There is only one. IRNBRU. Can be hard to find, but Metro usually carries it. Also, see this: http://bit.ly/Q0Hh3
hjli Usually leftovers of my drunken appetite: Johnny’s Homeburgers (VP&Sheppard) for suburbia; King Palace (Bloor&Church) for downtown
jasotri A caesar usually does the trick!
ejcs Rehydration salts +late_night dim sum

I’m totally craving an apple, carrot and ginger juice now, thanks to @bigtrouble. Still, my ideal hangover cure is a greasy spoon grilled cheese sandwich with a strong cup of coffee, cold Coca-Cola and a tall glass of ice water. Maybe I’d have a side of fresh fruit for nutrition. What do you crave when you’re nursing a post-party sickness?

Standard
food & drinks, Toronto

On brunch

Flickr user warein.holgado

Photo by: Flickr user warein.holgado

I don’t like eggs. I don’t eat pork. Because I don’t like eggs and I don’t eat pork, I don’t like breakfast.

I know, a lot of you love breakfast. You probably love breakfast so much you would (and do) eat it for lunch and dinner. I’m envious of your ability to eat eggs. Lately, I have made an effort to cook and like them, but I still can’t stomach them in great amounts. It takes effort to get through a hard boiled egg. Even a plate of eggs Benedict takes mental preparation.

I wouldn’t put so much effort into enjoying eggs if it was not for Sunday brunch. As The New York Times pointed out in 2005, “brunch is practically a competitive sport in Toronto.” This is still true. Despite hangovers, below freezing temperatures and lineups my friends will still trek (uphill, both ways) for a good plate of hollandaise sauce atop poached eggs.

Why does Toronto go crazy over brunch compared to other cities? I’m not sure, but I understand why the meal is often put on a pedestal. I am in love with the idea of Sunday brunch with friends. For me, it’s not about the food. Brunch is the bridge between the weekend’s indulgences and the work week’s responsibilities. It’s remembering last night while you still have its smell in your hair. It’s one last hurrah before groceries, laundry and Monday morning.

The meal is like a celebration, says Toronto chef Teo Paul. He admits his mixed feelings toward the 2-in-1 meal. As a chef, it’s a pain in the ass because brunch-goers are so fragile and yet demanding at the same time.

I appreciate it, but I have to do it a little differently. I read about a guy in New York who does the same brunch every weekend: a giant terrine of eggs stuffed with smoked salmon and whatever else, on a table piled with croissants. That’s good thinking. My kind of brunch is standing around a big barrel table eating oysters and charcuterie and drinking good, cheap wine with friends and old drunk French guys drinking wine out of silver ladles. That’s a celebration. I know I’m not in Paris, but I’d like to try to bring something new to Toronto, something different.

Most of my friends would say brunch doesn’t need anything different. But as someone who doesn’t like eggs, I’m cheering Teo on. I have no problem with eating oysters or drinking wine.

Question: Forget eggs and bacon. What would you like your Sunday brunch to consist of?

Standard
food & drinks, Toronto

Sunday night dinner: garlicy roast chicken

dsc07850

I spent Saturday night trudging through snow banks with holes in my shitty boots. Despite the snowfall, Toronto didn’t stay home and there were lines for bars where there is usually tumbleweed. After 45 minutes in a line to nowhere, me moved our our sour, frozen faces to Free Times Cafe. If it was not for the piping hot latkes, their accompanying cinnamon-y apple sauce and Creemore beer on tap, Saturday night would have been a bust.

After all the hoopla, I slept in. I rarely sleep past 10, but winter has convinced me that hibernation is the only way to survive it. When my bladder finally forced me out of bed, I found H on the couch wide awake, toast eaten, coffee drank and already up for three hours. Shame made me stay up but I promised myself an entire day inside and never left the building.

Instead, I’ve been surprisingly productive in the kitchen. I made a fresh pot of coffee which I drank with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a homemade egg salad sandwich. Then, I made Orangette’s white bean hummus. I painstakingly used a hand blender in place of a food processor, which I don’t recommend. It’s messy and not nearly as effective.

The grand finale to the day of domesticity was the Sunday night dinner of garlic roasted chicken. I served it with crispy fingerling potatoes and baked baby carrots. I had never put anything in a brine before, but the chicken recipe changed that and my life. I don’t want to go back and I can’t recommend it enough.

Tonight’s dinner was based on this 40 clove chicken recipe. I intended to roast an entire chicken but the grocery store didn’t have any more whole, free range antibiotic-free chickens left. Instead, I bought a couple of breasts and five drumsticks. In place of  white peppercorns, I tossed in a teaspoon of black pepper. When it came time to roast the chicken, I slid garlic, thyme, parsley and butter underneath the skin of the breasts and drumsticks. The result was a deliciously moist and flavourful chicken. I suppose I should have taken out the bare sprig of thyme before I snapped the picture, but you’ll have to excuse me. My food photography isn’t very good but I’m working on it.

If you have suggestions for another recipe that involves a brine, please send it along.

Standard