mi mi vietnamese restaurant

Back in the day when I was an east-side dweller, Joe and I used to head to Mi Mi Vietnamese Restaurant whenever we needed our pho fix. I recently found myself back on the east side, so I stopped by for a quick lunch. 
The cha Gio (Vietnamese springrolls) weren't as good as I remembered them to be. These tasted pretty generic.
Instead of my usual pho, I decided to change it up and get a bowl of bun (rice noodles with shrimp on sugarcane, pork sausages and grilled beef). Can't go wrong with a huge bowl of meat and noodles—especially for under ten bucks! 

Mi Mi Vietnamese
688 Gerrard St. E.


triple chocolate chunk cookies

These are triple chocolate chunk cookies. And they were just what I needed this past weekend.
1 C flour
1/2 C Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 C butter, room temp
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
3 oz. white chocolate, chopped

1. Combine all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugars in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.

3. Slowly add in dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks by hand.

4. Drop heaping tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Slightly flatten the tops of each dough mound. Bake at 350 for 12-13 minutes.


roasted tomato soup

When Ontario tomatoes were in season, I made this roasted tomato soup on the regular. It's really easy to throw together, tastes even better on the second day, and is the best when paired with a gooey grilled cheese. 
5 large plum tomatoes or vine tomatoes, halved
1 package of grape tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic
2 medium sized onions, halved
4 C chicken stock
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
salt & pepper
4-5 fresh basil leaves (optional)

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place all the tomatoes, garlic and onions on a baking tray and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, or until everything starts to blister and caramelize.

2. Place all of the roasted vegetables into a pot and add chicken stock, bay leaves and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook until liquid reduces by a third. Remove bay leaves.

3. Add basil if using, then puree everything in a blender or by using an immersion blender, until smooth. Return soup to low heat and season to taste. If you find your soup to be too acidic, a tablespoon of honey will balance things out. If your soup is too thick, just add more chicken stock. If you want to get fancy and get rid of any seeds or skin, you can strain the soup through a sieve before serving.


seven lives tacos

I came across Seven Lives tacos while strolling through Kensington market in search of bread and cheese. More akin to a takeout counter than restaurant, it's hidden within the shared El Gordo space on August Avenue. Seven Lives specializes in fish and seafood tacos, but have options for non-fish lovers too. I really wanted to try the ceviche, but it was sold out. Since I have a hard time passing up on tacos, I settled on two for the road (though there is a back patio so you can sit down and eat)
The condiments: lime wedges, pickled red onions, salsa verde and red salsa. The salsas were really flavourful and I topped my tacos with both.
The baja fish taco came with a freshly battered, deep-fried piece of fish tucked in doubled blue corn tortillas, then topped with cabbage, fresh salsa and sour cream.
The camarones a la diabla came with plump shrimp and peppers on corn tortillas topped with melted cheese, fresh salsa, shredded cabbage and sour cream.
Messy (in the best way) and made with fresh fish and seafood, these tacos were mighty satisfying. Now I have another reason to hit up the market more often. You can follow Seven Lives on Twitter to find their daily menu.

Seven Lives
214 Augusta Avenue


baked brownies

The infamous Baked brownie has made its round all over the interweb these past few years and with the overwhelming success of their peanut butter cookies last week, I decided to give this popular recipe a try.
These rich brownies were definitely decadent. More fudgy than cakey, I recommend cutting them small and having a tall ice-cold glass of milk handy or you may go into chocolate overload. I'm partial to the crackly corner piece, slightly chilled, eaten in silence. 
You can find the recipe here or buy the cookbook, here


north of brooklyn pizzeria

Good pizza is hard to find around my neighbourhood, so when I saw a new pizza place setting up shop just one street over, I was pumped. I've had pizza twice now from North of Brooklyn Pizzeria and I'm happy to say that this is some good pie. The first time I called ahead for pick-up. Joe went to grab the 'zas and he said that service was painfully slow (the pizzas were sitting on the counter for 15 minutes before anyone decided to box them up). So slow that the pizzas were lukewarm by the time he got them home (even though we literally live a block away). Luckily, they still tasted awesome. The second time we stopped in for a couple of slices. We enjoyed those (hot!) fresh out of the oven. Delicious.
My favourite so far is the pepperoni. Thin, bubbly crust topped with cheese and some really good pep! Slightly spicy and uber flavourful, this pepperoni puts the generic kind to shame. The classic margherita is also a reliable standby with fresh basil, tomato sauce and mozz. 
It's been pretty dangerous having such good pizza so close by. Dangerous, but also convenient.
North of Brooklyn Pizzeria
650 1/2 Palmerston Ave.


peanut butter milk chocolate chunk cookies

Peanut butter is one of those things that I rarely crave, but when I was trying to think of a new cookie to make, peanut butter somehow made its way into my head. I decided on these peanut butter milk chocolate chunk cookies from the Baked cookbook that promised to be chewy and full of flavour. I ate three as soon as they had cooled, so that means they were real good.
You can find the recipe here.


cne eats 2012

Oh the CNE! Where carnies, crowds and over-priced deep-fried food abound. I usually get suckered/forced to go every year. I didn't eat the deep-fried butter like last year and was tempted by the pulled pork red velvet pancakes and bacon sundae funnel cake, but I think those things sound better in writing than in person. Here's what I did try. 
Obligatory corn dog. It tasted like a corn dog. Should have went for the deep-fried dill pickle instead.
Kalbi bao and spicy fried chicken bao from Far East Taco. I was going to try their Korean-style tacos, but thought the bao bread would be a better vehicle for the saucy fillings. I think I was right. Though these were pretty good, they got nothing on the Banh Mi Boys.
Tiny Tom donuts for dessert. I considered going for something a bit more crazy—deep fried rice crispy squares maybe—but I can never say no to these greasy little bites of dough.