Apr 21, 2012

Paese Restaurant Review

Paese restaurant is located on King St, in the heart of the theatre district in Toronto... 
As I walked in, there were only 2 other tables seated and it appeared to be very quiet. 

They sat my friend and I in the back we waited a few minutes before anyone brought us a menu. When the menu arrived an older gentleman asked us if we'd had our coffee (which we replied yes) but I did ask if there was a non alcoholic beverage menu. I had asked this because I'm used to seeing the coffee/juice options directly on the brunch menu but this wasn't the case this time. When I asked the waiter looked confused and asked "What do you mean?" And I replied "you know, juices, water...whatever you have". His response was (and I'm not exaggerating) "you want a water menu? I don't buy it..." 
I calmly said, ok, just tap water will be fine, and thanked him. When he returned with my water he said just to let you know, we have [listed juices] and I just said "oh don't worry, ill stick with water, thank you" and he responded "I'm not worried" in such a condescending tone that it was uncomfortable. 

So far I'm not impressed. In fact I'm a little taken aback by the way I've been spoken to. But, I'm still going to wait and see if the food is worth it. 

My order: beet salad, frittata, house made granola, potato hash with short rib. 

My company tried to order eggs just whites, and the kitchen said absolutely not. In fact, the waiters response was "If I do it for you, then ill have to do it for everybody". As I look around, were the ONLY table in the back...ok, there was no arguing. I totally understand that substitutions can't be made when a kitchen is busy but this wasn't the case. 
The waiter tried to make up for the fact that the order couldn't be fulfilled by showing sympathy by saying "I eat the same as you, egg whites only...The Drake [hotel] will do egg whites only if you ask. I go there with my daughter..." To which I replied "great...we'll be going there next time".  He seemed shocked that I would agree to go to a different restaurant that he recommended. 
While waiting for the beet salad the waiter brought a little plate filled with warm toasts and a home made strawberry and rhubarb jam. Very yummy :) 

A short wait later the beet salad came and I was deeply disappointed. there was zero seasoning..no salt, no pepper...nothing. The plate consisted of beets cooked at different doneness. Some cooked, some raw. Some buffala cheese, pomegranate seeds and topped with a pistachio pesto. Sad face.  

I hear a table in ear shot saying they really enjoy their food so I still have high hopes for my frittata and short rib potato hash! 

When all the food came there was some eggs under a small pile of arugala. I moved aside the lettuce to reveal 3 fried eggs with some goat cheese and roasted tomatoes sprinkled with parm cheese. I waited a few moments for the waiter to come back to the table and I told him "I'm sorry, I had ordered the firttata" and he responds "that IS the frittata"...ok, there's no sense in arguing with this man because every interaction I've had with him is an unpleasant one. 

The eggs were fried all together, cooked as if I had ordered 3 sunny side up medium cooked eggs. They still had the clear membrane that flipping them would have diminished.  In my experience, a frittata is a beaten egg dish similar in consistency to a quiche or even omelet in which they incorporate a variety of ingredients including meats, cheeses and vegetables.    

But the potato hash with short ribs was really good. Well cooked potatoes, fried together in a melody of pulled meat, herbs...yum. 

The granola was SO sweet, like painfully sweet..inedible. 

Needless to say, there was a lot of left over food. 

Oh, and for the record, the waiter didn't come by once to ask how the food was. I had to call him over to inform him of my "frittata" misunderstanding, to which he responded AGAIN, for the 3rd time in his condescending manner "I'm not worried" under his breath.

My total bill for everything was $60, until I took another look and noticed there was a glass of unordered wine added to the bill. After the adjustments, it was $46..

Considering the waiter was rude, condescending, the kitchen was unaccommodating for dietary requests when there were only 3 other tables, and the waiter suggested we go to another restaurant to meet our dietary needs, the decor was welcoming and friendly. Since this is an italian restaurant, I would think that for dinner their italian specials are executed better.

Decent prices, not the greatest food, and terrible service. 

Final Verdict:  2/5 (they get 1 each for the jam + hash)

The "Frittata"

Apr 20, 2012


I'm sure a few of you have seen me tweet about my all time favorite dish, Canadian Poutine. Many of you often tweet back "What's poutine?" "Sounds disgusting"...To the people who say it sounds gross. SHAME ON YOU! It's one of the greatest creations Canada has and I will cherish it until my last breath.

Now...As a poutine aficionado, there are certain criteria that must be met before you can call your "poutine" (pronounced "poo-teen" OR "poo-tin") a true poutine.

1. You MUST use salted Quebec cheddar cheese curds....Now, should the problem arise that you don't have access to our snobby french friends great cheese, you could always use other cheddar cheese curds, or even mozzarella (as a last resort)...If you don't have access to cheese curds, don't even bother. Anyone who uses shredded cheese deserves to be slapped in the face...with a leather glove

2. You must also yukon gold potatoes for the french fries. This kind of magic cannot be created with store bought frozen fries or fast food french fries. These must be fried in hot ass oil until a deep golden brown with ultimate crunch.

3. You can't just use any gravy. You must use Poutine Sauce. There's actual gravy made especially for poutines. If you live in Canada (outside of Quebec) you should be able to find it in your grocery store...I've even seen it in the powdered packets at my dollarstore. Should you live anywhere else but Canada like most of you reading this...then...I suppose you could use a high quality beef gravy.

What you are creating will be one of the greatest, most delicious things you will EVER put in your body. You don't want to skimp out on something like the quality of even 1 ingredient. You only have 3 ingredients here, you have to make them count for the ultimate poutine experience.



  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 (10.25 ounce) can beef gravy
  • 5 medium potatoes, cut into fries
  • 2 cups cheese curds


  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). While the oil is heating, you can begin to warm your gravy.
  2. Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes. Make the fries in batches if necessary to allow them room to move a little in the oil. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  3. Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them. Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.

Mina's Notes/Suggestions :


Apr 18, 2012

Easy Duck Confit (really!)

This recipe is beyond easy, and it's not the first time I've made it so I know its really good :)



Ingredients :

- 1 duck leg per person
- Salt

Directions :

 Pat the duck legs dry with paper towels. Find a needle or a very pointy knife and prick the skin of the duck all over. Focus on the skin that covers fat. Do your best to avoid piercing the meat itself by pricking the skin at an angle over the drumstick and the center of the thigh. You are doing this to give the fat that lies under the skin a place to seep out – if you don’t do this, it will be far more difficult to get crispy skin. 

Salt your duck legs well, more than you think you ought to, actually. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine.

 Put the duck legs in a small casserole, skin side up. How small? You want it just big enough to hold the legs. Put a thin sheen of oil or melted duck fat on the bottom of the casserole, then place the duck legs in close together but not overlapping.

Put the casserole in the oven and turn it to 300 degrees; if you have a digital oven, you could even go down to 285 degrees. Do not preheat the oven. You want to cook the duck as gently as possible.

Walk away and watch football, go shopping, read a book or something. How long? Every duck has a different level of fat, so I can’t tell you exactly. But it will be at least 90 minutes, and two hours is better. After 90 minutes, check the duck: It should be partly submerged in melted fat and the skin should be getting crispy.

When the skin is starting to look crispy, turn up the heat to 375 degrees. Check after 15 minutes. You’re looking for a light golden brown. If you missed some spots with the needle and there are places where the skin won’t crisp that’s OK – better that than burnt skin elsewhere.

 Remove from the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating. Save the accumulated fat for cooking vegetables, other meats or for keeping your skin shiny. I strain the fat through cheesecloth, but you really only need to do this if you are saving the fat for several weeks or months; strained, it will keep for 6 months tightly covered in the fridge. Well wrapped, the duck meat itself will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Mina's Notes/Suggestions

- The only suggestion I have is, if you like REALLY crispy skin (why wouldn't you?), then before serving, give it a quick little sear in the frying pan as a final crisper...I find it really helps.

- Also, make sure you save that duck fat in a tupperware! LOADS of recipes would taste WAY better with duck fat added! (Chili, pasta sauces, any savoury dish that uses butter or olive oil at the beginning to sautee something..just substitute for duck fat!)

- I also suggest clicking the source link and reading through some of the comments of other people :)

Happy Eating! <3

Apr 17, 2012

Tuna Pasta Salad

If you're culinarily challenged like a lot of people but would love a great place to start, THIS IS IT!
This dish is SO easy and I love making it both hot and cold...in fact, it actually tastes better cold but sometimes I can't wait for it to cool, lol.

Ingredients :

- some sort of pasta (not a noodle)
- 1 can of tuna
- olive oil
- mixed seasoning of your choice
- salt (for the pasta water)


Cook your pasta by the directions on the box in salted water...strain.

Put back in the pot and strain your tuna and add to the pasta

Add about 6-8 sprinkles of your seasoning of choice...I happen to have Greek

I also added some fresh parsley because I had it in the house..but its really not necessary.
drizzle some olive oil on top to lube everything up nicely and mix around.

Put it in a bowl (optional) and top with parmesan cheese (optional)

Happy Eating! <3

Apr 5, 2012

Simple Roasted Tomatoes

This is actually the first time I tried not only making, but eating roasted tomatoes. Never again will I eat a regular tomato. Something magical happens in the oven where a basic little tomato transforms into a super tomato, with his little flavours amplified and sweetness enhanced... If you have the patience, or want to impress someone, bust out these little bad boys and you'll be beating the ladies off with a stick.. That's a promise ;)



- Any tomatoes of your choice, I chose Grape Tomatoes because I wanted them as sweet as possible
- 3-5 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste)
- dried oregano
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste


 Preheat oven to 325F

 Wash and cut your tomatoes in half (if you're using larger tomatoes, quarter them)
 Place on a lined baking sheet 

 Mince your garlic and sprinkle over tomatoes
 Drizzle just enough olive oil over the tomatoes to make them glisten

 Sprinkle with Oregano, Salt and Pepper 

Bake for an hour or until they are darker in color and the edges start to get wrinkly 

Sorry for the blurry pics!

Mina's Notes/Suggestions :

- This recipe is fairly flexible in regards to temperature, so if you need to use the oven for something else at a higher temperature (up 375F) then you're fine...you can even do it at 400, but keep an eye on them to ensure the garlic, or tomatoes don't burn!

- If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can substitute for garlic power..won't be AS tasty, but will still add to the yumminess

Happy Eating! <3

Apr 3, 2012

Potato Peeling 2.0

I personally prefer skins on my potatoes for the nutrients, but should you prefer to have them naked, heres the fastest way to peel a potato!