Tag Archives: toronto

Fattoush Salad

16 Mar

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Disclosure: I received a gift card from Ozery’s Pita Break to purchase the ingredients for this recipe.

I’ve been in a salad rut for some time now and it was time to push myself out of the bad habit of making the same salads over and over again. One of the things I enjoy doing the most is trying to replicate my favourite restaurant dishes at home, especially the ones I spend the most money on : )

One salad I adore is a Middle Eastern one called Fattoush (the spelling varies). I often order it when I’m out and I knew that the ingredients were simple enough for me to make the salad at home. I got the little push that I needed to make it when the folks at Ozery’s Pita Break, an awesome company that started right here in Toronto, asked me if I would like to try and make a recipe with their pita products. Ozery’s produces a number of bread products including flatbreads, buns, pitas and crackers that are free of artificial preservatives, colours, flavours and additives. I live in a Jewish neighbourhood, so another point I wanted to share is that all of Ozery’s products are certified as kosher under the Orthodox KSA (Kashruth Supervision of America) organization. In other words, no dairy or animal products or by-products are used, making them great for vegetarians and vegans. Some of my favourite Ozery’s Pita Break products include:

 

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A search online will show that there are many ways to make a Fattoush Salad but I chose to make it the way I enjoy it the most, with basic ingredients and a lovely spice called sumac.

“Sumac is the berry of a shrub that grows in the Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East. It is little known in Western cuisine, but it is an essential ingredient in Arab and especially Lebanese cooking. It has a tart, fruity flavour, and is used to add acidity to food in the same way that lemon is used in Canada and tamarind is used in Asian countries.” (Source: The Silk Road Spice Merchant – http://www.silkroadspices.ca/products/sumac)

The recipe below is my creation and it’s a mashup of several recipes I reviewed online. You can add additional ingredients such as torn romaine lettuce, chopped green, yellow or red pepper, purslane, arugula, radish or use a creamy dressing….as you can see, there are tons of options. If you make your Fattoush Salad a different way, I would love to try it! Please leave a comment below the post or connect with me on Twitter @savvari. Enjoy!

Fattoush Salad

Creator: Sandy Avvari-Nayani – http://www.milkandeggs.ca

Ingredients:

Toasted Pita

2 tablespoons olive oil

One Ozery’s Pita Break Large Regular Pita, split in half to make two separate layers, then tear each layer into bite-sized pieces or cut the pita into 1-inch square pieces.

Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons sumac (found at most Middle Eastern grocery stores)

Salad Ingredients

3 plum tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways, chopped (or a medium-sized English cucumber, halved lengthways, chopped)

½ a medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sumac

Kosher salt (for seasoning)

Preparation:

Toast the pita: I used my toaster oven to toast the pita pieces. Line your baking tray with parchment paper. Place the pita pieces in a bowl and toss them with the olive oil. Spread the pita pieces onto the parchment-lined baking tray. Toast in the toaster oven until they are crunchy, likely about 3-4 minutes depending on the settings on your toaster. Watch carefully to make sure they brown but do not burn! Once ready, transfer pieces back to the bowl and set aside.

Make the salad dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar or other container with a tight fitting lid. Secure lid. Shake until well combined. Set aside.

Salad: Place tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, parsley and mint leaves in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with sumac. Drizzle with dressing. Toss gently to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt.

Add toasted pita pieces to the salad. Toss gently and serve. Taste again and add more kosher salt and lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately.

Sandy’s notes: I tried this salad with Ozery’s Organic Whole Wheat Pita as well and it was also delicious. In order to stay “true” to the original recipes for Fattoush Salad however, their plain pita is the best option.

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To learn more about Ozery’s Pita Break, please visit:

Website: www.pitabreak.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ozerybakery.pitabreak

Twitter: @OzeryBakery or www.twitter.com/ozerybakery

 

CONTEST: Enter to win an Ozery’s Pita Break prize pack!

This prize is valued at over $110 and it includes:

  • A range of Ozery’s Pita Break products
  • Toaster
  • Cutting Board
  • Bowl Dip Set

You can earn entries by doing the following:

  1. Leave a comment below this blog post and tell me what your favourite way to enjoy pita bread is. Do you like to dip it? Stuff it with toppings? Make a pizza? Maybe you’ll teach me something new!
  1. Follow both me Sandy Avvari-Nayani @savvari and Ozery’s Pita Break @OzeryBakery on Twitter. Then, retweet my tweet about this blog post/contest from my Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/savvari

Additional Info:

The contest begins on March 16, 2015 and will end on Tuesday March 31, 2015 at 12 pm EST. The winner will be announced later that day.

You can enter via each method once per day until the end of the contest.

The contest is only open to Canadians with a Canadian shipping address. Ozery’s Pita Break will ship the prize package directly to the winner’s home.

Good luck!

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Tasty bites at Dr.Laffa Restaurant

13 Mar

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I recently had the opportunity to visit Dr. Laffa Restaurant in North York, Ontario for a family-style tasting session with a group of fellow food lovers. Like me, you’re probably wondering what this restaurant’s name is all about. Well, Yoram Gabay and his passionate team are serving up some tasty Israeli and Iraqi cuisine for their faithful customers, along with their delicious laffa bread, which is served alongside dishes or as a wrap.

Yoram came out from his busy kitchen to tell us a little bit about Dr.Laffa Restaurant. He wanted to create a restaurant in Toronto that featured the food and flavours he cherished the most back home. He tries to make everything as authentic as possible, going so far as to have spices specially delivered from his homeland every few weeks. He even designed his own laffa oven, so he could recreate his recipe perfectly.

After a warm welcome from the Dr.Laffa team, the share plates of dishes started to come out of the kitchen in a steady stream. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they had quite a few vegetarian dishes on their menu, including a number of salads, dips, mains and sides. I love meals with lots of different things to try, so their cuisine was absolutely perfect for me.

Vegetarian Highlights:

Fresh laffa

This is why I wanted to visit Dr.Laffa Restaurant in the first place. I was dying to try this special bread that I kept reading about. Laffa is fresh chewy flatbread of medium thickness that to me tasted mostly like naan (an East Indian flatbread). Naan is fairly easy to tear and I found that the laffa bread didn’t necessarily tear easily, which is a good thing as it is widely used in sandwiches and wraps.

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Fresh, hot laffa!

Salads, dips and sides

Marinated beets, roasted peppers, tabouli, baba ganouj, falafel, grilled eggplant with tahini….there were so many fresh and tasty choices at Dr.Laffa. If you’re having trouble choosing what to try, don’t worry too much, you can order a platter with a variety of different items on it.

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Clockwise from top left: Hummus with fried eggplant, baba ghanouj, marinated beets, tabbouleh, roasted eggplant with tomato

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Hummus with fried eggplant and tahini

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Grilled eggplant with tahini

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Fresh, piping hot french fries

Sabich

I enjoyed these tasty potato fritters, they reminded me of pakoras, another type of fritter that’s common in East Indian cuisine. They were served with a sour mango sauce that one of the chefs said would take it to “the next level” and he was absolutely right! The sauce enhanced the flavours in the fritters and created a whole set of new flavours when everything was mixed together. They serve these fritters in a sandwich which they also call Sabich, so I found it a bit confusing! The sandwich contains these fritters, eggplant, hard boiled egg and your choice of toppings. Since we were tasting a ton of food as a group, we had the fritters straight up, but I’m looking forward to trying them in a sandwich on my next visit. They can also be purchased in the Sabich Plate, which includes the fritters and several salads.

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Fresh, hot sabich. Have them with sour mango sauce and watch your tastebuds explode : )

Shakshuka

My favourite dish of the night was their Shakshuka, an absolutely delicious piping hot skillet of stewed tomato sauce with poached eggs. I’ve had Shakshuka at a few restaurants in Toronto but this was my favourite version so far. Their tomato stew included small pieces of vegetables and beans along with a delicious mix of spices that I’ve never tasted before. It was so comforting… every bite just warmed up my tummy, the seasoning was perfect and the spices just took everything to another level. I can’t wait to bring my husband and son in sometime soon to share a skillet of Shakshuka with some fresh laffa.

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My favourite dish of the night, Dr.Laffa’s Shakshuka. Hearty, piping hot and packed with flavour!

Many thanks to Yoram Gabay and the hardworking team at Dr. Laffa for introducing me to their food. Thank you Vicky @momwhoruns for the invitation! I’m already looking forward to my next visit, this time with my meat-loving husband, as I know he would enjoy their Shawarma Laffa, Dr. Laffa Hummus (with ground meat and pine nuts) and their Pasties Plate a.k.a Moroccan Cigars (phyllo rolls with a meat filling). All of these dishes were very popular with the others at the table, so I know he’ll love them too.

Restaurant Info:

Important!

This is a Kosher restaurant, so they are NOT open after sundown on Friday’s. They are also closed on Saturdays. Please call the restaurant before heading over there so you won’t be disappointed!

Dr. Laffa Restaurant

3027 Bathurst St

North York, Ontario

M6B 3B5

Tel: 647-352-9000 or 647-352-9001

Website: http://www.drlaffa.com

Twitter: @DrLaffa

Instagram: @Dr.Laffa

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/18iq0yM

Win tickets to the VIP Preview Evening of the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

3 Nov

LogoDisclosure: I’ve received a pair of VIP Preview Evening tickets for the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, for my own use.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is back in Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Nov 20-23 and as usual it promises to be an exciting weekend of amazing food and wine. This year, the weekend will feature special appearances from Chef Lynn Crawford, Chef David Rocco and other great Canadian chefs, cheese seminars from Dairy Farmers of Canada and demos on the Food Network Canada stage, to mention a few of the many great reasons to attend the show.

I’m thrilled to share that I have TWO pairs of tickets to the VIP Preview Evening on Thursday November 20, 2014 to give away to the readers of Milk & Eggs and my friends on Twitter.

Here’s how you can enter:

1) Follow me on Twitter at @savvari

2) Retweet one of my tweets about the contest. One entry per person.

3) If you don’t use Twitter or wish to get an extra entry, leave a comment below this blog post and tell me why you want to go to the VIP Preview Evening. Please be sure to leave your Twitter handle, email address or Facebook page name in your post so I can reach you if you win. One entry per person.

The contest closes on Thursday November 13 at 12 noon EST. The winners will be chosen at random and will be announced on Thursday November 13, after the draw takes place, via my Twitter account @savvari

Each ticket is valued at $45 ($90 value for each of the two pairs).

Note: You can only win one pair of tickets.

Good luck and I hope to see you at the VIP Preview Evening!

Learn more about the upcoming Gourmet Food & Wine Expo:

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/

Twitter: @GFWE Hashtag: #GFWE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gourmetfoodandwine

Contest – Enter to Win High Tea for Two at the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto!

20 Mar

Shangri La Hotel Toronto Logo

On Tuesday March 25, 2014 I’ve been invited to attend a dinner event at Bosk, the signature restaurant at the fabulous Shangri-La hotel in Toronto to preview their new menu! I’ve heard great things about the cuisine and ambience at Bosk and I’m looking forward to trying their vegetarian options and sharing my experience on my blog.

Not only do I get to enjoy this experience but guess what….there’s a benefit for the readers of my blog too!  You’ll have a chance to enter to win a one of a kind High Tea experience at the Lobby Lounge in the Shangri-La hotel!

See the image below for everything you need to know about this special contest that will run ONLY on Tuesday March 25! Good luck and remember, you can only enter on Tuesday March 25 between 6 pm and 10 pm EST.

High Tea Contest

I can’t wait to visit the Shangri-La hotel and share my experience with all of you, it’s definitely going to be a fabulous evening!

For more information about the Shangri-La hotel in Toronto, please visit: http://www.shangri-la.com/toronto/

Twitter: @ShangriLaTO or www.twitter.com/ShangriLaTO

For more information about Bosk, the signature restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel, Toronto: http://www.shangri-la.com/toronto/shangrila/dining/restaurants/bosk/

Twitter: @BoskTO or www.twitter.com/BoskTO

Don’t forget, the official hashtag for the March 25 special event and contest is #iheartbosk

Good luck and don’t forget to follow my tweets at @savvari or www.twitter.com/savvari that evening to be able to enter to win the High Tea experience!

 

Cooking with Fresh Canteen – Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salad

31 Oct

Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salada

Disclosure: I received a free recipe/ingredient delivery from Fresh Canteen. 

A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to try Fresh Canteen, a Toronto-based recipe and ingredient delivery service that helps to take the stress out of meal planning and grocery shopping. Ingredients and a recipe delivered to my home so my husband and I had dinner taken care of on a weekday night? Yes please!

Fresh Canteen’s concept is simple – choose recipes from their beautiful website, have the ingredients delivered to you and cook your own tasty meals. The folks at Fresh Canteen freely share their recipes and instructions on their website, giving customers a chance to see if they find the recipe appealing and suitable to their skill level. If you order by 11:59 pm on a Friday, you would receive your box with all ingredients and instructions from 12 pm to 8 pm the following Tuesday. When I advised the fine folks at Fresh Canteen that I was vegetarian, they suggested that I try their Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salad. To be honest, my husband and I weren’t sure about it at first…chocolate in chili? However, we both decided to be good sports about it and give it a try.

The box was at my door when I got home on the Tuesday evening. I was excited to open it up and see what was inside. All of the ingredients were housed in an insulated package with a gel ice pack included, keeping everything fresh and cold. The first thing I pulled out was the recipe card and instructions, which came neatly packaged in a plastic sleeve for protection.

The recipe, all wrapped up in a bag

Next, I laid out all of my ingredients and was thrilled to see how well packaged and fresh everything was. In some cases, I knew that I had just the right amount for the recipe and in other cases, I knew I would have a little bit extra, so I could use it for something else (yay for extra fresh dill!).

The ingredients

Here we go….

Ancho Chocolate Chili with Dill & Green Bean Salad

Recipe link (courtesy of Fresh Canteen): http://www.freshcanteen.com/recipes/47-ancho-chocolate-chili

Ingredients:

1/2 can pinto or romano beans

1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp chopped garlic (2-3 cloves)

1/2 c sliced red onion

1/2 c sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup of canned corn (drained)

1/2 c zucchini

Swiss chard

1 can diced tomatoes

Green beans

Dill

Shallot

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp mayonnaise

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Olive oil

1 cup of rice

Directions:

Step 1:

  • Wash & dry all fresh produce & have a quick read of the recipe
  • Put a small pot, large enough to hold your green beans, on to boil with a pinch of salt
  • Thinly slice the onion & mushrooms
  • Finely chop the shallot
  • Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Remove the stem from the Swiss chard & chop the stem in to 1/2 inch pieces, slice the leafy part in to ribbons
  • Finely chop the garlic
  • Grate the chocolate on a separate plate
  • Trim the green beans
  • Chop the dill
  • Open & rinse beans and open can of tomatoes

Fresh veggies

Step 2:

  • In a small bowl mix the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon & salt

Spices

Step 3:

  • Rinse the rice under cold water, bring 2 c of water to a boil with a pinch of salt, add the rice return to boil cover & simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff rice when done & let sit
  • Boil your green beans until crunchy, 3-5 minutes, drain, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking & set aside in the fridge

Fluffy rice!

Step 4:

  • In a medium to large saucepan, heat over medium heat 2 Tbsp olive oil until shimmering, sauté garlic for 1 minute, add onion, chopped swiss chard stems & cook for 3-5 minutes longer
  • Add your mushrooms, corn, zucchini, swiss chard leaves & 1/4 c water
  • Cook covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Mix in your spice mixture, stir in the chocolate & tomatoes. Reduce heat & simmer, covered for 10 minutes, add the beans & cook covered for another 5

Ancho Chocolate Chili

Step 5:

  • Prepare your salad dressing
  • In a small jar with a tight lid or a Tupperware container mix:
  • 1 tsp Dijon, 1 1/2 tsp shallot, 1/2 tsp mayo, 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, 3 Tbsp olive oil & shake to combine

Dressing for the Dill & Green Bean Salad

Step 6:

  • Dress your green beans (you may not need all the dressing) & add 2 Tbsp chopped dill (more if you like dill). Taste & season with salt & pepper
  • Plate a big bowl of chili with rice on the side & green beans. Perfect.

The verdict:

The Ancho Chocolate Chili was delicious! After worrying so much about putting chocolate in the chili, my husband and I both agreed that it gave a nice flavour to the dish. There were a ton of great vegetables in the recipe, which we both loved. The bonus? We had enough for lunch the following day.

I enjoyed the Dill & Green Bean Salad as well. Since my husband isn’t a big fan of dill, I left the dill out of the salad dressing recipe and simply topped mine with chopped dill afterward.

Being East Indian, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that it took this recipe test for me to finally make rice on the stove, as I’ve been a plug-in rice cooker girl all my life! The rice was so fluffy and delicious that I might be giving up my rice cooker soon (not yet, but soon!).

After trying the service, I would definitely recommend it to the following groups:

  • Busy singles, couples, families who want to have everything on hand to make a great meal, without the stress of meal planning and shopping
  • People who cannot go grocery shopping for themselves but want to be able to cook tasty meals at home
  • Those who want to learn how to cook in the privacy of their own home, as the instructions are fairly easy to follow
  • Lastly, for those who like to throw weeknight dinner parties, this service can provide everything you need for an appetizer and main dish. The recipes and suggested plating look quite swanky too!

On a recent visit to the site, I was able to order 4 dishes for 4 people and it came to a cost of $11.25 per person, per dish (Note: this depends on what meals are chosen of course). I thought that the cost was pretty reasonable, considering that it includes all ingredients, the recipes and home delivery. Overall, we had a great time testing out the service and enjoy our meal.

Thanks Fresh Canteen for the opportunity, I can’t wait to try your services again!

For more information, please visit: http://www.freshcanteen.com/. You can also reach them at hello [at] freshcanteen [dot] com or call 1 (855) 416 FRESH

Have you tried Fresh Canteen? What did you think? If not, what are you waiting for?!?!

Biting Into Summer with Fruttare + a contest!

24 Jul

Disclaimer: I received a free coupon to try a box of Fruttare Fruit & Milk Bars. I did not receive any compensation from Unilever Canada for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.  

It was a hot, sticky night last Wednesday when two of my favourite performers, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake, were in town for their Legends of Summer tour. Between the heat, the crowds of people and the excitement, we left the concert desperately needing something cold and refreshing. All of a sudden, there they were….little Fruttare carts! After hearing so much about Fruttare Bars, I was looking forward to trying the Fruttare Fruit & Milk Bar in Banana & Milk and luckily, the cart I went to had the exact flavour I was looking for. I tore into the wrapper, took a bite and I was instantly happy. The flavour was exactly what I was looking for, in that it tasted like a cross between a ripe banana and banana pudding. It was cold, creamy and rich-tasting, which was perfectly fine because the bar was just the right size for me.

Fruttare_BananaI had a coupon for Fruttare at home that I hadn’t used, so the following day I decided to pick up a box of Fruttare Fruit & Juice Bars in the Mango flavour. Coming from an East Indian household, the word mango automatically equals awesome/must have, so I knew that my family would be interested in trying them. As soon as I bit into the bar, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bar did have a true mango flavour and wasn’t too sweet. How did they do that?! My husband thought it had just the right amount of sweetness as well. Overall, I considered our Fruttare taste test to be a success! I still need to try the Peach & Milk and Coconut & Milk flavours…so many flavours, so little of summer left…le sigh.

According to their Canadian website, Fruttare Bars come in two types:

Fruttare Fruit & Milk Bars

Flavours:

• Strawberry & Milk: Luscious pieces of strawberries blended with milk

• Banana & Milk: Bursting with the flavour of sweet bananas and milk

• Peach & Milk: The delicious taste of real peaches blended with milk

• Coconut & Milk: Transport yourself to the tropics with the taste of coconut and real milk

Fruttare Fruit & Juice Bars

Flavours:

• Strawberry: Made with real strawberries that you can see and taste

• Mango: Bursting with real fruit taste of delicious mango

You can find Fruttare bars in major Canadian grocery stores. Let me know if you have any flavour recommendations for me! If you haven’t tried Fruttare Bars and want to, I have a little contest for you….

CONTEST:

The fine folks at Fruttare want to give one reader of Milk & Eggs a set of four Fruttare coupons, to help keep your freezer stocked with tasty frozen treats!

TO ENTER:

Visit http://www.fruttare.ca/ to learn about all of the delicious flavours of Fruttare Bars. Then, leave a comment on this blog post and tell me which Fruttare flavor you want to try the most. It’s that easy!

P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle or Facebook/blog site address so I know how to reach you! You can enter once per day. Contest closes on Wednesday July 31 at 5 pm. Winner will be announced later that evening.

Note: You must be a resident of Canada to win. Coupons will only be mailed to a Canadian address. Good luck!

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This contest is now closed. Congrats to @kateplummer for winning!

 

The Art of Marketing in Toronto on June 5 + a special offer!

12 May

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It’s almost June, which means that it’s almost time for my favourite conference of the year, The Art of Marketing! I’ve attended this amazing conference for the past 3 years and I think this year they’ve outdone themselves…the co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, is speaking! I’ve been using Twitter for the past four years and it really has changed my life. I’ve had so many great experiences and I’ve met some terrific people in the past few years, so I would love nothing more than to hear from one of the people that started it all.

This year’s incredible lineup of speakers includes:

Biz Stone – co-founder of Twitter

Seth Godin – New York Times Bestselling Author, Purple Cow, Tribes, Poke the Box & Linchpin

Charles Duhigg – New York Times Investigative Reporter & Bestselling Author, The Power of Habit

Jonah Berger – Professor of Viral Marketing at University of Pennsylvania and Author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On

David Usher – Juno Award Winning Musician & Creativity Expert

For the full list of speakers and bios visit: http://www.theartof.com/marketing-toronto-2013/speakers

In addition to hearing from top notch speakers, I look forward to the networking breaks as it’s a great time to catch up with former colleagues and friends from Twitter. I feed off of the energy of others and I love the boost I get when I spend the day surrounded by people who are passionate and excited about what they do. If you do decide to attend, please let me know, as it would be great to meet up or have lunch during the break (that’s the foodie in me talking!).

Event Details:

When: Wednesday June 5, 2013

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Time: 8:45 am to 5:00 pm

Website: http://bit.ly/XIQcXs

You can follow The Art of Productions on Twitter at @TheArtOf  and follow the conference hashtag at #TheArtOf

GREAT NEWS! The good folks at The Art of Productions Inc., would like to give the readers of Milk & Eggs a SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER on tickets…

SPECIAL OFFER! Use exclusive discount code TWITTERFAN to save $50 on your ticket! Even better, if you purchase 3 or more tickets using the above code, you’ll be eligible to save $100 per ticket.

To learn more and buy tickets using the special discount code, visit http://email.theartof.com/KT13/TWITTERFAN/

Use promo code TWITTERFAN to save up to $100 per ticket!

Disclaimer: I’ve received a ticket to The Art of Marketing conference for writing this post. Seriously though, I would have bought a ticket anyway. You should get one too. Now. 

Alimento brings a taste of Italy to King West

30 Jul

Last week, I had an opportunity to check out the new BarMozza restaurant and market at Alimento when I was invited to their media event. As soon as I walked in I fell in love with the place as I was greeted by great smells coming from the kitchen and a beautiful setup of two long tables to seat all of the guests. The brick walls and wooden floors added warmth to the room and I instantly felt right at home in the space.

With a drink in hand, we set off on a tour of Alimento which is an Italian market, bakery and restaurant (BarMozza) all under one roof. I experienced foodie sensory overload as there was so much goodness to take in all at once. Racks and racks of Italian specialty products filled the market, including high-end pastas, gluten-free items, gorgeous fresh produce, an antipasto bar, pre-made meal area, a beautiful bakery case and the best-looking cheese counter I’ve seen since my trip to Italy last year. There were so many cheeses available (over 140 types) that my head was spinning as I wanted to try each and every one. I could easily spend hours wandering through Alimento to check out their goodies!

While on the tour, I found out that the owners of Alimento also own the six Grande Cheese locations in the GTA and it explained everything. I live near the Grande Cheese location in Richmond Hill and it’s my favourite local shop for specialty Italian products and some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.  Alimento is on another level entirely and it reminded me of some of the sophisticated gourmet food shops I had visited in Europe and the U.S. It’s a perfect fit with all of the creative agencies, clubs and restaurants that fill the King West area.

After seeing all of the fresh produce, the bakery and the great selection of cheeses I couldn’t wait to have dinner at BarMozza. We started with family-style appetizer platters filled with an assortment of cheeses, meats and bread. The fine folks at Alimento were kind enough to serve me a vegetarian-friendly plate of cheeses to start off my meal and with that, I knew that I needed to buckle my seatbelt for the long foodie ride ahead…

I started with the Verde Salad which contained green beans, garlic, tons of delicious pistachios and aged Caciocavallo cheese with a lemon vinaigrette. It was a nice, fresh and hearty salad that was a great example of how delicious vegetarian food could really be.

Next up was the Risotto Nella Ruota which contained Arborio rice, cream, Parmigiano cheese and Tartufo Nero (black truffle). We watched Chef Joe Friday prepare it in a hollowed-out Parmigiano wheel, scraping tasty bits of Parmigiano cheese into the risotto as he stirred. It was delicious but it was hands down the richest risotto I had ever tried, so I was only able to handle only a few spoons of it.

Just when I thought I had eaten enough, my main dish arrived and it was lasagna with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte, Basil Ricotta and spinach. It was so delicious that I ate the whole thing and I would have licked the last of the basil pesto off of my plate if I wasn’t in mixed company : )

We ended off with Pasticcini Misti, a mixed board of pastries to share from Alimento’s pastry team. One of my favourites was the Pine Nut Honey Tart Cake, which surprised me as I’m not usually a fan of pine nuts. The pine nuts were cooked in a honey topping, so they ended up soft and creamy, which was a great contrast to the tart crust.

A tasty dark chocolate tart with pistachios was a hit in my books as well. After visiting Italy last year, I’ve become a bit of an espresso connoisseur and I will only order it if I’m in a true Italian establishment. Alimento’s espresso definitely hit the spot and was the perfect end to a great meal!

See you soon Alimento, this vegetarian will definitely be back!

Info: 

Alimento Fine Food Emporium

522 King Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5V 1L7

Tel: (416) 362 – 0123

Website: http://www.alimento.ca/

Facebook:  Alimento Fine Food Emporium

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/alimentofoods

The Art of Leadership in Toronto on June 5 + a special discount and a CONTEST!

20 May

TAOL

I have always enjoyed conferences, as the opportunity to network and hear from industry leaders is priceless. I feed off of the energy of others and there is nothing better than being surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do. With so many conferences and seminars to choose from, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not easy to decide where to invest your money and time…

One organization that consistently puts on great conferences is The Art of Productions. I have been attending one their annual conferences, The Art of Marketing, for several years now and it is one of the BEST in Toronto. Luckily, they have another fantastic one coming up in Toronto on Tuesday June 5 called The Art of Leadership. This one day conference features six internationally renowned bestselling authors and visionaries, who will share real world experience on today’s most critical leadership issues. I’m looking forward to learning from these industry leaders and I hope to use the takeaways to improve on my leadership skills. If you decide to attend, please let me know! Perhaps we can have lunch? (That was the foodie in me talking!)…

This year’s speakers at The Art of Leadership include:

Marcus Buckingham

Vijay Govindarajan

Chester Elton

Susan Cain

Stephen Shapiro

Leonard Brody

For a full list of speakers and bios visit: http://www.theartof.com/leadership-toronto-2012/speakers

Event Details:

When: Tuesday June 5, 2012

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Time: 8:45 am to 5:00 pm

Website: http://bit.ly/taol2012

GREAT NEWS! The good folks at The Art of Productions Inc., would like to give the readers of Milk & Eggs a SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER on tickets…

Use discount code TOSOCIAL to save $50 on your ticket! Even better, if you purchase 3 or more tickets using the above code, you’ll be eligible to save $100 per ticket!

To learn more and buy tickets, visit http://bit.ly/taol2012 and follow them on Twitter at @TheArtOf or at http://www.twitter.com/TheArtOf

Here comes the best part…

CONTEST – Win ONE ticket ($399 value!) to The Art of Leadership in Toronto on June 5!

To enter on Twitter:

Follow @savvari and @TheArtOf on Twitter

Tweet this exact line:

@savvari I want to win a ticket to The Art of Leadership http://bit.ly/taol2012 on June 5!  #TAOL

AND/OR

Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you want to attend The Art of Leadership.

If you tweet AND leave a comment below, you’ll get 2 entries!

Hurry! Contest closes on Friday May 25 at 12 pm EST. The winner will be announced later that day. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I’ve received a ticket to The Art of Leadership conference for writing this post. 

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WINNER!!! 

Congrats to @doomzTO Casey Palmer for winning the #TAOL contest! You’ve won a ticket to The Art of Leadership on June 5, compliments of The Art of Productions. 

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Chipotle Mexican Grill at 123 Front Street W. + a CONTEST!

3 Feb

One of my favourite restaurants from the U.S. is Chipotle and I was thrilled when they brought the chain to Toronto a few years ago. The great news is that they recently opened their third restaurant at 123 Front Street West! It’s just down the street from Union Station and the location is perfect for quick dinner before a game at the Air Canada Centre or Rogers Centre.

If you’ve never been to Chipotle, they specialize in burritos, tacos and other fresh Mexican goodies. It’s a great place to grab a quick bite and unlike most other fast food chains, they have some tasty options for vegetarians (yay!). Since it had been awhile since my last Chipotle experience, I knew that I had to start off with their famous chips and medium salsa (sadly, I’m allergic to avocados and can’t have guacamole – yes, I know this is a tragic!). Their salsa has such a great, fresh and lively flavour that it’s pretty addictive (if it weren’t for my dining companion Andrea, I would’ve eaten it all up with a spoon!).

Usually when I visit Chipotle, I’m all about the burritos but after having a late lunch, I wasn’t hungry enough to do justice to one. Andrea suggested that I try a Burrito Bowl, which really is a burrito without the wrapper. There are a number of great vegetarian ingredients available at Chipotle, so I loaded them into my Burrito Bowl. I added some of my favourite ingredients including the vegetarian black beans and chili-corn salsa. Since my last visit, they added a new cilantro-lime rice made with brown rice, which was really tasty. Lastly, I added some fajita vegetables, sour cream and lettuce and I was all set. It was delish!

All of the ingredients are FRESH and the staff (who are amazing by the way!) will be the first to tell you that don’t freeze anything. Visit http://www.chipotle.com to learn more about the company and check out the menu.

Now, here comes the fun part… 

CONTEST – Win dinner for two at Chipotle (2 dinners to give away!)

My friends at Chipotle have given me two sets of Burrito Bucks to give away! The Burrito Bucks can be used at any Chipotle restaurant in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) until Tuesday February 28 – so yes, this will be a quick contest!

There are 2 ways to enter:

OPTION #1 – If you’re on Twitter – Tweet the following message:

@savvari I want to win dinner for two at Chipotle! #ChipotleTO

OPTION #2 – If you’re not on Twitter, leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what you would order at Chipotle with your Burrito Bucks. You can check out the Chipotle menu here at http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/menu.aspx– yum!

 Contest closes on Tuesday February 7 at 12 pm EST, so get your entries in quickly!

IMPORTANT!

-You can only enter once per day.

-You MUST be from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) to win.

-The Burrito Bucks are only valid at the following locations in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area):

  • 123 Front Street West,Toronto(near Union Station)
  • 323 Yonge Street (Yonge and Dundas)
  • 2323 Yonge Street (Yonge and Eglinton)

These Burrito Bucks expire on Tuesday February 28, so if you win, you will have to use them quickly!

Good luck!

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WINNERS! 

Congrats to @iamvickytam and @anumhashim for winning the #ChipotleTO contest! Your Burrito Bucks are going in the mail tonight!

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