Seasons greetings! As we approach the end of 2022, it’s time to look back on all that has happened in the past 365 days. This year welcomed a return to normalcy, with pandemic restrictions lifted allowing us to resume travel. Although we don’t dine out as often as we used to, we nonetheless experienced several food highlights this year, both locally and abroad, that I thought would be fun to summarize.
In January, we rang in the New Year in style with a meal of caviar and champagne. We ordered the caviar and blinis from The Caviar Centre, a family-owned seafood importer based in Toronto.
We had a relatively quiet winter and spring hanging out with our pup Gizmo, and didn’t venture out until May when we made dinner reservations at a new restaurant headed by Toronto icon and chef Matty Matheson, Prime Seafood Palace. This contemporary eatery located on West Queen West serves a steakhouse menu, although we went with the seafood-based selections: uni mille feuille, lobster and ricotta dumplings, and fluke on beurre blanc. Everything was delicious and we’ve been meaning to go back.
With the start of summer, we felt more motivated to go out and had our next meal out at Recette, another new addition to the culinary scene on Queen West. Led by chef Milo Beaubien-Wright of our other Queen West favourite, Chantecler (now permanently closed), this restaurant offers an inventive selection of French-inspired fare. So good.
In June, we went on our first long distance trip since the pandemic, out west to Vancouver and Tofino, British Columbia. We had many good seafood and sushi eats while in Vancouver, and a delectable meal of fish and chips in Tofino (although we suspect that this was the culprit for Mr. Chuckles’ food poisoning).
The warm summer weather in July allowed for us to seek out patio dining and bring Gizmo along. We quickly established ourselves as weekly regulars at Beast Pizza, which used to be best known for their whole animal preparations but have now also become a pizzeria with very unique offerings.
We also revisited an old favourite, Simit & Chai, to try their shakshouka (poached eggs in tomato-based sauce) and Turkish coffee.
We had many burgers at Matty’s Patty’s Burger Club during lunchtime walks with Gizmo at Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Sometimes we would switch things up with a slice at Pizzeria Badiali.
And we frequented Castle & Coal for their baked goods, with highlights including the eat-in dessert of Ontario blueberry and corn cream mille feuille, and their caneles de Bordeaux.
At the end of summer in August, we welcomed the return of the Canadian National Exhibition and experimented on our palates with a few of this year’s weird concoctions, including the ketchup and mustard ice creams.
In September, we set off on our first international trip in nearly two years, travelling to London and Iceland. We enjoyed several delicious meals in London, our favourite of which was the Indian food at Dishoom. We also discovered cream tea during our visit to the Cotswolds.
While in Iceland, we ate several of their classic lamb hot dogs which I still crave.
We’ve gone back into hibernation mode as winter starts, with Mr. Chuckles’ testing out some new creations at home. He made a yummy tiramisu alla Romana, consisting of yolk-rich zabaglione with full fat mascarpone folded in; and layered with chocolate and biscotti dipped in a mixture of espresso, maple syrup, and del capo amaro. Cocoa powder dust is spiced and ground with espresso beans soaked in amaro as well.
He also cooked up a masterful mac and cheese with pulled pork, prepared on our Kamado Joe grill.
In December, we celebrated a family birthday at another old favourite spot, Terroni. Here, I discovered affogato alla crema, a dessert of crema gelato and dark chocolate, topped with with a shot of espresso.
While at home, I’ve been ordering in from yet another old favourite, UFO Restaurant, for Vietnamese classics including bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup).
And most recently, a bowl of pork bone soup from Kimchi Korea House.
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season, with more good eats and travel adventures to come!
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