Anticipation is an emotion I have always associated with traveling. My imagination runs wild when I begin to fantasize of adventures that may come about while exploring new city streets. My appetite grows when I wonder how other communities offer and enjoy hospitality. After all, good food, good wine and pleasant company is what unites all cultures and civilizations! With an additional dash of architectural design and style, we are ready for a weekend well spent!
Toronto is a culturally rich city, as one would expect. It is full of youth and beauty and clearly evokes a certain standard of living. Not only is this prominent by the amount of Audi’s and Porsche’s on the roads; but the restaurants and rooftop bars have an attention to detail which tailors to Toronto’s vibrant millennial culture. For the first time in my career I have been more delighted by the atmosphere and design of Toronto eateries than I was impressed by the food. I experienced no terrible meal of course, but I found myself more in awe at color schemes and fabric choices than at flavor combinations. I am looking forward to returning and experiencing the internationally acclaimed Canoe and Aloe, but for an introdutory visit, feast your eyes and your appetite on the following:
Make it a point to visit Colette, a more than French Bistro located on Wellington St. The interior is designed by Gianpiero Pugliese and boasts of full Parisian-style throughout the bakery, café, bar and library. The dining room and wrap around terrace decorated with topiaries and scalloped valances are beyond regal. The chandeliers which hang from a high ceiling will have you question if you are dining at Versailles. Join for Saturday brunch and begin your Toronto adventures at Colette. Savor French favorites such as a croque monsieur or madame and sip your coffee with pinkies up.
Art Deco meets Italian Renaissance at Oretta. Located on the see and be seen King St., Oretta’s clashy pastel, jewel toned interior paired with stiking accents of gold inspire pure dolce vita. Their menu is designed for anytime of day (oretta translates into any hour) and offers seasonal Italian favorites that will please anyone. Pizzas are thin crusted and delicious, their pastas are flavorful and plentiful. Their mostly all Italian wine list is impressive. Though, nothing is more impressive than Oretta’s airy sophistication.
For Soigné ingredients and a direct view of the CN Tower, visit Lavelle. This rooftop bar also located on King St. may give off Jersey Shore nightclub vibes at first, but those vibes will quickly turn into luxe sophistication. Chef Romain Avril helms the kitchen, and though Michelin has yet to arrive in Canada, Chef Avril is serving up Michelin quality. Cocktails are inventive and certainly pack a punch for your buck. Spend your day at Lavelle and enjoy the Canadian breeze with a view!
Foie Gras is without a doubt one of my favorite foods. The first time I had Foie Gras was at this little French Bistro in Chicago called The Red Rooster. Located on the corner of Halsted and Armitage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, The Red Rooster was steps away from legendary Charlie Trotter’s and Alinea. The quaint bistro has since closed, but I have fond memories that my taste buds thank me for!
Perfectly seared Foie Gras should be crisp and well brown, and seared to a medium well. The texture is smooth and almost custard like. A common pairing for Foie Gras are figs. Their sweet jammy quality cuts through the richness, and provides a mouthwatering sensation. Any fruit compote is delicious. I used my homemade strawberry vanilla jam.
Foie gras is grown on only three farms in the United States. American Foie Gras ducks are amongst the most well-treated farm animals in the country. Choose grade “A” lobes from Bella Bella Gourmet, who sells Foie produced by La Belle Farms, a small-scale poultry farm in Ferndale, New York.
There is no technical reason to score your Foie Gras. Unlike Duck skin, Foie Gras will not curl when heated up. Most Chefs score their Foie Gras for appearance.
Make sure your pan is sizzling before you add your piece of Foie. It is normal for smoke to appear as soon as you add your Foie to the pan. Each side of Foie Gras should take no more than 30 seconds to cook.
Don’t forget to let it rest!
Friday’s during Lent have always been a challenge for me. I’m a huge meat eater, and my days blur together so much, it’s often hard for me to remember when Friday even is.
For a culinary and hospitality professional this should be a delightful challenge! Well, Lent 2017 is when I decided to embrace my faith (even more) and indulge in Lenten Friday’s. After all, fasting is all about sacrifice. Lent is precisely the time when we should not let go of ourselves or our standards.
Truly one of the over looked glories of Catalan cuisine is the poor cousin of paella. Assembled from noodles and seafood, Fideuà has been sustaining Valencian fishermen, (and upper east side enthusiasts) for generations!
At Home Soigné is accommodating to all allergies and dietary restrictions. The menu below is an example. We are willing and able to customize a menu to fit your appetite, your budget, and your at home occasion.
Warm & Cold appetizers
Vegetable Frito Misto with a Sweet Pea Ricotta ~ crispy cauliflower, broccoli rabe, artichoke and asparagus tossed with an herb salt, and dill.
Warm Ceci Bean Salad with Castelvetrano Olives ~ roasted ceci beans with shallots, pea tendrils, and castelvetrano olives.
Warm & Cold salads
Beet salad ~ roasted and pickled beets, cara cara oranges, almonds, duck prosciutto.
Fiseé and Mache salad ~ pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, warm oyster mushrooms with a red wine vinaigrette.
Salmon or Arctic Char ~ spring onion soubise. Soubise is a spring onion purée that consists of green olive oil.
Lamb Trio ~ marguez sausage, confit lamb ribs, roasted lamb loin with baby carrots, fava bean and parsley jus.
Herb Roasted Chicken ~ olive oil crushed potatoes, mushrooms and jus.
Olive Oil Cake ~ candied hazelnuts, passion fruit coulis.
Chocolate panna cotta ~ candied hazelnuts, passion fruit coulis.
Yes, it’s March and in New York we had a little taste of Spring. But, the blizzard storm Stella gave me the perfect excuse to coupe up, and turn my oven on.
What is known as a popular hangover dish is actually one of my favorite breakfast pleasures – without the hangover. I needed to use my tomatoes and I had arugula that was on the brink. My fridge is always full of at least four kinds of cheese, (I am a proud cheese head) so, I decided to make myself one of my favorite treats for my adult snow day!
Create a menu that will make your guests swoon. At Home Soigné can help!
We can can teach you how to do it. Or, we can do it for you! Specializing in intimate gatherings maximizing 20, At Home Soigné can guide you in creating a dinner party or cocktail reception.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Banana bread is a treat that will either overwhelm or underwhelm. But, why shouldn’t banana bread be simply delicious? It can be! With soigné ingredients.
At Home Soigné is elegantly maintaining life’s simple luxuries. Like banana bread!
What makes my banana bread so special is the at home butter, and the at home vanilla extract used in the process of creating. Butter is an ingredient every at home chef should make – at least once. Though making butter is time consuming, making something like butter offers a sense of fulfillment. It provides the at home chef control of flavors and taste, it also makes the at home chef fiscally chic if you really break down your costs.
Making any baking extracts is so easy to do, too. It’s almost tragic if the at home chef doesn’t have their own inventory on hand. I simply have vanilla beans floating in Armagnac. That’s it!