Tag Archives: Things That Make Me Swoon

To Market, To Market

I didn’t grow up going to Farmers’ Markets. There aren’t many in Houston and the ones that are there are quite small. In fact, I didn’t go to my first farmers market until I moved to Toronto. It seems that every neighbourhood in the city has its own farmers market with all kinds of locally grown produce. Those markets, though, are dwarfed by the mother of all farmers markets — Toronto’s legendary St. Lawrence Market.

The St. Lawrence Market is a complex made up of three buildings, including the North Market, which was established in 1803 (!) and is known primarily for its Saturday Farmers’ Market where producers from across southern Ontario sell their wares seasonally; on Sundays, the North Market turns in to a giant antiques fair. The South Market, and the larger of the two, has more than 50 specialty shops selling everything from rare French cheeses to Moroccan candies to olive bars into which I’d like to dive.

I never really got into the habit of going to the Market on Saturday like so many of my friends. Rather, I got into the habit of going to Loblaws on my way home from work on Fridays, so I didn’t have to deal with the crazy grocery store masses on the weekend — you know, like strollers the size of Hummers packed with screaming triplets and lines wrapped through the store. Anyway. With the invention of my Toronto Bucket List, though, I decided I needed to spend a Saturday morning roaming through the St. Lawrence Market.

I saw so many delectable, delightful goodies that my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I can’t list every store I went into simply because I pay by the inch* and it would be cost prohibitive. ūüôā¬† Some of my favourites, though, were Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard (honey and lime mustard FTW), Scheffler’s Deli & Cheese (where they sell hanging cheese!), Everyday Gourmet (for delicious, delicious coffees and teas), and Di Liso’s Fine Meats, where I snagged 4 pounds of extra lean ground steak for $12. Sweet. I have a serious addiction to olives, and I saw an olive bar so vast that my eyes welled up with tears. The Carousel Bakery, a Toronto institution, is also inside the Market and sells its “world famous peameal bacon sandwich” in droves — people were literally snaked through the market standing in line to buy a sandwich. I tried one, of course, but not being a huge fan of “back bacon”, or peameal bacon, I didn’t really care for it. Apparently, I’m the only one, though, so don’t listen to me.

The St. Lawrence Market is the world’s largest indoor farmers market and it’s been right in my own backyard all this time. I’m sad I didn’t take advantage of it sooner than I did, but better late than never. Reason # 54,912 to love Toronto.

P.S. Check out a few photos I took while at the SLM.

* kidding

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May These Gates Never Be Closed

Canada, like the rest of the world, is in the midst of¬†serious Olympic fever. I’ve personally contributed to that fever by watching¬†so much Olympics coverage that I now know the minutiae about¬†things that never occurred to me to matter before now, such as the proper landing positions for¬†the triple axel and the triple lutz, and the difference between the skeleton and the luge.¬†Really, Canada has every right to be uncharacteristically* Canadian during the 16 days that¬†Vancouver¬†is hosting the Olympics; they have every right to be¬†filled¬†with glowing hearts.¬†They are doing a fabulous job of managing the expectations of the world, even without snow…at the WINTER Olympics, to be sure.

There has been article after article, show after show, and video after video about the Games, but it wasn’t until I saw^ the video Tom Brokaw produced for NBC that¬†I really took notice. The video apparently aired in British Columbia just prior to the start of the Games as an “education” piece about Canada for Americans. God knows we need it, too. Watching this video made my heart well up with pride and my eyes with tears¬†for *both* of my countries — the one in which¬†I was born and the one in which I choose to live. A better piece of journalism has never been produced, imho!

Now do you see why I love Canada? Swoon!
* By which I mean allowed to go crazy and show their passionate pride for their country, something that actually took urging from their Prime Minister! Those crazy Canucks.

^ I actually found it because it was trending on Twitter.


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Happy Birthday Robert Burns

In an ongoing and very concerted effort to keep a smile on my face this winter, I decided to I needed some greasy comfort food (sure, that’ll make me feel just great!). Last weekend, in an attempt to release my inner Paula Dean, I hit Loblaw’s to get the requisite ingredients to make a homemade Chicken Pot Pie and then realized that my craving was going to take approximately 7.5 days to prepare. So, I scrapped the “homemade” part of the plan and took myself out for dinner to my favorite Irish pub, The Foggy Dew, instead. The Foggy Dew is the kind of place that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It’s dimly lit, has the perfect din level and has a great big fireplace smack dab in the middle of the bar. Everyone there – both employees and patrons – are cool and welcoming. I grabbed a seat at the bar, ordered a pint and of course, the yummy chicken pot pie with fresh Prince Edward County peas. Mmmm!

After about 5 minutes, I heard someone simultaneously reciting poetry and stabbing a giant piece of meat with a large knife. Several people stood up and toasted while he was doing this, but I didn’t really get it so I just kept watching the only thing they had on TV. About 10 minutes later, the same speech thing happened so I asked the bartender if this happened every Friday night. He laughed and told me they were celebrating Robert Burns Day, a famous Scottish poet known in most circles simply as “The Bard”. As I turned around to see the commotion, a live bagpiper started playing his bagpipes and marching around the bar, followed closely behind by a guy carrying a huge plate of haggis. Craziness! Then, everyone in the bar was served free Fried Mars Bar desserts in celebration. Sweet. I thought fried desserts were only found in Texas (Fried Twinkies! Fried Snickers!) but apparently Fried Mars Bars are very popular in Scotland. Who knew?

The moral of my little story is this: just when you think you can’t muddle through…pick yourself up, take yourself out and eat a fried dessert! I left happy, sated and not nearly as blue. I love you, Toronto!

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