Churros, Wine and authentic Cantonese cuisine are some of the highlights for the Spotlight Staff this week.
A Hong Kong dining institution for over 60 years, Yung Kee Restaurant exemplifies all things delicious and awe-inspiring about Cantonese cuisine. This week I got to sample the very roast goose that has made this restaurant famous. With its skin glistening in the afternoon sunshine, the fowl hang in the restaurant window enticing passers-by in the bustling Central district. On the plate, the lacquered skin is paper-thin and reminiscent of the burnt sugar layer on creme brulee. A delicacy all on it's own and served as such, the skin is brittle, but is cushioned by a thin layer of goose fat underneath. Salty, sweet, and smokey, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, it combines the best of pork crackling and crispy duck confit skin. Well worth the 15+ hours spent in a plane and then some!
My track record with all-night Toronto eating establishments goes back to my days living at Bathurst and Dupont near Vesta Lunch. The less said about Vesta the better but Jack's Bakery is quite a different 24-hour animal. Jack's caters to the local Portuguese, Italian, and new-to-the-neighbourhood young families at Oakwood and Rogers with some of the best pastries I've seen. The nut square pictured above was definitely enough for two to share and the Portuguese custard tarts, straight from the oven come highly recommended. Jack's Bakery and Pastry, 352 Oakwood Ave., 24 hours.
Michael Di Caro
Sometimes you try a wine that haunts with its focus and an undeniable sense of place. Hidden Bench's 2009 Nuit Blanche has been on my mind for the past week. An intriguing combination of citrus, gooseberry, honeydew melon aromas and a touch of smoke draw you into the glass. Those all reveal themselves on the palate, but there's such a pure expression of grapefruit that if you closed your eyes you'd swear you were in a citrus grove at harvest time. The finish has a gun flint that's become a signature of the Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon fruit from the estate Rosomel vineyard. The wild yeast and barrel fermentation provide a balancing touch of fleshy texture for its high-acidity style, which will make even the most jaded taste buds perk-up with excitement.
The Saturday morning Brick works farmer's market this past weekend was the site of the Churro Competition. Eight competitors representing Xococava, Bloom Restaurant, Torito, Frida and Mad Mexican, Supi Cucu, Aphrodite Cooks and Salt Winebar engaged in a battle of deep-fried doughy goodness. My two favourites were Salt's vanilla bean churro dipped in spiced rum dulce de leche and the winning entry from Frida, a lemon-sugar coated churro filled with goat's milk dulce de leche. Photo courtesy of Ken Seto.
Jennifer Bylok / Mark Bylok
On Thursday, Mark and Jen attended a fundraiser in support of the Nzirambi Orphanage in Uganda. Held in the Pikto Gallery in the Distillery District, it featured a collection of photos of the children from the orphanage, taken by Brian Pieters. Additionally, there was a silent auction in which all proceeds went directly to the Orphanage. On Saturday, Jen and Mark hit up the Churro Competition at Evergreen Brickworks, and in the evening, along with others from the Spotlight crew, joined in the launch party for Ravine Vineyard's new Sand & Gravel label.
The highlight of my week was eating at Zeerah in Mississauga. A simple takeout joint specializing in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. I've heard numerous accolades on the cuisine so had to take the 40 minute drive to check it out. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed, the food was fantastic. Pictured above is the beef roti roll stuffed with flavourful (and spicy) bits of beef and onion.
Out and About is a new weekly roundup of what the Spotlight writers have been up to.
Contributors and where you can find what they're up to; Nina Popovic @popnina, Pauline Dong, @paulinedong, Mark Bylok @markbylok. Jennifer Bylok @jenniferbylok. Mike Di Caro @mikedicaro. Allison Slute @allisonslute, David Ort @ortdavid. Suresh Doss @spotlightcity