Tag Archives: food news

Person wearing rubber gloves holding veggies at grocery store

Food Insecurity During COVID-19 Linked to Poor Mental Health, According to Statistics Canada

In a new report released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, Canadians who were worried about having enough food during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring were more likely to view their mental health as poor compared to those who were not.

“Food insecurity in itself can be a stressful experience,” said Heather Gilmour, Statistics Canada analyst and report co-author. “So associated with that can be feelings of frustration or powerlessness or even shame — and those kinds of feelings could trigger existing psychological problems or amplify existing ones or trigger new ones.”

Person wearing rubber gloves holding veggies at grocery store

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

The Statistics Canada report said 14.6 per cent of the respondents to the May 2020 survey experienced food insecurity within the previous 30 days. One in five survey respondents to the survey also perceived their mental health as fair or poor or reported moderate or severe anxiety symptoms.

“We did find that, yes, food insecurity was associated with higher odds or higher risk of having either anxiety symptoms or poor self-recorded mental health,” Gilmour said. “That seemed to increase, that risk increased, the greater the food insecurity that people experienced.”

Related: Best and Worst Foods for Your Mental Health and Wellness

According to Statistics Canada, this study is the first to examine the link between food insecurity and self-perceived mental health symptoms among Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

We Tried the KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits — Are They Worth the Hype?

Is it possible that two popular food chains have crafted the dessert pairing we didn’t know we needed? KFC Canada has joined fast-food forces with Cinnabon for a dessert that is so 2020 — chaotic.

As of December 2, KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits are available across Canada while quantities last. It’s the perfect holiday treat for those who love trying the latest food crazes — or simply want to travel back (in their minds) to warm weather and carnival eats.

So, is this dessert mashup worth the buzz? You needed answers, so we gave it a try on your behalf. (You can thank us later).

Related: We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada – Is It Worth the Hype?

So, what exactly are KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits?

This savoury treat is essentially a Frankenstein’s monster of a dessert (which is totally on-trend), combining KFC’s signature buttermilk biscuits with Cinnabon’s cinnamon brown sugar glaze, cream cheese frosting and chocolate bow tie toppers. To be honest, it reminds us of must-try summer carnival foods, like the ones that garner headlines at the CNE every year.

Customers can order them individually ($1.99), as a four-pack ($6.99) or as part of KFC’s Festive Buckets — the Festive Mighty Bucket for One ($11.99) and the Festive Double Bucket ($35.99).

Related: Meatball Fans Rejoice! IKEA Canada Restaurant Now Offers Takeout

First Look

“Soggy” is the first word that comes to mind. We opened a box of the four-pack and were met with gooey, melted chocolate on top — and maybe it’s just us, but we’re not really fans of desserts that look super… wet? But we’re going into this with entirely open minds. Sure, it doesn’t exactly look appetizing, but it can’t be that bad, right?

Related: We Tested 4 Popular Canadian Meal Delivery Kits. Here’s How They Compared

Digging In

At first bite, the dessert biscuits taste exactly how they look: soggy. The biscuit is mediocre at best — it was a lot more crumbly and dense than we would have expected and it had a weird aftertaste.

The silver lining in all this: it’s worth noting that the little chocolate bow ties on the top (which actually resemble little melted stick figures, don’t you think?) were the least offensive part of the entire dessert — so chocolate fans can rejoice in that part, we suppose?

The Verdict

Honestly, if you’re craving KFC’s fan-favourite biscuits, just straight-up buy one of them, sans goopy cinnamon sugar and chocolate stick figures/bow ties. If you’re craving Cinnabon, just go to Cinnabon — and the two shall never meet.

KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits are available exclusively at KFCs across Canada.

Here are some famous recipes we’re making at home — from McDs hash browns to IKEA meatballs. You can also check out these recipes from hit movies and our favourite songs!

An overhead show of sliced marbled banana bread

Why We’re Drawn to Comfort Baking in Times of Stress, According to a Psychologist

If we could sum up our collective baking experience in 2020, it would boil down to two words: banana bread.

When the global pandemic first upended our everyday lives back in March, many of us turned to baking. It didn’t matter whether or not we were seasoned pros, we all seemed to crave the baked goods we cherished as kids. (Think: cookies, muffins, bread and pies). There was something comforting about the familiar smells and tastes — and it had many of us resorting to a form of culinary therapy in a time of uncertainty. You couldn’t scroll through your Instagram feed without coming across dozens of bread loaves conjured up by even the unlikeliest bakers in your friend group.

Get the recipe for Healthy Marbled Banana Bread

So, what gives? Why now, in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19,  have we once again turned to baking — albeit with a distinct holiday sparkle this time around. As it turns out, our desire to bake when the going gets tough actually has deep psychological roots that can be traced back to our childhood.

Dr. Brent Macdonald, of the Macdonald Psychology Group in Calgary, has more than 20 years of experience in the field — and is more than familiar with the various intricacies of the human brain when it comes to food associations.

Related: Our Fave Food Trends to Come Out of Quarantine, From Pancake Cereal to Bread Art

“[Baking or cooking] can remind you of the positive experience of sharing it with family, of being cared for and comforted as children — and that same emotional transference happens in adults,” he explains. “The smell, the taste, the texture, the experience of eating something that brought you pleasure as a child brings up all those positive emotions of comfort and warmth.”

As Macdonald notes, it’s no mere coincidence that we seek out these familiar foods in times of strife. For many, it’s a form of mindfulness — even if we don’t realize it. “We tend not to have [comfort food] when we’re doing well — we typically have it when we’re feeling stressed. That’s our medicine, in a sense,” he says. “The good thing about it is that it works — comfort food and comfort baking makes us feel better. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing — we shouldn’t feel shame or embarrassment that we have comfort foods we enjoy. It kind of gets a bad rap because of its association with sugars and carbohydrates — and fair enough. But once in awhile, treats are treats for a reason.”

Get the recipe for Fudgiest Sweet Potato Brownies

But given this whirlwind year where many have faced significant social and professional upheavals, Macdonald says it’s still important to take note of how consuming these baked goods makes you feel — aside from sentimental reminders of Grandma’s kitchen.

“Does [comfort baking] make you feel good and just feel good? Or does it make you feel good temporarily, masking some really unpleasant emotions that come back immediately once you stop eating? Because that’s an unhealthy pattern,” Macdonald says.

So, what’s the actual science behind this feel-good attachment we have to baking? Over the years, researchers have shown evidence that the act of baking triggers various parts of our brain, including the amygdala (the part of our brain where emotions are given meaning) and the hippocampal cortex (memory retrieval) which can ultimately help us reduce stress and anxiety. Therefore, a simple scent — vanilla or melted butter — can take us back to the relative safety and comfort of our childhood, thus inspiring in us the desire to recreate the recipes we indulged in during our “stress-free” younger years.

Get the recipe for Perfect Fermented Sourdough Bread

And with certain scents you can almost feel the power of those neuroreceptors firing off, Macdonald says. “We start to drool, to salivate, as our body prepares to ingest the food. It’s similar to people who have nicotine cravings. All of those things set off an anticipatory response that is waiting for that intake.”

So, with the holiday season upon us and no sign of COVID-19 abating before the end of this strange year, indulge in a little feel-good baking — whether you’re a novice or pro. After all, it’s one of the most budget-friendly therapeutic activities you can engage in — and the end result tastes delicious. Happy baking!

Try your hand at these classic Christmas cookies that will spread holiday cheer or these bountiful bread pudding recipes you’ll make over and over.

We Tried Popeyes’ Famous Chicken Sandwich That Finally Arrived in Canada — Is It Worth the Hype?

It doesn’t happen every day, but — every once in a blue moon — people lose their minds over a hype-worthy food. For a bite to reach that level of foodie fervour, a few things have to happen: it has to be hard to get your hands on, it has to be photo ready (a la charcoal soft serve) and it has to be totally tasty. Enter the collective Canadian craving for the infamous Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich.

You might be asking: why all the hype over a fried chicken sandwich? Can’t you get fried chicken plenty of places? Yes… and no (until recently). Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich (often referred to audaciously as “The Sandwich”) was released to attention-grabbing crowds in America in 2019 — but it only arrived in Canada as of September 14th.

So is this sandwich worth the buzz? Or can we chalk up this chicken frenzy merely a case of wanting what you can’t have? Obviously, we needed answers, so we gave The Sandwich a try.

Recipe for Success

First thing’s first: what exactly is a Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich? The Sandwich (which will set you back between $5.99 to $6.49 depending on which province you’re in) consists of an all-white fried chicken breast fillet topped with barrel-cured pickles and mayonnaise (either classic or spicy) — all assembled on a toasted brioche bun.

The chicken itself follows the company’s signature fried chicken formula. The chicken is marinated in a blend of Louisiana seasonings, battered by hand, breaded in a buttermilk coating and then fried. So, if you’re already a fan of their fried chicken, this will almost definitely be for you.

 

First Looks

If all the fanfare has you picturing some sort of over-the-top chicken-fried behemoth, then you’ll likely be a bit disappointed to feast (your eyes) on The Sandwich. However, if you’re expecting a classic fried chicken sandwich, then you’re in luck! Visually, there are no big surprises: The Sandwich is straightforward looking, with a generous piece of fried chicken and chartreuse-hued rounds of those cured pickles neatly sandwiched between the halved brioche bun.

Related: I Tried “Beyond Meat” Meals at 5 Popular Canadian Chains. Here’s How They Stacked Up

Digging In

At first bite, the chicken hit a lot of the targets we were looking for in fried chicken: it was crispy on the outside (without being super greasy — always a risk with fried chicken), tender on the inside and had good flavour (thanks, likely, to those Louisiana seasonings).

It’s worth noting that the chicken-to-bread ratio was good. The toasted brioche bun was soft with a nice chew (it almost melted in your mouth).

In terms of toppings, The Sandwich keeps things pretty simple, in a good way. It’s really just the mayo (more on that up next) and the pickles. Luckily, we love pickles and these were perfect: crunchy, tangy and delicious!

Related: What It’s Honestly Like Dining out Right Now ⁠— and What I’ll Never Take for Granted Again

The Spicy Scenario  

As I mentioned earlier, the Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich comes in two versions: classic and spicy. How to choose? If you can always go for a little more flavour, you’ll prefer the spicy version (the spicy mayo tastes like chipotle mayo and leaves behind a nice little kick that lingers). If, however, you’re a fried chicken purest, stick to the classic.

The Verdict

Overall, the Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich is a really good fried chicken sandwich. If we were craving a fried chicken sandwich, it would definitely be on our list — but it wasn’t life-changing. Still, if you’re a fan of fried chicken on any level, our advice is to give it a try.

Here are famous recipes we’re making at home — from McDs hash browns to IKEA meatballs. Also, here are recipes from hit movies!

Clocktower Brew Pub

Beer Me Up, Scotty: Canadian Brewery Making Star Trek Beer

An Ottawa brewery is on a mission to The Final Frontier, boldly going where no Canadian beer makers have gone before. For The Clocktower Brew Pub, The Final Frontier is the name of their highly anticipated Star Trek-themed craft brew.

Much to the excitement of Trekkies and craft brew fans alike, the official Star Trek beer is being created in partnership with the Aviation and Space Museum for their Starfleet Gala on May 12, 2016. The out-of-this world event launches an exhibit on space science and includes a very special guest, the original Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner.

Ottawa's Clocktower Brew Pub is marking its 20th anniversary with a new Star Trek themed beer.

Ottawa’s Clocktower Brew Pub is marking its 20th anniversary with a new Star Trek themed beer.

The Final Frontier is based on a historic beer style called Kentucky Common; the amber ale has a light body, making it cool, refreshing and easy to drink. Traditional Kentucky Common style is corn-based, but brew-master Patrick Fiori wanted to give it a true Star Trek twist by adding triticale. The rye and wheat hybrid adds body and a cereal flavour to the beer. Trekkies will know it as a real-life version of the fictional “quadrotriticale,” the grain mentioned in the classic original Star Trek episode, Trouble with Tribbles. The episode is famous for the scene in which William Shatner is chest-deep in adorably fluffy pests.

“It took a lot of thought to come up with a name that represented what Star Trek meant to us,” Fiori said in an email.

While the labels and packaging are under wraps until the gala, the brewery is excited to reveal their newest enterprise with the museum.

“The best part of this experience is not only to be able to say that The Clocktower has added to the Star Trek mythos, but as a company, we are turning 20 this year and are able to show that we can stay current and relevant 20 years later,” said Fiori.

This isn’t The Clocktower Brew Pub‘s first foray into sci-fi themed brews. Last year, they collaborated with Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton to create the ‘HefeWheaton,’  a German-style wheat beer that was launched at Ottawa ComicCon.

Can’t wait to ask the bartender for an astronomically good pint? The Final Frontier will be available for tasting at the Starfleet Gala on May 12, and at Ottawa ComicCon May 13 to 15. After that, you can enjoy it at one of The Clocktower Brew Pub’s five Ottawa locations throughout May.

Looking for more tasty craft brews? Maybe you’ll love one of these 10 New and Unique Canadian Beers to Try.

10 Restaurants with Celebrity Connections

The restaurant game isn’t an easy one to play; even if you’re a great chef with a great concept, capital can really slow you down. It’s only fitting that celebrities would get involved in the restaurant business every now and then, I mean, if I had the money, I certainly would too. Here are 10 popular food businesses owned by or connected to celebrity actors, musicians, athletes and beyond.

Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper Partners of Nobu Hospitality

Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper Partners of Nobu Hospitality

Spin (various locations in North America) 

These days, being able to go to a restaurant, eat, drink and play a game (whether that be bowling, pool, board games or otherwise) is pretty common in most major cities. Owner and actress Susan Sarandon, along with her business partners, were a little ahead of the curve with this one. Head to a Spin location in cities like Toronto or Chicago to play a few games of ping pong, grab some drinks and maybe a slider or two.

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SPiN Toronto

Tagine (Beverly Hills, CA) 

Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling — admit it, he’s pretty dreamy and man crushes are nothing to be ashamed of — partnered up with longtime friends to open up Tagine, a Moroccan-inspired restaurant. Dishes served here highlight big, bold flavours using exotic spices, with a chef’s expert touch. Out of all of the establishments on this list, Gosling’s is easily the most unique.

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Tagine

Wayne Gretzky’s (Toronto, ON) 

It’s not much of a surprise that one of hockey’s most famous athletes has a namesake establishment. Pop in to watch the game and chow down on items like grilled cheese sandwiches, meatloaf or fish and chips. If you’re craving a glass of wine, rest assured that the selection is primarily Gretzky’s own label (also namesake) that’s produced in the Okanagan Valley.

Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, David Furnish and owner of Neuro Diana Jenkins attend Neuro Hosts a Party at Southern Hospitality BBQ

Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Elton John attend Neuro Hosts a Party at Southern Hospitality BBQ

Nickels Deli and Bar (Québec) 

Peppered around the province of Québec, serving patrons simple food like roast chicken platters, French onion soup and, of course, mile-high Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. Where’s the celebrity endorsement here, you ask? Well, it’s not overly apparent at first glance, but a quick Google search will tell you the Canadian-born multi-platinum songstress Céline Dion is an investor in the Nickels chain.

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Nickels Deli and Bar

Nobu (various locations worldwide) 

Acclaimed worldwide, this string of restaurants opened by partners Chef Nobu Matsuhsia and Hollywood A-lister Robert De Niro, can be found in some of the biggest mecas across the globe: London, Milan, New York (that’s where you’ll find the flagship location) and Los Angeles. The menus may vary from location to location, but there’s strong attention to detail in terms of food and drink offerings, as well as interior design.

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Nobu

National Underground (Nashville, TN) 

Located on Broadway, the city’s most famous and buzzing street in the downtown core, this generally jam-packed venue offers live music and a standard pub menu. Owned by singer-songwriter brothers Gavin and Joey DeGraw, the former being the more recognizable name in the music world. Like many of Nashville’s Broadway bars, it wouldn’t be unusual to see an actor from the Nashville television series, or a country artist sitting down for a casual beer and bite with friends.

Rock & Brews (various locations in North America) 

More or less a Kiss-focused version of the Hard Rock Café, this music-themed chain serves up simple food like burgers, flatbreads and nachos, and currently only exists in the United States and Mexico. There are a few rumours buzzing around that a Rock and Brews (or two) may pop up in Canada in the coming months, specifically in Saskatoon as it’s the hometown of Gene Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed.

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Rock & Brews

Rustic (Geyersville, CA) 

Francis Ford Coppola, director of the iconic film The Godfather, shares his personal host of recipes on the grounds of his winery, where you can enjoy thoughtful farm-to-table cuisine just steps from the rows of grapevines. Plates of pasta, salads built of fresh, local produce and of course a couple glasses of wine are always enjoyable in the California sun.

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Rustic

Southern Hospitality BBQ (New York, NY) 

We’ve seen him sing, dance and act, so being a verified triple threat, it’s safe to assume that Justin Timberlake can do no wrong. This A-lister taps into his Southern roots at this New York restaurant that offers diners everything from deviled eggs to smoked meats, fried chicken and pecan pie.

On a side note, it’s likely not Timberlake himself posting on behalf of the restaurant on social media streams, but at least the eatery has a similar sense of humour to the actor/musician. “We survived the storm, come celebrate with our deep-fried pickles!” said Hospitality in a recent Facebook post.

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Southern Hospitality BBQ

Music City Food and Wine Festival (Nashville, TN) 

We know this one isn’t a restaurant, but this large-scale annual food festival in Nashville wouldn’t have come to life without the joint effort of celebrities, Chef Jonathan Waxman and two members of Kings of Leon, Nathan and Caleb Followill. When the festival kicks off again this coming fall, a long list of culinary stars will be cooking up a storm in the lively Southern city, including Marcus Samuelsson and Carla Hall.

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Music City Food and Wine Festival

9 Easy Ways to Cut Calories (With a Healthy Brownie Recipe!)

People are always looking to slim down, lose weight and cut calories. While calorie counting is not always the answer, infusing meals with more nutritious ingredients, and ditching unnecessary fats and carbs is a great way to start when looking to shed a few pounds.

1. Choose Almond Milk for Breakfast
For many of us, cereal is the go-to breakfast option and is often paired with milk, but cow’s milk is difficult to digest and can cause unwanted digestive issues. Although milk does contain good fats, almond milk is a wonderful alternative and is less than half the calories of 2% milk.

2. Go Paleo at Lunch
Sandwiches are a fan favourite for lunch, often made using white bread or a carb-heavy bagel. Bread spikes your blood sugar really fast and doesn’t offer much nutrition. Try going paleo for lunch, on occasion, by cutting out all grains and sticking to a hunter-gatherer’s style meal. Opt for lots of veggies and good quality proteins like fish, chicken or eggs.

3. Add Greens to Your Meals
The great thing about green vegetables is that you can indulge in them all you want without gaining a pound. Whether you’re steaming, sautéing, roasting or eating them raw, greens can really bulk up any meal. Keeping a box of spinach in the fridge is a great place to start: throw a handful in a smoothie, throw it in a tomato sauce, make a salad or toss it in a wrap.

4. Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Salad dressings can be quite fattening and contain many unwanted sugars and preservatives. Making your own salad dressing is not only a much healthier option but it’s also really simple. Toss some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, oregano and sea salt together and you have a quick and healthy low-cal dressing ready to go. Try one of these dressing recipes.

5. Go Lean
Choose lean cuts of animal protein such as chicken breast, turkey breast, pork tenderloin, fish or extra lean ground beef. Removing the skin and fatty parts eliminates a lot of the unhealthy saturated fats, with diets higher in saturated fat has been linked to cancer, high cholesterol and heart disease.

6. Season with Lemon and Herbs
Many people will add extra salt, butter or cheese to season their lunches or dinners. Opt for a fresh squeeze of lemon, a few pinches of dried herbs or a small handful of chopped fresh herbs. They all bring so much flavour to the dish, have antioxidant-rich nutrients and are low in calories.

7. Snack on Fruits or Veggies
This is an obvious one but a tip that many of us neglect. If you’re feeling like you want something sweet, opt for a handful of berries; they’re naturally sweet with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant powers. If you want chips or something crunchy, choose carrots or celery with some hummus for dipping, which can provide the same mouth feel without the added fat and salt.

8. Use Parchment
Parchment paper is a cook’s best friend; it makes clean up easy, it’s safer than aluminum foil and you don’t need to use any oil. Steam fish, veggies or chicken in parchment bags for a healthier cooking option, and line baking sheets with parchment paper before roasting, cooking or baking.

9. Be Creative
There are many ways to “have your cake and eat it too.” Simply because you’re cutting out the processed sugars or saturated fats doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavour and satisfaction. There are amazing recipes and products now lining grocery store shelves that are much healthier than their sugar-laden, processed carb cousins. Keep your eyes open for interesting products and new recipes that are healthy, nutritious and delicious.

I’ll leave you with my favorite healthy dessert:

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Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut sugar
3 Tbsp coconut oil or avocado oil
2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Blend all ingredients except for the coconut flakes in a food processor or blender until smooth.
3. Place the batter in a brownie pan lined with parchment paper. Toss the unsweetened coconut flakes on top and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the middle is solid.

Must-Visit Canadian Food Festivals Happening This Fall

Turkey is not the only thing that’s cooking this Fall! If you get just as excited over large-scale events and festivals as you do about dining out, be sure to check out these popular Canadian food festivals happening this month and next.

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Cornucopia via whislercornucopia.com

Cornucopia (Whistler, BC)
November 5-15
Head to the mountaintops for Whistler’s yearly food and drink festival that happens over the course of 10 days. Enjoy everything from one-of-a-kind chef dinners, cocktail workshops, engaging debate, wine tastings and much more. If you find yourself with some free time in-between eating, learning and all-round merriment, make sure to pop in to Bearfoot Bistro’s signature ice bar (don’t worry, they’ll give you a big, warm jacket) for a cocktail or two.

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Devour! The Food Film Fest

Devour! The Food Film Fest (Wolfville, NS)
November 4-8
Canadian food and film lovers alike are getting pretty excited about this culinary-meets-film festival on the east coast, and it’s easy to see why. With a fantastic ensemble of panel discussions, film screenings, culinary workshops and collaborative dinners, Devour is definitely one of the most unique and immersive food experiences you can have in this country. This year, the Devour team is bringing in a slew of talented chefs like Newfoundland’s Jeremy Charles of Raymond’s, Todd Perrin of Mallard Cottage and Top Chef Canada contestant, season one, Michelin-starred Canadian chef Daniel Burns of Luksus in Brooklyn, New York and a lot more.

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MTL à TABLE via lachampagnerie.ca

MTL à TABLE (Montreal, QC)
October 29-November 8
Most major Canadian cities have their equivalents to this dine-out festival (i.e. Dine Out Vancouver or Calgary’s Big Taste), offering food lovers the opportunity to eat at a long list of contemporary restaurants at reduced prices. If you’ve always wanted to get a taste of a trendy Montreal restaurant like, say, Toque!, but haven’t felt like splurging, book a lunch or dinner between October 29th and November 8th to have a prefix meal with a price tag that won’t break the bank.

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Ottawa Wine and Food Festival via ottawatourism.ca

Ottawa Wine & Food Festival (Ottawa, ON)
October 30-November 1
Walk in and get ready to sip a myriad of wines and taste some delectable bites while you walk around and soak up all the fun. There are also educational sessions from food and drink experts alike. Headliners for the weekend include Canada’s favourite baker extraordinaire Anna Olson, as well as MasterChef Canada alumni, sisters Marida and Narida Mohammed.

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Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival via Facebook

Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival (Calgary and Edmonton, AB)
October 16-17 (Calgary), November 6-7 (Edmonton)
There’s wine, liquor and food tastings as far as the eye can see at this classic Albertan large-scale event. The set-up is similar in either Alberta city, so expect to find plenty of wines from around the world, canapés from a mix of local and chain restaurants, and plenty of food and drink, with lots of people buzzing around the room to make friends with. You’ll probably need a cab home after this one!

Top 5 Foods That Prevent Bloating

Summer is the time to indulge; steak, ice cream, cookies, burgers, pizza — the list goes on! Not only is it everyone’s favorite eating season, but it’s also the time when our tummies start to ache and the unwanted bloated belly busts out of our tightly secured jean shorts. The summer belly bloat is often inevitable, but luckily there are some foods to help with bloating and prevent that post-meal slump.

bloating post

1. Ginger
Ginger is your belly’s new best friend. Slice it up and throw it in some hot water, toss it into an iced beverage or simply chew on a piece. Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory and has been used for centuries as a digestive aid helping to alleviate gas, bloating, nausea and indigestion. Next time you start to feel the bloat coming on, grab some ginger and melt that digestion tension away.

2. Mint
Mint is a classic summer herb. Although it is often used to make summer-time mojitos, this fresh garden herb has medicinal properties. Mint actually has muscle-relaxing abilities and can reduce indigestion and belly spasms. The best use of mint to prevent bloating is to steep it in tea. Unfortunately, drinking it with alcohol may actually exacerbate your stomach pain, so try to decrease your intake those delicious minty drinks.

3. Fennel Seed
Similar to ginger, fennel or anise seed has been used for many, many years to prevent digestive issues like bloating. In India, many people actually chew on fennel seeds after a rich meal to aid digestion. Fennel seed will also freshen up your breath, while eliminating stomach cramping, gas and bloating.

4. Lemon
When your tummy needs aid, make lemonade! Adding ginger, mint or even lavender to lemonade will help to enhance your digestive ability and prevent bloating and pain. Lemons actually stimulate digestive juices in your body, enhancing your body’s ability to digest nutrients. Don’t feel like making this sweet summer drink? Squeeze one quarter of a lemon in a glass of water and drink up!

5. Parsley
Parsley is the most commonly used herb in cooking. It is also a diuretic (helps to increase the loss of water and salt from the body) and excellent for helping to prevent and overcome gas and bloating. Steeping parsley with your tea is the best way to eliminate bloating and reduce excess water weight. For an added bonus, it will also freshen up your breath.

Don’t let the fear of bloating, indigestion or gas stop you from living it up this summer. Equip yourself with these foods in your own, personal ‘digestive-first-aid-kit’ and don’t forget to share with your friends — they will certainly thank you!

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

What to Give the Person Who Eats Everything

Chopped Canada judge Eden Grinshpan picks the perfect presents for the foodie who eats everything.

Eden-Grinshpan

1. Saveur: The New Classics, $45, Indigo
With more than 1,000 recipes and handy tutorials covering everything from brunch to pizza, meat to desserts, this new tome from the trusted culinary magazine is reminiscent of the holy bible itself: The Joy of Cooking. There’s enough in here to keep hard-core home cooks and part-time dabblers happy.

2. Le Creuset Rectangular Bakeware, $250, The Bay
Just as jewellery lovers squee! at the sight of a blue Tiffany box, no cook can contain their delight at seeing the cheery hues of Le Creuset bakeware. This trio of dishes is versatile enough for roasts, baked pastas and whatever else the recipient owes the person gave them these dishes.

3. Marble and Wood Pedestal, $45, Indigo
Elevate the treats the avid baker on your gift list makes from the simple to the sublime with this elegant pedestal. Bonus points if you load it up with brownies or cupcakes before gifting it.

4. Lucky Peach Subscription, $48 for 8-issue Holiday Collection, Lucky Peach
The quarterly magazine from Momofuku chef David Chang offers an inside look at chef culture around the world with insightful essays, gorgeous photography, cheeky illustrations and—of course—recipes. An anti-gourmet mag, the food is often messy, the kitchens less than gleaming, and the restaurants loveable holes-in-the-wall.

5. Toronto Cooks, $38, Indigo
Food writer Amy Rosen compiled dozens of recipes from the city’s most popular restaurants in a beautiful coffee table book that also serves as a yearbook capturing 2014 in Toronto dining. It’s heavy on the burgers, donuts and bacon. And that’s all right by us.

6. Gyokuro Yamashiro Tea, $39/100 Grams, DAVIDsTEA
This is definitely a splurge item, but the buttery richness of these leaves will ruin the drinker for all other green teas. Excellent on a cold morning or as a palate-cleanser after dinner, gyokuro leaves also do surprisingly well in baking, ground in a coffee grinder and added to shortbreads and cakes.

7. Susur Lee’s Happy Holiday Basket, $60, Susur – Lee
Toronto’s original celebrity chef, Susur Lee has put together a basket containing a bottle of ice syrup, signed chopsticks, a cranberry-raspberry-lemon compote, a jumbo fortune cookie and a spice mix called Golden Sand. Perfect for Lee groupies out there.

8. Soma Truffles, $2 Each, Soma Chocolate
The gold standard of chocolate-making in Canada, you can always count on Soma for unusual and innovative flavours (Douglas Fir truffles, anyone?). This season, they’re releasing new worldly flavours such as mulled wine, Vietnamese coffee, Thai iced tea and a spicy Mexican Chamoy.

9. Dropp! Bowl, $80, Bergo
Add a literal drop of whimsy to the kitchen counter with this adorable fruit bowl (why yes, it is a Scandinavian design, how’d you guess?). Made of dishwasher-safe silicone, you can splash the bowl all you want and it’ll bounce back.

10. Macaroons, $38 for Box of 16, Nadège Patisserie
These candy-coloured confections are as delicate and pretty as glass-blown ornaments, and will be a hit either passed around a party or put under the tree on Christmas morning. A box of 16 from Toronto patisserie Nadège come in beautiful boxes designed by Canadian artists (the box by illustrator Brandon James Scott is shown below), letting you bypass gift-wrapping.

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Market Edit: Karon Liu.

Get more holiday recipes and tips here: The Kit Holiday Issue.

Guy’s New ‘Do? Giada’s Spit Scandal? Bobby’s Baby? Read on!

We love a dish-y story as much as the next pop culture addict, but we also like them to be true. (Or semi believable.) We’re tackling the biggest rumours that involve our much-loved Food Network Canada stars – because you really can’t believe everything you read on Twitter.

Jamie Oliver – Marriage Trouble?
According to some, Jamie Oliver’s marriage has been on the rocks since 2005. UK tabloids are reputed to be especially spotty with their gossip, but the fact that these rumours have persisted – with no proof or validation – for close to 10 years speaks volumes about how silly and salacious tabloids can be. (And Jamie is in good (bad?) company as Rachael Ray, Giada and Gordon Ramsay have had their marriages subject to unfounded accusations and gossip.)

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Bobby Flay – Secret Baby Daddy?
There’s a ridiculous rumour that Bobby Flay is January Jones’s baby daddy. Nope, not true. Mad Men star Jones raised some eyebrows when, after getting into a fender bender, she opted to call Flay for help (he was somewhat puzzled, stating that he had only met her earlier that week and had no idea why she called him. Maybe it was a butt dial?) but somewhere along the way that mushroomed into the rumour that Flay fathered Jones’s son. Jones has never spoken about the identity of the father publicly, but that certainly doesn’t make it Bobby Flay. Can we put this one to rest, already?

Giada De Laurentiis – Refuses To Eat Her Own Cooking?
The New York Post’s Page Six (a column that seems to love to pick on our beloved Giada) claims that she doesn’t eat her own food, ever. We’re calling balderdash on this. Stephen Huvane, Giada’s publicist, cleared up the misconception with some logic. When filming up to three episodes a day, Giada can’t possibly eat the same dish over and over, so she discards some of it. This is a very common practice any time an actor eats on film; otherwise they would be subjected to eating dozens and dozens of bites of the same food.

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Guy Fieri – No Longer Blonde?
There’s a very odd photo floating around Twitter right purporting to be Guy Fieri without his signature frosted tips and goatee. Don’t fall for it – it’s a fake! A bit of Photoshop sorcery was used to create the image (why, we’ll never know) and it’s been making the rounds as an authentic Guy makeover. Fear not, the frosted tips live on.

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Image on right via Hollywood Life

Maria Maria Tallarico is a writer and editor with several years experience in the lifestyle realm, covering everything from luxury travel to pop culture for both print and digital publications including Forbes, LaineyGossip.com and VitaminDaily.com, as well as appearing regularly as an on-air entertainment contributor for CTV Morning Live. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, two boys and grumpy Scottish Terrier.

See Which New Canadian Restaurants Made enRoute’s Top 10 List

This is that time of year when certain Canadian restaurateurs sit anxiously at their computers (or tablets, or phones…) and repeatedly refresh enRoute Magazine’s homepage until the results of ‘Canada’s Best New Restaurants’ pops up on the screen.

Being a panelist for the awards this year, as well as having eaten at a good chunk of the Top 30, I can honestly say that everyone included on this list is someone we should be proud of. If you find yourself in any of these spots in the coming months, here’s some signature dishes that are keeping diners and critics alike coming back for more.

1. Wolf in the Fog @wolfinthefog (Tofino, BC)
I proclaimed some love for Wolf a couple weeks ago after visiting Tofino earlier this month, so I’m not too surprised to see this top notch spot in this well-deserved number one position. This isn’t the first time Chef/owner Nick Nutting has been at a restaurant that’s graced this list. Back in 2003, Nutting worked at Catch restaurant in Calgary that claimed the number one spot in the inaugural year of the awards. Midas touch in the kitchen? It’s possible!

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The potato-crusted oysters are one signature that stay on a menu that plays to the season. They’re likely the largest fried oyster you’ve ever bitten into and there’s something addictive about the crispy layers of potato on the exterior and the freshness of the oyster inside. Damn, now I want one…

2. The Farmer’s Apprentice @gunawan_dave (Vancouver, BC)
Not unlike Papillon, this place is small. Luckily, Apprentice takes reservations. Like many other spots on this list, the menu is revamped regularly, but there’s a nice emphasis put on west coast seafood as well as vegetables here, so meat lovers will enjoy some grilled octopus while veg-heads can enjoy anything from burrata or radishes with smoked butter to a bio-dynamic risotto.

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3. Le Vin Papillon @VinPapillon (Montreal, QC)
At 25 seats and no reservations, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be waiting in line outside to be able to squeeze into this teeny spot in Montreal. The chef former city’s renowned Joe Beef restaurant is part owner here, but the restaurant is distinct in it’s own right.

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There’s no set menu here, everything is written the day of, but you’ll likely find foie gras in some shape or form, that I can guarantee. It’s also noted for it’s excellent wine offerings, so you know everything will be well paired!

4. RGE RD @RGE_RD (Edmonton, AB)
The name of this restaurant might seem a little strange to the west coasters and anyone in Ontario or further east, but if you spent any of your formative years in Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Alberta, you’ll recognize this abbreviation as ‘range road’, the many small gravel roads that run throughout central Canada.

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Much like Mallard, RGE RD’s menu is always changing, but there’s a large emphasis on meat here so expect plates like hunter’s stew (made with wild game). The nose-to-tail philosophy is followed through too, with Alberta pork used for anything from sausages, braised belly and terrines to offal.

5. Mallard Cottage @Mallard_Cottage (St. John’s, NFLD)
Several years in the making, we were able to follow along with chef/owner Todd Perrin’s progress of this restaurant via Twitter updates and a video diary featured on FoodNetwork.ca. Following a significant set-up back after a fire in the space, Mallard Cottage finally opened its doors last year and has been generating a ton of buzz ever since.

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The menu here changes daily, but Perrin (all a Top Chef Canada alum) stays regionally-inspired by the east coast with dishes like ‘chicken fried’ cod cheeks and tongues, lamb sausage and more.

6. Bar Buca @barbucatoronto (Toronto, ON)
Wine lovers will appreciate the variety on the menu here and avid foodies will appreciate the fact that because of the small plate mentality at Bar Buca, a group of four people with decent appetites could easily order everything on the menu.

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The ‘cichetti’ are a great way to start off dinner. Small bites like garlic bread knots, crispy pork jowl tossed with lemon and chili and more. Oh and the house-made burrata is truly a thing of beauty.

7. The Chase @TheChaseTO (Toronto, ON)
This slick Toronto eatery puts a big emphasis on seafood, so if you loved a well-seared scallop or a chilled seafood platter with oysters, shrimp, octopus and more then this place is for you. The price point is a little bit on the higher side, but you’ll find it hard to complain about that when you order the crispy fried snow crab claws served with a sea urchin ‘1000 Island’ dressing.

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8. Ayden Kitchen and Bar @aydenkitchen (Saskatoon, SK)
It’s not much surprise that Top Chef Canada’s season one winner broke the Top 10 in enRoute’s list this year. It’s the first Saskatchewan restaurant to do so, which means big things for a city that is slowly becoming more and more of a culinary destination.

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Mackay’s menu refreshes frequently at his downtown eatery, but you’ll always be able to find the sausage platter, a trio of house-made sausages including a robust Thai-inspired made with lemongrass and other aromatics.

9. Restaurant Légende @Resto_Legende (Quebec City, QC)
From mussels with rhubarb or buffalo tongue (try to imagine pastrami if you’ve never tried tongue before) to cornish game hen with squash and salsify, and dessert using sea buckthorn berries (an acidic berry that’s only really readily available in Saskatchewan and Eastern Canada), you can see that creativity is abound here. Since you’re in Quebec, you’d be foolish not to order a maple tart to wrap up dinner here.

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10. Edna @EDNARESTAURANT (Halifax, NS)
This restaurant’s charming interior, great service and well put together food makes it one of two east-coast eateries to grace the list. There’s a lot to opt for here like Edna’s pakoras made with cauliflower and green peas or the pulled pork poutine, but this is Nova Scotia, after all, so you should probably be starting your dinner with the grilled lobster, served up with garlic butter, slaw and a buttermilk biscuit.

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Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Topics: Dining With Food Network Canada, Restaurants

Rachael Ray Weighs in on The Paltrow-Stewart Feud

By now you’ve probably heard about the smack down Martha Stewart gave Gwyneth Paltrow. Martha said the actor turned lifestyle expert (thanks to the popularity of her GOOP website) should just stick to acting and stop trying to be, well, Martha Stewart.

Gwyneth took the high road saying she was psyched by the comparison. But Martha wasn’t done; she posted an article taking a dig at Gwyneth’s “conscious uncoupling” to ex-husband Chris Martin, featuring foods that go well together, titled… yep, conscious coupling.

And now we have Rachael Ray weighing in. Rachael is Team Gwyneth all the way saying, “I love Gwyneth Paltrow! I think she’s an amazing cook.” Unlike certain lifestyle gurus, Rachael believes cooking isn’t all about achieving perfection. “I want people to see messes and successes here. I want them to see something that’s relatable and attainable.” Take that, Martha.

Get the full article from ET Canada

Topics: Celebrity Dish, Rachel Ray, Gwyneth Paltrow

 

6 Delicious Burger King-Tim Horton’s Meal Mashups

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There’s tons of buzz around Burger King’s recent takeover of Tim Horton’s, supposedly creating “the world’s third largest quick service restaurant company.” But don’t worry; it’s unlikely Canadians are going to lose out on their precious double-doubles or heavenly Timbits and we see a positive future for this delicious food union. For starters, it’s been said that Burger King could use a menu revamp, especially when it comes to breakfast. Tim’s is known as the Canadian go-to for breakfast items, so it would only make sense for them to collaborate, am-I-right?

So here are a few new-and-improved menu ideas that would join these two forces together, one hash brown burger at a time.

Lo and behold, The Tim/King Menu:

1. Apple Turnover Oatmeal: Take Tim’s classic oatmeal, mix it with Burger King’s tasty Apple Turnovers and there you have it; dessert for breakfast.

2. French Toast Muffin: Canadians are always nibbling on muffins for breakfast, so why not make them even more appealing with some French toast flair.

3. Hash Brown Burger: Two Tim’s hash browns and one Burger King burger patty = heaven.

4. Timbit Sundae: Classic sundaes are always a fan favourite. But topping that classic hot fudge sundae with a few chocolate or sour cream-glazed Timbits would take it to the next level.

5. Fried Chicken and Doughnuts: Ever tried chicken and waffles? Try a crispy chicken filet between two old-fashioned plain doughnuts instead—the Krispy Kreme burger will definitely have a run for its money.

6. Chili ‘n Hash Browns: Burger King’s hash browns are meant for breakfast, but they could be eaten for any meal if they were loaded with some Homestyle Chili from Tim’s.

For more information on the Burger King/Tim Horton’s merger deal visit: www.globalnews.ca.

 

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Food News: 3D-Printed Cupcakes

Perfectly-iced cupcakes and cookies without cookie cutters—3D printing is coming to the kitchen. And while it may take some time for you to get your hands on a cupcake printer of your own, rest assured: the tech community is working on it.

There’s tremendous potential for 3D-printed food; from printing designs, company logos or messages onto cupcakes and cookies for events or parties, to printing true 3D objects out of chocolate, like bride and groom cake toppers, architectural forms and Minecraft creations (ask your young kids about eating their Minecraft creations, and see how they react).

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Traditional 3D printing works like a computer-controlled glue gun. The printer heats up a plastic thread and squeezes out a very thin, two-dimensional layer onto a horizontal platform. As successive layers are added on top of the last, a 3D shape takes form. 3D food printing is done the same way, but with icing or cookie batter instead of plastic—basically anything that can be squeezed through a tube.

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It may be a while until it’s practical for your kitchen, but in the meantime keep a lookout for local hands-on workshops and demos in your city.

jonathan-pic Jonathan Moneta is Creative Lead at MakeLab, an events technology studio in Toronto that runs regular workshops in 3D printing and digital creativity. To learn more about Jonathan,  follow him on Twitter.

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Where to Find Free Doughnuts Tomorrow

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On the first Friday in June falls one of the sweetest, tastiest holidays of the year—National Doughnut Day!

While this holiday may seem sort of arbitrary to some, it’s much more just than sugar and deep-fried dough. The Salvation Army started the event as a way to honour the men and women who made and served doughnuts to soldiers in World War I.

Keeping the tradition alive, your favourite big-name bakeries as well as independent doughnut shops will be giving out free doughnuts and fantastic in-store promotions! This year the confectionary celebration falls on Friday June 6 and you don’t want to miss it!

Here’s where to get the goods:

Tim Horton’s – Free doughnut of choice with any purchase.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts – Free doughnut of choice (one per person,no purchase necessary).
Dunkin’ Donuts – Free doughnut of choice with any beverage purchase.
Glory Hole Doughnuts – Giving away 76 mini doughnuts starting at 10:00 am.
Jelly Modern Doughnuts – Free Sally Ann-coloured doughnuts, and collecting money for the Salvation Army.
Von Doughnuts – Free Von Kebob (skewer with mini Madagascar vanilla or French toast-glazed doughnuts) with the purchase of any six doughnuts and a coffee.

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New Foodie Fad: ‘The Purple Diet’

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Juice cleanses, step aside. There’s a new approach to dieting, and get this — you can actually eat food!

This new diet trend, ‘the purple diet’, suggests you only consume purple-coloured foods. It has quickly become a very popular food trend in the U.S, and as trends go, likely soon in Canada. Some acceptable food items include purple cauliflower, purple potatoes, purple carrots, plums, etc. These colourful fruits and veggies are said to contain anthocyanins, which are powerful anti-oxidants and provide anti-ageing benefits. If you aren’t convinced yet, pop icon Mariah Carey followed the diet regime to lose her unwanted, post-baby pounds. She ate purple foods, three days a week, and is said to be seeing positive results.

Although the celebrity buzz around this fad is significant, nutritionists actually recommend eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies each day.

So do you think the ‘purple diet’ is a safe and healthy approach to losing weight, or do you think it’s just another fad? Tell us what you think on Facebook and Twitter!

 

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