Monday, March 31, 2008


"Grape Juice, A Wine Blog" about all things wine. I love this blog! Here's a link, so when you have time, drop in on Erin and Michelle for some very informative reading.


Friday, March 28, 2008


Okay...I really like this place and I have no reason to pump it other than that fact alone. GAUCHO BBQ RESTAURANT was first introduced to me about 2 hours after I arrived in Toronto eight weeks ago. I had driven half way across Canada, through white-out blizzards, over the mountains, through the prairies, through the desolation of western Ontario, through the crazy-busy hiways of Toronto...and I was hungry and exhausted. I just wanted to sit down, eat something and have a couple of drinks. Gaucho's was the closest place to my new home, we went.

When I first walked in I wanted to find something more upscale because I wanted to sink into a soft chair and chill for a while, but I decided to make Gaucho's the spot for the night and I'm happy I did.

Because I'm a chef, I'm not easily impressed with food. I'm not a snob or anything, but I work with food and I rarely get impressed. I do, however, appreciate quality in food whether it be in the form of uber high-end cuisine or just a slice of pizza. Good is good, straight up!

Gaucho's is a Brazilian barbeque restaurant that served up some pretty traditional Brazillian grub. The meats (chicken, ribs, pork, steaks) are all prepared by either roasting or grilling and attention is given to quality and freshness. Sauces are made in house as well and several choices are available to customers as to how meats can be grilled or finished off.

The sides are pretty straight forward, home-cut fries, pomme paresienne, rice, salads and beans round out the list. One salad I particularly like is the carrot, pineapple and coconut slaw; it is cool and refreshing. I have taken this salad, in fact, and serve it from time to time at Eaton Hall. So, if you go to Gaucho's...definitely try it!

Food is prepared for take out or to eat in at Gaucho's. The plate presentations are nicely done and offer a variety of flavors and textures.

One of the best things about Gaucho's is the Caipirinha, a traditional cocktail made of crushed limes, cachaca and sugar. It's sort of like a Brazilian Margarita. I guess I'm a sucker for them because I love Margaritas.

Gaucho's is located at 1745 Dundas Street at the corner of Dundas and Lansdown. They deliver too if you're not in the mood for venturing out! The phone number is 416-588-1007.

Adios Amigos!! For now, that is...........

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MY FRIEND........

This is Gail Riddall who is, perhaps, one of the truest friends I have ever had. She has never seen my face, but she has connected with me on a very deep level through a transitional period in my life. Gail is blind...but she sees more than most people I have ever met.

I worked for Gail and her husband Rick as a contractor in Penticton, British Columbia. While I was there, in their home, I became their friend. We share a love of food, wine and thought. Sometimes you never know who you're talking to until the talking is done.

Anyway, Gail is a lover of music and she is a singer. Just before I left BC, she was working on her first CD. It is called, "Ms. Gail Sings."

Gail may be just another face in the crowd to some, but in BC...the crowd is much thinner.

Go Gail go! You go too Rick!

This one's for you!



The first of many in "The Big Smoke."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


These are a few of the plates from our banquet packages at Eaton Hall. In descending order there is butternut squash ravioli in shitaki broth with sage fritter, wild mushroom agnolotti with leek cream and sundried tomatoes, grilled New York striploin steak with mushroom ragout and stuffed cornish hen with red wine reduction.

Oh, and yes...I was cooking.


The other night at home I had to make dinner and I didn't really feel like making anything that took a lot of time so I looked in the fridge to see what I could turn into a quick meal. I found some nice portabello mushrooms and a couple of bunches of rapinni. That was all I needed to get started.

I stemmed the mushrooms and drizzled the underside of them with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled them with sea salt. Then I smeared them with some chili garlic paste. I found a container of sundried tomato paste that was almost empty, so I smeared them with that too.

After they were seasoned and smeared, I needed a chunky stuffing to top them with. I had some tomatoes and the last dregs of a roll of goat's cheese. That was perfect! I diced the tomato and spread it over the mushrooms and seasoned again with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Then I crumbled the Chevre over the top.

Now I reached for the last little bit of the bread crumbs I had in the cupboard and I rained them over the tomato and cheese filled caps. A quick drizzle of olive oil and away they were to the oven for a quick tan under the broiler!

Next I blanched off the rapinni and then sauted it in a bit of sweet butter and garlic.

I topped the rapinni off with the broiled mushroom caps and it made for a nice, light dinner. It was super quick and super easy! Oh...and super good!!

Good on ya!

Monday, March 24, 2008


The Glass Lounge

The Great Hall

Table Settings In The East Dining Room

Ready To Rumble!

Dauphinoise Assembly

Eddie Massaging The Hams

Anna's Fruit Platter

A Few Sweets

And A Few More

Salad Table


Ed ready to go!

The Tanning Salon!

A new record...300 guests!


These are a few recent shots from Eaton Hall.


After moving to Toronto from the Okanagan (British Columbia's wine belt), I have missed drinking the great Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers produced there. What can I say...I was spoiled! But...I managed to stumble across a nice Riesling at the LCBO the other day. "RELAX Riesling" is produced in Germany by Schmitt-Sohne and is a nice crisp example of what a Riesling should taste like. And it is just sweet enough to appeal to those of us who like a fruitier tasting wine. That would be me!

Here's the Schmitt-Sohne site:

Anyway...I'm still looking for good wines of these two varieties, so if anyone has suggestions...send them my way!

Cin Cin!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Just a little something to get things rolling! A variety of olives, bocconcini cheese and salami. Perfect!