toronto food. right now.

from last night's 4suppers featuring a collaboration between Chef Basilio Pesce of Porzia and Chef Matty Matheson of Parts & Labour
I'd like to preface this post by saying that I don't claim to be a culinary expert of any sort. I am simply someone who has grown up with a deep appreciation for food. I was inspired to write this post following conversations I had with a friend as well as the chefs during (another SUPERB) 4suppers last night. It's also because of other thoughts and observations I've had about the food scene in Toronto. 

The most significant thing I've noticed in the past couple of years after having moved to Toronto from New York is how collaborative and supportive the culinary community is toward one another. I've made more connections in Toronto's food scene compared to when I lived in New York, so perhaps it isn't fair to say. There seems to be a great deal of mind melding and camraderie going on (uniquely) in Toronto than other cities (like New York, Montreal too, apparently). If the same types of collaborations are happening in New York, perhaps I'm just not plugged in. The chefs I've discussed this with in Toronto agree with me. Is New York just too competitive a place in general for the same thing to happen? Maybe? Naturally, there is still competition in Toronto. For the most part, it seems to be a friendly and supportive sort. Toronto chefs seem genuinely excited about what their peers are doing – at least for the most part. The competitive creative energy seems to yield positive results. I witnessed this energy at this year's fantastic Terroir Symposium. I see it in the 4suppers at Porzia (not only because I co-host this event!), in The Group of 7 Chefs, at the many different chef battles at 86'd hosted by Ivy Knight, at Food Truck Eats, at Death Row Meals events, La Carnita's pop-up roots and today at Slurp Noodlefest, etc. I could go on and on. 

What results from these collaborative relationships are dining experiences that are not only incredibly inspired but also really innovative. My friend Socky last night commented that the camraderie is very Canadian. But I'm not sure whether the same energy is happening on this scale in other Canadian cities. What is very Canadian to me is to be shy and humble about the fantastic food that's coming out of this city's best chefs. Is it also very Canadian to wait until people like David Chang or Anthony Bourdain recognize the creative energy and talent that's happening in Toronto for the city to realize it? 

It's the very innovation and inspiration that is making this moment in Toronto a very exciting place to be. Any others in Toronto agree with me?

 

4suppers no.3 : aug 25th at porzia · basilio pesce x matty matheson

Toronto, be ready for the next 4suppers this Sunday, August 25th when the charismatic Matty Matheson of Parts & Labour Restaurant will be teaming up with Porzia's chef and owner, Basilio Pesce. Chef Matheson is much celebrated in Toronto and known for his spectacular, farm-to-table-meets-modern-bistro dishes. Prepare yourselves for over-the-top goodness this Sunday! 

If you haven't booked your spot, I highly recommend doing so asap by emailing us at 4suppers@porzia.ca or calling 647-342-5776. 

See you there :)  

 

SUPPER 3: 
featuring Chef Matty Matheson of Parts & Labour

----- MENU*----- 

AMUSE 
pork rind, avocado, watermelon

BREAD & BUTTER / SALAD
rye crisp with smoked goat butter

 baby lettuce
buttermilk sesame
house mustard

~

PORK
smoked belly, ‘nduja, figs & mostardo

~

MUSHROOM
king oyster, scallop, 62 degree egg & dulce

~

OFFAL
lamb sweetbreads, clams & celery broth

~

FRUIT
marinated ontario fruit & ice cream

 

 *subject to last minute changes

an upstate of mind

One of my oldest and dearest friends in New York, Sparrow Hall, recently launched a fantastic digital experience dedicated to travel, culture, and design in Upstate New York: An Upstate of Mind. I've written a roadtrip diary about one of many wonderful weekends spent upstate. Check it out :)  

Follow him on Twitter · Facebook · Pinterest · Tumblr · Flickr 

 

4suppers no.2 : july 28th at porzia · basilio pesce x rudy boquila

Toronto, get ready for the second of the 4suppers series: It's happening on Sunday, July 28th @ 7pm. Chef Rudy Boquila from Lamesa will be teaming up with Porzia's chef and owner, Basilio Pesce, for what is going to be an incredible night. The evening's menu as well as wine and cocktail pairings will be revealed in the next couple of weeks. I highly recommend booking your reservation asap – the spots are already filling up fast. This Filipino-Italian mashup is going to be insanely good (not to mention, close to my dining heart and roots). 

Contact me, Catherine Mangosing (your co-host) or Melissa Clemente at 4suppers@porzia.ca or call 647-342-5776 to book your tickets or have any questions. Otherwise, feel free to drop by Porzia located on 1314 Queen Street West. Let us know if you'd like to be seated with other parties making reservations on this night. Each table can seat up to 6 people together. 

See you there :) 

 

SUPPER 2: 
featuring Chef Rudy Boquila of Lamesa

----- MENU*----- 

SNACKS 

+ Welcome Beer Cocktail

chicken chicaron
pork and fig empanada
horse mortadella

 ~

MERIENDA/ANTIPASTI

+ Champalou Vouvray FRANCE

salted duck egg with tomato
crispy pigs ears with tofu
roasted cauliflower with corn bagna cauda

 ~

ISDA/PESCE

+ Copain Steel Fermented Chardonnay CALIFORNIA

oyster kinilaw
‘nduja stuffed squid with salsa verde

 ~

PASTA

+ COS Rami Inzolia Grecanico ITALY

 cavatelli di sangue , bacala crema & cocoa

 ~

BABOY/MAIALE

+ Bellwoods Bottled Beer Selection - LOCAL

 “kaldereta”
 pork shoulder, liver sausage & romesco

 ~

MATAMIS/DOLCE

+ Sparkling Malvasia with Cherry infused Brandy ITALY

halo halo with semolina barquillo

 

 *subject to last minute changes

 

 


4suppers invitation: june 23rd at porzia · basilio pesce x rob rossi

 

I'd like to officially invite everyone in Toronto (+ anyone planning a visit this weekend) to a dinner series I am co-hosting at Porzia called 4Suppers. This Sunday, June 23rd will be the first of four monthly dinners at Porzia Restaurant. Porzia's chef & owner, Basilio Pesce, will be collaborating with Rob Rossi of Bestellen this weekend. It promises to be an exceptional evening. The menu is below and we'll be announcing wine and cocktail pairings later this week. 

Contact me, Catherine Mangosing, or Melissa Clemente at 4suppers@porzia.ca or call 647-342-5776 to book your tickets or have any questions. You can also drop by Porzia located on 1314 Queen Street West. 

Do invite your friends and come dine with us this Sunday :) 
We're all very excited and hope to see you there! 

 

SUPPER 1:
featuring Rob Rossi of Bestellen

----- MENU----- 

CROSTINI
Fava bean & botarga 

BESTELLEN CHARCUTERIE
with pickles & mustard  

RADISH
with smoked ricotta, arugala &poppy seed sour dough  

GARGANELLI CACCIO PEPE
green garlic ash & lemon  

BASS
cinnamon caps, snap peas & marrow  

CAPPICOLA
socca & caponatta  

~

CHOCOLATE “BROWNIE”
with caramelized banana, coconut gelato and earl grey infused ganache

+small cookie give aways for the end of the meal

 

announcement: 4suppers series at Porzia this summer

Hello, Toronto + anyone planning a visit this summer. I'm very excited to co-host 4Suppers with Melissa Clemente at Porzia starting on June 23rd. Here's the 411 below. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. Please spread the word and we hope to see you this summer! :) 

~ Catherine Mangosing 

--------------------------
Porzia announces 4Suppers

A summer dinner series in collaboration with local Toronto chefs

TORONTO, ON — Porzia is pleased to announce a new collaborative dinner series with local Toronto chefs, 4Suppers. Taking place at its Parkdale location (1314 Queen Street West), 4Suppers will feature a four-course dinner with wine pairings and cocktails for $70 in advance and $85 at the door. 

Happening one Sunday a month from June to September, Porzia will welcome popular chefs into its kitchen starting on June 23 with Rob Rossi of Bestellen. Also joining Basilio Pesce—Porzia’s head chef and owner—will be Rudy Boquila of Lamesa on July 28, Matty Matheson of Parts & Labour on August 25, and Jason Carter previously of Centro on September 22. 

“4Suppers allows us to showcase local chefs that we’re not only friends with but respect and who are doing great things with food in the city,” said Basilio Pesce. “I’m excited to mess around in the kitchen with my friends and create completely one-of-a-kind menus for the event.”

Porzia looks forward to hosting unique events all summer long in collaboration with well-known Toronto chefs that will bring guests. Tickets are available for purchase at Porzia: 1314 Queen Street West or via email at 4suppers@porzia.ca. For media inquiries or high-res images please contact: 

Melissa Clemente or Catherine Mangosing, 
4suppers@porzia.ca or 647-342-5776

Follow Porzia on Twitter: twitter.com/porziaparkdale

“4Suppers allows us to showcase local chefs that we’re not only friends with but respect and who are doing great things with food in the city,” said Basilio Pesce. “I’m excited to mess around in the kitchen with my friends and create completely one-of-a-kind menus for the event.”


food is sacred.

Soy Lime Marinated Beef, dressing made with Chef Rossy Earle's Diablo Verde hot sauce on rice noodles (a dish I made recently)

Some recent conversations about food I’ve had with friends in Toronto and New York prompted me to write about it today. I was raised with an almost sacred view of food. I realized how much this has contributed to my perspectives, love and respect for food of all types as an adult. Some of the unwritten rules around food in my childhood were:  

 · try everything once (especially food you’re afraid to try; there were very, very few exceptions)

· never scoff at food you don't necessarily care for (esp. when at people's home cooked dinners or even restaurants) because that would be extremely disrespectful to whomever prepared it – and to food, in general

· meals are enjoyed together and talked about at length

· nothing is ever wasted (before the ‘nose-to-tail’ was ever a trendy thing, poorer countries practiced this as a given), so excess was frowned upon

· processed/packaged food wasn’t readily available in the Philippines and also more expensive. Therefore nearly everything was cooked fresh (thankfully) 

· you ate everything on your plate because so many children around go hungry everyday so a clean plate was a sign of gratefulness

· when dining on the beach, you ate with your hands on picnic tables lined with banana leaves 

All of this taught me to enjoy and respect food as much as I do today. I think it’s normal to have personal preferences. But a narrow-mindedness about food and scoffing at food you didn’t like was looked down upon and simply not allowed when I was growing up. So it drives me crazy when I see narrow-mindedness now. I feel lucky and grateful to have had the upbringing that I had. I love that I was brought up this way. I love seeing children who are growing up with a wider palate and an open-mindedness about food. I have my parents —especially my mom— to thank for this. I was never the kid who was fixated by eating candy. Nor was I allowed to be picky. I was always more interested dinner (not to mention, dessert). Filipino culture centres so much around food in many ways too. So none of this is a surprise. I lived there until I was almost 12 before moving to California. Food was the other religion. Meals were, in essence, pure love and joy. Meals were everything. Not much has changed today.

Living in New York starting in 1999 only helped enhance and widen my perspective and palate. I'm surrounded by even more people over the past two+ years who regard food in this same way in Toronto. It's an endless journey of discovery. It's so fantastic and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

 

define your own

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the
things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 
~ Mark Twain ~

 

I was struck today by this quote. You may have seen it posted around the internets. I blame my lifelong idealism for having a particular connection to this. I realize now that I HAVE lived my adult/independent life (the most interesting parts) with this line of thinking —  despite many strong opinions to do otherwise. Call it being ‘romantic,’ ‘passionate’ or even ‘crazy.’ I like to think of it as BRAVE. I've learned the following important lessons over the years:  

1) Giving yourself permission to pursue what's in your heart can be hugely unpopular (even offensive) to those who only WISH that they had done the same.

2) Idealism: often NOT the easiest/safest/most traditional route to choose whether personally or professionally. This, I know well. Accept that you're taking risks and could fall flat on your face. Then appreciate all who help and encourage you along the way.

3) Considering/living someone else's ‘SHOULD DO’ list will never make YOU happy. Write (and rewrite) your own.

Lately, I've been wanting more. I'm excited again after an intensely difficult time. I've also been inspired by a few particular individuals (thanks, Nichole) who remind me that life is too short not to live your own *ideal.* Here's hoping 2013 will give power to more of my adventures — however I choose to define them! 

 

reflection

This was a year of extremes. Sweet, joyous highs and blindsiding blows. 2012, I gave you my all and with plenty of COURAGE. The past year (or three) has taught me some hard lessons. I'm taking a moment to reflect today. Here's to tipping the balance, making better (personal + professional) choices, setting new tracks and to LETTING IN NEW LIGHT in 2013. 

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. 
~ Rumi

 

bourdain's words + my travels to egypt

"Travel isn't always pretty, it isn't comfortable, sometimes it hurts. It even breaks your heart. But that's ok. The journey changes you, it SHOULD change you... It leaves marks on your memory, your consciousness, your heart and on your body. You take something with you. And, hopefully, you leave something good behind." 

– Anthony Bourdain, NO RESERVATIONS
(Collection 1: Episode 5, Malaysia)

I absolutely love this quote from an episode of Bourdain's show that I only recently watched. This really captures a unique but important point of view on travel. It struck a chord with me – particularly after my own recent (and incredible) trip to Cairo, Egypt. I have always felt that I'm undeniably transformed each time I travel anywhere, in a very good way. How could I not be? And to see it with fresh eyes but through someone very familair with a place is amazing. It also included moments where I feared for our safety, things that were painful to see and experiences that made me sad. But travel should teach you compassion and humility. It should redefine beauty for you many times over. It should shake you up. This trip certainly did all that and more. 

 
 
 

View more photos on my Instagram feed or check here.

 

the waterfall necklace is back

I got a hold of a limited selection of the beautiful waterfall necklace once again! You may have seen these beaded gems on my blog before. They are hand stitched by women of the T'Boli tribe in the Philippines. I've received a few inquiries from people since I last sold a few. Please contact me here if interested. They are $50/each + shipping fees. I can ship globally and accept cash or Paypal. First come, first served. So let me know asap if you'd like to purchase. The total lengths of each colour are as follows:

RED: 25"
BLACK (2 in this colour): 21" and 23"
YELLOW: 21.75" 

Photos of the actual necklaces below.

Valerie & Mark

Last spring, my sweet cousin Valerie broke the news that she and Mark, her long-time boyfriend, got engaged. She soon thereafter contacted me for advice on graphic design and photography for the big day. She wanted my insight on her shortlisted photographers so we went back and forth via email. In the end, she chose Jen Huang. I am thrilled with the result and so thrilled for her and Mark. The wedding and reception (April 28th, 2012) were absolutely gorgeous. Valerie looked stunningI loved the attention to detail. The photos really captured it all beautifully. The photos were even featured in Style Me Pretty magazine this June issue (pages 112-119). 

The Highlands Country Club in Garrison, New York was such an elegant setting for the reception – one of the best that I've seen. Plus, it was also so much fun! The evening included making smores around the firepit outside – white pashminas and cigars that were provided for everyone was a nice touch. 

A big congratulations again to my cousin Valerie and Mark! xoxo Love you both. 

 

 

nerding out on 'lie to me'

I've only recently been watching episodes of the tv show Lie To Me (cancelled after a 3rd season), like a complete nerd. I haven't had a television for years, so I'm quite particular about what I bother to watch. I became completely fascinated with this show. The topic of psychology (and human behaviour) often does. Out of curiosity, I tried to do a bit of research to find out how accurate/real the science was behind the show. I found out via a Popular Mechanics article that the show is "90% accurate." The show is based on the life and work of an expert lie detector, Dr. Cal Lightman (brilliantly played by actor Tim Roth). Turns out, the character was based on a real clinical psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman, a scientist specializing in lie detection (and worked with everyone from the U.S. Secret Service and Dept. of Defense to Pixar to detect facial expressions). In fact, Dr. Ekman was involved in the development of each episode on the show and even sends actors on the show photos of facial expressions to imitate. So apart from an expected level of glamourization for television, apparently the show is based on a real science. 

Such a shame it was canceled. Unfortunately, trashy shows that cater to the intectually vacant continue survive and thrive while shows like Lie To Me do not. There are only a handful of great, well-written shows on television on any given season. I discovered it late but this was one of them. I really love the cast, too. If you haven't watched it, go find it on Netflix. I'm starting on Season 3 and I'll be sad to watch the final episodes. 

As a sidenote: I really like the show's title sequence design. 

I am love : 40

A belated post: My birthday this past April was something EXTRA special. I celebrated the big four-oh. What?! YES... be nice. I am still trying to get used to the idea! It was a celebration made more special by dear friends and family, spectacular food, an elegant setting and one amazing cake.

I decided to loosely theme the evening around one of my favourite films of all time, I Am Love. It is easily one of the most sumptuous films ever made. Food – and love – are central themes. I even designed my invites to look like the film's title sequence. If only I had Luca Barcellona as my calligrapher. Chef Jason Bangerter at LUMA created for me a beautiful menu around the themeIt was such an honour to have one of the best chefs in Canada to create such fantastic (and gorgeous) food for my birthday. If that wasn't amazing enough, my dear friend, Chef Rossy Earle created a jaw-dropping, Roasted Butter Pecan Cake with – get this – four layers of dulce de leche. 

It was one of my most special birthdays to date. It was such a beautiful night and exactly how I wanted to celebrate. I only wish my parents who have lived back in Manila for years and more of my dear friends in New York had been able to attend. Everything else fell into place and there was no shortage of laughter. What better way to bring in a new decade. So it's not so bad being grown up ...er, old. ;) 

Many thanks once again to all who shared the evening with me (including my friend Lee from NYC), Chef Jason Bangerter (and the great LUMA staff), Chef Rossy Earle for my amazing cake and Renée Suen for taking and sharing the photos. x 



The AMAZING Roasted Butter Pecan cake with four layers of dulce de leche


All photos above by Renee Suen

A few birthday Instagrams by family & friends' (including my own); left: the Truffle Soup with chanterelle cream and buffalo parmesan that we all LOVED beyond words, middle: my big, beautiful Dulce de Leche cake, right: perfect Roast Sea Bass

The gift bags for my guests included bubbly and popcorn with chocolate pop rocks, peanuts, caramel and Chef Jason's fragrant mix

for sale: rusa bar chairs (design within reach)

TORONTO: I am selling a pair of these responsibly harvested, bar-height outdoor RUSA chairs from Design Within Reach. These chairs are less than a year old and barely used (and mostly used indoors or in storage). They retailed for $450/each without cushions and I am selling them for only $125/each including Sunbrella cushions in Linen (canvas colour, see second photo below). I am moving and will no longer have a balcony to put these in. View the RUSA Collection at DWR. The bar height table is on sale!

Please email me asap, if interested. Cash only, local pick-ups only. 

 

 

 


standard chair height version shown with the cushions


The RUSA Collection at Design Within Reach

the goodwin nyc : opens this week

I'm thrilled to announce that The Goodwin officially opens its doors this week. It's been an amazing project to have been part of. It's such a joy to see everything come together. A huge congratulations to owners Andre Jones, Richard Wise and the entire team!

The interiors by Larah Moravek look so fantastic. It's as gorgeous as down-to-earth gets. Warm and inviting. The space features beautifully custom-designed cozy baquettes. Larah also designed those divine lighting fixtures on the ceiling (in first photo) made from steel tubing. Materials from the original landmark building were repurposed as wood paneling for "The Grange" (back dining room/event space). Old license plates from the 30s and 40s that were found in the basement were used as wall decor. Even the buidling's old boiler tank was upcycled as a planter (seen through the back window). There was a high level of sensitivity to the building's rich history that remains in the new space. The interiors have an earthy, restrained elegance. It's been a great journey seeing all the sketches and swatches take form. It's been so exciting to take part in the design and work in tandem with such a talent.

Another reason to look forward to dining there is the menu prepared by Chef Colin Kruzic – formerly of James in Brooklyn and Bouley among others. The menus are currently available for download on The Goodwin splash page. Or if you are in New York City, definitely stop by. 

Here are a few photos below of the space (from today's Thrillist NYC write up). View a previous post on the branding/identity design development for The Goodwin here. The full website is coming soon. 

Photos above from Thrillist NYC