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Hey everyone – just wanted to give you an update on life right now and also check in with you all before Thanksgiving. We were in New York City at the end of last week for the opening of a gallery show of our work in Brooklyn, we attended Creative Mornings in D.U.M.B.O. with swissmiss and Jessi Harrington and we had another meeting with our clients at the Metropolitan Museum of Art regarding a new project in a few weeks. It was a very busy and very inspiring trip to the city, as usual. I love going there.

In addition to our usual stop for dinner at Risotteria in Greewich Village, my favorite gluten-free restaurant in the city, I also accidentally stumbled upon Fabiane’s Cafe and Pastry shop on Bedford Ave and N. 5th St. in Williamsburg, on our way out-of-town. We stopped to grab a quick morning bite plus some coffee and tea. I assumed that the best I could get would be some type of egg dish, so I ordered at the counter what turned out to be a delicious organic baked egg dish with smoked salmon and potato and went to sit down. Once I sat down at our table, I looked up and saw a HUGE gluten-free menu that I didn’t see while standing at the counter, the menu included gluten-free waffles, french toast and so much more. I didn’t change my meal, but I changed my side of toast to be gluten-free and started eyeing up the pastry case for a road-trip treat, which was also loaded with beautiful gluten-free goodies. Besides all of the breakfast and pastry options, Fabiane will also make any of their sandwiches with gluten-free bread. I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this place before. They make all of the baked goods right there and each and everything was absolutely delicious. The toast was some of the most delicious gluten-free bread I had every tried. I, of course, had to snag a gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffin from the pastry case for the car ride, because I didn’t think I could sit 6 hours in the car and not salivate thinking about all of the sweets I had just seen.

One final gluten-free friendly restaurant recommendation, if you find yourself in Brooklyn, is Caracas, a Venezuelan Arepas bar in Williamsburg that I have fallen in love with. We’ve been there a handful of times this year. Caracas is very knowledgable about gluten intolerances and arepas are naturally gluten-free, so I can indulge guilt-free, enjoying each and every bite with confidence. In addition to arepas, they also have a bunch of other traditional authentic Venezuelan treats like empanadas, tostones, etc and they have a wonderful cocktail menu, the dark and stormy is my favorite!

As usual, I am always happy for a trip to the city, to get that rush of inspiration, the surge of creativity and just an overall feeling of being alive. There really is nothing like it. I love the people, the food and the hustle. Of course, I also love coming home to my own kitchen, my healthy food and my own bed. I definitely realize for as much as I like the pace of New York, I also really appreciate the serene quiet of my life and more importantly I love having a kitchen that allows me to create huge meals. I think if I were to ever move to NYC, sucking it up and having a tiny kitchen may be the biggest sacrifice and toughest challenge for me. When we got home Saturday afternoon, we just made do with what we had in the pantry and then I woke up yesterday morning and headed to the grocery store to stock up for the week. Last night I made a big pot of my tortilla soup and a new version of my apple crisp. I cannot wait to share both of those recipes with you guys. I plan to make lots of other fun dishes this week, but I also need to start thinking about my Thanksgiving menu for next week. I am working on a plan for what I am going to serve and hopefully making a few dishes ahead of time, so I can share them with you all.

I wanted to ask you guys if there are any dishes that you wanted recipes for before your Thanksgiving? If it is your first gluten-free holiday, it can seem a bit overwhelming and I’d like to help however I can. There are hundreds or probably thousands of recipes online for anything you can think of for your Thanksgiving dinner, made gluten-free. Is there something specific you are looking for? Need some suggestions for healthy dessert options or a way to make your mom’s famous stuffing gluten-free? My mom’s stuffing is the one things I was devastated about no longer being able to eat. It actually saddened me. I have managed to be able to enjoy it every single Thanksgiving since I found out I was gluten intolerant, so believe me when I say, if there is a dish you love I am sure it is possible to make it gluten-free!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? What is the one dish that you cannot go without on Thanksgiving? Do you try to make your Thanksgiving healthy or do you allow yourself a day of indulging on all the things you never have?

Here are a few of my favorite fall dishes that would be great for any Thanksgiving feast. Look for more this week and next and please let me know if there are any other recipes that you’d like to see.

Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad
Arugula, Fennel and Orange Salad


Gluten-free Vegan Apple Cobbler
Gluten-free Vegan Apple Cobbler


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Walnuts
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Walnuts

Apple Spice Cake

Gluten-Free Apple Spice Cake


Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Gluten-Free)


Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Pine Nuts
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Pine Nuts


Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash

Flourless Carrot Cake
Flourless Carrot Cake


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Gluten-Free Cheddar and Green Onion Cornbread

Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts and Cranberries

Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts and Dried Currants

Cilantro Lime Sweet Potatoes with Honey
Cilantro Lime Sweet Potatoes with Honey


Tofu, Wild Rice and Hazelnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Tofu, Wild Rice and Hazelnut Stuffed Acorn Squash


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So here I am, after a very long and crazy month and the craziness continues. We went to Austin for SXSW and Flatstock, we closed our store, the big job we’ve been working on finally launched and my head is officially spinning. That being said, I honestly don’t know if I have ever been this happy. The only thing missing right now, which I am quite sad about, is the time to cook and more importantly to blog about it. I have been cooking as much as I can, which isn’t nearly as much as I would like and I definitely feel like life is just a bit incomplete without it. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and I know once April is over, life will certainly calm down a bit and the time to cook will be there once again. Part of the reason we closed the store after nearly 5 years, was to be able to focus better on the things that matter most to us, both professionally and personally. We are only five days in on being without a store and I already feel more focused.

This month we are finishing up modifying our home to move the studio in – we have to gut the garage of all the junk and garage-items to be able to move in our presses, poster inventory and all the print-related equipment. We also converted the two additional bedrooms upstairs into home offices for each of us. We have to go through what feels like millions and millions of things, both at home and at work to donate, give away and sell to be able to consolidate everything in one place. It’s definitely a daunting and overwhelming task, especially with the deadline of May 1st looming overhead, but we will get through it all.

Part of what is keeping us going right now besides the excitement of what’s to come is all the traveling and fun things we have going on. We took the long and fun road trip down to Austin in the middle of March and that was incredible, the weather was beautiful, we saw so many great friends whom we missed dearly, we saw family (albeit too briefly) and of course, we ate!

As usual, I didn’t bring my camera to every restaurant as I would have liked, so I did the best I could. On this trip we decided to take our time driving to and from Austin, enjoying the drive as much as the rest of the trip. We tried to seek out the best local restaurants for our taste in each city we stopped in and we had so much fun figuring it out as we went and of course we loved trying out new places. We certainly weren’t disappointed by traveling this way.

I am going to do my best to give you a review of some of our most favorite restaurants from the trip, some will include photos (some of which are better than others) and with others you will have to use your imagination.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Columbus, Ohio – zpizza

At the start of the trip we left Buffalo Saturday at a reasonable time and once we got to driving decided that our first major stop would be in Columbus for lunch. I did a little google searching for a fun gluten-free friendly restaurant where I could fill up and eat with assurance of not getting sick on the drive. I ended up finding a place called Z Pizza. It isn’t exactly “local” but certainly met all of our other criteria. Their pizzas are fire-baked on hot bricks and they even feature organic ingredients, additive free meats, daiya vegan cheese and most importantly gluten-free pizza crust. So we took a peek at their menu online and called ahead to order two small pizzas to share. (Please excuse the photos, my good camera was packed very deeply in the car at this point, so I made do with my iPhone). We went with the Tuscan and American pizzas. The Tuscan is a white pizza that features their homemade roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, feta, a variety of mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffle oil and fresh thyme. WOW this pizza tasted like something I would make at home, all the ingredients were very fresh, the sauce had so much flavor and the crust was perfectly thin and crisp. The American was just like it sounds, a classic. It featured their classic organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, bell peppers, red onions, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. It was definitely a great pizza as well, lots of flavor with very fresh ingredients, though it really didn’t come close to comparing to the Tuscan. I am actually excited for all the drives we take to Louisville now that I know I have an easy and good lunch option along the way. For a chain restaurant I was thoroughly impressed with not only the quality of the food but also the service. It also didn’t hurt that they stocked gluten-free beer, always a plus for me!

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Bowling Green, Kentucky – Greener Groundz

We continued driving after lunch on Saturday and stopped in Louisville to see Mark’s family and we got to have a short, but quality visit with his Momo (Grandma). After that stop-off we continued on to Bowling Green, Kentucky to spend the next two nights with our good friends Connie and Stacey from Print Mafia. Connie and Stacey took us to their friend’s restaurant for brunch Sunday morning before we headed to Nashville for a bit. Greener Groundz is an adorable little coffee shop / cafe right in Bowling Green that offers 100% organic fair-trade coffee, local and organic ingredients and they have a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options. They also cater to many food allergies! When I saw they had a breakfast pizza that could be made with gluten-free crust, I went for it. It had a delicious white sauce, you have your choice of scrambled local free-range eggs or tofu scramble, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, cheese and your choice of protein – ham, crumbles sausage, sliced italian sausage or vegan sausage. I had the local eggs and crumbled sausage. WOW this pizza was incredible and so filling. I had half for breakfast that morning and the other half the next day before we hit the road again. I was content all day! Everyone else at the table had Kentucky Hot Damns – a fun and creamy spin on the famous Kentucky Hot Brown. We all started with a serving of their homemade hummus that Connie and Stacey raved about. I love my own hummus so much that it is rare I care for other hummus (whether at a restaurant or store-bought), this time I was impressed, it was full of flavor, creamy and very well made. We had it served with tortilla chips but you can also get it with pizza crisps or gluten-free pizza crisps. I really cannot recommend Greener Groundz enough if you ever find yourself in the Bowling Green area, in fact it’s so good I would recommend stopping there even if you are traveling on to somewhere else. It really is the type of place that I wish every city and little town had, it really makes me so happy to support places like this. I knew when we pulled up and walked through the front door that this place that it was just my kind of place. I can’t wait to go back.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Memphis, Tennessee – Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

This stop was all for Mark. Since he had eaten at all these great organic and gluten-free restaurants for me, it was his turn. I started asking around on Twitter if anyone had recommendations on somewhere we could grab lunch in Memphis when we passed through. More than one person recommended Gus’s. Being the fried chicken-loving Southern boy that he is, we had to stop and get lunch there for Mark. I was happy just to eat sides and enjoy the smile on my husband’s face. Much to my surprise they even had bottled hard cider on their menu, even better! Mark got a classic plate of fried-chicken with sides. When I told our waiter that I was just gonna have a few sides he asked if I was vegetarian, I replied with “not exactly, I don’t eat much meat and I am also gluten-intolerant so either way the fried chicken wouldn’t work for me”. He leaned in really close to me and said “our fried chicken is gluten-free, I cannot tell you the recipe since it is secret but we use corn starch, not flour. My ex-girlfriend was very very sensitive to gluten and she ate it all the time”. As tempting as it was, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have learned to trust few people who can’t tell me with 100% assurance that something is safe and though I am sure I would be OK I didn’t want to risk it with all the traveling we had ahead. Though I would definitely be curious to know how true this really is. So I obviously cannot give you a first-hand review of the fried chicken here but Mark did say it was the best damn fried-chicken he has ever had and that I can trust.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Austin, Texas – Frank

This wasn’t our first time at Frank, in fact I have actually lost track of how many times we’ve eaten there. A poster/designer friend of ours from Austin, Geoff Peveto, opened Frank with a couple of his buddies and their wives. Normally you wouldn’t find me excited about a hot dog / sausage restaurant. It’s never really been my thing, plus having a gluten-intolerance and being mostly vegetarian makes this all even less fun. Frank, however, really caters to everyone – they carry gluten-free rolls, homemade vegetarian sausage and dogs and plenty of house made sausage from local meats and ingredients. Though I wanted their homemade veggie sausage, I couldn’t have it as it contained gluten, unfortunately. So I make sure to always go with one of their homemade sausages since they never disappoint. To be able to eat a sausage or a hot dog on a bun feels like a luxury after 6+ years. We usually eat there at least two times when we are in town and I like to try something different each time. On this visit I had the Texalina served on a gluten-free bun which is their housemade local pork and beef sausage covered in a grilled coleslaw and topped with a Carolina mustard BBQ sauce and shredded white cheddar. It was so incredible and tasty, it had a nice subtle spicy heat and the crunch from the coleslaw is what makes this sausage really stand-out, in my opinion. Though I am not a huge BBQ sauce lover – I am always down for a mustard based sauce and it was perfect on this. The Texalina is definitely messy, but something I was willing to deal with. I, of course, washed this incredible treat down with one of Frank’s deliciously fresh house margaritas (ok well maybe, two). Besides having delicious food, Frank is one of the most aesthetically pleasing restaurants I have ever been to, complete with hand painted signage and well though out menus and decor. A must see if you are in Austin.

Austin, Texas – Fonda San Miguel

One of our favorite things to do while we’re in Austin is to eat as much Mexican food as we can. Living in Buffalo there really isn’t much authentic Mexican food and I certainly crave it. What isn’t there to love about Mexican food, the spices, the margaritas, etc and it is so very gluten-free friendly. We definitely have a long list of classic taqueria style Mexican joints in Austin that we like to visit, but this time we decided to try out something a bit different that a friend recommended. Fonda San Miguel is an upscale restaurant that features fine interior Mexican cuisine, something I had never really experienced. It’s classic regional cuisine prepared authentically using numerous ingredients from their on-site organic garden.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say it is one of the best Mexican meals I have ever had. So different from the classic taqueria’s that I have become accustomed to. I decided to go with the Camarones en Crema De Chipotle, gulf shrimp in a spicy chipotle cream sauce. I am a big fan of the gulf shrimp and when I saw this dish, I knew it was right up my alley. It had a wonderful smokey heat that was balanced by the creaminess. Once we returned home to Buffalo I promptly recreated this dish myself so I could enjoy it again. I plan to make it again really soon so I can share the recipe here. I don’t have access to delicious gulf shrimp so my recipe was definitely lacking there, but otherwise I think I came close. I also had an incredible martini style cocktail that featured mezcal, tequila and fresh lime juice, this was my first time trying mezcal and I loved it. The strong smoky flavor from the mezcal was so unique and special, I am certainly going to have to keep an eye out for this at my local liquor store. I cannot wait to go back to Austin next year so we can go back to Fonda San Miguel and try even more things on their menu. I am sorry to say I had my camera with me, but was far too happy, relaxed and involved with both incredible food and wonderful company, to take any photos of the meal, so you will have to use your imagination on this one or get your butt to Austin and visit Fonda San Miguel yourself.

Travelin' Eats from Our Drive to Austin.

Austin, Texas – Juan in a Million

Last, but certainly not least, is Juan in a Million. Though simplistic in many ways, it is one of my favorite grub spots in Austin. There’s no organic garden or gluten-free breads, it is just straight-up, classic Mexican food, perfected. We always try to hit Juan in a Million at least twice for breakfast while we’re in town – they have amazing breakfast tacos and THE best migas, probably my favorite breakfast dish of all time. It is a simple concept, scrambled eggs with various veggies like peppers, onions, tomatoes and it also has strips of fried tortilla. Then it’s all topped with fresh grated cheese. Don’t ask me why it’s so much better than every other ‘ol scrambled egg dish, it just is. There is something about it. Juan’s migas with a side of their delicious beans, some fresh warm corn tortillas and their super spicy salsa? That really is heaven. Unfortunately the terrible iPhone photo that I took, really doesn’t do the food any justice, but you get the idea. If you are a Travel Channel junky then you probably saw Juan in a Million featured on Man Vs Food. Oh and Juan in a Million consistently wins the award for best handshake in all of Texas – so if Juan is there, make sure to shake his hand, it is not only award-winning but it’s also epic (your hand will burn afterwards)!

We obviously ate at other great restaurants along the trip, but these are the ones that most stick out in my mind. I always try to remember to bring my camera but somehow this part of the blogging process always alludes me. That being said, I plan to do more of these types of posts with all the traveling we have coming up, so I hope you enjoy it. I would also love if you shared any restaurant recommendations that you have for me. This weekend we will be in NYC and Brooklyn for a gallery show our work is in and some meetings and next weekend we’ll be in Pittsburgh for Handmade Arcade. We are home the rest of the month finalizing our move home and getting the new print studio all set-up, after that we are off to a week-long vacation on the beach on South Padre Island, which will certainly be needed. If you have any restaurant recommendations for any of these places, definitely post them.

Look for some recipes in the next week or so, I hope to recreate the Camarones en Crema De Chipotle again for dinner tonight along with a gluten-free Chocolate Almond Pound Cake for dessert, if I can squeeze in the time to do it. And look for more travel/restaurant reviews very soon. Hope everyone is well!

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Life has been crazy!! We are well into our busy, travel season and work is really picking up. All great things, so no complaints here. However, the last two weeks have been so busy that planning meals, cooking and blogging has been near impossible.

We had a lovely trip to New York City where eating healthy was easier than anywhere else we travel to. I, of course, forgot to bring the nice camera to most restaurants we ate at (amateur), so you’ll just have to visualize all the yummies this time. I am still getting used to this blogging thing. A couple of tasty highlights from the trip are as follows: lunch at Risotteria, on Bleeker Street in the West Village, one of my all time favorite gluten-free restaurants that I always make a point to hit when I am in the city. Mark is always a trooper here and orders something gluten-free too, so we can split plates and try two different items from the menu. This time we had an olive puree pizza with soppressata, mozzarella and hot peppers and an oven dried tomato, arugala and pesto panini. Both were super fabulous and I literally was at the table moaning in complete contentment. It isn’t everyday that I can go to a restaurant and have basically whatever I want from the menu. I ate only a small piece of the pizza as it was a bit too salty for me, though very tasty. Between the huge list of gluten-free risottos, pizzas, paninis, their multiple gluten-free beers, a large list of gluten-free desserts and the fact that they bring gluten-free bread sticks to the table, this place is top-notch in my book.

Another great meal that I had was at the Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I am eating very little meat these days, and when I do, I prefer to eat grass-fed, antibiotic free, free range, (etc) local meat that came from a farm I can trust. This can, obviously, be very hard when traveling, so I tend to just avoid meat these days when I am out. Our friends Karen and Tabie from Two Arms Inc., suggested the Roebling Tea Room that was a short walk from McCarren Park, as they have always enjoyed their brunches. When we got there and I got to looking at their menu, I noticed at the bottom of the menu it said “Our meat is in the program”, when we asked our waitress what this meant, she explained that all of their meat was from local farms, was all grass-fed and free range. This made me so happy and I decided to order their Hangar Steak. This was an amazing decision as it was some of the best steak I have ever had and it was perfectly cooked. Another highlight of the Roebling Tea Room was their creative cocktails. I went with the Fresh Ginger Fizz which was darkrum, fresh ginger, lemon and for me, ginger ale (the original called for ginger beer, but they were unsure if it was gluten-free).

Our last night, we decided to celebrate a great weekend in NYC with our great friends, Allison and Craig from Strawberryluna, by heading to Tom Colicchio’s restaurant Colicchio & Sons in Chelsea. I had been there two years ago when it was CraftSteak and was ranting and raving about it to the rest of the crew. As a whole, we were all a bit let down, to be honest, though there were definitely highlights to the meal. The best dish being the Butter-Poached Oysters which were out of this world, a delicious bite of oyster like nothing I had ever tasted. Overall, I had missed the original menu from CraftSteak and we all felt that compared to all the other great meals we had while in the city, everything was a bit overpriced considering the quality. (Sad to say since I have a huge lady crush on Tom Colicchio.)

Though this post is short and not necessarily a great travel review, seeing as I forgot my camera at the few moments it would have been nice to have it, it was still a fabulous trip with some great meals that I wanted to share.

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Yesterday, my husband, Mark, and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and the 7 year anniversary of our first date. Normally we are on the beach, alone, on South Padre Island. This year it wasn’t possible, so instead we decided to celebrate the day by spending it in Toronto. We skipped work, closed up the Boutique and took off in the car for the short drive over the border.

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We drove up in the early afternoon and headed first to the St. Lawrence Market. I have wanted to go for a long time and we decided this would be the perfect day to check it out. It is located in the center of the historic Old Town Toronto, very close to the current downtown area. It has been named one of the 25 best markets in the world, by Food & Wine magazine. It was spectacular, there are three buildings in the complex that make it up, but the South Market, which we visited, is open Tuesday-Saturday. It had over 50 vendors, selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, baked goods, dairy and so much more. I would love to go up on a Saturday for the Farmers’ Market that is held in the North Market, weekly. On Sundays, over 80 antique dealers fill the North Market displaying their wares from dawn until 5pm.

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We didn’t buy a whole lot, as I didn’t know what the laws were concerning bringing food over the border, I need to look into that for next time.  We did decide to grab lunch while we were at the market, and I am glad we did. It was phenomenal. I found a small takeout cafe called Cruda Cafe, (“cruda” is Spanish for “raw), which specialized in raw and vegan delights. I was so excited to see mentions of gluten-free, and to speak with the owner, Claudia, who assured me there was no gluten in any of their dishes. I ordered the Wild Mushroom Burger. It was a dense and beautiful smoky, wild mushroom and pecan patty served between two thick slices of tomato and topped with shredded carrots, beets and a fresh guacamole (made right in front of me), all on top of a few leafs of the most green Boston Lettuce I have ever seen. This isn’t your typical burger, you cannot pick it up, it is a fork and knife kind of dish. It was fantastic. I couldn’t get over all of the flavors and how wonderfully they went together with each bite. I also ordered a “Clean” juice. It was made completely fresh, while I waited, with apple, carrot, lemon & ginger.

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Mark grabbed a Chicken Parmesan sandwich from Mustachio, he was in heaven eating that. Afterwards, he grabbed an Americano from Everyday Gourmet, a cute little cafe and retail store on the lower level, where they roast and sell their fresh coffee beans, daily. And of course, no meal for Mark would be complete without a sweet, so he grabbed a cupcake from Future Bakery on the upper level. I bought a small tasting of chocolate from Aren’t We Sweet, a chocolate and candy shop. The chocolate was a dark chocolate featuring local hemp and topped with sea salt. Unlike anything I have ever tried, earthy and almost a bit spicy. So good.


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After our lunch we walked around the market a bit more and then headed over to the Queen St. West neighborhood to window shop. I did buy a couple inexpensive items at H&M to try to outfit my new shape, since all of my clothes are too big now, a great problem to have, but a problem none the less. Ah retail therapy, it always fixes what is ailing.

We had 8:30pm reservations at Splendido on Harbord Street for dinner, so we headed there from Queen St. I read a lot of reviews when I was looking for the perfect restaurant for us to dine at and Splendido continually ranked as one of Toronto’s top fine dining restaurants. The cuisine can be classified as Modern or Eclectic European and they are known for their commitment to fresh, seasonal dishes made with locally sourced foods from family farms. I loved seeing a menu where all of the main dishes had the farm listed where the meat or fish was supplied from. The ambiance in the restaurant was perfect and it was one of the biggest restaurants I have ever been to, in Toronto. The service was great from the minute we walked in.

I started off with a cocktail and since I haven’t been drinking much at all these days I wanted something special. I went with the Anjou Sky, which was Absolut Pear Vodka, Navan Vanilla Cognac, Pear Nectar and Fresh Thyme. Wow, it was completely refreshing and hit the spot. It had a wonderful spring-time aroma and it went down easy. We decided since we hadn’t been out for a nice dinner in a very long time that we would really enjoy ourselves. We started with the Oysters 3 Bays 3 Ways. There were six oysters, two were served with horseradish, two with truffle chili mignonette and the last two with cucumber wasabi. The truffle chili mignonette was far and away our favorite, it had a subtle spice to it and it complimented the oyster perfectly. We also had the Spring Vegetable Salad, which was a mix of Spring greens and vegetables with a spinach puree underneath, a walnut emulsion and a light and tart cider vinaigrette. One of the best salads I have ever had. The perfect size too. Just a few bites.

For our main courses, Mark ordered the Beef Striploin that came with a smoked brisket raviolo and a sweet onion puree. The beef came from George’s Farm in Ontario. That was one of the tastiest and most perfectly cooked cuts of meat I have ever tried. Perfectly tender with a light crust on the outside. I didn’t get to taste the raviolo as that isn’t gluten-free, but the dollop of sweet onion puree was delicious. Mark said the “baby food” was his least favorite part (he is a textural eater), I thought it was great. After a brief description from our server, I went with the Suckling Pig, which came from Nathan’s Farm, in Ontario. It was very slow roasted pork that was so tender and tasty, it had a melt in your mouth, slow cooked taste like no pork I have every eaten. It is served pulled from the bones atop a spiced sweet potato puree, with a roasted shallot and a single spear of white asparagus. The only part I wasn’t crazy about was the two small bites of cracklings on top, that has never been a flavor I enjoy, though Mark loved it. I had a glass of the Pascal Marchand 2006 Bourgogne Rouge ‘Avalon’ Pinot Noir with my meal and it was an impressive, lighter, muted red that had hints of cherry and earth. Perfect with the roast pork. The portions on the entrees were perfectly sized for foods with such rich flavors, we finished them feeling perfectly content and not engorged.

Speaking of not feeling engorged, we opted for dessert, which I almost never do. Mark went with the ice cream sandwich which was Brioche ice cream sandwiched between two Lindt chocolate biscuits. It was a small 3 or 4 bite delight, he loved it. I went with the Rice Pudding which had a white chocolate passion fruit sauce and a tropical fruit salad on top. There were also a couple of bits of caramelized rice cereal on top. Growing up with traditional Greek style rice pudding, this was completely different, but out of this world delicious. A light and fresh finish to the meal. After we finished eating, they brought out an adorable piece of pastry that said “Happy Anniversary” and a card from the chef, Victor Barry, the manager, Carlo Catallo and our server, Steve. A very thoughtful touch and a nice way to finish a fabulous meal.

Overall, this has to be the nicest meal I have ever had at a restaurant, the service was impeccable, the ambiance was welcoming, romantic and perfect for celebrating our special occasion and of course (if you cannot gather) the food was superb. Another thing worth mentioning about Splendido, is that our server Steve, knew the dishes and ingredients well enough to know what had gluten and what did not, they were able to alter my entree and dessert to make sure that it was gluten-free, I love that assurance. I would have liked to take photos of each course, but I left my camera in the car and decided it was far more important to just enjoy the meal. Instead I shot a photo on my iPhone at the start of my meal and at the end. You’ll just have to go to Splendido to experience the rest yourself.

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