Monday, February 27, 2012

Toronto's New Pizza Party Hosts.

Pizza holds a place in our hearts at all stages of life:

Childhood – a birthday party favorite.
High school – a lunch staple.
University – a late night saviour.
Post University – a no brainer date night.

Growing up not eating pizza because of lactose intolerance, I have made it a mission to make up for lost time. Lucky for me Toronto does pizza, and does it well!

There are a number of Neapolitan-style pizzerias across the city, that are worth checking out. I suggest you start in Kensington market.

Kensington Market has been called Toronto’s most eclectic neighborhood that attracts a diverse audience. The market has a charm with its vintage clothing stores, fresh produce, cafes, local watering holes and now Via Mercanti.

Via Mercanti is an unpretentious pizzeria specializing in good pizza and good coffee. True to their roots, Italian flags decorate the restaurant and staff uniform. The honorary big screen T.V. holds a prominent place in the dining area, to ensure that no one has to miss a football match.

But more importantly, I had to find a Mason jar connection to let you know about this fabulous place...

…And then came the meal.
Fungi pizza and its sidekicks hot chili and garlic, in jars, to dress your pizza to your liking. The jars become the centrepiece of the table, adding to the home feel of the restaurant.

Agreeing with my Resto bible, this is a place to discover.

This is your date night secret weapon. 

This place is a Toronto hotspot, with great food, fast service and big screen T.V. programmed to sports. (okay, I suggest leaving that last one to surprise.) 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Swapping Success.

Niagara has already convinced me that it hosts a proud homegrown community, but today confirms it. It was an afternoon of swapping knowledge, ideas, secrets and - of course - jars.

Congratulations to Tiffany, over at Eating Niagara, for organizing the successful Niagara in Jars preserve swap at Rise Above Bakery.

There were sauces, salsas, pickles, relishes, fruits, granola, jams, jellies and more deliciousness.

Don’t fret my readers - I maybe new on the preserve scene but with a little help from my friends I was able to put together a competitive selection for swapping.  Thank you to Renata, for opening her jam cupboard and to Will my beekeeping boyfriend.

Seven lucky people (with amazing taste) walked away with my offerings.

Apple Chutney x 2
Red Pepper Jelly
Creamed Honey x 2
Honey x 2

After ordering my London fog and convincing Kyle Paton, owner of Rise Above Bakery, to enter his home preserves into the mix, the swap was on.

Swap Strategy: 
Find what you like. Scoop it up.
There is no time for humming and hawing.

My Haul:

Bread and Butter Pickles 
Rosehip Jelly
Crushed Tomatos and Basil
Green Bean Relish
Pickled Beans
Cranberry Ketchup 

Driving home all I could think about was sharing this experience with you. Well that... and my newly acquired jar of bread and butter pickles, that I could not wait to crack open.

With swaps occurring in Toronto and Niagara there is no reason that your winter diet consists of a daily side of pickled peppers.  If it does, I do believe it’s time for you to join the swap.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart Month

February is Heart Month.

Ladies, this donation is for you! 
The mason jar at Rosewood got my donation.

Show your love for your ladies. 
Donate Here to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Heart desease and stroke are the #1 killer of Canadian women.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Preserve Swap in the City

Oh no! I’m missing it again. BUT you don't have to.


One of my influences for starting this blog were the people at Well Preserved. I have been following their blog since the summer when my crush on the jars first began. I cannot wait to check out one of their events. Family day weekend in Niagara, will force me to sit this one out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

DIY Lovely Jars

As love week wraps up, chocolate and flowers all go on sale. I have taken this opportunity to indulge. Cinnamon hearts and flowers always keep me content. 
My inspiration.

Love Day did bring beautiful flowers (thank you boyfriend!) but I could not resist buying more flowers yesterday at the St. Catharines Farmers Market.

Okay, Okay. Truth is, this week I saw this idea for re-creating a mason jar on pinterest and could not resist trying to make it myself. Obviously I needed something pretty to put inside. (like market flowers)

my tools 

  The Tools:
  Old Mason Jar (my suggestion is one from goodwill on 50% off Fridays)
  Glue Gun
  Extra Glue Sticks
  Matte Spray Paint

  To Create:
  Wash the jar and wipe dry.
  Sketch out the design or word you would like on   the jar.
  Cover your design or word with glue.
  Spray paint the outside of the jar.
  Let dry.

AND voilà....

Make the love last all year. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

Live and Breathe

LAB, standing for Live And Breathe, is where amazing chefs meets local and organic food under the microscope. Located at 651 College St., in the heart of Toronto’s little Italy, Howard Dubrovsky has set up his form of a lab, a restaurant.

I chose this restaurant for my girl’s night out based on two factors. My restaurant bible – Toronto Life Magazine and the photo on LAB’s website of their wall of mason jars.

Feature Wall
Colourful & Functional
Amazing choice. Good vibe and great food.

I started with House made pickled vegetables ($8). Those jars on the shelf were not just decoration. Delicious!

For dinner, the Pasta telefono, house made cavatelli with fresh basil, and melted buffalo mozzarella($19) hit the spot. An unreal dish. Unfortunately, this left me with no room for dessert.

Mason Jar Dessert - Yum!
The two gentlemen sitting at the next table did not have this problem and ordered the Chocolate Budino.($10)  Think, dark chocolate pudding, salt caramel chocolate mousse, and cherry violet gelee IN A MASON JAR! And yes, I asked for a picture of their dessert. The photo does not do it justice.

With an evolving menu, LAB is a restaurant that pays great tribute to the classic techniques of the past and impresses with modern culinary innovation. 

Next time, I'm leaving room for dessert.