Thompson Diner

It’s actually surprisingly hard to find a 24-hour diner in Toronto. Mind you, I’m not exactly on the active lookout for one, but it’s always something convenient to know in a city where anything can happen.

Fran’s is usually the first one that comes to a Torontonian’s mind when someone asks for a 24-hour diner and, if you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I paid them a visit a while ago for some really delicious meatloaf!

But, I’ve noticed another 24-hour spot in downtown called the Thompson Diner, located at 550 Wellington Street West.

Thompson Diner

An Upscale Diner, as they say

I was leaving the Monsieur’s place one day after he had left for a climbing trip and figured that I’d try to get some brunch before meeting up with Chris for an afternoon run. I had to get something delicious and filling to sustain me!

Thompson Diner

I sat down around 11:30am on a Sunday, so they were luckily serving both breakfast and brunch menus.

I ordered their Breakfast Eggs Benedict with Home Fries and I was not disappointed!

Thompson Diner Eggs Benedict

 

It was a little expensive for some Eggs Benedict ($12), but they definitely serve some high-quality food here. The eggs were perfectly poached and the yolks rolled out so delicately and silky smooth. The home fries were crisp, well seasoned and extremely soft and absolutely mouth-watering.

I’m not too sure when’s the next time I’ll go back, but I’m looking forward to getting some of that poutine…

PS – It definitely wasn’t the smartest pre-workout breakfast…

xoxo,

B.elle

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Bacon Potato Quiche

It’s quickly turning into Fall in Toronto and it’s making me want more and more hearty foods. Luckily, I’ve been trying new recipes by cooking lunch for the bi-weekly team meetings!

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but I’m cooking for a team of 5 (including me) and I’m the only woman here. How is that bad? It means that I’m cooking for 4 adult men under the age of 35! It’s so much food and 3 of them are French!

I cooked this last week, so you might’ve been able to see this if you’re following me on Instagram!

Bacon Potato Quiche

It went over super well! Each bite is a little different with little chunks of havarti cheese scattered around with the crunchy bacon and a fragrant hint of rosemary in the mix.

The best thing aside from the bacon is that it’s easy to get it done in about an hour with a little bit of good time management!

In fact, it’s even easier to make TWO quiches at the same time if you use the shallow 9″ pie crusts! (Remember, I had to feed 4 adult men during lunch time without much time for sides…)

Bacon Potato Quiche

Makes: 2 shallow 9″ quiches OR 1 deep 9″ quiche
6 generous servings

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, small cubes
1/2 medium onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 slices of bacon, cut into small chunks
50g of havarti cheese (or similar semi-soft cheese of your liking), cut into small cubes
6 eggs
1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper

Steps

0. If using frozen, take the pie crusts out of the freezer now to defrost and puncture when instructed. Otherwise, keep your prepared pie crust aside.

1. Cut potatoes into small cubes, about 1/2 cm wide. Set to boil in salted water for 15-20 minutes, or until tender, then drain when ready.

2. Meanwhile, cut bacon and gently fry on MEDIUM heat in shallow pan until crispy. Set aside the bacon on a shallow dish lined with paper towels to drain. Retain about 1 tbsp fat in pan and discard the remaining fat.

3. Chop garlic and onion and fry in bacon fat on MEDIUM-LOW heat. Add rosemary when the onions become translucent and continue to cook for about a minute until rosemary is fragrant.

4. Arrange layers of potato, bacon, onions and havarti cubes in even layers in your pie crusts.

5. Whisk eggs and milk together. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully pour over the layered quiche filling until just covering the top.

6. Bake in preheated oven at 375F for 40 minutes. (Note: Best to check the quiche after 30 minutes to better gauge its readiness! If the middle jiggles a bit, leave it in for another 5 minutes or so.)

7. Serve!

While the quiche is baking in the oven, it’s pretty easy to get a quick green salad tossed up with some sliced cucumbers, grated carrots and raisins or a devilishly easy hot side like blanched and pan fried green beans or broccoli.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

xoxo,

B.elle

Food Trends 2014

According to Jennifer Water’s article from Market Watch, we’re going to see some major price changes in the market.

Beef will get a major price hike since drought hit many US pastures and cow herds suffered in population; canned tuna will keep increasing since bluefin tuna is still being over-fished despite being on the verge of extinction and sushi is still ever popular; and chocolate prices will still keep going up because of increased international demand.

She also sees a rising trend with (rich) chefs investing in personal farms to extend the rooftop garden concept to harvesting their own vegetables for service, more nose-to-tail and root-to-stalk dishes, cronuts, a return to more basic drinks and food, and a stronger indie market in 2014.

What does this mean? Food trends are becoming more and more localized to your own region or even your own city area.

And that, my friends, means that we are going to be seeing more emphasis on simple, homey dishes in both restaurants and magazines.

Here’s my predictions for 2014:

1. Local Meats and Fish

With beef and conventional canned fish prices to go up, people are going to gravitate more towards chicken, pork and seafood. I’ll get to you vegetarians and vegans in a second.

I live in Toronto, where it’s almost landlocked with a fantastic port that brings in food from around the world. Even though I love that I can easily find great fish like marlin, pacific salmon and shrimp, they’re not exactly the freshest proteins I can eat! So, I’ll be sticking mostly to Ontario chicken and pork.

2. Eggs, eggs and more eggs!

EGGS! I love eggs, so it’s my pleasure to announce that eggs are going to be VERY trendy this year. The chicken market is getting stronger and there’s more and more oh-so-nutritious eggs to go around for all those quiches and egg bennies we’ll be making.

That’s great news for vegetarians since restaurants are positioned to pick up this trend very easily. Let’s hope they don’t put ham in it.

3. Meatless dishes

Now, I’m not saying that there’s going to be more vegetarians and vegans because that’s what  a lot of people think when they see or hear about dishes without any meat. Anybody who knows me well enough that I’d never be able to become a vegetarian myself. (Carmelized pork is a sultry temptress.)

I’m not even talking about the vegetarian options that try to be meat but really aren’t like meatless, vegetarian hot dogs with ingredient decks a mile long.

I’m actually talking about dishes like spiced sweet potato fries,  baked beans, roasted vegetable and lentil soups, mushroom risotto and red bean pudding. Those dishes don’t have any meat, but they’re packed with protein and there’s a certain heartiness that’s similar to that feel you get when you tuck into a good steak.

Of course, you can always add a bit of meat as garnish to any of those dishes and I think that’s okay. The meat turns into something more of an afterthought, not the main feature.

4. Ready-to-cook convenience

Face it, the economy’s still a bit in the shits even though a lot of places have relatively low unemployment rates. People are working longer hours during the week and finding less time to prepare their meals. What do they do? Grab some chicken from the market, go home, fry up the chicken, cook some pasta and sauce, mix and then tuck in.

This trend of semi-cooking has been rising in the past decade or so, but I don’t think it’s showing any signs of stopping anytime soon, compared to the downward trend of using fully ready-to-eat dishes where you simply put it in the oven or the microwave.

5. Healthier, simpler beverages

We all know that Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and basically all the high-fructose carbonated beverages out there are terrible for us and we shouldn’t drink them, but they always show up in the office meeting, barbecues, parties and somehow in your hand. It’s most likely here to stay for a few more decades at this rate.

But, people are looking for convenient, healthier drinks on the market with low sugar, no preservatives and some sort of health benefit that makes it different from plain water.

It’s been a rising trend in the past few years with teas and flavoured waters becoming more and more readily available and I don’t think it shows any sign of slowing down.

We’ll see what happens this year since Nature is a finicky thing and anything can happen!

What do you want to see as a food trend? Share your thoughts!

xoxo,
B.elle