I get to go and help my housemate look after his girlfriends bunny tomorrow. I get to play with her and give her treats while he cleans out her cage.

She is called Halloumi and is white and has one ear up and one ear down.

So this somewhat makes up for not being able to go and visit my boyfriends parents with him and have dog and cat therapy with all four enormous dogs and two cats.

8

Edinburgh Foodies Festival 2014

Foodies Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of food & drink, returns home to Edinburgh this weekend for its biggest festival yet, transforming Inverleith Park into a culinary paradise filled with Scotland’s finest produce, street food, and culinary masters.

Having started as a small event in Edinburgh eight years ago the festival has now grown into Scotland’s most loved food and drink event, with over 200 artisan producers, pop-up restaurants, international street food and Scotland’s culinary maestros for visitors to tuck into.”

Weather isn’t the kindest in Edinburgh, and one might think trying to hold an outdoor food festival, even in the month of August, is a risk – and indeed it is. Summer is a day on, day off affair in Scotland, with one day of blissful sunshine being followed by a day of torrential rain, followed by a day of sunshine and so the pattern goes. Fortunately for us, Saturday was a day of sunshine. And as indicated by the rather epic queues on arrival, we thought we’d venture out to find our lunch at the Foodies Festival.

Our first stop saw us tuck into some grilled halloumi and hummus ciabatta as well as barbequed racks (and I mean racks) of beef and lamb. One man left with a plate of neolithic proportions that resembled a meal Fred Flintstone might have enjoyed.

Searching for something sweet, we turned to homemade marshmallows from Tipsy Mallows, with a peanut-butter and chocolate creation, as well as local artisan (and Stay Puft fan) The Marshmallow Lady for her Oreo cookie delights.

Jugs of Pimm’s were the order of an unexpectedly sunny afternoon, despite my jealously at those wandering around with coconuts adorned with straws and cocktail umbrellas.

Lavazza handed out bags of the most adorable tiny samples of their amazing coffee (as an Italian, I put nothing else in my espresso maker) and we received bags of Walker’s new Market Deli range of gourmet crisps.

We also brought home a collection of Kwan’s Chinese seasonings and sauces, a regular stop on the Foodie Festival visit and local staple of our kitchen cupboard.

Our final stop was at Heavenly Ice-Cream where I had a scoop of Equi’s ’Belgian chocolate’ (obviously) and ‘cherry Maria’. I managed to steal a taste of the most chocolate chip laden ‘mint choc-chip’ I’ve ever seen too. 
Inedible treats included an adorable puppy in a bag.

Having somehow never been to a food festival before, it was an incredible feast of foods from all cultures and kinds, with an answer for whatever you fancy. Local and international brands brought together for a delicious day of discovery, I’ll definitely be back.

The Foodies Festival also offers masterclasses and presentations by famous chefs as well as a VIP treatment. If you’re in the United Kingdom, the next stops are at Battersea Park and Oxford South Parks

FRANK: Don't forget about this place

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416-979-6688    |    $16 -$24 lunch mains

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As far as good restaurants go in Toronto, I feel like people forget this place exists at the AGO. People know about C5 in the ROM, but otherwise the fact it’s in a museum seems to hide it a bit. Been meaning to stop by the Frank Gehry-designed spot, found a good reason to, and off we went.

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Photo Credit: Lost at A Minor

Food

The Frank lunch menu is essentially two succinct sets of starters and mains, many of which should dramatically improve what you normally eat for lunch. There’s a wide variety of interesting choices that aren’t too adventurous, but are just right for a ‘fancy’ lunch.

The three of us shared four apps to start:

  • Carrot and ginger soup: Nothing surprising here, a well-made soup that more or less yelled ‘carrot!’
  • Smoked paprika marinated grilled octopus with chickpeas, merguez, pequillo peppers and spinach (below): Really nice Spanish-inspired dish whose flavours were bright and balanced; also a beautifully-plated dish. Only thing was the octopus wasn’t quite as tender as it needed to be to knock this out of the park.

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  • Seared halloumi on chickpea polenta and caper peperonata (below): Nothing really stood out here, but a pleasant dish. Think the halloumi could have been crispy or something, the sear didn’t change much and the chickpea part of the polenta didn’t add anything. Peperonata was a flavourful touch though.

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  • Blue crab cakes with herbed ailoi (below): Golden and crispy on outside, soft and warm on the inside, really nice aioli with a bunch of greens. This made for a very tasty series of bites. Enjoyed these a lot.

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Each of us then ordered very different mains. The first was the special of the day, a wild mushroom risotto with cipollini onions done to perfection. Flavours were dead-on (earthy and buttery), the texture was exactly where you’d want it to be and the portion wasn’t too large. 

The second dish was the corn and cheddar souffle on warm cored-apple. Found this one to be bit a bit boring, as the souffle didn’t taste like much - the apple swooped in to save it from blandness.

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The last dish (above), a skirt steak on crispy sour dough, triple crunch mustard, caramelized onions and goat’s milk gouda was awesome. The triple crunch mustard caught my eye in the description, but it’s just semi-crunchy grainy mustard. The real crunch is the sour dough along the bottom and the great sear on the meat. The dish reminded me of a deconstructed and elevated steak sandwich - this is a very good thing. It’s a large portion as well, so you get your money’s worth for the priciest of the mains ($24).

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We also sampled a few desserts. We found all three to be average, but regrettably cold. The crustless apple tart (above right) I had with spiced whip cream reminded me of a lukewarm Starbucks drink; could be worse I suppose. My friend’s eggnog creme brulee didn’t taste particularly like eggnog, but with a great torching job on the top, it was strangely cold. The chocolate rum lava cake with poached pears was good, but again, not hot. We thought all three were best-served warm. It’s too bad.

Service and Ambience:

I found our server to be very friendly and helpful with the menu, and the supporting staff also were around frequently replacing silverware, water refilling, etc. Food came out at a good pace given the room was busy at lunch.

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As for how the place looks, it’s very modern and minimalistic. There’s a great metal sculpture that protrudes out from the cafeteria below that I particularly liked (above). The dining room itself is really big and felt somewhat empty, but that’s minimalism for you. Whether you think that style is suited for a restaurant is your own call, but as a space in a museum, I can understand the design choice.

The Reco?

I liked lunch at Frank. Despite the temperature-challenged desserts and a few small misses, we quite enjoyed the steak, crab cakes, octopus, and risotto. For an area that’s a little short on nicer restaurants, I think it’s a very respectable option. I’d definitely go back to taste more dishes both at lunch and for dinner. 

Other reviews:

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 dineTO     |    

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 NOW Toronto

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 Posted by: Jacob, Visited Dec 22, 2011

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