28 January 2012

The WEEKEND so far- with a side of Poppy!

The weekend has been very exciting so far! Tons of walking and tasting. And it's not even over yet!

It started with a Persian flair on Friday night. Date Night at The Pomegranate Restaurant on College.

What a wonderful experience. We didn't think to make reservations, but lesson learned for next time! The place was packed! We were lucky to get a tiny table wedged in next to a group of  four. Two people from their party cancelled while we were waiting! Lucky us! The staff were exceptionally kind and accomodating and the food was fantastic. The flavors were so interesting! So many herbs and spices that I had never tasted before. Our plates were overflowing with rice, dried fruits, fresh herbs and salads too. 

The first appetizer was a warm plate of Dolmeh, vine leaves stuffed with a lemony blend of rice and herbs. So savory and delicious! The second, was called Pickled Pleasures which included Persian gherkins, aged garlic, shallots and a mixture of traditional vegetable torshi. The very sour pickles were served with a type of sesame flat bread. 

For entrees we tried the Adas Polo made vegetarian. It was a lovely mix of lentils, dates and raisins blended into a saffron basmati rice which was topped with crispy onions and barberries.  Yum!
Our second entrees was Mirza Qasemi, charred egglplant purée in a mildly spicy garlic tomato sauce which was served with saffron basmati rice. Also yum!
Both of the entrees were served with a cucumber, tomato and onion salad, a fresh green salad and an orange slice.

After dinner we made our way over to Kensington Market's Embassy Bar. A very charming, low key hang out. They had a wide variety of good priced beer. 

It was a great night! :)

Saturday was fun packed too! Mid-afternoon, we set off for Cabbagetown. We decided to brave the gusty winds and light rain in order to taste delicious lattes made from homemade almond mylk at Mylk Uncookies! It was deliciously perfect. Hand made with so much love and care. The vibe of the little cafe was really nice too. Only a couple of tables but they were all packed with people playing boards games like Scrabble or hard at work on their laptops. They all looked right at home in the little shop.

Unfortunately... the customers were just a little too cozy, looking like there were going to be seated for the long-haul. This meant that we did not get a chance to finish our delicious lattes in the little shop. But that's OK. We went into the shop next door to browse through some super fun vintage wares! Funky old coffee presses, juicers, typewriters, teak tables, glasses, dresses, art and jewelry were all very entertaining! :)

We then strolled along Parliament street which is sort of like the traditional Maine street of small towns. We window shopped while sipping our lattes and discovered lots of cute restaurants and shops. We walked by Jet Fuel Coffee Shop which I have heard lots of mixed reviews about. Despite that it was packed! Something to check out next time I'm in Cabbagetown I suppose. I also noticed a tiny little cafe style restaurant called Cranberry which I thought was a very charming name! 

We of course spotted a couple of health food stores! So exciting. One was called The Right Whey. Love the name! Another was called Lennies's Health Foods and was especially sweet and very reminiscent of Ottawa's Wheatberry, which I used to love! It had that special health food store smell and every possible selection of herbs and tofu that you could ever want! They also carry my fave brand of Italian natural candied orange peel! So hard to find and it was cheap too! So I bought 2 packets. I also found Home Free cookies! I love trying new things and these looked cute. They are wheat-free! Made with oats, barley and rye. I chose the vanilla flavored ones which was a great choice. They are bite sized and crunchy delicious! Their flavor reminds me of animal crackers! There are none left.

When we got home we made a large batch of Split Pea Soup to warm up along with grilled cheeez sandwiches on spelt sourdough and a tangy poppy seeds salad. 

What a lonnnnng post just for a salad dressing recipe, huh? :) Don't worry, it's worth it!

Tangy Poppy Seed Dressing
This salad dressing is based on the poppy seed salad dressing in the Fresh Cookbook. If you're not a fan of flax oil, just replace with more grapeseed oil. I especially love this dressing with steamed green beans! :)

1/3 cup cane sugar or agave syrup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup flax oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 Tbsp chopped sweet onion
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp poppy seeds
1 + 1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy with shredded romaine lettuce. 

Happy Weekend Everybody! :)

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