Cooking with Alison

Posts Tagged ‘food’

Toronto’s Best Coffee Competition at the Coffee and Tea Expo (and an Interview with Barista Brian)

In Random, Reviews on April 6, 2017 at pm

Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo

Toronto’s first annual Coffee & Tea Expo will be held this weekend, April 8-9, 2017! It will take place at The Glass Factory, 99 Sudbury Street. I LOVE coffee and sample it everywhere I go, so I’m sure you can imagine how excited I will be to attend the event and provide social media coverage! Be sure to follow me on social media (details here) and check out my Introduction to Coffee Tasting.

At the expo, you’ll be able to try free drink samples, purchase coffee beans and tea leaves, experience the culture and new trends, and learn new recipes, tips, and tricks. I am most excited for the Best Coffee Competition! I was lucky enough to have a chance to interview one of the judges, Barista Brian, prior to the event. At the event, you will also meet other coffee and tea lovers, baristas, roasters, sommeliers, blenders, distributors and retail stores.

If you purchase your tickets online, you will get a 25% discount! See here. Tickets are already starting to sell out!

Photo of Barista Brian from his Instagram page (@baristabrian). Provided by and used with permission from Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo.

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UCC Chef Battles, The Gentlemen’s Expo, and an Interview with Chef Joe Friday

In Random on November 6, 2016 at pm

Updated: April 6, 2017. Check out the Cooking with Alison Instagram page for more photos from the event!

The Gentlemen’s Expo (November 10-12, 2016)

I can’t even describe how excited I am for The Gentlemen’s Expo! There will be something there for everyone, especially foodies! The line-up of celebrities and entertainment (from the culinary world and otherwise) seems endless. Perhaps one of their biggest attractions will be the Underground Chef Company (UCC) Battle and industry panel discussion. I had the privilege of interviewing the founder of UCC, Chef Joe Friday.

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 3 – Go for the Entertainment Alone!)

In Random, Reviews on October 16, 2016 at am

The National Buffalo Wing Festival runs every Labour Day weekend in Buffalo, NY. Even if you don’t love chicken wings, go for the entertainment alone. This is part 3 of 3 posts that I’ve shared about my experience at the 2016 festival. (Please see here for more general information about the festival. Also, I tried the food from almost every single vendor reviewed them here (part 1) and here (part 2).)

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Grocery Budget Challenge – How to Shop in Bulk and Actually Save Money

In Grocery Budget Challenge, Mind Your Cents on October 11, 2016 at am

This article is part of the Grocery Budget Challenge series. See the Introduction here.

A great way to save money on groceries is to buy in bulk. Typically, larger quantities sold as a single item have a lower per unit price. For example, a 6 pack of tissue boxes will likely cost less per box than a box of tissues sold separately by the same brand. Similarly, grocery stores will price larger packages of fresh meat at a lower price per weight than smaller packages of the exact same meat. That means that you get a better deal and save money over the long term by buying more in one shot. For this reason, purchasing a tub of yogurt is more economical (and environmentally-friendly) than purchasing individual portion-sized yogurt cups.

However, if you’re not careful, you could easily end up going over budget or wasting money and food. I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way and multiple times. I didn’t want to give up on shopping in bulk altogether and I certainly wasn’t willing to give up my Costco membership, so I created some rules for myself. (See my No-Buy List here, for some general grocery shopping rules.)

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 2 – Reviews of Almost Every Vendor Continued)

In Random, Reviews on October 3, 2016 at am

I had the BEST time at the 2016 National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. I tried the wings and other food items from almost every single vendor over the 2-day festival. I’ve shared my reviews below. Please see here for Part 1 of the reviews and for more information about the festival. It runs every Labour Day weekend. If you’re thinking about visiting Buffalo, see here for my top 10 favourite reasons to road trip there. (See here for my post about the entertainment at the festival, which was just as good, if not better than the food. And that’s saying a lot!)

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How to Make a Beef Wellington

In How-To, Red Meat and Eggs on October 1, 2016 at am
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We like our meat really rare, so this was perfect for us. Typically, medium-rare is preferred.

When my mother-in-law brought home foie gras paté from a trip to France, I was over the moon excited to eat it! I knew I had to do it justice, so I saved it for a special occasion and used it to attempt my first beef wellington. Luckily, it was a huge success and my sister- and brother-in-law both claimed that it was way better than the beef wellington they ate at one of Chef Ramsey’s restaurants. I really encourage you to try this at home, because 1. it’ll be just as delicious with affordable pate, 2. it’s very impressive and perfect for special occasions, and 3. it is surprisingly easy to make! Cooking shows led me to believe that only the most highly trained chefs are capable of pulling off beef wellington. Not true at all. Anyone can make this!

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The National Buffalo Wing Festival (Part 1 – Reviews of Almost Every Vendor)

In Random, Reviews on September 22, 2016 at am

The National Buffalo Wing Festival is held in Buffalo, NY (the birth place of the buffalo chicken wing sauce) every Labour Day weekend. In 2016, the festival celebrated their 15th anniversary and they pulled out all the stops! It was attended by over 70,000 people! It was my first time attending and I had the BEST time. I made it my mission to try at least one wing flavour from every single vendor at the festival. The vendors at the festival made the best wing sauces that I’ve ever had in my life – and I used to eat chicken wings at least 5 times a week! Here is Part 1 of my reviews! (See here for Part 2 of the reviews. See my Top 10 Reasons to Road Trip to Buffalo, NY here.)

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10 Reasons to Road Trip to Buffalo, NY

In Random, Reviews on September 11, 2016 at pm

I live in Toronto, ON, Canada, and plan road trips multiple times a year. Before the Labour Day long weekend in September, 2016, I told a co-worker that I was planning a road trip to Buffalo, NY, USA. She looked at me surprised and said, judgmentally, “Why?”. I realized then that a lot of people don’t realize how much Buffalo has changed in the last few years. So here’s a list of my top ten reasons for visiting Buffalo, NY.

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How I Styled my Hutch and Cabinets

In Random on September 10, 2016 at am

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Once it became apparent that John and I would be living in our condo for longer than originally planned, I did some redecorating with storage solutions in mind. For our open concept kitchen, dining, and living area, I purchased affordable bookcases with partial glass paneled doors (see Ikea’s Billy bookcases here). I was so excited to take (some of) my beloved serveware out of storage boxes. It took some research and many tries before I was satisfied with how they were displayed, so I’m sharing some tips on how to style your dining room hutch and kitchen cabinets. I would LOVE to see photos of your arrangements!

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Grocery Budget Challenge – Where to Buy Food to Save Money

In Grocery Budget Challenge, Mind Your Cents on August 31, 2016 at am

This article is part of the Grocery Budget Challenge series. See the Introduction here.

One strategy to saving money on groceries is to be strategic with where you purchase them. Here is what has worked for me.

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Always Pay Attention When a Cashier Scans Your Items

In Grocery Budget Challenge, Mind Your Cents on August 12, 2016 at am

In all stores, items are regularly mispriced, scanners have reading errors, discount codes fail to apply properly, and cashiers make human errors. In rare cases, some businesses intentionally try to overcharge you for services or goods. So, I always pay very close attention to the prices that ring up when a cashier scans my items, especially when they need to apply coupons or discount codes. The same goes for restaurant checks. Also, don’t forget to see if a tip has already been added to your bill.

You’d be surprised by how often people get overcharged without noticing. I’m speaking from personal experience as well as previous retail experience. I felt compelled to remind everyone to be careful, because I recently experienced very poor customer service. I would have been ripped off had I not been paying attention and had I not known the store’s policies.

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Grocery Budget Challenge – Healthier, Money-Saving Swaps

In Grocery Budget Challenge, Mind Your Cents on August 6, 2016 at am

This article is part of the Grocery Budget Challenge series. See the Introduction here.

Saving money on your groceries can be really easy. For example, making a few simple changes to the items in your grocery cart can save you money and improve your health. Here are some of the best swaps that you can make.

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