Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS), #feedtomorrow event overview

Website: http://tfss.ca/
Event type: Charity
Event date: Oct. 9th, 2014

As a food blogger, I feels nice to get away from my regular posts and share information on charities worth knowing about. The Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS), a registered charitable foundation of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) was a charity that resonated with me as they have programs that deal with child hunger and poverty.

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There are many studies that show that a hungry child has a direct impact on their grades and motivation. If a child is hungry, it is hard to focus and learn. 78% of secondary school students who eat breakfast on most days are on track for graduation. Did you that 3.9 million people in Canada do not know when they are going to eat next? The scary part is that 1.1 million of that number are children. More alarming stats on the #feedtomorrow fact sheet.

From Oct. 6th to 10th, the #feedtomorrow week was the largest awareness campaign of its kind for hunger and nutrition programs. As part of the campaign, I was invited by Mary Luz (@maryluzonfood) to participate in the #feedtomorrow events by seeing the nutrition programs in action!

Off on a yellow school bus with a group of Toronto VIPs (nutrition program donors, politicians and passionate advocates for TFSS), we first visited the Nelson Mandela Park Public school where we were welcomed by principle Jason Kandankery to introduce the nutrition program staff and the students.  The program includes asking parents to voluntarily pay $0.25/day to provide a healthy breakfast for their childre to ensure they will be well nourished and ready to learn.

Breakfast

Breakfast

At the school, The Breakfast Club of Canada generously donated $658,000 to TFSS to support the nutrition program. That was incredible!

Cheque presented to TFSS by The Breakfast Clubs of Canada

Cheque presented to TFSS by The Breakfast Clubs of Canada

The next stop was at Sprucecourt Public school in Cabbagetown where we met with principle Matthew Reid who talked about their school’s nutrition program and described the positive impact it had on the kids. At the event, Glenn Hadden from the Hadden Family Foundation discussed his vision of having children globally getting equal access to nutrition programs, as well as why he supports the initiatives of TFSS.  At the school, he presented a generous cheque of $150,000.

Cheque from the Hadden Family Foundation to TFSS

Cheque from the Hadden Family Foundation to TFSS

As part of understanding the nutrition program, each of the attendees got a chance to bring snacks to the classrooms. I got to spend time in a Jr. Kintergarden class where seeing the enthusiastic kids really touched my heart.

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Dropping snacks to a kindergarten class

Dropping snacks to a kindergarten class

After the tour, we had a reception hosted by the St. Lawrence Market store owners and had a “Sushi Making for the Soul” workshop led by Chef/restaurateur Sang Kim. As we were taught how to make delicious sushi rolls, he addressed important issues and facts related to hunger and poverty. Sang Kim has a big heart and really gives back. This year, he conducted the world’s largest sushi making class via the internet and helped teach food literacy for children.

Reception

Reception

Sang Kim teaching us how to make sushi rolls

Sang Kim teaching us how to make sushi rolls

My maki rolls

My maki rolls

The nutrition program was an example of one of the TFSS programs that have made a difference! The TFSS “Beyond 3:30″ program provides kids access to after-school programs operated right in the school. The Jr. Chef program has been a hit and a great and safe learning environment.

According to the TFSS website “TFSS operates independently from the TDSB. However, thanks to support provided by the TDSB, there is no administration fee for funds donated to School-based Nutrition Programs and the Emergency Fund, enabling a full 100% of all donations to go directly to these programs.” That is amazing!

What an incredible event seeing donation dollars and programs in action. The nutrition programs do make a difference and can’t happen without all the volunteers and sponsors like you. TFSS is worth donating to, more information on how HERE!

Also, thank you to all the sponsors at the St. Lawrence Market!

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* Although the meals were complimentary, the post was not sponsored by the TFSS and the opinions in the post are my own.

Mario Batali will be at the Delicious Food Show 2014 #DFS14

What is the Delicious Food Show? In one building, you can experience delicious food from over 200 exhibitors, more than 50 live cooking demonstrations and you can meet an all-star line up of celebrity chefs ! You could even attend an “exclusive chef series” where you can have an intimate cooking workshop with your favourite chefs.

Did I mention that Mario Batali will be there, how much more do you need?

I am happy to announce that I will be going as a “media” member and will be reporting back on my experience. Look out for my Instagram (@themary_tang) photos!

This is the event of the year with awesome chefs including Mario Batali, Chuck Hughes, Tyler Florence, Mark McEwan, Roger Mooking, Dominique Ansel, Nadia G, and Lucinda Scala Quinn! 

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Hall A, 100 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto ON

Show Dates and Hours: Fri. Oct 17th, 2014 from 10am to 9pm, Sat. Oct. 18th, 2014 from 10am to 8pm, and Sun. Oct. 19th,2014 from 10am to 6pm.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the Delicious Food Show website.

DFS2014

DFS2014

 

Picture courtesy of Delicious Food Show 2014

Picture courtesy of Delicious Food Show 2014

Delectable offerings at Bywoods, Restaurant and Bar on St. Clair Ave. West

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Bywoods
Address: 760 St. Clair W., Toronto ON
When I visited: Oct.1st, 2014, dinner

Being close to The Stockyards (one of my favourite burger joints), it was not hard to find Bywoods located on the busy and ultra vibrant St. Clair W. Organized by the wonderful Vicky (@momwhoruns), an intimate group of food bloggers and I got to taste the delightful offerings of owner Tony Cappello and Chef Craig Dehne’s Italian/Mediterranean cuisine.

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The decor is simple and modern, yet it provides a warm atmosphere. There is a wall separating the restaurant which allows for more privacy for large parties. We were spoiled that evening and got to sample an arrangement of starters, sides and mains. Here is what I sampled:

To start, I had The Bywoods cocktail with gin, lemon juice, sugar and club soda and organic rosemary. I like my drinks strong and this was a great way to start the meal. The fragrant rosemary provided a nice hint and was not overpowering as I originally thought it would be.

For the meal, we had two kinds of pizza/flatbreads including the proscuitto pizza with fig, gorgonzola and dressed arugula, as well as the vegetarian pizza with goat cheese, red pepper, grilled artichoke, tomato, red onion, black olive and fresh marjoram. I would definitely come back to order these pizzas; the restaurant was generous with the toppings and every ingredient made for a delicious bite.

Bywoods Pizza

Bywoods Pizza

Bywoods Veggie Pizza

Bywoods Veggie Pizza

Next, I had the beet salad with goat cheese, charred red onion and arugula with walnut dressing. I liked that it was a substantial salad with a leafy component, rather than just beets. I love beets and I couldn’t get enough of this salad.

Beet salad

Beet salad

The Mediterranean salad with vine tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, black olives, feta cheese and marjoram dressing and a coriander yogurt sauce. The presentation was more rustic. I thought the salad was less memorable for me but definitely it would be a great side to order with my mains.

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I am a sucker for a good scallop and picky when it comes to the execution. The restaurant nailed it with the nice sear while the centre was tender. Having the smaller cut chorizo at the bottom of the scallop meant that I had to play “jenga” with my food; my scallop had to be toppled over first before I cut into it.

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The linguine with shrimp with spiced light cream sauce and spinach was delicious. It was light, yet well seasoned and the shrimps were big! Compared to similar pastas I have eaten, I enjoyed that this dish was not drenched in olive oil.

Linguine with shrimp

Linguine with shrimp

…wait there’s more!

My favourite dish of the evening went to the pan roasted lamb sirloin done medium rare with a apricot, potato puree with smoked paprika and sautéed spinach, moroccan spiced jus. I love a good lamb and this one was tender.

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I also tasted grilled flank steak with arugula, mushroom, cured tomato salad, salasa verde and jus. My favourite part of the dish was the appetizing salsa verde which brightened up the dish.

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The end the meal, I tried the flourless chocolate cake. I enjoyed that the presentation was cute and simple, and that it was not very sweet.

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Overall:

The prices are reasonable for the quality of food that you get, as the flatbreads range from $13 to $15, and the mains were about $22 to $28 a dish. I would recommend Bywoods for delicious fare where classic dishes are done well. As part of the evening, our parting gift included a loaf of bread, tomato jam and a $50 gift card to the restaurant. The bread and sweet and spicy tomato jam was incredible and as for the gift card, it’s mine (sorry, no give-away)! I am coming back with my family since I enjoyed the meal very much! Thank you Bywoods!

Follow Bywoods for more information www.facebook.com/bywoods, @bywoods760 (Instagram and Twitter)

* The meal was complimentary but as always the opinions in the post are my own.

Bywoods on Urbanspoon

Boneyard Grill, Really wicked BBQ (Avenue Rd. location)

Website: http://boneyardgrill.com/tag/avenue-road/
Address:  1554 Avenue Road, Toronto ON
When I visited: Sept.30th. 2014, dinner

As the owners had seen a strong success of their Vaughan location, they had recently opened a new location on Avenue Rd, north of Lawrence Ave. W. Although fall officially started, it was nice to hang on to summer by enjoying some fall-off-the bone ribs. 

The restaurant had a casual vibe with a focus on good old-fashioned BBQ. On the most part, I felt that most BBQ items were standard fare, however, there were a few items that I would return to eat many times over.

I loved the pulled pork sliders, they were big and the pork was ultra tender. Another stand out was the flavourful baby back and beef ribs basted in their signature Boneyard BBQ sauce. On the menu, the full rack of baby back ribs are $26.95 and worth the cost for its quality and flavour.

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Ribs

Ribs

Although we were served fries and sweet potato fries, I loved the onion strings. This was be a tasty side or starter, as they were extremely crispy with a light batter.

Onion strings

Onion strings

And last, I loved their sauces! What’s a good BBQ joint without a good BBQ sauce? Each dish was accompanied by different sauces made in-house including their signature BBQ sauce, creamy cheese dip and the mango sauce.

Other items we tried were their wings, coconut shrimp, sliders and fries.

 

Wings

Coconut shrim

Overall:

The memorable part of the evening was catching up with many fellow bloggers but I would return for my favourite items at the tasting, likely to the Vaughan location as it is closer to home. It may be fall but you can bring summer back with Boneyard Grill.

* The meal was complimentary but as always, the opinions in the post are my own.
Boneyard Grill on Urbanspoon

 

If you like poutine, Fancy Franks got an oozing good one

Website: http://www.fancyfranks.com/
Address:  940 Bloor St. W, Toronto, ON
When I visited: September 24, 2014

I am a fan of Fancy Frank’s with their juicy gourmet dogs and fancy toppings (read about my last visit). The decor is very similar to their College St. location with an old-school feel and a wicked mural on the wall.

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At the media event at the Bloor St. and Ossington Ave. location, I was able to sample of some of their new menu items. So what’s new at Fancy Franks ?

Frankie goes to Buffalo-It was their take on Buffalo wings with celery, carrots and blue cheese dressing.  The best part of the dog was the crispy batter on the dog. I would reorder this and add in additional toppings. The carrots and celery would be better to eat on their own as a side.

Fancy Franks

Fancy Franks

Franky Y Huevos-This was an appetizing huevo ranchero style dog with friend eggs and chorizo.

Frankie Wanna Meatball-This was spaghetti and meatballs on a hot dog.  I did not get to sample this one but I can imagine it would be a hearty one.

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Now onto the poutine….

The Porker poutine had pulled work, gravy, cheese curds and topped with an egg.

Porker Poutine

Porker Poutine

The Fancy Schmancy poutine had similar toppings as the porker poutine but with beef brisket and topped with green onions.

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I enjoyed them both! The egg was a standout as the oozing egg added on the rich dish and creamy texture. What a great addition!

Overall:

My favourite hot dog still goes to the Francophone available on their menu with smoked Gruyere cheese, horseradish cheddar, squeaky curds and a honey Dijon mayo. I did enjoy the new additions and love that Fancy Franks is innovative and adding new items on the menu.

The poutines were delicious with tender meat, cheese and egg. With Fancy Frank’s variety of toppings, you can always make the poutine or dogs your own.

Happy eating!

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* Follow Fancy Franks for news updates and delicious pictures @fancy_franks on Instagram and @fancyfranks on Twitter

* The meal was complimentary but the opinions in the post are my own.

Fancy Franks Gourmet Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Mary Tang is paired with celebrity Chef Eric Greenspan on Pressure Cooker

Just a reminder that PRESSURE COOKER is airing tonight on W Network (@w_network) at 9:00pm. Tweet with me online with hashtag #pressurecooker and include Twitter handles @themary_tang and @pressurecookrCA.

The big announcement is that I will be paired with CHEF ERIC GREENSPAN (@chefgreeny) as my mentor during my episode on TUES. NOVEMBER 11th AT 9:00pm EST. Stay tuned to find out the other celebrity chef that will appear on the episode.

About Chef Eric Greenspan:

  • Chef Eric launched his career in restaurants as a dishwasher at a Berkeley breakfast spot. Within two weeks, he was the head chef, soon to be both head chef and manager. Over his three-year tenure, he generated over $1 million in revenue. Chef Eric graduated from UC Berkeley’s business school and then headed to Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu. He’s worked with culinary icons the world over, but has become a true legend of his own. Now the owner of three popular restaurants, Chef Eric is also the reigning champion of grilled cheese (source: Bristow Media)
  • Eric Greenspan beat Bobby Flay on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, battle Goose! With Chef Flay’s high track record, that is a big deal!!
  • ….and numerous appearances on TV and online/print media. Find out more!
  • He is funny, ultra talented and is a blast to be with in the kitchen!

ChefEricGreenspan                                             (Picture Source: Food Network)

What an complete and ultimate honour to be paired with Chef Greenspan!!

Mark your calendars and watch us both on screen on Nov. 11th, 2014 at 9:00pm EST on W Network.