A bit later I began contributing to a now defunct Toronto food blog called TasteTO, which led to writing for Torontoist. I did that for a little over a year then collapsed from exhaustion. Standards there are high, which is good, but it was like having two jobs. Since then, I tweet, tumblr, facebook, and foursquare only, which is easy and fun.
What do you love most about food?
Eating it! It’s pure pleasure and love. My husband is a fantastic cook and Toronto is becoming a sophisticated food city. Looking forward to and eating great food… is there anyone who doesn’t love it?
What do you do when you aren’t writing about or eating food?
Drinking! I do love good booze, although I’m not a huge drinker.
I also adore yoga and ballet. I eat too much and I’m short (5’2″), so I have to exercise a lot to maintain any semblance of self-esteem. I try to do yoga every day, which is also a great love of mine. I’ve been doing it consistently for about a year and a half and I feel like a newborn baby. My body is like new. I look forward to it and indulge when I’m there. In do all kinds: ashtanga, hot, vinyasa, Hatha, restorative.
I also take ballet fitness classes at The Extension Room, which is a world class facility near King and Parliament, owned and run by ballerina Jennifer Nichols. It’s unique because it’s all ballet fitness and technique taught by current professional dancers with a few Pilates and yoga classes sprinkled in. If I could design my own fitness studio, it would be exactly like this one. Workouts are fun and hard; Jenn is a gem. I love her.
I used to love reading, but since I got my iPhone, I hardly ever do. I’m checking Twitter constantly and meeting great people.
Do you cook?
I’m very spoiled. My husband does 90-95% of the cooking, but I still can. My speciality? I make a yummy, simple pasta with baby clams, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, and Parmesan. It was the first thing I learned to make when I moved out at 18. I am pretty good at omelettes. Maybe that’s it? Weak, I know.
What’s your fave type of food and where do you get it?
To be perfectly honest, all my faves are made by my husband or parents. My husband’s burgers are the best on earth. He’s also great at slow cooking meat and making sauces. He makes things up; he is creative.
My parents are Japanese, so I get to have homemade ramen, karaage, sushi, udon, soba, somen, etc. I didn’t start liking Japanese food until I left home and now I can’t get enough.
But to be helpful, my fav things in Toronto, in no particular order: Breakfast hoagie from OMG Baked Goodness; Chocolate ice cream from Delight chocolate; Curvy Queen sandwich from Arepa Cafe; poutine made w/gnocchi from Beast; anything at Jamie Kennedy’s Gilead Cafe; Commendatore pasta from Mangia e Bevi; egg salad sandwich from Ruby Eats; chicken sandwich from Churrasco’s in St. Lawrence Market; All Star Salad from Fresh; Sushi&Hot Stone Bowl from Yuzu; sake from Ontario Sake in distillery; Los Angeles grilled cheese from CHEESEWERKS; chicken shawarma from Sultan at Pape and Danforth; any breakfast from Bloor Jane resto; Veda’s Choice benedict from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen; sammies from Black Camel; Jalapeño, havarti, avocado grilled cheese from Shanghai Cowgirl; Chinese buns from either bakery on east side of Spadina between College and Dundas; Tokyo Toss salad from Feel Good Guru; bozena shero at Lalibela. That’s all I can think of at the moment.
What’s your favourite hidden gem?
Mangia e Bevi, I think. It’s listed in Toronto Life, but I’m always telling people about it for the first time. It’s amazing. Pizza is better than Terroni; comparable to Queen Marguerita and Libretto. Pasta is incredible. It’s the only Italian restaurant pasta I really like.
What’s your go-to restaurant.
Jamie Kennedy’s Gilead Cafe. It’s like eating in New York. Everything is good all the time. It’s next to The Extension Room, so I’ve gone there a lot at all times of day. Say hello to baristas Michael, Bret, and Sam. And sous chef Ken is a doll.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had?
It sounds like a cliche, but it really is Susur’s tasting menu back when he used to cook exclusively. It was back in 2004, I think. I didn’t even take photos back then. I have a sketchbook somewhere with drawings and notes. I remember thinking it’s impossible to cook this well. Petals of buttery fish. Beautiful. More than beautiful.
What’s one restaurant you have to try before you die?
Since I saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it’s his place in Tokyo. It might come true. My family is in Japan and a visit is long overdue.
What is your biggest restaurant pet peeve.
Brown lettuce and burnt food. Truly. It’s easy to have fresh greens. And if you’ve burned it, do it again. Don’t try to cover it with something. It will still taste like charcoal. I’m never one to send it back though. I just never go again.