A relative newcomer to Toronto, Carissa Di Gangi is that down-to-earth type that knows what she likes and likes to enjoy those things often. Whether she’s writing her recipe blog, One Wooden Spoon, or searching for the perfect bagel, we’re always curious to find out more about this gregarious foodie…
Feed us an appetizer. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a new-to-Toronto twentysomething who works at a literacy non-profit in the 9-5. Outside of that, you’re likely to catch me lugging a stack of books to and from the library, doubling back on a lakeside jog to pick a four-leaf clover, or cooking in my tiny Parkdale kitchen. I’m partial to healthy dinners, unhealthy desserts, and affordable ingredients.
What do you love most about food?
That it’s so easy to make and share. My favourite foods inevitably remind me of my favourite people and times we’ve spent gathered around a table.
What do you love most about the food scene in Toronto?
There’s so much to choose from, and new restaurants are opening all the time – I’m constantly running into dishes I’d never think to make at home, and I love that.
What type of cuisine would you say is lacking in the city?
The Ottawa girl in me misses the accessibility of Montreal-style bagel shops. I’ve found a few places in Parkdale/Liberty that sell the bagels pre-packaged, but I want a neighbourhood bagel shop where I can ask for half a dozen of whatever’s just come out of the oven. West-end Toronto, you’ve let me down on this one.
What’s your favourite type of food(s) and where do you go to get it?
Gelato, hands down. I’ve definitely been to Boreal Gelato more times than any other eatery in Toronto – they do really great seasonal flavours.
What’s your hidden gem/go-to restaurant?
It’s too bustling to be a hidden gem, but when an out-of-town friend was visiting this weekend, I made sure we stopped by Electric Mud BBQ to get their “crack buns” – hot rolls with a side of bacon butter – and their soft serve ice cream to go. That butter and their bay leaf ice cream are my favourite recent culinary discoveries, and I want to give them to everyone I know.
What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?
Funnily enough, that’s probably the first meal I made when I moved away from home. I was in Kingston early for rowing tryouts, and none of my roommates had arrived yet. I hadn’t done much cooking at this point beyond scrambled eggs, and my plan for dinner was an unseasoned pan-friend chicken breast. (It was not delicious.) I did not want to have another dinner like that one. That’s what pulled me into cooking.
What’s the one restaurant you have to try before you die?
I’ve never thought about this one before! I’d love to make it to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY – its older cookbooks were a big part of the cooking in my house growing up, and my own cooking now. It would be really interesting to see what the restaurant’s doing now.
What’s your biggest restaurant pet peeve? (play nice)
I’ve served at a handful of restaurants and I’m a pretty relaxed diner as a result, but I don’t forgive stale bread.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can readers stay up-to-date on your foodie foraging?
I cover some of my kitchen adventures in my recipe blog, but for a look at where I’m eating, what I’m loving, or what I’m planning to make, Twitter or Pinterest have that covered.