Archive for What I Ate

March 20: Macaron Day

If there was ever a food item that deserved to have its own day, the macaron is it.

I put macarons in the same category as many other complex French desserts. That list includes Creme Brulee, Souffle, anything with puff pastry and croissants. It’s my goal to take a trip to Paris this summer, and that’s all I want to eat.

kitchening & co macarons

I’m a pretty big home baker. I mostly make the baked goods that we consume; cake, cookies, brownies and bars. But macarons… never. Until this past summer.

A couple years back, obsessed with the light cookie sandwich, I took a macaron-making class. I was determined to learn how to make them. All that class taught me was that they are the most fussy, complicated things I’ve ever made in my entire life, and I never made them again.

But then I started writing my cookbook, and I was determined to include a recipe for macarons in it. It would be the crowning glory of the book. I attempted that recipe no less than 50 times before I finally had something I was happy with, and I nearly gave up about 40 of those times.

kitchening & co macarons 2

So I have a new appreciation for the French Macaron this year as March 20 rolls around.

If you are new to this little delight, let me give you the rundown. First off, the cookies are light and crisp on the outside, but chewy on the inside. They are gluten-free, made with a mixture of almond meal, sugar and whipped egg whites. They have the most adorable ruffly little “feet” which give them their distinctive look. Two of them get sandwiched together with buttercream to create the final cookie.

They are delicate, light, fragile and really tasty. And they can come in any variety of flavors.

macarons kitchening & co

Where can you get yours? There’s a variety of different patisseries around the city that sell them, but these particular macarons are from Kitchening & Co out of Abbotsford. You can buy them at any Urban Fare, Choices Markets, Edible Canada and Fresh Street Markets. Click here for the full list of locations. The Espresso with Dark Chocolate Ganache one was, not shockingly, my favorite.

Join me in celebrating the macaron on March 20!

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What I Ate: Portland

Ah, Portland. Keeping it weird. We fit right in.

Michael and I spent a little more than 24 hours in Portland, as we were there researching a story I’m writing on donuts.

keep portland weird

Now, when you go to Portland, there are three things you have to eat (or drink). The first is beer. There are close to 100 breweries in the Portland area, so there’s something for everyone’s taste. Secondly, you have to eat at a food truck. Unlike Vancouver where our food trucks roam (and are sometimes found in different locations), in Portland, they have more or less permanent pods of them. They basically have taken over city parking lots. The food trucks line the perimeter of the block, and the vendors park their cars and trucks inside. There are tons of these pods all over Portland. Thirdly, you must eat donuts!

We did all three, as well as slipping in some Powell’s Books. As you do.

hopworks urban brewery portland

Craft Brewery: as luck would have it, we had one almost right next door to our hotel. Hopworks Urban Brewery brews up some tasty seasonal favorites. I opted for a cider, Strawbarbalicious to be exact. This seasonal cider was infused with strawberry and rhubarb, one of my fave combos. Everything here was super local. Michael had a pulled pork sandwich which he loved, and I had a really nice salad featuring a local blue cheese.

the grilled cheese grill portland food truck

Food Truck: this may have been the greatest grilled cheese sandwich of my life. I love grilled cheese. It’s my ultimate, go-to comfort food. This was perfection; three different kinds of cheeses (from nearby Tillamook), all oozing together in melty perfection. But it was the perfectly toasted outside of the sandwich that really got my heart racing. The Grilled Cheese Grill knows their stuff. If you’re brave, try the “Grilled Cheesus,” a burger, made with grilled cheese sandwiches in the place of buns!

portland donuts

Donuts: I’m writing an entire blog post on this alone, but we visited 4 different donut places (we were meant to visit 5, but one was inexplicably closed). You have to start with Voodoo Donuts. You have to. And while you’re there, order something outrageous, like “Captain, My Captain,” a donut topped with Cap’n Crunch. Yeah, you read that right. When I interviewed the owner, he used the word “kooky” about 10 times. And that’s what Voodoo is, from start to finish. Go early to avoid lines.

Blue Star, just a short walk away, is a more gourmet donut, with a much cleaner, more modern space. Both Blue Star and Voodoo offer vegan options.

My fave donut of the day, however, was an incredibly simple glazed old fashioned from Coco’s, also located downtown. It was amazing. Fluffy, but with a nice toothsomeness when you bit into it, sweet but not sickly so. It was perfection.

We also tried Pip’s, an adorable joint that serves up house-made chai and mini donuts that are made to order.

We weren’t there for long, but boy, Portland did not disappoint in the food department.

Where have you eaten in Portland? What were your faves? Share in the comments below.

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