Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Kitchen Closes

I am sorry to announce an official demise to Drawn and Devoured. It has come after a serious deal of trepidation and uncertainly. Even now, I want to give myself an out and say that this is an uncertain hiatus: I think we know better, so let me not question your intelligence by playing.
What happened? Nothing, which is really the heart of the matter. I am very much a person who wants to achieve certain things, and every project I undertake is undertaken with the hope not only of experiencing great enjoyment, but of creating something for myself: a revenue, a following, exposure, paid work. When Drawn and Devoured was started, I hoped for all these things and knew that I would have fun (which I have had). There have been high times. I feel more knowledgeable about my city, and that's priceless. I've met some incredible people, who I value. I hope I've learned something. I've become a faster, clearer, better drawer.
It has not been what I hoped for, though. The fun is not really there any more. In a personal project, that's all that matters. The people who approach me for work through Drawn and Devoured seem to think I work for free: I don't, except for my mother (and she offers to pay me anyhow, the darling woman). The exposure has plateaued. Eating in Toronto, at NICE places, is really not cheap. It's been draining on my finances, and also on my creative energy.
I have so many projects in my head. Yonks of them. 
Getting a blog post together takes more hours than you might imagine. A lot of my time is spent chasing down guests to go dine with and coordinating schedules, which isn't the funnest. Having someone cancel is a big deal, leaving me without material, and it makes me angry at friends when I normally wouldn't mind. Getting good writing and art together takes a couple days, and I don't like it when I feel my work is substandard. That's so many days taken away from these new things clamoring in my head.
I'm hesitant to quit, because some of the positive feedback I've received comes from people of influence, of valuable opinion that I trust. They have made me feel that I'm getting somewhere, they make the project feel worthwhile. I still love the food scene: but I think I'm tired of feeling obligated to be a part of it by my own doing.
And yet, I don't want  to feel that I'm throwing in the towel and quitting.

 In the end, I only want to work on a project like this where I love every moment, and that feeling is gone. Maybe I'm getting close to some kind of break out, and it's a shame that I'm giving it up now. But, here: I'm not giving up. I'm moving on, to the next thing that I'm excited about. I really, really want to focus more on making comics, especially on my web comic meat&bone. Drawn and Devoured takes time away from shorts that I want to work on, and from my editorial work.
So, the kitchen closes, the range is turned off and the elements left to cool. I have loved almost every minute, but I am off to make a stage at some great unknown venue.
I hope you will follow me there. If you've enjoyed my writing, my art please keep in touch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cafe Plenty

Cafe Plenty make a coy debut a few months ago. It's winning over a steady clientele with novel and fresh food, a gorgeous interior, and very friendly ownership (greeting many people by name when they entered!).

Carargue Red Rice, Wild Rice and Quinoa with Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio
My personal favourite. I'm actually crazy about red rice. This wasn't very sweet, just enough of a blend.

Heirloom Beet, Watercress, Aged Cheddar and Pear
A fresher version of the classic 'goat cheese and beet' salad, the cheddar adding way more kick. Loved the pickled pears! Everything is made in house, yummy.

Mushroom and Herb Soup
Salty and fresh, the herbs (mostly thyme? And others?) make this less cloying than a lot of mushroom soups I've tasted in the past, with a little onion for balance.

A special salad they had that day, with Israeli Couscous. Big, fat grains!

Ham, Egg and Sweet Pepper Galette and daily special with Sweet Potato, Herbs and Cheese
I didn't get around to trying these, but am meaning to go back! They were the most beautiful things on display. The ham looked like a silk ribbon.

House-made Chocolate chip Cookie
Alas, my sweet tooth. Crunchy cookies with lots of butter. I like the added texture of oat flakes. 

Email Katherine

Cafe Plenty on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reel Eats

I have been yearning to go to one of the monthly food and film events since they began this January. hosted and organized by Mary Luz and Sang Kim (and many others!)

This week has a chocolate theme, and the chef was Bruno Elsier, an unsung hero of the Toronto food scene. So many chefs get their glowing reputations at the helm of this or that hot spot. His history is long and reputable, but not very public -at least not in Toronto. He was referred to more than once as a 'triple threat' for being a master chocolatier as well as heavy hitting savoury chef. The food was excellent! And he did a great job capturing nuances of the story of that evenings film, "Chocolat", staring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.
Things start to get warmed up. Wines are poured and introductions are made. I get a bit nervous in an unfamiliar crowd, but our server, the lovely Anubha, was very hospitable! Mary Luz also made the rounds, saying hello to everyone, and was extremely kind to seat me at the table with the storytellers - one of the draws of Reel Eats (for me especially) is that the film is played silently on the wall, and curated storytellers get up and share an experience with the diners. So unique!

Remember, everything is inspired by the film 'Chocolat'
'Crazy' Salad with Bacon Bits and Pine Nuts Sauteed in Cacao Butter with Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette and Cacao Nibs.

For each speaker, Sang made a little introduction. He was also offering wines by the glass (and bottle?), though we are allowed to bring out own! As I did.

'Serious Mayors' French Shallot and Lentil Cream Soup with Cacao Butter
I am such a practical person, I loved this soup. A note on all the dishes: very low salt. A shocking and still tasty change! These crusty, airy baguettes were revolutionary.

Mardi of shared my table , as well as our two other storytellers, Dwayne Morgan and Patricia Bradbury (I didn't like the likenesses I got of either of them, so there's no drawings, sadly). She was nervous about her segment, but there was no need to worry- she told a lovely story about becoming Parisian. There was also a super-cute photographer girl who I had so much fun drawing! I loved sitting at a table with such characters and strong personalities. So much to listen to, so much laughter!

Roux's 'Handsome' Bean Cassoulet and Toulouse Sausage with a soupcon of Milk Chocolate.

I was next to Chef Scott of and his partner Tania. So wonderful to be at the same table as her! She was truly graceful about keeping conversation flowing (as I buried my nose deeper in my sketchbook). We shared a moment over having our first real cassoulet. I always imagined them to be thick, but it's actually very light!
Palate cleanser. Incredible.
Armand's Yellow Wine and Goat's Cheese Sorbet with Flaming Armanac.

What a long table! I wasn't in a great place to watch the film, but I was in a good position to watch PEOPLE. And the table....which came in handy when someones menu slipped into a candle, and was halfway up in flames before I got it! I didn't really know how to put the damn thing out, but all was well in the end.
You CAN see Dwayne and Patricia here! Third and Fourth on the left.

Boeuf Bourguinon prepared with Dark Chocolate...

...and Frites with Spicy Chili Chocolate Mayo.

It happened to be Mary Luz's birthday around the event, so we all celebrated with a toast.
Chef Elsier (also hard to draw!) made a crazy, exotic and stunning dessert, but I have not been able to capture it's magnificence by ink.
Vianne's Shades and Heat of Chocolate:
White Chocolate Mousse with Lime
Creme Brulee of Milk Chocolate and Dark
Hot and Spiced Chocolate Drink (more pudding like in texture, though!)

Email Katherine

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Super Classy

Intermittently I've been hosting a bunch of draw nights with a motley crew of friends, friends of friends and acquaintances. It has been a LOT of fun, and I've been enjoying the comic/illustration/animation conversations, the inside scoop on what nerdy shows are happening, and the odd tip for anthology calls for entry. All good things!
The downside is that the location has been a late night cafe with a less that delicious menu, and no booze. It's central, spacious, convenient! Just lacking a few elements. In an attempt to mix up my approach to Drawn and Devoured, I hosted a draw night dinner party last Friday, and it was a blast! I love cooking for a crowd, even if my cooking is fairly humble.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I cook.


Trying to copy the look of the amazing devilled eggs I had at Origin. Those used a bacon spear, which is really not easy to replicate with a cucumber strip. I also bought the wrong sriracha. I never knew cock sauce was so distinct in itself! Duly noted. Now I gotta eat all this off brand spiciness... (turns out it's good in soup).

This is a recipe I stole from Cafe Colette! I have been dreaming of it since leaving New York. I was expecting a couple vegan guests, so I tried to provide a few not-super-standard dishes they might like (although there WAS the token veggie platter, testament to my occasional lack of imagination). It was a really surprising hit! I never expect 'health food' to go over well, but it was ett up heartily. Bread from my local bakery, Absolute Bakery.

Tabitha, who runs the most excellent blog Tabitha Draws came by and hung out for snacks and a few rounds of drawing! You can see some of here sketches from the night here (my ego is happy to see me in one! But I think she drew my friend Erin better than anyone ever).
One of the things I tried my hand at for the first time was pakora. I don't have a deep fryer and tried to make them in a skillet. Not as crisp as I would like, but still good and oniony. I would love to know a way to make these that's just as tasty but not so oily!
Can you believe the store was out of tamarind sauce? Sheesh.

Herbed popcorn has been a staple in my house ever since I worked for The Drake a couple years ago. They hosted a series of movie nights and always provided sloppy joes and thyme-butter infused popcorn. Thyme and rosemary are the best herbs for this. While I like my popcorn buttery, you can steep the herbs in olive oils for a few days and use that, making uniquely flavoured, scrumptious vegan popcorn easily. Gillian really liked this!
Could only have been better if I had some fancy cracked salt! Maybe I'll pick up some black rock salt...

And there were some things I cheated on, and just plated. Fake it 'til you make it! That's how a real hostess does it, baby.
Email Katherine

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pizzeria Via Mercanti

Before getting into the pictures and the recounting of a meal, I need to lay out some thoughts. 
I'm kinda a goal-oriented person. I always work best with a deadline, especially if it's a deadline towards something. For this reason I like making projects for myself. Drawn and Devoured is one such project. It's one of a handful I've had over the last several months, some longer in duration than others. Drawn and Devoured has never known a finish line! And I've generally been good about keeping my Tuesday updates going.
It's become less fun for me- somwhere play and work got too mixed up, even with my light updates. Making a post takes a few days and a lot of dollars. When I started I thought maybe D&D would make a nice next egg, and that was extra incentive. It hasn't panned out in that regard: I have, however, found a wonderful community. I think I'll cut this long story short; goodbye set schedule! I'd like to give myself more wiggle room to take on other fancies. For that reason, I'll still aim for Tuesday updates, but perhaps not as often as weekly. I'll still go to new restaurants, but maybe do some recipes, too. Try and keep the text a little lighter. Most importantly, I'm going to update when it's fun.
Cool? Cool!
Have some food.

With Mathew.

Email Katherine Pizzeria Via Mercanti on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kat eats New York City

Last weekend I went to New York City for the first time. Words cannot even BEGIN to lend themselves to the experience, but fortunately that's why I make comics (and why it took me over a week to make this!).
To be updated in colour!
Click to read them full size (800 pixels wide). For links to restaurants, bars, and whatnot mentioned herein, see end of post!
(places mentioned in order of mention)
I wish I took the name of the crazy baklava croissant place down. It was somewhere around Bryant park! Thinking of this is REALLY making me want coffee, this is not the appropriate time of night.
New York Pretzel
Sgt. David Gonzales (surly man makes marvelous knish!)
Pinto Thai
Momofuku (even though I didn't make it in!)
Babycakes Vegan Bakery
Little Skips Cafe
Artists & Fleas
The Brooklyn Brewery
Blue Bottle Coffee
Bagelsmith (seriously, best bagel ever and no damn website!)

Gee! Our regular programming returns next week buckos!

Email Katherine

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Winterlicious - Globe Bistro

Note: Menu is from the Winterlicious Website

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Globe Bistro on Urbanspoon