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Warming Up With Southern Food in the Wintertime

Winterlicious. Get it? Winter + Delicious.

When the temperature drops into the negative twenties, it takes a lot to get me out of the house.

But Toronto’s “Winterlicious” was an event worthy of such a trip. Delicious food is really the only thing that will get me out of the house in the wintertime.

Winterlicious is just like any other restaurant week. For a limited time, certain restaurants will offer prix fixe menus. An appetizer, main and dessert for a flat rate. It’s supposed to be a steal and allows us common folk to experience some of the city’s finest.


Of course, y’all know I never take the classy route. Southern Accent sounded like just the kind of warmth I was looking for. 

Okayokay, and when roommie Megan, Callie and Kristin and I heard they were offering turducken on the menu, we knew this would be our Winterlicious pick.


Please excuse my colourful photos, for this was a colourful joint ;)

For $25, we got an appetizer, main and dessert. Pretty good price for all three. However, I will say that I almost always just order a main when eating out. So spending over $20 on a restaurant is a rare occasion for me. And this was one of the cheaper Winterlicious options!

The appetizers:


I never cook scallops at home, so this choice was easy.


They were of the small variety, which was kind of a bummer. But the whole dish itself was delightful. Surprisingly spicy with a savoury crunch of pumpkin seeds. The scallops, thank god, were not overcooked and flaked off my fork. And even though I don’t like pasta, I lovelovelove the texture of orzo.


Chased down with some bread and hummus! The hummus was a nice touch, and full of garlic deliciousness.

The mains:


Obviously, I went with the turducken, which is a de-boned chicken, stuffed into a de-boned duck, stuffed into a de-boned turkey. It was purely for novelty’s sake. The rest of the main options were very tempting!


My roommie immediately exclaimed “reminds me of Christmas!” And I would definitely agree. The duck was the fattier of the poultry, and it was hard to distinguish the three different stuffings. The gravy was “meh” and I didn’t like the too-tart cranberry sauce. The mashed potatoes reminded me of the microwave kind. But I’m admittedly a “smashed” over “whipped” potato kind of gal.


This was the first time I ever had oyster or cornbread stuffing. The cornbread variety was awesome. I need to make this!

Aaaaand dessert:


Once again, I went with the dish I’ve never tried before.


Pavlova! This was a completely new dessert to me. A softer meringue bottom (ie pure sugar and egg whites) topped with whipped cream. It was nice and light after a heavy meal and didn’t put me over the edge like most desserts do.


Megan and Kristin! Meg ordered the same things as me, Kristin got the jambalaya and it was gooooood. Another thing I must make soon!


Callie n’ me. Callie ordered bread pudding for dessert and each bite was like taking a shot of bourbon. My kind of dessert ;)

After our three courses, we all agreed a little walking was needed. Namely, to this eyesore around the corner.


That would be Honest Ed’s department store. It exists only in Toronto and is probably the most ridiculous place in the city. It’s been on my “to-visit” list since the day I arrived.


How about a room of Blair Witch Projects on VHS?


Ranging in price from $0.99-$14.99.


Or giant random statues.


All handmade signs.


And of course, the famous Elvis busts. I was thisclose to buying one. I thought it would be the perfect way to commemorate my days lived in Toronto. But then the idea of spending $30 on a creepy spray-painted Elvis bust got the better of me.

Eventually my tummy started to hurt from too much laughing and delicious Southern food. It was time to say goodbye.


On two different trains going in opposite directions.


Neither of which, ironically, were going South ;)


(with some pics borrowed from Kristin and Callie)

Reflections of a Festival Gone By

I have yammered time and time again on this blog about the trials and tribulations of living a healthy and sane life while dealing with a social anxiety disorder.

I do this because I believe it is an important issue to address. There are tons of people out there who are shy and nervous, and feel like outcasts because of it. Some of these people suffer from debilitating panic attacks and don’t even know why. I just want to give a head’s up that yeah, it happens, but it can be perfectly okay.

I have come a long way from my diagnosis nearly ten years ago. I’ve learned to challenge myself socially waaaay more than I ever thought possible. But that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes still struggle with some these challenges.

Case and point: The Foodbuzz Festival.


I met and talked to a gajillion amazing bloggers over my weekend in San Francisco. But going into it, I was scared shitless.

So many people-filled events were on the schedule. Day after day I found myself lost in crowds, talking to new faces, and trying to figure out where I was supposed to be.

I arrived Thursday excited and ready to take on the city.


That enthusiasm spilled into Friday, where I also met up with my fabulous roommates.


Danica, husband Jay, Elise, Janetha, Holly.

And settled into our presidential suite.



Most certainly nicer than any apartment I’ll ever live in.

Friday night, I was pumped to mingle and meet all the bloggers I’ve been reading for so long. Fuelled by perhaps a little liquid courage ;)


Saturday, I was so excited to try out the long line of tables at the Tasting Pavillion, I hardly noticed the crowds I had to fight through!


But by Saturday evening, I lost steam. I’d have enough of the crowds. I started to feel nervous. My eyes began to dart around the room and my hands trembled. I didn’t want to be there.


I know many people described this as their favourite event of the Foodbuzz Festival, but I just wasn’t into it. For beginners, they only served wine with dinner. I hate wine (like, legitimately, all kinds). So I stayed sober with water.


I will say, the food made up for the lack of drinks.


Golden beet tart. I’ve never thought of pureeing beets as a filling for something. I love beets, and really enjoyed this dish.


Seared scallops with fennel.


These were hands down the best scallops I’ve ever had. Not chewy and overcooked like all my other scallop experiences. Perfectly mild and flaky with a creamy fennel sauce that I loved.


The “meat” of the meal was just meh.


Rosemary infused rack of lamb. I like lamb kebabs or chops. But I do not like giant hunks of lamb. Plus, it was overcooked. In case you haven’t noticed, I prefer my meat on the rare side ;) Bonus points for the sides though – the wild mushrooms and butternut squash puree in this dish were fab.


The most lacklustre part of this meal was… dessert!! I know.


Cake? With fruit? Really? Tarta de Alemandras with oranges. Essentially a tiny round of dry cake with fruit I can get in Canada. Thumbs down. Where’s my Ghirardelli chocolate?


I will say, my anxiety did slightly subside once we were seated. I was sharing a table with fabulous food bloggers after all.


But it took three hours to serve all four dishes, and by the end I just wanted out. No more noise, faces, people to talk to. Just some peace and quiet, and maybe a beer.

I heard many people talk about what they thought of other bloggers while at the festival. Some were a perfect reflection of who they are on their blogs, while others seemed more reserved, or even “stuck up.”

As someone who is at times painfully socially awkward, I often get labelled as being a snob because I can be cold and quiet. It takes a while for me to warm up to people, and even then, I don’t always have something to say. I rather hear what you have to say. That’s why I went into journalism, duh :P

I will give props to Foodbuzz for making the festival as welcoming as possible. Perhaps it’s the foodie nature, but I found the atmosphere to be a lot more relaxed and jovial than my time spent at the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago. Perhaps it’s because it was bigger, or maybe because they served more liquor ;)

My point is, Foodbuzz was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t change. But it taught me that I can’t just throw myself into these social situations and expect to completely own them. And I especially can’t beat myself up about it when I don’t. I am who I am and can only try to be the best version of myself I can be. I’m incredibly lucky to have such beautiful people and experiences in my life at all :)


To see some of the festival in live! action! watch Lynn’s stellar video on the weekend below:


My other Foodbuzz Festival/San Francisco recaps:
California Dreamin’
The Bakery That Changed My Life
All Good Things Come To An End
A Food Lover’s Paradise
A West Coast Story
Grateful for Cafe Gratitude