Thursday 28 April 2016

Philadelphia -- More Than Cheesesteak

photo courtesy of
When I think of Philadelphia two things come to mind: Rocky Balboa and Philly cheesesteak.

I’ve only been to Philadelphia once. Naturally, I climbed the “Rocky steps”, reached the top and did my best Rocky victory dance. And of course, I had a Philly cheesesteak—with provolone cheese.

There’s much more to Philly though, and with all the major events happening this year, its exciting food scene (not that cheesesteak isn’t exciting on its own), the city’s lively entertainment and arts scene, it’s high-time I plan a return visit.
Philadelphia is hosting the Democratic National Convention from July 25-28, 2016. (The world holds its breath.) This won't get me to Philly, but the following reasons have me thinking it's time for a visit:

Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change
(Through May 9)

photo courtesy of
This display explores Pablo Picasso’s work between 1912 and 1924, highlighting the years during World War 1, when the artist began to alternate between cubist and classical modes in his art. It’s a Barnes Foundation exhibit, with some 50 works by Picasso, along with other canvasses by his contemporaries, including Henri Matisse and Amadeo Modigliani. 

The Science Behind Pixar (Through September 5)

photo courtesy of The Franklin Institute
On display at The Franklin Institute, 40 interactive exhibits guide film fans of all ages through the production process, demonstrating how science and technology turn ideas into award-winning films. Selfie alert: Human-size recreations of favourite characters include Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley.

The Golden Age of King Midas (Through November 27)

photo courtesy of Penn Museum
Making its world premiere at the Penn Museum, this exhibit shows off treasures of rare art and artifacts from the Republic of Turkey which were excavated at the ancient city of Gordion, where the real King Midas lived. On display are items found in his father’s tomb.

Creative Africa (May 14-September 25)

photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art's, Ruth and Rayomd G. Pereleman Building, the centerpiece of this exhibit is: Look Again, Contemporary Perspectives on African Art. It draws from the Penn Museum's collection and spans 400 years, reflecting the diversity among African cultures. 

Dinosaurs Unearthed (June 25-January 16)

photo courtesy of The Academy of Natural Sciences
A dozen moving, roaring, life-size dinosaurs invade The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. This multisensory exhibit recreates animatronic versions of the legendary beasts. Budding paleontologists can dig for relics and control dinosaurs’ movements. They can also hop on the special weight scale to find out how many of them it would take to weigh as much as a T-Rex.

Philly Food Praise

photo courtesy of
Did you know there are over 300 bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) eateries in Philly? Well, there are, along with plenty of street food and outdoor seating. The Washington Post, in 2015, named Philadelphia as one of US’s 10 best food cities and Bon Appetit declared Philly has the best pizza in the entire country (I’m going already!)

Philly Outdoors

photo courtesy of
Once over-looked patches of land are being transformed into fun spaces, where locals and visitors are happily utilizing them as lively urban parks (Dilworth Park), re-imagined recreational landscapes (Spruce Street Harbor Park) and pop-up gardens (PHS Pop Up Gardens). These spaces, once inactive and forlorn, now provide a festive sense of community pride.

Historic Philadelphia Campaign Launch

photo courtesy of
Launching in May, 2016, visitors are invited to explore Historic Philadelphia, an area that spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard streets. This entirely walkable area boasts serious historical credits thanks to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House and tons of other sites significant to early American history. It’s also here where you’ll find trendy restaurants, beer gardens, art galleries and boutiques. Check out for more details.

photo courtesy of

Well, have I got you thinking, Philly? Rocky awaits...

photo courtesy of

Wednesday 20 April 2016

For The Love of Bacon!

Yes, it’s true. Canadians love bacon.

And why not—it’s a fatty, crispy, salty comfort food. All-in-all, it’s a food which doesn’t rate high on the list of, ‘Foods That Are Good For You.’  Still we love it, and have come up with some creative concoctions to further enjoy its tempting flavour. 

We dish it out covered in chocolate, drizzled with maple syrup, sprinkled over soups and salads. Most recently I discovered it in an ice cream sundae at a local restaurant. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will. I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream. That’s all.

Most people are familiar with the strips of bacon made from pork belly--the kind usually found on breakfast menus. But there’s another Canadian creation called, peameal bacon.

Peameal bacon is made from lean boneless pork loin, trimmed, cured and rolled in cornmeal. It is credited to having been developed in Toronto by a ham and bacon curer. Naturally, where there’s meat, there are sandwiches to be made.

One of the best places to indulge in a peameal bacon sandwich is in St. Lawrence Market in the heart of Toronto. Vendors grill slices of bacon until the centre is slightly rare and the cornmeal coating and fat turns crisp. Then the many slices of pork are layer into a soft bun. You can add toppings to your sandwich, such as lettuce, tomato, pickles and even a fried egg, if you like. I prefer mine, ‘straight’. When dealing with a perfect food, why muck it up with other things?

Arriving at the market just before lunch, my quest was for the perfect peameal bacon sandwich, a treat I hadn’t had in quite a number of years. Yes, years! So, I was determined. 

There are several vendors throughout the market offering peameal bacon sandwiches, which are extremely popular with the lunchtime crowd. It’s street-food of the best taste, so lineups can be long.  But, patience is a virtue, or so I’ve been told. I secured my position in the slow-moving line until, finally, I was able to place my order. It was worth waiting for.

My sandwich was exactly as I remembered – warm, soft, crispy around the edges and most of all, tasty, tasty, tasty. St. Lawrence Market and peameal bacon sandwiches go hand-in-hand. But there’s much more to the market.

Consisting of three building, the market hosts a weekly antique market and farmer’s market. A public market has been held in the north building since 1803. The south building houses vendors, daily, selling meats, fish, cheese, vegetable and flowers. There are also bakeries and full-service restaurants to be found here. 

For lovers of food, St. Lawrence Market is the place to visit, shop and eat. It’s a cornucopia of all things food. For that reason alone, it remains my favourite Toronto market—it’s a place to go, eat, purchase, bring home, cook and eat some more.

And in case you want to make your own sandwiches at home, yes, you can purchase peameal bacon by the pound. Enjoy!