Friday, December 10, 2010

Laz Boregi - Phyllo sheets filled with custard

Here is another recipe from Eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey, and this time it is a dessert.. This dish is a specialty of Rize region, and simply a baklava like dessert filled with custard instead of nuts..

Laz Boregi has a very interesting (weird) name for those Turkish people who are not from the region, since the name 'borek' is usually used for different types of pastry dishes with variety of savory fillings, except Laz Boregi.. And Laz is, according to Wikipedia, the name of the "ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia".. Then, the English translation for this dessert would be 'Borek of Laz People'...

I am also from one of the small towns around Rize, and one of Laz people, and grew up eating this dessert.. Although, it is very easy to prepare when you can buy phyllo sheets from the grocery store, traditional way of doing it involves preparing the dough and rolling thin sheets out of the dough.. This is why it is never an everyday food, but more a specialty prepared for festivals, bayrams, important events like weddings, or for special guests..

Try this sweet pastry and you will love it.. For those of you who are familiar with Portuguese Custard Pie, it has a very similar taste to it.. Actually that is why I like buying custard pie once in a while, it reminds me this dessert of my childhood.. Hazelnuts go really well with Laz Boregi, so please take my advice and put some ground hazelnuts on top while serving - to spoil your taste buds.. With hazelnuts, it is like eating a baklava with custard - I don't know if it sound kind of awkward but tastes delicious...

(for rectangular oven dish - 9'' to 13'' (22,5cm to 33cm))

1 pack of phyllo sheets (16 sheets)
90gr unsalted butter to brush the sheets

- Syrup -
1,5 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup + 2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

- Custard -
1 lt 2% or whole fat milk
2 cups of granulated white sugar
140 gr ground rice or white flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs


1 - At the very end of this preperation, you have to pour cold syrup over hot pastry.. That is why you should start the recipe by preparing the syrup.. Boil 1,5 cup sugar with 1 cup plus 2 tbsp water. When it starts boiling, add 1/2 tbsp lemon juice.. Continue boiling until it takes a thicker consistency.. (When cools down, it has to have honey consistency. Once cold, if it is more liquid than that, boil again for a bit more.)

2 - For the custard: mix 1 lt milk, 140 gr white flour (or rice flour) and 2 cups of sugar and start cooking over medium heat, and mix continuously.. When it tickens to a custard consistency, take it off the heat, and add 3 eggs one by one, mixing continuously after every egg. When you get a homogenous mixture, set the custard aside..

3 - Preheat the oven to 190 Celcius (374 Fahrenheit)..

4 - Melt the butter, and brush an oven safe rectangular dish (9'' to 13'') with melted butter..

5 - Place 8 of phyllo sheets one by one to the baking dish by brushing every sheet with butter.. Excess sheets will be hanging over the sides of the dish..

6 - Pour the custard, on top of the 8th sheet, and place the next 8 sheets on top by brushing every layer with butter..

7 - Brush the top of the last layer with butter.. Cut the overhanging edges with kitchen scissors or knife.. With a knife, mark last layer into squares delicately.. (Be careful for not to cut through to the custard level. This is only to make it easier to slice when the dessert is ready. If you cut all the way through, the custard will come out of the cuts while cooking.)

8 - Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top gets the color in the photos posted..

9 - When you take the dish out of the oven, pour the syrup on top (pastry hot, syrup cold)..

10 - Wait 4-5 hours until dessert absorbs the syrup.. Cut into slices from already marked lines..

11 - Serve at room temperature.. I prefer serving with ground hazelnuts..


Friday, December 3, 2010

Muhlama - a.k.a. Turkish Cheese Fondue, Black Sea Style

Muhlama is simply corn meal cooked in butter, then made to a pudding like consistency by the addition of water and lots of melting cheese... The last step is to pour melted, browned butter on top... This is one of the main dishes of Eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey... It showcases some of the main produce of the region: cheese, butter and corn; and does it well. The simplicity and easy preparation of this dish made Muhlama one of the most cooked dishes because in the past hard-working Black Sea women do not have time to cook dishes with long preparation time since they work in the agricultural lands over the mountain slopes and also take care of their cattles... It is eaten together with Corn Bread, which is another staple of the region, and Corn Bread gives the crunchy texture you will need with this oozing dish and also accentuates the corn meal in the dish ... I will post a Blacksea style Corn Bread recipe one of the coming days...

This is the perfect comfort food for me, and also one of my favorite dishes among food I have tasted so far... And no Swiss cheese fondue makes me as happy as Muhlama - although I named the title Turkish cheese fondue... It is veeeeerrrry tasty, give it a try (did I emphasize enough :)). If you love cheese there is no way you will not like this - just look at the ratio of cheese to corn meal...

(will make enough Muhlama for 2 to 4 people)

1/2 cup corn meal
2 cups water
2/3 stick of unsalted butter (1 stick is 125 gr)
+250gr mozarella* (cheese will be a bit less than 2 cups, I used 265 gr to be exact, but really does not matter, use 250, 260, 270... more cheese, more oozing...)
1,5tsp salt (start with 1/2 tsp and taste, salt amount should change according the the cheese you use)


1 - Cut the mozarella into small pieces and put aside...
2 - I use bigger size sauce pan to make this dish... Traditionally you would use a frying pan, but I feel safer with the deeper sauce pan...
3 - Melt 1/3 unsalted butter stick (half of the above amount) over medium heat, and when melted, cook the corn meal in it until corn meal starts to change color to darker shade of yellow...

4 - Once the color starts getting darker, add 2 cups of warm water, and salt... and mix and continue cooking... It should be simmering over medium heat...
5 - Add mozarella and mix... Continue mixing and cooking until all of the cheese melts...
6 - When all cheese is melted, put the pan aside...
7 - Before serving, melt other half of the butter (1/3 of the butter stick) in another pan... When the butter is slightly browned, pour it over the muhlama pan...

8 - Enjoy with corn bread for the best taste or if you don't have corn bread with any other type of bread. It won't dissappoint you either the case. Afiyet Olsun! (Turkish version of Bon Appetit!)

* You can use any type of mild melting cheese... After my trials&errors, I found out that the best result (closer to traditional taste) is obtained with mozarella... If you like the cheese taste to be sharper, add some (couple of tbsp) shredded parmesan into it...

Note: If you have left over, you can heat it and enjoy the next 1-2 days...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Red Lentil Pate... (Mercimek Koftesi)

Although I am not a vegetarian, I can easily go on with a vegetarian diet (except when I go to kebap restaurants in Turkey :)). One of the main vegetarian ingredients that I love are lentils, I love any kind of them red, green, split, etc... If I have to tell my favorite lentil recipe, I think that would be Turkish Style Red Lentil Soup, which is my all time favorite soup... The recipe I am posting today is not the soup (easiest, healthiest, and one of the tastiest soup, I should post that too), but my second favorite and that is Turkish style Red Lentil Pate... My husband, who is a Canadian, tasted this dish first time couple of months ago, and he loves it since then... He even prepared it for our guests once, and it was a success... Everyone asked for the recipe...

This recipe is from the blog called "Binnur's Turkish Cookbook" ( I tried her recipe and did couple of changes to my taste after the first trial...

So, here you go... The recipe works everytime, so do not hesitate to try if you like red lentils, vegeterian starters or looking for a new healthy dish for your diet... We serve this dish as an appetizer or meze in our home...

(makes approximately 20 pieces)

1 cup fine bulgur wheat - washed and drained (I buy mine from Whole Foods' organic section, could not find it anywhere else yet, other than Turkish grocery store)
1 cup red lentils - washed and drained
1 large onion or 2 small onions - cut into small cubes
1/2 cup canola oil (or sunflower oil)
2,5 tbsp tomato paste
1 lemon's juice
1,5 tbsp cumin
1,5 tsp salt (more or less to your taste)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like spicy you can increase the amount, or eliminate if you dont like)
1/2 cup parsley - chopped
1/4 cup green onion - chopped
lettuce leaves


1- Put lentils and 2,5 cups of water into a pot, and cook over low heat until there is a little amount of water left.
2- Then, add bulgur wheat to the pot, and cook until all water evaporates. Cover the pot with a lid and put aside.
3- In a pan, saute the onions with canola oil until they just change color (no need to brown the onions, i like that they still have a bite in the finished dish).
4- Decrease the heat to low, and first add the tomato paste, then lemon juice, then the spices and salt...
5- Mix it well, and add the lentil and bulgur mixture. Continue cooking over low heat... Make sure the bulgur-lentil paste is mixed well with the rest. (If the paste seems too dry or the liquid in the pan does not seem enough to cover all of the paste, you can add 1/2 cup hot water, and cook until you have a homogenous mixture).
6- Cook until the mixture gets doughy and starts to leave edges of the pan.
7- Take off from the heat, cover with a lid and put aside for 1 hour or so, until it gets cold.
8- When cold, add chopped parsley and green onions and mix well.
9- Using your hands, take walnut size pieces from the mixture and shape as photographed above... Serve on lettuce leaves... (I use romaine leaves) Keep refrigerated.
10- You eat these balls rolled in a lettuce leave, which gives it a crunchy texture and a refreshing taste, at room temperature... You can squeeze lemon on top if you like more acidity. Afiyet olsun! (Turkish for Bon appetit!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food from Black Sea Region of Turkey...

Contrary to the common belief outside of Turkey, Turkish cuisine is not composed of only kebaps and mezes (I believe this is partially because of bad marketing outside of Turkey, partially because it is easier for western world to classify Turkey into Middle East, and lastly because of dominance of home-cooking for regional food)... In reality, Turkish cuisine is among the most diverse in the world, due to the influence of Ottoman Empire... The food is a fusion of Turkic elements from Central Asia, influences of Middle East and Balkans... Adding the difference in climate and produce between regions to this mix, the result is a very diverse and non-homogeneous (between regions) cuisine...

South-east is famous of its meat, kebaps, mezes, and baklava like desserts; Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean regions uses the olive oil and vegetables grown in the fertile agricultural land in the area and fish; Central Anatolia is known for dishes prepared by using wheat; lastly but not least Black Sea region's cuisine is based on corn, anchovies (hamsi), kale, dairy products (butter, cheese)...

I am originally from eastern part of Black Sea coast, and the objective of this posting is to introduce the region and make an introduction to my next postings, which will be recipes of dishes from the region...

                               Fishing in Black Sea - Trabzon, Turkey

The land is very mountainous and climate is rainy all year around. There is not vast fertile agricultural land like in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, and weather is not as co-operative. As a result, the cuisine is very different than other coastal areas of Turkey, and these conditions pushed people of the Black Sea to create dishes using the produce that can be grown/found in the area, such as kale and corn from the soil, anchovies (hamsi) and other fishes from the Black Sea, and dairy products from their kettles...

                               Camlihemsin, Rize


Originally from South America, corn is brought to the region in the 17th century, and used for variety of purposes by the Black Sea people since then - eaten fresh by boiling or grilling, dried and grinded to the flour to prepare corn bread or to use in several dishes like muhlama (cheese fondue), hamsi bread, kale dishes, etc.

                               Boiling corn on open fire - Camlihemsin, Rize

Dairy Products:

Black Sea cuisine is not big in meat dishes other than Kavurma, which is braised meat in its own fat, since they use the milk of the kettles to prepare dairy products. The region is famous with its butter, and also produces variety of cheeses... Muhlama or Kuymak - similar dishes using butter, cheese, corn flour but different preparations - is one of the staple dishes of the Black Sea cuisine.

                               Yummy muhlama with fresh butter, cheese and corn flour...

                               Perfect appetizer mix: Toasted corn bread, honey and butter

Kale and other vegetables:

Kale is another staple of the Black Sea cuisine. It is used in various dishes, from kale soup to dolma (kale filled with ground meat mixture) to sarma (kale filled with fried rice) to mashed or sauted kale. Other vegetables used widely are green beans and chard... Pickling is also used to preserve the vegetables, especially green beans... In winter, these pickled beans are sauted and eaten warm with corn bread...
                               Fresh Kale - Still in the garden

Anchovies (Hamsi) and other fish:

Fish from the Black Sea play a big role in the kitchen of the people of the region. The most famous of these is Anchovies (Hamsi), and eaten in plenty of different cooking styles and preparations: grilled, fried, cooked with rice (hamsili pilav), hamsi bread (hamsili ekmek), omlette with hamsi and vegetables, etc.


The most interesting dessert of the area is Laz Boregi, which is a baklava like syrupy dessert layered with custard in between layers instead of nuts... The name is interesting to the Turkish people who are not familiar to the area since borek refers to savory pastries in Turkish cuisine and this one is a dessert...

If you are curious about how the mentioned dishes are made and taste, read this blog :) Coming soon...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My new go to Carrot Cake...

Without any hesitation, I can say that Cafe Fernando is my favorite food blog. At first it was because of his neat website, beautiful photos and good writing. After a while I could not hold myself back from trying his recipes and everything I tried tasted amazing... I believe the priority of the blogger should be building the trust with his/her followers, since they don't have any chance to taste the end-product before putting all the effort to buying the ingredients and applying the recipes... Everything I did from Cafe fernando tasted soooo good, most of the times they were even better than a product I would eat at a quality bakery (like this recipe, yummy)... Now I am at a trust level that I can try his recipe's for the first time for special guests and not be worried, since I know that he tests all the recipes multiple times and makes sure it works out, and I trust his taste buds...

The carrot recipe I am giving here is from his English blog, and I really liked the outcome... This is the richest moistest carrot cake I have eaten, and it does not need the classic icing... Only powdered sugar sprinkled on top is enough to enjoy it, as recommended by Cenk of Cafe Fernando...

(the igredients are for a fluted pan with diameter of 25 cm or 9 inches)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1+1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1+3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut (I did with unsweetened and it also worked well)
3/4 cup grape seed oil (or sunflower oil or canola oil - I used canola oil)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
Pinch of grated nutmeg
2+1/2 cup finely grated raw carrots
140 gr walnut halves
1 tsp butter for greasing the cake pan
1/4 cup powdered sugar - to be used for serving
zest of 1 orange - to be used for serving


1) Roast the walnuts in a non-stick pan on the stove or in the oven for 10-15 minutes. When they are cold, cut into big pieces, and put aside.

2) Preheat your oven to 350 F (170 C) and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9-inch fluted cake pan and set aside.

3) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, shredded coconut, nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

4) In another mixing bowl, whisk together (I used an electronic mixer) the eggs with the sugars until the batter is thick and light colored.

5) Add the oil and whisk to combine.

6) Add the flour mixture to wet mixture in 3 parts and each time mix until combined. Do not overmix.

7) Fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts to the mixture.

8) Pour the batter into the cake pan and hit the pan to the counter couple if time to take the air out of the pan.

9) Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

10) Remove from the oven and let it cool. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cake onto a serving platter.
Right before serving, dust with powdered sugar. I also sprinkled some orange zest on top, to give some citrus smell and flavor...

11) Bon appetit!

Note: You can freeze the remaining cake by wrapping with plastic roll and again with aluminum foil. When you want to eat, just take the cake out of freezer and let is sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours... It is as moist and fresh as the first day...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Asparagus with Vinaigrette...

This recipe is from I discovered Molly Wizenberg, the writer of the blog, when I found her book - "A Homemade Life" - in a book store in New York last August... As soon as I started reading, I liked her style of writing, her stories, and also the simplicity of most of the recipes... I read that book as if it was a novel, because of her addictive storytelling ability, and I follow her blog since then...

Yesterday, for the first time I tried one of her recipes. My husband has became a fan of asparagus recently, so I was searching online to see an easy and potentially tasty recipe, and found this one in Orangette - calls it Asparagus Vinaigrette... I changed the presentation and ate it on top of a slice of toasted baguette, and enjoyed it very much... I also eliminated the sprinkling lemon zest option, and used sliced hard-boiled eggs rather than chopped.

Here is the recipe...


1 bunch asparagus
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoon olive oil
Half of medium size garlic
2 hard-boiled eggs (to be sliced and used on top of the crostini)
Freshly grounded black pepper
Approx. 8 slices of french baguette (diagonally sliced)


1- Boil 2 hard-boiled eggs (the amount of egg may change according to the size of asparagus bunch you use). I boiled the eggs the same way as recommended by Orangette: Put 2 eggs in a saucepan filled with cold water. Wait until the water boils over medium-high heat. When it starts boiling, remove the pan from the stove, and cover it. Wait for 12 minutes. Then rinse them in cold water. Peel them when they are cold and slice the eggs.

2- Break or cut off the woody ends of the asparagus and wash them. Fill a big skillet with water and put some salt into the water. When the water boils, add the asparagus and cook them for one and a half to two minutes. The asparagus should look bright green and still be crunchy. Drain the asparagus and run cool water over to stop the cooking process.

3- In a small jar, mix the ingredients of the vinaigrette: lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, oil, garlic and salt. Shake the jar to emulsify. Taste, and if necessary, add a bit more oil and/or salt. This makes as much as half a cup of vinaigrete.

4- Cut each asparagus into 2 and mix them with some of the vinaigrette.

5- Toast slices of baguette... On each slice of baguette, place 3 asparagus pieces next to each other, spoon some more vinaigrette on top, and top it with a slice of boiled egg. Sprinkle some salt and freshly grounded black pepper above all. (If you prefer, instead of my crostini presentation, you can eliminate the bread put chopped eggs on top of the asparagus and eat it as salad. Your choice, I like fancier presentations :))

Bon appetit! Enjoy this refreshing and tasty dish!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Celery Root Salad... (Yogurtlu Kereviz Salatasi)

I am Turkish, and I like the tastes and flavors of Turkish cuisine... This celery root recipe is not a traditional Turkish recipe but a recipe that has been prepared in my family's home in Turkey for years. It is usually served next to other savory dishes (pastries, salads) with Turkish tea when you have guests in between meal times...

I usually prepare this dish as meze (small platters - mediterrenean, middle eastern version of tapas) or as a starter next to stuffed philo triangles... It is a really easy, very tasty and surprisingly healthy dish... The recipe will be enough for 6 people as starter and more as meze...


- 2 medium size celery roots (when peeled will weigh 800 gr)
- 500 gr Mediterranean yoghurt (it is thicker and creamier than the standard yoghurt in North America)
- 3 medium size garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup chopped walnut
- juice of half a lemon
- salt


1- Pick a medium to big size mixing bowl for the recipe, and squeeze half lemon's juice to the bowl.

2- Peel the celery root until you remove all the brown (brownish) colored outer covering. You need a strong knife for this.

3- Grate the celery roots with a grater, and immediately mix the grated celery root with the lemon juice in the bowl (because peeled celery roots can get dark very quickly).

4- In another mixing bowl, mix the yoghurt, 3 garlic cloves (minced or crushed into small pieces) and salt (to your taste - if you have no idea I recommend 1,5 teaspoon).

5- Chop 3/4 cup walnuts into small pieces (you can increase or decrease the walnut amount to your taste).

6- Mix celery root with walnuts and yoghurt mixture.

7- Put into your serving plate or bowl. I sprinkle some crushed red peppers and top with chopped walnuts.

8- Enjoy with crackers, pita, bread or by itself! Afiyet Olsun! (Turkish for Bon Appetit!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cava Restaurant...

I have been seeing the name of this tapas restaurant for sometime now during my searches for a good restaurant close to my home. Although I saw the address was very close to mine I could not figure out where it physically was... At the end, we decided to try this place with my husband and a friend of ours, and I realized why I could not see it before... This little, nice tapas restaurant is located in a strip mall at one block north of Yonge&StClair, Toronto. I have been to this strip mall to stop by at Bruno's (a small grocery store) couple of times but never thought there would be a nice restaurant inside that building... Despite the location of it, once you enter the restaurant it has a very cozy feel and you just forget that it is in a strip mall - actually I even feel like I am somewhere in Spain, and love it.

We started with half a liter of sangria (they have red and white, we choose the red one), which worked really well because the day we went there was a warm day in Toronto with high humidity (and their A/C was broken). Sangria was good, cold and refreshing...

For the rest of the dinner we drank a bottle of syrah that our friend brought, and we were lucky that they have no corkage fee on Sundays ( good to keep in mind, makes a difference in the bill :)).

With my husband, we ordered bunch of tapas and shared - since our friend is vegetarian she ordered for herself. We got; Bruschetta (of edamame, grilled green onions, moroccan olives and sicilian tomatoes), Torta of grilled portobello mushroom, Papas fritas (fries with sage and rosemary flavor), Grilled squid with fingerling patatoes, olives and capers, Salt cod cake with piperade and chipotle crema, Venison pieces with a warm red cabbage salad. 3 tapas per person was just right for us, we were full and happy at the end of the dinner...

I loved everything we ordered except the Torta of grilled portobello mushroom. This dish was very bland and dry. Especially fries are a must; beautiful flavors, much more than your ordinary fries...

I will definitely go to Cava again, and this time will try their paella, and let you know... Mmmm, looking forward to it :)
They also have a chocolaterie next door - sells ice cream too - if anyone wants to try...

Name: Cava Restaurant
Address: 1560 Yonge Street, Toronto, M4T 2S9
Phone Number: 416 979 99 18

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Girl and The Fig...

We visited California's wine country in end-March. It was an amazing trip, and one of the couple of things that made the trip amazing was the food...

In Sonoma, we visited the restaurant called The Girl and The Fig, which was highly recommended by Frommers and also some friends of ours that visited Sonoma last summer...

The Girl and the Fig is located at the small town centre of Sonoma, and has a beautiful patio at the back of the restaurant. The style is French country, very casual, relaxing, with friendly staff...

Unfortunately we were not very hungry when we went to this restaurant, so we only sampled 2 plates from the menu and a great wine...

We selected a wine that was recommended by our waitress - red, fruity, not strong as we asked for - and we loved it. The good thing is if you can not finish they cork it for you and you can take it with you when you are leaving... The wine is : Cline 2007 Ancient Vines Mourvedre, Contra Costa County.

As food, we shared a goat cheese sampler (three types of goat cheese served with fruits, nuts and baguette) and wild flounder "meunière" (served with yukon potato purée, sautéed spinach & lemon-caper brown butter sauce). Cheese were good, and fish was especially delicious.

This place has all the charm of wine country, sunny patio with good food&wine and friendly staff... Highly recommended if you will stop by Sonoma one day... Reservations are recommended...

Name: The Girl and The Fig
Address: 110 West Spain Street Sonoma, CA. 95476
Phone Number: 707 938 36 34

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tony's Pizza Napoletana...

In San Francisco, when we (my husband and I) were trying to find Tommasa Ristorante for lunch - claimed to be the best pizza in SF by Frommers - we found the best pizza that we have eaten in our lives in somewhere else... At the moment we found Tommasa, we realized that it was open only for dinner... My husband decided to ask to two ladies walking by us for a recommendation about where to eat. By coincidence the ladies were living in that street and recommended us another pizzeria called Tony's Pizza Napoletena close to where we were... Of course, we took the recommendation, and gave it a try...

At Tony's, from so many inviting pizzas in the menu, we selected the award winning ones, and ordered Margarita from Pizza Napoletana section and Cal Italia from Classic Italian. Our friendly waitress recommended us to have the Margarita first and then the Cal Italia. So, we went with that order...

While we were waiting for our pizzas, we had fresh bread from the wood oven accompanied with the beautiful olive oil dips...

Next, we got our fresh from the 900 degrees wood oven Margarita, crisp on the sides and like a thin paper in the middle. Lightest, freshest pizza you will taste. At the beginning we were worried how to eat two whole pizzas for lunch, but this one went down in 10 minutes very easily :) Chef and owner Tony - whom you can see in front of the oven - limits this Margherita to 73 per day, and this pizza won the 2007 World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy. What I can say is it deserves all the attention...

Second pizza was even better, fireworks in your mouth... Cal Italia is the Gold Medal Winner of Food Networks Pizza Champions Challenge. Look at these ingredients: Asiago, Mozzarella, Imported Italian Gorgonzola, Sweet Fig preserve from Croatia, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano, Balsamic... They come together balancing salty with sweet, and make a delicious pizza that you will never forget. When owner&chef Tony came to talk to us, I told him that this is the best pizza I have eaten in my life and I was serious...

Of course, at the end of two pizzas there was no place for a dessert. The bill was US$56.92 (including tax, no tip) for 2 pizzas and 3 beer... Good value for money...

Overall, amazing place... If you love pizza and if you live in San Francisco/will visit soon, a visit to Tony's is a must...
Name: Tony's Pizza Napoletana
Address: 1570 Stockton St (at Union St), San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: 415 835 98 88

Scaramouche Restaurant...

My husband took me to the Scaramouche Restaurant yesterday, for a date. It was our first time at the restaurant, and definitely will visit again...

It is located at midtown Toronto, at a side street, on the ground floor of a residential building - which was a surprise for a fancy restaurant. Starting from the entrance, you can feel the classy atmosphere without being pretentious. The place has a great view of the Toronto skyline, and we had a table overlooking the amazing view...

While we were waiting for our order, we were served fresh bread and butter, and also salmon paste on a potato crisp to prepare our palates for the amazing food that was waiting for us. We shared a goat cheese plate as an appetizer. The plate was already divided into two separate plates when served us. All cheeses were matched with small salads, and all were delicious, making us more excited for what was coming next... As main dish, I had the swordfish, smoked and grilled, which was a special for the day and not in the ordinary menu. It was beautifully cooked and served with very tasty vegetables and some bacon... My husband had the elk dish - elk was covered with bacon and accompanied by the hazelnuts, potatoes, crispy shallots, mushrooms, leeks. It was very tasty, but the meat was a bit hard because we ordered medium. Next time we go, I will definitely order this elk dish as medium rare - liked the elk dish much better than my fish course... As dessert, we shared a coconut cream pie which was out of this world. It was a big slice of cake so it is good to share. All night, we could not stop talking about how good the cake was...

They have a wine list covering major wine producing regions. We ordered a Pinot Noir from Niagara (2007 Pinot Noir ‘Jackrabbit Flats Vineyard’ Fielding Estates) and were not impressed - but I want to note that we selected one of the cheapest wines in the list.

Overall, this restaurant has delicious food, very good service, relaxing ambiance, beautiful view. It costed $200 (including tax, not tip) for 2 of us. We agreed that the quality of the restaurant deserved the price and even more... Highly recommended when you want to have good food, and escape from the buzz of the city...
(Sorry for no picture, I forgot to take my camera with me)

Name: Scaramouche Restaurant
Address: One Benvenuto Place, Toronto, ON M4V 1H2
Phone number: 416 961 80 11