FOOD & BOOZE

The Best Kimchi Recipe

best kimchi recipe

LESLIEVILLE, TORONTO—Expanding my international tastebuds, I have embraced the national condiment of Korea. You can do it, too!

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Get a goulash hug

best Hungarian goulash

WHISTLER, BC—Facebook thinks I need to order take-out Hungarian comfort food, even though it’s miles from my house and 35º in the shade.

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There’s rhubarb in my gin

rhubarb gin

DOVERCOURT PARK, TORONTO—Deliciousness knows no bounds when it comes to rhubarb gin. Collective Arts Distilling launched its seasonal Rhubarb and Hibiscus Gin in 2019.

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Fake food in Japan

sampuru

TOKYO—Called sampuru, this fake food has been used outside restaurants to lure customers inside for more than 100 years. The practice pre-dates colour menus.

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Caipirinha-caipiroska-caipirão

caipirinha

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL—Pandemic-drinking our way through the liquor cabinet, which is actually two cabinets (maybe not for long), I came across a half-bottle of cachaca.

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Make sangrita, not sangria

Sangrita

SAN BLAS, MEXICO—My tequila has a friend that lives in the freezer and comes out on weekends. It’s called sangrita, a spicy mix of juices employed as a chaser for tequila, to cleanse the palate between sips.

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Eleven herbs and spices

fried chicken

LESLIEVILLE—Imagine the mouth-wateringness when I came across this alleged hand-written recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now I don’t have to call Chicken Delight.

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Ottawa Cocktail Crawl

Ottawa

OTTAWA—This town never disappoints—particularly when there’s a cocktail to be shaken. Must be all those thirsty MPs giving all the bartenders ample practice. Here’s your next cocktail crawl.

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Burnt Butter

Burnt Butter

LONDON—Everyone pooh-poohed the Quarantine Cooking chain letter I forwarded, but then—the amazing recipes started to arrive…

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The Swizzle is the shizzle

BERMUDA—Sure, we bring home tequila (Mexico), rum (Barbados), triple sec (Grenada) and Blue Curaçao (um, Curaçao), but for Bermuda, all you need is the recipe for the delicious Rum Swizzle.

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My shrimp are very tall

Grenada

GRENADA—What’s better than a day at the beach? The supper that follows it, of course. The food scene in Grenada is relatively robust for an island of just 110,000. Let the food journey begin.

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The kiss of kirsch

kirsch

OBERARTH, SWITZERLAND—Kirsch is my new best friend. Lucas Fassbind, also my new best friend, sums up his very special schnapps like so: “Cooling, warming, burning, contracting, silky, round.”

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I have Champagne tastes

Champagne

GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND—In the grand scheme of analogies, I’m one of those people whose glass is always half full. And quite often, it’s half full of Champagne. I like to think I can will good things to happen to me.

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Not cuckoo for making cou-cou

cou-cou

BARBADOS—I made a pact with myself recently to do more recipe-following and cookbook-reading. And when my culinary masterpieces overlap with a travel angle, I post them on Instagram, one of the more successful being this cou-cou and flying fish, the traditional dish of Barbados. It’s an okra-cornmeal concoction. OK, so I used haddock, and apparently sea bass is a better substitute, but it was awesome.

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I eat my weight at breakfast

Columbus breakfast

COLUMBUS, OH—I love watching Americans order in restaurants—three beverages in front of them, asking a dozen questions, asking for substitutions, more sauce-less sauce, ordering extra side dishes only to barely touch them.

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This gin does tricks

Empress 1908

VICTORIA—Empress 1908, one of my favourite gins, is pink. It’s actually lavender, but really, it starts off being blue. Confused yet? Made by Victoria Distillers for the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Empress 1908 Gin is infused with the now-trending butterfly pea blossom, a perennial herbaceous plant, native to Asia.

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Tiki Bar packed to the tits

CHICAGO—Trader Vic invented the Mai Tai, you know. True story. I’ll always remember throwing back Suffering Bastards at the now-gone Trader Vic’s in the basement of the Toronto Hilton, long after the Polynesian culture fad of the 1950s and ’60s had dissipated.

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I get chummy with the chum

Tofino food

TOFINO, BC—Salmon candy. It’s like a carrot on a stick. You dangle that in front of me and I will walk for miles. When I’m lucky enough to get my hands on these sweet and salty smoked-salmon morsels, I ration them for weeks, savouring every molecule.

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What do butterflies eat?

Butterflies

KEY WEST—The answer? Pretty stuff, that’s what. After a rather surreal couple of days combing the streets of Key West looking for trouble and pretty much finding it (three words: naked pool party), we finished up a road trip through the Florida Keys with an hour stroll through the famed Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. So gorgeous!

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Caesars eat like a meal

Caesar

BRITISH COLUMBIA—Every so often I abandon my aversion to Clamato juice (too much MSG) and order a Bloody Caesar, usually just to go with the flow. Or to make morning drinking OK. Bloody Mary’s seem to be more my style in my dotage, I’m finding.

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Lamb bacon is a thing

Fogo Island

FOGO ISLAND, NL—My mother would have laughed like a fool—I ate turnip greens for breakfast. To be more specific: braised turnip greens, lamb belly, black garlic and a fried egg. This at the stunning Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland and Labrador. We’re spending three glorious days wandering over the rocks, hiking the trails, hot-tubbing on the roof, watching for whales, listening to stories—and eating.

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Chowing down in Singapore

Singapore food

SINGAPORE—There are really no words other than: “spoiled for choice.” Singaporeans truly have it easy when it comes to homemade traditional food: You can find it everywhere, it’s absolutely incredible and you can have a complete meal for about $3. No wonder nobody has to cook at home!

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Ordering coffee in Singapore

Kopi

SINGAPORE—While every nation has its own unique caffeine scene, no one does coffee quite like Singapore. The tradition of kopitiam or coffee-shop culture is both an excellent example of the blend of Eastern and Western cultures in this melting-pot region of South East Asia and a taste sensation that’s worth writing home about.

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Baking in Ballycastle

Ballycastle sourdough

BALLYCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND—Dara O hArtghaile treated us to a lesson in sourdough at Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, at Ursa Minor Bakehouse. The big secret: He uses methods that can be traced back hundreds of years, long before the birth of commercial yeast.

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Sweet on Shortcross Gin

Shortcross gin

CROSSGAR, NORTHERN IRELAND—We take a 30-minute drive from Belfast to a town called Crossgar in County Down—seriously you can’t make this quaintness up—then head to its outskirts. When we find a property that we think the GPS is trying to send us, I lean out of the car as far as I can and start ringing doorbells…

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Have the iguana stew

WESTPUNT, CURAÇAO—When we get out of the car at Jaanchie’s Restaurant, the birdsong hits us instantly: dozens of black and yellow bananaquits chirping all at once, blanketing the dense bushes at the front door, jockeying for the sugar in their little feeders.

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I had ribs for breakfast

SINGAPORE—I realize you may think this is just a column about weird things I have eaten on the road in crazy, lawless places—far-flung gastronomic adventures in fermented shark and beetle larvae and eggs buried in the ground for a month. And to a certain extent, you’re right. But what if it’s—ribs for breakfast?

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Pounding my pork in Vienna

VIENNA, AUSTRIA—I have two hours to scream around Vienna or I won’t have time for a nap. I’ve been on a bus tour, an excursion as part of my week-long Scenic river cruise down the Danube, and now I’m rushing through perhaps the most beautiful city in the world like it’s Toronto at rush hour. Slow. Down.

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I ate a moose and I liked it

Cod Sounds

AVONDALE, NL—I’ve been using the word “foodways” a lot recently, in writing descriptions of a cultural—and generally traditional—dish or ingredient or preparation style, even within my own country: Forty-five minutes outside St. John’s in Avondale, NL, we meet Chef Lori McCarthy of Cod Sounds.

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