Highly Unrecommended: Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Pizza Burger

This recipe is worth it for the combination of the words “bacon” and “dreamcatcher”. I don’t recommend actually making this unless you’re on Michael Phelps’ daily physical regime:

pizza burger recipe

[Photo series courtesy of spingo.]

It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Teppanyaki Onion Volcano

The scene: one of the tables at the teppanyaki restaurant Kobe in downtown Vancouver. We’d just wrapped up running the TechDays Vancouver conference and were having a celebratory dinner.

Here’s a classic bit of teppanyaki stagecraft, the onion volcano, getting put together:


Here’s chef Eric filling it with cooking oil as my co-worker Rick Claus looks on:


We have ignition…


…and banzai! I love Rick’s expression in the background. That’s an IT pro’s reaction to illumination from natural sources: “The light! It burns!”


It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Taco in a Bag!

The Ginger Ninja and I went back to the Canadian National Exhibition yesterday to catch the Superdogs, see the sights and sample some more so-bad-it’s-good food. One item on our list was Taco in a Bag, which many people speak of only in hushed tones.


Taco in a Bag is made by taking a bag of Doritos and giving it a couple of whacks to break the chips into smaller pieces. The bag is sliced open along one of its long sides and then the taco filling is added: ground beef, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and lettuce. You eat it right out of the bag with a fork. It’s like a Frito pie, but you can pretend it’s healthier because it has some lettuce.

It’s just one of the deliciously unhealthy items that the poutine place in the corner of the CNE’s Food Building serves. They also serve a number of different types of poutine. Here’s the left half of their menu:


The first two poutine items on the menu are:

  • The Lumberjack: French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds, sausages and a fried egg. I need to try this sometime.
  • The Canadian: French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds, topped with two strips of bacon.

Here’s the right half of the menu:


The poutine items on the right side of the menu are:

  • The Mexican: French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds, ground beef, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and jalapeno peppers.
  • The Traditional: Good ol’ fashioned poutine – just french fries covered in gravy, cheese curds and nothing else.

Getting back to Taco in a Bag – here’s what it looks like when you get it:


It just needs to be stirred up. Here’s what the first bite looks like:


It’s so dirtylicious. If you get the chance, try it. The CNE’s open until next Monday, so keep in mind that time’s running out.

It Happened to Me Slice of Life

Slice of Life: Garde Manger’s Snow Crab Bloody Caesar

Now this is what I call a Caesar:

A bloody caesar at Garde Manger

For you non-Canadian drinkers, a Caesar (a.k.a. Bloody Caesar) is a variant of the Bloody Mary in which Clamato — a mix of tomato juice and clam broth – is used instead of plain ol’ tomato juice. It’s a great way to start a hearty dinner. This was a particularly well-dressed Caesar, going beyond the standard celery stalk and featuring a couple of giant snow crab legs.

chuck_hughes_facebook_profile Chef Chuck Hughes’ Facebook profile photo.

The Caesar shown is the large snow crab Caesar served at Garde Manger, a bistro in Old Montreal whose kitchen is run by chef Chuck Hughes, who hosts a great show on Food Network Canada called Chuck’s Day Off. Chuck has kindly shared the recipe on his show’s site.

Here’s a recent photo of the menu at Garde Manger. Foodies and francophones shouldn’t have any trouble reading it, but if you have any questions, let me know in the comments:

garde_manger_menu_board Photo courtesy of Eat Well Montreal.

While many restaurants in Old Montreal are content to simply look like Parisian bistros and let their quaint settings rather than their pretentious food dazzle their visitors, Garde Manger takes the opposite tack. They serve comfort food done very, very well in a setting where you could just as easily show up in jeans and t-shirt as a suit (for the record, I wore a fancy-pants dress shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks that I bought for my wedding and black jeans). Some of the crowd in attendance were fancy, but the place isn’t stuff – the DJ at the bar was spinning tunes that could’ve come straight from my MP3 collection: Bob Marley’s Jammin’, Faith No More’s We Care a Lot and one of those mash-up numbers by Girl Talk.


I took the Ginger Ninja there a couple of weekends ago. I had the lobster poutine as an appetizer, magret de canard, foie gras et sauce a l’orange and the deep-fried Mars bar with ice cream for dessert. She had the salmon tartare, beef short ribs and brownie with ice cream (it was a large brownie and I had to help). Because we were there for the end of service, the staff invited us to join them in celebrating it by sharing shots that were equal parts espresso and Galliano.

If you’re in Montreal and you love good food, make sure you pay a visit to Garde Manger. It’s at 408 Rue St François Xavier in a building with no markings save for this metal panel on the exterior wall:


It Happened to Me

To Boldly Go Where No Macaroni and Cheese Has Gone Before

Saw this stuff for the first time last night at the grocery store — “Spicy Szechwan Kraft Dinner”:

Packages of "Kraft Dinner Spicy Szechwan"

(For readers in the United States, what gets sold as “Kraft Macaroni and Cheese” where you’re from is sold as “Kraft Dinner” in Canada.)

I can’t imagine it being any good, but I feel compelled to give it a try, just once. Maybe at my next grocery run.

It Happened to Me

Serious Meat at Hart House’s Pride Weekend Barbecue

This is what ten dollars got you at Thursday’s Pride Week barbecue at University of Toronto’s Hart House:

Paper picnic plate piled with food, "Hart House: University of Toronto" napkin, beer.

It was quite a meal: one beef kebab, one piece of chicken, 4 pork ribs, a slice of bread, roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and salad, all prepared quite well. The Ginger Ninja and I enjoyed it.


The Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad

Click the table below to get a closer look at the table that tells you when it’s time to throw out those condiments. And yes, Hollandaise sauce doesn’t last terribly long.

The Table of Condiments that Periodically Go Bad