Did you know that the Caesar is a cocktail created and primarily consumed in Canada? It was first invented in 1969 in Calgary, and has since become a widely-consumed drink in Canada. Walter Caesar is well-known for their all-natural craft Caesar mixes, giving Canadian the opportunity to create Caesar drinks at home. They recently released their Walter Craft Caesar Rim to complement their line of mixes. Like their award-winning mixes, the rim is also an all-natural, free of preservatives, gluten-free and contains no added MSG or artificial colours.




The Christmas Classic Recipe #nice

Ingredients:

1 oz vodka
4 oz Walter Craft Caesar Mix - Mild Spice
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot sauce squeeze fresh lemon juice
1 sprig rosemary

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rim: lemon juice, Walter Craft Caesar Rim
garnish: charcuterie, tomato, bocconcin

Instructions:

rim glass, muddle vodka and 1 sprig of rosemary ripped into 1 pieces, fill with ice, add remaining ingredients, garnish and enjoy



Earlier last week, I received a package from Walter Caesar containing the Classic Spice Walter, which has grated horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a few select spices, sea salt & cracked black pepper. Classic Caesars are often mixed with vodka, Worcestershire sauce and spices. However, you are free to add additional garnishes like celery, bacon, and lobster tail.

Just today, I cracked open the bottle and made some Caesars. The drinks were made with vodka, a bit of bacon bits on the bottom, and topped with the new Walter Craft Caesar Rim. What a delicious blend!



What about the rim? Walter Craft Caesar Rim is proudly made in Canada in small batches with flaked salt, organic cane sugar, cracked black pepper and a secret blend of herbs and spices. The result is a rim that provides a nice balance of salty, sweet and umami. The craft Caesar rim is designed to be the perfect complement of exceptional taste, and pairs well with both flavours of Walter Craft Caesar Mix.


Wintertime #naughty

Ingredients:

2 oz Canadian whiskey
4 oz Walter Craft Caesar Mix - Classic Spice
1 tsp maple syrup
4 dashes hot sauce
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
squeeze lemon juice

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rim: dip glass in maple syrup,Walter Craft Caesar Rim
garnish: lime wedge, fresh cucumber

Instructions:

rim glass, fill with ice, add whisky, Walter Craft Caesar Mix, remaining ingredients, garnish and enjoy





Walter Craft Caesar Rim is available in both major grocery stores and many independent retailers across Canada and retails for approximately $4.99. Walter Craft Caesar Mix is available in all major grocery stores across Canada and comes in a 946 ml format in both Classic Spice and Mild Spice and retails for approximately $7.99.


Disclaimer: The products provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Walter Craft Caesar Rim

by on Friday, December 22, 2017
Did you know that the Caesar is a cocktail created and primarily consumed in Canada? It was first invented in 1969 in Calgary, and has sinc...
Celebrity chef Akira Back's first Canadian namesake restaurant is now open in the Bisha Hotel Toronto. Located inside of the luxury boutique hotel, the restaurant offers a menu of Japanese cuisine with Korean flavors and Canadian twist. We had the pleasure of attending a media preview at Akira Back Toronto last week, where we were treated to a tasting menu of some of his best dishes. 


I was looking forward to the opening of his restaurant when it was announced earlier this summer. Akira Back has a growing reputation in the hospitality industry for the creativity that he brings to his culinary creations. Back's food is inspired by his passions for adventure, travel and culinary exploration. "Each of his restaurants features inventive menus that embody his life and travel inspirations throughout the world, representing the root of his culture and his culinary background in every dish. Akira Back is one of the most exciting names in the culinary world, growing rapidly across major international". (credit: press release) 


“Toronto is a cultural epicentre with a diverse and multi­cultural food scene, which is why I always hoped to have a restaurant here,” says Chef Akira Back. “The menu will feature a number of my signature dishes along with some new ones that were inspired by my time spent in the city.” - Akira Back
Throughout his career, he has many culinary successes, including being awarded the title of “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality (2008) and has had the distinct honor of hosting the prestigious James Beard House dinners (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, 2013 & 2014). Besides having restaurants in the USA, he has opened several overseas locations such as Akira Back Restaurants in Singapore, New Delhi and Jakarta. Earlier this November, he was awarded a one Michelin Star by the 2018 Michelin Guide Seoul for his restaurant DOSA in Seoul, South Korea.


Walking into the restaurant, I was in awe of the space as it paid homage to traditional Japanese culture with contemporary ornamentation. "Subtle nods to Japanese culture will appear through refined and intimate details which balance the central design feature, a full­-length cove ceiling showcasing a colourful custom graphic". The overall interiors contain several neutral elements with bold wooden decor, which creates an intimate yet classy environment that appeals to a wide range of diners.




The menu at Akira Back Toronto features a number of his signature dishes, along with several new ones that were inspired by his visit to Canada. The tasting menu that night consists of five courses with wine pairings that perfectly complement each specific dish.


[First Course] 

Tuna & Mushroom Pizza ($22) - truffle oil, micro shiso


[Second Course] 

Jeju Domi ($22) - orange tobiko, red sorrel, chojang

Salmon Tiradito ($21) - roasted peaches, Kizami wasabi, spinach cilantro


[Third Course] 

Eggplant Miso ($12) - sweet miso sauce


Rock Shrimp ($17) - sriracha ranch

(photo credit: @akirabacktoronto)

[Fourth Course] 

Seared Halibut - mushrooms, soy beurre blanc,

(photo credit: @akirabacktoronto)

48 Hour Wagyu Short Rib ($32) - root vegetables, quail egg, braising jus


[Dessert] 

Black & White Sesame Matcha Cake - salted agave ice cream


Yuzu Citrus - sable crumble, strawberry gelato 



“Akira Back is an extremely talented chef on the cusp of exploding internationally and we’re excited that Bisha will be his first location in Canada. After interviewing many recognized chefs over a three­year period, I felt that Akira Back’s talent and uniqueness would be the perfect match for Bisha Toronto to make it a complete hospitality experience,” says Charles Khabouth, Chairman, ICONINK. (credit: press release) 


All of the dishes were perfectly crafted to combine the various cuisines that Back is influenced and inspired by. The use of fresh ingredients definitely enhanced the flavors of the dishes, particularly the two mains (halibut and short rib). The night ended with not one... but two desserts. The elegant desserts consist of two very popular Japanese flavors; matcha and yuzu. My favorite was the black & white sesame matcha cake, which was rich in flavor and creamy in texture. I loved matcha desserts, so this definitely hit the spot for my sweet tooth! Akira Back Toronto is definitely a welcoming addition to the city of Toronto for its visionary dishes that encompasses the combination of Asian and North American cuisine. Can't wait to be back!


** Pictures by Cherie. Visit her Instagram and Blog to check out her feeds **
** Pictures of Chef Akira Back by Akira Back Toronto **

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Akira Back Toronto

by on Friday, December 08, 2017
Celebrity chef  Akira Back 's first Canadian namesake restaurant is now open in the Bisha Hotel Toronto . Located inside of the luxury ...
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery for a 24 hour getaway. A small group of writers and food bloggers were whisked off to Niagara-On-The-Lake, where we enjoyed a tour of the Wayne Gretzky Estates' distillery and restaurant.



The Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery is a great destination for wine and whisky enthusiasts, but is also a fun learning experience for those who are newer to wine and whisky. The 23,000 square feet facility was designed by award-winning architect Gren Weis, who integrated rural context with contemporary designs. Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery includes a winery, distillery, tasting areas, retail store and hospitality spaces, and barrel cellar. Given the amount of available land, it was a very spacious facility. I have been to Niagara-on-the-Lake on several occasions, and I can definitely see why the city was chosen specifically for the permanent home of the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery. The region has a rich history in wine excellence, the growth in wine tourism in the area and Wayne’s personal connection to Southern Ontario.
The new Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery adds to
APL
s significant investment and commitment to the Niagara-on-
the-Lake wine region. Niagara-on-the-Lake was chosen
specifically for the permanent home of the Wayne Gretzky
Estates Winery and Distillery because of its rich history in
wine excellence, the growth in wine tourism in the area and
Wayne

s personal connection to Southern Ontario.
Our first stop was to Queen’s Landing, a four-star hotel in Niagara-On-The-Lake, for a one-night stay. The hotel room was spacious with a Queen-sized bed, study table, couch and various amenities. I didn’t get to enjoy the hotel room as much, as after settling into our individual hotel rooms, everyone met in the lobby to board the bus to the Wayne Gretzky Estates to start the afternoon.  





There, we were greeted by resident mixologist, Zachary Kvas, who enthusiastically took us through a cocktail demonstration. His cocktail contained cinnamon, star anais whisky, and pumpkin syrup with Dillon’s Bitters. Afterwards, we followed him into a tasting room where we crafted our own signature cocktail using the provided ingredients and tools. We learned the importance of balancing the strength of the alcohol by adding a variety of different notes to the drink.



Our night continued with a Wine vs. Whisky dinner, which was held in their VIP Club Lounge. The dinner space overlooked the amazing views of the bar and vineyards. We were served a three course meal paired with wine and whisky that complemented each dish.


The first course was the Fall Minestrone Soup - spiced cheese straw, house prosciutto fresh mozzarella paired with Wayne Gretzky Estate Chardonnay 2013 and Indiana Jones and the Fennel of Doom.



Next up was the Ontario Lamb - whisky caramel pecan crusted lamb shank, grilled lamb sirloin, and merguez sausage and wine red cabbage with white bean and chorizo cassoulet, and fall heirloom carrots paired with Wayne Gretzky Estate Red 2015 and My-Mint of the Lambs.




The last course was dessert, which took place outside at the bar patio (near the 99 ice rink). There, we were treated to Gretzky Creamed Whisky Cheesecake Bar - caramel popcorn, dark chocolate, and toffee pear paired with Wayne Gretzky Estate Vidal Icewine 2016 and Wayne Gretzky Creamed Whisky.






The next morning, we headed to Trius, the winery on-site. Split into two teams, we went about checking the facility. The team I was on started off above ground, as we checked out how they ferment the grapes in wooden barrels. The second half of the activity introduced us to Craig McDonald (lead winemaker), who provided us with some of the younger white wines for tasting. The hands-on experience was a lot of fun, as we dwell into the art of wine-marking. Interestingly enough, the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery's existing production facilities allow for the production of 313,000 cases of wines and 12,000 cases of craft spirits.





After the winery, we went back inside for breakfast. Breakfast was served buffet style, and there was a mixture of different foods such as house baked carrot muffins, granola, cow’s milk yoghurt, fresh strawberries, house made pork sausages, and ice wine cured and smoked salmon.



The day continued, and we jet off to meet up with Joshua Beach, the resident master distiller. Joshua Beach studied at Heriot Watt in Scotland, where he completed his MSc in Brewing and Distilling at one of the best schools in the world. We got a mini tour of the facility, and then it was off to the tasting room, where we got a taste of various flights.




Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery's design celebrates the rural landscape of Niagara with immense glass walls, light metal roof, stained wood siding and a mixture of concrete/stone interventions. Wayne Gretzky wines celebrate excellence in winemaking across our country, and they have great pride in their products. The wines are produced from the finest grapes developed by some of the greatest winemakers in the country.

Prior to our departure from the Niagara-On-The-Lake region, we were generously gifted with a gift box containing a bunch of Wayne Gretzky wines products including their newest product, Wayne Gretzky No 99 ‘Red Cask’ Canadian Whisky. It’s a whisky finished in red wine casks from the Gretzky winery. I had an amazing 24 hours, and thank you so much to Lori and Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery for hosting. 


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Disclaimer: The event provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.