Kalofagas Toronto Weekend

Yianni and I recently took a road trip to Toronto. On our itinerary was meeting food bloggers Peter Minaki and Paula Costa at 420 Smokehouse for dinner, as well as seeing Nia Vardalos in Theatre 20’s production of Sondheim’s musical Company.VictoriasMansion2
We stayed at Victoria’s Mansion, an adorable Inn & Guest House.

Gloucester Street, Church Street and the area around it has been home to the Toronto gay community for many decades. This “geighborhood” was fabulous! We also visited Toronto’s Botanical Gardens.

TorontoGardensHere’s a pic of Yianni and I before heading out to meet Peter and Paula for dinner.

YianniKitoulaWe were delighted by the casual atmosphere of 420 Smokehouse, its delicious food and the Cabbagetown neighborhood.  Cabbagetown, now very gentrified, was once one of Toronto’s poorest neighborhoods, inhabited by many Macedonian immigrants. Some say the area got its name then, when cabbage was a staple food of  its struggling working class and many grew it in their gardens.420SmokeHouse (2)We started our dinner with some delectable oysters.

420 SmokeHouse Spinach SaladWe also enjoyed sharing macaroni and cheese with bacon topped with a warm baby spinach salad with walnuts.

420 SmokeHouse Smoked ChickenI ordered the smoked chicken dinner with aligot ( garlic & cheese mashed potatoes) and sauteed kale.

420 SmokeHouse Ribs glazedYianni chose St Louis ribs glazed with ale sauce with 420 Caesar salad.

420 SmokeHouse Ribs rubbed

Peter went for the St Louis ribs with dry rub and a side of aligot.

420 SmokeHouse WingsPaula ordered the Southern Fried Chicken wings & hot sauce with slaw.

Peter & PaulaDanforthIt was so nice to meet fellow food bloggers Peter and Paula that I have known for years online and now know in real life! Internet FTW!DanforthAfterward we went to the Danforth Greektown neighborhood for dessert and coffee and a little window shopping. Here’s a shop that was proud of the Greek soccer team’s performance in the World Cup.StLawrenceMarketThe next day we headed out to visit Toronto’s famous St. Lawrence Market. National Geographic’s “No. 1 food market in the world” was overwhelming to say the least. Next stop… Theatre 20.CompanyWhat a wonderful show! I am so glad we got the chance to see it. The cast was full of extremely talented theatre actors.

NiaTheatre20All in all a great weekend in Toronto. I recommend you dine at 420 Smokehouse when next you’re there and check to see if you can catch a show.

Kouzina – Greek Street Food in Royal Oak

Kouzina Last night Yianni and I visited Kouzina | GREEK STREET FOOD in downtown Royal Oak. The stainless steel prep area is shining clean and the service is fast and friendly.

Kouzina - Greek Street FoodWe tried quite a few items on the menu: Avgolemono soup, Vegetarian Lentil soup, Greek salad, Gyro Bowl, Greek Gyro and Hand Cut Fries with Feta cheese.

Everything was delicious and the portions were ample. Also on the menu was spinach pie.  I spotted a tray of baklava of which I managed not to succumb, although not an easy task.

Fries & FetaOwners Bobby Laskaris, George Xenos, along with Chef Panagiotis, bring the street food of Athens to the streets of Royal Oak. Definitely worth a visit. [You may never go to Olga’s again.]

Kouzina also caters, offering Greek soup, appetizers, entrees and desserts for occasions of 10 to 100 guests. Kouzina will deliver & set up. Find them on  Facebook and Twitter.

121 N. Main Street
Royal Oak,MI 48067
(248) 629-6500


25th Anniversary Dinner

Yianni and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on Thursday. December 20th 1987

We decided to celebrate our special evening with dinner and dancing at one of our favorite restaurants, The Clawson Steak House. This restaurant has been owned and managed by the Alexopoulos family for 50 years. Chefs John Alexopoulos and Jim Polk always have specials on the menu that include steak, prime rib, fresh fish, veal, pork, chicken and pasta. The Mark James band plays dance music Wednesday through Saturday and has done so for 40 years. This place is a gem.

Happy 25th Anniversary Yianni

Here’s my date and a nice bottle of wine, Robert Mondavi’s 2011 Private Selection Pinot Noir 2011.

16 oz. Delmonico steak with Au Jus

The thing to go for at The Clawson Steak House is steak! I had a 16 oz. Delmonico steak, served on a sizzle platter and finished table side with Au Jus and a side order of fresh sautéd vegetables. I later needed a “doggy bag”.

Filet mignon served with mushroom sauce

Yianni ordered the filet mignon served with Chef John’s mushroom sauce and a side order of fresh sautéd vegetables too. All of the Clawson Steak House dinners come with soup and salad. We finished our dinner with coffee and shared a piece of apple pie.

We really enjoyed ourselves. Yianni and I highly recommend this restaurant. Definitely 2 thumbs up! Clawson Steak House is located at 56 Rochester Road in Clawson Michigan.

Eppa SuperFruit Sangria

Last night my friends and I had the opportunity to taste test Eppa SuperFruit Sangria thanks to Danielle from The Baddish Group.  It’s the first certified organic superfruit sangria made with Mendocino Cabernet and Syrah and organic fruit juices, drawn from antioxidant-rich superfruits. Those fruits are pomegranate, blueberry, Mediterranean blood orange and acai berries. The superfruit adds twice the antioxidants as a glass of red wine. In case you were wondering, one full glass of Eppa has 120 calories. Their website has a store locator or you can order it online. I can get it at my local Whole Foods. You can serve Eppa SuperFruit Sangria over ice in a wine glass, or pour into an ice filled pitcher with fresh fruit slices.

Eppa SuperFruit Sangria

Here’s the table for my Eppa SuperFruit Sangria Girlz Night Out set and ready.

Eppa SuperFruit Sangria table for Girlz Night Out

Chips, crudites, dip, cheese, crackers, mixed berries are some of the appetizers I served.  I also prepared Greek meatballs – Keftethakia – before hand with mint from my garden, ground lamb, green onion, bread crumbs, egg, salt & pepper. I just give the mint & onion a whirl in my mini-processor to save time chopping.

Mint & Onion for Greek meatballs

Greek meatballs – Keftethakia – were rolled, chilled, ready for the grill and waiting for Girlz to arrive at 7PM. Yianni sauteed them for me in a grill pan on the BBQ.

Greek meatballs - Keftethakia

Here’s a little secret: I just discovered these in the frozen food section at Restaurant Depot. Kontos Spanakopita is quick and easy and a great appetizer with cocktails.

Kontos Spanakopita

It was a lovely night for hanging out on my deck with my girlz. Sundown was well after 9PM and the party was still going strong but both bottles of sangria…. gone. Everyone loved Eppa SuperFruit Sangria.

Eppa SuperFruit Girlz Night Out