THE BENDER vegetarian mushroom poutine grilled cheese


This is another delicious food collab with the amazing human being Reiss Reid

Sometimes, I really take for granted how region-specific your daily food options can be. I mean, Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world, with over half of its residents born outside Canada, and yes, that translates to an unending list of options of culturally in tact, authentic foods from all over the planet. Toronto really does have one of the best food cultures I've ever seen, in person, or on tv. But why does Toronto have like 10 kraft poutine places, and a giant lack of taco trucks?? No matter. The point is more so about what you can get here, and not elsewhere. Like, who knew, the proud Québec import, poutine (fries, gravy, cheese curds), should actually be a big deal? It is kind of like putting the 3 shittest foods together, something I stand by saying, you really have no business eating unless you're super drunk. But omg, when it's 3 am, and you are super drunk with your new instabestie from the UK, and you find out he's never eaten pouting, OR A GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH, you fucking get on that shit. So yea, you better fucking bet we went for some 3 am sweet potato fry poutine, and then dreamt up this vegetarian mushroom gravy poutine grilled cheese.

We actually ate so much fucking cheese that week. We're both inclined towards vegetarian and vegan vegetable based foods, but we were really just making up for lost time. You see, they have "toasties" in GB, but the concept of frying a cheese sandwich in butter is not the same thing, and as I hope everyone knows, makes a world of difference. Anyway, it was a bittersweet thing he could only stay for 4 days, we had such a great time, though we both needed a juice cleanse by the end of things. But man, we made some great food together, and if you know me, even a one night stay at my place will involve at least 2 meals, and a towering list of restaurant, coffee shop, and bar MUST DO suggestions. I think I sent him to like 4 coffee shops, 3 restaurants, and took him to as many bars as possible with what little time we had, but by the end of his trip, I think he was a convert, but certainly like 3 kilos heavier.

Of the many things that incited uncontrollable laughter between the two of us, I think "Yoga, food, booze. Pick two." summarizes our time together.

But man, it's good to meet someone you instantly click with. And where did I meet this amazing dude? Couchsurfing. If you haven't heard of it, or know about it, but haven't worked up the courage, get on it. To keep it short, when I travel, I stay with local hosts, and meet the most incredible, often lifelong friends, get to see the city with someone who knows it, and it's free. So when I'm not travelling, every now and then, I come across surfers I know I just need to meet, and I we get to spend a few days, intersecting lives, and I show them how it's done here. Reiss is one of those rare, perfect cases where you meet, and pick up like you just left off from knowing eachother forever. So if you think it's strange that every now and then, I open my home to perfect strangers, just imagine never having met a handfull of your really close friends. Think about it.

Anyway, we had the most incredible week, stayed up till 4 a few nights shooting the shit, and I probably laughed more than in the last year combined. AND I think he had a pretty good time in Toronto, AND, we made this dope sandwich. AND I miss him a ton, and know we'll be friends for a long time, and I'll see him again someday. Bonus photos of our week below.

Now check out our poutine adaptation grilled cheese sandwich, totally Reiss' idea.
bread (Queen St Gluten Free Bakery white bean and millet seed)
roast red skin potato fries
shiitake mushrooms
oyster mushrooms
king oyster mushrooms
mushroom gravy*
smoked havarti
goat mozzarella
     *stewed mushrooms
       maple syrup
       apple cider
       gluten free all purpose flour

So this sandwich is obviously all about cheese. Lovely smokey havarti.

Roast potatoes in lieu of traditional fries. Why? I don't have a deep fryer, and was too lazy to walk across the street to Tat Burger (also fry oil is gross). Also, should mention I cooked the mushrooms and potatoes with coconut oil.

The mushrooms. Fried with shallots. Send a tourist to Kensington Market, obviously he comes back with a bag full of mushrooms. Love it.

Then a shit tone of more cheese!

Here's the gravy, this is what makes it poutine. After the mushrooms were properly sweated, I took them out of the pan, then added some apple cider, tamari sauce, and maple syrup to the mushroom juice. Cook it a bit to let it thicken, then add some flour of your choice.

Now butter it up.

Then stick it in the frying pan, and hope you didn't underdo the CHEESE.

Then watch a guy in bliss. 

Licking those fingers.

Yeaaaa budday.

Thanks for looking at our sandwich #foolery.

xxx Emily

And bonus photos 'cause why not. Here's Reiss sitting on the window sill, soaking up the sun(?).

 We decided to go to Toronto Island, here's us missing the ferry and waiting another 45 min for the next one.

 Honestly, we don't mind.

What a cutie.

 See yuh Toronto.

 Oh yea, so this was in March. Still snow.

OMG so I made Reiss model for me, and he eventually got quite comfortable in front of the camera. This face makes me laugh.

 Oh yea, so it was actually fucking freezing that day, so we walked around for like 45 minutes, then headed home.

Then there were these douches doing the Titanic thing on the ferry beside us, and we couldn't stop laughing so hard, so we joined in.

And did I mention Yuna was there?! What a perfect day. You'll be seeing Yuna on here soon, making her very own kimchi! SO EXCITED.

We went home, like little children, all tuckered out from the day. But mainly from the constant giggling.

Sad he doesn't live here, but finish up your PhD, and maybe meet you in Brooklyn! #duh.

Until next time.

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