Yum, yum: Paleo Diet: What’s the Deal?

The paleolithic diet. You’ve heard of it? Great. It’s a way of eating, a lifestyle, that’s said to help us lose weight, prevent disease and generally make you feel clean and full of energy. The basic principle is to eat as the cavemen(women) did. Survive off of hunting and gathering, eating only lean protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. We’ve tried it, and if done right, you will feel full and satisfied, lose weight and kick that bloated feeling.

Dude, we should totally go paleo. I know.

Being a successful caveperson these days is all about planning and preperation. Cook in large batches and freeze portions. It’s best to dedicate a few hours during the weekend to cut up all of your fruits and veggies for easy snack/stir fry/smoothie access. The hardest part of being a paleo is the inability to grab something on the go. However, if you’re in a major jam, you can always buy a banana from your local Starbucks.

Let’s be real, most of us are busy juggling work, family and a social life. The paleo books we’ve read touch on this. It’s ok to have a glass of wine, a beer, in moderation. You have the power to choose how paleo you want to go. Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and whole wheat carbs like Ryvita crackers are some examples of paleo no-no’s we think are worth bending the rules for. Incorporating just some of the paleo principles into your life can be easy, and you will still reap many benefits.

Here is a basic recipe for paleo pancakes that will give you a glimpse into paleo living.

Paleo Pancakes
(1 serving, multiply the ingredients as needed)

Looks yummy, right?

This is one of our favourite breakfasts. It tastes delicious, is almost too easy to make and will keep you satisfied. You can add whatever paleo-approved items you like to these pancakes, just like the real thing.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg (no egg whites on this diet, need those yolks)
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice (almond, hazelnut – the only nut on the pale-no list is peanut)
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil (this is a staple in the paleo pantry)
  • dash of cinnamon


  • dash of vanilla
  • squeeze of natural honey
  • splash of soy/almond milk (fluffyness)
  • cacao chips (natural alternative to chocholate chips, enjoyable, we promise)


  1. Mash banana in a bowl
  2. Mix in egg and nut butter
  3. Grease frying pan with coconut oil and pour mixture into pancakes


A meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This will be a go-to because it’s easy. Again, you can use the basic recipe below, add protein powder or a variety of other spices, flavours.

1 banana
A handful of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 scoop/ tbsp of flax seed
1/2 cup of soy/almond/coconut milk


  1. Blend. 🙂

Sweet potato fries or chips

Diet food? We think not. You can also make a paleo approved dipping sauce.

No recipe needed here. Since there is no wheat allowed, natural carbs such as sweet potatoes are beloved.

Spice them up however you want (rosemary, paprika, why not try some curry powder?). There is no added salt in the paleo diet, so other spices are super important. Cut or slice however you desire, toss with olive oil and bake in the oven at 375 degrees Celsius.

You can get as creative as you want with the paleo diet. If you have a favourite recipe or dish, chances are someone has created the paleo version . There are a number of comfort food inspired cookbooks and recipes out there worth checking out.

We recommend the below cookbooks for beginners – tried, tested and rock-it approved.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

The Everything Paleolithic Diet Book: An All-Natural, Easy-to-Follow Plan to Improve Health, Lose Weight, Increase Endurance, and Prevent Disease

You can also refer to the internet, for lists of paleo approved foods, meal plan ideas, recipes, shopping guides and more.

If you were thinking about going paleo, there is no better time to clean out your pantry and your tummy. New year, new plan – why not? The whole point of this diet is feeling good, being healthy and the satisfaction of treating your body like a temple.

You will go from this… (I’m not bloated, I’m just fluffy)…. 

…to this! 

Yum, Yum: Rock Lobster Co.

What  began as a food truck has now blossomed into one of our new fave seafood spots. We first met owner Matt Pettit at Lobstahpalooza (read: lobster, booze and sun), serving up whole lobsters and joking around with Food Network host Kevin Brauch. Now Pettit has transformed the former Watusi space at Ossington and Argyle into Rock Lobstera 75-seat wood and Canadiana-themed hot spot playing everything from Biggie to Blink 182. The resto also includes a 1950s-type mural painted by Pettit’s dad, Donald and a semi-private dining area called the Anchor Room, perfect for an intimate birthday dinner. 

Your friends will love you forever if you have your birthday in the Anchor Room at Rock Lobster.

Before we get into the awesomeness that is the food, let’s talk booze. Rock Lobster has brought in Josh Lindey, responsible for the cocktails at Campagnolo, to help create their tasty and interesting drink menu. We opted for the Ribbons and Swallows, a combination of Sailor Jerry rum, Aperol, coconut syrup and passion fruit juice ($10) and the White Rabbit with Tromba Tequila, lemon juice, horseradish shrub, Angostura orange bitters and Bowmore Scotch rinse ($10). If wine is your thing, it’s priced at $1 per ounce so drink up, but if Caesars are more your bag, the Rock Lobster Caesar ($12) combines Ketel One vodka, Tobasco, Worcestershire sauce, Clamato juice and steak spice, and is topped with (get this) half a lobster tail.

You’ll probably finish this caesar in two shakes of a tail. 
Image source.

The food here is the real deal, and almost made us wish we lived on the east or west coast so we could have access to seafood this awesome all the time. We started with a delicious beet salad with heirloom carrots, goat cheese, radishes and orange segments ($7). In our minds, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with beets and goat cheese but the orange segments give it that little extra something. Next up was the Surf and Turf ($12). Now this is no ordinary lobster and steak, no, this is unreal steak tartare topped with buttery lobster and served with Pettit’s homemade version of Ms.Vicky’s chips. Ah-mazing.

Beets or bust. 
Image source.

We ended our meal with the fancy man’s version of KD, Lobster Mac and Cheese ($14). This baby comes in a mini skillet (and mini pot holder sleeve!) with fresh lobster, aged Canadian cheddar and topped off with a golden brown Panko crust. It’s going to be hard to go back to the boxed stuff after this one. 

If you like cheese and lobster, this is the dish for you (and if you don’t like either of those things we probably shouldn’t be friends). 

What makes this place even better is that they offer more than straight up lobster; choose from pork belly and creamed spinach or flank steak with fried duck egg, house-made hickory sticks and Crown Royal whiskey sauce. If you still have room, try the Whale Tail ($6): fried pastry with crème anglaise, cinnamon sugar and Canadian maple sugar. Bottom line: go to Rock Lobster if  you know what’s good for you. 

Follow them on Twitter: @RockLobsterFood

Media, Darling: Tara Ballantyne

Tara Ballantyne joined Style at Home last February as its resident style and food editor. Tara began her
styling career in Norway and worked for publications like Norwegian ELLE and
French ELLE along with various other European publications. She has had
numerous television appearances on the Marilyn Denis Show, Breakfast Television
and CityLine.

photo credit: Transcontinental Media 

you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
There are so many things you can do in a
lifetime, and I’m guilty of wanting to do anything to satisfy my creativity. My
schooling is in interior design and I worked in architecture for three years
before I switched to magazines. It was the best decision I have ever made and I
love what I get to do and how creative I can be each day at Style at Home.
would you like to be five years from now?
In a studio with a totally inspired
photographer, great light, lots of beautiful food, great models and a hundred
baby bunnies shooting some wild Tim Walker-inspired images.
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to sweep floors, pour endless
amounts of coffee, or even pick up someone else’s dry cleaning (seriously I had
to do this once). I’ve had to learn countless coffee orders by heart and had
design proposals ripped up right in front of my face. It can be a long road of
being humble, but you watch and learn and in the end, it’s completely worth it.
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Having spent so much time in Norway, I really
developed an affection for swedish RUM magazine, ELLE Norway and Sweden, and I
love emmas designblogg –
design and style from a scandinavian perspective
. I also adore Canadian blog Bijou and Boheme, and spend entirely too much time selecting fashion
ensembles from the The
, that my husband and I
should definitely purchase. Fortunately, he is a kind and patient person who
politely nods and says “uh huh” while I involuntarily involve him
in selecting my favourite looks to wear on a vespa, and for braving the
cobblestone streets. 
interview you’ve ever had?
My interview for ELLE Norwegian… it ended up
landing me my first cover, and I was so insanely excited to be part of the
magazine in another country – it was pretty amazing. There is always something
very special about your first.
I’ve been super lucky so far, in that I’ve only ever had great interviews. Fingers crossed this continues!
advice you’ve ever been given?
Avoid horizontal stripes and don’t eat a full
meal before you go swimming.
rule(s) do you live your life by?
If you truly love something, it’s worth
fighting for. And edit to clarity – fashion, interiors, your words…
the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Open and honest communication I guess. I’ve
worked with great PR people and I’ve always appreciated when they tell me what
I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear. Also I am always super
impressed when they remember names!
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Being convinced that the $250 sweater I
bought for a television appearance was not a bad decision and in fact a
worthwhile investment piece for my wardrobe. Cashmere really is timeless, lol.
Subway delays.
Butter tarts, and the way Instagram always
makes you instantly look amazing.
International design books (magazines); I
love seeing what’s going on in other countries and get a lot of inspiration
from that. Right now I am also re-reading Rebecca for the second time, and am
guilty of choosing my knitting project over my half-finished copy of Infidel
place on earth?
Any place where I’m surrounded by family and
friends, a great glass of wine, and good food and conversation.
Brother and sister, Sibella Court
and Chris Court. I am so astounded with the creativity that they both exhibit
in the work they do with styling, development and photography. 
Coco Chanel. 
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Instagram, and that
new Christmas app that helps you with shopping and wrapping.
or ocean?
Definitely Ocean.
or email?
Definitely email.

Yum Yum: Lamesa

With such a diverse and international population,  it follows that Toronto’s restaurant scene is equally as varied. Expanding our palate through discovering a new type of ethnic cuisine is one of our favourite flavour pursuits. We’d never tried Filipino food before and, perhaps more embarrassingly, knew even less about what it entailed. When we’d spied Lamesa taking over the old Rosebud space, just down the street from our office (at 669 Queen St. W.), we figured it was a sign to explore new culinary territory!

Exterior on Queen St. W.

Lamesa’s menu changes daily, reflecting food available locally and seasonally, and combines traditional Filipino dishes with French cooking techniques for a dynamic and unusual dining experience. The menu is available a la carte, but our server explained the 5-course prix fixe was the best bang for your buck. At only $35, the prix fixe was a done deal; particularly as we wanted to try as many things as possible. 

We’re obsessed with Lamesa’s custom mural. 

Filipino cuisine is a mash-up of many culinary techniques, including Chinese, Malaysian and Spanish. We started with an amuse bouche of a risotto-like one bite hit of delicious. First course was the Halo Halo Sisig, a blend of beef, pork and chicken mixed with ginger and chiles, topped with a fried egg and Filipino pico de gallo. Our server suggested cutting up the egg and mixing it all together, so we did. We also tried their soup of the day, a creamy mung bean soup topped with pulled duck confit and apples. Would be hard pressed deciding between the two starters, so were glad our dining buddy was willing to share.

Halo Halo Sisig makes an excellent case for eggs for dinner. 
For our mains we had the Pritong Manok, crispy, battered chicken drizzled with an Adobo gastrique/reduction, and the Short Rib Nilaga, braised beef served over cabbage and a bone marrow, potato puree. While we tend to love anything fried, we were partial to the tenderness of the braised beef. The French braising technique, combined with the South Asian flavouring, was an unexpected delight.

So much fried chicken-y goodness.

The pre-dessert (oh, you read that right) was delicate house-made dark and white chocolate bites, with caramel drizzled on the plate. We completed our dinner with two desserts, including a Ginataan with sweet taro chips which is a sweet, coconut milk traditional dessert. The desserts were not the highlight of the meal, but were the most unfamiliar dishes of the night. 

We were impressed by the staff’s attentiveness and knowledge. They were happy to explain any questions about our meal and were able to provide knowledgeable answers in regards to anything cuisine-specific. We loved the prix fixe, both for its value and the range of food items it allows you to try. If you’re curious about Filipino food, this place is a must-try.

Yum, Yum: Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium

If the name hasn’t already piqued your interest, just trust us and keep reading. Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium is Toronto’s newest player
in the gourmet sammy market (in Kensington Market, no less) and we’re happy it’s arrived. 

Owned by Chris Bobbitt and Vlad Vujovic, who met while working together at
Canoe, this spot has an old-school feel and offers fresh, new flavours. Besides the fact that the pair’s creations are
delicious, they make homemade sodas that, to our delight, can be made into
an ice cream float – inducing thoughts of Archie’s favourite hangout, Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe.

Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium is a welcome addition to the gourmet sammy market in Toronto.

It took us a good 10 minutes to decide which sandwich we wanted, and in the end we settled on the breakfast biscuit ($7.65). Now, before you judge us for getting a breakfast sammy for dinner, let us say two things: 1. Breakfast is good any time of day, and 2. The breakfast biscuit consists of braised pork belly in a soy ginger glaze with a fried egg, all topped with aged cheddar between two homemade flaky buttermilk biscuits. So breakfast for dinner is sounding pretty good now, isn’t it?

Start the day off right with the braised pork belly breakfast sammy. 
Image source.

As for the sodas ($2.75 or $5.75 for a float), we sampled cream soda and root beer, and only need one word to sum it up: YUM. These are no “Italian sodas” that you get in chain coffee shops. No, these are the real deal. The Samitorium uses a century-old recipe for their syrup-based concoctions. Root beer was spicy and sweet at the same time, while the (not pink!) cream soda made us imagine we were in a 1950’s soda shop. Other flavours include lemon, ginger and grape. 

Sodas from a century-old recipe are made right in front of you.

We’ll definitely be back for the lobster roll, the po’boy (which is now a menu staple after moonlighting as a special), roasted pork sandwich and homemade soups. What makes this place even better is that they source almost everything they use locally; it doesn’t get fresher than baked bread from Blackbird Baking Co. and meat from Sanagan’s Meat Locker. We only wish it was closer to the fourth floor!

We’ll definitely be making a return trip to this Samitorium. 
Image Source

Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium is located at 602 Dundas St. W. (corner of Dundas and Augusta) and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Follow them on Twitter at @DoctorAugusta or visit them on Facebook

Happy holiday Monday!

With the last long weekend of the summer coming up and the season coming to an end, we began to reflect on what a truly awesome summer of cottaging, food, weddings, travels and city adventures it has been. To celebrate our favourite season, we thought we’d share our favourite summer 2012 moments in photos. We hope everyone enjoys the rest of their long weekend!

Yum, yum: Fabarnak

We love good food, but good food for a good cause is even
better. Fabarnak, the restaurant inside the 519 Church Street Community Centre
at Church and Jarvis, knows how to get your taste buds excited. Besides serving delicious food, 100 per cent of the restaurant’s proceeds go back into the
community centre. This means you can sample multiple menu items and not feel
guilty about it (or at least feel less guilty). To top it off, at least 60 per cent
of everything on the menu is sourced from local farmers and producers. 
The inviting exterior lures you in for the goodness that awaits. 

If you can’t decide what to treat yourself with from Fabarnak’s extensive menu, then the Square Peg is for you. The Square Peg is four selections from the menu served in a bento box-like
tray. The selections changes fairly often; ours had a crab cake, a green salad
with buttermilk dressing, barbequed pork belly and bourbon chocolate cake. Everything was delicious and the perfect portion sizes to fill you up (but you’ll probably want to go back for more).

 The bento box-like Square Peg is the perfect solution for indecisive diners. 
Image source.

Along with the Square Peg, the menu
ranges from soups and sandwiches to gluten-free mac and cheese to
barbeque beef brisket. Oh, and did we mention Fabarnak also has a
Saturday brunch, beginning at 9 a.m.?
If you’re still not convinced, let us sweeten the deal: Fabarnak’s menu items range in price from
$4.00 to $12.00. We only wish this little
Church Street hot spot was closer to the fourth floor, otherwise you’d
catch us there daily.

 Gluten-free mac and cheese with cauliflower veloute, local cheese and tomato relish.

Insider’s tip: If the restaurant is too busy to sit in (as it very well
could be), take your food to go and sit in Cawthra Park behind 519.

Fabarnak is open
Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. Follow them on Twitter
@FABARNAKresto or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fabarnak