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Beer latte, anyone?

- September 22nd, 2014
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Starbucks is testing a new latte inspired by craft beer. (Photo: AFP)

Starbucks is combining two of life’s greatest things: Coffee and beer.

@StarbucksGeek reports the coffee shop is testing a new dark barrel latte in some Ohio stores.

According to a photo posted on Reddit, the drink “highlights chocolaty dark caramel and toasty stout flavours. It is topped with whipped cream and dark caramel drizzle.

The dark barrel latte is “inspired by the rise of craft beers.”

It’s also available iced or as a Frappuccino.

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Starbucks Geek’s tweet about the new beer (the same photo was posted to Reddit by a Starbucks employee). (Photo: Twitter screenshot)

If it’s a hit, the drink could become part of fall seasonal favourites, including the pumpkin spice latte.

As a beer lover, and in particular a big fan of stouts, this latte sounds right up my alley and I’d try it immediately.

Appetizing or not? Burger King Japan unveils its black burger

- September 12th, 2014
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Burger King Japan is offering its Kuro Pearl and Kuro Diamond burgers for a limited time. (Photo courtesy of Burger King Japan)

It’s not quite Halloween, but Burger King appears to be getting a jump on the holiday with its new goth-inspired black burger.

In a press release, Burger King Japan announced the Kuro Pearl and Kuro Diamond burgers would be available in stores beginning September 19, for a limited time.

The creation may be a little off-putting to some, as it features a black bun, black sauce and perhaps the most alarming – black processed cheese.

But this is not the first time the fast-food chain has offered a black burger.

According to The Independent, the Kuro burger was introduced in 2012 but has evolved over the years.

So how does it get its colouring?

The bun and cheese are coloured using bamboo charcoal. And for the sauce? Squid ink.

Would you try the Burger King Kuro burger? Let us know in the comments.

What’s in your kitchen library?

- September 9th, 2014

There are only so many objects you can fit into a 425- square-foot apartment.

Dayna Boyer knew space was at a premium in her Toronto abode, and she didn’t have space for the one thing she wanted, a juicer.

“Everyone told me I would use it a few times then it would collect dust,” Boyer said.

Instead of buying a juicer, what if she could borrow one?

Welcome The Kitchen Library.

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Dayna Boyer shows off some of the appliances available at The Kitchen Library. (Handout/The Kitchen Library)

“It hit me like a light bulb,” Boyer said adding that as far she could tell, there wasn’t anything like it in Canada.

Inspired by the already successful Kitchen Share in Portland, Ore., The Kitchen Library works like a traditional library.

Borrowers can peruse shelves full of kitchen appliances that range from slow cookers to Kitchenaid mixers.

And for $50 a year, they can take an appliance home for up to five days. Volunteers will show them how it operates, how to clean it and offer tips and demonstrations.

Boyer’s experience volunteering with the Toronto Tool Library, a volunteer organization that lends tools to the public for a small fee, helped her get the Kitchen Library off the ground.

“I was brainstorming other ideas for thing we could bring to the (tool) library and I love cooking,” she said.

In fall 2013, Boyer put a call out for any working kitchen appliances people were willing to part with. Soon she had a living room full of donations including a countertop roaster, a food processor still in the packaging and the Kitchenaid mixer.

“I didn’t think I’d get an appliance that expensive,” she said.
Beyond donations, the library’s success shows that more people want to borrow instead of buy.

The idea goes beyond mixers and drills. If Netflix is an indicator, the trend behind owning less and borrowing more is thriving.

Traditional libraries are expanding to meet more needs than books. Start-up businesses are finding success renting everything from prom dresses to bicycles.

This combined with the rising popularity of cooking at home and it is no surprise The Kitchen Library is taking off.

“It has been the most humbling experience,” Boyer said of the support she’s seen from the community.
Inspired by restaurants, food blogs and reality cooking shows, amateur cooks are looking to challenge themselves. Like any hobby, there’s always new gear you need to get better.

With borrowing underway, the next step is more demonstrations and teaching people how to use some of the tools.

“It is not only providing the appliances but the education around them so people feel confident experimenting with it rather than being intimidated,” Boyer said.

Recently they’ve shown people how to make almond butter with a food processor.

“It gets them talking about it and shows them how easy it is,” she said.

For more information on The Kitchen Library visit thekitchenlibrary.ca.

David’s Tea inspired by fairground favourites

- August 25th, 2014
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David’s Caramel Corn tea. (Meghan Mitchell/QMI Agency)

David’s Tea’s selection of carnival-inspired teas features the flavours of some fairground favourites.

The Carnival Collection includes teas boasting the flavour of caramel corn, cherry snowcone, pink lemonade, root beer float and even, cotton candy.

We recently had a chance to try some of the teas, which are only available for a limited time, and here is what we found:

Reviewed by: Meghan Mitchell

Flavour: Caramel Corn

Taste: The tea overwhelmingly tasted like caramel, but in a good way. It was deliciously sweet and combined the flavour of caramel with that of fruit, nuts, spices and coconut. It was sort of like a dessert in a mug.

Method: I opted not to follow the directions on the package; instead I used 1 ½ teaspoon of tea for a mug of hot water and allowed it to steep for 10 minutes. I didn’t add any sugar or sweetener and found it was sweet enough without it.

Would you try it again?: I would definitely try this tea again and would like to see what it’s like as an iced tea.

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David’s Cherry Snowcone tea. (Ling Hui/QMI Agency)

Reviewed by: Ling Hui

Flavour: Cherry Snowcone

Taste: I didn’t think it tasted like a cherry snow cone because it wasn’t sweet, but slightly tangy. Even though the tea has sugar crystals listed as an ingredient, I could barely taste it.

Method: I measured two teaspoons for one cup of tea, steeped it for seven minutes, sweetened it with sugar and chilled it in the fridge.

Would you try it again?: Yes, but David’s Tea should make the tea sweeter to reflect the name. Cherry snow cones are made with a lot of syrup, and this just wasn’t what I pictured.

(As a side note, people with oral allergy syndrome – specifically those who develop an allergic reaction to apples – may develop a reaction when consuming this tea. I tried this tea with my mother, who has OAS, and her throat started to swell after she took a sip.)

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David’s Cotton Candy tea. (Marianne Dowling/QMI Agency)

Reviewed by: Marianne Dowling

Flavour: Cotton Candy

Taste: This tea is very sweet with a subtle (almost creamy) cotton candy aftertaste.

Method: I added 1 ¼ teaspoon of tea to a mug of boiling water and allowed it to steep for about ten minutes.

Would you try it again?: I would, but not if I was already eating dessert.  Having this tea with a piece of pie or cake might be a sugar overload.

A “legendary” night with American Express and Front of the Line

- August 15th, 2014

Being a lifestyle journalist often affords you experiences that the general public may only dream about. It’s our job, after all, to convey the feelings of what it’s like to be the first to experience, for example, seeing a new designer’s collection or sampling a new food trend. These things are all connected to our senses so naturally, our emotions run high.

This is exactly the experience that American Express’s Front of the Line has been offering to their cardholders for 25 years. It’s a program that originated right here in Canada, launching in 1989 by giving cardholders exclusive access to the Phantom of the Opera in Toronto. Since then, the invitations have spanned to big ticket rock concerts (think, Lady Gaga and One Direction), classical performances, exclusive sporting events and even Fashion Weeks around the world.

To launch the 25th anniversary celebrations, a handful of media and bloggers were invited to The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto for a private dockside dinner and show, featuring R&B singer John Legend. We dined on delicious tacos and smoked ribs (courtesy of BBQ-joint, Barque), and listened to a DJ spin groovy tunes before Mr. Legend took to the stage.

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