Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recipe: Two Rhubarb Ideas

At the end of the rhubarb season is when I finally get around to trying new things with rhubarb.  After several pies and various sauces, including the requisite strawberry and rhubarb something can I turn my mind to doing something else with rhubarb. 

So, I have reading about all these fruit vinegars and I have one stalk of rhubarb reserved for experimentation.  Rhubarb vinegar, why not?  Chop up one stalk (1 cup or so) and put it in a small saucepan and cover it with apple cider vinegar.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Strain.

What to do with the drained bits?  Throwing out rhubarb is a phrase of blasphemy and an heresy.  It is also wrong.  Spotting almost off cherry tomatoes on the counter gave me an idea for Tomato Rhubarb Chutney. I really should stop calling these recipes but rather compositions.  <ASIDE> A friend of mine is an improvisationist who does jazz sometimes and we argue about whether this is music written down or whether it is in the performance.  Positively a post modern take on whether utterance is music and the only true music or written music and written performance directions constitutes music. I feel that this argument could and should be extended to cooking. </ASIDE> 
So, anyways, for the prep, take some quantity of tomatoes (1 pint in this case), 1 chopped green onion, 1 chopped green garlic or clove of garlic, olive oil, 1 tbsp of brown sugar or to taste, salt, spices (used apple cider vinegar with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper that was from a homemade ketchup experiment -- so very little spicing) and the aforementioned rhubarb dregs.  Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until softened.  Add tomatoes and cook until split.  Add water if tomatoes are not spilling their guts soon enough.  Just enough to ensure that pan doesn't burn.  Add salt, spices and sugar.  Cook until blended and then add the rhubarb.  Taste and adjust to your take on sweet and sour sauce.  It is okay if the sauce is just a little too strong because you will be pairing it. 
We used it with trout and potato salad.  This sauce has been used as a condiment for sandwiches.  It tastes like an amped up sweet and sour sauce that acts like lemon in terms of boosting flavour.  Since we do not use enough acid in most of our dishes, this can be used to help bring out the flavours of fish, rice, potatoes or any other starch or protein,

The rhubarb vinegar tastes sour and I am looking forward for the eventual harsh to mellow.  I think that dressings with sweet bases such as maple syrup, simple syrup or fruit purees will work well.  The types of salad that we are looking forward to using this vinegar on are simple slightly sweet greens with fruit (spinach and strawberry, romaine and orange, mixed oak leaf with blueberries and so on.)  Hopefully, we can keep some for winter when I dream of rhubarb.  Seriously, I have dreamt about rhubarb. Also don't bother looking up the interpretations as they are based on your own rhubarb experiences.  Bizarre...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Store Review: Patisserie La Cigogne

Finally, a great french pastry shop along the Danforth opens up.  This is the second location of the patisserie.  It has opened up in a location that was used briefly by an Italian restaurant and before that it was a long time Greek family restaurant.

The place is set up like a pastry or doughnut shop.  You want in and see the display cases across the back with ample room for sitting and the requisite Van Houtte carafes.  It could easily be mistaken for a Montreal style mom and pop bakery but the pastries are more refined.  On the day that I picked up some danishes, it had been very humid.  Even in that weather, the pastry was light and very tasty.  There was not a lot of crunch to the outside and therefore little in the way of contrasting textures.  The weather gives them a pass for that.  The only issue was the filling. It tasted too sweet and too similar to the type of filling that can be found on store bought pastry.  However, this turns out to be my only real criticism.

The cookie that needs no name did not spawn recollection of my childhood at my aunt's drinking tea in the cool of a summer afternoon nor did it devolve into crumbly letters and phonemes to extend to seven volumes of recollections and end unfinished in 1.5 million words.  It was good.  Bit dry.  Needed tea.  It was probably just as good as Proust's mother's madeleine -- which also needed tea.

The impressive bit comes with the slices or gateaux or goodies.  The part that I am always struck with french pastries is the use of different textures and flavours that are layered or filled or constructed in some architectural and interesting ways.  Jelly is placed on top of delicate cookies and mousses are extruded and covered in nuts.  Some times it is all a bit precious.  We tried four different gateaux and any with mousse were fantastic.  These guys can do mousse well.  My family loved three of the four slices that we picked (Symphony - three chocolate mousses layered with a fruit puree on top, The Flute  -- lime mouse and pistachios on a rum soaked cookie and Bacarra  -- pistachio and peaches.)  None of these felt overly precious.  The fourth just didn't appeal to my young sons or my wife.  I found that the flavours were a little jarring but that is probably more due to the alcohol, fruits and chocolate.  Done well but not one that I liked.

If I could imagine that a middle class in Vienna could go out to the opera with their kids and end up in this type of pastry shop drinking coffee and relaxing while the kids wolfed down these slices then it is not so far to reach to think that this is the perfect place to do the twentieth century equivalent.  After Karate, Kumon or seeing some street event, this is a great place.  Hell, even before or better yet ... during.

I haven't mentioned that they do sandwiches, crepes and tortiere.  We, as a family, will be going back to try some of this.  Who doesn't love a meat pie with ketchup?  That is the most important part of this place.  It lets you feel comfortable and eat as you like without talking down to you in terms of its food.  There are many gourmet shops that could take a good lesson from the end of the day, it is food.  Meant to be eaten and enjoyed.

Patisserie la Cigogne on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beer Session 2011

The life of a food obsessive is never easy especially if they are a list maker as well. Later this afternoon, I am off to Session 99, a craft beer festival held at 99 Sudbury in Toronto (hence the moniker).  I am as giddy as schoolgirl waiting for Bieber or as manic as a middle aged man waiting for beer. 

There will be 37 craft breweries, some of which I had not heard of today who collectively brew enough beer lines that it would take days to taste them all and not get snockered.  I started by making a short list of brews that I would like to try.  The magic number for those is 67.  So, from that I have a short list of 12.  This seems doable but there is a surprise element here.  The brewers often bring special casks for the event.  Of 37 breweries, you can bet that a good third of them are bringing something special...

I feel like a kid in a candy store or a hipster at the Drake.  Too much choice... But here is my shortlist, in no order...

Phillips - Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale
Howe Sound - King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen
Mill St. - Helles Bock
Beau's - Festivale Altbier
Le Trou du Diable - Saison Tongka or Tracteur or whatever saison they have
Trois Mousquetaires - Maibock
Railway City - Sham Bock
Nickelbrook - Special Edition Uniek Sour Cherry Ale
Garrison - Jalapeno Ale
Garrison - Spruce Beer
Spirit Tree - Crabapple Blush Cider

Now that the list is up, I will change my mind.  Hopefully (Hopfully) I will be able to remember the beers I drank and some of the flavours but it is a long event and I have short arms.  It means that I can drink quicker because the bend at the elbow is shorter ... ah, never mind.

Update: So, after all the list making, most of the brews that I wanted to try were not there.  However, I found some new favourite breweries and the possibility of getting hard to get beers in Toronto through K6.  The one off beers need to be tried and that a great reason to go to one of these.  These experimental brews included Saisons from Flying Monkeys, an awesome Maibock from Duggans, and an anniversary Festivale from Beau's.  Places that did not have product in the LCBO but are definitely worth finding include Granite Brewery from Toronto and anything that K6 is pumping...mainly Quebec breweries like Dieu du Ciel and Trou du Diable.  The short takeaway is support fresh beer, go to a craft festival and if you don't like it, at least you will have tried it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe: Pancetta and Caramelized Pineapple

This was the dish that was on menu listing for the 1960s/70s bash held earlier this year.  I ended up not using pancetta because I saw some Capicollo from Niagara Food Specialities.  It fitted the origin idea better.

The taste that I wanted people to remember is the old fashioned baked ham with pineapple rings. Originally, the idea was to crisp up rounds of pancetta and serve caramelized pineapple on top.  As the responses grew to the invitation list, the original execution of freezing then cutting and frying the bacon seemed a little too fussy especially if the dish was to be served warm.  So, the more traditional ham idea came back on the table but rather than be too literal -- put pineapple on ham and bake -- I decided to caramelize the pineapple, cool, then wrap the capicollo around the pineapple and hold in play with a toothpick. 

The presentation was ugly and in fact, it was the last dish on the appetizer course to be tried by anyone.  It lacked beauty but it was easily the dish that most people loved.  This was largely due to the Pingue's ability to turn the magical pig creature into a salty silky piece of love. 

Once again, this is not so much a recipe as finding the right flavours to put together.  The only real cooking was the pineapple.  Just chop pineapple into pieces that can be wrapped by the ham.  Take the pineapple and place into a pan with a sprinkle of sugar.  Use the most flavourful available.  I used brown but palm would be better and white will do.  Cook the pineapple on medium heat until sugar melts and caramel process begins.  The time will depend on the juiciness of the pineapple but when the sauce is sticky and brown and burns your skin when touched, it is done.

Be careful when cooling.  I didn't leave it outside the fridge for long enough and condensation built up and watered down the flavours.  Once it is cooled then put in fridge.  Also, just a small tip, raw pineapple breaks down meat and can change the texture.  This is the same reason that raw pineapple cannot be used to make gelatin using animal gelatin.  To play it safe, wrap your pineapple just before the party starts.  (That's what she said.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Restaurant Review: Retro Burger

As stated in an earlier post, Retro Burger is opening an outpost in the east side of Toronto, near Danforth and Coxwell.  When Retro Burger opened up at Yonge and St. Clair, it was with great fanfare.  There are few affordable and quick options for lunch in the area.  The burger scene consisted of Hero Burger, McDonald's and Wendy's and  since that time, Harvey's has joined the fray. 

For the first months, the place was always packed.  I went about a half dozen times to try everything on the menu and hope that the ordering kinks exhibited in the first few days were fixed.  Well, I went back a few weeks ago to prepare for writing a review for the new one.  It is not as packed as it was earlier on.  For the past few weeks, I have been wrestling on what to say about it. 

It is easy to see what the restaurant is aiming at.  By Retro, it seems to be talking about the 80s given the music and the menus.  It is in imitation of Johnny's Hamburgers (Scarborough) or Apache Burger (Etobicoke).   An aside, my wife was raised in Scarborough and swore up and down about the legendary burger place but when we went back she remembered it being better.  I did not grow up in Toronto and Apache Burger was my favourite until the Burger's Priest.  Aside finished. Anyways, it is attempting to be a salt crusted burger with great fries. It falls short because the patty ends up watery and salty without the crust.  The buns act as a barrier to tasting the meat rather than a stage to show off the beef. 

The second issue is the pricing.  Originally, the burgers were priced reasonable at the Yonge location and they offered late afternoon specials but the prices have continued to rise and the specials evaporated.  The food has not gotten better.  Some of the toppings are good but not exemplary.  The fried onions are what I am talking about.

Once again, the placement of this new location is an underburgerized area near a McDonald's.  I don't like writing about a mediocre place.  It is easier and more satisfying to write about a place you love and would like a few tweaks.  It is a more guilty pleasure about writing about a horrible place and coming up with an interesting way to explain your disdain.  It is hard to write about ordinary.  This place will probably do well but I would like to see better from them and every burger place.

Update Just to be clear, there is a new location of this restaurant opening at Coxwell and Danforth but the one used to review the chain was located at Yonge and St. Clair. See comments for discussion.

As of August 22, 2011, the Retro Burger on Yonge has closed shop to be replaced by another burger place.

Retro Burger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recipe: 1970s Cheese-y Ideas

I'm feeling a little bit like a fraud calling these recipes when they are more like construction details.  The following serving ideas were used at the 1960s/70s bash held earlier this year.  The three remaining cheese dishes were: parmesan tuiles with honey and truffle oil, aged gouda with pineapple and grapefruit gel, and manchego with guava cheese and quince paste.

The parmesan, honey and truffle combination were a riff on Bob Blumer's Bee Stings.  To make a tuile, grate parmesan onto a baking sheet.  Make piles of circles.  Remember that the cheese will spread a little as it cooks.  You can use a silicon mat for easier removal.  Put it in the oven at 400 until it is all bubbly.  Most recipes recommend 12 minutes but I have never needed to wait that long.  When they are cool enough to work with, remove the circles from the pan.  If they are warm enough, you can shape them.  For the honey truffle mixture, take honey and truffle oil and mix.  Only a drop or two of truffle oil for 1/2 cup or so of honey.  Just drizzle it on before serving.

Pineapple gel was made using agar agar.  This is a seaweed extract that is often used in Asian cooking or for creating gelatin out of things that don't set with animal gelatin -- pineapple.  The idea for this came from the half grapefruit skewered with cheese and pineapple making it look vaguely like a food hedgehog.  But I thought that the presentation could use an update, hedgehogs no longer being the culinary touchstone it once was. Make one of each pineapple and pink grapefruit jelly using concentrated juice warmed up.  Add the agar agar per instructions on the package.  Add a little more if you think that a firmer consistency is needed or wanted.  Place the jelly in a shallow container for easier removal.  Cut the cheese. (snicker) I used small rectangles and cut the jellies at about the same height and stacked them. 

I used the same presentation with the guava, quince and manchego.  The only difference is that I bought the quince and guava pastes.  The idea came from a friend who, as a child of Guyanese parents, had guava cheese and cheese and remembered it fondly.  Guava cheese isn't cheese but a really thick brick of guava parts crushed together like in an auto wrecking yard.  It slices like cheese and it is moderately sticky but intensely flavoured.  Also, I had wanted to use quince paste (membrillo) for a long time.  I love the delicate sweet rose like flavour and wanted to share it with people.  I was disonsolate thinking that I would have to drop one or the other flavour. but then...

I got the idea that they would pair together well from The Flavor Bible, a book that has lists of ingredients and pairings.  The entries for quince and guava showed that they did not have each other as complementary entries.  However, there was an overlap and the bite with the cheese would have sweet, sour, salty, and savoury (umami). Almost a perfect bite.

The first course stole the show.  We have one more entry into this course and then I will post the mains.

Monday, June 13, 2011 meat glue?

Wow!  This stuff has ratcheted the blogosphere to eleven.  At its most basic, meat glue is a binding agent that is an naturally occuring enzyme.  Transglutaminase is its name, meat glue is its schoolyard nickname.  Meat glue is similar to using whole blood as a binding agent, except with only the binding stuff.

True, many people find blood pudding disgusting but they would eat sausages or hotdogs.  Now, if you are getting any of this stuff from the grocery store and not a reputable butcher then all bets are off.  You are probably eating way more dangerous compounds than meat glue.  Meat glue is currently found in commercial applications such as surimi and chicken nuggets.  There are some better applications that can be found in stores such as this bonded pork jowl. Vegetarians may also be getting the vegetarian version in their tofu.  See the GOOD article below.  It is also found in restaurant creations from the Fat Duck and WD50 to create an effect, make protein cook better, or as a novel technique (shrimp pasta made mainly from shrimp).

So, as I see it.  Meat glue can be used for bad  (Fooling people about their cuts of meat, additive to make bad look good) or good (Novel foods, use less binding more meat, and other great kitchen tricks).  But, you need to decide for yourself.  Here are some starter arguments so that you don't need to go through the tons of conspiracy pages or apologists.

I have gone over many pages and the contra arguments are largely visceral, as in yuck.  The other main category is THEY are tricking us.  To be fair to Ms. Howard, she is trying to find a story and I may be mischaracterizing her a tad.

On the pro side, I didn't even grace the makers with their retort that amounts to "luddites".  The more balanced and thoughtful arguments come from chefs.  Cooking issues, one of my favourite blogs for doing away with bad food issue thinking has two really good articles for my purpose.  The first is a
primer and the second is basically a rant.  It goes through the arguments on both sides. 

Overall, I am more interested in the reaction to meat glue and how it is spreading like an urban myth throughout the internet.  This focus on a minor risk versus the lack of outcry around other bad food practices and how the food system is programmed to continue these practices is appalling.  As this discussion continues, essays are now beginning to ask those questions.  GOOD, whom I think is a great magazine, has started this aspect of the discussion by talking about what this means for the food movement.

While I don't believe that the food movement is generally a monolithic organized committee of like minded card carrying board, I do believe that on these issues, we need to hear from Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan and others.  I look forward to hearing a more reasoned and far fetching discussion on not only these additives but more importantly, the difference in application by the various food factions.
PS.  I was too lazy to use transglutaminase and resorted to the equivalent of calling it "Ginger".  If I have offended transglutaminase in any way, I am sorry and promise to mend my ways.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Food Trends: Sausages

I've been waiting for the right moment to write about this growing trend and it has finally come through a review of WRST on blogTO.  But before we go there...

In the last couple of years, Toronto has seen quite a few food trends centring around taking a humble (read cheap) food and doing it up so that a few extra dollars can be charged.  This is probably in response to the economic downterm.  There was the burger trend (still going with Retro burger opening a fourth restaurant at Coxwell and Danforth), waffles (Waffle Bar opened a production space beside Knead Bakery and sells its waffles at the Leslieville Farmer's Market) and poutine.

Sausages are not exactly new.  The Rebel House has been doing daily sausage specials for years.  Lately, I have become more interested in sausages, especially since local butchers are bringing out their creative sides. 

Close to the Bone starting making their Bacon Bangers, Manic Hispanic and Ćevapčići, a slavic sausage last year.  Sometimes there is even an experimental sausage such as the elk sausage they made a few weeks ago.  This year, Royal Beef has a returning butcher, Paul, who trained under Paul Estrella and is coming from a stint at the Healthy Butcher.  With his youth comes new sausages and a reinvigoration of the meat counter.  Spotted so far, Chicken Orange, Turkey Lime patties, Lamb and Stout, Jalapeno and Cheese, and Berkshire breakfast links that are really good.

I thought that maybe this trend had already jumped the shark when I saw that the Insider's Report had fresh sausages (Leek and Pepper, Tomato and Mozzarella).  These are the only products that I have tried on this page that I recommend you don't try.  They are just too salty with very little meat flavour.

It seems to me that the idea of ground meat encased, pattied, wrapped around a stick or even raw is another way to elevate a humble ingredient.  Germans are renowned for their wurst and now Toronto has a beerhall like place.  I haven't been yet but I wanted to note the trend.  I am looking forward to a variety of these humble meats making a resurgence.  Whether it is a supreme kofta, a slavic spread of sausages or just a few more choices at the street meat cart on the corner it is time to give the lowly sausage its due.  In fact, I pledge to have a sausage party before the end of the who do I invite.

Update: You know you are onto something when the fans of Cthulhu start pumping its virtues. Cthulhu weenie roaster looks like a wonderful father's day gift for an Elder One.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Alphonso vs Atualfo

It's mango season in India from where the great Alphonso mango comes.   The Mexicans being no slouch in the wrestling entertainment (see Lucha Libre) have thrown down with their own variety, Atualfo. 

The Atualfo is shaped like an oval with a small handle at the tip.  Any five year old could make it into a handy gun but remember they can do that with sticks as well.  The mango's yellow skin telegraphs the yellow firmish flesh inside.  The taste is sweet with a finish of brightness that is reflected by a gentle almost fizziness on the tongue like the ending of a hard apple cider.  In order to get the mango pieces away from their seed, it is best to slice in half lengthwise near the seed and then score the half with the flesh both lengthwise and widthwise.  You can push the outside skin to raise the flesh and cut away the squares of goodness.  This mango is great for salsas, ice cream toppings and cooking.  It is firm with very little fibres.  This year the crop seems a little less sweet than other years which may be due to the inclement weather Mexico has been having rendering some of the mangoes small and seedless and hence, unavailable.

India has also had its share of mango growing difficulties that affected the timing of the mango crop this year.  Their seasonal entry into the mango season was late but maybe it was waiting to make a grand entrance like the wrestling villian it is.  This mango is more ovoid with a less heterogenous coloured skin.  The flesh is a deep orange.  The fragance is peachy-mango.  Here, the flesh is thinner and less firm, making it easier to just peel off the skin and sink your teeth into it.  There are some who believe that it is juicier but it is probably this softness in the flesh that contributes to that perception.  It is creamy with an almost custard texture with less assertive but more subtle variances in flavour than the Atualfo.  It is best for fresh applications.  Not saying that it wouldn't be good for cooking but I would be concerned about the texture holding up in a stew or salsa. 

Both these mangoes are worth a trip to the supermarket if only to get away from the fibrous and relatively tasteless Tommy Atkins or Haden.  I am interested in trying both the Alphonso and Atualfo, especially the pit, in a stew if I can ever manage to keep them in the house. Unlikely.

There is a Pakistani entry into the Toronto market, the Sindra, which is next on my list.  It has a longer availability than Alphonso but is rumoured to share some of the same fragrant and subtle qualities of flavour.  All these varieties are easily found in the India Bizaar in Toronto.  I am looking forward to tracking this one down.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Leslieville Farmers' Market

The Leslieville Farmers' Market starts tomorrow, June 5th.  It will be open from 9 am to 2 pm at Johnathon Ashbridge Park. I normally stop at the East Lynn Park Farmers' Market or at Withrow Park.   This one is close and convenient enough that the whole family will be going.  I am looking forward with a little bit of trepidation.

I am concerned at the balance between `Farmers`and producers.  The mix is 50/50.  While I have no problem with producers of fine foods or musicians or other stuff, I don't typically think of that as a farmer's market.  It was the slight off mixture that eventually put me off the evergreen brickworks.  They were upfront with their goal to make livable cities.  Food is only one aspect.  I love the evergreen site and recommend it to destination eaters but not so much for weekly shoppers. 

This phenomenon of destination farmers' markets feels more like a new way for producers to connect with the consumers.  It is a cheaper delivery mechanism with built-in immediate feedback.  I think that it is always admirable to get to know your food and those who make it.  It makes it harder to poison the eater.  I always wonder if the Maple Leaf executives feed their family the same food as they produce.  I wonder if their food production methods would change, and quickly if their family became sick with listeriosis.  But then again, I know people who have poisoned their families with homemade potato salad.

The quibble is the naming of this market as a farmers' market when it is really more of local market where people go to the park rather than the local mall.  The difference is that the goods are local, and it introduces more people to the park in a congenial atmosphere with revelry.  More people will get a sense of their food and how it gets there from attending the market.  But is this really just the beginning of a new type of corporatization of food; replacing malls with stalls?

This market is invitation only, meaning that the Market manager will be the one that ends up shaping the market, its purpose and the rules.  It is not run by farmers but by residents.  They are asking for local and thoughtful food and products.  This is a step to fixing the food system as it works now but care has to be taken that it is not creating a system that will undermine the more permanent and nascent changes that seek to transform the larger food networks. (CSAs, businesses selling local food, etc)  We need for consumers to break down the wall, as we all eat from the same trough.  However, it is easy for a densely populated and affluent area to demand and receive but I am not sure what effect this will have in the long term.

In the mean time, I am going to enjoy this market for what it serves and report back as always.

Restaurant Review: Gerrard Pizza and Spaghetti House

This could just be another review about a gem that has been around for just over 40 years but that would be fairly easy to write and not very enlightening.  Instead, this place brings out the uneasiness of using a short form review of authenticity.  So, let's start with a little review of what is here and hopefully, do away with the problem of real.

The restaurant is located on Danforth and not on Gerrard as the name would suggest.  This place was originally located on a bustling section of Gerrard Street and moved north to where the action moved to the new subway line.  The business opened in 1967 when the definition of Italian pizza was something different.  The Danforth subway line was finishing up construction for its official opening the next year.

The decor is not kitsch or even arriving at kitsch but rather a good reflection of restaurant culture around that time.  The plastic overlays on the table remind me of gingham and the walls are a story of place.  It shows a family that is proud of where it came from and a declaration of ethnicity that can only come from immigrants or children of immigrants who wish to regain ethnicity.  This type of genuineness of trying to convey their history with what was available later became the marketing tools of Olive Garden, East Side Mario's and countless pizza joints.   This one does conjure up the notion of a bistro that is set in Italy but in a really odd way.  It reminds me of a small restaurant that I went to in Florence set beside a vineyard.

The full menu is available on Facebook.  We went with our kids and ordered three pizzas and two salads along with a family bottle of Orangina.  I loved this touch that spoke to the family specials that you can get from chains but was distinctly European.  Maybe this is where the big chains got their ideas?  Pizza Pizza started in 1967.  We had a seafood pizza, sausage pizza and mushroom pizza with a radicchio salad and a spring mix with nuts salad.

These pies are not the pies of Florence or the trendy traditional pies.  All of these things were made with love.  They were recipes that are designed to best recreate meals from the homeland with ingredients from the new country.  For example, the funghi are the standard Darlington Whites rather than the mixed wild mushrooms of Italy or even Canada.  I am not sure that matters in terms of "authentic".

Over the ensuing forty years as we, the consumers grew up with these North American interpretations of Italian food (oooh exotic) and made them our own; we now treat these places as the authentic and real.  These are good pizzas.  This place has great value for money.  Our family ate for around eighty dollars.  Is it authentic Italian pizza or even authentic something?  I am not interested in that question or that word in this case.  A good Italian cook is making good pies that remind me of family restaurants that existed in the '80s.  Those restaurants became popular for a reason.  Many of the chains and restaurants also failed due to poor care in quality and amping up the kitsch factor and only focusing on making money.  Gerrard Pizza did not do that.  It is genuine and as Bono put it  "Even better than the real thing".

Gerrard Spaghetti & Pizza on Urbanspoon