That's B for Badass Mom


Stories of badass women who chase their dreams and build their lives through grit, perseverance and iron-clad will, will forever inspire me. I didn’t know that when I posted my last blog post about my own mom, I would have another opportunity to write about someone else's mom. I have been lucky enough to meet a friend's mom who has a food story worth telling.

On Facebook, my friend was reaching out to food bloggers in Toronto to cover her mom’s new spot. She told me that her mom just took over a restaurant called The Fresh Italian Eatery. She promised me scrumptious eats and delicious conversation. An offer that I could not refuse. It’s winter in Toronto and the only thing worth eating right now is carbs, amirite? Normally, a restaurant opening of any kind wouldn’t elicit from me any response other than “oh, cool!” But this time was different. Ms. Kim is a Korean woman who decided to create Italian food in downtown Toronto. Whoa. I was undeniably intrigued. I was certain there had to be an interesting backstory to this cultural mashup. This wasn’t going to be a story of some white dude who decided to open a taco joint because he really likes tacos and stayed in a resort in Mexico *that one time*. I was stoked to find out about how Ms. Kim came to be an owner of The Fresh Italian Eatery.


When I arrived at The Village by the Grange, Ms. Kim’s smile literally beamed. Some welcome warmth from the blustery winter cold. If you know nothing about The Village by The Grange - know that it’s a great food hub. It’s located close to U of T, 52 Division, OCAD and the Art Gallery of Ontario. If you’re in the neighbourhood, you certainly should make a point of popping in. You can find all kinds of delectable goods in this little complex with a random mix-up of fare. If you don’t believe me, check out this blog post from BlogTo - Village by the Grange is Toronto’s Most Underrated Food Court (Note - that some of the tenants have changed since this was posted in 2016).

Ms. Kim and I didn’t do a whole lot of conversing. But, it is overwhelmingly evident that Ms. Kim is warm, generous, and kind-hearted. I would also eventually discover she can make a meeeeaaaan lasagna. Ms. Kim decided to purchase The Fresh Italian Eatery after a terrible fiasco with her former sublessor to whom she diligently paid rent, but who readily took her money and had failed to pay the landlord, for two whole years. The small space that she was subletting was in arrears and she lost her business, as she had no rights as a sublessee. This was an unimaginable position to be in. She was responsible, hardworking, and had always paid her rent on time. She had done everything right. But, an unscrupulous asshole pocketed her hard-earned cash, leading to the demise of her little business. When shit hits the fan what do you do? You can cry and wallow for a little while. You are definitely allowed to feel all of your shitty feelings. But, eventually, you have to pick yourself up and figure it out. 


In 2012, The Fresh Italian Eatery was opened by Marco. He prepared his nonna’s recipes including fresh and well made pastas, beautiful eggplant parmesan sandwiches and homemade chicken noodle soup. However, in just a few years after opening, he had a change of heart and decided to sell his business. And, this is where Ms. Kim came upon her next business venture after her devastating loss. This time, however, she had an opportunity to own her very own business where she had autonomy and control.


As mentioned earlier, Ms. Kim is Korean, born and raised. She had literally zero reference point for the flavour of marinara sauce, ravioli and eggplant parmesan sandwiches, far less how to prepare these carbolicious delights. But, she learned how to create these Italian recipes from Marco via his nonna, and perfected them with the help of her friends and family who happily taste tested and provided feedback along the way. Wonderfully fresh sauces full of juicy ripe tomato flavour, pastas cooked al dente, and, a mouth-watering lasagna that I bought two containers of, to share with my partner and friend. It was saucy, cheesy and beefy. Each bite was delicious. If you find your way lingering around Dundas and McCaul - I highly recommend visiting Fresh Italian Eatery. Or, eating your way around The Grange. This is mall food I can get behind.

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Goodbye 2017 - YER MOM! Actually... my mom...


We are winding down the last bit of this shitshow of a year. I’m eager to say goodbye and good riddance to this bullshit called 2017. All my bad feelings felt through 2017 were placated through the magical powers of food and booze. A special shout out here to red wine, whiskey and pho. You truly made 2017 bearable.

This year I ate at my favourite places, new places, cheap places, fancy places, local places and international places. I ate like my life depended on it. I ate with reckless abandon fueled by gluttony, hunger and desire. I ate and regretted nothing. However, the one thing that I missed more than anything during my crazy busy piece-of-shit year where I left a job, started grad school, traveled through Ireland and Scotland and dealt with the shit that is life in general, was my mom’s cooking.

My mom is a fierce, tiny brown lady, with short hair and a Trini accent that becomes most perceptible when she’s speaking with close friends and family. She moved to Canada about 50 years ago from a small town near Sangre Grande in the northern part of Trinidad. When I’ve asked her why she chose Canada, she nonchalantly replies that it felt like it was the best option.  She knew she wanted to leave Trinidad because she saw no real future for herself there. She had no interest in moving to the US (thank fuck!) and she wasn’t sold on England. So, here we are, in Toronto, Canada, in -20 weather freezing our balls off.

My mom making rotis, circa 1970's

My mom making rotis, circa 1970's

Two things that I can definitely say about my mom, first, she is my biggest supporter and fan and two, she. can. cook. She can conjure up doubles, rotis, curries and provision soup at break-neck speed. Her adeptness in the kitchen is both admirable and awe-inspiring. Everything she makes is delicious (except pelau with pigeon peas. Because pigeon peas taste like what I imagine pigeon shit to taste like). I have yet to see her use a recipe for anything she’s ever made (except cheesecake). Her homemade pepper sauce is the standard that I hold all hot sauce to, a balanced, flavourful sauce that is blazing hot, with the requisite fiery aftermath that will make your toilet cry. Her ability to make the most boring ingredients into something mouth wateringly delicious is a gift. If anyone wonders where I got my love for food and eating, it is without question, as a result of my mom’s cooking and incessant need to feed. If you go to her house, she will strongly encourage you to eat. You, in fact, can’t leave her house without eating something, unless you want to cause great offence. Consider yourself warned, if you are eating at my mom’s house make sure you wear your “fat” pants.



I have many food memories from my mom’s kitchen. Like stealing pieces of stewed chicken simmering on the stove. Or, arms dripping in juices from picking apart curried crab that was served over dumplings. Or, shoving hot, torn pieces of freshly cooked buss-up-shut (a flaky, layered roti, usually served with some type of curry or my personal fave, pumpkin) into my mouth, after being “clapped” and busted apart. When I was in my teens, I would sometimes sit on the counter and watch my mom move about the kitchen dropping aromatics into sizzling pots, rolling out rotis into the most perfect rounds or making currants rolls (a flaky pastry, sprinkled with currants and sugar and rolled up and baked until lightly brown). I found comfort and enjoyment in being there. She and I chatted and connected through these moments in the kitchen. Most of the time I would help her out, but sometimes I liked just sitting in the kitchen with her. What I understood food to be early on, was love, comfort, connection, and nourishment.

Being in grad school full-time has cost me my evenings, weekends, a social life, working out, and being carefree and unencumbered. I’ve had little time for anything, like going to my mom’s house and leisurely eating my way through the various Corelle serving dishes filled with different stews, meats, veggies and carbs. But, eating at her house during Christmas is an experience. I usually put in my request for my favourite thing, doubles beforehand. I wouldn’t want to be remiss of this treat. This year was no different. When I departed her house on Christmas night I had a large reusable grocery bag filled to the top with her delectable goods. Which I have been eating this entire week. Eating my mom’s food at the end of this year felt like the soul, energy and psychic repair that I needed after what has undoubtedly been a challenging and stressful year.

Christmas dinner 2017

Christmas dinner 2017

Now that this year is finally coming to a close I send a special shout-out to my mom, because she is the best. I hope that everyone finds their peace and gathers their energy and positivity to step forward into 2018.

Have a wonderful, safe, joyful, fun and truly magical end of year. I hope that 2018 makes you happily forget 2017.

Happy New Year, friends.