Nothing says ‘Are you ready for some football?’ quite like DIY pub grub
By Zestycook (aka Cory Gallant)
It’s Sunday afternoon and the countdown is on until kickoff. The big question isn’t who’s going to win, it’s what are you going to eat? Entertain like a pro with pub fare that’ll have your neighbours running to your sectional for prime seating.
Here’s your winning game day lineup.
Beef Nachos (First Quarter)
We all have our own ideas as to what makes the perfect nacho. It could be the toppings, texture, flavour or the amount of cheese attached to the nacho chip itself. For me, it’s all about treating each nacho with love and attention.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered a heaping pile of nachos, only to be sorely disappointed when they land on your table because the topping-to-chip ratio is all off? Nothing bugs me more than neglected nachos. I like to top each nacho chip individually (yeah, it may take a little longer, but it’s well worth the effort). That way every nacho is dressed and made just the way you want it. This also makes it easy to customize the nachos based on taste.
These beef nachos are absolutely delicious – don’t count on having any leftovers for the second quarter!
Zesty tips on building the perfect nacho: There are three imperative ingredients to consider when creating the perfect plate of nachos and those are chips, cheese, and toppings. Choose large chips with a big surface area, not too salty that the other flavours are overpowered. Pick a cheese that can melt evenly and not produce a large amount of grease ( avoid store bought, pre-shredded cheese). As for the toppings, it’s free reign. I like fresh tomatoes, green onion, guacamole, jalapeno peppers, and a little sour cream. Try these and you won’t be disappointed.
Simple things in life make me happy. Take a few onions, slice them thick, season with salt and pepper and dredge them in a little buttermilk. Toss them in some panko breadcrumbs and roast them in your oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Talk about a killer snack your peeps will be fighting for! The crunch and flavour of these golden rings are guaranteed to be a hit. I like to dip mine in ketchup, but feel free to dip these in whatever your heart desires.
Cheese Quesadillas (Third Quarter)
Half-time may be over, but that means it’s time for a little more cheese! Add some Mexican flare to your man cave eats with cheese quesadillas, topped with some homemade salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Crunchy on the outside, ooey gooey cheese on the inside – what’s not to love? I love ‘em and they’re definitely a crowd pleaser for picky eaters.
Baked Chicken Wings with a Spicy Glaze (Fourth Quarter)
Ever just crave a chicken wing that’s not greasy but is still crispy on the outside? Now don’t get me wrong, I love a nice, deep-fried chicken wing but at home I always go for a baked chicken wing in the oven and finish it off with a glaze. The process is really simple and you can use whatever you like as the glaze. For this batch, I went with a spicy glaze cause I was craving something hot; not “burn your lips” hot but a nice balance of sweet and heat.
Make sure to stock up on wings as you’ll find yourself quickly eating as many of these bad boys as you can get your hands on and going through tons of paper towel (Thank god for the Select – A – Size). Best served with an ice cold beer or you can always go with a nice glass of water to offset any tingling lips.
chicken wings (tips removed)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
splash of vinegar
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken wings with salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and cook for 40 to 50 minutes.
2. In a separate saucepan, set heat to medium and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Once everything is combined thoroughly, bring to a boil.
3. Remove wings from the oven and place in a large bowl.
4. Add the sauce over the wings and toss to coat.
5. Serve with some fresh veggies and your favourite drink.
Zesty Tip: When making the sauce, if you find it’s a little too thin, bring to a boil and add a slurry of 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water together to thicken the sauce. You want the sauce to be thick enough to both coat the wings and stick to your ribs.
Ok, so the game is over and your team lost, but does it really matter? All I can think of is wonder how I’m going to button my pants in the morning for work after eating so much.
For pub grub recipes and more, check out zestycook.com.
Football not your sport? Who cares! Zestycook’s pub grub menu works with any sport – hockey, basketball, soccer – a sports fan’s gotta eat, right? Just make sure to wear your stretchy pants.
Nothing says ‘Are you ready for some football?’ quite like DIY pub grub By Zestycook (aka Cory Gallant) It’s Sunday afternoon and the countdown is on until kickoff. The big question isn’t who’s going to win, it’s what are you going to eat? Entertain like a pro with pub fare that’ll have your neighbours […]
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Wine. Fashion. Photography. Welcome to the studio party.
By Meredith Morrison
Standing, from left: Kelley Keefe, Jacinta Keough, Lori Nicholson. Front: Karen Duffy, Kim Murphy.
It’s not everyday five girlfriends from Kinkora are given the celebrity treatment, but for Kelley Keefe, Karen Duffy, Kim Murphy, Jacinta Keough and Lori Nicholson, this night is all about embracing and celebrating their inner divas. And they’re having a blast doing it.
“Work it girl!”
“Own those boots!”
“Make love to the camera!”
The catcalls and laughter flow as freely as the wine in Alanna Jankov’s studio, better known as the Image Factory. The fabulous five are taking part in an experience of lifetime – a professional photo shoot with an award-winning photographer, complete with hair and make-up service, and for this night only, the hottest fall fashions courtesy of the Shops of the Confederation Court Mall.
It’s called a studio party – an innovative experience created by Jankov herself. Essentially, it’s an evening (or afternoon) of laughter, friendship and expressing yourself in front of the camera. It’s an excellent excuse to get together with friends for some quality time, which can be hard to come by once you factor in work, family and busy schedules.
But it’s more than just getting all ‘dolled up’ for the camera. “The goal of the night is for each person to have a group of memorable images of themselves and the group,” explains Jankov. “The focus is creating those images. I set the stage and we just see where it goes.”
Shawna Ryan adds volume with curls to Lori Nicholson's hair.
On this particular night, the theme is glamour and girlfriends. Shawna Ryan of Tangerine Hair and make-up artist Holly Ryder treat each woman to a signature style that highlights and accentuates their already stunning assets. With a polished look and a fierce outfit, each woman transforms into their new role as fashion model. They’re having fun, even though for some of them, the thought of getting in front of a camera ranks up there with getting a root canal. But as each woman steps into the studio, they show each other nothing but support and excitement. All fears and inhibitions are left at the door – the camera is no longer something to be afraid of.
Back in 2007, Jankov introduced the studio party concept in the form of graduation parties. Young graduates, just starting out in the world, celebrating their friendship with a keepsake photograph. The concept expanded and today, all groups are welcomed to the Image Factory for a party customized to suit their own unique needs. Jankov provides hair and make-up services, music, beverages, snacks, a sense of adventure, and most importantly, privacy. “What goes on the studio, stays in the studio,” says Jankov. Prices vary depending on the style of party her clients want.
Don’t worry if this is the first time you are hearing the term ‘studio party.’ The concept has been slow to catch on with Islanders. Many are simply unaware of this service or they have pre-conceived notions of what it entails. “People can be hesitant to try something different,” says Jankov. “The biggest challenge has been getting the word out there.”
“To understand what a studio party is all about, well, it’s basically whatever you want it to be about. I work with groups to customize a party that is memorable, a little outside the box, discreet and a whole lot of fun.”
And having fun really is what it’s all about. It’s also about letting loose and exploring another side of the persona maybe you didn’t know existed. And it’s an experience both men and women can enjoy – either separately or together. “I encourage the male population to give it a whirl,” says Jankov. “They don’t know what they are missing!’
As the last shot of the night is snapped, the ladies gather around Jankov’s camera for a quick look at what has transpired in the past three hours. They laugh and joke back and forth about funny poses, supermodel stances and facial expressions caught on film. But what they also see are images of five confident, self-assured women looking happy, glamorous and beautiful – both inside and out. The studio party captured more than just pretty faces and great clothes – it has captured memories of a girls night out five friends from Kinkora will never forget.
Wine. Fashion. Photography. Welcome to the studio party. By Meredith Morrison It’s not everyday five girlfriends from Kinkora are given the celebrity treatment, but for Kelley Keefe, Karen Duffy, Kim Murphy, Jacinta Keough and Lori Nicholson, this night is all about embracing and celebrating their inner divas. And they’re having a blast doing it. “Work […]
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They’ve got ‘em, and they’re spectacular. How to get the man cave of your dreams
By Meredith Morrison
Troy LeBlanc gets the best seat in the house - everytime. Photo by Mitch MacDonald
Almost every man lusts for one: the man cave.
A place where he can retire after a long day, watch the game, have a few drinks and get away from the distractions of the outside world. The man cave has become the symbol for all things manly – a place for men to be men, to do manly things. And these days, they’ve become more than just a room with comfy chair, a TV and a strategically placed mini-fridge or cooler stocked with none other than the man cave staple – beer.
Today’s man caves are filled with the stuff dreams are made of. For Anne-Marie Brunet’s husband, Wayne, his dreams were fulfilled when he transformed their basement into his very own movie room.
Wayne Brunet's Man Cave. Photo by Anne-Marie Brunet.
“It was his inspiration for all of this,” says Brunet of her husband’s entertainment-themed man cave. “He loves pool too, so he basically made the basement a place he’d be able to chill in as well as entertain when we have people over.”
In addition to the movie room, Brunet’s man cave also boasts a full scale pool table, bar and a stylized bathroom with glass shower doors. “The bathroom shower was inspired by the amazing bathroom at our resort hotel room in Mexico,” says Brunet. “It’s like a little escape!”
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what any man cave can consist of, and for some lucky cavemen, so is the budget.
But you don’t have to be rich to get the man cave of your dreams – you just need a plan. Troy LeBlanc of Creative Home Concepts is in the business of making man cave dreams come true for any budget. From building custom home theatres to lighting and climate control from the touch of a button, LeBlanc has transformed ordinary basements into modern day Bat Caves. He credits being able to provide these seemingly futuristic services with the lowered cost of today’s technology and widespread accessibility of broadband internet. Even his own basement is a testament of what he can accomplish – a kick-ass home theatre, multi-media room with a 123 inch screen and projector complete with theatre seating.
And did I mention he’s also installed his very own concession stand? Are you seething with man cave lust yet?
Since every man cave is as unique and individual as its owner, anything goes when it comes to style and decor. But when it comes to planning your dream mantuary, LeBlanc has narrowed down the list to five man cave must-haves that will make your lair the ultimate guy’s hangout.
1. A Big Screen TV: The ultimate man cave centrepiece. Plasma, LCD, LED or projection screen – when it comes to television, bigger really is better. LeBlanc recommends a Full HD (High Definition) 1080p for a superior viewing experience. If you’re a huge technology/ theatre buff, opt for the latest 3-D TV sets for a true cinematic experience at home.
2. Surround Sound: Feel like you’re a part of the action by filling your man cave with intense surround sound. Look for a 5.1 DTS (Digital Theatre System) or Dolby Digital. If you have really great soundproofing, LeBlanc suggests you try 7.1 DTS or Dolby True HD.
3. A Theme: Maybe you’re a huge sports fan, or more specifically, a Montreal Canadiens fan. Maybe you love movies, or more specifically, you’re a Star Wars fanatic. Whatever the case, your man cave should reflect your interests. A neon sign is usually a staple in most man caves.
4. Games: At least one (but preferably more than one) of the following: pool table, air hockey, foosball, table tennis, shuffleboard, poker table, darts, Play Station 3, Xbox 360, Wii…the gamers wish list goes on and on.
5. Refreshments: Whether it’s a small bar fridge or a fully-stocked wet bar, you should never have to stray too far for snacks or beverages. Keep it close, keep it stocked and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
A fully-stocked refreshment bar is a man cave must have. Photo by Mitch MacDonald.
They’ve got ‘em, and they’re spectacular. How to get the man cave of your dreams By Meredith Morrison Almost every man lusts for one: the man cave. A place where he can retire after a long day, watch the game, have a few drinks and get away from the distractions of the outside world. The […]
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