Hey there! It’s Nelson here today. I wanted to share a highlight for us from this week. It was seeing my cousin and his wife who are visiting from the Azores, Portugal. There’s only 1 1/2 years age difference between the two of us, so we hung out a lot growing up in the Azores. Obviously, with an ocean between us, we don’t get to see each other often, so this was a real treat.
They are only here 10 days so they had to squeeze in a ton of sightseeing to get the most out of their trip. We had the pleasure of hosting them on Friday and showing them around a few of the places we enjoy visiting.
Since weather in the Azores is a bit milder, we thought it might be nice to share a very Canadian pastime with them. We took them skating at Toronto’s Harbourfront at the Natrel skating rink. Although a bit wobbly at first, they got the hang of it and I do think they really enjoyed the experience. Once we left there, we headed over to Steam Whistle, a microbrewery in the heart of Toronto, inside the old train roundhouse. We had a tour of the brewery and got to sample some of their delicious pilsner.
Then it was lunch time! We took them to the original California Sandwiches. This place is old. It’s not fancy at all and probably scared our cousins when they walked in 🙂 But… here’s the thing. They serve one of my all time favourite sandwiches! I grew up with these sandwiches and to this day, they never disappoint. The newer locations are just fine, but there’s something so cool about this location on Claremont. The Italian nonna cooking in the back, the pinball machines in the corner, and of course the colossus amount of meat and sauce they put in these sandwiches!
After lunch, we headed over to Toronto’s City Hall. There, we got to see lots of people skating, the lit Toronto sign that had been installed for the 2015 PanAm games, the beautiful Hudson’s Bay Christmas story window displays, and then a quick walk through the Eaton’s Centre. We rushed a bit, but managed to get in a few of the city’s sights.
We may have still been a bit stuffed from the huge veal sandwiches we ate at lunch, but in the evening we wanted to give them another new culinary experience. We went to Mi Ne Sushi Restaurant for some really fresh sushi. They were open to trying it so we ordered a large variety to share. Since they were being so adventurous, even Liz tried sushi for the first time. Wow! This was a different experience for my cousins because it’s not a common type of food in the Azores–and even though they’ve tried sushi on the largest island, it wasn’t like this. It may not have been their favourite food in the world, but they were really happy to have had the experience.
The only thing that had still been missing for them on this trip was to see snowfall. They’ve both seen snow on Pico mountain, and on the ground (it happens occasionally in the Azores) but it’s not like the snow we get in Canada, plus they have never actually seen snow flakes falling. It was like a dream come true when we were getting into our car to bring them to their next destination and we noticed snow falling. It may not have been much, but they (ok, more her than him) were overjoyed. We even tried catching snowflakes on our tongues. It was nice to see their excitement at what we here take for granted and even dislike at times (i’m talking about snow). Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…as the jingle goes. There was some accumulation north of the city where we’d brought them this evening, so before we said our goodbyes, they were greeted to a blanket of snow on the ground. It was the perfect ending to a fun-filled day; and it was the Canadian experience they had been most hopeful to have.
This week was a whirl-wind for us! With some last minute shopping, driving the kids around for their events and then family and friend outings, we barely ate at home. We do enjoy staying busy and it’s nice to eat dinner out, but there’s something very special about having a nice home-cooked meal with the family. I decided to make a roasted pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes. The family seemed so relaxed and happy to have a little down time around the table. This dish is fantastic because it’s so easy and quick to make and everyone here loves the flavour!
Friday was a great reminder of the joy of trying something new and of enjoying simple things like the first snowfall. Try something new today. Eat out, or eat at home…and eat well, friends.
- 2¾ lbs whole pork tenderloins (2 pieces)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp coarse freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 450 ºF.
- Place a cast iron pan in the oven on the middle rack while the oven heats up.
- While the oven heats up, mix all the spices in a bowl (not the oil).
- Place the pork tenderloin on a cutting board and coat the pork generously with the spice rub on all sides.
- Pat down the spices on the pork.
- Once the oven is ready, use hand protection and remove the hot cast iron pan from the oven.
- Drizzle the vegetable oil in the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom.
- Place both pieces of pork in the pan and place the pan back in the oven.
- Roast for 20 minute.
- Carefully open the oven door and use a meat thermometer to test the thickest part of the meat.
- If the temperature has reached 140 to 145 ºF, remove the pan from the oven. Otherwise, let it cook for another two or three minutes or until it reaches 140 to 145 ºF.
- Remove the pork tenderloin onto a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Cut the meat in thin slices and serve with your favourite sides. Enjoy!