When you can't visit a specific country, ever thought about discovering it through your palate? Become a culinary tourist without having to leave your home or country. I believe I first heard about the concept watching one of Nigella Lawson's cooking shows, or reading one of her cookbooks, can't remember which but I thought the notion fabulous and the idea stuck. We have therefore mutually agreed that for this summer it will be a staycation as culinary tourists at home, cooking the food of where we wish we could be, exploring our city, our province and maybe another province if it isn't too far away. Visiting organic farms, affordable 5$ restaurants (a growing trend in the city), café's...it's all on the itinerary along with anything else that sparks our interest.
I do believe I have mentioned this before, but for me nothing says a break like coffee. It is my tradition or my quirk, depending on who you are speaking to...but wherever I am you will most certainly find me in a café tasting their espresso. Today I wanted to write about a great little café and I must admit my review is quite overdue. Mr. S and I discovered this place after we moved into our new neighbourhood and have been going back ever since. Café de' Mercanti, feels like our café around the corner. It serves the best Italian espresso outside of Italy and quite frankly defines what staycations are really about. When you cannot go to Italy, this little café brings Italy to you. As we walk in to order our coffee at the bar, we are instantly transported back to the café's we discovered in Italy: the aroma of espresso shots being pulled, of coffee beans being ground beckons you to give their espresso a try; their desert display calls out to you as you wait for your drink and reminds you that coffee, if served alone leaves a lingering feeling that something is missing; their espresso with its rust coloured crema contrasting against the pure white of your tiny espresso cup. You can't help but feel torn between the urge to watch the crema slowly dissipate or stir it slowly and watch it drip from your tiny coffee spoon. It's flavour is instant, not much to drink, but the lingering taste of amaretto after you have had your last sip dares you to dip in your finger and wipe that cup clean, but ... alas we are adults after all and so you decide rather to put your cup down and plan your next trip back.
Espresso is art and it reminds you that inspiration can come from the smallest of moments and objects if we just dare to take a closer look!