Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dinner With My Girls @Pukka

Danielle, Stacey, Jen, Alyssa, Roz, Moi, Leah
Despite the fact that we are posed like that other famous dinner crew,
this is definitely NOT our Last Supper.
A few nights ago, I went out for dinner with my girls. This is something we do every month and something we have been doing for almost 10 years. Between the seven of us, we have 17 kids, 7 husbands, 15 university degrees, 4 dogs, and 1 cat...most of which have been announced, toasted, laughed over, and sometimes cried over at our monthly dinners.

These girls are my best friends. I've known them longer than my husband. They know all of my deepest, darkest secrets. They accept me for who I am, flaws and all. They are my sisters from 6 different misters. Sisters that I only get to see once a month because of our 17 kids, 7 husbands, 15 university degrees, 4 dogs, and 1 cat. Which stinks. Which is why I try my very best to never miss a dinner.

What makes our dinners so great isn't just the company, but the fact that we all. love. food. Each month, we discuss that perhaps next month we'll do something different than dinner, something more adventurous, but it never happens; we just love to eat too much.

Luckily over the last 10 years, almost all of our meals have been amazing. In fact, I can really only remember one bad meal and even that one wasn't all bad because it was so horrifically bad that we still laugh about it.

Our most recent dinner at Pukka most definitely fell into the amazing category. And I am super-proud to say it was my pick (each month, a different person is "in charge" of choosing a place and making the rez).  My motivation was this: it needed to have lots of vegetarian options for Stacey, the birthday girl, have a great atmosphere, and be family-style friendly (we like to share).

I chose Pukka, a newish Indian restaurant in Toronto because I'd been invited there about a month earlier to try out there new spring menu and was completely blown away. And given the fact that my friends love Indian food just as much as I do, I knew that they'd love Pukka as much as I did. I was right. They did. Here's the seven reasons why the seven of us loved it so much:

1. The wine. I don't think I've ever been to an Indian restaurant in Toronto with such a kick-ass wine list. It might have something to do with their in-house sommelier, Peter Boyd, who's known as one of Canada's top wine professionals. He highly recommends the Pinot Auxerrois from Albert Mann.

2. The Bread Basket. With fresh naan -both garlic & plain- and roti, it is beyond addictive. Especially when paired with the Daal Makhani (creamy black lentils)
3. The okra fries with raita topped with pomegranate seeds. Before trying these, I never knew that I even liked okra. Now I fear I am mildly obsessed
with it.

4. Chicken 65: Souh Indian Crispy Chicken with Chili Tamarind. Aside from the vegetarians in the bunch, this was by far the favorite dish of the evening. Sadly, the plate was licked clean before I had a chance to take a picture of it.

5. My favorite dish of the evening: The South Indian Vegetable Curry with coconut, tamarind, and mustard seed. I've had vegetable curry before but was blew me away about this version is the fact that they really, truly used seasonal ingredients. I'm talking asparagus and fiddleheads.

6. The awesome way they served the rice. I know it sounds crazy that we were impressed by this, but it was just a cool and original spin on such as typical Indian dish. Which pretty much sums up what Pukka is all about: a super-cool spin on Indian food...that happens to be beyond yummy.

7. The atmosphere. Like the rice, it was a really cool spin on what's typical. It's modern and unique and cozy and familiar all at the same time

Overall, it was another awesome night for me and my girls. I'm not sure which I enjoyed more: the company or the food. Just kidding...it was the company. Or was it the food? ;-)


Pukka has only been open for a few months and already it's popped up on a whole bunch of "hottest in the city" lists. I highly recommend you go. And when you do, make sure you make a rez; when we were there, each and every table was taken...at 10pm! In the middle of the week!

778 St. Clair Ave. West

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