Archive for July, 2010

Home-made pho

Fragrant broth. Rare beef. Rice noodles. Steaming bowl of home-made pho.

Now, here’s my ritual:

Handful of cilantro, 4-6 thai basil leaves, 2-3 ngo gai long leaves.

Generous squirt of rooster chili sauce. Toss of bean sprouts. Sprinkle of green onions. Squeeze of lime.

Dash of black pepper. Another squirt of rooster.

Serious business, pho sho.

Yep. Ok, inhale and dig in! And there’s nothing quite like it.

My mother insinuates that I’ll fail at life if I don’t learn how to make pho.  Or, fail as a wife.

I gently remind her that I’m not married.

She shakes her head.

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I had beyond high expectations.

My own silly fault… waited months to try. So, the anticipation builds and builds…and when the eve finally arrived, giddy as a schoolgirl. Thankfully, I was in good company. Me & my three best ladies. All giddy together.

Cute, I know. Go ahead, gag a little.

While you’re doing that, keep reading.


Premature you may think, since I haven’t described anything, but nauseating giddiness.

So, imagine this: Chef Lynn Crawford has invited you over for dinner. And she has crafted a menu just for the evening. Paying homage to fresh, local ingredients, a four-course culinary feast is being whipped up in the back kitchen. For you. Served family-styles, in heavy, red casserole dishes, think home cooking at its best. Yes, help yourself. And be generous…there’s enough for everybody ;)

During our mains, I was animatedly sharing – something fascinating, I’m sure – paused, glanced down and realized that we had devoured…everything. Every dish, every plate, licked clean. Spotless. Clearly, the girls were just pretending to be engaged. They didn’t give a sh*t. All they cared about was the food.

And what better compliment is there? None.

photo cred: ruby watchco

Overwhelming consensus. Exceptionally good food. Matched by equally impressive service. Rarely will I comment, unless it was abominable or outstanding…and it was wonderful. Ever walk in a restaurant to encounter that refined-perky-nose-in-air judgement? The worst. Not the case with Ruby.

Our hostess was charming, and our server was lovely and attentive…didn’t miss a detail…and if a crumb was left behind, discreetly taken care of by co-owner Joey Skeir seconds later. Atmosphere? Engaging, charged and lively. We had a bloody great time. Best experience in a while.

Sidebar: Unfortunately, my kick ass camera isn’t a robot who tells me how to properly adjust for low mood lighting. The shots don’t do it justice. So, I’d rather not. Use your imagination & tastebuds ;)


Our menu for the eve:

Heirloom Tomatoes, Halloumi Cheese Croutons, Creemore Radishes, Rose Bella Cerignola Olive Vinaigrette

{we were fighting over those croutons)

Button Mushroom & Boston Lettuce with Blue Cheese Dressing, Smashed Thompson Farm’s Yukon Gold Potatoes, Darling Honey Glazed Carrots

{um. steak. medium-rare. good. that’s all.
reduced to one word sentences good.
blue cheese. not a fan…still not a fan. and salad was salt-y. pourquoi? je ne sais pas.
best smashed potatoes you’ll ever taste. true story.}

Spiced Mixed Nuts & Homemade Orange Marmalade

{who loves cheese? we do! forget the nuts & marma. vino was perfect with it}

Ed’s Real Scoop Stracciatella Gelato

{ok. our only disappointment. not rave-worthy.  expected a warm, gooey mess. minutes out of oven mess. we got hard la-gourmand-style-cookie-muffins that just confused us. we couldn’t break into it. do we pick it up? eat it with our hands? throw it back in the oven? what to do?!}

photo cred: youngstreetmedia (head chef lora kirk, owner chef lynn crawford)

FYI: The menu changes every night, every week. If you’re an obsessive planner – or simply curious – you’ll be able to see the week’s menu on their site. Other option: opt in & get daily menu e-mails. My personal choice of food porn, every morning.

The vibe in the back is slightly different from the front; a little closer to the heart of the action. Plus, all the better to admire the Ruby Watch Co. sign, which is by far, the most arresting fixture in the restaurant. That, or Chef Lynn, herself.

So if she’s inviting you over for dinner, you can’t turn her down. Nor, would you want to ;)

730 Queen St. East

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