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Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

…how I’ve missed you. It’s been 24 days since last update. For shame! And trust me, no good excuse.

I’ve been eating like a fiend.

At some fantastically good places, too. With good friends. With new friends! So, the need to air my dirty laundry in public is a vow to myself and anyone who reads this…<hi dad>…to be more committed. No more neglecting. If I can eat, I can write.

New mantra. Kinda like a second-wind resolution. A taste of the last few weeks…yep, read it like a menu.

—————

{Brunch}
Lady Marmalade, Fire on the East Side, Insomnia

{Lunch}
Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill, Lola’s Commissary

{Dinner}
Foxley, Oyshi, Harlem, Kokoro, Nyood, Masa, O&B Café Grill, Starfish, RubyWatchco (sweet lord, just wait ’til I get to this one), Seafood for Thought, Guu Izakaya

{Sweets}
Soma Chocolatemaker, Sweet Escape, Nadège

—————

See, Gowalla’s good for something! You folks on 4sq are lucky…would’ve turned off your notifications long ago. And yes, I wear these like badges of honour. Rather…badges of GLUTTONY.

We’ve got some home-cooking thrown into the mix as well, by some special ladies in my life. My mama, for one. My bestest, for another. Think I also tried a new recipe this month. Notice, singular. Will regale you with stories & pictures, promise.

Warning: It’ll be out of order. sigh. Breaking every rule in the book. Since I couldn’t get my sh*t together, this is what happens. And some, simply need to be aired out first… like my first media event!!! And Ruby. And Seafood for Thought. And Guu. And home-made pho.

In other news! Next week, if I’m so lucky…will be checking out a new restaurant w/ a certain someone ;)

Cue Julie & Julia. Except. I’m not cooking. And, not being interviewed. And, not channeling Julia Child.

Hmm. Not the greatest analogy, was it? But damn it, will be JUST as exuberant as that red-head.

And with that, will leave you hanging… ’cause I kinda want you to come back ;) This wknd. Me. MacBook. Balcony. Writing.

BBQ anyone? Just head south of the barricade.

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Quick snaps part deux

3 times this week already. Same fish, different place(s). 

I sound distinterested. But you know better, right? 

Snaps from yesterday: Sushi Xtra 

salmon lover combo

 

maki mono set D

 

 
Sushi Xtra
423 Queen Street W.
416.599.2688 

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Quick snaps

Dazzling. On King. Yep, that’s the name of the restaurant.    

Slightly forgivable after eating the best spicy tuna maki  in the city. Dare you to find better.  

kimchi tuna maki

  

A’s flavourful Panang curry – spicy & delicious.  

panang curry

  

Panang noodles – unimaginatively ok. (see VK! can be a critic.)  

panang noodles w. shrimp & chicken

  

 

http://www.dazzlingrestaurant.com/
291 King Street W.
416.506.8886  

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Tomi-Kro

Every Tomi-Kro review will rave about the lobster maki balls.  

This one, won’t be any different. So unoriginal, I know.
Visual caveat: these maki balls don’t do anything for me. Barely excited. 
And I like to get excited about my…… food.  

So, we get over the presentation. And focus on the different layers of fantastic.  

Cut into the crispy battered tempura shell to the lobster meat & avocado (that combination alone); smear on some heat with wasabi and dip into the soy. Redemption.  

photo cred: blogTO

 

Let’s rewind and focus on the foie gras crème brûlée for a minute, shall we?  

Foie gras + crème brûlée. It’s exactly what you think it is.  

Take your spoon and lightly tap… into indescribableness.
I know it’s not a word and please don’t hate me for enjoying it so much.  

photo cred: Jen Chan

 

And rewind again, to that first step through the door. Immediately, you’ll take in the ambiance, artlessly detailed decor, warm tones…eclectic and inviting. One of those great date places.  

Try it, you’ll see.  

photo cred: Jen Chan

 

Stand-out dishes:  

Tempura lobster maki balls
Fois gras crème brûlée
Cedar Valley organic duck breast (if you enjoy duck, you’ll love)  

   

photo cred: blogTO

 

Honourable mentions:  

Veal osso bucco
Bay scallops over slaw
Shitake risotto
  

It pains, but easily forgettable:  

Wasabi panko potato cake
Tuna tartare & sashimi (delicate portion woes)
Brussel sprouts with asiago & pancetta
Roasted beets w. pistachio, balsamic vinegar & goat cheese (not a beets fan, wasn’t converted)  

Until next time:  

Octopus ceviche (on a mission to try every ceviche dish in the city)
Sesame albecore tuna
Arctic char  


Tomi-Kro
1214 Queen St. E.
(416) 463-6677
  


  

 

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And we’re back.

Yes, have now officially tried every ceviche on their menu. 

wahoo ceviche w. mango salad
wild sea scallops ceviche w. kumquat & grilled jalapeño
arctic char ceviche w. green apple & ginger
…. and now, the sea bream ceviche w. yuzu & shiso

Again, the flavours. How does he do it?!
Delicate, citrusy, topped w. saw-leaf & crisp shallots…each mouthful is better than the last.
Though, nothing tops the arctic char quite just yet. Just sayin’. 

foxley: sea bream ceviche

 

There she is, the black cod. Deceptively simple. Don’t be fooled. 

foxley: black cod with asian greens & truffle oil

 

Thank you N, for a wonderful dinner. And for requesting that 2nd steamed rice.

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Oh Italia!

There’s nothing like fresh pasta.   

Never before have I uttered this statement. Italian food and I were merely strangers. Now, acquaintances. And suddenly, I want to become its best friend.   

photo cred: Sifu Renka

Tagliatelle, papardelle, fettuccine, gnudi…want to try it all. And I’ve been to Italy. Cue Rome, Milan & Florence. Mind is not conjuring up out-of-this-world pasta (what did we EAT?!)…memories are of gelato and beautiful Italian men. Shame. Well, just means I need to go back.   

Instead of regaling you with inadequate descriptions of how ridiculously good hand-cut pasta can be…will urge you to visit two restaurants that have personally sealed it for me. Thanks John B.   

Tutti Matti (Adelaide W. & Charlotte) – http://www.tuttimatti.com/     

Buca (King W. & Portland) – http://www.buca.ca/    

What are your favourites?  Send & share pls.   

    

(sidenote: best carpaccio di manzo in the city)   

photo cred: Jen Chan

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foxley

One of my favourite restaurants in this city.

photo cred: foxleybistro

photo cred: dine.to

Friends, family, strangers etc. may question why I constantly rave about this place, why I fixate on it more than others, why I sit back in semi-disbelief when they don’t love it as much as I do… but, there’s a reason.  Actually, make that two.

#1 arctic char ceviche, #2 black cod with asian greens & truffle oil.

I’d like to marry a chef, I think. Especially, if he cooks like Tom Thai… whom by the way, is a creative genius with flavours. Yuzu juice, chilies, ginger, ngo gai aka saw-leaf (most favourite herb) with sweet green apple, finely sliced, atop raw arctic char. Oh MY, intensely good. And then, we have fresh black cod complemented by the best broth ever tasted, liberally doused with truffle oil and divine. Long after we finish, have been known to ask for more steamed rice to prolong experience & sneak spoonfuls of…ok. stop me.

Back to it. Beyond these two dishes + a few others, must set realistic expectations. This tiny Ossington resto isn’t all that & more. Shocking, I know. Certain dishes are missing…something. Wish I could articulate. But you understand. And as a result, are not outstanding & will inevitably disappoint. Yes, also aware that not everyone will rhapsodize over my two loves. Preferences, palettes, tastebuds… sigh, c’est la vie.

Regardless, you must try. And let me know what you think.

Stand-out dishes:

Oven steamed black cod with asian greens & truffle oil 

Arctic char ceviche
(with yuzu, sesame oil, green apple, ginger, chilies, saw-leaf coriander…ask the chef)

photo cred: Daniel Shipp

Honourable mentions:

Sea bream ceviche w. yuzu & shiso leaf
Blue crab & avocado salad (if you enjoy spice, it’s got a nice kick)
Lamb & duck prosciutto dumplings (why? dipping sauce)
Side ribs w. caramelized shallot glaze (fall-off-the-bone, though glaze is on the heavy side)

For the adventurous:

Grilled beef hearts w. thai chili lime salsa

It pains, but easily forgettable:

Oysters w. chilli lime sauce (small portion woes)
Spicy crispy shrimps w. jalapeno & garlic
Braised beef cheek in red curry
Slow-braised pork belly in muscatel reduction

fyi: tapas-style, be prepared to share. also, no reservations.
if a table isn’t available, leave your cell #, go for a drink across the street, and they’ll ring when ready.

http://www.foxleybistro.com/
207 Ossington Ave.
416.534.8520

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SukhoThai

Rave reviews put this little thai resto on our must-try list. So we went. Oh la. Spicy & flavourful…just the way we like it. Masaman curry was delicious. Fragrant & sweet, with a heat that lingered. High expectations for the red curry. Will always be that way after Mengrai. And…it was close.

Stand-out dish:

    • Gaeng Masaman: Masaman curry with peanuts, potatoes, onions, shallots, coconut milk & tamarind sauce
photo cred: sukho thai

photo cred: sukhothai

 

Honourable mentions:

    • Gaeng Phed: Red Curry with squash, kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, red & green pepers & coconut milk – with tofu.
    • Spring Rolls: Crispy vegetarian rolls with glass noodles, mushrooms, carrots & beansprouts. Served with a sweet & sour garlic sauce

Until next time…

    • Tom Kha Gai: Creamy coconut, chicken soup, with fresh cut herbs. Galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, onions & tomatoes.
    • Sukhothai Pad Thai: “Sukh’ed up”, Northern Thai version of the Pad Thai
    • Pad Kee Mao: Savoury, hot and spicy stir-fried rice noodles with a choice of chicken, beef, tofu or shrimp.
    • Gaeng Panang: Panang curry with kaffir lime leaves, basil leaves, red and green pepers and coconut milk.

http://www.sukhothaifood.com/
274 Parliament St.
416.913.8846

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Until I find a better way to organize… here’s the list.

{And it’s by no means finished. hardly. we’ve just gotten started}

To satisfy all tastebuds:
Amuse (Queen E. & Waverley Rd) – http://www.amusetoronto.com/
Café La Gaffe (Baldwin & Henry St) – http://www.cafelagaffe.com/  
Harlem (Church & Richmond St. E) – http://www.harlemrestaurant.com/
Mildred’s (King W & Hanna Ave) – http://www.templekitchen.com/
Madeline’s (King W. & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/madelines/ 
Sidecar (College & Bathurst) – http://www.sidecarrestaurant.ca/   
Wine Bar (Church & Front E) – http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/ 
Politica (King & Strachan) – http://www.dine.to/politica/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt) – http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
 
Tapas-Style:
LEE (King W. & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/lee/   
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Cava (Yonge & St. Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
Kultura (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/ 
Tomi-Kro (Queen E & Leslie) – www.blogto.com/restaurants/tomikro
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
Mezzetta (St. Clair & Christie)
Torito (College & Augusta)
Swirl (Queen E & Yonge)

Brunch:
Brassaii (King W & Spadina) – http://www.brassaii.com/ 
Conviction (King W & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt) – http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
Le Petit Déjeuner (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.petitdejeuner.ca
Bonjour Brioche (Queen E & Broadview)
Saving Grace (Dundas & Bellwoods)
 
Casual:
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – http://www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
Terroni (Adelaide E or Queen W) – http://www.terroni.ca/
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Pizzeria Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Rodney’s Oyster House (King W & Spadina) – http://rodneysoysterhouse.com/
Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (Church & Front E) – http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/ 
Cava (Yonge & St. Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html

Ossington Strip:
Union (Ossington & Queen) – http://www.union72.ca/
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Pizza Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington & Queen)
Delux (Ossington & Humbert)
 
Finer-Dining (Entrées: $23-35):
Nota Bene (Queen W & University) – http://notabenerestaurant.com/
Frank @ AGO (Dundas & University) – http://www.ago.net/frank/
Olivia’s at 53 (College & Clinton) – http://www.oliviasat53.com/
Amuse (Queen E. & Waverley Rd) – http://www.amusetoronto.com/
5th Elementt (Bay & Wellesley) – http://www.5thelementt.com/
Splendido (Harbord & Spadina) – http://www.splendido.ca/
Harbord Room (Harbord & Spadina)  – http://www.theharbordroom.com/
C5 (ROM) – http://www.c5restaurant.ca/ 
Conviction (King W. & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
George (Queen E. & Jarvis) – http://www.georgeonqueen.com/ 
Brassaii (King W & Spadina) – http://www.brassaii.com/ 
Crush Wine Bar (King W & Spadina) – http://www.crushwinebar.com/
Trevor’s Kitchen & Bar (Wellington & Front) – www.trevorkitchenandbar.com/ 
Le Sélect Bistro (Wellington & Spadina) – http://www.leselect.com/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt)- http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
Rosebud (Queen & Bathurst) – http://www.therosebud.ca/
Loire (Harbord & Portland) – http://www.loirerestaurant.ca/
 
Finer, Finer Dining (Entreés: $35-100):
Auberge du Pommier (Yonge & York Mills) – www.oliverbonacini.com
Scaramouche (Avenue & St. Clair) – www.scaramoucherestaurant.com/
Chiado (College & Ossington) – http://www.chiadorestaurant.com/
Canoe (Bay & Wellington) – www.oliverbonacini.com/canoemovie.html
Harbour Sixty (Harbour & Bay) – http://www.harboursixty.com/
 
Experiences Dining:
O’Noir (Church & Bloor E.) – http://www.onoir.com/
C5 (ROM) – http://www.c5restaurant.ca/ 
Frank @ AGO (Dundas & University) – http://www.ago.net/frank/
 
Asian & A-Fusion:
Matahari Grill (Baldwin & McCaul)  – http://www.mataharigrill.com/
Benihana (Front & York) – www.benihana.ca/
Tomi-Kro (Queen E & Leslie) – www.blogto.com/restaurants/tomikro
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
BlowFish (King & Bathurst) – http://www.blowfishrestaurant.com/
Kultura (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/ 
Mengrai (Queen E & Ontario) – http://www.mengraithai.com/
SukhoThai (Dundas & Parliament) – http://www.sukhothaifood.com/
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington & Queen)
Pho 88 (Dundas & Spadina)

Charcuterie:
Rosebud (Queen & Bathurst) – http://www.therosebud.ca/
Cava (Yonge & St Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Harbord Room (Harbord & Spadina)  – http://www.theharbordroom.com/
Conviction (King W & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
Loire (Harbord & Portland) – http://www.loirerestaurant.ca/
Black Hoof (Dundas W & Bellwoods)
 
French:
Le Sélect Bistro (Wellington & Spadina) – http://www.leselect.com/
Le Papillion (Front E. & Church) – http://www.lepapillonfront.com/en/
Auberge du Pommier (Yonge & York Mills) – www.oliverbonacini.com
Saint Tropez (King & John) – http://www.lesainttropez.com/
Le Petit Déjeuner (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.petitdejeuner.ca

Italian:      
Vittorio (Dupont & Avenue) – http://www.vittorios.ca
Pizzeria Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Il Gatto Nero (College & Bathurst) – http://www.ilgattonero.ca/
Terroni (Adelaide E or Queen W) – http://www.terroni.ca/
Osteria Ciceria e Tria (Yonge & Queen W) 
Tutti Matti (Adelaide & Charlotte)
Buca (King W. & Portland)
 
Seafood:
Rodney’s (King W & Spadina) – http://rodneysoysterhouse.com/
Madeline’s (King W & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/madelines/

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