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Everything posted by SYoung

  1. This board was more active around 10 years ago, but for reasons I can only guess, members flocked to other foodie boards - in particular Chowhound which is now the de facto and most active food related discussion board in the world. I'd say that Yelp and Urbanspoon are special niches where patrons post restaurant reviews but not a foodie discussion board.
  2. Just went to Mong-kut Thai at 596 Danforth (the new one). Not bad but I wouldn't put them quite in the same category as Mengrai. It's maybe compares well with Salad King though not Linda. I also recently went to Linda as well. Food there was pretty good, especially the Mieng Kum appetizer. They just opened so have some kinks to get out. As they stand today, I would still prefer Mengrai. Sasi is still #1 in Toronto in our books!
  3. My recommendations above were constrained by location that is within walking distance of your hotel. If you want to go a little further within 15 min taxi ride (assuming no traffic) and money is not a concern, Splendido is considered by many as the very best of Toronto (http://www.splendido.ca/ ) for fine dining and Scaramouche (http://www.scaramoucherestaurant.com/) is another high end restaurant, romantic with a good view. If you're looking more exotic, try Lai Wah Heen for Chinese at the Metropolitan Hotel (http://www.metropolitan.com/lwh/) or Chiado for Portuguese (http://www.chiadorestaurant.ca/). A nice little Italian restaurant my wife and I frequent is Fieramosca(http://www.fieramoscatoronto.com/) for Southern Italian. They're just west of the Yorkville area but reasonably priced, romantic with friendly staff.
  4. All of the areas you indicated is within walking distance of your hotel. The Theatre Entertainment District is about 10 min going west on King starting University all the way to Spadina; and the Financial District is just one block west on King, starting Bay to University Ave. St. Lawrence Market is only about 5min walk south off Church Street south of Front Street. The downtown underground pathway is big and convoluted mostly underneath the Financial District. It's pretty dead after 6pm and on weekends. You can enter the pathway by going down into the King subway tunnel at Yonge Street. Map here: http://www.toronto.ca/path/pdf/path_brochure.pdf. For restaurant suggestions, first to come to mind is George Restaurant at 111 Queen Sttreet as one of the better restaurant in Toronto. Details at http://www.georgeonqueen.com/. Another is Colborne Lane at 45 Colborne St. just around the corner of your hotel. Their website here: http://www.colbornelane.com/. Another still is Teronni on Adelaide at 57 Adelaide just about one block north of your hotel. It's Italian and reasonable price, which is one of your preferred criteria, but no reservation allowed so better to go early. Website at http://www.terroni.ca/. Teronni is pretty loud with younger crowd. Colborne is modern. If romantic is key, I'd go with George. Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar is good for your eating alone night. Sit at the bar. For pub near AC Center, there are many there, a few you already mentioned. Another interesting one if you like unique varieties of beer is Bier Markt down by the Esplanade west of Church St. Their website here: http://www.thebiermarkt.com/.
  5. SYoung


    Any word or buzz yet on Susur Lee's new restaurant Shang to open this week (?) in Thompson LES?
  6. Hotel: Park Hyatt or Four Seasons in the ultra-chic Yorkville area around Avenue Rd. / Bloor are currently two of the top hotels in Toronto and hot spots every year during the Toronto Film Festival. I say currently because more 5-Star hotels are opening up soon from Trump, Shangri-La, New Four Seasons, and more but these are no good for you today. Restaurants: Previously mentioned Scaramouche or Splendido are givens and Canoe is very corporate/business ambiance. All 3 are tried and true and uppity if you like that kind of atmosphere. Chef Pat Riley left Perigee a while ago and recent reviews of post-Riley Perigee have been lukewarm. Bymark has gone down and One is more show then substance with overpriced food and wine (sincere apologies to Mark McEwan fans ). What has yet been mentioned are some of the newer restaurants to try. Hot right now is Nota Bene at Queen / University started by David Lee (Splendido), Franco Prevedello (Centro) and Yannick Bigour­dan. Another interesting new restaurant is Madeline apparently named after Susur's mother. This restaurant replaced the old Susur at Spadina / Bathurst that closed since he's concentrating on this Manhattan digs. There's not tasting menu like the old Susur but the food is still excellent.
  7. SYoung


    With all due respect, I find it difficult to believe that a renowned chef like Riley would quit Perigee (considered one of the top restaurants in TO) on good terms and take a job with a second rate restaurant that goes out of business because the owner, his friend, sold the land! And then he's now doing nothing but painting his house? This is too strange even if he's in some kind of mid life crisis!
  8. My understanding is he's renovating Susur into a Bistro type restaurant. He's going to be up against the giants in Manhattan such as Jean Georges, Joel Roubuchon, Thomas Keller, Wylie Dufresne, Nobu Matsuhisa, etc. He certainly has the ego to succeed there, but it's going to be tough because now he's playing with the big boys. Apparently his Manhattan gig is going to have more of an Asian fusion theme menu than what we saw in Toronto. This is the niche he's comfortable with and it will differentiate his restaurant from so many others excellent restaurants in NYC.
  9. OK - 15 bottles per year imported - that works (hence my small cellar comment). I had 32 bottles on the single importation mentioned above (incidentally several of the bottles RETAILED here for around $35 when they were available - but valued at $150 for customs purposes - based on the "assumed" value by the customs officer). ← Yeah, 32 bottles in one shot will definitely get you stopped! We stay within the limits - like we're going to Manhattan next month with my parents, so that's 8 allowable bottles we can bring in... then to Australia for Christmas with my wife and her parents... another 8 bottles... Going to Dallas for business next week - that's 2 bottles... and so on. That's 18 bottles "imported" over just the next 2 months.
  10. $170 per bottle on average!? Sorry, I'm not that rich and none of my relatives, living or deceased, have a wine cellar! Most of my purchases abroad are about $40-$70 which is around the average price per bottle in my cellar. We've never been pulled aside and even if they do and check the Internet, they'll find my declared amounts to be about retail and we almost never buy over 2 bottles per person. Maybe we're lucky or maybe we're just staying within the allowable limits. We buy about 70 bottles per year of which about 15 bottles per year comes from US or France or Australia, whereever we visit for business or pleasure.
  11. I picked up a bottle when it was on the shelves at the LCBO many months ago. I forgot which of the Clos Jordanne I bought, but it was $35. In fact, the only thing I remembered about that wine was it was a bit watery, not much fruit taste and thinking I could find better pinots from New Zealand or US for half the price. It didn't improve at all the next day (might have been a little worse), so not sure that it'll ever get better with age. I've been looking hard for years and went to Niagara this past summer again hoping to find new gems, but no success so far. The bottom line for me still is they're getting better but the QPR just isn't there.
  12. Did you mean IN the US or FROM the US? I agree on the ridiculous price difference for a lot of wines in the states and they have quite a few things there that's really hard (read impossible) to find here (eg. Sea Smoke). The exchange rate is at over 0.97 now, pretty well at par with the US$!!! We go down quite frequently for business trips and vacations and a few days before leaving, check into your favorite US retailer online (for me, it's usually PJ Wines in New York or K&L wines in California), pick out the wines you want, order (by phone in my case), and have them delivered by FedEx to the hotel you plan to stay. You can even track your order on the Net. During the summer months, due to the heat, overnight delivery is best. I usually buy Bordeaux and California appellations as these are wines that are usually way overpriced or can't get at the LCBO. We also buy wines when we're vacationing in Europe or Australia. I'd say about 25% of my wine cellar are wines that are purchased out of country.
  13. Great stuff!... How did you manage to get a hold of the '05 Kosta Browne? It's pretty well mailing list only as aftermarket bottles for any of the KB wines are going for over triple the release price. If you're into California Pinot Noirs, the Sep 1 release includes the 2005 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Clarke & Telephone from Santa Maria Valley. This winery is owned by the founders of Caymus and at $45 is a very rare instance of a California wine being quite reasonably priced at the LCBO (US price generally hovers around $35-$40). Reviews have been positive (RP91) with some stating it has a "burgundian style" pinot. This wine is easily spotted on the shelves with the Maker's Mark style dipped red wax capsule.
  14. I think this is the 2nd Classics release under the new format, the first was in May when I picked up a couple of '04 Clos des Papes CdP. This August Classics is probably the worst ever. There are many re-releases and some have been overpriced on the shelves for a while. For example, the $96 2004 Clos Apalta has been on the shelves forever. A very good cab from Chile, but not at almost $100 a bottle. You can get this Chilean in many places in the US for less than $60 (US). And why the Two Hands Brave Faces is a Classics release is beyond me. Good wine, but should be a Vintage release, not Classics. The high CDN$ don't seem to be lowering California wine prices any for Ontarians. For example, the $149 FAR NIENTE CABERNET can be found in the US for about $90 (US). Monopoly pricing at its best. I buy all my California wines in the US and will continue to do so, especially at current very favourable exchange rates.
  15. SYoung

    Il Mulino

    Agree 100%. Been there a few times though not lately (a bit far for me), but I do recall that the Tuna Carpaccio was fantastic. This is, IMHO, one of the best Italian restaurants in town and would recommend it for anyone looking for great pasta.
  16. Dined at C5 with my wife last night. Overall, excellent experience. C5 is located on the 5th Floor with a separate entrance off Bloor on the west end of the Crystal. The room is designed beautifully modern chic dominated by off-white colour not unlike the original Lobby restaurant (as I remembered it). About a third of the room was the lounge area which sat mostly empty throughout the evening, which was too bad because the beautiful modern design makes for an excellent lounge experience. Our reservation was 7:45pm early evening and the sun lit up the room through the almost floor-to-ceiling V-shaped windows which made it seem almost outdoor-like. The ceiling was high which made the room big and spacious. After the sun set, the room ambiance changed to a modern elegance feel. The kitchen was open concept and sat quietly and unassuming at the "back" of the restaurant. The menu is 3 courses plus dessert (like the menu at George restaurant - price-wise as well), though we both ordered only 2 of the 3 courses plus dessert. For appetizer, my wife ordered the Dungeness Crab salad and I ordered the grilled foie gras on top of a ravioli (forgot what it was called). My wife absolutely loved the crab and my dish was very good though the foie gras was slightly overcooked. We talked with the couple next to us and he had the C5 Raw Tasting which he said was absolutely amazing even though he didn't normally order raw food! I had the rib eye special for the main and my wife had the black bass which she said was excellent. My 5 oz steak was cut into 5 small pieces and was very well flavoured. The guy next to us ordered the strip loin which he said was the best steak he has had in a long time. Dessert was excellent as well. I had the panna cotta which was firm in texture and very good to taste. My wife had the waffle dessert (forgot the name) which was quite original and she said was fantastic! We were also served 2 amuses and the 2nd one was after the dessert - some kind of a banna bread pudding cake. Very nice! Service didn't start off very well but got better as the evening progressed. The waiter - a very nice soft spoken gentleman - forgot to give us bread (we had to ask another waiter) and forgot to tell us about the specials until we were in the middle of ordering. The wine (we ordered by the glass) we wanted on the list wasn't available (Joseph Phelps cab), however, the lady who took our wine order offered to let us taste another on the wine list before ordering which was very nice. She also, without asking, was very quick in getting my wife a bread knife after it was accidentally dropped on the floor. This attentiveness was very much appreciated, thank you! Overall, C5 was an excellent experience (much better than our last Susur experience at not nearly Susur's prices) and we would definitely recommend C5. In fact, my wife was so impressed that she booked C5 for next Saturday with her parents. Overall, compared to other Toronto restaurants: Food = A+; Service = B; Ambiance = A
  17. SYoung


    Thanks for the tip on the Arcadian pinot. I've had the Kosta Browne RRV and if the Arcadian is similar, I'm going to get one even at LCBO prices. It's too late for me to order from the Classics but I'm thinking I'll see lots of them on the shelves a month from now along with most of the other unsold May Classics.
  18. Sorry, Bueno, but I just went to Colborne Lane a couple of weeks ago and it was highly disapponting. The dishes were very well presented but it was bland and the portions were small so you actually have to order either 2 appetizers or 2 mains plus dessert. The dessert was the highlight of the meal, but that was mainly because everything else before that was not that good for the price they charged. This was the consensus of the 4 of us "foodies" who went that evening. This place is form over substance at it's best. A trendy place to be seen with your high society friends, but if excellent food is what you're after, there are many better places in town. And as for Colborne being on par with Per Se in New York (which my wife and I frequent at least once a year), with all due respect, not in a milliion zillion quadrillion years! Never mind Per Se, IMHO, Colborne isn't even close to being on par with the locals Susur, Splendido, George, Perigee, Jamie Kennedy, Via Allegro... and probably 10 others in town. After Ami Pataki's review of the same http://www.thestar.com/artsentertainment/article/197460 I think I may wait a while before trying. ←
  19. SYoung


    The Dominus and Spottswoode are the exceptions rather than the rule. I've got one of the latest Vintages LCBO Catalogue right here in front of me (Apr 28 release). Lets sample 3 California wines off this catalogue and see if you're right about California prices at LCBO being competitive (all prices in Cdn$, translate US prices by 1.2 multiple to account for state taxes and foreign exchange): Grgich Hills Cab 2002: LCBO=$84CDN, K&L Wines in Calif=$48CDN; LCBO is 75% more expensive! Ridge Geyserville Zin Blend 2004: LCBO=$48, K&L Wines in Calif=$36CDN; LCBO is 33% more expensive! Clos Pegase Cab: LCBO=$54, Mission Liquor in Calif=$36CDN; LCBO is 50% more expensive! And this is just looking at one of their latest release catalogue! I bet if I check another LCBO catalogue, I'd get similar results. So, I don't see California wines to be very competitive at LCBO at all. With few exceptions, it's not even close. Re the latest Classics Collection (May 2007), I agree it's the worse one ever. There are no Clos des Papes, DRC's or 1st/2nd Growth Bordeaux. However, there are still some gems that you won't find by walking into any LCBO store today. To name a few: CAVALLOTTO BAROLO BRICCO BOSCHIS 2001 (WS94, $59): very good price for a highly rated barolo in an excellent vintage FONTODI FLACCIANELLO DELLA PIEVE 2003 (WS91, $69): This Fontodi is a classic supertuscan that's highly rated and sought after year after year LA BRANCAIA IL BLU 2001 (WS93, $69): Another Italian classic that's almost always fantastic year after year. I ordered this one! NICOLAS CATENA ZAPATA 2002 (WS93, $79): A fantastic Mendoza red from a world renowned winery and this one is almost always excellent and highly sought after TWO HANDS BELLA'S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2005 (not rated yet, $65): Recent vintages of this McLaren Vale have been one of the best shirazes to come from down under. The 2004 vintage was rated 95 and was in the Top 10 of Wine Spectator's Top 100. I ordered this one too! I guess you can look at this Classics Collection as glass half full or glass half empty. I chose the former.
  20. SYoung


    This is a difficult question to answer without knowing more about your intentions and likes/dislikes. For example, are you looking to drink the 2 bottles right away, in a couple of years or long term storage? If drinking now, what food are you serving it with? What about styles you like, such as fruit forward or earthy?... etc. Also the LCBO greatly overprices Bordeaux and California wines, so if these are the wines that particularly interests you, I'd keep the money now and spend it whenever you visit the US as you can bring 2 bottles per person back duty free. Notwithstanding, you should check out the LCBO site for their latest Classics Collection, read the tasting notes and reviews and pick out 2 from there.
  21. Thank you everyone! Sorry for the confusion. I'm not looking for a $10 wine nor is budget a concern as, if it was, I would not be going there. The $10 wine reference was from someone who said in another egullet NY thread about L'Atelier that they saw a $60 wine on their wine list that was only about $10 retail at the local wine shop. That would be an incredulous 600% mark-up! JohnL, the point is not about trying to save money; rather, it's about not wanting to be ripped off, and a 600% markup (or, IMHO, anything above 300%) is, to me, in the rip off territory. I went to Per Se last year ordered wine off their list instead of paying the $90 corkage which was fine. However, their mark-up was not anywhere close to 600% either. However, this huge mark-up claim at L'Atelier is just one person's attestation and that's why I'm posting this question in this forum to those who have dined there before and thus in the know.
  22. Thank you oakapple. I am aware that L'Atelier is quite high end, so my question is not whether it's unusual or that it's a bad deal compared to other high end restaurants. Rather, is the $70 corkage a better deal then ordering off the list with a possible 600% markup? I also heard that the list is not very good.
  23. We're visiting NY and going to L'Atlelier next week, called them and they said the corkage fee is $70 if you BYO. I'm thinking this is rather high, but when someone in another thread mentioned something about L'Atelier charging $60 for a $10 wine , I'm tempt to pay the $70 and bring my own. What do you think? Is their mark-up really that outrageous? Unfortunately, their wine list is not posted anywhere on the Internet, so I'm hoping someone here can provide some insight. Thanks!
  24. We recently did the Paris-Beaune-Lyon-Avignon food and wine tour and the best restaurant we found in the area was Restaurant Simon at Hotel Chez Losset in Flagey-Échezeaux, Côte-d’Or (just off the N74 about half way between Beaune and Dijon). I would highly recommend you try the degustation menu. Fabulous! We also went to Jardin des Remparts in Beaune and found their food to be very ordinary at best. I guess maybe they had a bad day, but we will not go back.
  25. SYoung


    I got a bottle each of the Kilikanoon Blocks Road, Marquis Phiips and the Concha & Toro Terrunyo and Rasteau Cotes du Rhone as well to try. Opened the Marquis Philips today and it was pretty good for the $18 price. The 90-point rating from Parker is probably a little high. I'd say it's closer to 87-88 and it would make a good party wine as it's fruity and easy drinking.
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