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Rookie Sensation

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  1. Fiona Morrow can stay. She's mean, but seems to know food.
  2. Two food and wine devotees coming to your wonderful city (from our wonderful city- Vancouver) for the weekend for a concert at Key Arena. We have reservations at Mistral for Friday night and are now looking for a place for lunch on Friday, lunch on Saturday, a quick (but great) dinner (preferably walking distance to Key Arena) on Saturday and a place for drinks and snacks- we do like cheese- after the concert. Please Help! P.S. If anyone can recommend a few breakfast spots, it would be very welcome too. We are staying at The Moore Hotel. Thanks.
  3. Ha! I had the burger there once. They were not using Brie de Maux (called them on it and the chef admitted it) and they were using shavings of black truffle like it was platinum, ie: sparingly to a degree that there was just no point. The burger was fine, there was nothing wrong with it, but I have to assume that the food cost on that thing is very low. That's the problem. You are not getting your money's worth. I would never pay for it again and after that experience (which included some overly expensive bottled water and laughable service), I would never even consider going back there. Integrity? Look that one up. Best burger in Toronto is at the Rebel House at Yonge and Rosedale. And you get exactly what the menu says you will get.
  4. Adelade, I've just moved to Vancouver from Toronto and I'd like to suggest you check out a couple of T.O.'s more hidden gems. Canoe, Susur, JK Wine Bar etc. are really great but they are not really that different from any big, popular restaurant in any big city. If you want to get a sense of the more unique, single (read poor) owner type restaurants with tons of personality in the big smoke, here are my suggestions: The Niagara Street Cafe near Bathurst and King, tiny room, great food, amazing prices, excellent (small) winelist. The warmest service in the city, ask for Anton. Tell him Rookie Sensation sent you. Le Paradis on Bedford St. near Avenue Rd., this is a very traditional style french bistro but it is so jam packed every night of the week and so unapologetically devoted to it's own thing, it was one of my favourite spots when I lived there. The food is nothing special and the service at times is downright rude, but the experience, I don't know, it is a special place. The wine list is excellent and all prices amazing. And yes (to avoid any call outs), I understand that the owner of Le P is not poor. Moving on... Amuse Bouche on Tecumseh, north of King. Another french spot, the prettiest patio in the city, wonderful food, excellent service and an amazing wine list. Great for a romantic evening. Torito in Kensington market, had my two last dinners there. Everything is amazing. Rustic Spanish tapas, fantastic service, incredible ambiance- just laid back fun. I would recommend Torito to anyone looking to open their own small place, they've hit a home-run. Lastly, a few places I can't seem to find adequate replacements for here in Van: The Owl at Christie and Bloor for Pork Bone soup (don't bother having anything else, you'll only be depriving yourself. If you go with eight friends, have eight Pork Bone Soups - "Eight GamjaTang please.) Pho Hung at Spadina and College for Pho- go nuts, everything is good. Jumbo Empanadas in Kensington Market- Just go, trust me. A warning (probably obvious): DO NOT HAVE SUSHI. It will seem (how can I put this gently?) un-fresh to you, I guarantee it. Since arriving here, I have had $6 combos at places on Commercial drive that out-freshed Sushi Kaji and Hiro in Toronto (these are fantastic restaurants by the way). Have a great time in Tahranna!
  5. Thank you so much for your help.........(quietly salivating at the thought of a well-hung, medium-rare hanger steak - mmmmmm).
  6. Who's the best supplier for fresh fish and other seafood in Vancity? (Quick, tell me now! I want to sit on my deck and shuck some oysters and toast summertime with some bubbly!)
  7. I'm looking to find an organic or naturally-raised meats butcher, preferably somewhere near east van (Commercial, Main), downtown, or kitsilano. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!!!!!!
  8. Thanks Megan, that's exactly what I'm looking for. One thing I forgot to mention for anyone else with recommendations is that my wife is a bit health conscious. She will go hard if the restaurant is worth it, but I can't imagine that I'll get her to eat six or seven meals in a row consisting of serious amounts of butter and pork fat (I would stand in line to do this, but hey...). If anyone knows some great lunch or dinner places which specialize in fish, seafood or a place that is known for great seasonal vegetables (not vegetarian though) that would be a bonus. Thanks in advance again.
  9. I'll be taking my wife to New York in a few weeks and I need some recommendations. I'm hoping for some rec's that aren't in travel guides or common publications. Neighbourhood treasures; you know what I mean. We'll have 2 breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I'm hoping to keep the dinners at about 150 for the two of us for each dinner. The other meals should be on the inexpensive side but hopefully offer some value. Also, we are big wine drinkers. No restrictions in terms of ethnicity but we eat a lot of Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese and Chinese here in Toronto, so I'm looking for different options (unless there is something outstanding that must be experienced). We are also happy to leave Manhattan for a great meal but (only because of time constraints) would prefer to keep travel time to a minimum. Thanks in advance for your help! If you ever need a list like this for Toronto, let me know. PS: If anyone can recommend a good (cheap) hotel, that would be great too.
  10. When Czehoski opened, all the press mentioned "molecular gastronomy" and I was very excited to have a new option in Toronto. My dinner experience was very disappointing but I'm glad to hear that they are delivering fine meals in an interesting style to some diners. Thanks for the in-depth review. Also, I really think that more chefs would be encouraged to try new things if their patrons responded honestly to the food the way you and your party did. Kudos.
  11. When I was there it was a flatiron steak. I believe they grill it but not sure.
  12. The chef who staged at el bulli has left (so I'm told, don't have first-hand information) but perhaps more to the point: The place (in my opinion of course) was never interesting. I had dinner there about a month after it opened and while they were busy, the food was not only poorly executed, it was boring. The menu promised great things but the plates offered very little. It has been stated too many times that the service is awful, so I'll leave it at that, but more importantly, the wine list while I was there was pitiful. A small list need not be devoid of interesting wines, alas... Keep in mind my criticisms are from a dinner from months ago (confirmed by two other dinners by two other friends at around the same time) so I can't say whether they've improved. Honestly, I hope they have! Toronto needs restaurants at that price point which can actually deliver great food. Are there any?
  13. Not sure if this will help anyone, but I have used baby zucchini at the start of the season to make "cornichons." They have an excellent texture and absorb the pickle extremely well. They come attached to zucchini blossoms which is a nice little bonus!
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