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jenc

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  1. Yes! Called Grand Electric. Very loud music. It is more drinking feel than dining. Food was good when I went (still need to process photos). Enjoyed, but don't expect to talk to your dining companion too much. It's that loud.
  2. Late-night nibbles at 416 Snack Bar http://bit.ly/hvGMsj

  3. Inigo > found it okay. Everyone seems to love it more than I do, given the love I've read. 416 Snack Bar > Interesting! Fun. Worth a visit.
  4. The card at Lucien comes to mind. MG touches, but fine dining, local ingredients. The only other MG place in town is Colborne Lane. Not sure if there's a real local focus though. Heavier on the splashy MG stuff. There may be more, but that's all that comes to my mind.
  5. You can eat there with alcohol (albeit nothing crazy) if you choose carefully. If that's not the mood you'd like, then I'd opt to eat elsewhere. Splendido is better than Auberge and Bymark, especially for the atmosphere and service (though the other two aren't shabby!). It really depends on the alcohol - do you mean one glass per person? A cocktail? w/o calculating tip/drinks, I'd say you could eat at Auberge for 75-80 pp, with an app, main, and dessert.
  6. jenc

    Notable 2010 Dishes

    My round-up of dishes in 2010 (blog post, photos, etc) that were either aesthetically or gastronomically pleasing. Maybe even both. Time to reminisce! obligatory link to flickr A decent rabbit dish, but I really liked how this photograph turned out. Luckily it was empty the night we ate at Bohmer, so it wasn’t too conspicuous when I stood up and took this top-shot. Bohmer’s beautiful plates (Aug 11, 2010) A really lovely taste of slightly-seared briny uni and negi hamachi on rice at Yuzu. And it’s also in a masu cup, so you get the aroma of cedar too. So good. Yuzu Nov 2010 set on flickr. You know, I had my doubts about brussel sprouts until I had The Black Hoof‘s salad. Superbly crafted with chicken skin bits, lovage, roasty/seared sprouts, and a fried lemon on top. So amazing we had to order it again the first night we had it. obligatory link to flickr Finally got the brioche French toast at The Hoof Café, but without the foie gras option. I keep passing on that, despite my love of foie. I happen to like their apple preparation of this dish better, but this shot turned out better. Hoof Café Crazy (Jun 6, 2010) I helped out a friend with some cupcake tasting (hard, I know), but this was the best over all 20-25 cupcakes that we tried. Fully edible, lovely to look at, and a good taste to the apple cardamom cake and the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. From Wicked Little Cake Company. Check out all the cupcakes on flickr. Lunch at Blackbird in Chicago was really delicious. Managed to get this classic food pr0n shot of the stuffed quail. Also a great meal, especially the soup. Blackbird Soars (Jun 26, 2010) So un-photogenic. Though I tried every angle, this pig’s tail with fried kale just looked… wrong. But it was so tasty that I picked at all the bones to get at every last speck of meat. We had gone to try The Hoof Café‘s fried chicken, but this was the winner for me. Delicately flavoured raspberry marshmallows from Bobbette & Belle were a surprise find. Really fantastic in hot chocolate.Unexpected Love at Bobbette & Belle (Dec 21, 2010) obligatory link to flickr Great appetizer, both in taste and looks at Fabbrica. Cherry peppers stuffed with anchovy, olives, capers, and bocconcini. Fabbrica The Fair (Nov 30, 2010) Not of a dish, but a display at The Spice Trader. The whole shop is quite lovely, in fact. Lots olive oils in addition to spices. Youlou preserved pork with bamboo – finally I have this dish’s name from Konner! For a long time it was “smoky bamboo dish.” Crunchy, salty, smoky. So good. Tongue-searingly good (Oct 24, 2010) For whatever reason, it took a while to get to Yuzu. Glad we found it. Fresh fish and really tasty sushi. Purists need not apply here. Yuzu is a solid place for sushi in the ‘hood. (May 15, 2010) The highlight of an Innovative and delicious meal at MOTO in Chicago: cuban cigar sandwich. Fascinating MOTO (Jul 13, 2010) Perfect pea soup at Splendido. Really fresh taste. I’ve found I have a lot of success with vegetable-based dishes at Splendido. Fondly called “The Knuckle Of God,” this enormous dish is the pork hock at Duggan‘s. Enough for two if that’s all you’re eating. Good appetizer… for 6. Duggan’s Brewery and the knuckle of God (Jan 12, 2010) This roasted red pepper and lentil soup at Earth was all right, but I liked the composition of the shot. Though it’s not quite centred right. Eggplant with dengaku miso at Fin Izakaya. Tasty. Lots of nice dishes at Fin. A Comfortable Izakaya. (Jun 16, 2010) obligatory link to flickr As much as I love The Black Hoof, I don’t always love their desserts. However, this rendition of sticky toffee pudding was awesome. With brown butter whipped cream and candied hazelnuts. The cake had this lovely salt-hit to play against the sweet of the sauce. Plus, this was during my favourite meal of 2010: International Pig Day at The Black Hoof(March 2, 2010).
  7. I've got a King W/bathurst crawl report coming up in the next couple of weeks...
  8. Funny enough, we just don't order the charcuterie anymore... unless we're taking someone who's never been. It's all about the cooked dishes. The seafood dishes are surprisingly good. That said, we had it recently and the charcuterie is always good. The spicy summer sausage was my fave though. Not on the current board.
  9. jenc

    Madeline RIP

    I was by Saturday morning and papers were up and I took a photo through a tear. Except I walked out of Buca (great meal, btw) and saw the place all lit up and papers down! So... soon. Plus, They're doing some TD Visa dinner really soon, so they have to be ready...
  10. well, I wasn't wondering why he was "saddened" - just trying to point out there wasn't a reason for BertieWooster to doubt the original claims of the phone call (I read that as: the phone call didn't happen, so apologies if that is incorrect) since MW admitted that it had taken place. If the doubt was placed on what was said, well, he hasn't denied what The CC posted. That is all. No, he's not, but he did (to the Guardian). And it has furthered the debate I see his answer as being post-damage damage control.
  11. From the Guardian quoting Marcus Wareing: "I felt I could call them because we have spoken before - we then had a private conversation which I am saddened to see has now been posted." MW was given the opportunity to respond and didn't refute the CC's claims - he was just "saddened" to see it posted. Just wanted to point that out. I agree that with everyone that posts "they're doing it for the fame!" but really, who blogs for an absent audience? Just because they capitalized on things when interest from the public was raised doesn't make what occurred false. Or bad people. If they didn't have an audience, this thread would have fallen off the first page and not be on page 3. The other thing I find perplexing about the haterade for the CC (whether you like their blog or not) - they had brought up their issues with the Maitre D before they left, which is appropriate. The staff, regardless of long-time patrons or not, should have responded. At a restaurant of that calibre, why would you expect less? Why would the onus be on the patrons to run to MW to complain further? When they write about their experience, they state that this is one of many times they've gone to dine at MW's restaurant and that this was an anomalous experience for them and outlined what they felt was lacking. Sure, they might have wanted to bring this up with MW when they next saw him, but they're not friends. It would have been nice, but there is no obligation between these parties. So, I'm not sure what they did wrong here and why people think The CC are horrid people for detailing how they didn't feel this particular night was up to snuff. It's not like they're negating their previous visits. Just that out of eight(?) times, 1 visit was sub-par. As someone who eats, it's nice to be able to read the reviews of many and ascertain if my dollars will be well spent. I like to know it's not always rainbows and kittens and I also like to know how I will be treated if my experience isn't good. Those are the salient points, for me, anyway. Other random thoughts: MW gifted the CC with this boon of a phone call (in regards to boosting the CC's blog) and well, like I said before, it could have been a positive PR thing for MW, but sadly, it was not. The CC posted about their lacklustre dinner, why would someone think they wouldn't post about a poor phone call regarding that dinner? I also think that this review would have gone quietly into the night had there been no phone call. I think the most interesting thing to come of all this is the debate of the responsibility a blogger may or may not have toward what they review. While we all have the right to state our experience, what we do say has an affect on the bottom line for someone. This is true of all things, but we can see this more immediately for restaurants, I think.
  12. I agree with Carlovski. If he was taking the time to bother calling, he should have used this opportunity to find out why you felt you had a bad meal and turned this into something more positive. Instead, like many who are short-sighted, he decided to rant and turn this into a negative PR moment. Though... it's still publicity for him, I guess! I assume, their CRM is where he got your number, so that would have told him exactly how many times you had visited. So it makes his actions seem to be especially hmn.. I dunno.. unclassy...
  13. HRe-posting from my blog because these markets have only a few weeks left to go before they end. From the Blogpost: Markets In The Downtown core (with additional photos, a map, and links Though we’re mid-way through summer, I thought I’d do a quick round-up of markets in the downtown Toronto core. There are several in a (roughly) 1km radius of City Hall, which makes it easy to pick up fresh local fruits and produce before work, during the lunch hour, or on a weekend. I’ve enjoyed ridiculously fragrant peaches, sweet cherries, and intensely flavoured wild blueberries during my numerous excursions to the various surrounding markets. I’ve also gotten duds too, so when you go, look out for those offering samples – and use your nose. MyMarket – Sick Kids Hospital (Tuesdays, 9am – 2pm) MyMarket - Sick Kids HospitalI find the increase in markets a telling indicator that people are into food preparation and knowing the provenance of their ingredients more than ever before. This was reinforced by the MyPick logo on tents at the Sick Kids’ MyMarket to indicate that they were a “verified local farmer” versus some random people selling food-terminal goods. This is a mid-sized market on the circular drive of the hospital and seemed quite lively when I made my visit in the middle of the day. There was a nice selection of herbs at one end of the drive, however, I ended up with some fresh corn and ran off to cook it right away. * Sick Kids’ Hospital, 555 University Ave., North of Elm St. Nathan Phillip’s Square Market (Wednesdays 8am – 2pm) Ontario Farm Fresh has run this market since 1990 and its central location draws many in the core. This large public space has farms offering fruits, produce, cured meats, honey, and cheese. Also on-site are are food vendors (I love the fresh-roasted corn) and some promotional booths. Everything is widely spread out, so make sure you walk the entirety of the square. I’m always tempted by the Stroopwafels one vendor offers, but during this visit, I snagged a small sampling of cheese. Note that the Farmers’ Markets Ontario site states they open at 8am, whereas the City Hall site says 10am. I’ve never been earlier than 10:30am. * Toronto City Hall, North-West corner of Bay St. & Queen St. Queen’s Quay Terminal Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays, 3pm – 7pm) Now, I only just discovered this one via the Toronto Farmer’s Market Network site while I was writing this post, so I have no idea what this is like. Anyone been? * Queen’s Quay, 207 Queen’s Quay West Bay Adelaide Centre Farmer’s Market (Thursdays 11am – 2pm) Evergreen Brick Works has a satellite outpost on Thursdays just off Adelaide and features local producers as well as caterers and restaurants. St. John’s Bakery, JK Kitchens, Hank’s, LPK’s Culinary Groove, Montforte, and other familiar names line the courtyard to create a mid-sized market and lunch-spot. I bought some lovely heirloom carrots (picked that morning!), curly kale, and some bread. * Arnell Plaza, Bay Adelaide Centre, Adelaide St., East of Bay St. Brookfield Place Fruit & Vegetable Market (Thursdays 9am – 4pm) Brookfield Place MarketBrookfield Place – or as most Torontonians know it, BCE place – hosts a short row of tables with both local and international produce, and a bread and sausage vendor. The latter at which I obtained some Mennonite summer sausage that I’ll be working my way through for the rest of the season. It’s not the smallest market, but it’s pretty limited. Also note that this isn’t a true “farmer’s market” since I spied figs and other non-local things on offer. * Brookfield Place, enter off Front St., East of Bay St. Metro Hall Farmer’s Market (Thursdays, 8am – 2:30pm) Metro Hall Farmer's MarketIf you missed Wednesday’s Nathan Phillip’s Square market, you can catch up with many familiar vendors (like the cheese booth, on of the fruit vendors, and meat truck) here on Thursdays. I picked up some buckwheat honey and farm-fresh eggs at this market. The central grassy area makes a nice space to sit and relax. For no definable reason, I like this market best. * Metro Hall Square, 55 John St. (enter off King St., between Roy Thompson Hall and Metro Hall.) Farmer’s Organic Market (Saturdays, 9am – 3pm) The smallest market that I visited consisted of two short tables, all from one producer. A good range of items, as well as more specialty items you’ll have to chat with the farmer about. This one is a real neighbourhood stop. I picked up some tasty blueberries, sugar plums, and zucchini. Apparently this market goes year-round. Brr. * St. George the Martyr Church, 197 John Street St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market (Saturdays, from 5am) And of course, we have the St. Lawrence Farmer’s Market (make sure it’s the North building!) that opens up way early on Saturdays. I hear there’s lots of produce then and tables are bursting, but I’ve never been able to haul my keister out of bed that early. At midday, there’s plenty left for me to look at: meat, veggies, eggs, baked goods and more. I buy my dark maple syrup for baking from the guy outside the front of the building. * St. Lawrence Market, North Building, 92 Front St. East Handy-dandy Market Map (gotta go to the end of the blog-post for that) Non-Core Markets I know, not everyone works/lives in the core, so here are some links to find a market near you: * Ontario Farmer’s Markets is the big list-dump of all markets. A bit difficult to navigate * List of GTA (ish) markets on Taste T.O. Much easier to read. They also have daily posts that remind you of what markets are going on that day. * Toronto Farmer’s Market Network is a more consolidated list. The google map they have is nice to use. I was spurred on to explore and check everything out by a thread on Chowhound (thanks Greg!) and then prompted by the handy-dandy daily Flavours Of The Day round-up from Taste T.O. (uh… that’s Greg again), so hopefully, this will get some of you out there in turn. Eat some delicious local produce, take the time to wander the market, get to know your local farmers and vendors. You have until the end of August or the beginning of September to git ‘er done, so don’t hesitate and miss the good stuff. Well, you got all the way down here. More photos, links, and a map if you want to read more!
  14. Over a month later... here's the summary-post (more photos on the blog) of all my meals. There are links to individual restaurant posts (with more photos/menus/etc) at the end of the relevant paragraph. Escaping the brouhaha that was the G20 in Toronto, I ran off with Endy to Chicago for an extended weekend. Though our hotel was located just off the shopping Mecca that is the Magnificent Mile, we, of course, hadn't chosen Chicago for its shopping, but rather for its food. After some extensive research (thank you Chowhound and eGullet peeps!), the itinerary was set up and like all my trips, sight-seeing was optional and merely a good way to kill time between meals. I had short-listed 7 restaurants, 3 markets, and a pig butchering demo during our stay, with several optional places (mostly of the drinking variety) to hit if we had time. Day 1: Garrett's Popcorn, Voges, The Purple Pig Let me start off by saying how much I really like Porter Airlines. Quick, comfortable, and convenient - especially if you live in downtown Toronto. So, after the relatively short flight, we made our way to the Chicago core and our hotel. After settling in (and setting up the all-important internet connection), we thought we'd start take a slow stroll toward our dinner destination down North Michigan Avenue - with a couple of stops along the way. Apparently, Garrett's Popcorn (625 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago) is something of an institution in Chicago. They have this cheddar/caramel mix which everyone ahead of me in line ordered. To be honest, the combination didn't appeal to me at all, but we were tasked to bring some home for friends and I thought I should give it a shot. The verdict? Not as bad a combo as you'd think, but I'm not sure it's worth a long wait to get it. Continuing South, I suss out the Voges store (520 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago) in North Bridge Mall. Billing itself as "Haut Chocolat," Voges has many an interesting combination. Bacon, wasabi, reishi mushroom - just a few of the ingredients and flavours you can find in a bar of Voges chocolate. Funny enough, we left the store with almost all caramels, since we'd tried quite a number of these bars already. Finally, we arrived at The Purple Pig. After a short 20-minute wait, we were seated at one of the communal tables. Though we liked quite a few of our dishes, each plate that came out was too much for two. We left feeling like we needed at least one more stomach to help us through everything. Not to mention the atmosphere and set-up is really quite suited to groups. Read the full post... Day 2: Blackbird, the French Market, Mercat A La Planxa, and TRU We started off our first full day in Chicago at Blackbird, a Paul Khan restaurant serving contemporary American cuisine. Instead of the prix-fixe (quite reasonable at $22!), we ordered à-la-carte. Had a very delicious cabbage soup, which was the highlight of our meal. Crispy sweetbreads, a pork belly sandwich, and stuffed quail also were consumed. Overall, a really good lunch. Read the full post... Nearby to Blackbird is The French Market (131 North Clinton Street, Chicago), so we stopped by and bought some goodies to take home. I added two kinds of locally-made caramels to the pile we started at Voges. Was tempted to buy olives, but passed when we figured we could buy them at home. Still, they looked so delicious and enticing. The market is smaller than I'd imagined but well-trafficked (for mid-day on a weekday) nonetheless. We had taken a bit of time to go shopping before we made our way to dinner at Mercat A La Planxa, across from Millennium Park. We had found the dishes here to be really well-prepared (really nice charring, perfectly cooked shrimp, crispy breads) and quite tasty. I was excited to see the Padron peppers we'd had at Txori in Seattle on the menu and ordered that. Quite a tasty snack. I was also quite fond of the bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with an almond. While we were quite happy with all of the dishes, we definitely ordered too much. Sadly, we had only a bite or two of our final dishes, before we ran for our next reservation. Read the full post... TRU has a strict jacket policy that applies to the main dining area and well, that seemed a bit too much of a bother given we were traveling light. But after some careful reading and a phone call, I discovered they do accept dessert reservations (by phone) in the lounge where jackets are not required. Yay! Their dessert-tasting was a really lovely fine-dining experience without the crazy-long time-commitment that a dinner tasting menu would usually requires. Now, some people might think it nutters to spend $40 on a dessert, but I have to say that it was worth every penny. Not just for the food, but the whole ceremony of it all. We're not sure if there were extras thrown in due to our cameras, but it was all very lovely. Highly recommended and a great cap to the day. Read the full post... Day 3: Hot Doug's, Fox & Obel, and moto Since this was our first trip to Chicago to eat, a trip to Hot Doug's (3324 N. California Avenue, Chicago) was mandatory. I knew the lines would be atrocious, but everyone went on and on about this place. So (finally!), 90 minutes later, we ingested our selection of dogs. Now, Chicago natives might crucify me, but I really don't see the fascination with this. The remix of the lowly dog, while interesting, was not so tasty as to warrant a 90-minute wait. Endy, on the other hand, loved it and would go back. I had purposely planned to have a light eating day, aware of what kind of hours-long extravaganza that dinner could be. So we filled the time with a bit of shopping and a visit to Fox & Obel (401 East Illinois Street, Chicago), an up-scale grocery store. Lots of interesting things to spend your pennies on here and I satisfied myself with a small bag of candy from the tall and colourfully-filled glass jars. Moto turned out to be a 5-hour playful exploration in eating. At the core, dishes were okay-to-excellent, with the bulk of them on the good-end of the scale. A really good first-look at molecular gastronomy for me. And a ton of photos. Read the full post... Day 4: Big Star, Pig Butchering, Goose Island Brewery, Mado, and The Violet Hour We were running a bit late and were unable to hit the Maxwell Street Market that I had originally planned for that morning. Instead, we made a quick stop at Big Star for a snack. Luckily, things were pretty quiet (I hear there are long lines depending on when you go) and we were able to order and eat in less than 30 minutes. I really liked the atmosphere of this place and the tacos were both inexpensive and tasty. Read full post... Our snack done with, we raced around the corner to attend the pig butchering demo at Mado. While I'm still not going to be hacking up half a pig any time soon, it was still a great thing to have learned and absorbed. See all the photos on flickr. To kill time before dinner, we made a stop at the Goose Island Brewery (1800 N. Clybourn Avenue, Chicago). While beer is not so much my thing, it was a nice way to try some local brew. And there's a giant Binz around the corner if you feel like you need more variety. Interesting note: there are more Québec beers available at that Binz than in any LCBO. Sigh. So, earlier in the day at the pig butchering demo, we liked Rob's (the butcher/chef) philosophy and personality enough to have canceled our dinner res at Café Des Architects (20 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago) and made plans to eat at Mado instead. We asked Rob to feed us at-will and so we got to meet our piggy-friend again (delicious!) and sampled some tasty treats both on, and off, the resto's card. Read full post... Stuffed and unsure of stomach capacity - but conveniently located close to Mado - was the highly regarded cocktail bar, The Violet Hour. The place had an exclusive and old-school feel to things, with just a light splash of romance. It was a fantastic way to celebrate and wind-down our final evening in Chicago. Read full post... Overall, we had a really fantastic trip to Chicago and are already pondering a return-visit. There was just so much good food and I know we've only just scraped the surface! There's also a vibrant foodie community in Chicago (hi, and thanks, everyone on LTHforum.com, Chicago Chowhound, and Chicago eGullet), where travelers can benefit from their knowledge and enthusiasm. Hope to be back sooner than later, Chicago. NOTE: There's a map of eats at the bottom of the post with a ton of photos. O_O... so many. Took a while to process and write (plus some flagging enthusiasm in the last two weeks in getting this all written up...). But thanks for all the suggestions. Much appreciated.
  15. I uh... don't use any veggies in mine. Unless you count the small nugget of ginger. Sometimes, I use pork too.
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