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Everything posted by Renka

  1. Just in case anyone is interested in the Splendido meal, the image set from that night can be found here. canucklehead, have you thought of trying George?
  2. I had my experience at Colborne Lane not long ago and I'd recommend people to wait too. Images and impressions of the meal: Colborne Lane Did the Tasting Menu (with wine pairings) at Splendido (return visit) shortly after and it was lovely. But that would be outside of the workable budget here. My meal at Via Allegro was a first visit (Monday evening) and a highlight. It's workable with the budget given however it's a little out of the way. That visit is documented here: Via Allegro
  3. Renka

    Perigee 2007

    Nice pics! ← Thanks! Looking forward to your report! When should we expect it?
  4. Renka

    Globe Bistro

    Here's my little addition to jen c's (my "friend's" ) review. Images of all the dishes that were ordered and attached comments can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/se...57600039253532/ Located on the Danforth, Globe Bistro is the next hottest place to visit for food aficionados, mainly due to the growing appeal of eating fresh and local. Upon entering the premises, one is greeted by a darkened lounge/bar area for casual drinks and chit chat. Passing through a narrow walkway, an open peek into the kitchen is offered before stepping into the full dining area. The main dining room consists of a lower and second story dining area with a 16 foot vaulted ceiling. Of interest, the floors still reflect its past life as a bowling alley. Helpful service is attentive when the dining room is relatively free, but hard to flag down as the evening progresses and when rushed for the next seating. We were happy to note that our server, Andy, was candid with us regarding evening recommendations, particularly when three of our dining companions wished to order the Oven Roast Black Cod. Not only did he mention that that was not a personal favourite, he also noted that there was apparently a plate that was just sent back to the kitchen. I already knew from another friend's experience at Globe that the cod was not a stellar dish, but the fact that Andy was kind enough to ensure that our dining experience was top notch by reiterating this personal opinion was a bonus. Food wise, prime products are sourced mostly from Cumbrae Farms and La Ferme, where Chef Ben Heaton spins them into a respectable selection of land and sea. Although lacking oomph to propel Globe as one of the top dining destinations of Toronto, the attention Chef Heaton pays to showcase the best of the best is apparent and would continue to provide picky palates with much to laud about.
  5. Renka

    Perigee 2007

    I posted my visit there from February 2007 on my photostream not too long ago. You can find all associated comments for each dish we received in the two 7 course tasting menus we were served in the link below. Enjoy! http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/se...57600029526154/ Regarding what to eat, if you are fortunate enough to get the goose, that's quite nice. And if possible, see if you can get the Foie Gras "Waffle" course. I still dream of it.
  6. Amy, Instead of jumbo chip bags, you can buy thin cardboard boxes (think the size of jumbo cereal boxes) of Old Dutch chips. When you open the box, you'd find two oblong bags (like the plastic bags that hold cereal but not as wide) of chips. So it's like two medium sized bags of chips contained in one box. That way, at parties, or when opening up a bag for home consumption, you kind of have a) portion control; b) less worry about not finishing up a large bag of chips before it all goes stale (because, really, you've only opened half the package). Was that too much info?
  7. Growing up out west, Old Dutch was the norm. It was strange when I moved out east to find that it was Humpty's. I never grew up with Ringolos (I remember the shocked looks on my classmates faces and how they seemed to pity me. One girl even ran out to the vending machine and bought me a bag during the break! ) . Anyway, since then I've always craved the more puckering power of the Old Dutch Salt 'n Vinegar, ketchup and their version of All Dressed (it's the brand I first experienced this flavour with). However, my favourite (and one that left me with sweet breath during my junior high years) has always been Garlic & Onion! That flavour is salty, sweet, totally delicious and completely addictive. You just have to make sure you eat it alone or around people who like you enough to stick around after you finish the bag(s)/box.
  8. For great homestyle Japanese, I always go to Tokyo Grill at Yonge and Wellesley. The katsu don, sukiyaki, and fresh soba (every last Sat of the month) are faves. If you're looking for great ramen, TO's not really the place to go... I think Ematei is above average.
  9. I'll chime in with another vote for Omi if you're sticking to the downtown core.
  10. Marmish, Thank you for your kind words. The packaging I used: For the large tray: a two compartment plastic tray, various sized muffin cup liners (including petite bonbon liners ~1 inch diameter to hold i.e. the cranberry pistachio snowballs; jumbo, large and medium sized liners for the drop cookies; 4 1/2' liners for the square shaped cookies), plastic food safe bags that fit over the entire tray, and organza ribbon. In addition to the trays, I also used some 100% clear boxes with lid closures (not shown). For the cookie bag: muffin cup liners as mentioned above (some with festive patterns), stiff flat bottom plastic food safe bags, and either organza ribbon or twine. For the mini-coffee snack packs: muffin cup liners to separate some of the cookie layers, mini-gift boxes with windows (the packages I bought also came with inner plastic food safe liners that had twist tie closures) or clear cellophane wrap (food safe) and curling ribbon. Much of the packaging material was bought at specialty stores that carry packaging material. If you do get similar material make sure the plastic bags, etc. are food safe. Other than that, everything else is subject to your imagination. I know I'm eyeing some of the nice packaging ComeUndone had used for her cookies this year.
  11. thanks! Now to search for a copy of the book that costs less than $199, and isn't in German! I think I might be able to browse through one in Kyoto, so I'll have the perfect excuse to visit when i get back to Japan. ← My copy of La Patisserie de Pierre Hermé is the French/English version... a most wonderful birthday gift I received a couple years ago. (not to be greedy as I've already this gem, but I'm awaiting the French/English translation of PH10!)
  12. Florentines are my absolute favourite bar cookie! Is this recipe from one of his books, and if so, which one? ← prasantrin, I followed the instructions in La Patisserie of Pierre Hermé.
  13. Abra, Thanks for the encouragement. Still playing around to photograph photos as tasty as Ling.
  14. For this year, my annual Xmas cookie packages included the following: Pierre Hermé's Sablés Florentines (Florentin "Sablés") Sweetened shortcrust Florentin Mixture Ghirardelli bittersweet coating This is a favourite biscuit/cookie of mine to make. It always ends up looking and tasting lovely. Chocolate dipped Pistachio Cardamom cookies Ghirardelli bittersweet coating Chopped organic pistachios Pierre Hermé's Sablés à la Noix de Coco (Coconut "Sablés") Coconut "Sablés" Mixture Chocolate dipped Candied ginger cookie Ghirardelli bittersweet coating Organic candied ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Apricots, Pears and Coffee (Inspired by Seattle's Macrina Bakery and Café's Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Apricots and Espresso) Bittersweet Callebaut Chocolate Chunks Organic dried apricots and pears Macadamia Kona Coffee Biscuits Très Gingembre (Inspired by Marks and Spencer's Ginger Stem Cookie) Organic candied ginger Toasted Oats Fresh ginger root White Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Cookies And the non-cookie: Rich Chocolate Cupcake with Caramelized Hazelnuts Cap Altogether packaged, they looked like this: Or like this on a tray: (has also Cranberry Pistachio Snowballs) and
  15. Renka


    I made one too... a Caramel-Pecan Bûche de Noël served with caramel sauce (inspired by the recipe from Dec 2006's Bon Appetit's version). I think the next time (if there is another time) I'll make sure that I add at least 2 cups of frosting inside the roll vs the 1 cup recommended in the recipe. It would make rolling the cake easier (as I wouldn't have to try and force a tighter roll which leads to potential cracks).
  16. The pleasure is ours to be in your company. I have to confess that I've been a Toronto Life subscriber for many years and that the first things I usually turn to are the Dining and Restaurants sections. I also enjoy the guides that come out every month, particularly the food + wine and restaurants editions. I'm glad to see that the expose from last month noted that there wasn't too much of a difference in food quality or general service between the staff knowing who you (or Mr. Chatto) were vs. being a regular customer (if anything, I suppose the slight difference in attention could be attributed to the comfort level that might be present when you've become a regular/friend to the restaurant or the alert attention they may give to someone who may be dining to give a review). We appreciate the premise for the article, and it was indeed fun to read.
  17. Endy': Totally agree with you on the Omi vs Hiro bit. Hence why I would choose to return to Omi over Hiro Regarding KV, don't order the sushi then! (I know I don't. ) Let us know how you like the place up north on Yonge. Either way, they have to be more authentic than their Ninth Gate cousin. I agree with you too. Now it's time to test out Kaiseki-Sakura and throw that in the mix, right?
  18. I suppose dried shrimp can be eaten, but they are generally pretty tough until they are soaked. But dried scallops are hard as a rock! ← Either way, I love dried seafood. When I was little, I used to take all the dried scallops that were broken, and munch on those. Have you tried the individually packaged dried scallop "candy"? It's the best, especially the ones from Japan. When I get my hands on them, I finish so many little packets at a time. If only they weren't so expensive. I hit jackpot one year in HK when there was a buy one get one free promotion, and I bought 2 giant packs of scallop "candies" (more like preserved scallops, still mosit and oh so tasty). I won't go into detail about all the other snacks I bought (dried dance fish sheets sandwiching sesame seeds, egg roll cookies with pork floss and sesame seeds, bags of beef jerky "candies", etc). In Shanghai, I was so happy to buy many packages of preserved duck gizzards and duck tongues! YUM! I do that too! Taking a fork and eating a jar of XO sauce (minus the oil). I also would take a jar of the pickled spicy radish and do the same. Crunchy, munchy and spicy. No rice or anything needed. Straight from fork to mouth! Geeze, with all the things that have been listed here, I must sound very strange, as everything above is "normal" for me to snack on. Just some examples of my extreme snacking... I must shamefully confess that I'm notorious for being the snacking queen to all of those around me(loaves of bread or half dozen bagels, box of cereal in one sitting sort of craziness). But what really makes me happy are Asian snacks, i.e. hot five spice beef jerky nuggets, satay pork jerky shreds, containers of crispy beef floss with sesame seeds and seaweed (eating a whole can of fish floss is a little too powdery and salty vs a whole plastic container of the pork/beef floss), preserved prunes, lemongrass preserved licorice apricots, dried preserved papaya shreds or lemon peels, thai spiced cuttlefish or Hokkaido style grilled shredded squid, wasabi flavoured seaweed, etc. Just a few examples for those wondering what I'm talking about: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/282858419/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/153391600/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/310848179/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/310848183/ BTW, pork/beef floss is also great between slices of soft white bread. Talk about bad nutrition, sodium overload on top of nutrient deprived processed grains. But oh so tasty! (edited to add links)
  19. Just my comments about Ninth Gate a couple months back: I can write in superfluous details regarding the modern décor of Ninth Gate; about its nouveau approach to reinvent a rustic, no frills, home style cuisine to a society that's attracted by bells and whistles and the next big trend; the attention to westernizing everything Asian, including the use of wait staff (and no doubt kitchen hands) who were anything but; or even its strategic location to be in an area that is both away from its cuisine's cultural origins and hence, competition to provide great value and/or flavour to a crowd demanding true authenticity. Or I can say simply, it was a decent experience for what it was worth, in an area where you couldn't really expect any more for a restaurant of that calibre, and the place had pretty colours. To note, I've only been there a total of ONE time(s) so it's really not fair to write a review of a restaurant based on one meal. I had the dolsot bibimbap with brown rice and EXTRA chili paste (how I like it) and it was fine. I didn't get that many crispy rice bits at the bottom of my bowl (no searing sounds when I was mixing my rice and toppings with the sauce). It could be because the stone pot wasn't hot enough, or the fact that there WASN'T AN EGG in my dish at all (I looked at my dolsot dish, and it had some enoki mushrooms on top and not the shredded omelet that my friend got). It's just funny as I did inquire about the "egg" that was supposed to be in our dish. No matter. I'd recommend the place if you like places like Spring Rolls. I personally like Korean Village on Bloor best. Even after a recommendation to try Sarawon I still like Korean Village a lot more. (checked out your flickr site Endy' and saw you went to Omi. Don't you just love it? I suppose it's related to this link as Chef Lee is Korean. BTW, I like how you dine. I'd do the same if I were to stick around after an omakase meal. )
  20. Avenues and Chef Bowles make my heart smile. I visited the kitchen bar not too long ago and was wow-ed. Avenues deserves the 5-Diamond designation, and I'd highly encourage others to experience it for themselves. Much thanks to ChefGEB and his team for an exquisite meal and for making the entire experience so wonderful!
  21. gaf, Thank you for hosting this dinner and for introducing the three of us Moto-newbies to the joys of dining under Chef Cantu's care. In retrospect, I do agree with you that a 5, or at most 10, course menu would probably have been best for an evening of great dining, however I must confess the anticipation of "what will we be presented with next?" kept my endurance up for the 5.5 hours of dining. Of course, great company helps too. My recommendation for anyone interested in dining at Moto is to expect it to be a meal of diner interaction with the food. Moto may not be a place of four star cuisine, but one would certainly be greatly amused in the whimsical nature of each course and find much to talk about (a video recorder to document the reactions of Moto virgins would be neat too - I recall our child-like giggles when we popped in the cotton candy bomb!). Lastly, my favourite courses of the evening were the Maple Squash Cake (just lovely), the Passion Fruit and Crab (perfection in flavour when all the components were consumed together), the Rabbit and Aromatic Utensils (that reminded me of Chinese BBQ pork ), and the Chili-Cheese Nachos (so cleverly deceiving and tasty - a perfect contrast in taste, colour and texture). It was a great pleasure to meet you and I look forward to the potential of dining in your company in the near future.
  22. Just a quick post regarding the lovely dinner (yes, the tour) I just completed at Alinea. Besides being in a room that ended up being filled with Canadians (and a few pride and joys of Toronto sitting at the "rock star" table next to mine), having the attentive and wonderful service of Olivia and Jason (and Eric ), I was treated to a special first edition/made for me (the person allergic to chocolate) Butternut Squash dessert (to replace the chocolate course). Butternut squash: Honey and brioche puree Toasted brioche crumbs Grapefruit pulp and gelee Raisin verjus sorbet Chilled brioche soup Kudos to Chef Achatz for coming back to the Alinea kitchen after a long day and participation at the Food & Wine Expo and for being so attentive to my allergy/dessert replacement request. Chef Achatz's creativity and effort at a moment's notice from this first experience of mine, deems him much respect in my (amateur) opinion.
  23. You know, I'd say that the photo and note taking might have contributed to some stellar service (extra tasting courses i.e. a 3 courser becoming nearly 18!; 5 wait staff serving me; meeting with the chef) I experienced a couple years ago in Tokyo. But then again, that was the sister branch of a Michelin 2 Star-ed restaurant. Besides French Laundry, I'd say the service I had there has not been surpassed. I remember being asked at the beginning (after I inquired if it were gauche to take pictures (no flash)) if I was a food critic. That was funny. However, I believe that the attention given to me probably came from the fact that I was a female, "young-ish", dining at a high end establishment alone, taking pictures and notes that signaled to the kitchen and staff that I was there for the food. I've no complaints. That was a superb experience. I'll probably have to wait until after this week's journey to Avenues, Moto and Alinea to see if the picture/note taking and dining with (or through the connection of) those who know the chef really does make a difference in order to be able to comment further on this. Seriously though, as a paying patron, I really hope to have memorable food and service. However, having connections, I would assume, ensures things will be great overall.
  24. Being the food nerd that I am, I do have a copy of Asian Legend's (takeout) menu (I'd recommend eating in the restaurant though). Although I frequent their Chinatown/Downtown location more, I have to admit that the North York location appears to have a couple more dishes (and in general, the food tastes better). Look for the Northern Chinese Dim Sum portion of the menu and you'll see the "soup filled meat dumplings" which is what Endy' was referring to. I also find that the "steamed crab pork dumplings" are good if you want to spluge (only because it doesn't taste much diff from the standard soup filled meat dumpling). Endy' was also referring to the "Onion Pancake Roll Filled with sliced Beef" and the "Glutinous Rice Rolls". These are excellent suggestions, and if I were to order the glutinous rice rolls I would ensure it's the savory one with the shredded dried pork. These are, in essence, logs of sticky rice wrapped around a deep fried Chinese dough stick (something you might normally find that is served with congee), crispy shredded dried pork and some preserved radish. Super yummy, and excellent when made fresh. The restaurant will also cut them into portions for you, wrapped in plastic, for easy handling. If you were to get this, I would also suggest getting a bowl of "hot soy bean milk (sweetened or salty)," although my preference is for the sweetened version (as the savory one is unappetizing to me...). I'd also recommend ordering the "Chinese Silver Bun (Steamed or Deep fried)," which are nostalgic and fun to eat (strands of fluffy dough hidden beneath a thin layer of dough) that's usually served with sweetened condensed milk. Mmmmm! If you've never tried it, "Shredded Radish Pan Cake" is really nice too. Think of a pan fried flakey pastry surrounding a tasty shredded daikon radish center. Other items I would suggest include the "Deep Fried Tofu," that's just so piping hot and crisp, with a spicy garlicky soy dressing and the "Wonton in Hot Chili Peanut Sauce." For noodles/substantial entree items, try the "Noodles with Braised Chunk Beef" (although I find it's not as good anymore) or "Dan Dan Spicy Noodles." For dessert , make sure you give yourself time to order the "Red Bean Pancakes" AND/OR the impressive "Mashed Red Bean Paste with Egg" (think giant fluffy clouds of meringue batter enveloping an oozy center of red bean paste, deep fried and covered with granulated sugar). As you can see, it's always best to go as a group. That way you can order more dishes and try them all. Happy eating!
  25. Isn't it funny that Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is fast approaching and some of the mooncakes (more of a dessert/tea time item) out there have a savory animal product mixed in with the sweet filling. i.e. cured ham in lotus paste (which isn't bacon per se), traditional salted duck egg yolk in lotus paste. I don't really think this is what Ling was thinking of honoring when she came up with this suggestion (my guess is that she had great success during her week of blogging in Seattle with that duck fat pastry). Depending on how you look at it, some other Asian bakery or dim sum items could be considered dessert like. Just a few minor suggestions if you're really stuck, gfron1. In no way do I envy your position!
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