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Explorer

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  1. Explorer

    Le Pain Quotidien Toronto

    Not only that, but the price/quality ratio isn't there. I've been the one in NY and here. $4 for a "Pain a l'Ancienne" that ain't really what it's supposed to be. Not sure who they are trying to fool. $4 for the smallest (and tasteless) Danish I've ever seen in my life. Something got lost in the "Franchising". And to hear that they are planning to add another 2-3 in Toronto is dreadful news. Yup, "save your money". btw- the guy from ING is Dutch not Belgian; i'm pretty sure.
  2. Have you tried Thomas Haas Bakery in North Vancouver. He makes a brioche-like pastry which he used to provide for Senses as well.
  3. Explorer

    Zagat Toronto 2006 Edition

    no surprises really there. as Estuferian elluded to,- there's always something good to say about any restaurant in the zagat guide, even the one's that score 10's. One thing they got right is the "relative scale" within each city- meaning that a 29 in Toronto and a 29 in NY are two different things really. Interesting to contrast with Michelin, where a star is a star, although they had to be a "bit" more liberal when they issued their NY guide.
  4. Explorer

    Eigensinn Farm

    I look at it slightly differently, i.e. from the point of view of "what's missing in your culinary life that you want to fill in?" For example, if you've been to several Michelin types restaurants in Europe (at the 2-star and up), Eigensinn will remind you of that (on a good day) without the formality of the Michelins. I think you will get more variety from choosing 2 of Susur/Splendido/Perigee, but you're on the hook because it depends on what you order (vs. Eigensinn where it's all pre-set). (although the other 3 offer pre-set menus, you have some flexibility of choice) If you're a wine buff, and it excites you to bring 3-4 bottles to enjoy during the meal, then Eigensinn allows you that experience. It also depends on whether you get excited by the newness factor of the food vs. how well it was prepared (i.e. do you prefer a perfect steak or an imperfect something new you never had before). My take: Perigee: no surprises, well prepared Susur: surprising food, not always well prepared Eigensinn: surprising food, mostly well prepared Splendido: good balance of two Good luck.
  5. Explorer

    pain au chocolate cravings

    I believe it has to do with the pasteurization techniques which are more stringent here and take some of the flavors out. Even imports have "some" restrictions; it would be very expensive to import butter to make croissants! Look at the price of imported French cheese. Dunno much about Quebec, but I think it's a tad more fatty than here, but not quite like in Europe, but I am not sure. We should ask Lesley in Montreal forum!
  6. Explorer

    pain au chocolate cravings

    Forget about comparing to Paris- that won't happen: the butter isn't the same as there, so you will never be able to find the same as there. Butter in France is more fatty than here, and the few more % make a big difference, plus the way it's processed here (by most) takes away any remaining flavors. Having said that, my favorites are both Celestin and Clafouti- ditto for their croissants.
  7. Explorer

    Fresh Pasta Eatery in Toronto

    How can people give generalized advice if they don't seem to know the difference between fresh/homemade pasta and pasta served in commercially driven Italian restaurants that just have a trendy name? The taste of home-made, authentically made pasta will jump at you, if you know what I mean. Fresh pasta is a misnomer; if you think that the "fresh pasta" sold in packages at Loblaws is fresh pasta, well...it might be a small step-up from the dried ones, but nothing like a home-made type with the right flour/semolina. Even some better dried pasta from Italy tastes better than the "fresh pasta" sold in packages in Ontario. OK- Fresh pasta in a restaurant in Toronto: the best and bar none is to be found at Da Roberto, in Nobleton. His wife makes it every day, day in and day out- it's all fresh except the gnochi (which they tell you about). Actually, it's outside Toronto, a 30 mins drive near Kleinburg, but worth it. For excellent Italian fare, home-made also, try Alta Rossa in Woodbridge, open on week-ends only on Jevlan Dr. Da Roberto used to be at Mastro Robero, which is still respectable, but a notch down since Roberto sold it last year and moved up north to Nobleton. Has anyone been to Da Roberto or Mastro Roberto (when Roberto was there), Speak-up!
  8. Explorer

    San Marzano Tomatoes?

    Pasquale Bros in Etobicoke has the real McCoy SM- there are many cans that have the labels, but misleading if not DOC. There is a difference if you get the real thing. Can should be above $3 to give you an idea. But this year, the tomatoe season was great in Toronto. I planted SM in my backyard, and in September they were delicious. Made tomato sauce that rivalled a real SM from Campania. What are you making? Pizza or pasta? Explorer.
  9. Explorer

    Saludos!

    If the ideal gastronomy existed, perhaps you are the closest to taking it to newer heights. The paradigm shifting that is your trademark is certainly the closest to a next evolution that is making many others think (for years to come) about the boundaries that we already knew. If I was sitting in front of you, I would ask "Is this a rethorical or philosophical question"? Well, you have already generated a lot of rethoric, judging by the posts here. But philosophically speaking- and I suspect that this where you get a lot of your intellectual creativity- gastronomy is part art, part fashion so it will thrive and die on innovation, no matter what personal opinions might be. But to think of gastronomy as whatever each one of us thinks it is, although is a humbling statement- somehow lessens the sublime that can be achieved when the synergy of taste, technique, presentation and smell converge magically. If great food awakens pleasant emotions; in my view- the ideal gastronomy is when an orgasm of emotions has been reached.
  10. Explorer

    Advice needed for Paris virgin

    I don't recommend Le Dome du Marais. Was there a few months ago and commented on it somewhere else. Nothing to it, really. There are much better bistros in the area. The dome is ok, but aren't you going there for food?
  11. Explorer

    Dining in Saumur/Chinon area

    I highly recommend dining at the restaurant in the Chateau Marcay. It's a bit of an unknown to the general tourist, as they attract the locals from the areas. We stayed there 3 years ago and lucked out on it. I knew the chef had something; we had diinner twice there. Last year, there was a feature story on him in the Gault Millau magazine as an up-and-comer. His cuisine has very subtle Asian influences; I recall the ginger sorbet in between plates was amazing; also pigonneau was very serious. Double check that they still have the same chef as 3-4 years ago, and you'll be in good hands. The dinning room is cozy also; I recall it's made up of 2-3 small rooms. Later, you can relax with a cognac in the foyer which has a serene atmosphere. Be sure to try some upper end Bourgeuil wines which they will never export. (specialty of the region).
  12. Explorer

    Chambar

    Oh I forgot to comment on the Frites...they would be a disgrace in Belgium, or in any other respectable French place. They were slightly better than frozen ones; they were not crispy, not tasty, shapped too square...a great disapointment.
  13. Explorer

    Chambar

    Ditto to Coop. We went there for lunch last week, and there were more downs than ups. They definitely need to work some things out, including service. The room at the back is nice, although I would never want to be seated in the front or along the corridor. We ordered 1 glass of wine; 2 arrived. The Mussels Congolaise was excellent- I recommend it highly especially that it was in generous portions and sauce. The tomato sauce had the right balance of spice and sweetness. The Mussels a l'escargot left a lot to be desired. First, they arrived barely warm as they couldn't co-ordinate the 2 orders. I sent it back asking for a new one to be done, not the old one to be re-heated. In an overzealous move, it came back overly done, almost nuked and piping hot- with the taste of mussels pretty much gone. We asked for bread (which isn't offered)- How else could you enjoy mussels if you can't dip the bread in the sauce? We waited and waited until we were more than half-way done with the mussels- After asking for it 3 times, 4 nice grilled slices of bread arrived with 2 dips (a tapenade and a basil-base of some sort). I have 2 problems with this: 1) why give us a dip when the best dip is the mussels sauce instead? 2) when we got the bill, they charged $5 for the bread, but nowhere on the menu did it say they charge for the bread, and our waiter didn't even tell us they charge for bread when we ordered it. So, they took it off.
  14. How about Lebeau patisserie or Ecco Il Pane ? Unlike Toronto, I don't find a shortage of reasonably good French bread in Vancouver in other places too.
  15. Thank you Jamie and Dr. Celica for a very insightful response. I wasn't necessarily looking for a sociological satire on Toronto vs. Vancouver, but it appears that the art of the Kaiseki isn't well suited to North America in general as these comments would apply elsewhere. I personally have enjoyed the experience, but even Toronto has only 1 remaining Kaiseki restaurant; the other one opened and closed within months with a chef that used to work with Toji's. Jamie, I will be in Vancouver next week. Did you receive my other pm's? Where can I meet Tom....does he really prefer beer to sake?
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