Saturday, October 22, 2016

Antler Restaurant

Antler was a really enjoyable resto. I am behind in my posts because of my extensive travels, but will catch up posting shortly. 

Unfortunately, the ambient light had a yellow tone and was quite bad so I had to attempt a touch up the photos as best as I could. I apologize for the colour issues. But the ideas of each dish should hopefully be clear. The restaurant deserves this recognition.

Charcoal grilled yakitori: wild mushrooms, duck hearts and chicken thigh. A hearty beginning.

Wild mushroom "tarte tatin" with caramelized onions, foraged mushrooms, sorrel and walnut pesto on puff pastry.

Jamaican venison patty with spicy dipping sauce.

The ingredients of the seasonal soup: hen of the woods mushrooms, green onion and pickled chilis.

A rich tasting venison stock is added to ingredients of the seasonal ingredient soup. Quite wonderful and satisfying.

A delicious, juicy game burger cooked medium rare as requested, composed of wild boar, bison and deer (!!), topped with hot mustard and garlic aioli (I requested NO cheese!!). Very good french fries!

Wild rice bowl with lentils, greens, toasted almonds, market vegetables, butternut squash puree and salsa verde. An excellent vegetarian dish.

White spruce ricotta cheesecake with orange hazelnut crumbs and wild blueberry preserve.

A truly tasty maple tart with bourbon vanilla ice cream. Very good pastry.

Monday, October 17, 2016

At Nota Bene: A Vegetarian Preview of Planta, The new Chase Group Resto.

Chef David Lee, Nota Bene's very talented chef, is the consulting chef at Planta. I asked me to give me a preview of some of the ideas he has been working on for Planta, the new Chase Hospitality Group resto in the location of the old Pangaea resto on Bay Street, at Bloor.

The meal began with Vickie's veggies heirloom tomatoe salad with the cherry tomatoes mounted on roasted eggplant puree with basil, capers and pickles.

Salt-baked celeriac topped with lemon juice, chopped chives and a generous topping of sliced Australian black truffles. A heady dish.

A plant based burger, truly delicious, with grilled portobello mushrooms, sliced heirloom tomato and accompanied by dill pickles and oven roasted frites.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rasa, Toronto

Eating at Rasa, one is guaranteed a colourfully presented, well composed dish of very flavourful, well crafted ingredients.

Mini muffins made of semolina, savoury herbs, smoked provolone and caramelized good, devoured in a mouthful and ordered seconds!

The chopped salad: quinoa, jalapeno, feta, harissa, chickpeas, tomatoes, kale and onion. This could be one of the most satisfying salads in the city... a wonderful range of textures and flavours.

The veg plate, a wide array of flavourful veggies, perfectly cooked. A selection of fall veggies included beets, beans, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, smoked parsnips all on a bed of sunflower romesco and babaganouj. Another terrific dish.

Smoked European sea bass, dill creme fresh, orange caviar, beets and mustard crisps. Another hit!

Wagyu beef rib, bbq sauce, cheddar croquettes (it came with this but not mine, as per my preference), brown butter hollandaise (I also asked for this to not be included my dish) and beef tendon. As most people know who read my blog, I dislike butter or cheeses with beef in any way. I feel that butter and cheese fats are redundant fats when served with beef and that they detract from the appreciation of beef by competing in flavour with the beef fat. If served with off cuts of ordinary beef, it makes no appreciative difference except in how one appreciates the overall experience of a dish)

Truffled gnudi with local mushrooms, portobello "soil", pickled shimeji mushrooms and walnut pesto.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Woodlot, Toronto, Well Worth a Revisit.

I have had a few very enjoyable meals at Woodlot, but had not been back for quite some time. They use a wood burning oven for most of their cooking, which adds a very seductive flavour element to the various very well composed dishes. I should return more often.

I selected a group of dishes but so many others also sounded wonderful!

Wood fire, spiced aubergine and mozzarella empanada with grains de paradis, pickled turnips and accompanied by savory kafir cream.

Ember grilled hen of the woods mushrooms with wild rice, black walnuts, beet root and dill. 

Wood oven roasted, braised cauliflower with swiss chard, barley, walnut, apple, pumpkin, beet and toasted seeds, a dish with a wonderful range of flavours.

Perfectly crisp-seared rainbow trout and perfectly cooked fish, with swiss chard, barley, walnut, apple, pumpkin and warm bacon vinaigrette. Another very well composed dish of harmonious ingredients.

Very tasty wood fired ribs, juicy but a bit over because the meat literally fell off the bone. It is my preference for the meat to slowly peal off the bone when biting into the rib. The ribs were accompanied by fermented buttermilk dressed slaw with julienned apple and radish, a very good complement for this dish.

Raw chocolate mousse tart with raspberry preserves and roasted marshmallow. Delicious!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Alo Restaurant, Again! One of Canada's Finest Eating Experiences.

What you see below is our eating the entire menu and does not represent what a typical menu presents but shows the range of courses we experienced. Of course we were delighted to be able to try every dish!

What distinguishes chef Patrick Kriss's compositions is the wide ranging, harmonious and complementary flavours of each dish.

Gougere with caramelized onion, fontina cheese and fermented jalapeno.

Foie Gras, hearts of palm, passion fruit meringue and coconut.

English pea custard, pea and tarragon bavarois, fava bean duxelle,
chicken skin and buttermilk.

Impeccable hamachi zucchini, pinenut, preserved lemon, basil, olive oil and cerignolo olives.

Bread and Butter (bread and butter course)

Great house made butter.


Morel mushrooms, potato espuma, crispy shallot and nasturium.

Dungeness crab, Saskatchewan chanterelles, garlic scapes, Carolina gold rice.

Poached Nova Scotia lobster, vadouvan, radish, avocado puree, finger lime.

Roasted striped bass (perfectly cooked with beautifully crispy skin), baby artichokes, bluefoot mushrooms, mushroom and hazelnut stew, sherry and brown butter gastrique.

St. Canut (the best of Canadian pork) rack of pork, cherries, swiss chard, violet mustard, pistachio and turnip.


Tomatillo granite, puffed rye berries and sheep's milk yogurt

Rhubarb sorbet, almond cake, white chocolate and black pepper meringue.

Carrot bavarois, chamomile ice cream and verjus.

Chateau de bourgogne, honeycomb, seabuckthorn, buckwheat brioche and
buckwheat honey.

Dark Chocolate Cremeaux, mint ice cream, coco nib tuile and dehydrated
chocolate mousse.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Globe Bistro, Toronto

My present visit to Globe just happened to coincide with "Summerlicious". This is a mid-summer "celebration" when the resto community opens up to the general public with set menus and simply composed dishes, all for a very reasonable cost, to give new visitors a taste of what the resto does. For example, a 3 course meal with 2 possible selections for each course, all for $35.00. Fortunately at Globe, they had a few extras for me and my guests to indulge in and I cherry picked everything that was available that appealed to me.

Cod croquettes with sauce gribiche, house made potato crisps and frisee.

Chorizo and shrimp "paella": puffed rice, saffron broth, green bean salad, parsley and aioli.

Chilled corn soup, cilantro foam, espelette pepper and lime. A very tasty soup but a somewhat heavy hand with the salt.

A very well composed garden salad with marinated zucchini, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, gem lettuce, dill emulsion and fresh sheeps milk cheese (which I asked not to be included).

NO PHOTO: Fogo Island cod and snow crab with cod cheek and snow crab en gelee,lettuce hearts, sliced radish and confit garlic emulsion. A very good dish.

Pistachio dukka crusted lamb loin with charred eggplant puree, toasted bulgar salad, spinach and honey-brown butter sauce.

NO PHOTO: "Summer feast": chickpea puree, marinated eggplant, green beans, cherry tomatoes, puffed wild grains and spiced yogurt. This was a very well composed and very tasty vegetarian dish. Once again, unfortunately, a bit of a heavy hand with the salt in the chickpea puree.

Summer peach crumble with camomile mousse.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Magic Noodle, Toronto

All dishes come with a choice of hand pulled noodles: hair, standard, thin, triangle, wide and wider (with a visual presentation of each on the menu).

BBQ buddies: chicken and pork stock, BBQ pork, bok choy, cilantro, scallions and noodles. 

"Pigplant" stew with minced pork, stewed eggplant, scallions and noodles.

The noodle experience is ok, but nowhere near as satisfying as a really good Japanese ramen resto, such as Kinton.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Seattle Restos: Pig Iron BBQ; Slims Last Chance; Westward, Din Tai Fung, Golden Beetle.

Pig Iron BBQ

The best thing about BBQ here is the cole slaw, perhaps the best cole slaw i have enjoyed at any BBQ joint! Now, I am not totally dissing the BBQ here. The turkey was reasonably moist, but not enough smoke. The Brisket was ok, but not enough smoke. The sausage was very good and comes sliced in a tomatoey/onion sauce and the ribs were overcooked and not smokey enough. The just slid off the bone. Rib meat, when you bight into it, should easily peel off the bone but not fall off. The BBQ beans were very good with a nice bight, a thick, well reduced consistency and pleasant smokiness.

Slim's Last Chance

Slim's funnily enough, has the same proprietor as Pig Iron BBQ! But this saloon mainly serves chili, and WHAT CHILI!! For me, I must say that this may have been among the very best places I have enjoyed chili anywhere. What distinguishes chili here as each different chili dish has it's protein with the perfect protein particle size best enjoyed with its dish. Also, each dish has it's own degree of heat, well appropriate for the ingredients and other spices in the dish so that the layers of flavour are slowly revealed on your palate as you enjoy each spoonful.

Brisket and bean chili: Coarsely chopped slow smoked brisket, coarsely ground beef with fire roasted tomatoes and red beans.

Chili verde: New Mexico green chilis, tomatillos and slow simmered finely ground pork. 

Texas red chili: traditional all meat chili made with coarsely ground beef and surrounded with an very pleasing, intensely flavoured sauce. 

My fave, Turkey and white bean: Coarsely ground turkey, white beans and serrano chilis bathed in a very rich turkey broth.

Side by side Pig Iron BBQ and Slim's Last Chance Saloon.


Initially the service was attentive, but quickly declined to virtual ignoring! the dime between dishes near the end of our meal was up to 35 minutes!!

The wood fired oven.....fortunately, NOT for making pizzas!! Most dishes made in this oven.

Grilled octopus, with a perfect, consistently tender texture and a very pleasing slightly smokey flavour from the wood oven, accompanied by taramasalata, chili, charred fennel bark and chili oil.

Wood fired gigantes beans, presentation.

The beans were perfectly cooked with a slightly soft, mashy texture and were in a tomato sauce with marjoram and feta and all topped with breadcrumbs. A very richly flavoured, slightly smokey dish that was truly delicious. 

Perfectly cooked clams with fire toasted bread. The sauce was richly flavoured and had a wonderful mouth feel. 

Don't waist your time ordering the potatoes. Although they were supposedly flavoured with lemon and oregano, those flavours were lost, they lacked the nice smokey flavour of the wood fired oven. Further, They lacked the rich flavour of the other dishes and were not cooked to proper doneness. 

Pan roasted black cod with smoked oyster sabayon, caramelized leeks, oyster root chips and squid ink vinaigrette. A nice dish but not a standout like the other dishes. 

This was to have been our final dish, wood oven roasted rainbow trout. This dish was supposed to be accompanied by meyer lemon segments, marcona almonds and sage brown butter. While we were ordering all our dishes, this dish was brought to a neighbour but I noticed it was floating in butter. So, when we ordered the dish, we asked for no nuts and no butter as the fish itself looked very moist when we saw our neighbour peel the skin. but, not only did it take about 35 minuted to come, but came with nuts and butter sauce and since we were told it would take at least 20 more minutes to come, and since we had already been at the resto for almost 3 hours, we cancelled the dish. This is a photo taken of the dish at another neighbours table. I am sure it would have been great and if we were here in Seattle long enough, we would have returned and enjoyed just this dish.

A very refreshing buttermilk panna cotta topped with elderflower gelee all accompanied by poached rhubarb and oatmeal streusel. 

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is a chain of restos throughout asia and north america. There is a Din Tai Fung in Markham, Ontario, that may be a branch.

 Making dough and noodles.

Cucumber salad, steamed with soy sauce, was quite delicious.

Seaweed and bean curd in a vinegar dressing.

Sweet and sour spare ribs.

Steamed kale with garlic.

Vegetarian noodle soup.

Pork and crab xiao long bao. Yes this is just one order.

Vegetarian dumplings (1 order).

Vegetable and pork won tons with spicy sauce.

Golden Beetle

Golden beetle serves organic Mediterranean inspired cuisine. The chef, Maria Hines, has won the James Beard award and has been featured on Iron Chef. The food was good for what it was, but it was not exceptional Mediterranean cuisine. I never write about restos I do not like. This resto is a good alternative to other local cuisines.

Crispy Moroccan shrimp roll, savoy cabbage brix dough, spicy red pepper puree. 

Muhammara  with walnut, pomegranate molasses and olive oil, accompanied by wood fired flat bread.

Spicy hummus with garlic, serrano pepper, tahini and olive oil, served with wood fired flat bread. 

Pide, Turkish style pizza, topped with foraged roasted mushroom puree, smoked cauliflower puree, sunflower seeds and macerated apricot.

Wood fired mussels and clams with anchovy-parsley butter, chick peas and scallions accompanied by wood fired flat bread.

Well done, very crispy, sumac spiced french fries, fried in beef fat accompanied by harissa aioli.. 

Bulgur lamb meatballs on a bed of baba ghanoush pin nuts and topped with date puree.

Herb infused felafel made from fava beans, accompanied by cabbage slaw and tahini.