Thursday, August 10, 2017

Carmen's Toronto

House snacks courtesy of owner Veronica, but unfortunately not worthy..

Pa am tomaquet (Forno Cultura bread topped with tomato spread and manchego cheese).

Broiled shishito peppers.

Fried artichokes with maldon salt, aioli and lemon.

Roasted potatoes, brava sauce and aioli.

Seared sardines with bean salad.

Roasted brussel sprouts in malt aioli.

A version of tacos not described by the owner (despite requests). Tasty though.

The Paellas:

The paellas were very tasty but the major fault was no socarrat, the rice that gets crunchy and forms a crust at the bottom of the pan. I particularly enjoyed the flavour and texture of the pate negra (below) which was made with squid ink.

Paella Negra, paella topped with whole roasted Mediterranean sea bass and grilled octopus.

Paella Italiana: Farro, roasted wild mushrooms, asadero cheese.

Paella de Carmen: with shrimp. clams, mussels, chorizo, chicken and saffron.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Glasgow Restaurants: Ubiquitous Chip, The Finnieston, Bothy, Rogano, The Gannet, Gamba

Prelim: A bit of Scottish Artistic Humour:

Ubiquitous Chip

This resto has a rather sophisticated, well executed take on ostensibly rustic food. One of my favourite gustatory experiences in Scotland.

Peas, pine nut pesto and wild garlic aioli, seasoned with fresh tarragon.

Veggie haggis made with lentils, pearl barley and dressed with turnip (neeps") cream, accompanied by mashed potatoes ("champit tatties") and carrot crisp. A very good vegetarian rendition of the real thing. The best vegetarian version that I tasted in Scotland.

Haggis, the real thing, made with venison, with rutabaga ("neeps") cream and mashed potatoes ("champit tatties"). The best real haggis I enjoyed in Scotland.

Beautifully seared sea trout with chorizo, clams, sea veggies and a bouilliabaise reduction.

Stovie with prune sauce, a delicious rendition of this traditional Scottish dish, to finish the meal, a savory rather than a sweet, where the ingredients (carrots, potatoes, shredded beef, beef stock and leeks) are reduced for about an hour or a bit more, in a closed pot, at a low temperature.

The Finnieston

 Braised leek, apple vinaigrette, apples, walnut and lovage pesto.

Grilled sardines with herb peperonata and croute.

Wild Garlic and walnut pesto gnocchi.

Whole grilled bream, rose harissa and sauce vierge.

Unfortunately, I found the culinary experience rather disappointing overall.


Isle of Arran haggis, neeps and tatties surrounded by a Glenmorangie whiskey sauce. A treat!

Port braised shallot tart tatin, Scottish foraged herb salad, orange and crumbled Katie Rogers crowdie (fresh cheese). 

Pearl barley risotto, beet root and swiss chard, cep emulsion and beetroot crisps. 

Bothy banoffee (cream of bananas cream and toffee) cheesecake with granola and caramelized banana. Quite delicious!


In 1935, as the great Cunard liner Queen Mary took shape on the Clyde, a restaurant was refitted in the same Art Deco style. With its unique 1930's ambience, Rogano is the oldest surviving restaurant in Glasgow.


A raised painted wall painting. A remarkable souvenir of the times.

 Rogano fish soup with rouille and parmeson croutons.

 Sliced heirloom tomatoes with fetta, basil and pesto.

Grilled lemon sole.

The Gannet

Pea soup with pea shoots.

Pickled mackerel, pickled heritage carrots, Kate Rogers creme fraiche with wild leaves.

Peterhead landed monkfish on a bed of potato puree, violet artichoke, sandwort, Peelham farm chorizo and shetland clams.

Borders hogget (a "lamb" 1-2 years old), shoulder and sweetbread, potato pave, seared gem and roasted rib sauce. Juicy, flavourful meat perfection!

Roast potatoes.

Salted caramel fondant with tonka bean ice cream.

Pistachio and citrus cake, roasted apricot and creme fraiche ice cream.


Grilled sardines.

Hand cut "rooster chips" (there version of french fries), although tasty, quite oily.

Whole black banded sea bream, garlic rapeseed oil, roast red pepper, Norwegian prawns, sweet soy.

Lemon sole simply grilled.

Cheesecake, caramelized bananas and vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

More Vancouver Restaurants: 2017: Raisu, Masayoshi, Ancora, Savio Volpe


Raisu is a good izakaya. The fish is fresh tasting. The fried foods are crispy and not oily and the quality of the fish, meat and fowl is quite good.

Spot prawn sashimi.

Grilled marinated duck with sweet miso sauce.

Kaki fried: beach oysters wrapped in panko and fried.

Panko breaded snow crab in scallops.

Chicken tempura.

Wagyu beef shabu shabu udon with arugula and broth.

Tonkatsu Teishoku: barley fed "Omugi" premium pork, crusted with house made fresh coarse panko and deep fried, accompanied by shredded cabbage and house made dressing.

Grilled salmon.

Souffle cheesecake with fresh fruit sauce.


Steelhead trout anticucho, cilantro pumkin sauce, pico de gallo, skin chicharon.

Fried shrimp not particularly tasty and a bit overcooked.

Salmon and sea urchin sushi.

Toro sashimi.

Aji panca glazed sablefish with charred eggplant puree, marinated broccoli and salsa of roasted pineapple and tomatillo.

Nova Scotia lobster risotto with cauliflower, hazelnuts, preserved lemon and thyme.

Seared scallops and pork belly with sun chokes, caramelized carrot puree, cabbage, spaetzel and caper almond vinaigrette.

Wild and cultivated mushrooms.

Charred broccoli romesco.


For me, Masayoshi was one of the top Japanese culinary experiences in Vancouver. However, I must say that in my experiences, the best of Vancouver can't compare to the best of Toronto ( Hashimoto; Shoushin; Yazu)

Uni shooter (clockwise from the top), nanban-zuke (fish that has been fried and marinated in vinegar) with julienne carrot and onion (both having been marinated in the same vinegar)and canola flower with cod roe.

The highlight of the presentation, an uni shooter, featuring sea urchin and a quail egg suspended in tosazu vinegar (a rice vinegar typically aged in Japanese cedar casks and flavoured with kombu seaweed, bonito fish flakes and mirin).

Firefly squid "cappucino", in a lovely rich broth of burdock root and oyster mushrooms, topped with a milk foam.

Sashimi (clockwise from the top): o-toro; wild sea bass; geoduck clam. To me it was noteworthy that fresh wasabi was not used, especially when it is easily available!

Chawan mushi, a steamed egg custard dish, here, topped with anago (sea eel) which had been topped with tobiko (flying fish roe). The custard was flavoured and filled with diced asari (littleneck) clam, soy bean and chicken. 

The presentation of "smoked" salmon salad. 

House smoked salmon mounted on julienne of green apple, Belgian endive and a slice of papaya and plated with lotus root, arugula, cashew and sauces of egg yolk and kale. The presentation was terrific and the flavours and textures most interesting and appealing. One of my favourite dishes. 

Black cod "kasu-yuki". Perfectly cooked black cod, remarkably juicy and of perfect texture, wrapped around a slice of king mushroom, sided with a baby turnip and topped with a slice of Japanese ginger flower and salmon roe.

The ingredients of "paper pot", enoki mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, shiitake mushroom, carrot, suey choy cabbage (miniature Napa cabbage), seared leek, yam noodles and kinmedai (golden eye snapper). 

Soy milk in a paper cup, heated of a wire mesh and small flame. The ingredients above and placed in the soy milk and heated for 2 minutes and then eaten. 

The ingredients being heated before being eaten. 

Nigri (from left to right):  Yellowtail; bluefin tuna maguro; tako (octopus); shrimp; horse mackerel (aji); sea eel (anago); tomago.

Sakura mochi crepe: the rice flour crepe is wrapped around adzuki bean and strawberry paste and topped with cherry "flour" and cherry blossom. the mochi crepe is wrapped with poached cherry blossom leaf.

Savio Volpe

Savio Volpe is a terrific bistro experience, the kind of resto with good comfort food that one could visit 1 or 2 times a week.

Kale, lemon pepper dressing, romano, and pangrattato.

Sliced tongue with sauce remoulade.

Bread and olive oil.

House made bread.

Meatballs with neck bone gravy.

Papardelli with lamb ragu topped with pecorino cheese.

Tripe in a tomato sauce topped with parmesan cheese.

The wood fired grill.

Steaks that were cooked over the wood fire.

Chicken that had been cooked over the wood fire, with rosemary and grilled lemon.

Roasted potatoes with rosemary.

Dry aged steak, topped with grana padano cheese, with watercress and aged balsamic vinegar. 

Dark chocolate tart with olive oil.

Apricot filled pastry topped with grated orange and powdered sugar.