There are so many restaurants in Toronto that do very good Sunday brunches and lunches, but Edulis is unique in what chef Michael Caballo offers for lunch. There is an exceptional range and quality of what is offered, and all for the flat prix fixe of 40 dollars!!! And, "just for fun", all wines are available for HALF PRICE!! I can assure you that I could not eat better, anywhere I have traveled!
House made bread with delicious house made butter.
Rutabaga fries with anchovy mayonnaise. The sweetness of the caramelized rutabaga matched nicely with this well conceived mayo. They were gone in a flash.
Beet "grits", golden, red and candy cane varieties cooked with bacon, accompanied by ricotta dumplings, beet shoots and sheep's milk yogurt. So beautiful to look at and so enticing, I (we) forgot to take a photo! A wonderful dish, again, well conceived.
House smoked mackerel, with a remarkably good texture, only made possible by chef Caballo's sure hand. The mackerel slices were topped with crunchy salad that included radish, black garlic vinaigrette and fried bread cubes. A marvel of different and pleasing textures.
House cured and hot smoked St. Canut Ham (from pigs that free range in Quebec at St Canut Farms, and are finished before slaughter on a diet of milk), with celeriac, pickles, dijonnaise and braised leeks. Another remarkable dish of wonderful flavours and textures.
Delicious duck fat potatoes.
Cochinillo ("suckling") pig, cooked in a "wood oven" accompanied by roasted onions and treviso. The crackling was crisp and delicious; the meat was so tender and succulent . Such a great "comfort" dish.
Brillat Savarin, a creamy cheese from Burgundy, layered in house with shaved black Perigourd truffles, drizzled with a bit of honey and madeira, not included in the Sunday prix fixe. What could be better!
Gateau Basque made with house preserved Ontario plums and almond cream, a very tasty finish to a truly delightful meal.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
We have such a wonderful opportunity to experience cuisines of great cultural diversity in the Toronto GTA. Now, Gulf House a new restaurant, has opened on Yonge street just north of Bloor. The owners/hosts are most gracious, charming and welcoming and more than pleased to explain the elements of each dish.
Motabaq: our favourite dish, "beef crepes": sauteed ground beef, chopped green onions and tomatoes, parsley and eggs, wrapped in a whole wheat crepe and pressed in the sandwich press. We were told, afterwords, that we should have squeezed lemon juice onto the pieces, but when lemon is served in slices, not wedges, one does not get the idea and anyhow, tough to squeeze lemon slices.
Kabsa chicken: Moist, grilled chicken leg with delicious basmati rice mixed with slow sauteed, sweet tasting onions and raisins, served with a side of mildly spicy Gulf House sauce.
Shawerma bites: marinated chicken wrapped in thin saag bread with a side of garlic cream (that for me could have used a touch more garlic), sliced tomato, cucumber and scallion. We found the chicken a bit too dry but we liked the the crispy effects on the bread of the sandwich press. The dish has potential if the chicken is moist.
Mathaloota: a layer of crispy gersan bread and a layer of crushed wheat cooked in yogurt, with flavours of cumin and coriander, topped with basmati rice and slow sauteed, sweet tasting onions and raisins and moist grilled chicken (on the left) and slow roasted lamb (on the right).
Qersan: diced lamb tossed with thin, crispy saag bread mixed with vegetables and a rich lamb broth. Delicious and one of our favourite dishes.
Khaliya: freshly baked, sweet, light textured dough balls, filled with cream cheese and drizzled with warm honey, a delicious pastry.
Masoob: we liked this dish very much, starting by tasting small samplings and as the dish grew on us, we finished it! This delicious dish consists of a mix of over-ripe bananas, rich kishta cream (from whey), ground wheat, butter and honey.
Knaffa: layers of a crispy, thin noodle pastry, a bit like eating sweet shredded wheat, flavoured with orange blossom water, with a warm cream filling and with honey and assorted nuts.
Very simple but tasty dishes are what this experience is all about.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Ascari Enoteca has been a resto under the radar for me, despite the very good provenance of chef owner John Sinopoli, a chef that produces some of the most enjoyable Italian cuisine in Toronto. I finally found my way there and as expected, I was certainly glad that I had. Here, the cuisine is simple but with good complex flavours and textures and there is great value in these dishes.
Terrific, crispy broccolini fritti with pecorino and lemon zest.
Bruschetta topped with cinnamon cap and hen of the woods mushrooms, salata cheese and red wine jus. What a delightful break from conventional chopped tomato or cheese topped bruschetta.
Insalata Americana: seared romaine hearts, oven dried tomato, radish, sunflower seeds, fried shallots and creamy oregano dressing. A delicious salad.
Spaghetti carbonara, with guanciale, butternut squash, pecorino cheese, cracked pepper and topped with an egg yolk. Another hit.
I really liked orchiette con salsiccia. The pasta was combined with house made sausage, chili, rapini, garlic, lemon and oregano pan grattato.
Budino di limone, steamed lemon pudding with whipped cream, laurel and vanilla syrup, a very light and refreshing finish.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Quite of the blue a package came to the store in 2011 from the great granddaughter of Charles J. Frogley. If you are walking by the store and look way up to the top of our building you will see the name Frogley in the apex. It was explained in the letter that her father had recently died at the age of 94 in Texas and with no relatives other than her brother and herself, who in turn had no children, she wanted to pass on this photo so that it would remain with the building. We are thankful to her for her thoughtfulness.
Charles J. Frogley took possession of the building in 1885 and operated a confectionery and bakery, where a young 12 year old George Weston was rumoured to have worked for a few years, learning bread making along the way; so lo these centuries later it is only fitting we are here selling cookbooks.
In 2002 a Cookbook Store staff member was doing a research project for her university course and decided to research the building, we use her findings in telling an anecdotal history of our store, there may be some discrepancies and omissions which are unknown to us and for which we apologize.
Of course no one actually knows how old the building is, but Yorkville Ave was originally called William St situated in the Village of Yorkville. Once the village was amalgamation with the City of Toronto in the 1880's, (and you thought amalgamation was a current issue!) numbering of the buildings changed but since 1890 the building has been listed as 850 Yonge St.
Prior to 1860 George Bostwick, a general grocer with a store at 3 King St. is listed as having a house on William St on the corner in the Town of Yorkville. He lived in the house until 1875 and became a Justice of the Peace and served as treasurer for the Town of Yorkville.
In 1875 a young doctor from England moved in and set up his practice on the main floor as well as living in the building until 1884. But it was the next owner Charles J Frogley who would have the biggest influence on the building. The Frogley's wrought iron sign is still at the top of the building. Rooms and apartments were established above the ground floor store and the Frogley family moved in above as did three of his bakers. Charles Frogley continued to occupy the building until 1909.
Over the next few years the building was listed as being a confectioner and also The Eclipse Bakery. In 1923 it was operated as a grocery store for two years. Subsequent business have ranged from antique furniture dealer to book dealer and picture framer. One of the more successful enterprises was a restaurant called The Milk Bar which operated from 1938 to 1948. "Milk bars" were all the rage at this time.
After this period a range of businesses occupied the building from a fur company to a hearing aid services and a fabric store. In 1980 our predecessor was an upstart store called Books for Cooks. Who knew their ground breaking idea for a single genre bookstore would be slightly ahead of their time.
We are grateful for their idea (and the bookshelves) and when the owners decided to close their business in early 1983, well you know what happens next!
Friday, February 21, 2014
Buca is the place for very good sophisticated, rustic Italian cuisine. The hallmark for me for the best eating involves cuisine of any ethnicity that has is based on regional rustic foods as they have been prepared and cooked for generations, with elements of today's thinking. Pizza here is rectangular and served on a wood platter with scissors for cutting their delicious thin, crispy, crunchy crust. The toppings can vary and tonight, my fave, the 7 hour slow cooked pork with rosemary and sea salt was not available....but, there were other tasty possibilities.
Pizza all'amitriciana, topped with preserved tomato, onion soffrito, house cured guanciale and pecorino romano. (No photo, we dived into this one before i remembered to take a picture!!!! It was my fave).
Raw Dorset lamb loin, montasia frica, duck bottarga and crisp squash.
Crispy (and they were) pigs ears.....delicious.
Cotechino....braised Mennonite pork skin sausage, lentils, pickled baby turnips and bagna cauda. The sausage was for sausage lovers. Apologize for bad lighting...forgot my camera and was using my phone.
Ravioli doppi....double stuffed ravioli, braised embden goose, roasted squash, fonduta di parmigiano, hazelnut crackle and rosemary leaves. Gone in a flash!
Here I went again, the dish smelled so good and hungry me was into the dish before the photo....the smear on the upper left is not the artistic smear of the chef! Hand rolled saffron and fava bean pasta (malloreddus), preserved roma tomato, salsa verde, pecorino brilla and ottobratico olive oil.
Pomodoro and truffles.....preserved tomato, basil, fresh pregiato truffles and truffled burrata cheese. The first 2 pizzas were so good, after we finished our other courses, the 4 of us went for ANOTHER pizza!!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Black truffle and mushroom feuilletee.
Scallop carpaccio with black truffle and traditional Dijon ginger bread.
Lobster tartar with Dijon mayonnaise.
Wild Burgundian snails with cream of parsley. This was the only failed (to me) dish of the evening. The pastry was too heavy, the sauce was lost and the snails were lost in the overabundant pastry.
A wonderful chestnut soup with truffle cream.
French onion soup (recipe inherited from chef Adrian's grandmother).
New version Burgundy beef with potatoes gratin.
Rare duck breast in orange sauce and honey with smashed eggplant.
Rossini boar steak (topped with a lobe of seared foie gras) on parmesan risotto.
Lamb shoulder cooked in vin jaune with mushrooms and very spicy, perhaps too spicy, duo smashed potatoes.
Monkfish scallops with broad beans and spicy chorizo. The fish was a tad overcooked.
Fillet of sole in Noilly Prat sauce with snow peas and chanterelles.
Pears poached in Burgundy red wine.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Photos by candlelight!
Coctel de camarones: tiger shrimp in house made salsa with cucumber, avocado, fresh coriander and red onion, served with Mexican saltine crackers (you want this, they are way better than Ritz or other local varieties).
Salpicon de res: shredded medium rare flank steak mixed with tomato, red onion, habanero chile, fresh coriander and avocado, all tossed in olive oil and lime juice, accompanied by totopos.
Chile poblano relleno: blistered poblano pepper stuffed with guacamole and pineapple. topped with pickled veg all in tomato sauce.
Tostada de tinga: pulled poached chicken tossed in chorizo, tomato, piquin and chipotle pepper sauce, served on a tostada with well-fried black beans, avocado crema and all topped with pickled onions.
Albondigas estilo guanajuato: guanajuato meat balls lightly poached in chipotle sauce, served with black beans, avocado, queso Oaxaca and pickled red onions.
Frijoles charros: pinto beans cooked with pork rind, serrano peppers, tomatoes and garlic. So good, we had a second pot.
Lengua de res: Central Mexican style beef tongue stew garnished with sesame seeds, orange stuffed green olives and fried plantain.
Carlota de limon: Mexican biscuits layered with a lime custard, drizzled with arbequine olive oil, garnished with lime zest and black salt. This was a very tasty, well received dessert.
Chocolate caliente: hot chocolate 70% mixed with a medley of Mexican spices and herbs. I loved the flavours of this serving of dark chocolate.
Torte de chocolate: spiced chocolate torte with tequila anejo, served with house made rose petal sorbet. A good chocolate dessert.