Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Big Crow BBQ Special Event

Big Crow BBQ, big expectations for this special event. we began with some snacks during the meet and greet: all beef salami (verscht) grilled over the wood burning fire with an apricot mustard glaze (sooo good!!)(no photo) and BBQ Crow bacon that had been marinated in Dr pepper and other good things, cooked over the wood fire and paired with wood fire grilled pineapple on a skewer (another amazing, I can't stop eating app) (photo below).

 Broccoli salad.

Guacamole and salsas.

Bean salad.

 Another salad.The tension is building for the meat!

Carving the pig.

A whole pig, slow roasted over a wood fire. We were served the head....source of the cheek, and other good parts!

 The ribs and crackling.

 More pig meat.

Tomahawk steaks ready for the grill.

Tomahawk rib steaks on the wood burning grill.

The steak on the plate. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mamakas Taverna

The Ossington strip has gotten busier and from my recent experience at Mamakas, this new resto has added a new dimension to the strip, a resto that will become a regular for many people because the food is in the Greek tradition and very pleasing.

Very good grilled flatbread with fresh herbal flavours. We Had about 3 orders and ate this with everything.

Eggplant salad spread. Ok...but, could be better if it had a smokier character.

Very good taramasalata.

Good kopanisti.

We enjoyed the beets with a garlic potato spread, pine nuts and dandelions sauteed in olive oil.

Imam baildi, perfectly cooked eggplant with tomato confit, caramelized onion, fresh thyme and grilled toast. A very tasty eggplant dish. The toast, dry, might have been more complementary, brushed with olive oil and a bit of garlic.

Horta, dandelion greens sauteed in olive oil. This veggie, cooked in this style, is a fave of mine.

Roasted sweet red peppers.

Very good hand cut fries, cooked properly to still be somewhat crispy despite the cheese topping, nicely seasoned with fresh oregano, rosemary and accompanied by garlic aioli (below).

The garlic aioli for the fries. For me, I would prefer a somewhat stronger garlic flavour.

A special just for the evening, lamb baked in parchment.

The opened Parchment revealing lamb, cherry tomatoes and potatoes all nicely flavoured with oregano and a bit of lemon. An ok dish, but I did not think that it did justice to the lamb and the lamb texture was not as pleasing as i would have preferred. The only dish that did not make it for me.

The restaurant's version of cheesecake, made with fetta and topped with caramelized fig. Tasty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yasu, One of the 3 Top Restaurants for Sushi in Canada

Yasu, essentially has no menu. It is omikase based on whatever is the best and freshest from the market that day. A list of fish and their sources are affixed to the wall, but, not all of the fish on the menu are available that day. Everything is intentionally served as sushi.

An array of some of the fish available today. 

Two of the special sakes that my friend and I enjoyed. Ideally, I prefer daiginjo sake. 

 Striped Jack.

 Fluke (hirame).

 Maguro tuna marinated with soy sauce.

 Sardine with scallion and ginger.

 Kampachi (amberjack).

 Live scallop with yuzu and ground pepper.

 Monkfish liver with grated daikon.

 Sea bass.

Sea urchin. This was the only item served that was not as expected. Everything else that we tasted in this very long menu was rather pristine. We could not understand this exception and how the chef could have possibly overlooked the uni. My first clue, when I was served, the surface of the urchin did not have the classical top of the tongue appearance and instead it was featureless and smooth, although the piece was intact and held its shape. Any other time, I would have chosen to not have eaten what I was served, but, after the outstanding experience so far, my friend and I (he is very experienced with eating at the very finest sushi restos in Japan and travels to Japan just to eat at least once a year) decided to trust the chef. Disappointing.

Salmon roe (ikura).

Scorpian fish.

Sea bream.

Snow crab topped with ponzu and lime juice.

Norwegian mackerel (no photo).

Bluefin toro.

 Preparing a chopped tuna hand roll stage 1.

 Stage 2.

 Stage 3.

 Stage 4.

 Stage 5.

 Ready to eat!

Anago (eel).

Tomago (cold Japanese omelette).

Ocean Trout toro. 

Fluke fin.

For dessert, we were served some fresh fruit. Overall, a truly exceptional sushi experience compared to the vast majority of sushi that I have experienced over the years in North America.