Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ufficio Restaurant, Toronto

Ufficio is a seafood centered/vegetarian Italian resto. There is no meat or fowl on the menu. The cooking is very creative and exceptionally well executed.

Fire grilled toast lightly brushed with olive oil. Delicious!

Salted cod croquettes with salsa rosa, a rich tomato based sauce.

Lightly fried zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta accompanied zucchini slices and all dusted with shaved parmigiano-reggiano. 

Tuna crudo: olive oil poached  albacore tuna with celery, blood orange and seabuckthorn vinaigrette. An interesting and refreshing combination of flavours. 

A delicious salad of figs, char-grilled radicchio, castelfranco radicchio (the lighter leaf), orange, ricotta cheese and black walnuts. This range of flavours in this salad were memorable,

Oven roasted sea bream with cannellini beans and escarole ragu, cucumber and fennel.

An exceptionally good pasta dish: very delicate porcini agnolotti with perfectly cooked porcini mushrooms, truffle oil and shaved parmigiano-reggiano.

Torta della nonna: soft shortcrust pastry with an abundance of thick Italian custard, garnished with pine nuts and icing sugar. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Adamson BBQ Toronto

Adamson BBQ is the closest Toronto has come to having a real texas style BBQ. It is a good BBQ experience for Toronto.

At this tasting were 3 certified KCBS judges (Kansas City BBQ Society) and 2 of those judges were also Judges in The Jack Daniels International BBQ Competition, the world series of BBQ. This was a tough audience.

 The smoker.

The platter: Smoked sausage, brisket, turkey, ribs and pulled pork. Very attractive.

Overall, we felt that none of the meats had enough smokey flavour. The brisket was the best result overall, juicy but a touch overcooked. One of the criteria for brisket texture is that one should be able to pick up a slice of brisket and it should hang together as it goes into one's mouth.This brisket fell in pieces as it was lifted. I thought the sausage was quite tasty and had a mild slow burn at the finish but the consistency could be better. The ribs, although juicy, were somewhat overdone as the meat dropped off the bone, did not even "fall" off the bone. However, rib meat should not "fall" off the bone, but ideally, when biting into the rib, the meat should easily peal off the bone. The ribs were tasty but definitely needed more smoke. The pulled pork also definitely needed more smoke, and although not dry, was a touch overcooked. The turkey was moist and tasty, but had a bit too much pepper seasoning and needed more smoke.

We learned that maple wood was used for smoking. All of us felt that dry cured white oak would have been better (allowed to dry out for about 2-3 years) to provide  right degree of smokey flavour.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dandylion, Toronto, A Return Visit.

This is not my first visit to Dandylion, nor my first review of Talented chef Jason Carter's limited but well selected menu. The menu consists of 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 deserts. I consider Dandylion, despite it's deceivingly "simple" menus, one of the best eating experiences in the GTA and moreover, a meal of very good value (a factor that I rarely even mention in my reviews!).

The dinner begins with chopped fresh shallots on fromage blanc (below) that is served to all diners, accompanied by the wonderful crispy-crusted house made bread.

Slices of house smoked trout, also complements of the restaurant to all diners.

Perfectly rendered shrimp with grilled lettuce hearts and horse radish. Well composed elements of a terrific dish. 

Cauliflower, lentils and tomato jam. This main course dish sounded so good (and it was) that I enjoyed it as my starter course! An exceptional execution of simple elements.

I devoured this dish of perfectly seared cod accompanied by fresh chick peas and kale. The textures and flavours of each element of this dish complemented each other so well.

Very tender, slow roasted lamb with artichoke and fava beans. Very simple, truly harmonious ingredients that came together in such a pleasing manner.

Almond cake topped with peaches and chopped almonds. I had mine without the cream (trying to be a good boy)....but...see below.

The almond cake as above, topped with fresh was soooo seductive and I took a little taste of my guests plate..... very good! The perfect end for a truly enjoyable meal. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Canoe, Toronto: An Exceptional Dinner For Le Confrerie de Les Chevaliers Du Tastevin

When challenged to create an exceptional eating experience that would match our group's wonderful cellar of Burgundy wines, Chef John Horne truly stepped up to the plate!! Under chef John Horne, Canoe is certainly one of the top 5 restaurants in Canada.

Oysters topped with sea buckthorn. Terrific combo!

Beef tartar with crispy bacon and pretzel toast, topped with chopped chives, parsley and grainy mustard.

Hot dogs, yes, terrific house made hot dogs topped with grainy mustard and house made ketchup.

Caviar, creme fraiche on blinis.

Crispy won tons filled with lightly fried snails topped with parsley.

Birch syrup glazed frogs legs.

Smoked inconnu, charred bannock, wild rose infused creme fraiche and immature juniper.

Holland Marsh onion soup with diced smoked beef tongue, thyme, Thunder Oak gouda cheese and topped with crispy croissant toast. A richly flavoured, great rendition of onion soup.

Tea smoked duck with chanterelles, matsutake, northern woods and trumpet mushrooms, risotto made with the wild mushroom stock, matsutake cream and truffle paste, caribou moss and duck stock. Another well created, complex and richly flavoured dish.

Well aged venison with charred onion petals, mulled mountain cranberries, roasted beets, grains with roasted root vegetables and mustard greens. 

Butter tart, brown sugar praline cream, smoked pecan nougatine and wild rye ice cream. This dessert was very special and is worth going out of your way, just for that!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Whistler Restaurants: Kaze, Element


Shrimp sunomono in a vinegar dressing with rice noodles, cucumber and tomato.

Octopus sunomono in a vinegar dressing with tomatoes and cucumber.

Toro sashimi did not have the proper texture but was fresh enough.

Tamago (Japanese omelette) and sea urchin sushi.

Saikyoyaki "Tokyo Tom's famous bbq black cod" was very tasty but just a touch cooked more than I like.

Real crab California" with crab, avocado and tobiko sauce.

Salmon skin rolls.

Grilled salmon was definitely over cooked.

Dynamite maki with prawn tempura.

Kappa maki with cucumber and avocado.

Bbq'd hamachi-kama, the collar of the fish.

Matsuzaka beef from Japan cooked shabu shabu style with water, soy sauce and veggies. The beef was very tasty and very good. But, I much prefer thicker slices pan seared.


Lettuce cups: baby iceberg lettuce, julienned veggies, seasoned rice noodles, bean sprouts and nuoc-cham dipping sauce.

Bruschetta topped with bocconcini cheese, roma tomatoes, balsamic reduction and basil pesto all on foccacia.

Maple roasted root veggies.

This was the dish we all fell in love with: slow cooked pork belly with apple butter, maple-cider glaze and bacon and rosemary bread pudding. A great combination of flavours. This is a dish worth going out of your way for.

Porcini gnocchi, wild mushrooms, truffle butter sauce, spinach and parmesan.

Roasted, marinated pacific ling cod, spiced honey soy green beans and crispy green bean noodles.

Banana mousse stuffed chocolate cup, peanut butter cookie crumble and caramel.

Southern style hot peach cobbler with rummed whip cream.