Monthly Archives: November 2012

Persian With A Side of Insufferable


Living in a such a large city, it is inevitable that one will encounter annoying people.It is one thing to have to put up with an idiot while you are stuck on the bus, at least then you can put in your headphones and crank it all the way up. But when you are eating the city’s best Persian food at Pomegranate and you are stuck in a small corner of the restaurant next to the world’s most infuriating people… well then. It is simply insufferable.


To start we split an appetizer: charred eggplant with whey and walnuts and onions that came with bread for dipping. It was ok. I had a sip of Brent’s doogh drink, which was weird. It was watered down yogurt and fizzy and not my cup of tea. The mains we ordered were both stews that came with rice on the side. In all honesty the food was not that outstanding. It was a nice change and it was tasty, but not crave-inducing. I found the pomegranate in the chicken (fesenjaan) a bit too much. It was rather funny watching Brent bite into what he thought might be a lamb’s eyeball in his stew. The real winner of the dinner was the dessert: the shortbread cookies were amazing! The deep-fried and covered in rose water candy was a bit heavy and greasy towards the end but still delicious.


As mentioned dinner came with a show. We had to listen to this idiot go and on about how he “wants to make his mark on the world” and how he “wants to change the world and make a difference”. The real kicker was that he was a total dummy. He had an idea to help out people in crisis, and when he found out that such a program was already in place it made him “really depressed”. He wanted to work with youth/teenagers… aged 22-28. It was all I could to not turn to him and stab him with my fork. At some point he mentioned the film American Psycho and wanting to take his friend to dinner in NYC a-la the movie, the girl with him just nodded, completely oblivious. It was also infuriating listening to him talk about his “world travels” and how much he “hates airports”. The poor girl with him was just too polite to tell him to shut up. I hate people sometimes.


At least most of the time when I am stuck in a restaurant with insufferable people within earshot shooting their mouths off, there are so many of them that they all kind of meld together into a very annoying but importantly: indecipherable, white noise. This was not the case here. Pomegranate’s cute & cozy, homey atmosphere worked against them greatly that night.

I think we might start booking tables for 4 from now on. Or reserving the whole restaurant for a private function: getting to eat in peace.


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Burrito- Round 2

You know what else I hate? Beans. When we went Chino Locos for the best burrito in the city I had to settle for edamame beans. This year we went to Mucho Burrito on Ryan’s recommendation for an ungodly hot burrito with ghost chilis in it. Well in Brent’s, not mine. I was really looking forward to seeing him sweat and cry. Alas, they no longer had it, it was a limited time only burrito. We had to settle for regular burritos. Granted, the hot sauce was still pretty damn hot.



What was good about Mucho Burrito (aside from the fact that the burritos were delicious) was that there was the option for no beans! They ask if you even want any beans or sour cream in your burrito! So what I ended up with was just the good stuff: rice, marinated steak and grilled veggies (as in mostly just green peppers, a few onions snuck in though) doused with hot sauce! Good times. In addition they have various sizes.


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The Dreaded *Sal-ad*


Of all the things in the world I hate, salad is way up there. I have yet to meet a salad that I enjoyed. Even fruit salad (why do they always put weird stuff like mangoes and pineapples and other gross fruit in there?!). I was dreading going to Fresh, newly voted best salad in the city. At least it is not as bad as the previous place, there were more menu options for non-salad-eaters like me.


There was no way I was going to commit to ordering a salad, it would be money wasted. I opted for the Indian dosas and stealing nibbles of Brent’s all-star salad. In all truthfulness, it was actually pretty good. But it was enormous. It was enough salad for at least three people. And I am happy to say there was very little in the way of lettuce and other gross greens. Just good ones with little leaves and some sweet potato and walnuts. It was an odd mix, but good. The dosas were better, by a long shot. But that is because I hate salad. Just look at the size of the salad below: giant.


The dreaded sal-ad:


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Pancakes Fit For A Queen

The word’s British and cuisine don’t exactly go together, which is why I was wary of going to a British gastropub for brunch over the weekend, the best gastropub in the city. That is, until I saw that they had pancakes on the menu.

The pancakes came with a scoop of peanut butter ice cream on top and they were drenched, just soaked with maple syrup. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. They were greasy and soggy and absolutely delicious, despite their poor appearance. The peanut butter ice cream was surprisingly good, given it was peanut butter ice cream, which sounds gross. It melted and soaked into the pancakes, only adding to the tastiness.

They still somehow managed to be light and fluffy, despite the sopping mess. Leave it to the Brits to take something as simple as pancakes and turn it into a greasy gross-looking mess, and yet it tasted delicious.

Speaking of something looking gross but tasting delicious, I had a bite of Brent’s scotch egg. That is a deep-fried egg wrapped in chorizo. It is the first time I have ingested egg yolk in it’s normal form (as in not disguised as a cookie or french toast) and enjoyed it. Who knew? All you had to do was wrap it in chorizo and deep fry it.


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A Burger Bested By Beer?!

I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought I would be saying this but… the beer was actually better than the food at last night’s dinner! I am not entirely surprised however. We were going to Rhino, voted best cheap drinks. As I was trying to find a menu or recommendations of what is good I kept reading the same things over and over, avoid the fish & chips, the burgers are amazing. I had high hopes for this burger.

The night did not start out so well. We walked in, looked around, no one seated us so we took to it ourselves. We proceeded to sit there for what felt like an agonizing stretched out period of time. But eventually someone came by with menus. The beer menu was enormous, it put the food menu to shame. On their standard menu they claimed there were more than 357 beers. That is not counting featured beers OR what is on tap. Needless to say, I the non-beer drinker, was more than mildly overwhelmed. That quickly dissipated however thanks to their nifty coding system. Each beer had a little coloured square beside the name, under the country heading, that denoted what type of beer it was. And lo and behold, my fail safe in beer environments was plentiful: fruit beers! And boy were there a lot to choose from, why almost 10 from my recollection. Which is a lot more than the usual one sad and lonely beer.

Our food arrived in no time. I had the burger, Brent had the rhino burger. Sounds safe right? Wrong. Apparently a regular burger consists of TWO patties. I took one glance at Brent’s monster of a burger and felt better. That is, until I bit into mine. It wasn’t bad, it’s just that I had high expectations is all. It was just a regular plain, kind of bland burger. It was by no means “godly” as one person had put it.

The beer was what saved the night (another thing I never ever thought I would be saying). It was actually good! The first one I had was a Belgian beer made with what I assume were peaches (it said pecheresse on the label). The second was an apple one from Quebec. This one actually tasted a bit like beer… and cotton candy bubblegum. The weirdest part was the fact that on both bottles there were scantily-clad women. I don’t get it.

Our waiter was awesome. He told us all about the beer cellar downstairs and how it is just shelves and shelves of beers and how much it sucks to go down there looking for obscure beers. Brent ordered a beer that turned out to be out of stock, and the waiter came by with an equivalent. Then the equivalent of sommeliere (I called her the true beernoisseur) came by and asked how it was.

In the future, I will eat something before going to the Rhino. The drinks really are dirt cheap.


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Placki z Gruszkami

The best pancakes in the city recently got updated, the now defunct Mitzi’s got ousted by Saving Grace. And that is a good thing, I never really cared for Mitzi’s pancakes, too much mucking about with a good thing. I happily woke up early on a weekend to go stand in line for pancakes.

And we did just that, we stood there and had to listen while some girl droned on and on about her student loan problems. Once inside we thought we were safe. That is, until we sat down. We were sandwiched between two girls having a fight (one made fun of the other in front of her parents and it just went downhill from there with one threatening to leave and go abroad, thankfully we did not have to witness an awkward break-up) and the world’s most irritating man of all time. He was a comedian, which peaked my interest. My interest quickly waned as he continued talking. “I’m not saying I’m a superstar”, “I am very successful”, “I have travelled the world over”. He was so irritatingly full of himself that it almost made me regret our breakfast choice. They talked about women as if they were drawn to him like bees to a flower… yet he was somehow single and eating brunch with three other guys. His best line, to a friend: “She has a boyfriend, but she would totally leave him for you”. He also shared his views on the single women of New York City, that he had to fend them off.

Saving Grace’s saving grace was in fact their pancakes. It was worth sitting through all the awful chatter (even though I have one ear plugged, it was still unbearable). The pancakes were not your traditional giant flat round things with stuff atop them, oh no. They were Polish style! Like placki z jablkami (easily one of my favourite foods of all time) but with pears instead. The pear slice was baked into the pancake. They were a tad greasy, but that is part and parcel of placki. Best pancakes in the city, but not ever. That award still goes to that place in Quebec.


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Five Guys Burgers has finally come to Toronto. And it is just as good north of the border. I did not make the same mistake twice and ordered a smaller burger this time. I did however forget to order fries. I guess I just have to go back again. And again. And then some more.

Cheese makes a great addition to a burger. Tomatoes, not so much.

Also: bonus points for offering free peanuts.


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Gooey Goodness

What happens when you stick cheese between two pieces of bread and heat it up? A wonderful magical transformation occurs. You go from having just about the grossest sandwich in the world (unmelted cheese is gross) to having the most heavenly of delights. Throw in some slices of turkey, some peppers, experiment with different cheeses like cheddar and now you’re really cooking. It is no wonder that Grilled Cheese in Kensington was newly voted best grilled cheese (ousting Leslieville Cheese). These people live it to their name and their new “best of” award. The menu is extensive, from the simple to the monstrous. Brent went with monstrous: it had turkey, bacon, peppers, tomatoes, red onions… and it was way too much. I went with the simpler Turkey 3000 (weird name, tis why I can recall it) which had sliced turkey breast (would’ve been better if it was bits of cooked turkey, ah well), cheddar (always good) and tomatoes (so bad, had to pull them out, I actually had a bite of one, they are weird in their sweet tartness).

Owing to their extensive innards, these sandwiches are huge! And they arrive steaming hot atop a basket of chips and just for a touch of class: a pickle wedge. The grease from the cheese seeped into the chips. I kind of wish the chips were inside the sandwich for that much needed crunch when you are eating a hopping gooey hot mess of greasey goodness.

All in all, it was the best grilled cheese I have yet to indulge in. But every time I have a grilled-cheese-wich it is better than the last! But no grilled cheese sandwich will ever top what I had in Cinncinnatti at Tom & Chee. It had jalapeno potato chips in it, that somehow retained some crunch. Still, it is worth it’s price and worth the indulgence. Save for the tomatoes, so gross.


I Wonder Why They Call It That?…

Whenever I had heard mention of shepherd’s pie it was always as some combination of beef, peas and mashed potatoes all in a pie crust. It did not sound entirely appetizing becuase peas are notoriously hard to eat around, even moreso when cemented into a gross blob held together by potatoes. It was on our list to go to Cabbagetown for the best shepherd’s pie in the city, but I was kind of lukewarm about the whole thing, it was terribly far away for something only mildly appetizing.

As it so happened, we were invited out to a pub on Halloween-Saturday. A pub called Stout, which just happened to be the pub where  the city’s best shepherd’s pie resided. Either or, I would have had to eat it at some point (I still have the dreaded sal-ad ahead of me). Having not eaten all day, we also ordered a BBQ chicken pizza. Big mistake. The portions here were
more than generous. The shepherd’s pie was a giant hunk of potatoes holding everything else together, sans pie shell. Except this was no ordinary “pie”, it was made with lamb! Dun dun dun, because I do not like lamb, usually. This time was no exception, I did not enjoy this dish at all. I had maybe two bites.

Separately, Brent and I wondered why it is that shepherd’s pie is made with beef, lamb seems more suited. But gross. Maybe that is why.

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