Monthly Archives: October 2014

Holy Chuck? Nah

We thought maybe we had just been given a bad batch last time we went to Holy Chuck. Everyone around us seemed to think we were nuts and that Holy Chuck is amazing. We gave them the benefit of the doubt and went back for round two.

First we stopped at Bakes & Goods, best nut free bakery , for some pre-burger dessert. The chocolate chip cookie was easily the winner, so light and soft and just perfect! The cake pop was a little too rich for me. The cupcakes were also really good. The cake part of the chocolate chip one was some of the best I have ever had and the filling in the red velvet chocolate ganache was amazing! But the chocolate chip cookie, something so simple, transformed into something so wonderful was heavenly.


Round two at Holy Chuck: I scaled back and got a burger with less toppings (bacon, a little bit of cheese and some alleged sea salt). There was no sea salt as far as I could tell. The cheese was rice paper thin. Leaving me with mostly burger. The bun was good. The burger was bland. Making the whole thing bland. Brent went in the opposite direction, his burger was piled with chilis and hot sauce and cheese… it was a greasy, spicy mess. The bun had disintegrated. In the bite I had all I could taste was spicy. The fries are the only redeeming quality at Holy Chuck.



Halloween Dinner

When making dinner plans it is odd to go out specifically for roasted bone marrow. But that is what we did last weekend. The plan was to go to Black Hoof at open and order the city’s best roasted bone marrow (who knew that there was more than one place serving it?). We got there five minutes early… and found about six people bumming around outside. Gotta love a city where people queue up before the restaurant opens and wait around. Thank god for data on cellphones. While waiting around we looked up the menu and debated what else to get. Black Hoof plates are meant to be shared and you order a few different things.


To go with the roasted bone marrow we decided on horse tartare. Somehow horse had flown under my radar of trying different meats. It was served with a raw egg on top, but once it was mixed into the meat you could not taste it. Overall there was not much taste to the dish. Not because it was horse, or because of Black Hoof, I just find that raw meat does not have that much flavour to it. The bone marrow was amazing! It came with cilantro and sea salt on the side. It was so perfectly done. Not too greasy nor too salty. It was fun scooping it out of the bone and making little open faced sandwiches. I know it sounds morbid, but I was too busy eating and savouring to notice.


We were still hungry. We used a random number generator to decide what to eat next. Continuing on in the vein of ordering the more odd selections from the menu, we got the pigs-blood noodles and roasted sweetbreads. The sweetbreads were a seasonal thing, they did not have them there last time and they came with roasted pumpkin sauce. I was a little worried as the last two times we had sweetbreads, one was amazing and the other horrible, it seemed a very hit and miss dish. Somehow, not sure why, the sweetbreads (presented as little bites) tested exactly like popcorn. It was uncanny, and delicious.


I was wary of the pigs-blood dish because we did not know it would be noodles. On the board it was a giant confusing word that basically boiled down to: noodle. It was amazing, did not taste gross at all (given it was made with pigs blood after all). Again, so morbid, but so delicious.


We had enough room for one last dish. We broke with the odd tradition and ordered pork tacos. Sweet mother of god, we were not expecting a dish that amazing. We’ve had some good tacos before (yes, we had an in-depth discussion of Toronto Tacos during the meal). It is too bad most people go to Black Hoof for the charcuterie and more odd dishes (all around us people were ordering bone marrow and beef hearts). The pork tacos are amazing, easily some of the best in the city. We still have to go back to the Cocktail Bar (also owned by Black Hoof), hopefully by then we will have eaten the whole menu.

What did we have for dessert you ask? Actually we had dessert on the way to Black Hoof. I had noticed taht a new donut shop opened on College, except last time we passed it was closed. Not so this time! I was rather psyched about Jelly Modern Donuts, as they have quite a few locations and are tied to the Food Network. The first donut made me realize that maple and bacon COULD actually be a good thing. You know why? The bacon was sparse and the maple syrup not overly sweet. In truth, I had ordered the maple walnut, but the guy gave me maple bacon- it’s fine. I had a bite of Brent’s smores donut and was underwhelmed. The whole thing was bland and flavourless! The real winner was the lemon donut: it had a lemon glaze and lemon curd in the middle! Still, not as good as Von Donuts or Glory Hole Donuts.

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Cupcake Avalanche

I was feeling fancy recently, fancy enough to tackle cherry coke float cupcakes. I did my homework this time, reading the comments. The only thing that stood out was that it was a gargantuan recipe. Not feeling confident enough to halve the recipe (because that usually ends in disaster somehow). Really not wanting to screw these up I went all out, even bought buttermilk (of which there is now 3/4 of a carton taking up room in my fridge). I was wary of using cherry pie filling and making filled cupcakes. I instead went the creative route. I drained a jar of maraschino cherries and added the juice to the batter. The taste was very subtle. The cupcakes turned out amazing, better than I could have hoped for. I am not a huge fan of fruit fillings let alone chunks of fruit in my baked goods. This was much better. I also cheated, instead of using whipped cream I instead topped them with whipped white frosting.


In the end I wound up with a bunch more cupcakes than I could have ever eaten. They also tasted more like black forest cupcakes than cherry coke. No complaints here!



Half-Price Wednesdays- Can’t Go Wrong

Lisa Marie restaurant in Toronto was recently voted best philly cheesesteak sandwich. All well and good until Brent was on the website trying to make a reservation. They don’t list a menu. That is because they change it all the time. We were going on a whim, hoping they would be serving philly cheesesteaks.


They were not on the menu. The special for the day was half price bottles of wine. A whole bottle would cost a little more than the 2 glasses I was intending to have. Sold! It simply made more sense to order the bottle.


The menu is set up as a tapas, sharing menu with larger and smaller dishes. We settled on one big dish and two small ones. The first one arrived about 10 minutes after we had ordered, bonus points for speed. It was unfreakinbelievable. Beef (mostly fat) wrapped in pork on a bed of green beans. I am not usually a fan of bacon, but mother of god this dish was amazing. So amazing in fact I found myself eating… green beans. Turns out green beans are not poisonous and quite tasty when drizzled with meat juices.


The second and third dishes arrived at the same time. While Brent tackled the porchetta wrap, I tackled the surf, turf and something else board. First up were the chicken wings. They were tasty, but not outstanding. Up next the ribs, I did not like one of the spices used. Would the calamari save the day? Nope. It tasted like canned tuna. What was going on?! Things had started out so well. I had a forkful of the sesame noodles by the calamari: those were outstanding. We swapped halfway and while the porchetta was good, it was not as good. Nothing came even close to the (god help me for saying this): wow factor, of the bacon-wrapped dish and the noodles. They were very well executed and are worth going back for again, as we hunt the elusive philly cheesesteak.


Needless to say there was no room for dessert and I still needed to finish the rest of the wine.



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Oysters vs. Mussels

When Brent first told me that Beer Bistro was voted best mussels I was confused: better than Oyster Boy or Rodney’s?? Only writing about it now did I realize I had mixed up mussels and oysters.

It was really hard to tell if an order of mussels would be enough food for the two of us. The menu said that it came with a loaf of bread, not a bun. A loaf. I pictured something close to a full loaf of bread. Instead we got a rather large dinner bun. How was I know the menu writer was a liar?


The mussels were tasty, albeit at first glace I thought to myself: what is this? How dare they soak them in sauce! (I had them mixed up with oysters, which are eaten raw, unlike mussels which are served steamed usually in a sauce). Brent had eaten his part… forgetting about the bread. I did not make the same mistake, using it to sop up excess sauce. The mussels were a royal pain in the butt to eat. Here was a food calling out for being eaten by hand, instead served to you with a fancy little fork that was useless. The mussels were so saucy and slick it would have been impossible to eat with your hands, but easier than with the damn fork.

Mussels have this going for them: it is impossible to overeat, you will get infuriated trying to eat them way before that point.



Apple Fail Bundt

I put way too much trust in Martha Stewart recipes. Even after my new addition of reading the comments section before attempting the recipe. This time I foresaw the problem in her apple cinnamon bundt cake. No one wants to eat a cake with giant apple slices in it! The apples would sink to the bottom! Scroll to comments section: bingo. One person did just that and had a mess. Second person diced the apple, had no problems.


Somehow I was not so lucky. Even after following the recipe, with no substitutions.. I ended up with this dinky looking thing. I partly blamed my crappy bundt cake pan. Partly blamed the apples. Mostly blamed working with fruit. It never goes over well. Brent ended up taking it home, having not heard my warning that it was a dud. People ate it. No one complained, no one died. I still think it was bad. I don’t know, I never even tried any I was so mad.

Will I ever make a successful bundt cake?!

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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


Greasy Breakfast

I am no fan of the BLT: I hate bacon, lettuce AND tomatoes. Thankfully best BLT is now at The Stockyards, wherein they offer alternatives for breakfast: fried chicken and waffles! When the BLT arrived however, I took one look at it and thought “OMG that looks amazing” and I was not the only one. We were sitting by the window and a guy walked by, poked his head in the open window and inquired about the sandwich. He looked remiss that he could not come in and order one, he was walking his dog. The BLT was amazing, which says a lot coming from someone who claims to hate BLTs. The tomato was obscured in that it was not only fried… it was breaded. The lettuce was actually arugula (a green  I can occasionally stand the taste of) and the bacon, well it was damn good bacon. What else would expect from The Stockyards?


I had gone with the safe option and ordered the smaller of the two chicken and waffles options. Even still, the two pieces of fried chicken were enormous! I sat there looking at it thinking, “seriously? I am supposed to eat all that?”. The sauce on the waffle was surprisingly spicy. I was not expecting that- somehow it went well with the waffle. Up until now I never understood the chicken and waffles appeal. I am starting to get it now. The service was absolutely impeccable, by far the best service we have ever had anywhere.


Needless to say it was a long slow walk to the gym. Did I mention I was supposed to go to yoga after that giant feast? Yup. Thankfully I had an hour, which I spent sitting on a couch at Hart House bemoaning having overeaten again.



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Salad as Big as Your Head

Jacobs & Co. was voted best steakhouse and best Ceasar salad, yet it took us a really long time to get around to making a reservation and going. We finally had a good excuse: my birthday*, and still it took us over a month to get around to it. I was psyched after looking at the menu, and a little intimidated. It boasted a lot of different steaks, I kid you not, there was one for $1000. Not a typo, one thousand dollars. I (half)joked about getting it. But the size of it was off-putting. I am all for stuffing my face full of steak, but 42 ounces?! That is madness. I ended up choosing my steak based on size, 8 ounces seemed just enough. The menu is set up that the steak does not come with any sides, it is up to you if want any. I made the mistake of getting scalloped potatoes (I was craving cheese). Somehow I assumed it could not possibly be that big a portion size. I was wrong. For a super fancy restaurant they sure serve a lot of food.


Nothing will ever make me like salad (except most fruit salads, those are acceptable). I hate lettuce and all its various green, leafy stand-ins. If salad was just croutons and bacon then maybe I would like it. Lettuce is for rabbits and I will never grow accustomed to it. The Casear salad at Jacobs & Co has the added turn-off of being made table-side. It is rather awkward to sit there and watch someone make your salad in a tiny cramped space between tables. That, and the salad is HUGE. The bacon was pretty tasty though.


We were way too full for dessert, plus I really wanted to get out of there. A British lady had started talking about unhappy bodily functions. The whole night had been full of weirdos having dumb conversations. Some jerks talking about investments. Two other jerks having a “guys night out” celebrating that they had left their wives at home (how these two are not single is beyond me). With the bill we were given little coffee cakes. It was a nice touch, but I would have enjoyed it more had I not just overeaten.

I was worried about finding our way out of the place. When we first got there, our server led us down some stairs around some corners and I had not been paying attention. The restaurant is huge and it was up to us to find our way out. On the way I noticed the giant room where they dry-age their steaks. I had seen it on the way in, but it never occurred  to me what it was.


* you will never find out how old I am


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Go To Bread!


I was thrilled when I found out that best bread had been re-voted to Blackbird Baking Co. because that is a lot closer to my house, and I love any excuse to buy a really good loaf of bread*. Even better still, they have late hours! And is that was enough reason, as if you could still doubt why they were voted the best: they serve sandwiches. I was worried about going to a bakery so late in the day. What if they were sold out of bread? Sold out of sandwiches (aka dinner)??? What I should have been worried about was seating. When we got there the two stools were taken. The sandwiches were amazing, the bread was superb. As soon as we got home, I tore into the sourdough loaf of bread. It lasted a scant few days, as I would periodically hack off slices and munch on them throughout the day. For dessert we had also gotten a chocolate hazelnut cake, you’ve gotta if you go to a bakery. It too was amazing! A little part of me is glad that it is still a bit of a walk to Blackbird, otherwise I would be broke and fat and covered in crumbs.


* once I was walking home down Mt. Pleasant Rd and I was hungry, stopped in at Thobors for a baguette, easily ate at least a quarter of it on my way home, just tearing off piece after piece. I don’t know what it is with me and good fresh bread- I just love it.


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Best Greek

Best Greek food was recently re-voted to a non-Danforth restaurant (i.e.: not in Greektown!).Volos is located near the financial district in the middle of downtown. I was initially wary of a place that was not on the Danforth, but one quick glance at the menu and I knew I had nothing to worry about. I instantly fixated on the octopus dish on the appetizer menu. While we waited for our food we discussed the decor of the restaurant which was weird empty frames on all the shelves. We were soon distracted by some weird girls taking selfies in the restaurant and then outside of it, much to everyone else’s confusion. The octopus was just as the server had promised, amazing. I wish I had ordered another one as my main course.



The real winner of the night was the baklava. I was worried about ordering it, having flashbacks to gooey sticky messes at Taste of the Danforth, but no so at Volos. The baklava arrived still warm, the pastry was fresh and flaky, and most importantly: it was not ungodly sweet or stale and it came with a fork. The runner up was the rose wine, turns out what I had thought was rose wine all my life was just a watered down excuse for wine. Turns out it is possible for rose wine to have some body and flavour to it, who knew?! Alas, the LCBO does not carry Xinomavro Akakies wine. I would have hated to try and ask someone who worked there for it.


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