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Monthly Archives: October 2015

So Much for Dinner

We had run out of places nearby to eat, in terms of BlogTO’s best of. We now had to transit both ways to get dinner. I was OK with this, it was bound to happen at some point. We took the subway to Lawrence West one Tuesday evening. We were going to Dr. Laffa’s for dinner (best falafel, best hummus, best shawarma, and best kosher restaurant). I was really looking forward to this dinner, not just because of the multiple best of’s, but also because I was voraciously hungry. We got there only to find that it was closed. Sign in the door said they were closed for Yom Kippur (which was actually the next day). Aargh! There was nothing else nearby for dinner plans.

Fingers crossed, we walked back towards Dufferin. Maybe the best latin American cafe would have sandwiches? Alas, Columbus Bakery did not have sandwiches. We got an alfajore cookie, a custard and dulce de leche cake and a bun. Brent thought maybe the bun would be savoury, it appeared to have salt on top of it. The salt was sugar and inside there was more dulce de leche filling. It was delicious but after having just eaten the alfajore it was a bit too much sugar. The alfajore had a strong vanilla flavour but it lacked filling, and towards the end it was so dry and sticking to my throat. We had to save the piece of cake for later, I was on sugar overload. The cake was the best dessert. I have a soft spot for custard. And the pastry flake was well done and not stale.

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Hotwings & Crepes- What a Combo!

I had been wanting to go to Duff’s wings for a really long time (years in fact) and finally we were going. Partly because it was recently voted best wings, and partly because I insisted. Saturday night we found ourselves in a not-too-busy-just-right Duff’s on College. We ordered 30 wings in total, getting to try three flavours. Brent had been recently and tried the medium, which they warn is not your regular medium and quite spicy. He found them so-so. Instead we ordered: medium-hot, spicy BBQ and hot honey garlic. Just for kicks we ordered a single Armageddon wing, the hottest wing they have on offer. We decided to leave that one for last, lest it destroy us. The medium-hot were an acceptable amount of hot, but based on what was written everywhere I had expected this level of hot from just the medium. The spicy bbq were actually quite mild. It is hard to say if I preferred those or my go-to honey garlic (made all the better with some heat). Needless to say what we could not finish was the medium-hot, 30 wings is a lot.

Then it was time. Brent took a bite first, he seemed OK. Going off the medium-hot actual hotness level, I was not afraid- I gamely took a bite. We sat there staring at each other. One beat. Two beat. Cue the tears, cue the table slamming, cue the “Oh god why did I do this?!” It hurt. It physically hurt the whole back of my mouth and down my throat. Every time I swallowed it just spread. I knew I could not drink water. In desperation I used a celery stick to scoop blue cheese dip into my mouth. But it was too gross, and only made the situation worse. We looked at each other, both grimacing and questioning our choices in life. I comforted myself by saying it will only last a few minutes. It will pass I kept thinking. It has to pass. It cannot last forever. All I could think of was downing my long island iced tea in one big gulp. Eventually it passed. We sat there and looked down at the rest of the wing, we had really just taken a tiny little nibble each, barely anything really. How did someone eat one, let alone 50 of these?! Did the wall of fame lie?

Afterwards we walked over to Kensington Market to get crepes for a pseudo-dessert. I was wary of a new crepe place, I’ve had some pretty damn good crepes in the city thus far. Millie Creperie offered Japanese style crepes. Mine had mango sorbet and strawberries and whipped cream. The trouble was taht it was served like a cone, and so all the toppings were at the top. It was hard to eat and uneven. Adding to the troubles it was simply not that good. The crepe was not fresh, had been reheated. It was chewy and lacked those little toasted crispy spots. It was a sad fail. That is until I had a bite of Brent’s- it was even worse. The green tea tasted like rotten pumpkins. I was not having it. Crepes should not be messed with.

 

Sushi for Two

Best sushi takeout was revoted and updated to Japango which happens to be right smack downtown. The school year had barely begun, and it still felt like summer. One night I was on Instagram and I saw a remarkable photograph of ice cream geo-tagged Sweet Jesus. My eyes bugged out of my head, there was a place with such an amazing name and such amazing ice cream?! AND IT WAS IN TORONTO?! Sign me up!! I insisted that the week’s fooding trip be to Sweet Jesus so I could have one last ice cream cone before succumbing to autumn and school.

Rather than get takeout sushi and then go get ice cream we reversed the order: dessert first. I was unsure about how busy Sweet Jesus would be. It was a hot Wednesday and it was TIFF season. We got there and the line was not too bad, maybe 10-15 people in front of us? Apparently for the business-suits behind us it was too long a line. We laughed as we waited less than 20 minutes. They had a great set-up. Someone would come out to the line and hand out menus, come back and take orders. By the time we had paid we were being handed our ice cream cones. There was much debate over the menu. Initially I wanted to get the rocky road, however there were a few other contenders on the list, particularly the cookies and cream. Brent ended up getting that one and I had the rocky road. It was supposed to have marshmallow flavoured soft serve but the taste was too subtle and was lost on both of us. The stand-out winner was the cookie dough in Brent’s cone. We had planned on walking and eating our ice cream cones but as soon as we dug into the monstrosities it became evident. We would have to sit down and tame them before we were safe to walk and eat.

On the walk Brent called ahead to place an order for sushi takeout- brilliant. We ordered a medium sized tray because small seemed too small. Needless to say we got some looks as we walked down the street with a giant tray of sushi. It was just a little bit too much sushi. And yes it was delicious, but there was no unagi so I have trouble saying it was the best takeout sushi in the city. My heart still belongs to Sushi on Bloor.

We now have a million packets of soy sauce and chop sticks in the house.

 

Dîner à Toronto

The best of Toronto list was updated yet again. Best French restaurant was finally updated (Ici Bistro has been closed for a while now). Thank the lucky stars! A place near us! Except the school year has started, and so has my gym access. Normally I would have been thrilled with a (relatively) short walk down to the Distillery District. That day in particular I was cursing my dead legs.

Cluny Bistro was new to the Distillery District (since I had been there last a few years ago, or I had never noticed it, who can say). I was excited for dinner, as the last two times I had French cuisine in Toronto it was amazing (La Societe and Ici Bistro). I looked up the menu beforehand and noticed that they had grilled skate. I had to Google what exactly a skate is (I had a vague idea, something like a sting ray?). I was right. And now I would get to eat another type of animal!

We ordered the sweet breads as an appetizer. I was intrigued, as they were served a-la buffalo wings. They weren’t lying when they said “buffalo fried”, it was like eating buffalo wings without the pesky bones. I still do not understand the appeal of celery or blue cheese dipping sauce. They are unnecessary and take up precious space where there could be more wings. Feeling fancy we decided to split a bottle of wine (even though it was Ontario wine and not French). I had noticed when we came in that the bottles seemed rather small, still we split a half bottle instead. This amounted to a generous glass each. As we ate our mains, Brent overheard at the other table that they had beer. We ended up getting a second round of drinks. I finally got my glass of French wine, a delicious rose from somewhere in France.

Was it the best French food in the city? The steak frites Brent had were tasty. The skate was good until I got to the all the tiny bones. Not only were they annoying to eat around, but it was suddenly very clear how skates move and I could picture it swimming in the water and it unsettled me. But I still prefer La Societe (as I cannot prefer Ici Bistro, it has shut down).

 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I had the brilliant idea in my head one day to make my own spaghetti sauce, it would be so much better than store bought I thought! Plus now that I was making it at home I could control the amount of tomato chunks in it. With my fresh Ontario tomatoes I set to work. Step one, peel the tomatoes. This would prove to almost be my undoing. Tomatoes are about the worst thing on the planet to peel. To get the skin off “easily” you pour boiling water over the tomato. Only if you wait for it to cool the skin doesn’t come off and you have to repeat this all over again. I had to boil an inordinate amount of water. I haven’t burnt my fingers so many times since I worked as a barista years ago, turns out I’m not as immune to it as I had thought. Towards the end I stopped caring and hacked at them. Going into this I already hated tomatoes*, but now, now I had some new reasons to hate them. I hate how they feel and I hate how they smell.

I had just gotten over the “frozen green things in my freezer frustration.” The recipe called for basil and parsley. I had dill and cilantro. How many green cooking herbs are there?! My anger soon dissipated as a delicious smell filled the house, it smelled like an Italian restaurant and made me super hungry. After an hour or so of cooking on a low heat my sauce was done, so said the recipe. I took one look in the pot and thought NO WAY. I fished out the tomato chunks and tossed them in my blender (as opposed to when I usually encounter them in the store bought and I leave them on the side of the plate awaiting a toss into the garbage). My sauce went from a deep red to an orange-y colour that reminded me of tomato sauce. OK, so my spaghetti sauce is more of a thick tomato soup, even though it lacks any soup base. I ended up with two jars of it! Unfortunately the store bought sauce was on sale, and it comes in good mason jars. I had to make room in the freezer for my spaghetti sauce, I will eventually eat it. I promise.

 

* this hate does not extend to tomato products like spaghetti sauce and ketchup, actually even bruschetta is tasty

 
 
 
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