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Ending on a Delicious Note

The posting avalanche ends with our last fooding outing of the year (and what a year it was!). We finally managed to get reservations at Mamakas, voted best Greek restaurant. Apparently a very popular place, it had looked like we may have to save it for 2017 but we managed to get in.

And no wonder it is so popular, the food was incredible! I ate goat tartare atop goat cheese. More than one bite and only mildly tasting off that tinge I hate so much. It was worth it to try the in-house made pitas. Everything was made as a sharing plate, so we did not have to do the awkward plate-swapping halfway through. We just tore into one big plate. Brent got suckered into ordering fries on the side, our server was like that’s not enough food you guys. The fries were good, save for the feta. But again, that’s just me hating feta. The winner was the Mediterranean sea bass, it was so simple and yet so delicious. Olive oil, sea salt lemon and every bite was gustatory heaven. The cured swordfish was also delicious. The baklava was incredible as it was not overly sweet.

Mamakas had been billed as having a “high-end booze” menu as well, so of course we dug right into the cocktail menu. High-end? I have no idea. Fancy and delicious, yup.

 

ReGuu

Guu in Parkdale was recently voted best izakaya restaurant in Toronto. This might not seem like news, Guu already held that title, what of it? Well the other two locations are no longer Guu, now they’re Kinka and there was some ownership split and some kerfuffle. What matters is the food.

We made a reservation and good thing too, the place was really busy. We were by the door and for most of the night when things were quiet we talked to the host. He was awesome. I ordered a sake mojito and it came with a Japanese soda that had a little plug I had to pop into the soda to open it. It was confusing at first, but I figured it out. After drinking it I realized I should try sake on it’s own. Then to round it out, I tried the sake chocolate mojito, why not.

The menu was pared down and had more culinary styles compared to what we were used to. But my old standby, the jellyfish was there. But it got relegated to the second tier if were still hungry. The best dish of the night, hands down, was the sous-vide cooked steak. It was incredible and so flavourful! Albeit eating the mashed potatoes with chopsticks was awkward. On the host’s recommendation, in the second round we got the jerk chicken… and my beloved jellyfish. We gave the fried chicken another chance, and it was better this time, but still not that great.

We stopped in at Duggan’s for a drink before heading home. I had passed it a few times but we were never in the neighbourhood since it had opened (ironic given we used to live nearby). The raspberry beer really hit the spot and it was nice to sit back and relax. Until Brent recognized a logo on a guy’s shirt and tried to do a secret hand-shake at/with the guy. At first he was bewildered, then he quickly caught on and was delighted. His girlfriend meanwhile remarked to me on the topic of being embarrassed by one’s partner. It was lightly snowing out and soon about 20 people in Santa hats and elf costumes came in. I was ready to go home, four drinks and a tonne of great food made for an excellent night out. Plus I had caved and ordered a West Ave cider (who could resist?). I was ready for sleep.

 

Guacie Guac Guac, I’ll Make it Fresh!

We had tried to go to Tenoch on a weeknight, we did not anticipate it being closed after 7pm. We did not make the same mistake for round two. We set out on a Saturday afternoon with dreams of the best guacamole dancing in our heads. It had been a few months, I really don’t know why it took us so long.

This was one of the better meals of the year, and it was so cheap too! The margarita had a generous helping of tequila, not ideal on an empty stomach but who can complain? The guacamole was indeed amazing, it was saltier than I am used to, but that made it better. I did not know that guacamole could be that good. The quesadilla I ordered was amazing. It filled all my cheese cravings (this was before we went out to the best diner, see previous post, they are all out of order now, oops) and then some. My only regret is that the meat I chose did not exactly go with the cheese. Brent’s steak taco won the night, it was delicious and spicy and just perfect.

 

Who Can Say No To Cake?

We ended up celebrating Brent’s birthday a week early, so everyone missed out on the best birthday cake in the city and had to settle for eating slab cake, meanwhile yours truly ate about a year’s worth of cake within the span of a week. It was a wonder we even got the cake. With his birthday being so close to the holidays and overlapping with the end of my semester, it was a struggle to order the cake in time. Thankfully I had not ordered anything too elaborate and they were able to make it. Ironically they do not have vanilla flavour, which I kind of associate and consider interchangeable with “birthday cake” flavour. I’m not complaining, the chocolate cake was amazing. The buttercream was a bit much for me, but I hate buttercream so no surprise there. Within three days the two of us had devoured the whole thing. It’s not the first time. A few, quite a few, years ago we devoured within two days a DQ Smarties ice cream cake.

caake

 

 

What A Dive

Harry’s in Parkdale had recently been voted best diner. I was all for it when I heard taht the guys behind Bar Raval and Black Hoof had bought the place and worked wonders on it, winning it a BlogTO best of no less. Diner is a generous word. Dive bar in a crappy strip mall next to a crappy No Frills is more apt. And the bar, I cannot call it a diner, I really can’t, offered just that: no frills. The bar was small, our table was small and our precious tabletop real estate was crowded into by the wall-mounted jukebox. The napkin dispenser rested precariously on top, I feared bringing it all down when I went to grab a napkin. Oh, and the service was slow. But for all that… migawd, that grilled cheese sandwich. It is something my great-great-grand-nieces-and-nephews will be hearing about. The best grilled cheese list needs updating, because this is it. I don’t think a better grilled cheese can be found. Except maybe in heaven, cheese heaven. Did I mention it had ham? It was a grilled cheese and ham. It was buttered. It was slightly spicy. It was AMAZING. I cannot even describe it. Go eat it and come back. The old fashioned was good too. Green chorizo burger was delicious, but that grilled cheese sandwich, goddamn. I drool just thinking about it.

 

I’m Sure That’s a Dining Table

 

Best mac and cheese was finally updated. I say finally because I had been craving it for a while and was looking for an excuse to indulge. Bobbie Sue’s was not what I had expected. It was just a walk-up window and some muskoka chairs and a plastic curtain and heat lamps. Brent had noticed some seating downstairs, it looked like it could be an eating area, there were napkins and a container of cutlery. The chairs seemed intended for people waiting for their order anyways. Once we got down there though it seemed like maaaabye we were in a staff eating area. Who could say. No one stopped us and so we chowed down. I had the traditional and Brent had the buffalo chicken. Far and away he won. It was good eating and I can see why they won: the portion size was reasonable. Oh and it was delicious and it totally hit the spot. Good noodles, good cheese. It was not Kraft Dinner, but that might be it’s own category of mac and cheese.

 

A New Record!

We did it, we finally did it. Four best of places in one day! The day started out at UFO restaurant, voted best cheap breakfast. We did not wake up early for this, I was allowed to sleep to my heart’s content. As soon as we walked in I could see why we did not have to be there for open and why it was so cheap. It was part convenience store, part cheap crappy diner. No fancy menus, everything was written on a white board above the kitchen behind the counter, a TV was playing CP24. The service was great and fast. The food was cheap, so cheap, and so delicious. I had ordered the french toast and I received a plate of the most-home-made-tasting french toast I have ever had. It was great, it hit the spot and was just what I needed. It tasted exactly like the french toast I used to make back when I was less lazy in the kitchen. We were out of there in under 20 minutes.

Up next was Plentea, voted best tea cafe in the city. So far this day was totally my jam: I love french toast and I love love love, LOVE, tea. A cafe that makes its own tea blends? Sign me up! We ended up paying as much for two tea lattes as we had for breakfast but it was incredible. I had the matcha green tea latte and it was the best I have ever had. I had a sip of Brent’s, which had of all things coconut milk in it, also delicious. I was just sad that they did not sell tea in bags or canisters for home consumption, I still have a bit of room in my tea cabinet (yes, I have an entire cabinet dedicated to tea, I told you, I LOVE tea). As we sat and sipped, we talked about our next destination: Birerria Volo, sister to our beloved (now dead) Bar Volo. During this hope-filled discussion Brent checked how far a walk it was and what time they open. So it was a 35 minute walk and we had an hour and a half before they opened? Crap.

Thankfully best local butcher, Rowe Farms, had a second location on Roncesvalles. We were already west of Dufferin and it was a gorgeous warm fall day. Why not go to that location, rather than the original plan of going on the way home to the one at Spadina and Bloor. Plus, I now had a chance to go back to Glory Hole Donuts. In my rankings they fell far behind Von Doughnuts and I was curious to see if this was still so. The sour cream donut with a vanilla glaze was ok, the glaze was better than the donut. The lime coconut cake-based donut was also just OK. The best of the three was the ricotta lemon donut hole. But none of them held a candle to Von Doughnuts.

We wandered around Rowe Farms, browsing the selection. In the end we settled on chicken sausages- we could have them for dinner that evening.The sausages were way better than the ones we got from Cumbrae’s, it was not even a contest it was so uneven.

Our final stop was Birerria Volo, voted best beer selection. I am not really a fan of beer, but I do have a soft spot for a good sour beer, the bar’s specialty! We happened to go there during an event, Trou Du Diable had done a tap takeover, all 26 taps were from that brewer. Even still I found two that I liked. The barrel aged sour saison with cherries was delicious, but the German gose with raspberries was the clear winner. Can’t go wrong with a gose. As we sipped and talked, I mentioned that we would be passing Her Father’s Kitchen, a new cider bar I had been wanting to check out, on our way home. Rather than stay and have more sour beers, we decided to head there after two beers each. This was mostly because my third beer was supposed to be a Cantillon, but they were all sold out. We had been so close, so close to yet again enjoying Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinu </3

Her Father’s Kitchen was amazing. We had arrived between the brunch and dinner hours, when it was just a bar. They had the option for a tasting flight, three of the nine ciders on tap, 5 ounces each all for a whole $12- it was a great deal. Between the two of us we got to try six drastically different ciders ranging from regular apple ones, to wacky ones with ginger, pinot noir grapes, or hops. I finished it off with a small glass of ice cider to cover the range. They have been added to our rotation if ever we are out past Harbord.

 
 
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