Accidental Tradition

I guess it has become a (yearly?) tradition now: super fancy, prix fixe sushi dinners. We had one last year at Yasu for my birthday. Now this year we went to Shoushin and decided that it was our Valentine’s dinner. A month early but who cares.

Shoushin had been on two of the lists I read: Toronto Life’s top 100 of 2018, and the best of Canada 2018. I had high hopes for this dinner. It was a similar set-up and same premise as Yasu: lots of little dishes, allowing you to sample all the chef has to offer. I am a huge fan of this style of menu. You get one piece of each type of sashimi, allowing you to try a large variety. It being a high-quality restaurant, it’s also a good opportunity to try fish that I did not like in the past. Maybe it was in the quality or the preparation? As it turns out, I am still not a fan of sea urchin. I’ve had it three times total, one time from a crappy sushi place in a mall and two times at fancy onakase restaurants. It’s just not good.

It was fun eating each individual piece of sashimi and debate it, was it better than the previous? This especially worked nicely when it came to the three tuna pieces: it went from lean to medium to fatty. Oh man was the fatty one good. It was kind of hard to pick a favourite overall. The first one had more flavours to it, but the fatty tuna was just so damn melt-in-your-mouth good.

For dessert we had matcha jelly and squash creme brulee. Not the best dishes, but still an overall great dinner. It is our current top contender for 2019. But, still not as good as Yasu. A lot of the sashimi pieces, though made with different types of fish, were seasoned much the same: some soy sauce, a bit of fresh wasabi. There was not much variety in the preparation. It was still fun to watch as they prepared it all, fresh before our eyes.

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Posted by on January 26, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized


Is That The Best You Can Do?

I had seen a delicious looking cheeseburger from Toronto on Instagram and when I found out where to get one I immediately insisted on adding it to our fooding list. It was only after that I found out that the cheeseburger from Resto Boemo at Chef’s Assemebly Hall had been voted best burger of 2018 by Toronto Life*. I was even more excited now! Add on a side of parmesan truffle fries and it was setting up to be an epic meal. And it better have been for that price (high teens, almost 20).

It looked good. The bun was lightly toasted. It certainly looked better than the lamb baklava Brent was having as an appetizer from the stall across the way, it was teeny-tiny. Oh, by the way, Chef’s Assembly Hall is basically a fancy food court with a bar and a beer hall- which unfortunately  was closed that day for a private (Google?) party. I stole a tiny bite of the app and I was not impressed. This trend continued. The burger was a sad little one. I had ordered a single, expecting a hefty patty. Instead I had a shoe-string patty. And it was rather charred- which doesn’t work on such a thin surface. The best part of the burger, and the only thing that made it good actually (besides the bun) was the sauce. And that should never be the case. The fries were good but in the end there were too many and I had to stop. I couldn’t eat any more. If they were regular fries yes, I could have kept eating. That is the downside to parmesan-truffle seasoning.

Dessert would save the day right? An icing sandwich cookie from Short & Sweet. Alas, they were closed as was the place where Brent wanted his dinner from. He instead got kimchi chicken but it was not that good. He eventually abandoned the kale salad for my fries. Smart choice. In the end we had Bulk Barn for dessert- a fine choice.

*looking at the picture in the review, the patty the reviewer had from Resto Boemo is way thicker, I got shortchanged by 2/3 of a patty!

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Posted by on January 21, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized


Cookie, Cookie, Cookie, I Love Thee

This year I am following Cookie Monster’s advice: “dis year me focusing on me self-care. When me need little love, me going to give meself cookie.” Words to live by. And how perfect, best new bakery 2018 was recently posted and #1 is Craig’s Cookies. And it just so happened that I would be in the west end (donating stuff to Value Village around round #1 of KonMari tidying up). It was kismet.

I ordered a half dozen cookies and made sure to cover the spread. We had: original, smores (shaped more like a little cake), Oreo, Reese’s Pieces, toffee , and what I think was some kind of white-chocolate-over-milk-chocolate candy bar? The last one was impossible to remember hours later when we opened the grease-stained cardboard box. I made the mistake of starting with the Reese’s pieces one (it looked so good!). Really we should have started with the original. Either way, he blew my cookies out of the water. Sweetmotherofgod these were the best damn cookies I have ever had. The only point against them (if you can call it that) is that they are so rich and heavy you can’t really binge eat them. Either way, I was in heaven and dessert-wise it is going to be really tough to top that.

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Posted by on January 11, 2019 in Fooding, Uncategorized


By George, What A Meal!

Good thing we made dinner reservations at George. Not. The place was half empty. We were by far the youngest ones in there and the most casually dressed. Our server asked us if we were celebrating anything (clearly the only reason we would be eating there). Nope, just another Wednesday night out, fooding as usual. From my notes it says that

We had two options for dinner: a blind tasting menu (different sized menus available) or a-la carte. I don’t like not knowing and they were not specifically known for their tasting menu. Besides, we had already looked it up online previously and we knew exactly what we wanted. Except for wine. They did not have their wine list online, but that was what they had an award for! (I had it in my notes that they were top 100 but I cannot for the life of me find the original source for that).

When the amuse bouche arrived I had not been paying attention and for a brief second I thought it was my starter and I was shocked at how small it was. Only when I looked across and saw that Brent had the same dish did it dawn on me. Oops. It was delicious and I had high hopes for the erst of our meal. I had ordered the lobster with lemongrass and it was amazing. Brent had the duck breast, almost as good as my dish but a smidge less. He agreed in reverse, so after a few bites of each others we traded back. After that we split a second dish, the short rib and puff pastry. It was bland and not that good. The meat had no seasoning or taste to it. It was odd given how good everything else had been so far. For our mains (ordered off the “third” menu) I had the glacier bass and Brent had the beef rib eye. He won by a mile. The fish was good but nothing remarkable. The mussels on the side had been brined and were too salty. The beef rib eye, however, it was incredible. Perfectly seasoned and so good.

For dessert Brent had the sorrel and apple sorbet (sour and sour!) it was refreshingly good. I had the pistachio nougat gelato. I had to get gelato, the chef had gone to Gelato University. And it showed. The dessert was delicious. By then I had finished my glass of red wine and ordered 2oz of a 1987 aged madeira wine. I was curious what something that old would taste like. Raisins. It tasted like raisins, and it was so dark and thick and syrupy. It was great, I loved it. Except maybe the last sip, by then I was done.

By the end we debated only slightly, it was better than Aviary Brewpub, despite Aviary’s stellar speed of service.

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Posted by on January 11, 2019 in Fooding


New Year, New Beer

We decided that for 2019 we would keep active rankings of all our fooding dates, making it easier to keep track of our experiences and most obviously: to help us with our top year end picks (I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of the year- except, just a few weeks ago we were struggling to name our top 2018, so there).

Our list of places has grown beyond just BlogTO (and the occasional Toronto Life) best-of’s. In addition to the top 2018 restaurants of Canada we have added place that I have seen on Instagram and thought hey, I’d like to eat there. We started the year off at one such place. I had seen Aviary Brewpub on Instagram as one of the newer breweries to crop up in Toronto and what better way to start the new year? I don’t like beer. BUT a chocolate cupcake baked with beer? That I can get down with. House-made cracker jacks? Where do I sign? Fried chicken sandwich and house-made sausage seemed like good bets at a sports/brewpub. The cracker jacks were great and we devoured them before our food even arrived (which was actually really fast, the service was impeccable- we were just really hungry). I did not really care for the prize inside the bag, a rubbery little knock-off Bugs Bunny (it lays in a drawer now, just waiting to get KonMarie’d* out of the house). The first few bites of the fried chicken sandwich were disappointing, but it came together when you got the coleslaw in there. The hotdog won by a margin, but it too was only average. I did like the horseradish mustard though. Instead of fries there was the option to get tater tots as a side and I figured if Brent was getting fries, I could get tater tots and we ‘d split it all. I’ve never liked the idea of tater tots, but I thought I would give them a try given how much people like them. And all I did was confirm that I do not like tater tots. At all. The cupcake was good, it had a cream filling. But calling it a cupcake is a lie. It was more of a small, rich, chocolate cake. It was so rich I couldn’t finish it. ME! Can you imagine?

Don’t like beer? Don’t worry, they also had a Niagara cider on offer. There was a hibiscus beer that was alright as well.


* another fun thing for 2019? I’ve totally been taken in with the KonMarie method of tidying up and sparking joy in my life

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Posted by on January 11, 2019 in Fooding


It’s The Final Countdown

We finished off our year of fooding at Edulis, listed on Canada’s Best 100 restaurants and Toronto Life’s Top 100 of 2018. It took us months to get this reservation and I could not understand why. We didn’t have this much trouble with other double-listed restaurants. What the heck? When we got there I saw one reason why: it was tiny. There was seating for under 50 people. But when we got there, only two tables were filled. The rest sat empty and only filled up over the course of the night. Once things got going I totally understood why the long wait to get a table. This was it. There was no way they would have another seating at our table that evening, the dinner took three hours. There was no turn-around, no one else would be taking our place for the next round.

We decided on the 7 course dinner, figuring we were probably never going back there. Had we known how long dinner was going to be, we would have probably opted for the 5 course option. It started out at a good pace but as the restaurant got busier, the service got slower. Towards the end we were getting antsy and I wanted to go home. Finally the dessert came and we were like YES we can get out of here! Except while Brent was in the bathroom, I was supposed to ask for the cheque, except as the server was clearing our table, I missed the opportunity as I was finishing off my 2008 Matilda vintage port (so good). Crap. I would have to wait. Except she came back… with another dessert!!! We looked at each other and laughed, any chance of us leaving soon was out of the question. It was a giant slice of pound came with a side of chantilly cream. She said it came with a rum syrup and then proceeded to douse the cake. It was funny because she had implied just a hint and then proceeded to drown the cake. It was really good though.

All of the food was really good, it just took so long it kind of soured us. Great food, meh experience. Weird people all around us. Two drunk co-workers, one of whom was trying to convince the other that they should have a girls-weekend-away and refusing to clink glasses because the other said she was only some-number percent sure (the other was ready to book tickets right then and there). There was the couple on the other side who were regulars at Edulis. How do they have the time we wondered?! And also: a three hour dinner with the guy seemed insufferable. He kept talking about home renos and the shows he was watching. At one point he talked about building a bathroom in the closet space under stairs. Over Brent’s shoulder there was a touchy-feely couple. The girl grabbed the guy’s face with both hands and kissed him aggressively.

The food was amazing. All night, with every dish, we debated if it was better than Yasu (the other contender for best of the year). They made me like olives! I didn’t know olives could actually taste good, but there I was, having just eaten a bread cube soaked in olive oil, mentally preparing myself for a pepper-stuffed green olive. Had I been wrong about olives all along? Probably not. I do not have the time nor the expertise to prepare them such that they become edible. What we found across all of the dishes were the harmonies between flavours and textures. It was not something we notice often, but when you are presented with a fish dish that has cashews, grapefruit juice and jalapenos you can’t help but wonder what?! how is that going to work?! followed by OMG this is so unbelievably good. Even the granny smith apple sorbet with coconut and tapioca cubes. At first bite it was alright, but as I kept eating it I noticed that the tapioca and coconut added the lost texture of the apple.

It was only by a fraction of a margin, and partly based on overall experience, but Yasu still wins for 2018. With Edulis a solid 2nd, where all of the dishes were still in the A-range.

Up next: I will attempt to slow-cook a turkey breast for a holiday meal.

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Posted by on December 15, 2018 in Fooding, Uncategorized


I’m Just Here for the Bacon

White Lily Diner appeared on another BlogTO best list, this time for best meat loaf. I was super psyched to go back, who can say no to their bacon? I was rather skeptical about the prospect of meat loaf. But then again, White Lily Diner was so good. To start, Brent had ordered a salad. As a side to my beef patty melt, I ordered a plate of bacon. Our server suggested if I wanted bacon, it could be added to the sandwich with a fried egg (making it a breakfast patty melt). I politely declined. I wanted to share my bacon with Brent (it’s called true love, look it up). As she approached with our mains I was momentarily taken aback. All I saw on the plates was a pile of greenery. Excuse me, I ordered a side of bacon with my sandwich- no need to guilt me with the lettuce. I laughed at Brent who had just eaten a rather large salad. Now he had to eat a second one. One bite in and already there was a growing rivulet of grease running down my ring finger. I foresaw this. Any time I sit down to an even remotely greasy meal, I take off all my rings and roll up my sleeves. There is nothing worse than grease in the crooks of your rings, periodically bugging you until you clean it out thoroughly. Both sandwiches held up pretty well and we were able to easily trade halfway (as opposed to times when we have to give instructions on how to grab it and it’s a rush to finish it before it falls apart completely). The patty melt was pretty good. The meatloaf was what you would expect. BUT the meatloaf sauce was something else. It was so good, I kind of wish I had it on the patty melt. Now that would have been an exceptional sandwich!

Nothing on the drink menu really stood out to me. There was a nice-sounding cider but it was a 750ml bottle. I eventually settled on a 5-spice sour. The cherry bitters is what pushed the drink over into amazing, it was already a really good cocktail but that just made it. We ate as much side salad as we could, so we would not look like total gluttons when we ordered a donut for dessert. Alas, the donuts were all sold out and our only options were pudding or apple pie a la mode. No thank you. Donuts or bust.

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Posted by on December 12, 2018 in Fooding

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