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Olive? Oh No.

We’ve expanded our food adventures beyond the scope of the BlogTO best of’s list. Partly due to a dwindling list and geographical constraints. Partly due to an expanded list of sources. Our latest outing was thanks to the 1001 Foods book. We were out on the hunt for niçoise olives. They just so happened to be on offer at Cafe Boulud, conveniently located in Yorkville. I had been wanting to eat at one of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants for a while now.

One cold Saturday night (back in March was it?- I’m behind) we found ourselves getting all gussied up and heading out on the town. We got to the Four Seasons hotel and promptly got lost. Wandering through the lobby we got to the downstairs bar. We had followed the signs so the only logical conclusion was that we had to go up the stairs by the bar. In retrospect it seems quite obvious. But at the time! (We had walked halfway back to the lobby and back).

We split the appetizer that featured the olives. The waiter did not bat an eyelash at it. As we sat there still looking at the menu it dawned on us that we may have ordered a salad. Crap. I hate salads so much! Soon our complimentary bread arrived and I did a double-take. It was in a tiny sack-cloth and I swear I had just seen that same dish presentation on a BuzzFeed list of hipster food going too far.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I just found this post in my Drafts. I do not remember much of the food. We were too distracted by the table next to us. It was a party of 7-8, one person’s birthday. Everyone ordered freely, not doing the math. Then the bill came. One guy was shocked at the bill, he tried to to the math, had to redo it because he forgot the birthday girl doesn’t pay, $200/person?! Him and a few others freaked out. How did this happen?! they wondered. Meanwhile the birthday girl sat there awkwardly silent. The guy who had just been bragging about his worldly travels and new-found affluence was suddenly balking at a restaurant bill. What they had not realized was that the girls at the other end of the table had been freely ordering multiple bottles of wine- not a care in the world. At a fancy restaurant no less. He starting adjusting his math, trying to calculate each individual’s bill plus a portion of the birthday girl’s bill. A lot of awkwardness interspersed with math ensued. Needless to say when they were leaving and the guy mentioned splitting an Uber, an emphatic NO arose from everyone.

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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

My Little Macaron

Apparently the French section of the 1001 Foods book is rife with references to one bakery in particular: La Duree. It was beginning to feel like we’d never be crossing brioche and a few French cookies off our list until we visited Paris. Until we found out that the bakery now had an outposting at Yorkdale mall! Any excuse for a shopping trip and I am in.

It was nowhere near the same thing- except in name and branding. My only option for brioche was to sit down in the salon and eat some french toast, maybe getting half to go for Brent back home. I asked if they sold loaves, assuming they cut the slices of brioche off a loaf? Nope. No dice. I asked about cookies and was told there were some (palmiers is all I remember) in the salon. Frustrated, I just settled on ordering a few macarons. Four to be exact. I did not expect such a whopping bill. I thought to myself- these had better be the best goddamn macarons I’ve ever had if I have paid this much for them. Raspberry and lemon were good but I still feel I may prefer Nadege’s, they were lighter. The rose one was ok. The last one (vanilla-something?) tasted like sunscreen. We’ve all been there. We’ve all gotten sunscreen in our mouths at some point, so this is not hyperbole. It was bad.

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in 1001 Foods, Uncategorized

 

~Finally!~

Up next in our rotation was the Top 100 list aka Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants*. All these years I’ve lived in Toronto, having walked by Nota Bene so many times and yet I’d never been. Now was my chance. Once our dishes arrived it absolutely made sense why it had been voted one of the best. You could tell the dishes were made with high quality ingredients. That being said, they kind of played it safe. Yes the dishes were good and well-prepared but they were by no means memorable or outstanding. All I can remember a month later is that my dish had rabbit in it and noodles.

We did also get to knock off another from the 1001 foods list: burrata. I was all for a cheese dish. When I saw that it was served with zucchini though I was quite skeptical. Turns out that it just tastes like cucumbers. All my life I did not know this. But I guess it’s never too soon to learn? The ratio of the dish was off. The main ingredient (based on the menu title) should have been the buratta, with just a touch of all the other stuff. Not the other way around. There were moments when I was eating just zucchini.

Looking at a photo it would appear that we had also ordered a charcuterie board. It was THAT not-outstanding.

*it has inexplicably disappeared from the list since I first came across it and now I am wondering what list I had been reading

 
 

Where There’s Smoque There’s Bones

I could not for the life of me remember why I had added Smoque N Bones to our fooding list, but really you can’t go wrong with barbecue. They were up against Adamson and I really wasn’t sure how well they would do. We were tempted by the platter deal, we were already ordering a few meat dishes and it made economic sense. But I was wary of it, we would have way too much food. We were only getting one side and the platter came with at least three. We settled on going a-la carte and it was the perfect amount of food. The food was amazing. The brisket was outstanding and we had ordered the perfect amount. Plus I finally got to try smoked lemonade.

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Dolmas

I was not looking forward to our latest food item from the 1001 books, dolmas. I worried that we would not even be able to find grape leaves. But we did! We found them on the Danforth… and then they sat in the cupboard for a month? Dolmas got bumped by a marathon, which was fine by me. I was already dreading attempting to make these. But then I found out there’s no meat in them? It’s just rice, pine nuts, raisins and currants? Wrapped in leaves that you are supposed to eat?! It was really weird to be frying rice, garlic and onions… with raisins and currants. Thankfully I was able to easily figure out how to roll the dolmas up in the grape leaves and we did not lose a single one in the cooking process. It did take a lot longer for them to cook, as I had the heat on too low. And then we had to wait for them to cool before eating? It was a lot of work for an appetizer that wasn’t really that good.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in 1001 Foods, Uncategorized

 

Sushi for Days

Kaka had been voted best all-you-can-eat sushi a while ago, unfortunately it was located in Markham. A hard pass- that is, until they opened a second location downtown. We went in there voraciously hungry. Right off the bat, just looking around, we could tell this was going to some quality sushi. And for that price it had better be. In total we tried 14 dishes, then I gave up and Brent continued on with another 4 dishes. Everything was great. I finally got my unagi fix. I had a side of seaweed salad as a palate cleanser. The plum juice and sake cocktail was amazing. The green tea creme brulee and the butter popcorn ice cream were wacky and interesting desserts. Plus I had the entertainment of watching Brent try to eat a giant mega-sushi. What was supposed to be a tuna tower was instead a tuna puck. I was really glad I had stopped when I did, any more and I would have overeaten and felt awful the rest of the night.

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Posted by on May 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Dandylion

We’ve recently added a new category to our fooding list: Canada’s Top 100 Best Restaurants. Of the 100 there were 13 that either had not already been to or were not in Toronto. Of the local ones, we’d been to almost (or more than?) half. Including the #1 restaurant, Alo.

And so one Wednesday evening we found ourselves on our way to Dandylion. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was it was voted in the top 10 and they had a small ever-changing menu- meaning we did not even get to look up beforehand what we would be ordering. Brent was intrigued by the starter that had white asparagus, which he had just read about in the 1001 foods book (allowing us to also cross that off the list). I had one bite and was not a fan, but I had anticipated this, hence the reason I had also ordered an app. The pork terrine was delicious, it went perfectly with the sourdough bread.

For the mains we had a very limited choice. I was not a fan of lamb nor was I about to ingest vegetables for my main. Which left me with one other option: scallops. They are by no means my favourite food, I can tolerate them at best. But man this dish was delicious. They were served in a tangy citrusy sauce and they were big meaty scallops. Needless to say there was no room for dessert, which is ok.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2018 in Fooding

 
 
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