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bluebetsy's Profile

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Gourmand adventure - Toronto style

Hey Chowhounders, I need some help.

My aunt is a cookbook reviewer and food journalist from Vancouver, she is coming to visit in April and is looking for a culinary adventure. Last time she was here we went to the St. Lawrence Market and good times were had by all. So now, the question is where to take her this time?
We are less about fine dinning and more about good eating (not that fine dining does not involve good eating mind you), but I am hoping to show her what makes Toronto a unique place to eat and buy food!

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Las Vegas Pre-theatre dinner??

I can't decide between Michael Mina or La Cirque for dinner before we head to "O", any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Chowhounders.

Michael Mina Restaurant
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Nov 11, 2009
bluebetsy in Las Vegas

Coloured Bread in Toronto

At the Dufferin Grove farmer's market (it's on thursdays starting at noon) there is a woman who sells beet bread. Not only is it fantastic.... it is bright red. Her stall is the one with the giant line up, grab a loaf of the potato loaf while you are there, also fantastic!

Cowbell - Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Six of us went to Cowbell the other night, it was a Wednesday, for a friend's birthday. The reservation process was alright however when we called on the day of our 7pm reservation to add one more (from five to six) we were told that we had to be finished by 9pm as there was another reservation after us. This did not seem to be an issue when we first called, why now? We would have already needed three of their two top tables so what's up with that. Anyway, when we got there there were only three or four other tables but by 7:15 the place was full. Now you would think that if they were trying to flip a table the server would be sure to get to the table but alas, no. Once our order was finally taken the food came out at a good pace, not too fast not too slow. I had the antipasto (house made sausage was out of this world!) and the duck. The food itself was sublime, the preparation allowed to quality of the food to be that star and I found the portions to be just right. After our mains were finished we sat with empty plates on the table for a good 15 minutes. This is irritating because the servers (all two of them) walked by our table numerous times with empty hands and without picking up the plates on the way by. I am a server and it is just as easy to walk to the back with full hands and with empty ones. So inefficient. As our deserts came out (which were also delish) It was well past the 9pm time limit and no other large tables had come in, perhaps they had cancelled their reservation, but the gentleman on the phone had made such a big deal about us being finished by 9 that I just found it strange.

The food at Cowbell is fantastic, the space is cosy and warm, if a little loud from all the hard surfaces in the place. What I think will hold Cowbell back is the quality of the service. Yes it was the middle of the week but the place was fully booked, how can you meet the needs of your patrons with two waiters and a bartander? There was no manager to pick up the slack or take the door, nor was there a food runner or bus person to help out. I work in a diner where the average bill is $25, there is always someone there who is not a waiter to help out to ensure that every need is meet, why is this not happening here? The waiters have to spend a lot of time at the table explaining the menu, the result is many of the other tables were trying to get the attention of a server on the night we were there. Due to the fact that we always had to pour our own wine our server was unaware that we had finished our wine just as we had received our mains, I guess in his rushing about he missed the six empty wine glasses on the table. We would have ordered another bottle, adding another $70 to the bill, but were unable to get the attention of our server. I think people will tolerate low quality service in a less expensive joint but when you are paying $25-40 an entrée lack luster service become a little harder to swallow.

Best Roti in TO?

I have to say Caribbean Queen of Patties just east of Lansdowne on the south side of Bloor. I usually have the veggie roti, stuffed full of spinach and chickpeas, and it is out of this world! I want one RIGHT NOW!

Party for Eight?

The $25 was just for the mains, not apps or drinks. Scaramouche would be nice just not at 35-40 per main, That's for when it is just the two of us! As far as cuisine, we are all foodies, so are up for anything, and downtown is perferred.

Party for Eight?

Oh and I forgot, it will be on a monday night...just to make things more complicated!

Party for Eight?

OK so, I am graduating from university and I want to spring for dinner for the people who helped me make it through. I need a place. I was thinking Joso's or Spuntini. Does anyone have any thoughts or other recommendations? Since I am paying mains around $25ish at the most. Thanks!