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Korean BBQ with real charcoal?

Piggy's Restaurant in North York uses charcoal.

Aug 10, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Sushi at Bay/Dundas: Think Cafe Michi Chirashi...

I've only had one experience at Japango, but it wasn't a good one with crunchy shari. Prices may be a bit higher than Japango or comparative, but sitting at the sushi bar, the quality is better and the fish seems slightly fresher. Service may be a bit slower. Much easier to get a table at Yutaka than Japango by far.

Jul 29, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Sushi at Bay/Dundas: Think Cafe Michi Chirashi...

Have had two more omakase dinners. One by the junior chef ($30 for 9 nigiri and four pieces of a kanpyo maki) and one by the itamae ($50 for 13-15-piece sashimi plate and 9 nigiri). Really interesting to taste the differences in their ways of shaping the nigiri.

The kanpyo maki was a highlight -- the kanpyo was housemade, plump, and juicy and the rice was packed with the right amount of looseness. The iwashi/sardine sushi was incredible that day -- so fatty that it outshone the toro sushi on the same plate and was almost unrecognizable by taste/texture if the chef hadn't told me.

The sashimi platter was beautifully plated and fantastic. Highlight was the mirugai/geoduck -- much softer than usual and sweet. The ikura gunkanmaki was, as usual, delicious and light with none of the clagginess associated with usual ikura. All the eggs were still whole and the restaurant has a lighter hand with the marinade.

Also had a delicious unagi-stuffed tamagoyaki. Itamae waxed poetic about how delicious it is when it's still warm and I can absolutely believe it. Left positively stuffed that time.

Although I've attempted to cut back on eating out, Yutaka is always reliable for a good to spectacular meal. Service from the sushi chefs, even when they are very busy, is friendly and the waitstaff have also improved. It's become my regular sushi restaurant, even though I really shouldn't go so often!

Jul 16, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to buy the best steak?

Agreed. When in Markham, I go to FAMU for steaks from Ontario or PEI. Several years ago, they entertained my request to dry-age two rib steaks for eight weeks instead of their usual four. Taste-wise, I do prefer Cumbrae's, but FAMU is not a bad second choice at all.

Jul 09, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Peter Pan Bistro

Had brunch here today because they take reservations. My friend and I were pretty happy with the food and service; I will definitely return for dinner.

I ordered the duck cassoulet breakfast and my friend the Welsh rarebit. My dish was fine and well-executed, but not a re-order except for the hash brown/potato cake underneath the rich duck egg. The Welsh rarebit was incredibly cheesy and a definite re-order. With the Worcestershire "caviar", it's a fun and delicious dish. Portions aren't hearty, but the food is rich and filling nonetheless.

Service was attentive and upbeat, but they weren't as busy as usual (according to our server) with the rain and Pride parade. There was a little upselling, but considering the frequency of unasked for refills of coffee and water, absolutely forgivable. They handled their broken internet (no reservation system, no debit, old school credit card processing) with aplomb and grace. IMHO, it's rare to find good service in Toronto, especially when under pressure, so I'm happy Peter Pan Bistro's service matches (or even outdoes) the food.

Price to quality ratio may be a bit lacking when you take the portion size into consideration, but considering they take reservations, the decor, and the level of service, you are getting what you pay for.

Jun 28, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sushi party trays and bento boxes

Although it is much farther afield than J-Town or Zen, my family (also residing in Unionville) have had good take-out sushi from Taro's Fish at Sheppard/Leslie.

Jun 25, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Good Mul Naengmyeon in the GTA

No, I haven't. Passed by it a lot of times on my way to Tofu Village or Imonay, but I will pop in next time. Thanks.

Jun 22, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Sushi at Bay/Dundas: Think Cafe Michi Chirashi...

Believe the wasabi may be a combination of fresh and powdered (as a few almost high-end places do that I've encountered in Toronto and Hong Kong), but can't be certain.

My best guess for the seats is that there's about 18 (?) seats at the sushi/robatayaki bar, but only about 10 are in front of the sushi part of the bar.

Good Sushi at Bay/Dundas: Think Cafe Michi Chirashi...

Recently had an excellent omakase here, handled by the friendly Cafe Michi itamae. A few more people at this sushi bar this time around even at a later hour for a weekday evening.

Sat at the sushi bar again and had twelve pieces of nigiri (some doubles), two pieces of their tako, and an ikura-shiso temaki -- all for $45 with clam miso soup and tea before tax and tip.

Had ika, otoro, sea bream, kinmedai, aji, saba, and iwashi (sardines), among others. The kinmedai was fatty and lush -- a real treat. The sardines were gutted in front of me and the bones deep-fried and served as a delicious, crunchy, and gorgeous garnish. Temperature of the fish and rice were spot-on and the shari fell apart much more softly in my mouth.

Service by the chefs themselves was top-notch -- attentive and friendly -- but the waitstaff service was lacking. When they first sat me down, they didn't ask me what I wanted to drink -- the robatayaki chef did. I had to ask for tea twice -- first server forgot -- and had to ask for refills. Service first time around by the waitstaff was better; refills came without asking.

No complaints about the price to quality ratio for this dinner and I left positively stuffed.

ISO Good Mul Naengmyeon in the GTA

Besides Cho Sun Ok, where else can one find good mul naengmyeon? Most versions I encounter in Toronto have anemic broths gussied up with too MSG/sugar/vinegar, dry-as-a-bone beef, and/or overly hard-boiled egg.

I would appreciate any other suggestions in downtown Toronto or Markham, but am willing to haul myself (Pan Am Games traffic willing) to most parts of the central GTA.

P.S.: So as to avoid any potential issues about what constitutes "central GTA", I'm willing to drive to Richmond Hill, Markham, Vaughan, Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, and of course within Toronto itself.

Jun 21, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

Had this delicious and new mango/lime choux au craquelin today, which I would re-order again.

The filling is a ultra smooth but light mango pastry cream with more chunks of mango and softly whipped cream with a lovely lime fragrance. The lime zest is just the thing to temper the richness of the mango and the cream. The choux au craquelin itself is very good and I would love to see it offered with vanilla custard or plain whipped cream.

Jun 06, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for a fun bar/restuarant near eaton Chelsea toronto for my husbands 40th bday

The burger at Queen & Beaver seems like a distant shadow of what it once was when the gastropub first opened up. It used to be large, juicy, and thick and when my friend ordered it last month, it looked much smaller and drier.

May 24, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Good Chinese veggie meats at a veg Chinese restaurant?

Perhaps it was an off night, but the first (and only) time I tried Wutai in February of this year was somewhat bad. Over-salted, mostly one-dimensional dishes with uneven, uninformed, and slow service on the expensive side.

May 24, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Sushi at Bay/Dundas: Think Cafe Michi Chirashi...

Went on Friday night for dinner. The place was a bit empty -- only four to five tables occupied around 8:30PM. I was the only person seated at the sushi bar.

Asked about an omakase, server said no, but the sushi chef (who I think was the Cafe Michi itamae as he looked a bit familiar) said yes. What I got wasn't really an omakase, but rather a chef's choice of sashimi and sushi taking into account my preferences.

Overall, fish was quite fresh albeit on the chillier side than I like, the selection of fish was good, and shari was decent, but could've been warmer and looser. No Toronto restaurant I've tried thus far has been able to make firm yet loose enough shari for that much desired fall apart in your mouth texture. The house-made tako was tasty, as was the sea bream, horse mackerel, still-warm anago, and the hamachi-negi hand roll. The dashimaki tamago was more like very cold tamagoyaki, which was disappointing.

Service at the bar was good even if the Cafe Michi itaemae wasn't the one making my food. Two Korean-speaking sushi chefs handled my order.

Price-to-quality ratio was OK ($40 before tax/tip for four pieces of sashimi including bluefin otoro, seven nigiri including chopped chu-toro, one hamachi-negi hand roll, miso soup, and salad). In retrospect, the PQR is a bit disappointing compared to shekamoo's chirashi, but the lunch/dinner differential should be considered. However, the quality is better than Japango around the corner with its terrible, still crunchy shari and almost as good as Zen without the need to drive up the perpetually jammed DVP. Will return and I hope the quality will improve.

British sweets and savouries.

Don't know about price but the Bulk Mine near Yonge/Bloor carries cookies and sweets.

May 12, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

RIP - Chef Lai of Fung Lam Court

Very sad news. I have many fond memories of eating dinner at the Sheraton location with my family. The crab in rum sauce was good, but my strongest memory of his cooking remains the stir-fried mushrooms with crispy minced garlic for some reason.

May 06, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Oakville Favourites

Mye is a serviceable mid-range/high-end sort of restaurant. Someone else footed the bill when I was there for dinner, so I was spared the sticker shock, so I can't say whether it was worth it or not. Food was above average, but not exceptional.

Jonathan's (fine dining side) is delicious, but expensive. Dishes are all executed well and quite solid.

Had a good calamari dish at Salvatore's during Taste of Oakville, but the lemon sauce on the veal was terribly sour.

Mar 17, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Kid friendly near AGO

Yummy Yummy Dumplings is quite close by.

Mar 09, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gochujang without corn syrup, fructose or glucose?

No idea, I'm afraid (ditto with corn syrup, fructose, and glucose).

The flyer doesn't show an ingredient list and the fine print which may have an explanation as to its ingredients is 1) so fine it's nearly illegible and 2) in Korean, which I can't read (anyone literate in Korean out there?).

Jan 18, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gochujang without corn syrup, fructose or glucose?

Could be a long shot, but Galleria Supermarket may have what you're looking for starting January 23. The latest flyer (http://www.galleriasm.com:8888/Conten...) shows "traditional gochujang" at the bottom as part of the special Yeongcheon, Gyeongbuk province event, so there's a chance it might be free of corn syrup, fructose, and glucose.

Jan 17, 2015
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Fresh Burger - Church and Wellesley

Thanks for letting us know about their second location. This is great news, especially since it's a lot closer for me than BP.

Dec 23, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

Went again this weekend and had the pistachio/raspberry tart and the recently introduced citrus and pistachio brioches and Gateau Basque.

The pistachio/raspberry tart is delicious with a combination of sweet pistachio pastry cream and tart raspberries and a hidden layer of raspberry jelly or paste between the pastry cream and the crust. Would buy again.

Gateau Basque was a touch on sweet side with the pastry cream filling (of which there didn't seem much). Regardless, I was happy to see it offered at Duo and would eat it again.

The new pistachio and citrus brioches seem like misnomers because they're not made from brioche dough, but rather laminated dough. The pistachio brioche has dried cranberries studded in its swirl and they're both airy light. Not my favourite items in the shop (that would be the apple and plain croissants and the pain au chocolat), but still delicious and interesting additions to the excellent and varied viennoiserie line up.

Also got a flat white to go and I think the coffee is more consistently pulled as the microfoam was definitely up to par.

If you have your heart set on an item, it would be safer to call ahead to check. I went there on Saturday around 3PM and they sold out of the apple croissants and I took the last pistachio or citrus brioche. It's also getting a good deal busier and all the tables were full when I visited the shop. I also saw a beautiful 7" or 8" citrus tart on display that was already sold; seems like they may do special larger requests.

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

I tried this as well, though I did want a bit more crunch/crisp for even more textural contrast. The fruit is stewed pineapple, if my memory of the place card description serves me correctly. Even though I don't avoid gluten, I like that it's gluten-free.

Dec 05, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where's the best fried chicken in the GTA ?

Has anyone tried Koo Koo Chicken in Mississauga? It's a Taiwanese joint and it's apparently fried fresh.

Dec 02, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

My second visit impressed me even more. I had the apple croissant, a cappuccino, and an espresso. The apple croissant is truly delicious -- crispy, flaky with the apple flavour coming through and a secret layer of custard underneath the apple slices which adds a hint of buttery creaminess which is barely detectable. My favourite viennoiserie so far! I grabbed an 8 and a Douceur (ginger, milk chocolate) to go.

Everyone is clearly working hard and long hours, but they're still all smiles, welcoming, and happy to make recommendations. Ivy and Brenda did the interior decoration and I believe the former recommended the apple croissant to stay (instead of the 8) because it was better freshly made. Rocky is very passionate and happy to talk about the shop. With such a personable frontman, I think Duo will do very well on the press/social media front.

Coffee is from Pilot Roasters, which also provided education. All espresso-based drinks are regular double shots. The espresso is done fairly well with a nice crema and is the brighter, more acidic side. My cappuccino wasn't as well done as my flat white last time, because the microfoam wasn't as tight or velvety as the last time. They might've had issues with their steam wand and it was pulled by someone else, but I'm hopeful that with more practice and training, the coffee will remain consistent no matter who pulls it. For the coffee geeks, the setup is a Modbar (as IVIVI mentioned) with a Mahlkonig double grinder for wet grind and dry grind. They're employing a naked portafilter, a pull time of 25-30 seconds, and water temp is at 203F.

Grand opening will be delayed since they're figuring out production in order to meet the demand. They think it'll be sometime around Christmas when they'll officially open.

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

Update on the goods I had to go. Breakfasted on the warmed up almond and chocolate croissants. If anyone has an aversion to almond extract, cautiously approach the almond croissant, as the paste seems to contain it. Despite being day-old, they were good, especially the pain au chocolat. I had to use a dinner plate to eat them because otherwise, the flaky exterior of the croissants would've gone everywhere.

The Mont Blanc is delicious. Pate brisee base, Chantilly cream with vanilla bean, chestnut cream with a hint of liquor, and not a marron glace in the center, but a liquor-soaked chestnut (Brandy? Cognac?). It's sweet, but not overwhelmingly so.

Nov 16, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

Yes. It's on the south side, next to Bombay Bhel.

Nov 15, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Duo Pâtisserie & Café - Markham - Quality Viennoiseries, Macarons, and Cakes North of the 401

Address: 230 Commerce Valley Dr. E., Unit 4 Markham
FB: http://www.facebook.com/duopattiserie...
Hours: I think they're open everyday at 11 AM.

Duo is a pastry shop that soft-opened up last week. Clean, minimalist space with blond wood, white walls, and gray floors. Patissier/owner Eric used to work at Rahier. He, the manager, and the counter staff are quite nice. (Frank disclosure: they gave me the second croissant for free and sliced it so I could take a photo of the interior.

)

They have plain croissants, pains au chocolat, almond croissant, apple croissants, ham and cheese croissants, and something called a "8", one version which had lightly bruleed vanilla custard and the other with berries. There's several flavours of macarons and a selection of pretty little cakes, including a Mont Blanc.

I had a plain croissant and a decaf flat white with good microfoam. The croissant was buttery, crispy on the outside, and flaky with lots of layers, but the innermost center was a little dense. That might have been an outlier because the second croissant didn't have that issue. (FYI, I've not yet had croissants at the usual Toronto shops except Nadege.) I also bought a Mont Blanc and two other croissants (chocolate, almond) to go and am optimistic about their quality. For the solo cake eaters, they have carry boxes for those who just want one individual cake.

Based on one visit, it's very promising shop and the quality of the goods seems quite high. I'm glad to find a place in the Richmond Hill/Markham area that has good croissants and whose staff can pour a decent latte in the third wave style without needing to suffer the southbound DVP.

Nov 15, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

2014 Restaurants and Food Store OPENINGS - Part II

Duo Patisserie & Cafe currently soft-opening at 230 Commerce Valley Dr. E. in Markham. Their FB page has a photo of what looks like a very promising croissant.

Nov 08, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Kouign Aman ---- somebody must be baking them in Toronto

I found it a bit lacking though I was very excited to see it. Insufficiently butter and sugar/caramel and the interior was also less tender than ideal.

Oct 23, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)