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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)

Foodie stops in Markham

Cha chaan teng for HK-style French toast (fried and stuffed with peanut butter) or a pineapple bun with a slice of butter and a milk tea.

I like New City at Kennedy/Hwy 7 for their French toast, but their milk tea is only so-so. Phoenix's cold milk tea is famous, but I feel it's not as tasty as it once was (two locations: McCowan/Hwy 7, Woodbine/Steeles). Richmond Court in Times Square in Richmond Hill has earned some praise for its milk tea from some CHers.

Oct 03, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Costco Thread - Ontario - 2014 - July to September

Can also confirm Kirkland vanilla ice cream is not stocked at the Mississauga South location as of last week, which has a more extensive iced treats selection than Etobicoke.

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

Sweet Japanese Curry at Yonge and Gerrard

Not authentic, basically. It had peppers, no taste of belachan, and no garlic chives. No wok hay as well.

I'd go back for the curry as the sample I had was tasty and the owners were both so nice, earnest, and proud of their food, all of which are increasingly rare qualities in Toronto food places.

Aug 09, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Costco Thread - Ontario - 2014 - July to September

Yes, I was checking the price of the toilet paper and the on sale name brand was still more expensive than Kirkland at regular price. I figured if Kirkland does go on sale, then that'd be an even better bargain!

Aug 07, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Costco Thread - Ontario - 2014 - July to September

Well, it's not precisely food-related in the nature of this board, but the dishwasher detergent and toilet paper. Good to know the laundry detergent goes on sale sometimes, thanks.

Aug 07, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Costco Thread - Ontario - 2014 - July to September

Do Kirkland brand items ever go on sale, besides when they get discontinued?

Anyone know if the Mississauga South store has frozen demi-baguettes? At the Etobicoke store, I only found frozen mini ciabattas.

Aug 06, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sweet Japanese Curry at Yonge and Gerrard

Have tried the char kway teow, which is not recommended at all. However, I did sample their curry and their homemade kaya jam. Both are pretty delicious and the latter has a strong pandan flavour. One jar is $5 (I think), but you need to reserve it a day ahead by calling.

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

Ice Cream, 2014

The durian gelato really is great. The aroma and taste is spot-on, the texture is good, and the durian smell is very strong. I would not suggest kissing a durian-hater afterwards because they'll hate it!

Also, I tasted the HK Milk tea and had the Vietnamese coffee. Although they were accurate in flavour, their texture was lacking and the flavour didn't linger as long.

I suspect it's because the base needs more a bit more (milk) fat in it to work, which is why the durian is good, but the other flavours I tried weren't as great.

Jul 09, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where can I buy Kimchi in Toronto?

Galleria kimchi has lasted me for 6+ months and I don't think it has ever become moldy or gone "off". I even had 10-month old Galleria kimchi in my fridge at one point, which went into an intensely flavoured kimchi jjigae and kimchi bokkeumbap. However, I do love super sour, aged, funky kimchi; I'll eat 5-month aged kimchi as banchan.

May 26, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sai Krok Isan ไส้กรอกอีสาน - are they on any Toronto Thai Restaurant menu?

In my limited experience, Wiang Kuk can be good-or-meh depending on their dishes. I've had a decent/good larb from them with hand-chopped dark meat, but I've also had a flavourless pork noodle soup from them.

For Thai, if I'm in Markham, I'll eat there, but to really satisfy a craving for Thai food, I prefer KSR, Sukhothai, or Sabai Sabai.

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

Sai Krok Isan ไส้กรอกอีสาน - are they on any Toronto Thai Restaurant menu?

You can find it at Wiang Kuk Thai Food, a food stall in the First Markham Place food court.

Feb 28, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Doughnuts/Donuts in Toronto: 2014

Markham location does do pizza everyday but doesn't have a wood-fired oven.

Feb 13, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Doughnuts/Donuts in Toronto: 2014

Apparently the Markham location gets its bread from the Scarborough location, so it was possible the doughnut I had was from the Midland location.

Feb 13, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Doughnuts/Donuts in Toronto: 2014

Got the chocolate dip from Calabria Bakery's Markham location and it is excellent. Agree that it's no frills, but just well-executed. The light, soft, tender base itself was fantastic -- better than GHD and JMD. The frosting/glaze wasn't as tasty as the one on the chocolate dip from JMD (too sweet but very chocolatey), but still serviceable and not too sweet.

The price also doesn't hurt -- only $1! magic, thanks for the rec; I will probably go back and try some of their other flavours. They said they had a vanilla doughnut with chocolate-banana frosting on Monday when I called.

Feb 12, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Hot Pot?

Hipot at Hwy 7/Chalmers. If you're going on a weekend, it'd be a good idea to make reservations.

Jan 31, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ramen Isshin - College and Bathurst

Jan 13, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

A quick review of Biff's

Went in June and October. Great service as usual for an O&B restaurant and good food. Would agree that the food is better than it has been in the last few years.

My only quibble was that the sauce on my main (a sort of paupiette of pork stuffed with liver and forcemeat with a side of kale) in October was far too salty, but the dish overall was done well.

Jan 11, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chowfind: An authentic tasting 'Instant' Singapore Laksa Noodle La Mien good enough for Chowhounders!

No MSG is listed on the ingredients plus on the front of the package, they state "No MSG added*". However, they added in fine print on the back "*Contains naturally occurring glutamate."

The ingredient list is pretty good for instant noodles -- only three to four un-/semi-pronounceable chemicals. I think the nutritional info/ingredients list is available in a photo on ramenrater's site.

However, your query prompted me to read the back of the package (I just had this for dinner) and I just ate 91% of my recommended daily sodium intake!

Flavour-wise, this is great for instant laksa at home. Would buy again if I have a craving for laksa. Easier to throw together than the Prima Taste Laksa meal kit and simpler for one person. I've tried the kit before and I think it's slightly better than the instant noodle (sambal chili and laksa leaves are included in separate packets), but the instant noodle is far more convenient.

Jan 06, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

vegetarian ramen?

The newly opened Isshin Ramen (College/Bathurst, few doors east of Sneaky Dee's) has vegetarian ramen.

Jan 06, 2014
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ramen Isshin -- College/Bathurst

Thanks to a tip from aser in this thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/929446), I checked out this newly opened ramen place, since I was in the area and I love tantanmen.

TL;DR review: tasty tantanmen, decent portions/price, would go again.

Space has seating for about 25-30 people, including a wall of cushioned, backed bar stools for all the single diners. It's spacious and seating seems comfortable. Only issue is the front door lets in drafts easily, but maybe they will address this issue with a curtain.

Menu has about 8-10 (?) different ramen, which range in price from $8.50 (?) to $10.25. There's red miso, shio tonkotsu sesame, shoyu tonkotsu, maybe a couple other shoyu-based ramen, and two veggie ramen.

You can add toppings like corn, an egg, chili oil, etc.. Desserts are also available.

Had the featured black tantanmen ($10.25), which had "thick, twisty" noodles, a thin, small slice of pork belly chashu, a small mound of ground pork in a sauce, some minced pickled veg (zha cai), diced garlic chives, and a drizzle of chili oil in a tonkotsu-based miso broth. Comes with a small suribachi and surikogi so you can grind up some black sesame to add to your broth (halfway through, they advise).

Bowl is a decent size. It's slightly bigger than Santouka and maybe about the same size as Sansotei.

Broth has a touch of creaminess and is enriched with ground black sesame. There's a bit of sweet nuttiness to the broth, which comes through despite the other powerful flavours of miso, chili, and garlic chives. My only quibble is that it was too salty. (Caveat: I have a fairly bad cold which has made me lose about 30%-40% of my sense of taste.) Although the broth is tonkotsu-based, it's not Santouka-levels of richness/fullness. There's no greasy feeling in the throat afterwards. It's a bit spicy, but not unbearable.

Noodles are a perfect match, since the slightly wavy, thick noodles capture the bits of miso, sesame, and ground pork. The noodles are nicely cooked for some toothsomeness (I usually order noodles katame/firm, but forgot this time), but they got softer as I got to the bottom of the bowl.

The amount of chashu was quite small, so I can't really give an opinion on it, except that it was cooked well and wasn't dry.

I would go back again to try the other ramen, particularly the shio sesame tonkotsu.

Here's their Yelp page (http://www.yelp.ca/biz/ramen-isshin-t...), which doesn't have any reviews yet, but contains the contact info and the hours.

Dec 30, 2013
lsk in Ontario (inc. Toronto)