Charles Yu's Profile

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Its here at last!! - Prima Taste 'Chilli Crab La Mian' ( Noodle in Sweet & Spicy Seafood Sauce)

BTW, used Prima Taste ' Randang ' sauce to make ' Ox Tongue Randang '. today. OMG, good!! Sweet, mildly spicy and very aromatic!

about 1 hour ago
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

' La Croisee ' - Leaside's new French Bistro with cozy, romantic ambiance and delectable Burgundian Food!

Just heard from Chef Adrien that he has decided to put the restaurant up for sale! Rent in that area of town is just too high and there are just not enough patrons willing to savor higher end French bistro dining?!
Pity a Parisian Michelin star chef serving tasty traditional classical French fare cannot survive here in hogtown?
First BERO, then Bistro92 and now La Croisee. All failed within a year! Wow!

about 5 hours ago
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Restaurant recommendations in Toronto---Chinatown

If you are planning only one Chinese meal in downtown Toronto, I would stick with 'Crown Princess' or 'Dynasty' per Prima's recommendation. If you wanted to tag on some homey Chinese comfort food/snacks like noodles in soup then add 'Swatow' to your list.

As most fellow hounds had eluded to, like San Francisco, all the great Chinese food has moved to the suburbs - Scarborough, Markham, Richmond Hill. If you have local friends who can give you a ride, head up to Highway 7.

about 7 hours ago
Charles Yu in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Nominate your favorite restaurants in Ontario for "Best of 2014"

Frankly, with competitions abound, its pretty difficult for one to isolate an establishment and call it 'the best'.
However, in the category of Cantonese Won Ton Noodles, "WON-TON HUT" Warden/Hwy7 is clearly the hands down favorite. IMHO, as a total package ( noodles, won ton, broth, condiments ),no body does it better! - at least here in the GTA.

LCBO Vintages Nov 22 release: some notes

Now that some of us have managed to get our hands on some 'Faustino Rioja Gran Reserva 2001 ". Has anyone given it a try to see whether it is indeed worthy of the near perfect rating and the title of 'Decanter wine of the year 2013'?!

Hong Kong - San Hing Comparable to Lung King Heen/Fook Lam

Decor, ambiance, service and price wise, its like comparing a Chevy Malibu with a Mercedes S Class! Sun Hing is pseudo hole-in-the-wall vs Michelin 3* for LKH and 1* for FLM.

Food wise, they serve traditional and authentic, 'simple' Dim Sum that is surprisingly tasty. Obviously presentation is rough with an edge! Their steamed 'molten egg custard' bun is very nicely done and used to be a Hong Kong icon.

If you are in the area and would like to savor some ' old time/nostalgic ' Hong Kong experience, no harm trying!

Chowfind of the Eon: Cafe Fiorentina

If you are up Richmond Hill way, you should give the Almond Croissant at Duo Patisserie and cafe a try and compare. IMHO, better than Rahier's and even NYC's Dominique Ansell! Yum!!!! Crispy, crunchy, flaky, puffy and super light!

LCBO Vintages Nov 22 release: some notes

Yes, unfortunately only 2.
I actually went to a couple of stores in the Markham/Richmond Hill area around closing time to see whether they have put them on the shelf and hence hoping to grab a few. However, I was told by the in-store consultants, they received specific instruction from head quarters not to sell them ahead of the release date and limit them to only two per customer. Your father must be a charming and persuasive gentleman to secure 6 bottles!
As for the Pontet-Canet. Great to hear you manage to get another 100pts wine instead! Need to lay them down for at least a decade though?!

Not-to-be-missed in Toronto

Best value seafood are usually found in Chinese Restaurants! For $25, a party of say 4 can share a plate of twin lobsters sauteed in ginger and scallions in a place like Swatow?!

LCBO Vintages Nov 22 release: some notes

The Decanter 'Wine of the year' - Faustino Bodegas Rioja Gran Reserva 2001 ( 96.5 - 100/100 ) is being limited to 2 per customer. Most popular stores sold out before 11.00am! Got mine at Leslie/Major Mac store. two people ahead of me.

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

Yes! And Chef Eric said he might also start making 'baguette' soon!! Awesome!

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

Thanks IVIVI for the coffee enlightenment!
Not a coffee aficionado, all I experienced was the coffee tasted very complex, bold and with a nice oomph!!

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

I am not much of a coffee drinker so did not pay attention to the machine, Sorry!
I'll keep an eye for you during my next visit.

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

Cake is named ' Mont Blanc'. Chef graduated from Le Cordon Bleu.
And indeed, the cake reminds me of a similar version sold by Laduree, Champs Elysees, Paris.
Hope you'll enjoy it?!

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

For those fellow hounds with sweet tooth and live uptown, here is a more comprehensive posting of Duo.

Photos showing interior and display of current 'soft opening' products created by Chef Eric who only manage to sleep 4 hours per day during this period!

Selective highlights include:

- Regular Croissant, Apple Croissant ans Almond Croissant. All near perfect form, crispy , flaky, light and fluffy.
- Chestnut Cake using three types of chestnuts soaked in rum overnight.
- Lemon tart using a sweet shortbread 'Breton' crust, creamy curd not overly sweet and with the right balance of tangy, lemony flavor.

Espressos and coffees were mighty fine as well!

Birthday dinner - help!

You pair of love birds can always dine at Cafe Boulud but try requesting a charcuterie platter from d bar brought to you?! Call ahead to confirm?

If you don't mind the decibel level of Richmond Station on a Saturday evening, then they do offer a pretty good C platter.

Birthday dinner - help!

Based on "rather go somewhere that has a great charcuterie platter. Looking for a restaurant with a nice atmosphere, not too busy, for a quiet dinner with the hubby." - Cafe Boulud

How Good Was Susur Lee's "Susur?"

This has been one of the most contentious issue on this board for years!!....and you are trying to re-open up this can of worms?! Wow, Good luck!!

Personally, I found Susur's cooking over-rated. A lot of the time he charges exorbitant price for essentially common and traditional Chinese fare ( in the eyes and palette of native Chinese ) plated in a fancy and pretty manner. Most of the time I can feel he like to take advantage of patrons not familiar or previously exposed to uncommon Chinese dishes and offered them as something super-exotic!

A fine example was the Chinese/Shanghainese soya slow-braised pork belly ( Don Bor Yuck ), a common dish readily available in authentic Shanghainese restaurant. He cuts up the meat into a nice regular cube, garnish it by placing a small piece of seared Foie Gras on top, drizzled some sauce in some artistic pattern, gave it some fancy name and then charge over $40 for it. Head over to Scarborough and a dish containing about 6-8 equally tasty morsels of this pork can be had for around $10 or less!!

Another example was the charging of $27 for a plate of fried squid tentacles with peppered salt, again arranged fancily on the plate, as an appetizer. At that time, similar dish can be had at some fine Dim Sum restaurants for around $5! No fancy plating to speak of but better tasting and much larger portion!

He might be able to fool some people some of the time but not all least not all chowhounders! May be that was the reason he failed in his New York venture?!

After all this, I am sure I will be shot down by a lot of die-hard Susur fans! To each its own?!!

LCBO Vintages Nov 22 release: some notes

What about the Faustino Rioja Gran Reserva 2001????!!!!

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

Lots! Even row of couches for sit down afternoon tea!

Where to get Great 'Fruit Cake' in town?!

This sounds good! Going to give it a try?!

" Cote de Boeuf's Fruitcake " - 'The much maligned fruitcake has been vindicated. The secret: lots and lots of rum. Chris Mathias macerates cranberries, prunes, cherries and candied orange peel in a spicy booze bath for a month, bakes them into a buttery loaf and soaks the cake in even more rum. $25 '

130 Ossington Avenue. 416-532-2333

Worth a drive?!!

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

I know Prima. However, my home to Hwy7 vs my home to Sheppard involves a lot of extra mileage! Based on gasoline saved, I can get an additional croissant at 'Duo'! :)

48 hours in Hong Kong next week with a kid

Agree with crawfish. An interesting outdoor destination to try all sorts of bi-valves ( Manila clams, whelks, mini-geoduck clams....) shellfish ( prawns, mantis prawns....), seafood....etc prepared by hawker stalls. Dress casual and prepare to get your hands dirty. Hence carry some 'wet-naps'!!

Fieramosca, Il Posto, Opus, Oro and Pangaea

I ate at Pangaea and Il Posto within the past year.

The 'Grilled Calamari with capers, olives, roasted garlic, lemon and brown butter' of Pangaea is still the best tasting calamari in town, IMO. Smoky, salty, tangy....a symphony of deliciousness for the taste buds. Had the sweetbread which was also nicely executed. Still one of the reliable and consistently good restaurant in town.

I always have the calf's liver at Il Posto. Never go wrong! Last version was with butter and sage. Beautifully cooked medium rare and flavorful. The pasta with 'traditional' Bolognese sauce was delicious and not too tangy. Reminds me of Mario Batali Babbo's version. Dependable Italian but a touch on the expensive side due to the location?!

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

Thanks LSK for bringing this gorgeous neighborhood gem to our attention. Wonderful products!

Bought a regular croissant, The Eight and The Hazel to try.

Croissant was flaky, crispy, extra light and fluffy. Amazing after a few seconds under high heat in the toaster oven. IMHO, a bit more refined than Rahier.

The Eight essentially is a fluffy Croissant/Danish cross with a custard topping. According to the pastry chef, the custard cream was whisked for 3 hours. Hence the super lightness. Lovely texture and not too sweet.

The Hazel is a dark chocolate creation enveloping an interior filled with all sorts of 'nutty' sensation. Hard to describe but might tasty.

I'll be back soon to try out their apple, almond and chocolate their other addictive looking stuff!.

So happy to see availability of such fine French pastries and baked goods without the need to head down south of the 401!

Where to get Great 'Fruit Cake' in town?!

Once again, thank you all and barneyvernon.

48 hours in Hong Kong next week with a kid

Most Chinese fine dining restaurants inside hotels offer 'Roast Goose' nowadays. In fact, the Tang Court version inside your hotel is mighty fine. No need to go out of your way to find and try it!

Where to get Great 'Fruit Cake' in town?!

Thanks emeat and all. Will check with 'British Shops'. Pity Marks & Sparks left Canada. Otherwise their cake was actually half way decent. Best store bought ones was Harrods in Knightsbridge, London!

Crab Harbour - anyone been yet?

Haven't been personally. But a friend had and gave it a big thumbs down!
Owner is the same as the now defunct 'Penglais'.
From my friend's feedback, a failed attempt to create a Japanese 'Kani-Ya'. Menu offers over-priced frozen crab product. Japanese ( can even be Canadian? ) spider/snowcrab meat inside hallow shell had 'mushy' texture. A reflection of not too fresh product?! Crab brains and roe inside the broiled crab shell was extremely fishy.

Where to get Great 'Fruit Cake' in town?!

With the holiday season just around the corner, I am looking for great tasting Fruit Cakes, the ones that I am used to in the UK, with tons of fruits and nuts and laden-ed with liquor ( Rum and Brandy ). If at all possible, a 'near organic' product with zero transfat!