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gigi's Profile

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Chowfind at Main and Danforth

Sommelier?!?! I am a sommelier and I can tell you that most places can't afford to hire one. That being said, they could certainly use some help with their list. It needn't be big or fancy but it could be much better than it is.

Feb 19, 2009
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Niche Coffee and Tea on the Danforth

Niche is open again! I drove by the other day and saw that it was open and they're only accepting cash sales!

Feb 09, 2009
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bar Italia - bad experience

I have to agree (witht the others). No one seems to want to address a concern they have with a restaurant at said restaurant but they'll spend copious amounts of time complaining about it after the fact. If not getting a booth had made you this upset, what do you do when a real crisis comes along?

Feb 09, 2009
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bibiche moving ?

Hi there! I wrote about it ealier today. Bibiche is moving to 2326 Queen St. East. Same phone number as before: 416-463-9494. They're opening mid to late February!

Feb 04, 2009
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bibiche Bistro moving to the Beach

My man and I attempted to go to Bibiche Bistro the other night for dinner and were surprised to find that it had closed! We used to go there a few times a year but haven't been able to go for quite some time. I'm happy to say that they aren't closed for good - they're moving to the Beach, to 2326 Queen St. east. This is great news for us because now they'll actually be closer to our house. Maybe then, once they move, we'll be able to go more often. I'm dying to try their spicy pecan chicken again. I think that's my absolute favourite dish. But then there's the Louisiana shrimp dish that is very yummy as well...and the couscous. OMG, I can't wait for them to re-open! Apparently they'll be open again in their new location mid-February. We drove by last night and it looks like a cute space - small and intimate. The perect place for us to celebrate out 20th anniversary next month. (hint hint to my SO!)

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Bibiche
2326 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E, CA

Feb 04, 2009
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Herbs...thumbs down on Winterlicious!

"I waitressed for years and totally appreciate the need to attend to perhaps **more demanding high maintenance** tables but the magic of a good waitress is in not letting that show."

Was your server upset because you were demanding/high maintenance? Having done the job myself I know that it's not always possible to remain expressionless when certain customers are making your life difficult with inane questions or demanding things above & beyond reason when it is very busy. The "magic" that you mention above does not always translate to real life. Servers are human, and they do get upset from time to time. I always try to look around, see what is going on in the room and assess the situation. That being said, I am never demanding or HM, so I've not experienced what you say you did! Next time try being a bit more chill and see how it goes. (Whenever I read complaints such as yours I wish that I had the server's side of the story so that I could compare/contrast...)

Feb 09, 2007
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Edward Levesque's

The food was very good when EL first opened, and there were lovely & friendly servers who worked there...that was then. The good staff left when Eddie started ranting. Nothing is the
same there any longer...

Feb 08, 2007
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Indian in Toronto - where is it?

Lahore Tika, imho, is still very good. While it is a shame that they've been plagued by construction delays I'm glad that they've been able to stay open to serve their loyal customers! Personally, we always take-away, so I don't know what their dining room situation is, but the food has remained top-notch!

Dec 27, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Torito Tapas - pleasant evening with good food and great service !

I''ll say it once again so that no one gets the wrong idea:
TORITO DOES NOT TAKE RESERVATIONS! I tried to make one once,
after reading on here that they do...but, alas, they do not.
GO EARLY! It's worth it - the food is great, and the service has always been good when we've gone, in spite of the fact that it's busy.

Dec 08, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Oysters

Yes - mentioning the comped stuff could be a problem for some who never seem to get anything comped for them...without finding something to complain about! I've been to Starfish many times, have NEVER received anything for free, but have LOVED each and every experience there. It's not inexpensive, but it is certainly value for money! They use good quality ingredients, the food is expertly prepared & well executed -
the menu changes quite often, so there's always something new and different to try - and the wine list quite extensive and not a bad mark-up either (I'm a sommelier, so I always make note of these things!). All things considered, we never get out of Starfish for less than $160 for the two of us. Is it worth it even at that price, without comps? YOU BET! We were there the other night and had Antarctic Char - who's even heard of Antarctic Char? Not us...but it was amazing!!

Nov 27, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sunday brunch recommendations

I like Bar One as well, but the coffee is sooooo good at Swan. If you go before 11 it's usually good. Sugar is superb as well, but small and difficult to score a seat.

Nov 26, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

How many fellow Chowhounders are or have been in the biz?

I've been trying to get away from it for years! Busboy/waiter/
sommelier...just can't seem to get it out of my system. Now I'm selling real estate, but it's still working with people and taking care of their needs so it's quite similar. Still have restauarant nightmares though - I'm the only one in the place, it's PACKED, and everyone is waving at me, demanding that I take their order!!! When will it ever stop?

Nov 21, 2006
gigi in Not About Food

Toronto Hungarian Restaurants

You can go into any LCBO and order Unicum. I actually have a bottle that I bought just because I like the tin...and I've never used it!

Oct 30, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Not a 7 Numbers fan

My favs are the calamari, figs with blue cheese, the mixed greens (I LOVE their dressing!), grilled red pepper with arugula and goat cheese, and the shrimp - although the "spicy" tomato sauce could use a bit of heat. That's why I ADORE their housemade hot oil!! Ask for it...it's amazing.

I'm not a big fan of pasta - oh, the carbs! - but at 7 Numbers I'll usually have a bite of something. I can't resist. For the mains, we usually have one of their fish options: the tilapia is great, in a lemon/caper sauce & who can resisit Tony's long, thick Italian sausage? For sides: rapini (it's bitter, as rapini is supposed to be, but good for you!), spice olives, oyster mushrooms, grilled asparagus...need I go on?

For dessert: the flourless chocolate cake is a must! To be honest, I haven't tasted any of their other desserts, as I am a bit of a chocoholic. If you haven't yet been...you should go!

Oct 17, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Not a 7 Numbers fan

You people are SO FUNNY! I've worked in the restaurant trade in Toronto for 20 years and I am not surprised by some of your comments about 7 Numbers. It has always been, and will always remain to be, difficult to please everyone. Some will like your food but not the ambiance, while others might come for the mood-lighting (it's important to look good while out on a date) only. I've even been guilty of such things myself! There's a little place that I go to a lot (great food, great service), but I don't go there if I want to get dressed up & feel hip! (Shallow and silly, but I totally do this!) That being said, it really upsets me when I see disparaging comments made about places that I love - like 7 Numbers - that I have not found to be true. Yes, we can all have differing opinions of certain places...but to say that the food is not good at 7 Numbers, or that the servers try too hard to NOT be concerned about serivce (what?!?!), well I just don't get it. Someone also commented that they didn't spend a lot on decor, which was good but bad, both, at the same time.

This is what I know. I've eaten dinner at 7 Numbers about 100 times since they opened - they're in my 'hood! - and I have to say that I have never, EVER, received food that was anything short of superb. I take chef friends there, I take my sommelier friends there, and I take my parents there. Never have they had anything short of a great time! Yes, my sommelier friends could complain that they don't have fancy wine glasses, and my chef friends could complain that they don't use high-end, organic incredients purchased from the Five Thieves in Rosedale...but they don't. They enjoy it for what it is - good, honest cooking. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, and that's that!

7 Numbers is a place for people to go when they want to enjoy some good cooking and have fun. If you don't fit into either of those categories, go to the library!

Oct 16, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sunday brunch recommendations

My two brunch favourites are Swan and Sugar - both on Queen West, Swan being closer to Crawford, and Sugar being two blocks west of that. Swan has amazing espresso based coffee and large portions of delicious brunch food, and Sugar's portions are more modest but wonderful flavours! We live in the Beaches, and have no problem driving to the west end to go to these places!!

Oct 13, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Pizza in the East End

I like Peter's Cajun as well, but we order from Bona most often. They have a great selection of gourment-type topings, but their prices are still really good, and the pizza they deliver is always great! Venice is quite good to...

Oct 03, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anyone tried Relish @ Danforth & Woodbine

My man and I were at Relish just last night. We've been several times before and have enjoyed ourselves each and every time. Last night we had (god...a lot!) the asian slaw, lamb empanadas, jumbo pasta shells stuffed with chicken, warm olives (OMG!!!!), garlic bread, and lots of other stuff. Can't say enough about the food - it's delicious. For wine we ordered Bonny Doon Big House White, which is a steal at their low mark-up. Oh, and for dessert we had the flourless chocolate and polenta cake, which is sinfully good.

As far as the pacing of the meal, we let our server know that we wanted it in three courses with breaks in between, and she was more than happy to assist us. It might be different on a busy weekend evening - JK is like that. You order, and they deliver it however they want. Never had that problem at Relish. We don't go there enough!

Sep 27, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sarah's

Location, location, location! Sarah's has got it all. Good patio for summertime dining, fairly nice digs inside as well -
but perhaps most importantly, they have a whole neighbourhood of people around them who are DYING to have a nice place to eat and hang out. I moved into the 'hood about six years ago, and I've been going to Sarah's, on and off, for more years than that. I go for beer and for nibblies (their dips plate is good, and some of their apps are quite tasty as well), but the few times that I've tried to have dinner, the execution has been off! I just think the owners need to hire cooks who know how to, well, cook. We're not talking gourmet stuff folks, just some honest-to-goodness neighbourhood cookin'!
They have someone working for them now who used to cook at the Senator, so hopefully things will change. Just hope that they're paying him enough so that he'll stick around for a bit!

Sep 26, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Johny Banana - disappointed

I've been to different places in Mexico about twenty times, so I think I know a bit about Mexican food. The food in Mexico is as varied as its people. While there are certain things that are staples of the Mexican food experience - taco soup,
chiles rellenos, chiles en nogada, fresh guacamole, etc. -
the Mexicans eat much of the same food that we do. They have fresh fish quite often, the eat steak as well...all prepared in their special way. The people who own Johny Banana and Milagros are MEXICAN, and they are cooking Mexican food in their own way. Who are we to judge what is and is NOT authentic? There are many different recipes and many different interpretations of various Mexican dishes, just as there are for my Hungarian cabbage rolls! If you go to either of these restaurants and are unhappy with the quality of the ingredients, or the the freshness of them, so be it. But don't say that they're not MEXICAN! How insulting.

Sep 22, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Stella - Ottawa (Byward Market)

That's too bad! As I said, we were very, very happy with our meal. Our server seemed a bit new, but she was polite and friendly and that's all I really ask for. We didn't have any questions re: the menu, so I don't know what her knowledge was.
She did an okay job of opening the wine...that's all I know.
Personally, for us, we had a great time. And we dine out at least three times a week (and we have done for longer than I care to admit!), so we've seen it all. I was so impressed with my meal there that I wrote the manager and told him so.
Sorry it wasn't the same for you.

Sep 12, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Stella - Ottawa (Byward Market)

My man and I went to Stella last night for dinner - we were wandering around on a Sunday night in the capital, not knowing where we would end up - and decided to go in to Stella simply because there were people, and the decor was to our liking!
Not the best way to pick a restaurant surely, but it turned out to be a wonderful evening.

We started off with the risotto fritters ("a duo of wild and tame mushroom risotto fritters, crispy proscuitto and arrabiata sauce"), followed those by the caesar salad (usually a disappointment in most places, but at Stella the crispy pancetta and the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano added the required kick to make it stellar), and for our mains my hubby had the
tagliatelli gamberi ("tiger shrimp, braised leeks, roasted peppers, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosé sauce") and I had the yellowfin tuna ("grilled peppercorn crusted tuna steak with portobellini mushrooms, baked polenta, rapini and veal jus reduction"), which was cooked rare, just as requested! The veal jus almost made me not order it, as I cannot bring myself to eat veal...so I just pretended it was made with something other than veal. Thank god it work, because it was absolutely amazing! Pair this dreamy food with a lovely Cali sauvignon blanc from the Santa Barbara Winery & we have all the ingredients needed for a perfect meal!

I am so glad that I hadn't read the comments from other posters on this site about Stella or else I would never have gone in. It's not cheap to eat here, but the food is outstanding and the portion sizes are very fair for their price. We really wanted to have dessert, but we didn't have any more room! We'll save that for the next time we're in Ottawa.

Menu: http://www.stellaosteria.com/site/men...

Sep 11, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ottawa dinner in Byward market

My man and I went to Stella last night for dinner - we were wandering around on a Sunday night in the capital, not knowing where we would end up - and decided to go in to Stella simply because there were people, and the decor was to our liking!
Not the best way to pick a restaurant surely, but it turned out to be a wonderful evening.

We started off with the risotto fritters ("a duo of wild and tame mushroom risotto fritters, crispy proscuitto and arrabiata sauce"), followed those by the caesar salad (usually a disappointment in most places, but at Stella the crispy pancetta and the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano added the required kick to make it stellar), and for our mains my hubby had the
tagliatelli gamberi ("tiger shrimp, braised leeks, roasted peppers, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosé sauce") and I had the yellowfin tuna ("grilled peppercorn crusted tuna steak with portobellini mushrooms, baked polenta, rapini and veal jus reduction"), which was cooked rare, just as requested! The veal jus almost made me not order it, as I cannot bring myself to eat veal...so I just pretended it was made with something other than veal. Thank god it work, because it was absolutely amazing! Pair this dreamy food with a lovely Cali sauvignon blanc from the Santa Barbara Winery & we have all the ingredients needed for a perfect meal!

I am so glad that I hadn't read the comments from other posters on this site about Stella or else I would never have gone in. It's not cheap to eat here, but the food is outstanding and the portion sizes are very fair for their price. We really wanted to have dessert, but we didn't have any more room! We'll save that for the next time we're in Ottawa.

Menu: http://www.stellaosteria.com/site/men...

Sep 11, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ottawa - dinner on a Sunday night

I'll be in Ottawa this Sunday, Sept. 10th and need to know where to go for dinner. Someone suggested Beckta, but it doesn't really appeal to me... That being said, I'm looking for something that
is downtown, with great food and a good wine list - a place where the hipsters from Ottawa would eat, if they in fact live in Ottawa!
Any ideas?

Sep 05, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ottawa - dinner on a Sunday night

My man and I are going to be in Ottawa in a couple of weeks for a wedding, and we've decided to stay over on the Sunday to have a mini-break...just the two of us. Any suggestions as to where to go for dinner on a Sunday night? We'd like something with great food, a place that's a bit trendy, with a good wine list as well. Emphasis should be place on the food. Is this asking too much for staid Ottawa? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Aug 18, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Current Best Greek on the Danforth?

Like most people we started off at Mr. Greek, but that was 18 years ago. Ouzeri was fun for a time, but then it was sold and all of their good staff went off to Myth when they opened.
Myth was great...for a time. Lately I'm not sure what's going on there. Avli we've been to a couple of times, but never went back for some reason. We've always been happy with Mezes though - great food and friendly staff. Sure, sometimes they miss on a dish or two, but this ain't haute cuisine people!
It's great for what it is, and it's a nice atmosphere as well.

Aug 09, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

7 Numbers....another night out for Cheap Eats

I eat at 7 Numbers at least once a week, and I can honestly say that I have NEVER had any bad meals there! It's not fancy food, but it's good and the price is right as well. It sounds as though you weren't happy with the environment, and this influenced your time there. As I said, I've been there about 50ish times, and it's always been quite good!

Aug 07, 2006
gigi in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Needle in a haystack!

Yes, I think that's it! The decor looks like it from the pic on their website. Thanks so much!!

Aug 03, 2006
gigi in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Needle in a haystack!

We were in Montréal last weekend, wandering the streets looking for a place to eat when we came across a tiny Portuguese restraurant that we meant to go back to...and now, can't remember where it was or what it was called! We know this: it was in between St. Denis and St. Laurent - north of Duluth and south of...I'm not sure. We walked quite far up St. Denis before we cut across. It was a tiny little place, west of St. Denis, on the south-east corner of the street. It was packed, so we took that as a good sign. And we would have gone in but it was lovely outside, and we wanted to sit on a terrasse. Any idea where this could be? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Aug 02, 2006
gigi in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Foodie tourists from NY coming to Montreal in early September looking for recomendations

Here's a link from this site:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
In spite of the fact that we went there on our last night and really enjoyed our meal (been there a few times and liked it), I would say that L'Academie is one that would be difficult to recommend. I had sushi-grade tuna, which was cooked perfectly and came with veg. that was beatuiful and crunchy (as I like them), it's more than 300 seats and has a bit of a foodhall atmosphere. They work the staff HARD, and for most servers it's tough to keep their composure throughout the entire evening. My tuna - so good! - was just $21.95...which is superb, but out waiter (poor guy - he was quite stressed) didn't even look at us when he approached the table. He just opened out wine and then left! :-) Some might have been put off there and then, but I know the food is always quite good, and it's cheap; the decor is beautiful for such a place, and we had a table on the second floor that allowed us a great view of St. Denis for people-watching. It was a wonderful evening.

As I said above, we just got home from Montréal, and I want to go back already! You'll have a great time.

Aug 02, 2006
gigi in Quebec (inc. Montreal)