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East of Main Cafe - closed

Just as a note the name of The Parker restaurant and its operating hours are plastered on the window beside the front door. The restaurant isn't open during the day in any case so the blinds help indicate the fact that we're not open yet

Jul 26, 2014
Blueicus in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

When you are hosting a dinner party, do you ask guests whether they have dietary restrictions, or preview the menu for them?

I have to say in that scenario I wouldn't unleash this group of diners on a restaurant either... that's just cruel. Just make everyone bring their own food.

Jun 12, 2014
Blueicus in Not About Food

Stick a fork in Top Chef Canada... it's done.

The episodes are available to stream from the Food Network Canada site, though obviously if you aren't in Canada that's not going to work

Jun 11, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

"New" Places for Dim Sum

I went with my mother sometime last year. Most of the items were merely okay either in terms of execution or flavour. I feel there are better places in town. Also bad bathrooms, looks like one you'd find in a dingy Chinatown restaurant

May 23, 2014
Blueicus in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

"New" Places for Dim Sum

Aren't there a lot of Chinese vegetarian restaurants around? I know of two already i the downtown Vancouver area. Surely there are more in the neighbouring area. Chinese vegetarian cuisine is not an unknown thing, it's just a niche market.

May 23, 2014
Blueicus in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Report on stuff I did... passing the time in SF

Ah, he's opening another place. Interesting. I'll swing by there when I'm back next. I know it costs money but I really think they should eventually renovate porcellino to give the place a better flow and structure. Right now it feels a little confused

May 11, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

Report on stuff I did... passing the time in SF

Understood about the new 'incanto' pricing and style. Unfortunately their menu also got truncated in the process too (guess it helps with volume and costs and difficulty of service)

May 11, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

Report on stuff I did... passing the time in SF

I was at Manresa on Thursday. The dining room was fairly empty when I got there but filled up halfway through.

I thought about Crenn but for better or worse I just wanted to experience Manresa.

May 11, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

Report on stuff I did... passing the time in SF

I'm in the airport, so I figure I'd be mildly productive.

day 1: had some pizza close to the hostel, not particularly great... maybe I should've just grabbed some touristy seafood when I was at the wharf. Good coffee at blue bottle, as ubiquitous as they seem now.

Benu, food was very good, a couple of amuses didn't have much impact but being Chinese I didn't think the Chinese influenced dishes were gimmicky or contrived. I liked the white chocolate yuba dessert, the bread/bamboo fungus soup in particular though savoury courses were all tasty. Service was... servicable.

day 2: ate at Tartine, had a good lemon cream tart, thought their almond croissants were huge and okay, I like a flakier/butterier and little more tender croissant... didn't find out I could have some of their bread toasted in the morning until I already stuffed my face. Left my hostel downtown at 4, hoping to have 30+ minutes to walk around Los Gatos, one Caltrain, LRT, and community bus later I'm speed walking to Manresa with 5 mins to spare for a 7 pm reso.. go figure. Despite what I read, I liked the service at Manresa, friendly and formal enough. Lots of children (for a 2 michelin resto). Alas, food was mildly disappointing, few dishes (mostly sauces and broths) on the salty side, even though a couple were my favourites (diced big fin squid with preserved plum, carrot with sprouted lentil and onion broth). I cook for a living so I have a fairly high salt tolerance. As for the rest, can't say if it's a seasonal ingredient thing (lots of mint, one lovage heavy dish, favas, asparagus, rhubarb, etc.), but there were few dishes and amuses I wanted more of after I cleared my plate... desserts and bread service were the same way. Have to admit I liked the food at Benu a lot more. Utmost respect still, but sad.

day 3: speed crammed some tacos at the taqueria in mission, one with steam tables so it was serviceable, rushed to grab the ferry and bus out to Napa, stumbled upon Kellerland/Yountville had a decent macaron then managed to grab a table at Bouchon. Good, solid bistro fare, had some chilled seafood, decent bread, good steak frite (though a bit rare and over rested) and OK lemon tart, filling could be smoother and more velvety... in Vancouver I am partial to lemon tarts at a place called Thierry so I use that as a benchmark.

yesterday: hoofed it to little yangon, first time with Burmese so not an expert. Tried this salad of sliced raw onion and a thick shrimp based sauce, very unique and didnt think I'd like it but I did, sauce mutes the raw onions. Also first time I got the 'you no like' speech, especially since I'm not Burmese but I'm at least east asian. Also had the pork curry and tea leaf rice, quite different, glad I tried them. Swung over to porcellino, polished off 2/3rds of a porchetta plate, very tasty, well seasoned and moist, wished there was crackling. Huge portions and fairly low price. Service style is strange, like being at a bar and holding my credit card like I had a tab going. Stumbled by a bookstore where david lebovitz was signing books, pretty cool. Tried looking for spqr but I found state bird provisions instead. Wait for a solo was only 20 minutes and I wasn't particularly hungry so it was fine. Good food, tried the sweetbreads (liked), pork belly with grapefruit and viet vinaigrette not on menu (liked more), chawanmushi and guinea fowl dumpling (both OK). Good atmosphere, had a good time, and cooks were good enough to be fairly sociable.

thanks everyone for the recommendations, I enjoyed myself, had some good food and walked up a lot of hills.

May 11, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Places to eat, second week of May?

Damn, it all sounds good, too bad I'm traveling alone. Impromptu SF chowmeet on saturday?

May 09, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

3 Days, Need Seafood & Asian, Vancouver from SF

I agree regarding octopus garden. Also like kingyo, guu gardenand zakkushi. Also agree that vijs is unique enough for a visit, I like beaucoup on fir and 5th for pastries and I don't know where but Chambar wouldn't be my first choice.

Sorry about the formatting, I'm on a mobile device

May 08, 2014
Blueicus in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Places to eat, second week of May?

Sorry, one more question. How are the likes ofmore a la carte dining places such as jardiniere or spqr? What would you guys lean towards in that price range? I had one less day on my trip than I thought so I will definitely fit in the tacos and little yangon. Is lunch at little yangon the same as dinner? Which dishes are more uniquely burmese? I'll keep an eye out for that dried shrimp salas

May 08, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

Places to eat, second week of May?

Now that I'm actually in SF I can actually have a better idea of what I'm looking for...

Im staying downtown near the powell bart station and I have to say that I was quite pleased with my meal at benu. I had a few small quibbles regarding the balance of flavours but everything was well executed and as a person who grew up eating chinese cuisine I didn't feel cheated in the slightest. As for tomorrow I think I'll grab a few small bites in the mission then hoof it to los gatos. Going to napa on friday and my slate is blank on the weekend. I've read a few taco threads but I'm confused, is the mission district the place for tacos and other mexican food or should I go elsewhere?

May 07, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

3 Days from Toronto - Kelowna, Okanagan and Vancouver

OG is dinner only, but worth going.I would skip Cioppino's and the Acorn, personally... I'd go to the pour house in gastown or even the parker (if you actually want vegetarian snacks)

May 07, 2014
Blueicus in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Places to eat, second week of May?

Yeah, that's the plan... unless it's not worth being there for much of the day.

Apr 22, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

Places to eat, second week of May?

I rarely have the patience to endure long line-ups unless i have no other option, thankfully i am not a brunch person. The porchetta is a good idea, places i can just wander around and snack is good too, with bakeries or small counter-type places.

How about a light lunch at los gatos? Is this the right board?

Apr 21, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

Places to eat, second week of May?

I made reservations at Benu and Manresa, one because I wanted to try a meal with strong east-asian influences from a French-laundryish context and the other because it feels like a very good example of the more modern Californian fine dining movement that is known internationally.

Incidentally, to offset the costs of these meals I'm staying at a hostel, go figure

Apr 21, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Places to eat, second week of May?

Hi, I'm swinging down from Vancouver on the second week of May to visit. I already made a couple of resos to big ticket places, now looking for the wide gamut of places from cheap to mid-scale that offers something different. Prefer to not go somewhere overly suburban, if I need to travel outside downtown it'd be good to be able to walk around and see things nearby.

I'm casting a fairly wide net, but to be more specific I'm going alone, so places that do large platters will be awkward and I'm happy to try and cuisine type.

Apr 21, 2014
Blueicus in San Francisco Bay Area

George on Queen. Allow me to vent.

Seriously, the EXACT SAME issue was discussed just last month http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9667... and with the same inconclusive result. This is getting as silly as people arguing on star trek boards over whether Picard is better or Kirk is better.

Also, the metropolitan area of Chicago is home to about 75% more people than the metropolitan area of Toronto (which includes the GTA).

Oh, and also Toronto doesn't have good BBQ, as always... and let's not get started on Carbon Bar

Apr 03, 2014
Blueicus in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

George on Queen. Allow me to vent.

Perhaps the service can be fixed, but how does one fix the criticism of "I can't recall any dish that would make me want to go back"? Gee, thanks, I mean I really intended to make dishes unmemorable.

Mar 31, 2014
Blueicus in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Top Chef Canada begins tonight

I know and have worked with a lot of good chefs of all stripes, but apart from some bizarre mishaps or a huge stepping up I think it'll be difficult for any of the women chefs to make it to the finale based on their food offerings

Mar 25, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Top Chef Canada begins tonight

I don't know if it's allowed, but I would assume not, not that I'd be as interested if it became more 'gimmicky'... though if the American show is any indication, they may decide to do that in the future.

Mar 14, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Top Chef Canada begins tonight

Thank God there were no sports related activities back in my season... especially anything on bicycles or roller skates/blades

Mar 12, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Restaurant health ratings and price

I've been through enough health inspections to know that each inspector looks for different things, or find certain things and marks them accordingly. The restaurant I'm at now has gone through two inspectors. We were required to spend several hundred more dollars making changes to the kitchen to satisfy the current inspector when the original configuration was entirely OKed by the previous one.

Also, I agree with some of the posters above that some of the violations are related to sous-vide cooking, especially since most meats are technically done at temperatures lower than the recommended reheating temperatures the guidelines lay out. You only follow those if you want to serve your customers dry meat.

Mar 06, 2014
Blueicus in General Topics

Grilled cheese fest is a disaster!

Ho Su may be cheap, but that place fits the adage of "You get what you pay for"

Mar 03, 2014
Blueicus in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Catering to relatives who don't want "exotic" food

I'm not going to wade into the rest of the thread, but just commenting on the above post, going to Cheesecake Factory and getting the "Bang Bang Chicken" (which isn't even remotely Thai) in lieu of going to a Thai restaurant is like going to Panda Express and getting the "Shanghai Angus Steak" in lieu of going to a steakhouse.

Mar 03, 2014
Blueicus in Not About Food
2

Yuck...I'm being waited on by a sick server!

The back of house is generally even less flexible to having workers absent unexpectedly. A restaurant that has a larger staff is more able to absorb these losses by calling in people who are off, but a restaurant with two kitchen staff that is open 5 days a week loses half the work force if somebody calls in sick.

That means two things. there won't be enough time to prep enough food for the day's service and service time will be completely compromised. Imagine your server telling you that half the menu is unavailable and that you will have to wait 20 additional minutes for your entree because one person called in sick.

Mar 02, 2014
Blueicus in Not About Food

Can polenta be made in advance?

Restaurants serve soft polenta, but they sure don't do each batch to order. You can cook the polenta in advance, chill and reheat to order. Just add a bit of liquid, check the seasoning and finish with some butter or cheese or herbs. A bit of elbow grease will be needed to break up the chilled polenta but it'll turn out fine.

Feb 28, 2014
Blueicus in Home Cooking

Does Splendido only have multi-course fixed menus now?

I dunno, if you have come to accept that about Toronto then I feel that you should write off the entirety of Canada (including Montreal). I know enough chefs over here that bemoan the lack of talented cooks and the mediocre products (I can literally count the number of local 'sustainable' species of seafood everybody puts on their menu with my fingers and still have digits left over for picking my ears) to the conservative dining public with their sometimes Portlandia-like list of dietary restrictions. Heck, we don't even have a restaurant that offers a standard tasting menu that breaks even the $100 CDN mark!

The Okanagan peaches are generally inferior to Niagara peaches and I've heard enough people here say the same about the tomatoes. I could go on and on about what chefs complain about here but I think we can all agree that we believe the grass is greener on the other side, perhaps even with some pretty wildflowers and teeming with good wild venison.

(Also added one more thing because I feel it's particularly important): Chefs (myself included) can complain that we can't find talent and no one's willing to put in the work in whatever city we're living in or that they don't want to pay their dues, or even the farmers are growing crap for us to cook with, but at the end of the day it's up to us to make sure these people want to be working for us or producing food that we are all proud of serving and to want to do it well. We can say Canada doesn't have the same culinary heritage as Scandinavia, or France, or Japan, or even the US, but these excuses sound hollow when countries that are either smaller than us and/or younger than us are eclipsing us in influence

Feb 25, 2014
Blueicus in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
2

Does Splendido only have multi-course fixed menus now?

My post wasn't really answering that point of the discussion, but allow me to take a stab at it:

Does Toronto currently have a restaurant(s) that are world-renown with swarms of international stagiaires? It's been a few years since I've worked in the city, but unfortunately I would say no.

Does Toronto have access to local ingredients that can be used to create 'world class cuisine'? Some people may disagree, but I say yes.

Does Toronto have chefs and cooks with as much international experience as any other major city? Undoubtedly, yes.

I've been a member of this board long enough to have heard every argument regarding why Toronto doesn't have such a place, and though Shoto was hailed as the panacea to Toronto's fine dining shortcomings, it clearly wasn't.

With regards to the above esteemed restaurants, the tasting menus at TFL, Alinea, Tetsuyas, Quay, and for the sake of fun let's add Noma and Arpege are 327, 232, 219, 224, 326, and 640 CDN (within rounding and exchange rate fluctuations) respectively. Apart from Hashimoto and Chinese restaurants where you can stuff your face with abalone, shark fin and sea cucumber for a thousand dollars a head, that is far in excess of Toronto prices, which top out at around 150 dollars Canadian for a similar number of courses. So, even before you consider any other factors, these chefs are already working with a budgetary constraint (assuming the restaurant isn't being subsidized by someone who really likes to throw money away) that is at best 2/3rds of their Australian and American competitors.

If somebody decided to open a restaurant that charged on average 200 dollars a head for an elaborate tasting menu in Toronto would they get any customers? I wouldn't care to guess, perhaps some of you guys would like to finance this venture?

Feb 25, 2014
Blueicus in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
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