Restaurant Dish's Profile

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Dinner with friends using gift certificate

Waste. Of. Time. But you're right, it's happened before and will happen again.

Dinner with friends using gift certificate

Wow, you're hardcore. Love it.

I have a couple observations about this thread:

a) I think it's pretty useless since it was pretty evident very quickly that if the OP didn't get the answer he/she was looking for, they were going to lash out.

b)Find it exasperating that this is in my thread file and I have to keep looking at the new responses and people not reading through the entire thread to see that OP HAS ALREADY GONE TO THE DINNER. IT'S FINISHED!!!

Sorry, but this had to be said. Whether this stays up to be heard is another story.

Food Network: Canada vs US?

Joanne Weir, maybe?

http://www.joanneweir.com/tv-shows/jo...

Thankfully, she's not Canadian :)

Food Network: Canada vs US?

Don't remember seeing that exact episode, but yep, seems pretty accurate!

Nasr Foods: Excellent

Sorry to hear that. Now, was it the two brothers that initially owned it? I remember them being somewhat in their mid to late 40s. Is one of them who you're talking about passed away?

reservation at Rao's

There is no way that I know of, unless you are a guest of someone who's a "member". I've been only once with this way and the best part hands down was the scenery. The food was totally secondary. Don't get me wrong, it was good and fresh and well prepared, but no better or worse than you'd get at your Italian grandmother's house.

Nov 10, 2009
Restaurant Dish in Manhattan

Scarpetta, Convivio or Del Posto for Pasta

Can I break away from the pack and suggest that if you love pasta, then try Marea? This is the new Babbo for me and I usually love Babbo. But after eating at Marea, it reminds me of how great Babbo was when it first opened. Maybe now, not so much, still great, but not like the start. I had 3 pasta dishes at Marea, one pomodoro, one with octopus and marrow, and the other with a sausage ragu -- rivaled the ones I've ever eaten at the best in Italy. Look it up, maybe add it to your list.

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Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Nov 09, 2009
Restaurant Dish in Manhattan

DBGB or Balthazar for brunch? Please help me choose!

But have you checked who you're agreeing with? 3 posts in almost a year and this is the recommendation you want agreeing with you? And one of the three is equally "not good". I don't know I usually like to be a little more selective about who I listen to, but that's just me.

Nov 09, 2009
Restaurant Dish in Manhattan

The Corned Beef House on Adelaide

Well said. Sometimes we should enjoy things for what they are.

The Corned Beef House on Adelaide

I agree, food and service here are both excellent.

The Corned Beef House on Adelaide

Vince, I used to think the same exact thing, and even thought it was a bit of a dive, but then necessity made me try it and I was so pleasantly surprised. It is tiny inside and much of the business they do is take-out, but it's pretty busy during lunch. And because of that, everything there is extremely fresh. In terms of the flavour, I guess I would rate it as a mild corned beef flavour, not too peppery, not too salty, just perfect combo. It does not have an overly 'smoky' flavour like Caplansky's, nor as meaty as Montreal, and I always fear comparing anything to Schwartz's! Their other menu items are quite good too from what I recall--coleslaw, soups, fries, etc.

I really think it's worth giving it a try.

Food Network: Canada vs US?

There's a big reason why Christine Cushing isn't on Food Network Canada, and that reason is Christine Cushing. Have heard that the ego has landed there, even though she talks a good talk about how humble she is etc. etc. Until she figures out how to play the corporate game, she won't be on there again as far as I know.

Having watched one episode of 'Fearless in the Kitchen' I can't see her TV career going anywhere else either. She'd better keep getting those corporate and food board gigs.

Food Network: Canada vs US?

Yes I did see that article, and it truly is sad what Food Network has become. But I have to think that somehow the numbers support it. Which baffles me because I have yet to hear anyone say they love watching Food Network. Sure there are shows we all love, but to watch it all the time? Those days are gone. I used to be able to say that but not anymore. As long as they keep getting decent enough number of viewers, they'll keep showing crap, but I'm sure having been in the business you already know this and thus why you are so frustrated by it also! But then again, I think most of TV has gone to shit lately, not just Food TV. But that's another story....

Restaurant Suggestion - Colborne Lane or Canoe?

I wouldn't be too worried about canceling. Leave a message if that's an option.

Canoe should be a really great dinner. Call to make a reservation, I'm sure you'll get in ok on a Monday night these days and do mention any special requests. They have always been very accommodating in altering dishes to suit the tables wishes in my experience. Let us know how it goes.

Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Co

Yes, oops. I mixed them up with the Trews for some reason in my mind. Thanks for catching.

Restaurant Suggestion - Colborne Lane or Canoe?

Canoe is open for lunch and dinner M-F, just closed on the weekends for private functions.

I would do Canoe. For me, it's just a better experience all around. Colborne Lane was a bit too precious for me, although I can't say anything bad about it. But after eating at this type of restaurant (Colborne Lane) in other cities, I find it pales in comparison.

And I disagree about cancelling the day of if you want, as long as it's an acceptable amount of time, ie. done several hours in advance, not an hour before. Tasting menus are not done for each individual diner, so they are not putting the restaurant 'out'. They will just have 2 less people for dinner.

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Canoe
54th Floor TD Bank Tower, 66 Wellington, Toronto, ON M5K 1H6, CA

New Designer Cookie place on Eglinton east of Avenue Rd. Anyone know anything about this?

Seems like this "concept" is already in effect at Sweet Flour in Bloor West Village. http://www.sweetflour.ca/

I sure hope this does not perpetuate the 'cupcake' trend in Toronto to include 'design your own cookie' shops all around the city.

Best T.O. Takeaway Sandwich?

I used to be in this area alot for business and used to have the great corned beef sandwiches there at least twice a week (if not more). Fresh, hot, little spicy with fresh rye and their soups were also quite good from what I remember.

Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Co

Wilco is a Chicago band (edit to reflect correction). Very weird to name all your sandwiches after them unless I guess the owner is part of the band or affiliated in some way?? Strange.

McEwan's - ripped off!

Actually, agree 100% with you on this. I just was going to edit my above comment, but will do so here. The shelf items are atrociously dated, some cases dusty and well over priced.

McEwan's - ripped off!

Not sure that anyone, or I, was surprised that McEwan was expensive. I fully expected it to be expensive, I mean what, 26,000 sq foot kitchen, 'gourmet' food, McEwan's type of restaurant cooking/catering? I think I went in with my eyes wide open. BUT, I guess I wrongly assumed that with that large pricetag, would come along the same top-notch shopping experience I have when shopping at Pusateri's, equally as expensive. But it's just not there. Staff are either stunned at McEwan's or too green to really know what they're doing. Everyone at the prepared foods counter looks like they are embarrassed to be serving food and as if they're just 'temps' going onto 'better' jobs. At least, that's the feeling I get everytime I get something there. Quite opposite of Pusateri's.

I was thinking more about this and I wonder, shoot me down of course if I'm totally off base here, but do the extreme shopping experiences differ so much because one is essentially 'European' run (Pusateri's) and the other is not?

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Pusateri's
1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

McEwan
75 The Donway W, Toronto, ON M3C, CA

McEwan's - ripped off!

Atahualpa, you are entitled to your opinion, but I TOTALLY disagree with your last comments on Pusateri's.

Poor value is all about perception, so I'm not going to touch that one. Not great quality prepared foods? Really? I think they are very high quality, actually. They may not be that 'imaginative' ie. grilled salmon, roasted potatoes, herbed green beans, etc etc but they are of very high quality.

And, I must say in the over 10 years that I've been going to Pusateri's, I have never ONCE seen any remotely old-looking produce--overpriced, yes maybe--but never old-looking. Their produce rivals some of the best markets I've ever been to.
As for mass market items...well, I guess the well-to-do sometimes like making Aunt Jemima pancakes too.

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Pusateri's
1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

McEwan's - ripped off!

I ranted about the place, but I disagree with your sweeping comment.

I can't begin to understand what you mean by fear of the unknown, maybe you could explain further. And in terms of fear of ethnic? I don't think his premise was ever let me bring all the cultures within Toronto under one store and sell all their products. Meaning, he sells whatever "ethnic" products are hot and will sell. Not so sure there's such an alterior motive as you suggest.
Oh, and I'm not a 40-something lady that lunches, so not sure about your theory there either....

McEwan's - ripped off!

Ditto. I think any profits these days from the McEwan enterprise are coming from catering and bymark.

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McEwan
75 The Donway W, Toronto, ON M3C, CA

McEwan's - ripped off!

Yes, unfortunately my average bills (I keep them all) have reached the hundreds. It's actually not that hard...it adds up pretty quickly in there.

As for McEwan being arrogant, I guess you could view it that way and others would say driven, self-assured, etc. If you know chefs, they are quite similar to CEOs in terms of the ego quotient, so combine a chef/CEO and I'm sure it can get brutal. He's a perfectionist and myself being one too, sometimes you are misunderstood.

And I won't try to sell you on his food--it's very good IMO, but you can't convert everyone. I think it was doubly surprising for me because I was usually so impressed with his offerings, have even had catering done by him, but this store does not represent his best work.

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McEwan
75 The Donway W, Toronto, ON M3C, CA

McEwan's - ripped off!

You're so right I should have stayed with that bagel!

Funny you mention the dim sum, as I was looking at them on my last trip and had the same exact thought. That might be appropriate to pay as an app at bymark, but I can't bring myself at the store. In the 10 times I've gone I've never waited in line either.

McEwan's - ripped off!

OK, I must admit, I don't 'get it' anymore with McEwan's grocery store/semi-restaurant/coffee shop meet-up place....

My usual day to day grocery store shopping is done at Longo's at York Mills, with trips to Pusateri's in between as well as one-off food stores like Cumbrae's, Diana's Seafood, etc.

I decided to give McEwan a few tries before really making up my mind (even though I kinda already did when I first saw it--one word: COLD). Anyway, I have now been about 5-10 times and I'm just about ready to give up on the place. Everytime I go, I'm the only one seemingly in the 'produce' dept. And that produce dept is an embarrassment to produce depts., I mean they don't have really any fall/winter greens to be found, let alone any romaine lettuce!! They had a few sad looking red leaf the few times I went. But the only romaine I could find was the already cut up pieces in plastic container for 6 bucks. I'm ok with 6 bucks if it's fresh, already cut and washed for me and I can make a quick salad when I get home. But when that 6 buck washed lettuce is BROWN, that's problem.
Anyway, it's also very weirdly dumbed down to the point of chopped onions?? Everything is freakin' chopped already! Garlic, squash, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. I guess that's ok, but what about the fresh, whole veg for us that actually like to cook?

So I mentioned this a few times to people I know go there and they just about laughed in my face and said, everyone knows you don't go to McEwan to SHOP! I said oh really, why do you go to McEwan's? Oh, you go there for the prepared food because it's like eating at his restaurant but cheaper and you can eat it at home with your wine etc.

WRONG!

I've now been 4 times just for the cooked food and it's disgusting. First, let's get something out of the way, his staff is friendly, but they are woefully inexperienced in many cases. Next the food. The food is sub-par at best and this is not the McEwan cooking that I have known to love at both Bymark and North 44 (I know he hasn't cooked at either for a long time, I mean the calibre of food). This prepared food he's selling is atrocious. Crusty whipped potatoes looked gross and should have stopped me there because I bought them and they tasted grosser--totally flavourless. Next, Hong Kong style ribs: if anyone can find any meat on those ribs, please give me a call. $24 for two smallish pieces and was struggling to find any meat on them. Sauce while good, is not worth $24. Roasted chicken tasted like it was roasted, freeze-dried and then re-heated--meaning, it was dry as hell and gross. There goes another $15. I would take Swiss Chalet ANY day over this piece of crap.

Next we have lasagna. My neighbours kid could probably make a better sauce. Tasteless, weirdly overly acid and WATERY as could be. Noodles didn't even seem like they were freshly made and the cheese grated on top reminded me of the same frozen mozzarella cheese you find on frozen pizza. I kid you not.

Tried a chicken pot pie and a beef shank or beef short rib pot pie and while it was edible, I was expecting way more flavour and way more depth to the dishes. If I wanted average, I'd go for a President's Choice frozen meal.

They even took a beautiful thing as roasted fingerling potatoes and butchered those to beyond recognition. Dry, shriveled up, and also tasteless.

With almost every single dish, I had to 'doctor' it up for it to have flavour.

I write this as a fan and long time customer of McEwan and his restaurants but with a very heavy heart that something that I anticipated would be a shining light in gourmet food shopping has turned into a disaster. I can't figure out why so mediocre and why he, who I know is a perfectionist, has let this slide so bad and far. I have heard that he is opening up a restaurant within the Shops at Don Mills but so far I have not seen any progress on this. But anyway, just really, really disappointed. Not to mention feeling like an ass for spending hundreds of dollars and having no good food memories to show for it.

Anyone else?

Best bagels in Toronto?

Yes, I got burned on those too. They were stale. I wonder if the ownership knows that their bagels are stale in Toronto.

Best bagels in Toronto?

I like them.

Best bagels in Toronto?

Sorry, I meant What A Bagel at York Mills. Sorry too many bagels....

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What A Bagel
2279 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2C6, CA