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romanruin's Profile

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Kritamos Greek Fish House and Rotisserie - Who's been?

Have been three times, including twice in the last month. It has become one of our favourite places on the Danforth. The key to us are the sardines (pan-fried) and the smelts. Dips are excellent and the house red wine is solid. Nice staff, and nice room. Its a cut above the standard Danforth Greek offering and price point, but worth the premium.

Best ceviches in Toronto

There are some excellent inexpensive ceviche dishes all along St. Clair Ave. Mi Tierra, Dona Luz, El Fogon and El Plebeyo are my four favourites. Different flavours in each place, lots of fun.

Milan for Hungry Guys

Five hungry guys (who are in their 50's and know food and wine) will be arriving in Milan after 7 days of gruelling cycling in the Dolomites. We have one night to eat and drink. Arriving around 3 PM on a Saturday and departing around 10AM on the Sunday.
Any suggestions about which area we should stay in, which streets or neighbourhoods are packed with bars and restaurants, and any specific ideas would be appreciated. Even one great street would be fantastic.

Apr 09, 2012
romanruin in Italy

Coming to London with 18 year old daughter for 2 days in May.

I'm another Torontonian taking my 18-year-old daughter to London in a couple of weeks. How did everything work out for you? Any interesting recommendations? She is an adventurous eater.

Aug 03, 2011
romanruin in U.K./Ireland

Your favourite Farmer's Markets and vendors?

I'm a big fan of the Weston Farmers Market. It serves an ethnic, low-income clientele who actually cook, so it has very little prepared or packaged foods. Just excellent produce at great prices. Barely a hint of "organic" or "natural" or any other "poseur" foods. Just some farm families (some from as far away as Brampton!) bringing good food to a tough part of the city. You couldn't find a fixed-gear bike within ten kilometers of this place. Hard to find, but easy to park, and not too crowded.

Roti for the Kingsway

On the south side of Bloor two block east of Islington, a wonderful woman named Mitzi took over a failed jerk chicken joint and has been producing tremendous trinidadian-style roti's for about six months now. She also does jerk, which I would characterize as convenient and passable, but the roti sings.
I've eaten hundreds across the GTA - and Mitzi ranks very close to Roti Roti on Albion, or Pam's, or Island Foods. Wrappers are delicate, flavours are bold and fillings are ample. Central Etobicoke - where exotic food begins and ends with sushi - can be shy about this type of cooking. But this is take-out at its best, and the Kingsway should rejoice. Mitzie`s Jerk 3337 Bloor Street West

Kingsway Restaurant
510 Ferguson Ave, Haileybury, ON P0J1K0, CA

Real BBQ in Etobicoke

Tried a number of different meats here and I can say that the pulled pork is outstanding - easily their best product and better than anything I've had in Toronto. Their brisket is OK, same with the chicken, but the pulled pork is worth the trip. Portion sizes are huge, by the way.
Very nice couple, great hospitality. Next step is that they need to develop a better BBQ sauce for the squeeze bottles. Their basic sauce is bland and the hot sauce simply isn't. That shouldn't be too difficult a challenge. Sides are fine, they could use a classic BBQ-joint mac-and-cheese, but thats a minor point.
I think they are on their way to being a very good destination and a welcome addition to Etobicoke.

Where can I buy Pimientos de Padron (spainish peppers) in Toronto?

I've been asking around the Spanish restaurant and food service community about these since I recently ate about 200 of them during a few days in Barcelona. They are not imported into Canada, period. They are not in Kensington, They are not for sale anywhere. Ag. Can won't let them in. Some enterprising sorts have, over the years, sourced them from the online Spanish grocer La Tienda in the U.S., had them shipped to Buffalo, and then smuggled them across the border, possibly in a rowboat in the dark of night.
Thank goodness most hungry Canadians keep a post-office box in Tonawanda precisely for these type of food-related adventures.

La Tienda
725 Notre Dame Dr, London, ON N6J3V5, CA

Best dosas?

We are big fans of Madras Dosa Hut on Albion Rd just west of Islington. Consistently good, great variety, very fresh, nice service, decent Bollywood videos. But we have not sampled dosa's widely.

Madras Dosa Hut
1123 Albion Rd, Toronto, ON M9V1A9, CA


A bunch of Price Chopper stores in Brampton and Mississauga were converted to a new concept called Freshco, and they launch today. If anyone up there gets a chance to stop in, I would appeciate knowing what they are like. Wondering if it would be worth the drive?

Best places to buy pistachio nuts in the GTA , recommendations please?

Samara is not only still open, but has fantastic nuts of all types and with varying levels of saltiness. West of Arz on the south side, almost beside the (justifiably) famous Shawarma Empire.

1909 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R, CA

Shawarma Empire
1823 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

La Taquiza Shout-out

Just dropped into La Taquiza, located in one of the many endless plazas that ring the cavernous and soul-deadening Vaughn Mills mall. What a warm, friendly little place with everything made fresh on site. Quesadillas were soft and flavourful, and the marinated pork soft taco was fresh and excellent. Little salsa bar with everything made right there, sorted according to heat. Need to go back and test the rest of the menu. Its Mexican, and the food is very close to the most authentic Latin American cuisines in the entire world - those little kiosks at 9 Milvan.

Tunisian/Turkish/Moroccan restaurant suggestions

Tagine is outstanding and worth the drive to deepest Scarborough. We had the chicken tagine and the lamb couscous and both were deep and rich and fragrant. Owner/server is great - shares a mint tea with you before the meal. No liquor license. Bonus: right down the road is the amazing Arz grocery store, with the one of the best best nuts and sweets displays in town.

The Best Empanada of My Life

I still visit Milvan whenever I can and don't speak a word of Spanish. Among my recent trials, I can recommend the ceviche at the Ecuadorean joint in the corner; the 5-taco plate from the Mexican place, or anything starting with "arroz con..." at the Cuban counter down the hallway. All good, all fresh and all friendly. This place is gem in a awkward part of town. Open six days a week; closed Mondays.

Hidden gem - Jeema bakery (Drewry & Yonge)

That Khorak Supermarket is one interesting spot. Hot table is excellent - all kebobs are grilled to order - and their bakers work in a roasting pit, tossing hot fresh barbary and lavash bread up to racks at floor level.

Now Thats a Sandwich

You are driving aimlessly around the intersection of Langstaff and Jane. You are hungry. You head up to Edilcan Drive and go west to Vincentina Meats. From Mon to Fri they have a "panino bar". You order the "porchetta with roasted peppers on a long". $6.81 with tax. You will now sit in your car and have one of the top ten sandwiches of your life. I did.

The Best Empanada of My Life

Admittedly, my empanada eating experience has been isolated to the greater Toronto area, parts of southern California and some quality time with my Venezuelan aunt. But last week, I tasted the best empenadas ever.
I was driving through the Weston/Finch area and stopped in the famous 9 Milvan Ave building to have my first-ever lunch at their unusual food court. On the north side of the food court is a Columbian joint making and selling huge empanadas. I tries the Chorizo, Spinach-feta and Pork. Each was a meal (and priced like it at $2.95), and each was sublime.
I will make a return trip to this weird office building to sample fare from the six other South American stands nearby. But 9 Milvan seems like a an early contender for my personal Food Court Hall of Fame.

Toronto Chow Family in SF

Didn't mean it in a bad way, but we have generally brutal Mexican choices here in Toronto. So after the appetizers, which were very good, the food was challenging and unfamiliar, but apparently very close to authentic. By contrast, at the taquerias of Fruitvale, the food was more familiar - we know what burritos, quesadillas and pepusas are, we just did not realize that they could taste that good.

Toronto Chow Family in SF

Just wanted to thank everyone for the help - we had an excellent stay in SF and ate very well. Took the advice and focused on Mexican and Thai.
Highlights were Ar Roi (the green curry was amazing); breakfast at the Ferry Plaza Market; dinner at Colibri (maybe too authentic for Torontonians); lunch (on our way to the A's game) in Fruitvale - really cool little town full of great street food; Japantown - can't go wrong; and the Slanted Door, which was all its cracked up to be.

Food Court from Heaven

Checked out the Downsview Merchants Market food court yesterday and it would have to rank number one in breadth and quality. Highlights were the doubles from Melo's, the pupusas from the Pupuseria and the amazing nachos with guacamole and "shrimp salad" (actually ceviche) from the taqueria. Surprisingly uncorwded, laid back, about a dozen different family-run stands from a variety of countries. Only Saturdays and Sundays but worth thr trip.

Toronto Chow Family in SF

Five baseball fans and adventurous eaters (kids 19, 18, 15) want the full SF chow experience. Staying just north of Union Square (on Bush) and will be using transit.
Have all day Saturday in SF, going over to Oakland for 1:00 ballgame on Sunday; all day Monday in SF with 7PM Giants game that night.
Not price-sensitive but "boisterous ethnic/local/unique" preferred over fine dining (not our scene). Very good at grazing; can walk miles; hate chains.
Any advice would be most welcome; and will be reciprocated when you visit multicultural Toronto, which is a great eating city, by the way.

A Shout Out for Pam's

Had occasion to grab my first roti from Pam's Roti Hut on Bloor near Lansdowne and what a treat. Boneless chicken (with medium spicing) was a wealth of flavour made fresh to order. Figured out the drill: order your roti, go two doors to the east to the "bar with no name" and have a cold beer, then return to Pam's in time for pick-up. Plus, Pam herself is a delight.

Anyway she's moving her tiny shop to a spot over near the Dufferin subway station before the end of the month and its important we all follow her.

Great New Supermarket

Just north of the Wal-mart on the east side, in the old Rexdale mall that once housed the bad Zellers. Not obvious from the road except for plenty of Chinese characters on the side of the mall.

Great New Supermarket

Its about a year old actually, but its a remarkable new addition to grocery stores in Toronto. Its called Fresh Value and its on Islington just north of the 401, tucked into the old Rexdale Plaza. At about 60,000 sq.ft., its sizable and, as far as I can tell, is run by Asians and is designed to service south Rexdale's strong Indian, Pakistani, Carribean and Latin customer base.

Its clean, the produce is incredibly fresh and well-presented, the "seafood room" is active and unique, and the sheer selection of ethnic product is breathtaking. The prices are great.

Its not like T&T (which I love), instead Fresh Value is less corporate, (less "perfect"), more of a "market" and caters to much wider range of communities.

Harlem restaurant. Any reviews?

Had a great experience here last week. Nice service staff, cool intimate space. Food was outstanding. BBQ ribs appetizer, collard greens and jambalaya were simple, flavourful and close to perfect.

Lambros?? anyone been?

Could not figure this place out. The "dip" appetizer was over-priced for practically nothing; the calamari was a few small pieces in a huge lump of hummas; the kebab was bland, the salads standard. Decent wine list but limited by-the-glass choices. Server who simply would not shut up or go away. Owner and staff carrying on loud obnoxious conversations in the seating area.
Summary: over-priced small portions of unimaginative food in an uncomfortable environment.

Pizza Stones? [moved from Ontario board]

I broke a few stones as well until I figured out to heat the pizza stone slowly on the BBQ or in the oven, then toss the pie onto the sizzling stone. Haven't broken one since. (Probably just jinxed it).

Mar 27, 2008
romanruin in Cookware

Food Court from Heaven

Westwood Mall is a long thin run-down mall with a Food Basics at one end and a big empty building in the middle. Its on Goreway Drive in Malton (I love Malton).
Inside, if you hunt for it, there's a tiny food court from heaven. No chains, just six family-run joints with plenty of inexpensive, spicy foods. The best is a Trinidadian spot with excellent roti (I had the goat-outstanding) and maybe the best doubles I've ever tasted. There's also a solid jerk place, a very tasty korean BBQ joint, a weird middle east pizza place, an Indian stand with nice simple lunches and an (avoidable) Chinese food stand.
These types of food courts are fading fast. Whenever we find one, it should get some kind of "Chowhound Heritage Foodcourt" designation.

Macelleria Potenza: Old Italy in New India

Among the hundreds of Indian fabric stores, dosa huts, jewelers and sweet shops in north Etobicoke, I stumbled upon little Macelleria Potenza in a strip plaza on Islington just north of Albion road.
For 25 years, this family butcher shop has apparently been a bit of a secret among the north-west Toronto Italian community. They make and hang their own prosciuttos, pancettas and other dried susages, source and cut excellent lamb and do just about everything from scratch. My early trials of their products (particularly the prosciutto) have been a revelation.
Its kitty-corner from the excellent Madras Dosa Hut, so if you find yourself in this area, Potenza is worth a stop.
The Islington-Albion intersection, by the way, is one of the great hidden gems of this city, teeming with food adventures.

Lunch near Bloor/Kipling - trying again

An excellent pub with good food - a simple nice lunch spot - is Henry VIII on south side of Bloor just east of Montgomery.