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earthmomma's Profile

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Saturday Dinette on Gerrard

Had an amazing meal here tonight. Brand new little spot that was packed on a Wednesday night. Room was cozy, food was delicious, the service was warm, and the owners are passionate. Lots of options for both meat eaters & vegetarians. One of the most special places to open up in the East End in a long while.

Bite Me Grill opening at Pape & Danforth?

After seeing the menu, I'm pretty sure it is the Crack Me Up chain under a different name.... the menu is practically identical. Too bad.

Recommendations Riverside/Leslieville

Queen Margherita Pizza or Pizza Libretto Danforth, Lady Marmalade for lunch, Mother's Dumplings on Danforth... maybe Little India?

Bite Me Grill opening at Pape & Danforth?

Anyone know what the deal is? A new place is opening up at 730 Danforth (next to Rogers) that for a while had a sign up saying it was going to be a new chain called Crack Me Up. I was disappointed to have a bad breakfast franchise come into the area, but then the sign disappeared and now now appears instead to be a place called "Bite Me Grill" ...also doing all-day breakfast. I was slightly more hopeful when I saw the new name (anything would be better than Crack Me Up), but a recent ad for waiters has the slogan "franchises with a bite"... so that has me worried. Is this the Crack Me Up chain under a different name, or a new thing? Wish we could get some great breakfast in this area...but I'm not convinced this will be it.

brunch/lunch in Riverside/Leslieville with wheat-free options

Lady Marmalade is great. They have several GF options, but also offer gluten free bread. Only issue is lines on weekends so be prepared to wait if you don't get there early enough.

Danforth news - Von Donuts

There is no vinegar flavour in the dill donut. It's lightly sweet with speckles of fresh dill. Just a fun sweet n savoury twist. The pickle spear is a fun little addition but you can take it off.

Danforth news - Von Donuts

I've tried Von donuts twice this week and have been very impressed. I'm actually not much of a donut eater, so the fact that I have already returned is a compliment to them. The first thing I said when I took my first bite on opening day was "Wow, I'm glad they aren't too sweet!" - so I would say absolutely, no, they aren't sickeningly sweet at all - at least the ones I've tried.

They have a nice combo of traditional flavours and more adventurous creations and so far everything we've tasted has been a win. So far we've tried the chocolate, carrot cake, their donut holes with the cinnamon sugar, and believe it or not, a dill donut today that blew our minds.

Our favourites so far were the carrot cake (amazing!) and the dill donut - which came with a deep fried pickle on top - and is so addictive that I'm slightly concerned with this place being just down the street. I know it sounds incredibly strange, but if you're into savoury/sweet and funky flavour combinations, it seriously hits the spot. Maybe I'm just weird, but I'm going back for it.

If you're not into outside-the-box flavours, they have your traditional chocolate, caramel dipped, cinnamon sugar, PB & J... lots to choose from.

These are good folks who clearly take their product seriously. Give them a shot. It's nice to have something different open on this side of the Danforth.

Bistro 699 - Danforth is exploding

Does anyone have an update on this place? I can't tell if it's open or not...or find any word about it online.

Aravind Brunch

Here's the link to the menu! Looks pretty awesome to me.!/aravindre...

Aravind Brunch

Just saw on his facebook page that Aravind is starting up a south indian brunch this Sunday, Feb 26. I've been hoping for some more interesting brunch options on the Danforth so I'm excited! If he posts any menu items ahead of time I'll post the link here.

Recommendations for special occasion dinner -- foodie but veg friendly

As a foodie and fish-eating vegetarian, some of my favourites are:

Marben - menu is definitely meat focused, but recently ate there and stuffed myself silly. Great, lively environment and foodie-focused. Everything is meant to be shared so it gives you a lot of variety. We shared a crispy egg salad, the pecorino fresco, cod cakes, the trout, and several of the little sides (just be wary of the pommes kennedy, which are fried in beef fat). Our server was helpful and we definitely had enough to eat.

Pizzeria Libretto - Both locations are great (Ossington feels a bit more intimate), but you can now make reservations on Danforth and they recently added a large number of vegetarian items to their menu. Also are very accommodating if you ask them to leave meat off anything. Hard to beat the quality for the price and excellent service, but although the space is beautiful it's still casual dining.

Enoteca Sociale - Same owners as Libretto, great house-made pasta and Italian food, equally vibrant and also intimate. Takes reservations but should book fairly in advance.

Lee - If you are willing to spend more, I've had some pretty exquisite food experiences here. Lots of vegetarian & fish items.

Woodlot - Haven't been in a while, but loved it when I tried it a year ago. They have both a vegetarian & meat menu that changes seasonally, and I remember my boyfriend ate fish.

Other places I haven't tried yet but have been highly recommended to me: Cava, Yours Truly (fairly new and offers a $35 vegetarian tasting menu), George, Buca.

Pizzeria Via Mercanti

Was very excited to try this place after reading the Toronto Life article and some outstanding reviews. Love Neapolitan pizza and have been a fan of Libretto these last few years (over the other Toronto offerings), but have had better in other cities. Raced down to Kensington to give it a go. The space is gorgeous, lovely lighting and wood everywhere. It wasn't very busy, but the place is new and still working out some kinks.

We tried a few antipasti which were nice but nothing to get too excited about. The best we had were the roasted vegetables, which were sweet and marinated beautifully (though the portion was small), and came with what looked like pizza dough "bread". The arugula salad was a bit disappointing. Arugula, some baby tomatoes, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese (the super-fine grated kind you get at the grocery store, it seemed like), hardly dressed... kind of boring. Also a warning to vegetarians: several of their antipasti items randomly had meat in them even though it doesn't specify on the menu. The arugula salad came with slices of prosciutto on top with no warning -- which didn't please the vegetarians at the table. They were accommodating when we pointed it out and said that they would clarify the menu further for the future. Found it a bit strange though.

On to the pizzas. The crusts were beautiful, though we like them a little more charred. Chewy and slightly crisp at the same time... really lovely. Better than Libretto's, I thought. The rest we found a little bland unfortunately. More salt or something? Never had an issue with Libretto where I found flavour on the pizza lacking. The tomato sauce tasted fresh, just missing something. They give you a little jar of chili peppers to put on the pizzas but they weren't hot at all. We enjoyed ourselves, just weren't blown away.

For dessert we tried the Ricotta e Pera. Two layers of cake sandwiching a lovely pear and ricotta filling. It was so light and not too sweet. Really nice.

It's a great addition to the Kensington neighbourhood, and certainly the best place to sit down to eat. Will I race across town and stand in line to eat their pizza? Probably not. But when I'm in the area, it would definitely be a great place to have a bite. Might try it again when they've had a bit more time to work things out.

Pho - Danforth and Jones

Tried it the other day. The owners are incredibly sweet and were very eager to please. They said they are expanding their menu over the coming weeks. I had a vegetarian pho, so I can't speak for the beef broth, but I did find it a little bland -- could have used even just a bit more salt. Still, it was full of lovely vegetables, came with all the traditional accompaniments, and it was nice to be able to grab a hot bowl of soup nearby. I will let them work out their kinks and return in the near future.

Dining in Paris - overcoming language barriers

PhilD, yes, I realize that we didn't end up going to some of the fancier restaurants (big part of that was lack of time with everything we wanted to see and my concern with vegetarian options -- also being so full from pastries & baguettes that I barely had room for a several course meal) but I assume that anyone going to a fancy or upscale restaurant should be smart enough to dress up a little? I think it's common sense if you plan to spend 200 euro on a meal a person that you don't show up in sweatpants. Maybe I'm wrong, but my sense from the conversation was that it wasn't just specific to upscale restaurants and I was nervous about encountering it everywhere. Yes, we had falafels on the street and got takeaway indian at some point, but we did sit down for some lovely meals and never did I feel the service was snobby or did what I was wearing make a difference. And everyone was very kind to whatever language issues we had. Of course I would recommend someone to dress up a little when going out for fine dining, but I would recommend that anywhere.

Aside from the Louvre, I loved Musée d'Orsay ... didn't want to leave. My boyfriend is passionate about film, so we visited Cinémathèque Française -- which was interesting but much smaller than what the website made it seem to be. But my favourite parts of the trip were just walking through the streets, along the Seine, exploring neighbourhoods, cafes, boulangeries, riding the metro, and getting a feel for the city as a whole. We finished the trip by having a view of the city up next to the Sacré-Cœur -- just stunning.

Feb 09, 2012
earthmomma in France

Dining in Paris - overcoming language barriers

Just returned from Paris -- thank you everyone for your help. Didn't have any problems with clothes... I found it very casual everywhere I went, very much like Toronto. I went and bought nicer shoes for the trip but didn't end up wearing them once! Did my very best to speak french and everyone was nice -- except in a couple of boulangeries where they appeared a little frustrated -- but that was rare. I did my best.

We were on the go so much that we were often eating sandwiches & baguettes on the run, but we did have a few foodie highlights. We tried As Du Falaffel, based on sistabella's recommendation. Delicious! It was so big we shared one and felt stuffed.

You can't find a fondue restaurant in Toronto, so we went to Pain, Vin, Fromage and it was fabulous (though I can't say I felt so great after eating so much cheese and bread... but it was worth it!)

For ice cream we went to Berthillon. So delicious, although that was the only occassion that our waitress was a bit rude. We ate at several cafe's where we had lovely omlets and crepes. Overall the quality of everything we ate was much higher and more consistent than I've found anywhere else I've been.

We spent a whole day at the Louvre, so we ate in their restaurant for lunch. The soup appetizer was odd (was supposed to be purely vegetarian, but they decided to make it a shrimp soup that day without giving us warning -- my boyfriend tried to make the best of it but found it really strong and unappetizing), but both of our fish dishes were delicious. Bread everywhere was excellent.

Overall we ate fabulously well and managed to communicate enough in french that very rarely were we spoken back to in English. We had a wonderful time. Paris is so magical!

On our last night we did try the Indian restaurant around the corner from our flat... very bland and strange. We heard that indian restaurants often cater to the Parisian tastebuds which prefer milder food... don't know if that is true or if this place just wasn't our cup of tea. We're used to indian food in Toronto which is very spicy, rich, and flavourful. That was our only disappointing meal.

Feb 06, 2012
earthmomma in France

Dining in Paris - overcoming language barriers

Thank you everyone for your input. I am doing my best to learn the most polite phrases and practices & master whatever basic french I can so that I can make an effort. I did a quick shop this afternoon to make sure I have a few nicer outfits for meals out in Paris... I appreciate the tips there. Not sure where we will be eating and what the dress code will be, but it certainly helps to have options on hand in case. That being said, I'm only in Paris for 4 days and don't want to buy an entirely new wardrobe to make sure my service is better. I will do my best and it will just have to be what it is. Toronto is very casual and it is rare that you are ever asked to dress up (I have a few dresses I left at home that I've maybe worn once each because I never have an occasion), so it is good to learn that other places have different expectations.

Jan 25, 2012
earthmomma in France

Dining in Paris - overcoming language barriers

Got it! We don't usually have that kind of formality here, so it's really good to know what is expected. Many thanks!

Jan 20, 2012
earthmomma in France

Dining in Paris - overcoming language barriers

Thank you everyone for all your help I feel much better now after reading all this. We will make sure we have a translator to read menus out front & attempt at speaking every bit of french we can. My boyfriend does eat fish from time to time so he might have some more luck than me. In the end, I might end up eating so many baguettes & pastries that I won't have room for dinner anyway :)

Again, many thanks. My apologies for making you read a vegetarian-related post ;)

Jan 19, 2012
earthmomma in France

Dining in Paris - overcoming language barriers


I will be visiting Paris for a few days with my boyfriend at the end of January. We are both vegetarians, which I realize might be tricky while we're there. We also unfortunately speak very limited french. We are both desperately trying to learn all the french we can before we get there, but I am still nervous about our ability to get by, especially in restaurants.

Maybe I'm ignorant, but I don't expect restaurants to have english translations under their menu items... at least not the good ones :) We are bringing a little french/english dictionary to help us out with reading the menu (yes, we'll be THOSE tourists - I'm sorry!), particularly because we have to be careful not to order meat. I am wondering if anyone can help us with some basic ordering terms & restaurant etiquette so that we can communicate as best we can.

What is the best way to let them know we're vegetarian? Are there any restaurant etiquette practices / best phrases to use in Paris that we might not be familiar with in Canada (where I'm coming from)? Also, are all tips included?

Any information you can share would be so appreciated, as well as some restaurant suggestions if you have some!

Thank you / Merci !

Jan 17, 2012
earthmomma in France

What's the best sports bar on the Danforth?

Just noticed a brand new sports bar at Woodycrest and Danforth (just east of Pape). Seems clean and a step up from the bar in that location before.... can't recall the name. It's next to the Pizza Pizza.

2 (fish eating) vegetarian foodies in London - where MUST we eat?

Ah, I was wondering whether to go there! I have his cookbook :) Any location the best?

Jan 05, 2012
earthmomma in U.K./Ireland

2 (fish eating) vegetarian foodies in London - where MUST we eat?

Saf and Indian Zing both look terrific. Will add them to my list. Thank you!

It isn't that I want italian food from a chain, just curious if Jamie Oliver's name on a restaurant meant it would be as good as you would hope. It sounds like it isn't, so we'll go elsewhere.

Jan 05, 2012
earthmomma in U.K./Ireland

2 (fish eating) vegetarian foodies in London - where MUST we eat?

Thanks for all the suggestions. Can anyone also report on the Rasa restaurants, as well as Jamie Oliver's italian chain.... either worth checking out?

Jan 04, 2012
earthmomma in U.K./Ireland

2 (fish eating) vegetarian foodies in London - where MUST we eat?

Wonderful! Thank you for all the fabulous suggestions. Itadaki Zen looks lovely, and I love the Lebanese & Brixton suggestions! Will check all of those out. We will actually be staying in the east end at Leytonstone, so East Ham isn't a trek for us. Any particular restaurant there the best?

We're willing to travel wherever, especially if an area is worth exploring.

Also, the Korean restaurant Asadal looks great. You can't normally find Korean food in Toronto that offers good vegetarian options, so that might be exciting to check out. Thanks!

Dec 28, 2011
earthmomma in U.K./Ireland

2 (fish eating) vegetarian foodies in London - where MUST we eat?

Coming to London at the end of January. Last time we were there we had a couple good meals but mostly bad ones. Please give us advice on where we MUST eat while we're there. We don't mind a couple of splurges, but affordable options are also great.

We eat fish, but otherwise are vegetarian. We don't have to eat at strictly vegetarian restaurants -- only places where we can have a good meal. We love all kinds of food.

Also, a recommendation for a really good indian meal would be appreciated to. Last time we went we didn't have the best luck where we tried, yet we hear London has great Indian food.


Dec 24, 2011
earthmomma in U.K./Ireland

Pho - Danforth and Jones

Anyone know when they are opening?

New Pizzeria Libretto location opening on the Danforth

Yes, unfortunately that is the only one I didn't try -- but I agree with justsayn ... shouldn't all of them be good? They sounded great on paper but both were disappointing upon arrival.

New Pizzeria Libretto location opening on the Danforth

I've been to the Danforth libretto twice now, and as a huge fan of the Ossington location I have to say it has been a disappointment to me both times. I can appreciate that they are not interested in opening an exact replica, but they have managed to leave out every single one of my favourite elements of the original location (except for the classic margherita, which is still perfect). I have tried two of their salads and found both tasteless and uninteresting, and the appetizers I had were fine (the anchovy crostini and Branzino Crudo) but nothing exciting. What remains solid are the pizzas and desserts (though they left off one of my favourite pizzas that I was so looking forward to). The original location has wonderfully unpretentious food that is delicious and high quality and full of flavour -- I have never been disappointed by a meal there. I love the daily pizza specials, the lunch prix fixe, the daily bruschetta, the cheese options, their fabulous salads that are always reasonably portioned for the price, the wonderful small plates. None of those things have found their way into the new menu. Portions are significantly smaller, which I would be fine with if the food was worth it. It is also less vegetarian friendly. I am trying very hard to love the new place for what it offers, but I have to admit I've left both times feeling slightly bummed.

Sexy and not Stuffy

Pizzeria Libretto. You can't really beat the price for the quality of the food, great energy filled atmosphere, and really unpretentious but professional service. Their pizzas are awesome, but so are their daily specials, tapas, salads, cheeses, and desserts. Same owners as Enoteca Sociale, but I always enjoy my experience better there.

Pizzeria Libretto
221 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Enoteca Sociale
1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Where to go for GOOD SOUP

I don't like everything at Fresh, but one thing they do extremely well is soup. I've bought their cookbooks just for the soup recipes. They are all hearty, homemade, and delicious.