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Anatolian's Turkish Halal Restaurant - WOW!

Couldn't help but comment here...

My hubby is Turkish and so we're always looking for decent Turkish food in Toronto. We tried Anatolian Turkish about 2 months ago and we have not been back. Our biggest issue was the service. I literally did not get to eat -- they kept saying that my food was on its way (we asked about 4 times and were given that same response each time) and about an hour later, once everyone at the table had already finished their meals the waitress came out and said that they didn't have what I wanted in stock. We really wanted to like the place (my hubby and our dining guests -- also Turks -- said the food was quite good) but I can't seem to get him to go back there as he was so turned off by the service. Hoping they've sorted that out...

Value sushi spots and Thai spots with reliable service [San Francisco]

Hello fellow hounds!

I am flying out to your wonderful city in about 10 hours time and I am looking for some weekend recommendations for mid-priced dinner spots. Specifically, I'm seeking some recommendations for sushi and Thai spots that will satisfy my requirements for kick-a** good food, but that are also respectful of my dining partners' budget constraints as they are saving up to buy a house and other such grown-up things.

When I search "sushi" on this board I find Maruya and Kusakabe are oft-recommended sushi spots in SF, and I would totally go to those spots on my own. From what I've read on here, those two places check all the boxes on freshness of fish, artful technique, variety of fish, and tradition and authenticity. So my question is whether there is a place that doesn't compromise on freshness, but to get to a $50pp price point, I could probably compromise on the variety of fish and the tradition and authenticity pieces. Is this possible and where would you direct me to?

For my Thai request, I am very tempted to go to Lers Ros, which is a favourite of mine from when I was living in The Bay Area many eons ago. And as much as I loved the food, the service always sucked and I don't really want to put my dinner guests through so much of an ordeal. Are there places that have great food, but nicer atmosphere and reliable service at around the $35pp mark?

As reference, I will be staying in the Nob Hill area but will likely spend a fair bit of time in Mission as well.

Thanks in advance!

Question about ambiance at some Mtl establishments

Thanks for the input, Maximilien. Can you also comment on how formal Le Filet is? If you were to rate it on a scale of 10 where 10 = Le Bernadin and 1 = APdC, how would Le Filet do?

Question about ambiance at some Mtl establishments

I'm planning a birthday dinner and was wondering if Montreal CHers could comment on the ambiance of some of the places I'm considering. I'm looking for something lively but not so loud that one would have to scream to be heard, as well as down-to-earth (overly hipster and/or snobby are out). All of the options I've narrowed down to are all quite different from a cuisine perspective, and so that is why ambiance is becoming such an important decision factor. Any help is appreciated!

The options for consideration:
Le Bremner
Le Filet

EDIT: I should also mention that if you wish to share alternate recommendations that would fit my ambiance criteria, the restaurant must also have substantial fish and/or vegetarian options, as one member of the party has a dietary restriction.

Delysees: New French Bakery on King St

Ah. Great tip. I've only ever had the coffee there and did not really have a good look at their nibblies selection. Thanks!

Delysees: New French Bakery on King St

I was there on the weekend -- I live nearby and was hoping this would be the answer to my French Croissant weekend breakfast dreams. No such luck.

The staff were extremely pleasant and efficient despite the crazy line-up. The decor is what I would term "generically appealing transitional".

As for the pastries, however, I found them to be... meh. I had a pain aux raisins and a croissant au beurre and felt that both were more pillowy than they were flaky. I'm no baking expert but it seems to me that the flour they are using is too soft and the butter does not have a high enough fat content? This was especially evident in the pain aux raisins, as the moisture from the raisins rendered the pastry mushy. I also wonder about temperature calibration and moisture levels in the ovens, as the crunch in the pastry just isn't there, nor is the deep golden colour you'd expect.

So my surprising verdict is that the pastries at Brioche Dorée a bit further east are more to my taste. Or, if you're coming in from the west, Nadège is a better option as long as you avoid the coffee.

Lunch Recos Around Dixie/401?

Thanks for leading me to those threads. I'm not all that familiar with the geography (or relative travel times) in the area, but it sounds like many of the options mentioned in those threads are further south than I'll likely have time to get to. I'll sort through the threads to take note of what is nearer to where I'll be, but it sounds like it's slim pickings...

Lunch Recos Around Dixie/401?

Hi Chowhounds!

I'm about to start a new gig in the Dixie/401 area and was hoping I could get a few recommendations for lunch in the area? I'm open to any and all types of cuisine and price ranges -- I'd just like something tasty!


Help with Business Lunch in Newark Area

Hmm... thanks for the input. I think Seabras Maresquiera should be okay. My meeting leans more on the side of a networking/social call than a bona fide business luncheon.

May 31, 2012
Juniper in New Jersey

Help with Business Lunch in Newark Area

Thanks, coldbeer and OGguy, for the recommendations -- I'll look into those. I'm also wondering about Seabras Marisqueira... I see that they offer lunch. Atmosphere-wise, is it appropriate for a business lunch?

May 30, 2012
Juniper in New Jersey

Help with Business Lunch in Newark Area

Hi Hounds!

I'm a Toronto Hound looking for a restaurant with solid food, somewhere around the Newark Airport, for a business meeting. I've looked at some other threads, but came away with options where I'm not sure if lunch is served at these establishments (some don't have websites so not even sure of opening hours)??? General criteria of my search are:

- Somewhere very close to Newark Airport, preferably just off of the I-95 or Rte 1/9
- Serves lunch (obviously :))
- Would prefer somewhere that has a nicer atmosphere, but am okay with hole-in-the-wall options as well, if that's what it takes to get good food
- No restrictions on type of cuisine or price

Any help you can offer is appreciated!


May 29, 2012
Juniper in New Jersey

Back in Toronto -- Help me prioritize the new restos and eateries!

It looks like I should skip prioritizing the high-end restaurants for now and focus my time and resources on the mid-range options? It also sounds like tacos and burgers are now (or on the way to becoming) analogous to the "ubiquitous sushi" in the city?

So given that I am not sure how long my current stint in Toronto may last (it could be one month, it could be a year), I think if I hit up these 15 or so places, I will get a good feel for what has happened in the city's culinary scene over the past 2 years:

1. Enoteca Sociale
2. Guu on Church
3. Buca
4. Tacos from various locales around Kensington Market
5. Yours Truly
6. Khao San Road
7. Banh Mi Boys (you guys didn't seem to give this place much love in this thread, but other threads have indicated this place is a good find?)
8. Agave y Aguacate
9. Woodlot
10. The Gabardine
11. Ici Bistro
12. Burgers from various locales around the city
13. Barque
14. Porchetta & Co.
15. The Copper Chimney (it's not downtown, but it's TTC accessible -- some would consider it worth the jaunt?)

Still debating the relatively merits of Parts & Labour, Atlantic on Dundas, and Keriwa... Any opinions on these spots?

Back in Toronto -- Help me prioritize the new restos and eateries!

Hello again, Toronto Chowhounds!

I have not been living in Toronto since about May 2010. I have done a quick scan of the boards, as well as a scan of the other usual suspects for restaurant reviews (Toronto Life, Now Magazine, etc.) and I have come to realize that the list of new things happening/that have happened on the Toronto restaurant/eatery scene is quite overwhelming. Therefore, I am asking if you could be so kind as to help me prioritize my rediscovery of Toronto food.

Based on my research, it seems like I need to break things down into a few categories, and in each category please list your top 3 to 5 picks that have sprung up in the last 2 years (I would prefer if the selections were kept to downtown Toronto as I don't have a car). The categories are (and yes, I realize there may be overlap among these categories -- I'll leave it to you how you want to categorize a restaurant):

- High-end & Hotel dining (e.g., Has David Chang's opened up yet? How is Stock?)
- Sandwich shops & fast food (Bahn Mi Boys? Porchetta? Paramount?)
- Asian (Guu? Wabora? Amaya Express? Swish by Han?)
- Mid-range dining (Barque? Buca?)
- Other (open category for places that don't fit into any of the above categories)

As always, your help is much appreciated!


Butternut squash soup -- seeking mix-ins

Hmm.... not sure how much kid appeal this may have as I suppose it depends on the kid to some degree?? At any rate, experiment and find out:

- fry sage leaves in butter until crisp and garnish soup with the leaves and drizzle of sage-scented butter
- crispy fried bacon bits (this one is surely kid approved, right??)
- toast cumin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, and sliced almonds
- croutons made from cinnamon raisin bread
- cheddar and chive croutons
- drizzle of oil infused with garam masala
- crumbled feta and wilted spinach
- dollop of plain yogurt, that you can then also enhance with other herbs and flavourings like mint, curry, lemon or orange zest, and so on

As to your ideas of incorporating apple, I would just add apples (or apple sauce) directly into the body of the soup so it becomes an apple and butternut squash soup. You don't have to add a huge amount of apple -- just enough to give the soup an added depth of flavour. Then all of the suggestions of mix-ins would work just as well or even better (like the cheddar and chive croutons!).

Mar 13, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

you can eat the skin!!!

For me, it really depends on the way the fish is prepared and at what establishment. I will only eat the skin if it is crispy OR I'm at a restaurant where I can be reasonably certain that the kitchen staff are meticulous enough to ensure that all of the scales, bones, and membranes, and other stuff have been removed. I am not a fan of things that are gelatinous, gooey or mushy in texture (hence I don't eat bananas or Jell-O, for example). I'm also not a fan of biting into things on which I can choke, that will cut the roof of my mouth or gums, or where I have to constantly pick things out of my mouth. Therefore, if I leave fish skin on my plate it may be a sign that maybe not all was right with the preparation of the dish, otherwise it's a personal preference like it is a preference for some who prefer white meat to dark meat in poultry.

Mar 08, 2012
Juniper in General Topics

Need help with finding moderately priced London restaurants

The lovely thing about London is that the fast food joints are actually fairly decent (unlike the greasy messes that they tend to be in North America). Perhaps consider grabbing your lunches at some of these fast food places and thereby allowing you spend just a bit more on dinner? Some of my favourite fast food places are Wasabi for DIY bento boxes and Japanese style curries, Pod for über healthy options, and Pret-a-Manger.

For dinner, I have not tried the ones you list above, but I really enjoy the homey atmosphere and food at Market Coffee House around Bishop's Gate (Liverpool tube station). They also have a GBP28 fixed price menu, which may be a good option for those watching their wallets.

For breakfast/brunch/lunch, I really enjoy The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell (Farringdon tube station). This place is quite busy, particularly on the weekends so reservations are most definitely required.

Also, there's a decent Asian chain that is popular with students because it's very affordable but with comfortable surrounds is Hare and Tortoise.

Mar 07, 2012
Juniper in U.K./Ireland

Things that don't taste like you expected they would...

Hahaha... I love the logic in imagining what red wine should taste like!

Feb 28, 2012
Juniper in General Topics

Things you want to try making

Thank you! I'll have to give this a try sometime! :)

Feb 22, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Things you want to try making

It's never even occurred to me to make my own Nutella. What an interesting idea. :)

Feb 22, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Meal for 100+ for $300

Maybe shepherd's pie with salad as the main (you can make it a bit "upscale" by adding truffle oil to the mashed potatoes, for example, or doing a salad that incorporates fresh herbs), and then an appetizer of an assortment of dips with pita (tzaziki is very cheap to make, for example), and a dessert like poached pears with creme anglais, which is easy to prep for a large crowd. Alternatively, an apple crumble would be an easy and cheap dessert. Nothing earth shattering, but good, hearty, classic fare.

Feb 21, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Looking for inspiration for green beans

Hmm... very curious about the roasted green beans. I'll have to try that with a subsequent batch of green beans. I ended up making a Thai green bean salad before I was able to log on and read the replies to this thread.

Feb 20, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Things that don't taste like you expected they would...

YES! Totally agree. When I was in Milan, all of my Milanese friends were like, "you have to try a spritz (prosecco + Campari). They are great and it's what all the locals drink." Needless to say, I think it's an acquired taste...

Feb 20, 2012
Juniper in General Topics

Things you want to try making

I would LOVE your biryani recipe... :)

Feb 20, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Looking for inspiration for green beans

So I have a pile of green beans sitting in my fridge, but am looking for different preparations than my usual. I was hoping the hounds could help spark some creativity. As reference, my usual treatment of green beans include:

- Green beans and ground pork with black bean (or 5-spice) sauce
- Roasted acorn squash, green bean and roasted corn salad
- Green beans sautéed in bacon fat or butter, sometimes with roasted almonds or pinenuts
- Steamed or boiled green beans tossed in a lemon vinaigrette
- Turkish zeytin yagli yesil fasulye (olive oil braised green beans)

Any and all ideas welcome!

Thanks in advance.

Feb 19, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Things you want to try making

There's plenty:
- Croissants
- Confit de canard
- Peking duck
- Hand-pulled noodles
- Biryani
- Fessenjoon
- Yogurt
- Cinnamon rolls
- Alfajores
- Mole

and the list goes on...

Feb 19, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Will anyone share the secret technique to the slick fried rice at Congee Wong/Congee Star? (moved from Ontario board)

It's actually a combination of things....

First, rinse the rice very well before cooking it. Doing this takes away any excess starchiness that would cause the grains of rice to stick together. Basically, you want to rinse the rice until the water runs clear.

Second, you want to be sure you don't have too much water in your rice. You really want to steam the rice and not boil it, per se. You may need to play around with this depending on the brand or quality of the rice you have, and if you have a rice cooker vs steaming in a regular pot. Sometimes, I'll put a tea towel between the pot and the lid, which will not only seal the lid for a better steaming, but also absorb any excess moisture and prevent condensation to drip back into the rice. When you are storing your rice overnight, try to give it a chance to cool down before you put it into the fridge to prevent condensation from developing in the container. You may also want to experiment with refrigerating the rice uncovered to dry the rice out if you think it may be too wet.

Third, as you're preparing to cook, separate the rice clusters before cooking. When you're cooking, you want a really high heat and the oil has to be almost at smoking point before you throw your ingredients in. You want to essentially flash fry the rice to seal the surface so you get the gloss to it and prevent it from sticking to each other. Also, you actually don't want too much oil in the wok or else it will just get absorbed by the rice and make it mushy (you want just enough to keep things from sticking to the bottom. For that same reason, you also want to keep the mixture moving the whole time -- don't let any grain settle long enough to absorb too much oil.

Feb 16, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Things that don't taste like you expected they would...

Many years ago, I was told that I just HAD to try rooibos tea. "It has a slightly smokey honey flavour -- it's fantastic," said a friend whose taste I trust. I like honey, and smokey honey sounds lovely so I was eager to try it. I ordered it when an opportunity arose after a nice meal at a restaurant. I swirled the teapot around and poured myself a cup of tea, taking in the slightly smokey herbaceous scent. Wrapping my hands around the cup and with pent up anticipation, I took my first-ever sip of rooibos...

I promptly ordered another cup of tea -- this time Earl Grey.

Based on what people had told me and from the scent of the tea, I was not expecting it to taste like the after taste you get with artificial sweeteners. Wretched stuff.

It could also be that something tasted differently than you expected but in a neutral or good way.

Anyone want to share a story? :)

Feb 16, 2012
Juniper in General Topics

Anyone else have this problem when making bread?

As an update, I tried the poolish in a ceramic bowl and the residue came off the bowl much more easily than in the stainless steel bowls I was using before.

Feb 13, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Anyone else have this problem when making bread?

Hmm... I do tend to rinse my stuff with very hot water. I wonder if that is the problem...

The poolish that I've favoured has been a 1:1 flour:water mixture. However, when I have experimented with other ratios, I get the same residue in my bowls.

I will try using different bowls and also cold water to rinse, to see what happens.

Feb 10, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking

Anyone else have this problem when making bread?

I've done that, but I still get a tacky film on my bowls. Does it have any thing to do with the fact I'm using stainless steel bowls? Would something like adding baking soda to the soak help?

Feb 10, 2012
Juniper in Home Cooking