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Stratford Festival 2013

Thanks Prima for the latest updates; I've come to rely on your recos for Stratford.

Not sure what we'll choose yet (so many choices, so little time) but will report back.

Jun 02, 2013
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

2013 Alphonso Mangos

The ones at Walmart Dufferin Mall were ataulfos when I was there; I asked the produce guy if they carried alfonsos and he said the ataulfos and the red mangos are the only ones he's seen lately.

May 25, 2013
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

2013 Alphonso Mangos

They're now $1.99 / case at the Freshco at Dundas / Bloor! Need to spend time picking through them, but there were still some in great shape for a great price!

May 25, 2013
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Jambalaya - But Where?

Caveat: It's been at least a year since I've been there...

There's an etobicoke restaurant called New Orleans tucked away in a plaza on Scarlett Road that served a fabulous Jambalaya (for two) - comes in a cast iron pot, and really, can feed four! It appears to be a local secret, is usually packed, and requires a reservation to get a table in this small resto.

Feb 13, 2013
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Nu Bagels - Wood Fired bagels coming to Kensington Market

Dropped by today. Super friendly staff, and they were moderately busy. I checked out their display of bagels and they looked like Montreal-styel bagels to me.

I asked if they had any samples; the gentleman I spoke to at the counter said no, but that he could just let me try one. I insisted that it's not necessary, and that I'll just buy one to try, but another staff piped in to say it's not an issue.

Having just finished brunch, I tore off a piece of the sesame bagel he offered to me and...Oh yeah! Totally reminds me of Montreal bagels!! The right chewy texture, and the perfect hint of sweetness. I told them the bagels were better than the Bagel House and they were so pleased!

So I bought a half dozen ($1/bagel; $5/half dozen; $9/dozen), as I want to see how well they freeze. This just may save my clothes from smelling like bagels every time I come home from Montreal if I no longer have to schlepp Montreal bagels home!

(Sorry for the shadowing on the photo; snapped it quickly on my phone.)

Feb 03, 2013
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

roka cheese crispies aka che-cri dutch gouda crackers

Hi smartygirl, I'm quite positive that I've bought the ones that look like the 2nd photo (the verticle box) at Denninger's Foods of the World before, at the Burlington location. Not quite Toronto, but if you have a car, it's a fun field trip to visit the store - their prices are great; I'm often amazed that things I bring back from the EU are priced either the same (and sometimes less) in this store. They carry a lot of the chocolates that I often bring back from Germay, so now I don't have to bother!

Also, Wholefoods or McEwans may have something similar if not this brand specifically.

I too love this type of crackers.

Oct 29, 2012
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

From Vancouver to Toronto for 6days

OP - having been to a couple of the places you named in Vancouver, I would suggest the following in Downtown Toronto west (not sure if you're Queen East or Queen West - it's a long street!). I rarely venture "east", so can only comment on the west...

- On the Ossington strip - Pizzeria Libretto; Delux; Foxley
- On Dundas West - Campagnolo; Cafe 668 (Asian all-vegetarian, so maybe a little different than the usual Asian fare you get in Vancouver); The Black Hoof; Enoteca Sociale; Porchetta (note, not a sit-down resto)

While it's been a few months since visiting my parents in Vancouver, I usually don't think of "tacos" when I think of Vancouver, and a few places have popped up in Toronto: Grand Electric (west Queen west); La Carnita (on College); an older stand-by El Trompo (on Augusta, in Kensington market); However, please note the spaces are more crowded and casual than the types of restos you've named as comparators in Vancouver.

If you search by these restaurant names, you'll find a lot of information on them, so I will not comment on their food.

If you need more suggestions, it would be helpful if you are more specific on whether you're staying on Queen East or West, and whether your family has a car.

Jul 31, 2012
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Stratford Festival 2012

Thank you for pointing out the new Restaurant at Mercer Hall Inn, as this is where my friend and I dined on our recent trip to Stratford.

This restaurant is a great addition to the dining choices in Stratford. Sadly, there were only about 4 tables seated when we arrived for our reservations at 530pm, and the restaurant was only half full when we left around 715pm for our 8pm show. The restaurant has a lot of potential.

Both my friend and I chose the $44 prix fixe - a fabulous deal with appetizer, main, dessert plus tea/coffee. Portions were generous, and service was friendly but lacked attention to small details. The food was generally good, but had some "misses".

When my friend ordered her prix fixe, she clearly stated "For the prix fixe, I'd like..." and went on to choose the seared scallops, as her appetizer, the schnitzel as her main. (We waited to choose dessert afterwards). She then indicated that she would like to add a salad on the side, and our waiter took this order also. I chose the marrow as my appetizer and the steak frites as my main.

The first to arrive at the table were 3 pretzel buns - with a side of house-made mustard. They were wonderful, with a crusty exterior revealing a chewy "bun". Delicious!

For the appetizers, my friend found her scallops salty, but the butter lettuce salad nice and fresh. I enjoyed my marrow appetizer, but having had the version from Campagnolo not that long ago, felt that the MHResto version had less flavoring than Campagnolo (maybe different types of bones?) and the very salty and tart butcher salad that accompanied it was somehow out-of-balance for me. When the waiter came by to check how we were enjoying our meals, my friend commented on her scallops being too salty and he indicated he would provide feedback to the kitchen. I didn't comment on my dish.

Next came our mains. My friend raved about the warm potato/bacon salad and the apple slaw that accompanied her schnitzel. She loved the entire dish, and would order it again. When my steak frites first arrived, that's when it dawned on me that I was never asked when ordering this dish how I wanted my steak. It came medium - I definitely would have preferred it on the rare/medium-rare side. No matter, the steak was still good, and led to a discussion among ourselves as to whether restos usually give a choice for the done-ness of a flat steak, since it's harder to make a flat steak rare!?! A note, also, that the "frites" were actually thick cut fries, served with house-made smoked ketchup and roasted shallot aioli; not exactly what I was expecting but this did not stop me from eating most of my fries!

For dessert, my friend had the Leige waffle with local fruit compote. I had the jelly-donut creme brulee. We both enjoyed our desserts, and the portion size of the dessert was perfect - not too big; just enough to satisfy a sweet hit.

The bill arrived when we were having dessert but we were assured to take our time. When we finally reviewed the bill, we noticed that my friend was charged for the scallops($18) instead of the butter lettuce salad ($10) as the extra appetizer to the prix-fixe. We brought this to our waiter's attention and his response was that the prix-fixe defaults to the lower-priced dish. But this had not been raised to my friend's attention when she ordered, especially since she purposefully ordered her appie/main, and then noted separately that she wanted to add a salad on the side. I know we're pointing out the difference of $8 (but that's an extra glass of wine here). Weirdly, the waiter then said he would ask about it, because he had intended to see if anything could be done for my friend's comment regarding her scallops being too salty. What was odd was that he had already given us the bill about 15 minutes prior to this discussion. Shouldn't he have looked into this before to giving us the bill if he really meant to look into it? Instead, he made this comment AFTER we flagged our bill to his attention to discuss the "extra" appetizer. So if we had been complacent, nothing would have been done. In the end, my friend's salad was comped which was a very nice gesture.

My default "medium" steak, and the fact the the waiter did not mention how an extra appetizer would be billed when ordering in combination with a prix-fixe, led to my comment about the service lacking attention to small details.

Overall, both my friend and I said that we would come back to MHResto again, to try out some of the other dishes. I did inquire about vegetarian choices with the server, as my next trip to Stratford is with a vegetarian, low-carbing friend. He indicated the kitchen would do their best to accommodate, but because their menus are evolving, it would be difficult to predict whether choices would suit her. Thus, I think we'll pass but there are still many great shows to see at Stratford (and of concern to me, the two shows we attended were not sold-out), so hopefully another chance to visit this resto.

Lastly, when chatting with the couple next to us before our evening show begun, they indicated that they too had dined at MH Resto (on another visit) and had enjoyed their meal there. But, they highly raved and recommended a visit to Bijou!

Jul 28, 2012
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Broasted Chicken

We loved Broasted Chicken after trekking out to Anna Mae's (in fact, we loved the whole experience and their chocolate cream pie too!).

We did some research on broasted chicken and understand it requires patented equipment. We actually emailed them ( to ask which restos in the GTA uses their equipment. Unfortunately, their response at the time (last year) was that no restaurants in the GTA offered official Broasted Chicken, but they did provide a list of restaurants in Ontario.

You can add Niagara Falls (Falls Manor) and Cambridge (Crispy's Chicken) to your list. If you're looking for the Mississauga/Brampton/Oakville area, then maybe Cambridge is not too far away? We've been to Crispy's Chicken; it's a take-out joint (they have one bistro table for 2), so we ate in the car. Considering it's easier access than Anna Mae's, we felt it was well worth the drive from Downtown TO (when not rush hour).

Thanks to the others responses, we're going to have to look for Broasted Chicken now in the Scarborough area.

Apr 04, 2012
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

William Ashley Warehouse Sale 2011

I went recently during the Amex preview days when it's significantly less crowded (we walked straight into the store with no line-up, although the warehouse was still very busy).
The layout changed a little bit, I think, with the kids stuff moved to a different location, and in turn, an expanded bed and bath section since the last time I went.
I didn't find anything to be a "deal"; a friend who is much more aware of kitchenware and cookware brands indicated that some items were nicely discounted. But I guess it's all perspective - Is a $10 cookie sheet I bought at Costco that different than a $20 cookie sheet they're selling at the WA warehouse sale? (I can't tell the difference.)
We went with specific items in mind - cutting board, place mats, etc, and we found the items we wanted.
I agree that a lot of stuff is the same year-after-year, thus we go only when it's amex preview days when the crowds are bearable.
When we were leaving, we wondered to ourselves why we continue to go to this "sale" when we find ourselves making smaller and smaller purchases over the years?

Since we were on Railside, we went to Wildly Delicious. It has moved as it's no longer "across the street" but a few buildings west. I bought 3 jars of their maple caramelized onion for $20 because I love the stuff! I noticed that they had some interesting items - like cake trays, brie-bakers, hot-dip containers, etc. I'm not sure if WD actually has a retail outlet? It's kind of like a Kitchen Connoisseur (sp?), but I don't get to go to KC often as there's not one nearby, so this impromptu visit to WD filled my needs.

Nov 08, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need help figuring out Hakka Indian Restaurants near YYZ

We are planning a late night get-together with family who will only be in Toronto on a layover, arriving around 9pm. We’ve decided on hakka-indian, and sticking by the airport area to make it easier on those on the layover.

Based on a search on Chowhound and google, I know that most of the recommended hakka restos are in Scarborough. But there are a number of Hakka Indian restaurants near the airport, except some of the posts about them are from a few years ago. I’d like to whittle down my list to figure out where we should meet up (there may be up to 16 of us, so likely 2 family-style tables), and will call the restaurant(s) to find out if they can accommodate us for a late dinner.

Has anyone been to any of these restaurants recently? I would appreciate any thoughts on quality of food; cleanliness of the resto; size of space to accommodate a large group and quality of service.

1. Asian Wok N Roll - 2919 Derry Road East – this one sounds promising - their Millcreek location sounds good, but not sure about airport location.
2. China Garden - 7071 Airport Road – appears to have received some bad reviews lately on other sites
3. China Palace – 3530 Derry Road East - references to their Woodbridge/Vaughn location has been positive; not much on the airport location. Their website looks good but I don’t know which location they’re showing.
4. Choptick Cuisine – 2875 Derry Road East –
5. Lin Garden – 2875 Derry Road East. Does this still exist? Think last post I read was 2008, and I can’t seem to find anything more recent online.

Some of my family have joked for me to just flip a coin; ultimately that’s what I might have to do, short of trying them out all on one night (since I don’t live nearby). Please help!

Oct 04, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Weekday breakfast buffet in the GTA? Does this exist?

I concur that some of the business hotels offer weekday breakfast buffets. Was attending a meeting at the Holiday Inn Yorkdale, and they offered a breakfast buffet on a weekday. Not sure if it was due to meeting being there, so best to call and check.

Yorkdale Cafe
1 Yorkdale, Toronto, ON M9M1B9, CA

Jun 23, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

THE BUTCHERS - I'm stunned !!

Just want to report that I too got a refund from Webpiggy ($40 for $100 worth of meat). I had been holding onto the coupon since Jan waiting for the rush to die down, only to be surprised by the onslaught of new deals and then the complaints on accessing meats for purchase. Harold offered to either 1. put in an order for me personally or 2. issue a refund. I opted for the latter based on feedback here that the former is not successful, and I have no desire to give any business to The Butchers. I feel bad for Harold who has to offer lots of refunds, but he is keeping his word, and I will purchase coupons from WebPiggy again.

Jun 13, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Excellent lunch in Mississauga?

There's an Italian restaurant tucked into a small plaza behind the Sussex Centre on Enfield Place called Grano Ristorante (Sussex Center is on Burnhamthorpe just south of Sq One). It's been a few years since I've been there but it was nice when I had visited. It's a small restaurant, so depending on how busy they are, service might be a wee bit slow (I was there during the Xmas season when there were lots of lunches going on).
I googled and here's their website

Grano Ristorante
285 Enfield Pl, Mississauga, ON L5B3Y6, CA

Mar 03, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Dinner before Movie Bloor Cinema

For something more casual, there's a great sandwich shop to the west between Markham and Palmerston on Bloor called Sky Blue Sky Sandwiches. I've been several times and have really enjoyed the soups and sandwiches there, and all menu items are incredibly low-priced! The bread and soups are home-made, and the sandwiches are named after Wilco songs (as is the restaurant!). Although some CH'ers have given this place a thumbs-down, I must say that my experiences have been very positive. The only thing is that if you're catching a show at the Bloor Cinema, I will warn you that service is not exactly fast (ie., it's not fast-food)!

Mar 01, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

NY Subway Will Be Closing After This Weekend - Building to Be Torn Down

I'm so sad... :(
But thanks for the heads-up; must go for one last lamb satay sub and a grilled cheese before they close.
I also hope they will reopen.

Feb 23, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Cheap Eats in Toronto?

When I have a hankering for Cheap Eats, Sneaky Dee's definitely fits the bill for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner! They make great omelettes, and I love their wings! Overall, I find their food to be really good, and you really can't beat their prices for food or drinks!

Another cheap-eat for an early dinner is Beast 120 at The Beast Restaurant, Wed-Fri 4-6pm.

Feb 21, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Salad King

Just read about this in the paper:

I missed the soft opening this weekend but will try to hit them some this week! Oh I've missed them!

Feb 21, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Restaurant Openings in 2011

Thanks BLM. Will be planning a trip to Montreal then! Would appreciate updates/reviews from you or any CHer who happens to visit the the new resto.

Feb 09, 2011
Steady in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Good restaurant with great sticky toffee pudding?

Agree with many here about the STP from Beast. I have been tempted to pick up the bowl to drink the rest of the delectable sauce. If you're able to visit during their Beast 120, then you can keep to your budget for sure, including a glass of wine or two! (You should also be able to stick to your budget of $40 pp without alcohol with their dinner menu as I find their prices very reasonable.) And don't worry about the head-to-tail offerings; there are many items that you'll feel comfortable with.

Feb 09, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Restaurant Openings in 2011

Has Ambre Resto Bar opened yet? I'm so excited to learn that this is Chef Michel's new restaurant. I visited Mesquite from Toronto a few times a year for his BBQ and especially his Southwest Benedict with spicy hollandaise for brunch. I was sad to learn this fall that the restaurant was closed...I couldn't understand why as it was always busy when I visited.

Feb 09, 2011
Steady in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

New Hampshire hound looking for Breakfast & Lunch (& Dinner) tips by Thompson Hotel

If you walk north on Bathurst up to King Street West, you have two bakery options close by.

1. If you go one block west of Bathurst, on the NW corner of King W and Tecumseth is a cafe/bakery called Wagamama. They serve great coffees, muffins, pastries, cakes, cookies, etc. and offer soup and sandwiches at lunch (served on homemade bread - yum). (FYI, this is my go-to cafe, and through regular visits, have gotten to know the owner.)

2. If you go one block east of Bathurst, on the north side of King W by Portland is a cafe called Zoe's. Must admit I've only visited a few times since I frequent Wagamama, and IMO, the food was just OK. But they are also open for breakfast and lunch, and maybe you'll enjoy it more than me.

On the same strip along King, also near Portland is a small alleyway, through which you'll find an Italian restaurant named Buca. You'll be able to find lots of reviews on this board.

And of course, you have Scarpetta, the Counter and Wabora at your doorstep right at the Thompson. I LOVE the polenta at Scarpetta and highly recommend it!

Jan 19, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Second Date in Mississauga area Restaurant advice!

Consider Breakwater at the Waterside Inn. Attended a meeting there, followed by dinner in the restaurant, and the food was very good. The setting is lovely also. All the best on date #2!

Jan 16, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cheap food in/near Union Station or Eaton Centre after 10pm

Agree with the chili chicken! My preference is for the Dry Chili chicken on a sizzling plate...much better than their saucy version IMO!

Jan 14, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Queen Street Restaurants

Julie's Cuban is on Dovercourt just a few blocks north of Queen, so defiintely close to where you're going, and the food there is pretty good!

Jan 12, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Russian and Ukrainian food - Yummy Mart

I LOVE Yummy Mart, although I venture there infrequently as it's kinda far away for me. I see it as the Eastern European version of a T&T Supermarket. I love their Hot Table too, and the last time we were there, we picked up a baked fish, pierogies and other dumplings and devoured them in the car in the parking lot!
As for restaurants, I don't have any specific Russian or Ukrainian reco's, but I often visit Prague Food Emporium (on Queen St West) for some casual Eastern European fare.

Jan 12, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best sourdough bread in Toronto?

Stargazercd, I'm not sure the location at 609 King West is still open. It used to be Conviction Kitchen and the restaurant is now closed.

You have to look for a Petite Thuet - closest to 609 King West would be the location at 1 King West (around King/Yonge). I have visited the location east of downtown (King E/Sherbourne; easy parking on King E), and have had varying luck with bread availability. I've bought their baguettes (sourdough available) and country bread on more than one visit. But my favourite, the Pain au Lait buns, have not always been available. In fact, one time when my boyfriend went to get some, they told him they do not sell these buns! Best to call ahead...

Jan 12, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Guu - Second location opening in the Annex!!

KV and petek, IMO the best times to go are at 5pm for an early dinner (usually get seated right away) or around 1030pm for a late snack (typically no more than 15-20 min wait, if at all). There are heaters outside to keep you warm; and they've recently added tarping (not sure if that's the right term) in front of their door to prevent wind from blowing into the resto, and have added a little stand with tea for those waiting outside - a nice touch!
Like some of the other posters, I too hope the 2nd location in the Annex will ease the crazy line-ups!

Jan 07, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Help me decide: Dinner tonight

As others have mentioned, Globe is a good choice (am assuming you mean Globe Bistro). Also, consider Globe Earth at Yonge and Rosedale. It's been a while since I've been there, but recall that they sometimes offered bits of offal, at least as appies...but best for you to check the menu to be sure!

Jan 05, 2011
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Pad Thai......where?

Thanks for the name of the new restaurant; I'll be looking out for it!

Dec 27, 2010
Steady in Ontario (inc. Toronto)