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How much do you tip in Toronto restaurants?

of course, in ontario, everyone gets the OHIP government insurance.

Jul 05, 2009
nzach in Not About Food

group dinner near university

a number of good suggestions thank you all! now i'll definitely be able to find something.

Jun 19, 2009
nzach in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

group dinner near university

yeah, i certainly didn't set it myself... academic budgets don't really allow for your typical business dinner :).

Jun 17, 2009
nzach in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

group dinner near university

hi everyone,

I'm looking for a recommendation for a dinner for about 15-20 people on a week day night near the U of T campus. Price range should be in the $20-30 per person all included. I'm finishing my stint as a postdoc at U of T so this is my going away dinner, and to tell the truth I don't have any ideas! Kind of sad... it needs to be walking distance and able to accommodate the large-ish group. I would like to go somewhere nicer than chinatown but we still have a fairly hard upper ceiling on the price. Also not very fond of the numerous sushi/asian places on Bloor. I was thinking of Baldwin, but the Japanese restaurant I like (Konnichiwa) isn't big enough, and Bodega is too expensive (people should be able to order an entre and either a salad or a desert and maybe a drink for the price). Cafe la gaffe? How about something on Queen? There's an Indian restaurant there I remember liking but I don't remember the name.

Sorry for the somewhat generic question but I'm hoping that people who get out more will have better ideas that I do!

thanks in advance!

Jun 16, 2009
nzach in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where are the great sit-down breakfast (not brunch) spots in Cambridge!?

wow - greenhouse went out of business?? i was at school in cambridge for 10 years (MIT), but moved away a year and a half ago... that place was an institution! but honestly, not any good and i always wondered why it didn't go out of business.

Nov 12, 2008
nzach in Greater Boston Area

Fiber One Bars--Now with Heart-Healthy Ethanol!

yes, ethanol is grain alcohol, but it's also the same alcohol that's in wine, beer, spirits, etc. etc. as in, it's not toxic (unless of course consumed to excess :)
i assume that since it's a component of the chocolate shellac (which sounds kind of gross to tell the truth) it's needed to dissolve one of the chocolatey components. i wouldn't be too concerned.

Oct 19, 2008
nzach in General Topics

Where's the beef?

i think the point is not to eliminate ALL animal products, but more like that the center of a meal doesn't need to be a steak. so, yes, ham bone in a soup is great, especially if there are a lot of veggies in said soup. i know that i've dated my share of men who couldn't get past meal = hunk of meat, and it's valid to look for some menu options that would also satisfy such people. for instance, using bacon as a flavoring in a legume dish. just because it's probably not healthy to eat a pork chop or chunk of steak twice a day, every day of the week.

Feb 01, 2008
nzach in Not About Food

Table Settings – Does this bug anyone else?

i have to say, if anything, these table setting rules become less relevant with time. i remember recently reading a new york times article about how more and more formal black tie dining in washington d.c. is being replaced with casual dinners or even buffets. there was a comment somewhere above about how with an upwardly mobile society we all need to learn these rules, but i would argue that the result of this in general seems to be that once "formal" occasions tend to take on a more casual tone.

on the other hand, a few months ago i was at a formal dinner as part of a conference, and about half the people at my table didn't know what to do with the fish knife. people don't know what to do with the plethora of flatware, and i can only assume that in another hundred years they will no longer be used.

Jan 20, 2008
nzach in Not About Food

But I Only Drank Water!

one the one hand, paying what you order for is certainly fair.

but i do see the point that if say, i want to celebrate my birthday and i call up a bunch of people and say hey! i want to party on this day at this place to celebrate ME, why it would be nice to pay for it. otherwise it's like ok, i want you to come celebrate my birthday and it's going to cost you $50 or whatever. if i was inviting people to my house it wouldn't cost them anything (unless they wanted to bring a present, which would probably be less than the meal). it would, however, cost more for me. so yes, "inviting" a bunch of people for my birthday and expecting them to pay does seem cheap on my part.

it's probably also a generation thing. i just recently finished phd, and towards the end, one of my friends (who went and got a real job out of school) had such a birthday dinner. my mom was in town visiting me, and she came to this dinner with me. when my mom saw that we were splitting AND paying to cover the guest of honor, she was horrified. especially since half the guests were still in school, and the bday girl has a well paying job. also, she's from croatia, and i know that the concept of "inviting" and "hosting" seem to mean more there.

Nov 16, 2007
nzach in Features

Singled Out

plus it's not like you need to play match maker. i, as a single woman, wouldn't mind being at a dinner party with say two or three other couples. helena is right, however, that i would *rather* there be another single or two as well. but it doesn't need to be a man, so that we can all be matched up. another girlfriend, or even a woman i don't know would be good too.

Oct 19, 2007
nzach in Features

Is Trader Joe really that amazing??

i agree! i remember reading an article about TJ's once that said their philosophy is that they stock an item only if they can price it competitively (ie the same or cheaper than others). now i live in toronto, so i am without and i can't say that i'm suffering greatly. however, there are definitely things that i appreciate about trader joe's. one being the wine selection - back in boston there were a few items they carried in common with the local liquor store, and they were always cheaper. produce not so much. dried nuts and fruits, great prices!

Sep 08, 2007
nzach in Chains

Local Eating Facts? (moved from Ontario)

yes, that was the whole point of the study. it was still about one quarter the carbon emissions to purchase lamb in england that was from new zealand, INCLUDING transportation, than to buy the local product. this being primarily because of the energy used to grow the grain fed the animal.

Sep 08, 2007
nzach in Food Media & News

Local Eating Facts? (moved from Ontario)

while i'm not familiar with this woman's work in general, she probably has a point. nytimes ran an article about the same study recently; that lamb from new zealand is more efficient than the home grown version, because our farmers feed with grain. i don't know what the comparison would be for home grown grass fed animals though.

i think it just boils down to this; these issues of what's really best for the environment are much more complex than a first consideration of them would assume. organic and local sound so good that instinctively i think a lot of people just want them to be the best choice. when you consider the entire picture including land usage, carbon footprint, etc etc, it becomes more and more complicated.

i imagine that some hybrid of organic and non-organic techniques might actually win out in terms of environmental concerns and productivity.

Sep 08, 2007
nzach in Food Media & News

Mr. Crêpe–looking up

my personal rant on the harvard place - their food is fine, but they are the meanest bunch of people ever to run a food business.

i was there one sunday with a group of friends. granted, they are very busy on sundays. i had eaten, so i just ordered coffee. we all paid, were waiting for food. minutes are going by, my friends are getting their crepes, they go sit down. still no coffee (the girl responsible was busy taking new orders). i asked once, was told that it's coming. waiting...waiting... another 5-10 minutes pass again, i ask again.
the owner (i guess?) was around, and he sees this, and he starts yelling at me! to not be rude and wait my turn and so on. so i tell him that i've been waiting a while and i was just reminding the server, and he tells me that i can get out of his restaurant! so i told him that i had paid for a coffee, and he can either refund me or give me the coffee. at that point he was really pissed and went back to the cooking or something. i guess maybe even he realized he was being too much.

i got my coffee. my friends say their food was good. i will never ever ever set foot in that place again.

Sep 08, 2007
nzach in Greater Boston Area

Canning tomatoes -replacing lemon juice?

all i can say is that in my family when we can tomatoes, we don't use any acid. we make tomato juice by puree-ing them and cooking, and the only thing added is salt. and not even that much. and the only way we sterilize the jars is by boiling them, so for us it works...

Sep 08, 2007
nzach in Home Cooking

Help needed in deciphering Silver Spoon cookbook ingredient [Moved from Home Cooking board]

so if it is "mache" whole foods usually sells it for like $5 for a container.

Sep 05, 2007
nzach in General Topics

Best/Worst Chowhound Tips

very interesing, leforge. i've been hosting my brother here for a couple of days and we went to beerbistro last night and starfish tonight. the beerbistro waiter was a little nicer, but over all we were much, much more impressed with starfish. the food was far above and beyond that at beerbistro. and dinner for two cost about the same at both places (within 10%)

beerbistro was perfectly nice, so i won't say that it falls into the worst category... but i do think that people hype it a bit too much. the beer was great, the food just wasn't that special.

Sep 04, 2007
nzach in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Stuffed cabbage--country of origin

my two cents for the topic.

my parents are from croatia, part of former yugoslavia. we make stuffed cabage rolls at home. the name that we give the dish, "sarma" is turkish in origin; it means to wrap or to roll, or something like that.
therefore, i suggest that the dish is certainly not eastern european in origin, but rather that the ottomans brought it to us. the ottomans made their way around, and that is why you see the dish through the balkans and up through to poland and russia, and it eventually spread even further.

where did the ottomans get it from? who knows? certainly their cuisine was influenced by the persians, but more i can't say with conviction. only that the dish is most certainly found in the balkans, and that the name for it, and therefore most likely the origin, is turkish. (we in former yugoslavia have a lot of food that is influenced from them, as the one other poster noted).

Sep 04, 2007
nzach in General Topics

Is it time to stop/reduce tipping? (moved from LA)

i sort of agree that it sounds like you're tipping too much! 25-30% on the total with taxes! it's not surprising that you might feel like you're getting a bad deal for your money. so, to the original question, yes it's time to reduce your tips. 15% on the pre-tax sum for average service i always thought was the standard.

i know that in some cities the expectation seems to be creeping up (like when you have a large party and they will add 18-20%), but i still think that average service deserves an average tip. it's not fair to guilt us into feeling like we're responsible for the wait staff eating. raise prices and pay them a living wage!

Sep 02, 2007
nzach in Not About Food

Worst menu translation ever?

evidently the chinese feel that "virgin chicken" is inappropriate for the olympics.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacif...

Sep 02, 2007
nzach in Not About Food

starfish payment policy?

hello all,

i'm going to starfish on tuesday with my little brother and i had a question about their payment policy. i read in an online review that they only take cash and debit? is that the case... i meant to ask when i called for my reservation, but it slipped my mind. not that it changes our plans, but i'd like to not get got at the end of the meal needing to track down an atm! :).

oh - and what do people think about beerbistro for lunch? (trying to show my brother a good time in his day and a half visit)

thanks!

Sep 02, 2007
nzach in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

International bulk candy?

there was a story about where to buy northern european licorice

http://www.chow.com/stories/10524

something a little different, and some of the places are not that expensive.

Sep 02, 2007
nzach in Manhattan

Help: Central Square & cheap & ethnic

why all the hi-fi hate? i don't know of a better place to go to get greasy pizza at 2 am after drinking!

but in all seriousness, there is lots of cheap in central square, not much of it very good. but also not much of it very bad. and since many of these places are pretty cheap, there's not a lot to lose by trying. tosci's for ice cream is always good!

Sep 02, 2007
nzach in Greater Boston Area

Humus hummus hummous

i also think that it's just a question of processing it LOTS. but actually, in my experience if the vast majority of your hummus is just chick peas, then it won't be as smooth. there needs to be a good amount of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and the water from cooking the chick peas. i don't really use a recipe, just to taste. and you really can't hurt it by processing it for a long long time.

Sep 02, 2007
nzach in Home Cooking

Are You Coming or Not?

who are these people?? and what goes through their minds?

when i see how unanimous everyone here is on how terrible it is not to respond, well, it makes one wonder.

my own two cents is that i understand that people work a lot or possibly travel for work or otherwise, and wouldn't necessarily expect for people to commit to a simple dinner party two months in advance... but really, it is truly insulting to get the kind of "oh, we'll see what else is going on that night" response. am i really at the bottom of your list? would you really have so many better options? ditto for asking who else is coming/what i'm serving and then giving an answer - should it matter if pork chops or fish are on the menu?

i'm just trying to debate over what's worse; responding in the affirmative and not showing up, or just never responding at all. i mean, when i buy and cook for ten and then only 5 show... well, not only does it waste my time and effort, but it's hurtful! most often the excuse later on isn't some horrible emergency, but just i forgot, i was shopping, whatever. am i that easy to forget about?
and why isn't it crystal clear to these people that such behavior could be hurtful?

Aug 29, 2007
nzach in Features

brother visiting; dinner for 2 less than $200?

hello all,

My brother is coming to visit next week for a couple of days and has requested that I find a nice place to go to dinner, his treat (I'm doing the poor scientist thing at a post doc here whereas he's got a real job, and doing quite well i think!).
It's not a strict boundary, but I'd like to put the upper bound at $200 for the two of us, with alcohol. I've only been here for a few months so i don't know the options very well, so I'm having trouble. Of course there are tons of not very good places on every corner where we can spend $20-30 per person and really nice ones (Canoe) where we can spend $400-500 for dinner. Or maybe not? This is why I need help.

I know that he's partial to sushi/Japanese, but also that he gets it often enough and the main point is to have a nice dinner. Somewhere downtown, but he's driving here, so if there's something excellent nearby that could work too!

thanks!

Aug 28, 2007
nzach in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Tourist needs Chowhounders to criticise my choices

maybe others will disagree, but i have never been all THAT impressed with the east coast grill. like it's always an ok meal, but nothing to write home about (in my experience).

i lived in boston for ten years and have recently moved to toronto... don't know that it's worth using up one of your meal slots for.

i like ginza a lot, but if you're willing to spend the money, oishi might be a better choice.

Aug 27, 2007
nzach in Greater Boston Area

Your most infamous kitchen misadventure

so many good stories... it's hard to compete. i don't have many to tell that are really fantastic, but i've done quite my own share of salt instead of sugar, cutting myself, setting off smoke detectors, and so on... during my undergrad i lived in a section of about 25 in the dorm who would cook for each other, and we had all sorts of inedible messes. commonly occuring were cakes that were still runny (yuck!) and once some one tried to make some kind of baked banana dessert that turned into some kind of blackened glass-like substance that he served anyway...

two more recent happenings that come to mind;

over at a friend's place cooking dinner together. we used the stove, evidently something spilled, but we definitely didn't have any trouble then. anyway, he went to bake a frozen pizza sometime during the next week, turns on the oven to preheat it, and when he opened it the whole place filled with smoke, setting off the detector. my friend is somewhat naive in the kitchen, had never dealt with a smoke detector before... had to call the fire department in order to have them turn it off :). they were allegedly somewhat short with him.

my other incident was a few months back. i recently defending my phd, and i was having a party to celebrate. my mom was in town and she and i had been cooking all day. guests were set to arrive in a few hours... i was blending something with my immersion blender. a chunk of something got stuck in it. so there i go with my little fingers of my left hand in the blade...no, didn't unplug it... in fact even had my right hand still holding the wand with my fingers right over the button.... yes... this goes exactly where it sounds like. really ripped up my thumb. thankfully i didn't need to go to the ER. my mom is a nurse, and thankfully packed medical adhesive with her (plastic stiches? don't know the exact term)... i guess she knows me pretty well!

luckily all that's left is a small scar. and yes, i am careful to unplug the thing now when i'm using it!

Aug 26, 2007
nzach in Not About Food

Contrarian views on "popular" restaurants?

i agree with the notion of inconsistency being quite common... but if, for example, you go to fugakyu on a friday night and just see the crowds... well, i think it's not hard to understand why the food might slip. and i actually agree with that comment. i have always had ok food there, but not great... i actually like ginza down the street better. but fugakyu is such a pretty place!

as for helmand... ok, it's maybe not excellent top notch, but it's always decent and priced quite a bit below the average in the area. eating out in boston can be expensive!

which is why anna's is popular... a decent (if boring and not super fabulous) burrito at the MIT student center is cheaper and more filling than a rotten sandwich at the grocery store nearby.

ok, finale is bad (and overpriced!), but who goes there mostly? undergrads on dates... who maybe don't know any better.

about sabur... i like it there, but there's the ethnic connection. it's a bosnian owned place, and a lot of people i know from former yugoslavia have a weak spot for going there occasionally. although we'll be the first to tell you that it's overpriced and the few ethnic items on the menu are not the best executed. but they have a number of croatian wines on the list, and that always makes me happy! nice cocktails in general. about their lamb... i have a lot of friends who adore it, but i think it depends a lot. they roast a huge pot of stew in that kind of show oven in the center of the restaurant. when it's near the end it can get the way it was described above. some of their other dishes are good; and they always have a couple of very acceptable veggie options. but i find their staff friendly (even if you speak english) and i like their bar and their live music.

Aug 26, 2007
nzach in Greater Boston Area

Croatia - What's In Season?

agreed, there's worlds of difference between the coast and up north (zagreb and slavonia) in terms of local cuisine.
i will say that there's a healthy indigenous agriculture, and that even in the larger cities the way most people buy produce is at the equivalent of a farmer's market. fresh fruits and veggies from dalmatia should be available to you no matter where you are. also, august is prime blackberry season (although that might have passed). figs too! one vegetable that local there and i have never found in the states is called "blitva." it's pretty close to swiss chard, but not quite the same.
if you're up north, there's a host of sausages and the like you might try, if you're on the coast (although there is availability throughout the country) adriatic fish. tuna (although these days i understand it's mostly caught and exported immediately), squid and octopus plus a third animal, "sipa" which is neither of those two, but similar. mackerel (skusa), zubatac, oslic, which i don't know in english, sardines, papalina.

plus you will be buying your bread daily (unless you're on an island).

i haven't been in nearly 2 years, and i have to say that i'm terribly jealous. where are you going to and how long will you be there?

Aug 23, 2007
nzach in International Archive