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Apple Picking

I don't know where you're looking but we go to Nature's Bounty north of Oshawa (naturesbountyfarm.com) They have Honeycrisp (prepicked that you can buy) and at least half a dozen other varieties on trees. No 'frills' (hayrides, playgrounds, etc) but also no admission fee.

Oct 07, 2013
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

What's the second tier?

Seconding Scarpetta and Sage, and adding American Fish.

Oct 01, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Le 6 Paul Bert closed - alternate recommendations?

We have only 2 nights in Paris (not enough, I know, but better than nothing) on August 21 and 22. We were hoping to go to Le 6 Paul Bert for dinner but they're closed that week. Can anybody make a recommendation in a similar vein at a similar price point? Things I liked about 6 Paul Bert - the prix fixe with multiple options, the moderate price point, the fact that it didn't seem terribly "out there" in terms of menu options (we'll be travelling with the in-laws and I'm not sure how adventurous they are).

We'll be staying in the Marais but don't mind a bit of a trek if necessary. Thanks for any advice/recommendations you can give!

Aug 01, 2013
baderin in France

Asking My Girlfriend to Marry Me Restaurant Choices.

I was going to recommend a cabana at Bartolotta! I'd echo everybody else to make sure to let them know of your intentions, because last time we ate there we requested a cabana and didn't get one. Come back and let us know when she says yes!

Jul 24, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Craftsteak House

We've been to Craftsteak 3 times - it's my husband's favourite restaurant in Vegas. The short ribs and the skirt steak are standouts. I also like the family style atmosphere of it - easy to share so that everybody gets to try everything.

That being said, it's the only steakhouse we've been to in Vegas so I have nothing to compare it to.

Jun 28, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Bouchon

We've been once for brunch and twice for breakfast, and loved it both times - given the choice I'd take brunch because of the chicken and waffles, plus they had jelly filled beignets that were incredibly delicious. Never been for dinner but I'd highly highly highly recommend it for a morning meal (re: brunch lineups, we were there at 9am on a Saturday and walked right in. Might get busier later)

Jun 28, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Las Vegas 2 days, 1 night - 3 or 4 meals

Brunch at Bouchon. Lunch at maybe China Poblano? Or I've heard great things about Estatoria Milos. Second the call for a late night slice at the secret pizza place in the Cosmopolitan.

Jun 12, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

I have chosen. What to choose..

Skip the tuna/raspberry skewer at Julian Serrano - it's their "big" dish but I wasn't impressed. I agree that the ceviche also wasn't good. I loved the risotto, and the churros.

Feb 18, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

The perfect Vegas compromise

Agree about Jaleo and Serrano, as well as the Chandelier Bar. Ate at Sage last week and really really really loved it. They also have a very cool lounge with a snacky menu that might make a good pre-dinner drink. The American Fish happy hour menu is also good.

Feb 18, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

1 week in vegas (researched)

I might try to swap (or add, it's that good) Bouchon for a weekend and have the brunch. Bigger menu and the chicken and waffles is to die for. I'd also suggest maybe eating after the show a few nights to let you not have to rush/have a really early dinner every night.

Also Todd English's PUB had, at least to my eye, a pretty extensive beer menu and some pretty delicious sliders - not over the top but perfectly cooked and seasoned.

Feb 18, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

How long for dinner at Sage?

We had 8pm reservations and were done by 9:30 - skipped apps, but had mains and desserts. I think you'll be fine as long as you're not really slow eaters.

Feb 18, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

4 DAYS, NO CORPORATE CASINOS, HOTELS OR "CELEBRITY CHEFS"

I think that if you're not willing to eat in any casinos (I assume that extends to chain restaurants, thinking specifically Margaritaville, which is the only non-hotel restaurant I can think of on the strip) you're in trouble on-strip. I guess you could eat in some of the restaurants in the Miracle Mile and Fashion Show mall, since those aren't casinos? But you won't find artisanal coffee or pastries. Maybe if you got a bus pass you could get off strip reasonably easily.

Feb 18, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Trip report, Feb 10-14

Can't figure out how to edit but wanted to add that while they were good, $1 per chicken wing at Todd English is in no way a happy hour menu price.

Feb 17, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Trip report, Feb 10-14

Just back from a four day trip and frankly, not thrilled to be back in the snow, but that's beside the point.

So we arrived on Feb 10. Our flight was supposed to get in at 5:30 but we had a pretty solid delay and it was almost 10 before we got checked in and settled. We'd been looking forward to our reservations at China Poblano, though, and decided to go anyway and just have a light meal. I started with the margarita with salt air, which I loved - the salt foam was so interesting and I kept wanting to drink more because it surprised me every time. We decided to have chips and salsa, the carnitas, and 2 things from the Chinese New Year menu - the 18 Wheat Noodle and the Lions Head..something (sorry, can't remember the exact name and can't find the seasonal menu). I was unimpressed with the carnitas - the flavours were good but they were so incredibly oily, oil was pouring out of them when I bit, and I couldn't set it back down because there was a puddle of oil on the plate. The Lions Head was pork meatballs on a bed of slightly pickled cabbage, and it was very good - the meatballs were incredibly light and juicy. The 18 Wheat Noodles was my favourite, though, rich and dark and soy-y with a variety of hearty mushrooms. It was so good that we went back and had it again a few days later for a pre-dinner snack.

Monday morning we had plans to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon so hit Payard for what we thought would be a quick breakfast. Maybe it was our fault for ordering crepes, but it took almost a half hour to get through the lineup and have our crepes made. Once we got them they were very good, but considering that for a few dollars more we could have eaten at Bouchon, I don't think I'd go again. The chocolate croissant that we got was delicious, though, flaky and light.

Grabbed a pre-show snack at Taqueira Canonita, and was unimpressed there. We'd been a few years ago and really enjoyed it, but both their happy hour menu and their quality seemed to have gone downhill. The chips and salsa and margaritas were good but we got the taco sampler and they ranged from fine (fish, mushroom) to pretty bad (beef, chicken - both just big chunks of dry meat, very little seasoning).

After seeing Love we had late reservations at American Fish. We were still feeling full from our pre-dinner tacos so skipped apps and went straight to mains - the mustard marinated black cod for me, the branzino for my husband. My black cod was wonderful - moist and flaky and perfectly seasoned. I'm not a big fish eater and when the waiter said it was an oily fish I was a little worried, but I loved it. My husband also very much liked his branzino - it was a little fishy for my taste but very good with the crispy skin and he really liked the sides. For dessert we split the beignets and very much enjoyed them.

Tuesday morning we had breakfast at Bouchon. I had Les Oeufs and my husband had the Omelette du jour, which had short rib and carmelized onions, among other things. Both delicious, and after a few days in Vegas, seemed to be surprisingly good value for money. As usual, my favourite part of the meal was the incredible butter they serve, and we ordered a plain baguette to be able to enjoy more of it.

Got caught up outlet mall shopping so decided to have a quick snack at Todd English to tide us over. 2 sliders and half a dozen chicken wings hit the spot - the sliders were medium rare and yummy, and the wings were really spicy but in a good way.

Followed that up with dinner at Scarpetta, a restaurant we'd visited on our last trip and wanted to return to. I started with the squash soup, which had a delicious crunch provided by the croutons, although I could have done with a few more goat cheese dumplings. My husband had yellowtail which he really enjoyed. For mains he had the chicken which was good, and quite a bit portion - two giant pieces of chicken - and I had the spaghetti, which was as wonderful as I remembered. The problem with Scarpetta is that there are a number of things on the menu I'd like to try but I can never convince myself to order anything other than the spaghetti. Stopped at Jean Philippe on our way back to our room for some mango gelato which was really really delicious.

On our last day we started with a quick breakfast at Jean Philippe in the Aria - a egg sandwich for him, yogurt with granola for me as all the food was starting to catch up with me. I also had a chai latte which I don't recommend - it was somehow too sweet, or too caramelly? And a chocolate croissant which was good, but not as good as Payard. Later we hit the Chandelier bar for an afternoon drink, and was impressed by their varied and interesting drinks menu. For our last dinner we went to Sage, and were blown away. Even their bread (a choice of either sourdough or a bun with bacon in it, with whipped butter with chives and sea salt) was incredible. We skipped appetizers to be sure to save room for dessert. I had the short rib, which was sticky and sweet and so tender, and my husband had the skirt steak, which was so juicy and flavourful. They were both so so great (and I paired my short rib with a Cote du Rhone recommended by our waiter that was delicious). To finish up we had the Arancini Dolci, which was so good I found it hard to believe. Banana gelato, chocolate crunch, horchata foam, and deep fried arancini balls - it was the perfect way to end our best meal of our trip. Can't wait to go back to Vegas to try Sage again.

Hope this helps somebody make a decision about their trip - I get so much help from this board that I'd like to be able to pay it back.

Feb 16, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Visiting from Toronto- will be most appreciative of any input provided

We ate lunch at China Poblano on our last trip and very much enjoyed it - just split a few orders of tacos and some chips and salsa. I'm also from Toronto so as you know, the Mexican options here are pretty limited, and I thought China Poblano was very good. We're going again next week and plan to have dinner there to let us sample a little more of the menu (usually we tend to eat small breakfasts/lunches to save room for dinner).

Feb 04, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Fortunate to be in LV for Business and Fun on an Expense account

For your Sunday brunch, I'd recommend Bouchon. Specifically the chicken and waffles at Bouchon. That's all I can give you from your list, although China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan might do you a good lunch on your Monday/Tuesday.

Jan 31, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Casual/Lighter Lunch Options?

We had a good lunch at China Poblano in the Cosmopolitan - my husband and I just shared a few orders of tacos. I've also heard great things about the $21 special at Milos (also in the Cosmopolitan), although it's a 3 course prix fixe so I'm not sure how light it would be. You could try the pizza place (again the Cosmopolitan. It's like I work for their tourist board!).

Jan 31, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan Restaurants/Bars/Lounges

I thought Jaleo was pretty good, some hits and some misses. The atmosphere was fun and lively, and you can get a prettyw wide range of price points depending on what and how much you order. The sangria was not so good, which was disappointing. I loved Scarpetta - possibly overpriced, but so damn good that I didn't care. Plus we had a table by the window overlooking the Bellagio fountains, so that was enjoyable. We had a few tacos to share for lunch at China Poblano and really liked it a lot, going back for dinner on our next trip (in two weeks) and excited to try some more stuff. And the secret pizza place is fantastic, we went twice in a 4 day trip for late late snacks.

Jan 31, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Visiting from Toronto- will be most appreciative of any input provided

Brunch at Bouchon is a can't miss. On our last trip we had lunch at China Poblano and really enjoyed it (going this time for dinner). The secret pizza place in the Cosmopolitan is great for a late night snack. My favourite meal that I've had in Vegas was at Bartolotta - that being said, we've been to Craftsteak three times. I actually didn't LOVE Jaleo or Julian Serrano - they were both pretty good, had some hits and misses. The atmosphere at Jaleo was better.

Jan 31, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Reasonably Priced ($20) Italian or Mexican or American for a dozen teenage volleyballers?

What about Holstein's? I've never eaten there but walking past it looks like a fun loud atmosphere, the decor would, I suspect, appeal to 16 year olds, it's in the Cosmopolitan so you can look out at the Chandelier Bar, and the burgers all seem to fall in the $15ish range. Plus the coach and parents can sample the delicious sounding adult milkshake menu!

Jan 12, 2013
baderin in Las Vegas

Brookers Meat? Or someplace else for chicken?

I'm looking to buy free range chicken (probably also organic, but the free range is what I care about). I live in Whitby so I'd prefer to just drive out to a farm and buy in bulk than head downtown to the Healthy Butcher or similar. I found a site for Brooker's Meat that delivers over $200, which is pretty easy to get to, but I can't find any reviews or anything else about them. Has anybody heard of/dealt with them? Or does anybody have any other recommendations? I've heard some good things about Fernwood but I can't tell from their site whether they have skinless boneless chicken because it just says boneless. (I know I could skin it but having it already done makes my life easier)

Dec 21, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Apple Picking

Nature's Bounty Farm: http://www.naturesbountyfarm.com/

Just north of Whitby, and a good choice right now because their trees were delayed so they didn't lose their crop when the early frost hit. Currently picking Empire, Gala, Macoun, Cortland, and some Spartans.

Sep 27, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

I've always said there really aren't any good restaurants in Whitby, but last night I went to the Brock House. I can't speak to their regular menu, as I've never been before, but we arrived for the first night of their "Savour the Season" and everything was pretty good. Amongst my group of friends we tried all 3 starters. I didn't taste the salad but my friend said it was good, although underdressed. My husband had the carrot and juniper soup and it was very nice and creamy, although I felt it was a little undersalted. I had the corn fritters and they were definitely the best of the group, although they would have been better hot (they were more lukewarm).

For mains my husband and I both had the short ribs, which were very good - he finished mine and said his had been jucier, but I really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the mashed potatoes that accompanied it. My friend had the chicken and said it was really good also.

For dessert the rest of my group had the apple tart and seemed to enjoy it. I had the peach cobbler and practically licked the bowl - the peaches were fresh and delicious and the crumble was I think made with cornmeal - a nice crunchy texture. It could have used better ice cream (ever since I started making my own I've been kind of ruined for commercial stuff) but overall I really enjoyed it.

Also the fries that came with my Goddaughter's chicken fingers meal were DELICIOUS.

So I'd still go downtown if I wanted to be sure of a nice meal but the Brock House was probably the best meal I've eaten in Whitby since we moved.

Sep 13, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Trip report: Cafe Spiaggia, Xoco, the Aviary, Purple Pig, and Sable

I recently spent a few days in Chicago, and since I got the majority of my restaurant recommendations from this forum I wanted to report back.

My first night I went alone to Café Spiaggia. After initially telling me it would be about a 15-20 minute wait (totally understandable, considering I walked in at about 7pm with no reservation) they managed to find me a table almost immediately. My waiter was extremely friendly and helpful, suggesting a wine that I was a big fan of (although one that I can't remember the name of). I ordered the bucatini and was a little disappointed with it. Some bites were definitely undercooked, although others seemed fine. It was also quite salty, almost unpleasantly so. For dessert I had the bombolini with peach puree, which were outstanding - soft and fluffy and melting, liberally coated in vanilla sugar, perfectly matched with the peaches. It was quite a large order with 5 golf-ball sized donuts, would have been good to share. As it was I ate 4 and then decided to show a bit of restraint. The bombolini were so good I'd be willing to assume the bucatini was just an off night and go back.

For lunch I went to Xoco twice, once alone and once with my husband. The format of the restaurant makes it so that going alone isn't awkward at all - I was perfectly happy with my book and my counter seat. The first time I had chips and salsa which were outstanding, great crunch and salt and the freshness of the salsas. I followed that with the wood roasted chicken pozole caldo which was also delicious, highlighted with crunch from (I think) cabbage and radish combining with the smokiness of the broth. I also had the agua del dia, which that day was melon, lemon and mint, and it was delicious, tart and fresh and packed full of flavour. The next time (actually the next day) we had more chips and salsa. I had the limeade which was very good but very limey (not a problem for me but my husband wasn't a fan). I had the carnitas caldo - it was good but not great, I found the carnitas a little bland and thought they could have benefitted from a heartier broth. My husband had the red chili shortrib caldo and it was WONDERFUL - I stole more than a few bites. The broth made the dish - rich and spicy and a huge amount of depth. Actually at the end we put the rest of my pork into his leftover broth and enjoyed that more. Despite going twice in two days I would have gone back a third time if we'd had time.

That night we had reservations at the Aviary. I was a little anxious as I wasn't totally sure what to expect. We walked in and were shown to our table - we had reservations at 8pm on a Friday and it was surprisingly only about half-full. We decided on the prix-fixe menu although now I can't remember what half the drinks were. For the first round I had the Celery which was delicious, sweet and sound and weirdly reminiscent of celery without being offputting, and my husband had…something else, apparently not terribly memorable except that it was bottled in house and served in a glass bottle with a brown paper bag, which made us laugh. For the second round I had the margarita and his was called Bitters. Again he won on presentation, with his being served on a charred piece of wood with the glass inverted to collect the smoke, and then the rest of the drink being poured in tableside. I think the idea of the drink was that the four different alcohols together tasted like bourbon. Neither of us are bourbon drinkers but the drink was definitely interesting, and the smoke really did add something. The margarita was very good also, served with chili ice cubes so that the longer it sat the spicier it got. By the end it was pretty hot. The last round was the winner for both of us, with my husband having Sweet Corn which was wonderful - the sweet corn foam especially was incredible, smelling just like corn on the cob. I had Horchata which was just unbelieveably good and I resented having to share it with him. To eat we pretty much tasted everything on the menu (actually we literally tasted everything except the Foie Gras bite). We started with the chips which were fun and interesting - obviously some were more successful than others but overall they were quite good. Then we moved on to bites, with standouts being Scallop, Potato, and Tomato (the potato was so good that for our second round my husband had to try it, and I ordered it again). We finished up with Lollipops, which was a perfect ending with the frozen banana being the clear standout. We left a little drunk and extremely happy.

Then we promptly went to Lou Malnati's for pizza because three drinks and about 10 bites of food each did not seem like a good idea. This was my first deep dish Chicago pizza and…meh, frankly. Although to be fair I'm not a huge fan of pizza in general and much prefer thin crust. It was perfectly good pizza but I wasn't blown away.

The next day we went to the Purple Pig for lunch. I thought we'd be clever and show up at about 1:30, assuming the lunch rush would have passed. Apparently the lunch rush never passes. We got a table in about half an hour and were told that usually it would take much longer, but because of the Air Show a lot of the crowds were out at the beach. The time went quickly with their bar service on the benches, so it wasn't a problem. I loved the setup, with the majority of the plates being family style sharing plates. Between the two of us we shared the eggplant parmesan balls, which were delicious and crunchy and cheesy, the meatball sandwich which was good but probably my least favourite of our orders, the chicken thigh kebabs which were outstanding, juicy with a great crisp skin and really elevated by the tzatsiki dipping sauce, and the mortadella, balsamico and pistachio smear, which was amazing. I can't do justice to how good it was but the soft bread and the smoothness of the mortadella with the bite of arugula and balsamic and crunch of the nuts - just incredible. I was sad I had to share with my husband. I'd go back just for this.

For our last dinner we went to Sable. I found the cocktail menu frankly overwhelming and didn't recognize half the ingredients listed, but I highly highly recommend the Transcendental Induction (I think that was the name of it). This is another restaurant where everything is family style, plus they offer half orders of almost all their menu items, which I loved (and used, we ordered half orders of everything except the brulee). We started with the kale chips which were pretty good but I didn't love. Some bites were better than others, and they were pretty oily. Then we had an heirloom tomato salad that was delicious, it seemed to be tossed in garlic oil which added a nice dimension. After that was the chicken and waffles - not terrible, but the chicken was pretty dry, I might have preferred the waffles on their own. Then we had the cherry wood smoked beef brisket, which was very good, and the sweet corn crème brulee, which I'd read about on this website and which was hands down the best thing we ate on the whole trip (in fact my husband said it might be the best thing he'd ever eaten). Fresh corn and a sort of corn custard, topped by the sweet crunchy brulee and a sprinkle of salt, everything worked so well together I was hard pressed not to lick out the bowl. We finished the meal off with sorbet - coconut for him, white peach and cinnamon for me - which was good, but a little icy, and nothing was ever going to live up to the brulee.

So overall, we had a lot of great food on this trip. Can't wait to go back to try some new restaurants (and have some more sweet corn crème brulee).

Aug 21, 2012
baderin in Chicago Area

Gluten free Vegas

I know that the Paris restaurant has a gluten free menu (I have a friend with celiac who eats there) but that's as much help as I can give you.

Jul 24, 2012
baderin in Las Vegas

ISO Greek Gods organic yogurt (or other recs)

Thanks!

Jul 17, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Greek Gods organic yogurt (or other recs)

My local Superstore has stocked this yogurt for the past few years, but in the past months they haven't had it. I asked and they said production difficulties were making it hard to get. Now they don't even have the space for it on their shelves and they said they weren't getting it in the foreseeable future. I don't believe their story about production difficulties because they previously told us the honey flavour was discontinued, which was a lie, plus I checked the product website and it didn't mention anything.

Has anybody seen this yogurt for sale anywhere else? Or can anybody recommend me another good quality organic Greek yogurt?

Jul 15, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Recommendations for Oshawa area

I've heard not bad things about Hot Rocks? To be honest, at least in my experience/opinion, if you're looking for a really good meal, I'd advise you to drive to Toronto. There are some decent places in the area but nothing that I'd call memorable.

Jun 28, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

La Carnita - 501 College

Just to follow up, we arrived at 5:45, were seated right away but got one of the last tables. Left about 7:30 and overheard that it was an hour wait at that point.

In terms of the meal, I really enjoyed it. We started with some margaritas and the chips with all 3 dips. The guac was good although I would have liked a bit more...something with it. The chipotle pate was delicious. The sikil pak mezcal was good, but my least favourite of the three. The chips on their own with the ancho powder was fantastic. I could have used more chips, though, since we had a lot of dips left when we were done with chips (to be fair, we didn't ask for more, maybe we could have)

For mains we had the pulled pork gorditas and the cod, carne asada, and chorizo tacos. The carne asada was the weak point of the meal - the steak seemed a little dry and it just didn't have the flavours that the other ones had. The gorditas were good but a little one-note - they just tasted like pulled pork. The cod is an old favourite and was just as good as we remembered - ordered a second one. And the chorizo was really good also with a nice kick and big flavours. I was excited to try the lime pie but they were out of it so we had the churros, which were AMAZING. I wanted to order a second batch immediately.

Overall it totally lived up to my expectations. The bill was pretty high ($165 for four people) but we did have two drinks apiece which jacked it up. I don't know how often I'll be there but I would certainly go back to try some more things on this current menu and hopefully any new additions they put out.

Jun 25, 2012
baderin in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Outdoor dining on the strip

This is too late for you but next time, Todd English PUB might fit your requirements? I don't consider it to be in a hotel (it's in the Crystals connecting hotels) and it has a small outdoor seating area.

Jun 25, 2012
baderin in Las Vegas