prima's Profile

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Restaurants similar to Grazie?

I like Zucca, Grano and 5 Doors N. I've heard good things about the pizza at Sip.
I had a disappointing brunch at Lil Baci a couple weeks ago. Hopefully it was just an off day/order. When I mentioned the Eggs Florentine skimped on the spinach and hollandaise compared to previous orders on other visits, the server mentioned someone new was being trained in the kitchen . Potatoes were burnt, mixed greens were unpleasant (I left the salad on the plate), eggs were cooked until hard, and one egg had no house-made bread underneath- so pretty much an Eggs Florentine fail. I'm not in a hurry to return. Haven't tried Lil Baci at dinner time. Hopefully the employee who made my eggs learns quickly or doesn't work the supper shift.

about 12 hours ago
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bes Frutti Di Mare Pasta in Toronto?

The Leonardo spaghetti at Joso's.

about 12 hours ago
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Trying to remember which Greek restaurant I went to...

I think happycamper is correct.
Did you order the artichokes and potatoes in a lemon dill cream?
http://www.avlirestaurant.com/main
I hadn't visited the Avli website for a while. They got rid of the music, and simplified the menu selection considerably.

Jul 19, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for single girls' night out

Thanks happycamper. I like places where people are open to chatting with other customers across table/bar.

Will have to check out People's Eatery (307 Spadina), too. (just adding a review, since their current website has no menu) http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/E...

Jul 19, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Hipster Coffeeshop on Pape at Sammon Ave?

Jul 19, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Kritamos Greek Fish House and Rotisserie - Who's been?

Bar Oak is owned by at least some of the same people as Local was, which is/was owned by some of the same people as Trapezzi. Places like that survive by selling booze late at night to a predominantly nightclub crowd. The food is an afterthought to go with the booze.

Jul 19, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Kritamos Greek Fish House and Rotisserie - Who's been?

The place on the 2nd floor offers Happy Hour Tue - Fri from 4:30-7 (I'm not sure if the bar snacks are offered at a cheaper price during the Happy Hour). The photos of the Happy Hour bar snacks and weekend brunch posted via Facebook look pretty tempting to me, but I haven't tried Happy Hour or brunch yet.

I realize what that place is trying to do looks silly to some, but hopefully the food tastes as good as some photos look, and maybe they'll drop the silly parts of the business plan. Maybe the cocktail/bar part will take off. Apart from Lolita's Lust, I can't think of too many places where I'd order a cocktail between Broadview and Pape stations (open to suggestions for cocktails between Broadview and Pape!)

Jul 18, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for single girls' night out

happycamper (or anyone who wants to add 2 cents) have you been to the Queen E County General? Just wondering if the Queen E location gets more Leslievillian couples out on date night, compared to possibly more of a mixed crowd on Queen W?

Jul 18, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for single girls' night out

highlyunlikely, have you checked out any of the recommended restaurants since you posted?

Jul 18, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Dining and shopping in London, 2014

Enjoyed a late lunch of spanakopita, dill garden salad and beef souvlaki at Mythic Grill on Albert St today. One of the best and most generous Greek-style salads( the dill garden salad doesn't include feta, but the menu includes a Village Salad for those who want feta) I've had in a restaurant in a long time, with ripe, flavourful tomatoes, lots of fresh dill and a good olive oil.

Jul 17, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Montreal Specifics

There's a middle eastern pastry shop with great ma'amoul, baklava, loukoum, etc in Jean Talon Market.

Jul 17, 2014
prima in Quebec (inc. Montreal)
1

Montreal Specifics

I haven't had an opportunity to try Le Petit Alep, but it's convenient to Jean Talon Market, and it's been recommended fairly frequently over the years.

I hear you about not wanting to eat so indulgently. Both APDC and Joe Beef are on the decadent and heavy side, that seems to go with that style of cuisine. There are plenty of contemporary bistros with a lighter hand, but the prices still tend to cost more than $40/person in my experience. I find L'Express to be good value for a bistro, but the food is very traditional French bistro food which you can find easily in NYC.

There are a few good upscale places that have a late night prix fixe deal (such as Cafe Ferreira and Lemeac), which might help stretch your budget, but the food and atmosphere at both places is on the slightly formal/conservative/traditional side, rather than being casual/contemporary/innovative like Joe Beef.
Hopefully some other Chowhounds can recommend more casual places with lighter, innovative food that is easier on the budget.

Re:Lawrence
Most of the food is modern British. My friends loved the brunch. I found the brunch food quite good but a little rich/heavy for my taste (our group of 6 sampled shared all the mains). It is a popular place, with a mostly young crowd. Get there early to avoid a wait.

Jul 17, 2014
prima in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

What are you baking these days? July edition, part 2!

I'll try to take a photo of the last slice tomorrow morning. It looked a little like the cake in this link http://www.boxtedberries.com/lemon-cu... (I haven't tried the recipe for the lemon curd blackcurrant cake), except my cake contained more blackcurrants, and the cake itself was somewhat more golden.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? July edition, part 2!

I'm behind on picking. ;) There's at least a couple pecks on my 2 blackcurrant bushes. I never got around to baking with my rhubarb this season, so I'm trying to make the most of my blackcurrants.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

Need ideas for cookies for a crowd

Snickerdoodles.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

Montreal Specifics

:) I don't tend to drink much, so that does tend to keep many of my meals in Montreal closer to $40-$60/person.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Montreal Specifics

You're probably right, but I still wanted to give my 2 cents to JungMann since I've often communicated with him on other Boards. I wasn't sure if he meant out of his friends' league in terms of adventure or in terms of price. Depending on how one orders, wouldn't it be possible to get a lower-priced main and dessert at APDC for $40 before tax and tip? Orders are so generous that one main and a shared dessert would be more than enough for me.
Re: Damas
While it wouldn't be difficult to spend more than $40/person before tax and tip at Damas, I think it would be possible to dine at Damas for $40/person before tax and tip, especially if dishes are ordered mezze-style. Even if an average meal at Damas might be more than $40/person before tax, I think it's worth mentioning, since JungMann and his friends might decide they're open to spending a little more than $40 for a good quality Syrian meal.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Montreal Specifics

Hi JungMann,
I'd recommend Damas on Parc for Syrian food. It was my favourite meal on a trip last Labour Day Weekend. Trip report:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9155...
I'd squeeze in a trip to Au Pied de Cochon or Joe Beef. Both restaurants offer foods that will appeal to adventurous and non-adventurous eaters. The seafood at APDC is fantastic during the summer. Portions are extremely generous. I'm not a huge fan of foie gras, and I've found lots of dishes to like at APDC which don't involve foie gras.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Strawberries and Blueberries - Grand Bend

Thanks, jayt90. Look forward to checking this place out next time I visit Grand Bend.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Strawberries and Blueberries - Grand Bend

Good luck finding anyone making a living picking and selling wild strawberries.

There are berry farms in the GTA, but they aren't convenient to Ontario's West Coast or Grand Bend. Some of the Chowhounds who post on this Board live/dine/shop outside the GTA, even though this Ontario board might be dominated by posts about food and restaurants in the GTA. ;)

Here's a berry farm in Newmarket, at the corner of Davis Drive and Woodbine, within an hour's drive of Toronto: http://www.strawberrycreekfarms.com/

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

What are you baking these days? July edition, part 2!

Blackcurrant Drizzle Cake. While the technique is similar to a Poke Cake, the use of fresh lemon/blackcurrant syrup, and rich buttery sponge cake with layers of tart blackcurrants makes this much more decadent than any Poke Cake I've tasted. I'll be experimenting with more drizzle cakes this summer as more currants and berries are picked.

I planned to use this recipe http://wyog.org/recipe/blackcurrant-d... , but noticed the recipe was missing the amount of flour required. A quick search showed most traditional drizzle cake recipes call for an equal weight of self-rising flour and butter, so I measured out 6 ounces of flour. I added 1.5 tsp baking powder and 0.5 tsp baking soda to my regular cake and pastry flour, since I didn't have any self-rising flour on hand. I also increased the amount of blackcurrants in the layers, which I liked.

Jul 16, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

How much do I tip? How much should I tip? How much do YOU tip? etc.... [moved from Ontario board]

What I was trying to convey in my reply to a Chowhound who is based in the UK, who suggested not tipping at all (quite possibly tongue-in-cheek), is that provincial governments have a lower minimum wage for servers because it's expected that they'll make up some of their income through tips. I stand corrected. 4 of 10 provinces (which happen to be the 4 most populated provinces: Alberta, BC, Quebec and Ontario) have minimum wages for their servers which are lower than general minimum wage.

Jul 15, 2014
prima in Not About Food

How much do I tip? How much should I tip? How much do YOU tip? etc.... [moved from Ontario board]

Servers and taxi drivers in Toronto sometimes let you know what they think when they feel they've been under tipped. I wouldn't suggest leaving no tip while visiting Canada, unless one wants to experience the consequences. ;)

While there is a provincial minimum wage for servers, it is lower than the minimum wage for jobs where there are no tips. Canadian servers still need their tips, to bring in a wage that equals (or is higher) than the non-server minimum wage.

At least some servers in Canada work under the table, for cash. While they might not be declaring their income, I'm sure they appreciate their tips.

Jul 15, 2014
prima in Not About Food

Religious-based food events or restaurants, GTA and beyond

I think Fat Pasha might be trying to cash in on the popularity of Ottolenghi ' s books and restaurants.

Jul 15, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Religious-based food events or restaurants, GTA and beyond

Fat Pasha serves up the same kinds of foods you'd find at an Ottolenghi /Tamimi run restaurant, so I'd consider it modern Levantine cuisine or modern Israeli cuisine (including the culinary contributions from the Palestinian communities living in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel.)

Jul 15, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

How much do I tip? How much should I tip? How much do YOU tip? etc.... [moved from Ontario board]

It's the principle that bothers people who want to tip pre-tax, not the amount of money in the tip.

Some people tip pre-tax at a higher rate than others tip post-tax. It's only about the money if you're talking about the same rate pre or post-tax (for example 15 % pre-tax vs 15% post-tax. )

I tip pre-tax. I can't think of a good reason to tip a NYC or Calgary server less than a Toronto server, which would be the result if I tipped at the same post-tax rate in Toronto, Calgary and NYC, whereas the servers would receive the same tip if I tipped pre-tax.

Jul 15, 2014
prima in Not About Food

Religious-based food events or restaurants, GTA and beyond

No. Jerusalem is not kosher. There are several websites that list the recognized kosher restaurants and recognized halal restaurants in Toronto.

For kosher Middle Eastern/ Israeli/Iraqi food, there's Dr Laffa. Yehudale' s serves kosher falafel.

That being said, Jerusalem, Armenian Kitchen and Tabule attract customers of all backgrounds and belief systems, even if they don't meet the requirements for customers who keep a strictly halal or kosher diet. I'd think you'd be more likely to find a mixed faith customer base at Fat Pasha, Jerusalem, Armenian Kitchen or Tabule than at a kosher or halal restaurant.

Jul 14, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Religious-based food events or restaurants, GTA and beyond

Fat Pasha is as close as Toronto gets to Ottolenghi.

Jul 14, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

blackcurrant dessert recipes- summer puddings, fools, what else?

I have about a bushel of blackcurrants waiting to be picked. I'm planning to bake this blackcurrant drizzle cake with the currants I picked today. http://wyog.org/recipe/blackcurrant-d...

Anyone have any new ideas?

Jul 14, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

SUMMERLICIOUS 2014

I don't think tipping post-tax is a faux pas. The automatic tip calculations on the portable credit card/debit machines have meant many customers paying by credit/debit now tip post-tax automatically (and sometimes inadvertently) when they click 15%, 18 % or more.

I don't like the idea of tipping on tax, so I tend to tip pre-tax, but at a higher rate than if I was tipping post-tax.

While it would be nice for a server if 20 % (pre-tax or post-tax) was the current standard, I suspect the average Toronto tip is 15 % pre-tax or less (including every pub, every 'ethnic' restaurant, every Moxie's, every Boston Pizza, every greasy spoon, etc) if one was to average all servers' tips, regardless of which rate is considered the Toronto standard. I think the average tip would be a lot lower at some restaurants and in some neighbourhoods, depending on the customers' spending habits/demographics.
I'd guess average tip outside the GTA is closer to 12%.

Most of the Chowhounds I've met in person tip better than most non-Chowhounds I know, so I wonder if there's a tendency amongst some Chowhounds/other foodies who dine out frequently to believe 18+% tips are standard in Toronto.

Re: tipping during Licious
I think many employees anticipate getting shafted by cheapskates during Licious. I think many customers automatically tip at their usual rate, whether it's a $45 prix fixe during Licious or a $14 pasta on a weeknight, while some people buy into thinking the Licious prix fixe is a bargain, so perhaps the tip rate should be higher if one is dining at Splendido or Canoe at a discount. But why would a customer tip higher than their usual rate when the service is rushed or colder than usual, or when short cuts or cheaper ingredients are used? You get what you pay for, after all.

Jul 14, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)