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Cheesemongers in TO . . . any hidden gems?

Art of Cheese is my new local, having moved into the Upper Beach a little while ago. Picked up a nice chunk of Tiger Blue from Poplar Grove on the owner's recommendation, after trying to track down a pyramid of Thornloe's Devil's Rock. Friendly staff, clean shop, good vibes.

Dec 24, 2010
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chicken gizzards

I buy the hearts & gizzards by the pound as well, and braise them in a soy-based master sauce the Cantonese way (the "lo suy" method). My family calls them "chicken snacks" and I can never make too big a batch - they get gobbled up quickly. Cheap and tasty!

Nov 27, 2010
SpupEh in Home Cooking

Snails - fresh, frozen or canned?

I bought a couple of trays of frozen freshwater snails at the downtown T&T. They were large and precooked; alas they were VERY rubbery and not much flavour. I was going to use them in a recipe that calls for tinned snails - what was I thinking?! - and nearly ruined the dish. I still have one tray in the freezer and no idea what to do with them (>_<;)

Oct 26, 2010
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

iso great fried chicken

honey and fried chicken is quite popular in the southern USA. My friend's mom in abilene texas makes an awesome fried chicken where she flavours the honey with red chili flakes.

Aug 30, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Taiwanese White Gourd Juice: Perfect Evocation of Cookies

yeah I find it's just as refreshing diluted half-and-half with water. I also like it mixed with coconut rum over ice in a tall glass...mmmmm!

Aug 30, 2009
SpupEh in General Topics

Looking for bak kwa in Toronto/GTA

aiyah. didn't think about that, but makes sense. will have to snarf discreetly :-)

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

iso great fried chicken

really? it looks like velveeta or something. *shudder* I'm too skerred to order it to find out what it actually tastes like.

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

English Guests

If you take the Queen streetcar east towards the Beach, there's the Tulip Steakhouse at Coxwell. Very simple steak-and-two-veg, without any of the fussiness you often find at the high-end steakhouses. For something a bit more Mitteleuropean, try the Country Style Hungarian Restaurant in the Annex at 450 Bloor West between Spadina and Bathurst. Pork in so many different ways, and most dishes are not nearly as spicy as the "Hungarian" in the name might suggest. Both places are fairly economical, you don't have to dress up (in fact, you might feel out of place if you do), and are easily accessible by TTC.

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for bak kwa in Toronto/GTA

yeah, that's what I'm finding. ah well. I'll have to rely on my friends bringing it back for me, lah!

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

iso great fried chicken

I like Chick'N'Joy on Queen East, a block or two west of Coxwell on the South side. They're right near the streetcard yard on Connaught and you see a lot of TTC drivers go in. The fries are good but nothing special; it's the chicken I like. Not too greasy, crisp skin and thin batter with just a litle bit of seasoning and the meat is always juicy. My test for fried chicken is whether it's still appetizing eaten cold out of the fridge the next morning. With Chick'N'Joy, sometimes there isn't any left to make it to the next morning :-) They've got a couple of other locations further east into Scarborough, and apparently their fluorescent yellow chip sauce is famous, though I have no desire to try it. If you go there often enough, they'll start to slip extra pieces into your order.

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for bak kwa in Toronto/GTA

thanks for the tip, but $50 per kilo? really? too rich for my blood, hahaha!

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO: Calamansi / Calamondin / Suter

I'd be happy just finding the concentrate. T&T used to carry STBF Citrus Farms Calamansi Concentrate in the 750mL bottles but I haven't seen it since before Christmas 2008. I've dropped in one or two small Philippine grocery stores, but haven't found it. Anybody got pointers?

Aug 05, 2009
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sushi place next door to Japango

I quite like this place. I first stopped in when I only had an hour before a meeting at City Hall and, like buttertartz, I found Japango completely full. On my first visit to a Japanese restaurant, I usually order something raw, something grilled, and a noodle soup (usually udon but I like soba too). This gives me a better idea of how the kitchen handles very different disciplines.

I was quite impressed with the selection and the prices, but with Japanese places in particular, there's always the risk of (only) getting what you (don't) pay for. I am pleased to report that my experiences have been quite outstanding, from service to quality to presentation.

I find both the sushi and the sashimi very fresh and innovatively presented, sometimes to a fault -- a party of four ends up taking up neighbouring tables to support the overflow of presentation dishes. The noodle soups (my mother's favourites!) come in very large portions, and offer generous portions of meats and vegetables in addition to clean-tasting broths and not-overdone noodles.

I like the lightly-battered tempura, but I agree it can be inconsistently greasy from time to time. I highly recommend the chawan mushi -- it's made to order so allow for that -- but the portion is substantial, with generous amounts of seafood. I've never noticed a problem with the rice being hard/dry, but then I'm Cantonese and it tastes kind of like I expect it to.

I would definitely recommend it, and have brought several friends (and family) there.

Aug 22, 2007
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for bak kwa in Toronto/GTA

Does anyone know of a local source for good Singaporean bak kwa (bbq pork jerky)? Preferably downtown, as my carless self doesn't get out to the 'burbs much :-)

Aug 22, 2007
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cluck Grunt and Low Review

I stopped in to CG&L last night because I happened to be in the neighbourhood and I'd heard good-to-mixed reviews from friends who'd gone. The service was fine -- friendly and diligent without being fake and hovering. I ordered the half-slab of Memphis Dry Ribs with cornbread and dirty rice as my sides.

I didn't find them horrible, but I didn't find them outstanding either. The ribs weren't dried out, thankfully, but I didn't find a whole lot of flavour to them. The add-your-own sauce helped enormously (and yes, I poured -- didn't dig in with my knife!) As for the sides: the cornbread was tasty, though I personally like mine crispier -- nice touch with the fat pork though; the dirty rice was barely edible -- dry and mealy and no discernible flavour.

For dessert, I tried the Ontario Peach & Strawberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream. It arrived in a ramekin, a small portion perched on an oversized platter elaborately (and needlessly) decorated with at least four separate garnishes -- concentric rings of chocolate syrup, miscellaneous-berry red coulis, powdered sugar AND cocoa powder. It was almost more garnish than cobbler...which was itself more undercooked short-pastry than fruit. If it wasn't for the passably tasty vanilla ice-cream, I would have found the pastry tough going. The fruit, what there was of it, was well prepared, not overstewed and with distinct chunks of fruit in a tangy sauce but there wasn't enough to stand up against the doughy pastry.

The decor seemed to be trying too hard, and the plush island banquette in the centre of the room looked incongruous with the self-consciously rough-hewn barnboard theme. I did like the Sani-Hand station outside the restrooms, though. Total bill including a (small!) glass of iced tea, a little under $30 including tax but before tip.

I might give it another chance, but I wouldn't call it a recommendation.

Aug 22, 2007
SpupEh in Ontario (inc. Toronto)