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Is House of spice a quality shop ?

Glad you checked them out!

Is House of spice a quality shop ?

A couple of weeks ago I picked up the Epice de Cru Cuisine 101 spice sampler at Ruby Eats. I was really impressed - kinda blown away, actually. I tracked Epice de Cru down online and ordered a bunch of stuff from them last weekend. Free shipping over $60 and NO TAX as they ship from Quebec to Ontario. This results in huge savings vs. buying from a middleman. Really, really fast delivery through Canada Post.

The company is based out of Montreal; here is their website in English:


It's being opened by the owner of Mercury Espresso Bar. I think it's going to be a straight-up bar (not a restaurant) but I could be wrong.

Chick-N-Joy... finally tried it.

That yellow gravy is disgusting and we eat every drop of it at our house, haha. It's strangely addictive and works really well with ChickNJoy's amazing fries. Their chicken is my favourite, by far.

East end cafés with unsweetened non-dairy "milk" for my latte!

Hello! If you're as close as Te Aro, then you could always wander a bit west to Mercury Espresso Bar. They always have non-sweetened soy "milk" for their lattes.

Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips

A selection of Toorshi Foods pickled veg are also carried at Royal Beef @ Danforth/Woodbine. Had an amazing jar of their mixed pickled veg (loads of cauliflower) a couple of weeks ago.

edit: Didn't see any jars of pickled turnips at Royal Beef, although I remember noting at least 3 other varieties of Toorshi brand pickles.

Paulette's in Leslieville - any info?

Interesting that they wouldn't give you two pieces of white, even with an upcharge. I was just there and the owner was serving somebody who was obviously a family friend. She told her, "normally the Snack Pack is one piece white, one piece dark, but YOU can have whatever you want." Of course, it's the owner's prerogative to be as generous as she'd like to be with friends but to be so blatant about it - and loud - in front of another customer waiting to be served seemed like a strange thing to me.

When it was my turn to be served I asked if I could skip the dots and was told to take them home for somebody else since I'm paying for them anyways (it was said with a smile and was a genuinely friendly comment but I was surprised by the inflexibility). The whole experience felt vaguely off-putting to me but not unpleasant.

BTW, I'm attaching what $8 will buy you. An interesting novelty but not as tasty as I'd hoped it would be. Chick N Joy will do for me the next time I have a craving.

Recs: Bahn mi across the city.

I've been on a Rose Cafe kick for the past couple of weeks and can vouch that the quality of their banh mi is as good as ever. Always made fresh, too.

2010 closings

Fans of the place will be happy to know that Mercury has re-opened this morning. Just got back from having a coffee there and it was as tasty as ever.

Best breakfast in Guelph?

I'm so glad to hear the the Cafe Vienna is still going strong. We lived in Guelph from 2000-2001 and we ate at the Vienna every weekend. I loved it there and would highly recommend it as a great, basic breakfast joint.

2 New Irish pubs opening in March & April 2009 in Leslieville

I agree with your assessment completely. We had drinks there on Tuesday night and dinner there last night. We found the food to be underwhelming but for a place like this to open at the bottom of our street, I'm thrilled otherwise. Mark, the bartender and one of the co-owners (I think) made a point of asking what we thought of the food and to be brutally honest as they want to make sure their new kitchen can work any kinks out quickly. We mentioned the issues we had and he was keen to hear them and thanked us for being honest.

The atmosphere is great, the beer is reasonably priced and the service is very good. It's going to be great to be able to just wander down the street to have a pint and read the paper for an hour or so, stop in for a quick drink after work, etc. A great addition to the neighbourhood.

Advent calenders

I saw an ad insert for Home Sense this past weekend that showed that they sold the little chest of drawers style of advent calendar that you fill yourself. Haven't been to a Home Sense to confirm that this is true, though.

Tappo Wine Bar & Restaurant


You nailed it. A colleague of mine worked with Tappo to set up an event when it was very new and thought that the poor organization, service and management was due to the newness factor. Turns out after all this time that it's just the way Tappo is run.

Tappo is a vanity project funded by a professional hockey player. The manager's background isn't restaurants/hospitality, it's construction. Knowing those facts explains a lot...

Ground Turkey in Toronto

I don't know if this is your idea of closer, but Whitehouse Meats (I go to the St. Lawrence Market location) always seems to have fresh ground turkey. They'll even vacuum pack it if you're planning to freeze it for future use. Good luck!

Loose Tea in Toronto

I agree with the Tea Emporium recommendations. We buy our loose tea there and have never been disappointed (and we drink A LOT of tea). In fact, we've picked up the same black teas (Yunnan Imperial and Keemun) at Mariages Freres in Paris and found no discernible difference in quality or taste. You won't be disappointed.

"Say Cheese" London, Ont (moved from Ontario board)

I, too, loved Say Cheese when I was living in London many years ago. That cheese soup...oh man, so good!

As a lover of cheese soups, I have tried many. The recipe for the soup I'm attaching is not the same as Say Cheese's but it satisfies my craving whenever I have it. This has become my go-to cheese soup recipe for the past few years and is as good as any I've tasted. I have no idea where this recipe came from; it was hand-written for me by a relative. The soup is not fancy, just flavourful and a snap to make:

Stilton and Cheddar soup

Saute for 8-10 minutes:

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 Cup chopped onion
1/2 Cup chopped carrot
1/2 Cup chopped celery
1 clove of garlic, diced

Then add:

3 Cup chicken stock
1/2 Cup crumbled Stilton
1/2 Cup diced Old Cheddar
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 Cup heavy cream
1/2 Cup white wine
dash of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf

Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, purée and serve.

Feb 19, 2008
seeldee in Home Cooking

Any good East End Pho?

I know where Pho 95 is and have been curious about it but have been loyal to Mimi's for years! I'll have to sneak a lunch at Pho 95, based on your recommendation. Thanks for the tip.

Any good East End Pho?

Yep, according to Hi (the owner of Hanoi 3 Seasons), his is the only North Vietnamese restaurant in the GTA. Is that 100% true? - that I can't answer, but it's been mentioned in an article I remember reading within the past year or so. Can't recall the source, though.

As has been explained to me, the main difference between North and South Vietnamese is that northern cooking is more reliant on hot spices as flavouring, but other than that, I couldn't tell you, ha ha.

Lady and Sons (Butcher) = Disappointing

I, too, have had positive experiences at Lady & Son. I think the reason I've had such good luck is because I've always talked to "Lady" about what it was I was planning to cook. She'd then make recommendations/suggestions accordingly. Also, as she's been getting to know me, she's been great about sending me home with new things - for free - just to get feedback or introduce me to a cut or type of meat I've not tried before. For the first time, I feel like I'm building a relationship with a butcher and actually learning some things. Anyway, do give her another chance, if you can.

Any good East End Pho?

Hey currycue, Hanoi 3 Seasons is a North Vietnamese restaurant - the only one in the GTA. North Vietnamese cuisine is flavoured very differently than the Vietnamese dishes we are all used to eating. Maybe that wasn't explained to you when you visited Hanoi 3 Seasons - or maybe you were served an uncharacteristically poorly prepared meal, although I'd be surprised to hear that since I eat at Hanoi 3 Seasons often and have never had a meal I haven't enjoyed. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your meal!

Ok, pho in the East End: Mimi Restaurant, on Queen near the cross walk at Degrassi (and just east of Hanoi 3 Seasons), serves good pho, in my opinion. The broths are quite good and the ingredients are very fresh. The restaurant is almost always busy and you will receive your order quickly, but after that, service can be quite slow. Be prepared to head to the cash register when you're ready to pay if you still haven't received your bill.

Mimi Restaurant
688 Gerrard Street East
Toronto, ON M4M 1Y3, Canada
(416) 778-5948

Okay Okay - news flash

I wonder what's been going on behind the scenes? First Trevor leaves, then the new young servers start telling pairs that they can't sit at booths when it's busy... Something like this was bound to happen, I guess.

I love Ok Ok and don't even care about some of the standard issues that we all have (like the frozen hash brown patties); I really enjoyed the quality of service and that's what kept me returning.

Mars Diner... Well, the location on College is filthy. I hope that doesn't happen at Ok Ok.

Barrio - Gone

While at the Mercury last night I heard that Barrio is, apparently, only closed briefly to take care of a sewage leak in the basement. I seem to recall something similar happening to Kubo in the fall, no? Anyway, even if that is the case, why did they take the sign down? Just weird.

BTW, while there for brunch in the fall I was served a chicken cutlet that was completely raw in the middle. I was seated in the back part of the restaurant, where it's pretty dark, and didn't catch it right away. Although the manager was very good about clearing everything up (my replacement meal was comped, my brunch buddy and I were offered whatever we wanted from the bar for free for the rest of our meal and I was given free apps on my next visit - pretty good!), I never felt totally comfortable there again...

Will I miss Barrio? Nope, not a bit.

Store that specializes in British goods?

Good lord - hungryabbey and millygirl are right! I was just at The Chocolate Box's website and I am delighted that I'll no longer need to drive out to Mississauga for Galaxy Minstrels. Thanks for the tip, hungryabbey and millygirl! You've saved me some serious future driving hassles.

Store that specializes in British goods?

Hi Wil,

You'll want to visit A Bit of Home, an online store that also has a retail location in Mississauga that you can visit. Their prices are very good and they carry all the usual nostalgic favourites. Their prices on chocolates and candy compared to The Nutty Chocolatier will amaze you by their reasonable-ness (is that a word?).

Here is A Bit of Home's website:

Oh, and you'll be delighted to hear that they carry Jacob's Club Orange Biscuits. Here's a link to that specific item:


Cheese Shop Recommendation Needed

The Leslieville Cheese Market is my local cheese market and I do think the products they carry are good, but the service can be...odd, and their prices are shockingly higher compared to any other cheese markets mentioned in this thread. I wish I could shop there more often but I just can't justify throwing that extra money away. In my opinion it's better to shop at the LCM for sudden cheese "emergencies" rather than shop there as a primary destination.

I agree with Mila that Chris's at SLM is a great place with good prices and solid customer service. I definitely shop at Chris's for most of my cheeses and save trips to the wonderful Cheese Boutique for special parties/if I have the time, etc.

Lentils de Puy....

I've had the same experience (bought the cute 500g containers and in bulk at Rube's) and found that the quality is absolutely comparable. I did make a point of carefully sifting the bulk stuff, though. Rube's is where I get mine all the time now. Great price at Rube's, too. They also sell Isreali pearl couscous, which can be tough to find...

source for aquavit in Toronto

Hey Chowhounders, does anyone know where one could buy bottles of aquavit in Toronto? The LCBO used to carry one brand, called Aqkvavit, but it's recently been removed from their inventory. Any help would be appreciated!

Looking for saltpeter (to cure bacon)

Have you tried Thuna's Wholistic Centre? I don't know if this is a good option or not but the place is out of the 1930s and worth the visit alone. It's on the north side of the Danforth, between Broadview and Chester subway stations. They have all sorts of bizarre stuff there so you never know. It's worth calling, anyway:

Thuna's Wholistic Centre
298A Danforth Ave.,
Toronto, Ontario M4K 1N6
Tel: (416) 461-8191

Bonjour Brioche - insanity!

Oh yes, the florescence is, indeed, yellow. Deadly yellow.

Bonjour Brioche - insanity!

Oh yes, the florescence is, indeed, yellow.