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London help requested: Great restaurant, vegetarian-friendly, gift-cards and booking online. Suggestions?

Lol. Thank you.

Dec 23, 2011
Tara9000 in U.K./Ireland

London help requested: Great restaurant, vegetarian-friendly, gift-cards and booking online. Suggestions?

Thanks for this. I'm thinking of doing the 7-course vegetarian tasting menu at L'Autre Pied:

If anyone has any feedback, or has had this, let me know.

Dec 21, 2011
Tara9000 in U.K./Ireland

London help requested: Great restaurant, vegetarian-friendly, gift-cards and booking online. Suggestions?

Hi folks,

I am trying to put a gift together for a good friend. She likes experiential gifts, and is visiting her sister in London in early February. I thought it might be nice if I could arrange a nice dinner for them all when they're there.

I'm wondering if anyone has any good suggestions for restaurants that meet this criteria:

- Cool/hip restaurant that urban professionals in their early 30s would like to go to (upscale, but not stuffy)
- Central London area
- Vegetarian-friendly
- Offer gift-certifcates online that I can buy to cover a nice meal (or that I can call and have them mail them to Toronto?)
- Nice to have: can book reservations online

Is there anything that comes to mind? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Dec 20, 2011
Tara9000 in U.K./Ireland

Buca - Review

The milk and honey gelato is amazing. Go for that if you have room left for dessert.

Beast Restaurant

They're up and running now. A sign on the menu board said they were opening last Thursday, but I saw it was open as of last Wednesday (that night may have been their soft opening for family/friends or something). There is a menu posted outside the restaurant - states it will change weekly - but it's not on the website yet. I have reservations for next Thursday, and will report back as well.

Amuse Bouche Restaurant: Definitely not amused

I live nearby and noticed two big Cushman-Wakefield signs appear on the resto in the last 2 days. Is it for sale?

Guu is Guu(d) – review + pics

Does anyone know if Guu is open New Year's Day?

Guu is Guu(d) – review + pics

I went on Saturday night with a friend and the place was absolutely rammed. I tried calling earlier to see if I could get a reservation, but it went straight to voicemail every time. We waited just over an hour and got sat at a table (which are communal style)... I was really hoping to sit at the bar, because you at least get some elbow room. I think the tables are supposed to comfortably sit 8 (4 on each side), but they packed 11 in on my table, and I saw another table of 14! Needless to say you become fast friends with strangers...

BokChoi and jlunar did a great job with the menu review, which made it easy to pick tasty dishes. Winning items for me were the tako wasabi, takoyaki, aburi salmon, kurage, tontoro (the little hot pepper paste served with it was amazing), beef carpaccio, and maguro tataki. "Okay" dishes for me were the agedashi tofu, fried chicken, tangue.

Specials of the night were an uni dish, and a pike dish that looked great (but didn't try). Sapporo is super cheap - $3 glasses of Sapporo, $7 "big mugs" (and they are big), and $11 pitchers.

I had 2 bottles of Ramune - a first for me, which I enjoyed, perhaps more for the novelty.

Many of the waitstaff have very limited English, but just roll with the chaotic energy of the room. I've never braved a restaurant open only 2 days before. The very last dish took forever to arrive, but other than that, there were no big hiccups.

Bill was $77 total with tax for 2 people, before tip. Everyone gets a loud Japanese thank you on the way out.

Cumbrae's Steak at $7/lb!

Bought a hanger steak from Royal Beef on Friday for I believe, $5.74/lb. Fantastic deal - a giant piece of meat that fed 6 people (for a total of $14.50).

Made a simple dry rub, and grilled it on a charcoal Webber to rare/med-rare, sliced.

FYI - I believe RB is closed fro Aug 16-24 for a family vacation. I think those were the dates on the sign...

Unfussy good, good food at Yonge/Bloor?

The menu is a bit different than what's currently online... I think their burger is quite good, as is the pulled pork sandwich. The soups are much better as a side than the salad, which tends to be some mixed greens with a few pecans on top and a little dressing. The sweet potato fries are great!

Oh - they have a squash agnolotti with a sage/brown butter sauce that's pretty good.

Unfussy good, good food at Yonge/Bloor?

I second Fire on the East side. I work at Bloor and Church too, and agree it's one of the nicest spots in the area.

I went to the Black Skirt two weeks ago and give it a 'meh' rating.

Charlie's Burger?

I'd like to chime in and state I had a great time as well. The 'mystery' element to the event is fun, the food was great (especially the duck in the can), and the hosts/severs were knowledgeable and informative.

Jamie - loved the leather outfit - and you are one seriously funny guy. I think you made the night!

These events are heavily dependent on the crowd that attends and the personalities in the mix. As others mentioned, the crowd seemed to be comprised of 'younger' professionals, but not all were. These nights are definitely not intended to be a formal event of any kind - so if you're good at mingling, and are not too snooty - you'll have a good time.

Portions were extremely generous, the wines very well thought out - definitely well worth the $110.

As for getting in... you do have to be quick on the draw. I think those with Blackberrys and iPhones for immediate response may have the advantage - but those timed well sitting in front of a computer would fair just as well.

Allens on the Danforth- Disgusting food, service

I went once and ordered the bruschetta that was listed as coming on focaccia. What I got served was some watery tomatoes on the bottom half of a cheap hamburger bun. Complete with one or two tell-tale sesame seeds. I questioned the waiter, and was told "that's what our focaccia always looks like".

Crazy! I haven't been back.

Where to buy cookware, bakeware, etc?

I think Nella, just north of Bloor and Bathurst is a great place for you to check out.
(The store looks much better than the website


Nella Cucina
876 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

Exciting new places in Toronto's E Bloor area?

Hmmm.... I work at Bloor/Church (a block west), and I think the most exciting thing at Bloor and Jarvis is probably the hot dog cart outside the Rogers building. :) There's not too much around that location that meets your requirements, to be honest.

If you're up for a 20 minute walk, or a very short cab ride, how about L'Unita at Avenue Rd and Davenport?

As for the LCBO - try and go to one of the bigger stores for a better selection. There's a large store in the Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor St W (a block west of Yonge/Bloor) with a great vintages section.

134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA

Curry Laksa?

Matahari Grill has curry laksa on their menu:

Your favourite Kozlik's mustard?

I'm not sure about Longos, but at Sobeys they only seem to have XXX Hot, Hot Garlic, and Triple Crunch.

Terroni's it is..

Did he ask for the hot peppers to be on the pizza when it was made? I can't see them refusing the hot peppers on the side - they provide them with all pizzas... and they're great!

Frais? New resto in Leslieville?

Lol... that must be it - thanks Herb, Helen. Having the name wrong definitely made it a challenge.

I've now read some reviews, called for a reservation, but they're closed from Aug. 28-Sept. 4. Another night, perhaps.

Frais? New resto in Leslieville?

I've heard good things about this new French bistro on Queen E./Leslieville from friends, and wanted to go tonight, but for the life of me can't find an address, telephone number, website, etc. The friends are out of town, so I can't reach them to ask.

Has anyone been? I've heard comparisons to Batifole.


Best Chicken wings East of Yonge st in the GTA?

Lol... wasn't this place renovated on Restaurant Makeover last year? (No comment.)

Deep Fried Fish Skins & Wasabi Doritos...

In Canada (at least in Toronto), Lays sells both Wasabi and Curry flavored chips now.

May 31, 2008
Tara9000 in General Topics

Abba Herring

I bet Starsky would have it. They have an entire herring section - including bulk and packaged offerings.

Cafe 668

I know they're definitely licensed. Last time we were there we had a bottle of wine. They opened the wine in the back and brought the already-opened bottle to the table, which is considered bad etiquette.

Loved the food though. Especially the tofu in a coconut cream sauce!

Coffee at Danforth / Coxwell?

Not sure of the exact address, but it's about a block west of Sarah's. Does that help?

I noticed when I drove by yesterday that they have a new big sign, and the interior looked interesting!

Simple, cheap amazing dessert: mock Skor bars

I had these for the first time around Christmas at someone's house whose son is allergic to peanuts. They are striking similar to Skor bars, and surprisingly made with a soda cracker/saltine crust that mimics the crispy interior.

The recipe is really simple to follow, and these things are a major hit at parties. Has anyone else made these?

Feb 25, 2008
Tara9000 in Home Cooking

Weird or Secret Ingredients?

What about mock Skor bars made with soda crackers/saltines? I've had them a few times before and they are insanely good! No one would ever guess there are crackers in there.


Feb 25, 2008
Tara9000 in Home Cooking

Dinner Tonight

I'll chime in because I was recently at Lucien for dinner, and was pleasantly surprised after reading some mixed CH reviews.

"Beginnings" for the group (there were 4 of us), included the berkshire pork belly (x2), which is one of the best dishes I've had in a long time. The flavors were spot on. My husband had the octopus, which he thought was a bit overpowered by a smoke flavor, and the other diner had a seafood (scallop?) dish that I can't remember and didn't try.

"Middle" dishes were the pickerel (again x2) that was a tender, flavorful piece of fish, accompanied by very interesting flash fried broccoli. Others had the Quebec porcelait and lamb dishes.

My husband and I ended with the cheese plate, which was good, but didn't include anything mind-blowing from a cheese perspective, while the others has the apple fritters and "the good humor" ice cream bars (which was such a cute looking dish, if I can say that without sounding completely stupid...). The meal for the 4 of us was around $450, which included all mentioned dishes above, 4 cocktails, two bottles of wine, 2 spanish and 1 regular coffee. A very satisfying meal, in a beautiful looking restaurant. Service was wonderful.

"Melanie's" under construction on Danforth west of Woodbine

My husband and I, and his parents went to Melanie's last night for dinner. We were met with a sign on the door that told us that they were currently only accepting cash. We all took a step back, got out our wallets and started to assess if we had enough for dinner, or whether we needed to find an ATM.

The owner (I believe it was Melanie), came outside to greet us, was apologetic, and told us to come in, and that we could work something out at the end of the night. She was extremely nice about the situation, saying that we could always come back later and cover the bill if needed. I believe their CC machines will be up and running as of Monday. I made a reservation earlier in the day, and if I were the restaurant, I would have just advised patrons of the situation on the phone. It wouldn't have stopped us from coming at all, and everyone likes to be properly prepared. :)

The restaurant looks new and fresh, but I agree with the other poster about the walls looking a bit bare at this point. I also think some people might miss the restaurant due to the fact that they have a hand-painted sign that's not backlit like many other places on the street. Hard to see when driving by at night. That being said, I think they have some lighting for the sign which they turned on later in the night.

Service was attentive, but you couldn't definitely tell it was a new place, as everyone was a bit green. We also seemed to have three rotating waiters, but I figured it was so everyone could get some practice? :) This will probably smooth out in the coming weeks.

The menu for the night was a shortened version of the one hoagy posted above. I think they rotate their selections, which is nice because it keeps the kitchen focused. There were maybe 6-8 appetizers to choose from, 4 pastas, and 3 mains. We weren't terribly hungry, so we shared the shrimp/chorizo and beet salad dishes to start. Both were presented nicely, and quite tasty. I would order them both again.

For mains, I had the blackened salmon with the jalapeno jicama slaw. The fish was cooked nicely, and really enjoyed the slaw. Crispy and crunchy, with jalapeno flavor without the heat. Two people had the linguine with vodka marinated shrimp (declared good), and the last had the butter chicken, which I tried a piece of, and it was very nice.

Desserts were two kinds of cheesecake, but we were already full and passed.

One note on service - a waiter brought over the house wines to show them to the table. I appreciated knowing what they were, as many places do not even bother to list them, but I found it a little awkward. I would have preferred they were just listed in the menu. The house red is Argento's malbec, and the white is the Folonari pino grigio - which are both decent house choices, and definitely better than some of the un-named stuff you get in restaurants that taste like they were brewed in someone's basement. Good pours, and only $6 a glass.

Total bill for two apps, 4 mains, 5 glasses of wine was $124 before tip. Very good value. I think the owners have been smart about their pricing for the neighbourhood, and how to bring locals in. We enjoyed all of the food, and will definitely be back. I want to stop in for brunch soon, as we really need more good brunch spots in the east end!

Foul odor in fridge

This happened to me once, and the source was actually a loaf of bread (an artisan loaf with less preservatives) that had gone mouldy while sitting on the counter. My husband unknowingly threw it in the freezer thinking we'd use later for something or other. The mould spores permeated the freezer and the fridge due to the circulation. We had the hardest time figuring out what it was, because the bread was in a brown paper bag, and is not a usual suspect.

Everything we put in the fridge picked up the smell. Baking soda didn't really help. What worked was *multiple* wipings of all fridge interior surfaces with a bleach and water mixture. And time. I think it took a few weeks to get back to normal. Ugh.

Feb 22, 2008
Tara9000 in Cookware