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Thawing frozen fish for sashimi

Your fridge is closer to 4C not 15C by the way

Aug 17, 2014
marcharry in Home Cooking

The Costco Thread - new products, old favourites, interesting items

What the heck happened to Epiros Greek Feta. It was a staple in Toronto stores.

Anyone have an alternative - the domestic 'feta' is generally too salty and bland

Anyone have a high-value feta alternative?

Food Secrets in Etobicoke Commercial Lands

Etobians and visitors are familiar with the commercial/industrial area roughly bordered by Bloor to Jutland and Kipling to Royal York. If we had a "meat packing" district - this would be it. Cough up your food secrets in "SoBloo" or "NoJut" (it needs a decent name too). Shops and Restaurants...

Burrito Boyz on Jutland
Pasquale Bros. - will make you a great sandwich (if they have bread that day) on Gooderich
The Butcher Shoppe on Shorncliff has retail sales at the back - great meat good deal
A decent hot dog cart on Six Points near Kipling
Dimpfelmeir Bakery retail store on Advance for Rye (freezes well)

what else is good?

Keeping fresh bagels fresh

They go in the toaster frozen. no need to defrost. I grew up in montreal - home of great bagels that last a day. On day 2 or 3 can splash or spritz a little water on them before toasting.

Feb 18, 2013
marcharry in General Topics

Braised pork shoulder - Boulud Recipe

Thx - good point.Cherries will be good as is.

Nov 28, 2012
marcharry in Home Cooking

Braised pork shoulder - Boulud Recipe

I have to make dinner for eight this weekend. I am going to make Daniel Boulud's braised pork shoulder with cherries and sweet potatoes. http://www.bookstocooks.com/page366.htm
I have actually made this before but it was about a year ago and all I can remember is that it was good although a bit sweet.

The dried cherries that i found easily are tart morello cherries - I like them but they are a bit sour (as the name implies!

)

Anyone have input on what dried cherries I should use?

My shoulder still has skin on it - I am assuming that I should remove the skin before braising? I would think that unless you are roasting - skin is a bad idea?

Nov 28, 2012
marcharry in Home Cooking

What do you wipe your counters with?

That's good input thanks. I will try the microfibre towels (costco) and a vinegar solution in a spray bottle. For what its worth I never intended to disinfect - garden variety 'clean" is fine for me.

Apr 30, 2012
marcharry in Not About Food

What do you wipe your counters with?

One kitchen problem that I have never really solved is "wipes". I currently use J Cloths but i find that wasteful - so I end up using them past the best before date and have a tiny quasi-rag that barely does anything. The benefit is that they do not go mildew.

The synthetic sponge seems to do a lousy job of wiping - just when you need it most you push on it and oozes water onto your or table.

Bottled sprays and paper towels are a non starter for me - you still need to wipe down surfaces with some of rag/towel.

Dishrags seem to go mildew very fast unless strategically hung over the sink - a process that interferes with the sink's constant use and cannot be reliably implemented by all family members.

Some people talk about boiling and bleaching these things daily etc etc. that is just not going to happen in my world.

What is the best, most practical solution? Some type of kitchen rag - that gets thrown in the laundry at day's end? What brand? Does that work?

What do you do?

Apr 28, 2012
marcharry in Not About Food

Les papilles Review

Carrot soup, duck breast with roasted veggies, blue cheese with prune, and pineapple pannacotta with caramel foam. The food was excellent, the portions were very large, served family style.

At the early seating the room was full of Americans. It was more of a lunch style atmosphere with bright lights, and no music. Roaming the room to choose your own wine is fun in concept, but impractical, we had diners standing over our table all night as we ate.

Overall it was good value, but the ambience was disappointing for us.

Mar 13, 2012
marcharry in France

ottawa eating

Prior to our 3 day winterlude in Ottawa I pulled many suggestions from this board so I thought that I would close the loop.

Murray Street was very good. The food is whimsical, nose to tail and tastes great. I am not a fan of sacrificing taste for sustainability and i did not have to choose here. It is small , I could not get a res for 4, but dropped by and ate at the bar. We ate small plates and most were excellent. Exception being the mushroom parfait (not a parfait at all). The highlight was P'tit Dejeuner which is a bit of original brilliance on a plate. Duck wings were saucy, good but not crispy as expected.

Wellington Gastropub was good too. The dishes are more standard, emphasis on local and well prepared. Trout was nice and crispy outside, moist inside. Brined pork loin was juicy - it comes out medium (pink middle) - you need to be okay with that. I would still rather have a rib chop, as the loin lacks flavour. Sweet potato soup was overwhelmed with curry spice. Overall though another good choice ranked 2nd to Murray St.

Arrived on a busy night at Chez Lucien - it was a gong show. A line, no hostess and a lot tables waiting for food. The set up is sort of eclectic on different levels, it looked a little uncomfortable in a peak period. We left and went to Murray St. The food is reputed to be good, but the 'crowd management' not so good.

Nathan Myhrvold video

I thought that this was interesting. Some of these techniques are not "time saving" per se but the low heat cooking reduces attention required and risk of messing up.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2012/0...

Jan 18, 2012
marcharry in Home Cooking

Lunch Pick Downtown - help me

Went to Le Select - it was perfect on the terrasse for a very warm fall day.

Food was good. Frisee Lardon salad was okay, missing a little acid, celeriac and pear soup was nicely done. Mushrooms on polenta - as advertised. Confit de Canard was a tad salty (hard not to be) but good and crispy, reduction sauce lacked flavour and the potato gallette was weak. Short rib looked good, bulgar risotto was creamy and flavourful.

Desserts were pricey (for lunch), quite large and excellent. Lemon tart crispy and nicely sour, chocolate cake and passion fruit sorbet great.

Service was good, not above average, a bit clunky. Reasonable attention by service team. Our main server was too streched on the patio. Missed water glasses, finding out that items were not available WHEN they were ordered, auctioning food, dropping new cutlery (literally), sat 3 at a table for two rather than 4 (a choice) Misdemeanors mostly - generally the server made a good effort though. Maybe 'bistro' covers for that stuff?

Nonetheless a good time was had by all

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Le Select
432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

Lunch Pick Downtown - help me

Great suggestions all around - I think Le Select would be low risk, gallery grill would be interesting and different, Frank would be very nice

thx again

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Le Select
432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

Lunch Pick Downtown - help me

This should be easy right? I have a kind of VIP guest coming in for TIFF. She comes every year and we have lunch. She stays at the four seasons and invariably has a film to get to at the Lightbox at 2PM - dont be late.

The restaurant should have an ambience and service for grown-ups. Funky and different does not cut it. I am not going to impress its just best not to "depress". Imagine that you are hosting Katherine Hepburn.

So, the location should ideally be downtown west of yonge to drop her off at Lightbox, it could also be near yorkville where she is staying. One kicker - its on the MONDAY.

The restaurant should have a bit of flair/interest, serve good food and have excellent service. For that I will pay whatever it takes but like I said it can be simple too. I confess things like Canoe and Bymark are a bit over the top for a friendly lunch (trying too hard?)

Last year we went to Nota Bene - I posted about it. Food was good, room and location were great - service deplorable.
For years prior we went to Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar - oh how I miss it. A little understated, more about the food, damn good cooking and proper service. She still talks about the fries (as we all do).

Enough crying over spilt local,organic milk. Splendido - you say...no lunch. Mistura! - no lunch. George - no monday. Buca? - no lunch. Biffs - yawn. Kit Kat - inconsistent? Jump - considering the old standby.

I know the answer is so obvious I cant see it - it is.....?

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Jamie Kennedy
9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA

Mistura
265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

Splendido
88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

Bymark
66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

Kit Kat
297 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1J5, CA

Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

Buca
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

Good Eats Around Charlevoix

I ate at La Becasse last Thursday, as the GM at Cooks House had recommended it. I was quite disappointed. Beet gazpacho was excellent but beyond that - it was quite uninspiring. Crabcake was ordinary/bland, local whitefish with a nut crust was a bit soggy, the crust added very little; morel risotto was a total fail - bland and overcooked, table next door was disappointed by the Barrimundi (sourced from??) - described it as "tired fish" (i.e. not particularly fresh).
Berry crumble dessert was actually quite good. Presentation of the food was poor. The aircon in the room on a hot night actually did not work nearly well enough leaving us to fight the bugs on a rudimentary patio.The bathroom was not up to standard.
Overall it seems like Guillaume may be a good cook - but that the demands of running a busy resto are dragging him down both front and back of house.
As so often happens - I did not send back the risotto because by then it was too late (they were slow too) and it would have totally inconvenienced the group dining. My bad.

Jul 25, 2011
marcharry in Great Lakes

Mezza Lebanese Kitchen - Queensway/ Royal York

I ate there the week it opened. Friendly family run.

Had the mixed plate which came in cold and hot courses. Hummous was very good - still had chick pea notes in it. Other dips were quite good, pita was fresh. Hot dishes were good, could have used stronger flavours and seasoning.

Menu has traditional lebanese items but not the breadth of a mezzetta.

Reasonable beer and wine options.

Worth a try - pricing is very reasonable.

Recipes to use up Cream Cheese (besides frosting)?

mixed with tomato sauce - it will make a creamy rose-like pasta sauce that clings

Jan 03, 2011
marcharry in Home Cooking

Chantarelles at Costco?

A friend in halifax said they that have them in-store. Anyone seen this in Toronto?

ISO suggestions pre-theatre near Dundas Sq.

Looking for suggestions around Eaton Centre/Yonge/Victoria pre "Wicked" at Canon Theatre (7:30 start).

Something fairly straightforward and relatively fast (in/out in 60 mins). Moderately-priced. I will have two young teenagers with me.
Would like to do better than bad chain food.

Only catch is - no Asian or seafood. My daughter has a severe shrimp allergy

twice baked potato

Thanks all. I get it now.

Oct 08, 2010
marcharry in Home Cooking

twice baked potato

It does but i have never used it. good suggestion . Kind of risky if i get stuck in traffic !

Oct 08, 2010
marcharry in Home Cooking

twice baked potato

I have nice big baking russets that would take far too long if started them when i got home. Can I bake them the night before and bake them again the next day. "Twice baked" is supposed to be a good thing.

Can someone explain how to properly twice bake a potato?

Oct 06, 2010
marcharry in Home Cooking

So who went to Picnic at the Brickworks 2010?

It was full but that made it a little exciting. I was totally impressed with the event.
Trout Salad was also a refreshing option
JK Kitchens served a veggie medley that, while not spectacular, was a nice change from alot of the meat dishes
Cumbraes pulled pork was terrific - no surprise. Not sauced because the meat was moist as it is.

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Cumbrae's
481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

What to do with foie gras

Duly noted. It appears to be cooked. As mentioned I think its basically a terrine. If so, simply serve it like a pate de foie.

Sep 19, 2010
marcharry in Home Cooking

What to do with foie gras

I recieved a can of 7oz of fois gras as a gift. Wondering what to do with it.

Generally I think of it as sliced and lightly seared...and then what??

Sep 18, 2010
marcharry in Home Cooking

Nota Bene - underdelivers at Lunch

I had read some postings that felt that the service had been a little weak. I have to add that the service today was shoddy. Here is where they missed

We were seated promptly and abandoned. Thankfully water was on the table because I was meeting someone who had already arrived. Nary a server for maybe 10 minutes. Thats an eternity.

At that point we put in drink and food orders at once. My guest orders the tuna tartar but since we have ordered a side of Frites for the Table asks to sub out the potato chip side for Green Papaya Slaw side on another item. "Uh I can bring it with green salad" says the errant server. Not "i will try/ask/see what I can do - just decides that they are not as good as Burger King and you have it the way we want you to.

Order a glass of Pinot Noir - I dont see a Pinot by the glass as one of the 5 choices. Server suggests a Pinot Grigio - uh "we were thinking of red wine. Any of these more obscure varietals close - kind of full-bodied?" She has no idea and she is not inclined to get anyone who knows. Ignorance is bliss apparently. $15 for a glass of wine and we need to wing it - nice.

My arugala salad comes out, I am waiting for my guest's green salad. And waiting...and waiting. Finally i hail the Maitre D - he sends out the missing salad - the runner is full of apologies about mix ups in the kitchen.

The mains come out fine and we are once again abandoned, no check back, god help you if you want another drink, 2 of the 3 water glasses are empty now. Its gettting embarassing. The MD walks bye and ask him for "water please" - the busser comes by as they are clearing and fills MY water glass and leaves. I am shocked and have to ask one of the runners who is clearing to send the busser back to fill the second empty water glass on the table.

The dessert menus are closed and we wait...and wait. This time the Maitre D figures out that we dont really have a server and HE takes the desert order.

The service was just disorganzed and ineffective.

Green Salad was very plain mixed greens dumped into a bowl - too simple
Arugula/Prosciutto salad was tasty but poorly plated with large slices of prosciutto draped over the greens
Wagyu burger - what can i say its a $44 burger. But I think it had bacon on it - which I find kind of weird. What is the point of wagyu if you are going to bacon it.
Tuna Tartar was good
My Pasta alla chitara with tomato sauce had an excellent texture to it was creamy and quite good, - a little bland though.
Deserts were good, not great. (blueberry crumble and sticky toffee pudding)

Hard to enjoy average or even above average food with below average service. Sometimes its not a big deal, on this occasion my guest of honour was a VIP (to me) in for the film festival and someone who would have high expectations of service. Note THIS well - they need to improve their service to avoid embarassing guests dropping $100 per person for lunch at a boite on Queen west.

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Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

Help: Graduation BBQ for Meat eaters vs. Veg. Heads

Grill some veggies and put out a potato salad and a green salad. How about a mixed bean salad.
Dont worry about "foodie" focus on food

May 01, 2010
marcharry in Home Cooking

Help! North York tonight

I ended up going to Paese. The food was above average but not great. My veal chop was large, nicely crusted but too thin to get a good medium centre, the mashed potatoes were a bit of a cop out but adequate. Flourless chocolate cake ($10) was something akin to crumbly fudge and its raspberry coulis accompaniment lacked an intense berry taste. Its still an oasis in a desert - that part of town.
Service was very good - professional. But the room was full and about 100 degrees! Bizarre that they could not get the room to a decent temperature pretty basic - no?
Their BYO policy is fantastic - no corkage mon-fri. $25 saturday.

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Paese
3827 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M3H, CA

Help! North York tonight

Dinner for 4. Anything interesting in North York/Bayview?

Upper-mid priced.

Sydney in March - no asian

The budget is just a target - we can feed the kids bread :-)

Happy to hear about places that are more$