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Black Hoof

not to prolong the debate, but in response to Manybears, I don't think the OP's experience is typical. Living in the neighbourhood, I am a fairly frequent diner at BH and either have not waited at all, or have been called with a table ready before the estimated time that was given (as mentioned in my post above). On occasion, situations such as OP's can happen if diners decide to extend their stay beyond the average. This in no way can be predicted by the host. But again, on average I'd say the estimated time is fairly close to the real wait time.

Apr 28, 2010
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Black Hoof

funny, my experiences with wait times at the hoof have been quite opposite - several times I've been told 30-45 min, have gone across the street to the cafe for a drink, and was called much earlier. it's not a perfect system by any means, by i live with it, because its imperfections are really caused by the resto's interest in making sure everyone dining there will leave happy. hence, no rushing tables, allowing people to linger, change their minds on having one more dish or drink etc (i know i've been guilty of that - the vibe at the hoof is so comfy that it really often makes me stay a lot longer than i intended).

they also are totally okay with diners deciding they will stay at the cafe side even if they're on the waiting list. the snacks there are pretty damn good, and i bet quite a few people end up cancelling their place in line (i did just this past friday).

Apr 27, 2010
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Union or Watsui for dinner?

while i've experienced long wait times on occasion at union due to order backups, i have had consistently good service there after the initial two weeks after opening. i go there fairly often, since i live around the corner, and have been served by various waiters. the pretentiousness of some of the clientele, on the other hand, is another matter:)

Mar 09, 2010
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Olive oil from Jordan, Syria or Lebanon, where to find?

you can also find Palestinian olive oil at Fiesta Farms.

Dec 14, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Caplansky's: What the @#$%^&*?!!!

i was there on the weekend with my SO. he had the smoked meat (fatty) sandwich, i had the chopped liver sandwich, we shared a plate of latkes, and had a slice of bread pudding with coffee.

loved the smoked meat sandwich - totally satisfying, nice balance of fat to meat, appreciated the thicker slices. liked the chopped liver - i thought it was a bit bland and somewhat dry but i am partial to katz's version (not to mention my mother's:)). it was good though, just not as good as the smoked meat. i would do away with the tomato slices right now - while tomato and liver pate go well together, the tomatoes now are tasteless and these slices were too. i took them off and replaced them with the delicious pickle.

we were quite disappointed with the latkes, they are a side, and come as a set of 4 or 5 little one (maybe two) bite disks. that wasn't the problem though. they had almost no potato flavour. now i should disclaim that i've been mostly disatisfied with potato pancakes in this city, primarily because many places mix potato with flour, which i hate (i grew up on potato-only potato pancakes so anything else lacks flavour and texture to me). to me, caplansky's were not 'potatoey.' we really didn't like them.

bread pudding was dense and chocolatey, and satisfying, although we were probably too full to enjoy it fully.

i am already looking forward to the tongue sandwich for my next visit!

Nov 17, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Student Foodies' Toronto Weekend

for the splurge, i'd say black hoof. you'll love the food and the vibe. after you can hang out in the ossington/queen west area, and hit some bars (a number of which have pretty decent late night snacks menus).

in a totally different direction, for lunch you might want to consider jamie kennedy's gilead cafe (on gilead, off king, east of parliament). food is wholesome and all about the ingredients. from there you can venture into the queen east strip, or go down to st. lawrence mk.

Nov 17, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

St-Viateur Bagels in Toronto?

me too - i've tried all the montreal style bagels in toronto (almost all - i haven't yet been to the bagel place on roncesvalles) and none of the made me want to go back. we go to montreal twice a year, and before we do, we make sure to clear out the freezer to make space for two dozen bagels. we also have to pick up bagels for several friends, so basically the whole back seat is taken up with bagels:)

Nov 07, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Black Hoof alternative?

they close on tuesdays and wednesdays. on the plus side, they're open on sundays and mondays when a lot of restaurants are closed.

i was there this past sat, and because of the halloween parties, the place was unusually quiet. the fois gras pb&j was divine.

Nov 02, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Holiday in Montreal next week: November 5-8: exploring Old Montreal restaurants-ideas?

i haven't been to pan chancho for a year, but for what it's worth, it was still pretty good a summer ago.

for montreal recommendations you need to post this on the quebec board.

Oct 27, 2009
Kasia in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Black Hoof

thanks for the reply. i hope it is soon - it will solve a lot of the issues re: waiting etc, and that brunch sounds promising!

Oct 26, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Black Hoof

i love testino there! that was actually the very first dish i had at the hoof, and decided this is the place for me:)

which reminds me, haven't been there in a month - must go back!

while you were there, did you get any info/update on how their cafe construction across the street is doing?

Oct 26, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

If I eat nothing else when in Toronto - I need to try/eat

well, i've never waited 1-2 hours there, but i guess it may be the case at peek hours. at which point you're within walking distance to a number of good restaurants so it wouldn't be a complete disaster (i do that often enough when i travel - pick resto A, and B in the area as backup in case i can't get into A).

there is nothing 'sketchy' about this area. in dare say this is one of the safest areas in the city. i run at all hours of the day and night around the neighbourhood, not just on main streets like dundas and ossington but also through the park and various side streets. far from sketchy, it is a real neighbourhood with, despite ossington, a good mix of low to medium priced cafes, restaurants and drinking holes. i walk by (and even venture into) some of the dives, and somehow everyday come out unscathed. your example is poor - the same situation can and does happen in myriad of places and is hardly an example of a 'day in the life' of dundas/ossington.

Oct 25, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

If I eat nothing else when in Toronto - I need to try/eat

why wouldn't you send out of towners there just because there is no reservation? when i travel, and especially in new york, i often go to places without reservations because they sound interesting and are in an interesting area. as a visitor, i enjoy walking around and checking out the hood while i wait, or grab a cocktail at a nearby bar. not sure why a visitor wouldn't want to do that here.

Oct 25, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

petit paris?

thanks for update. glad to hear that that's the reason.

Oct 24, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

petit paris?

i was in bloor west village last weekend and noticed that petit paris has closed down. i've never had any of their cakes but did like their very inexpensive truffles. does anyone know if the owners are still in business somewhere?

Oct 23, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Guu in Toronto in Dec!

i am super excited, especially since the chef of my favourite guu location is coming here to oversee things and train staff. i have doubts about the december timeline though...

Oct 23, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Swatow: Are you kidding???

i must admit there are plenty of places around town that have a mediocre or so-so menu but do one or two things well and i go to those places fo that one thing.

i remember when i lived on st. clair at vaughan, there was a typical chinese-canadian resto across the street with pretty mediocre food. but they made this orange chicken dish with real orange rinds that was delish. that's all i ever ordered there:)

Oct 23, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Swatow: Are you kidding???

lol. i think that's where a lot of the praise comes from - i know for me swatow has been the go-to place for years in the middle of the nice after the bars close:) or, in the more recent years, the go-to places when i am coming back to toronto from a trip in the middle of night and need a meal after a long drive and drive-in fast food.

not quite sure that there have been a ton of posters claiming swatow to be some showcase of cantonese cuisine, as both sides in this debate seem to be assuming (or implying).

Oct 23, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

If I eat nothing else when in Toronto - I need to try/eat

i;m not sure that the poster asked for 'uniquely' toronto - i thought the request was for 'must try' places. when i travel i don't only look for food i can't get here, but also for interesting, good quality places that locals enjoy.

Oct 21, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

cool for teens

My partner and I have taken kids of the same age to Terroni and they loved it. The menu is large enough that they are bound to find an option that appeals to them. The place (I'm thinking of Queen location though) is busy and kind of fun, which our visitors really liked. They felt it was grown up, but not stuffy.

Oct 21, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Get Real Cafe permanently closed

according to a neighbour who ran into one of the owners, the cafe is finished due to rent increase. the landlord asked for a 30% increase. clearly not affordable to a place that makes money from food, not alcohol. this is why ossington will be crowded with bars, moratorium or no moratorium - what other businesses can afford sky high rents? greedy landlords will make sure that business diversity disappears from every interesting block in this city.

this is a real loss, not just to the neighbourhood but to vegetarian food lovers. get real cafe made tasty fresh food, and provided a warm welcoming spot. i am a meat eater, but this was one of my most frequently visited lunch places, and a regular take out spot.

Oct 21, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Amy Pitaki is back at the Toronto Star

i know, it was a good read, but i must admit i related to it more as a gossip column than food column. am looking forward to the next entry, although am still not clear on what the focus/angle of his new column is meant to be.

Oct 17, 2009
Kasia in Food Media & News

get real cafe - what's going on?

just walked by the place, to find it closed with a mysterious sign on the door: 'business closed for a special reason, ask next door'. so odd...i didn't bother going in next door, in case it's some neighbour dispute, but has anyone heard anything about this? are they closed for good, or just temporarily?

Oct 15, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

TURKEY in Toronto

we've been getting our turkeys from healthy butcher for a few years now and they are delicious. they do look for producers of heritage breeds, because those birds are much tastier than the typical commercial turkey (i don't remember the name of the most common breed). their price has come down a bit this year, but it is still expensive - 4.39/lb i think. so a medium sized turkey will set you back around $60. we are having thanksgiving dinner for 16 people though, so we just look at it as $4 per person for meat, which then sounds not so bad:)

Oct 10, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Raaw Sushi - Liberty Village - Bad News!

not surprised. a few weeks ago, one of the toronto papers (can't remember which) posted a brief review that said pretty much the same thing. from my recollection, the reviewer was so grossed out that he left after the appetizer, thus not being able to do a proper review!

too bad that the two new additions to that area are such busts.

Oct 02, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Butter

Stirling butter lists only cream in its ingredients. i saw it recently at leslieville cheese shop on queen west.

Sep 30, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sommeliers, wine lists and pricing (split from Ontario board)

can we get back to discussing wine lists in actual restaurants? a discussion of mythical sommeliers and what they do or don't do may be interesting to some, but perhaps could be taken to the 'not about food' board. unless you want to venture an opinion of a specific restaurant/sommelier that can help steer us towards good parings.

Sep 30, 2009
Kasia in Wine

Mushrooms

i just came back with fresh matsutake from evergreen brickworks market. it's closed now, but i think forbes wild food (i think that's the name) sells at other markets/stores as well.

Sep 19, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

liberty noodle review

having read the few messages detailing their experiences so far, I had no plan on visiting this place any time soon. but my SO dragged me there today for lunch, so here are my impressions for what they're worth.

first, i think the timing/wait problems have been addressed. the place was fairly full, yet we were in and out within 45 minutes, and all other tables were getting their food fairly quickly. we were seated immediately, and waiter took our drink orders very promptly. unfortunately, it's possible that this improvement in service has come at the expense of food quality.

the place has a very standard westernized menu of ramen soups, some fried noodle dishes and some rice dishes. my SO had the spicy beef ramen, and i had the chicken katsu. the ramen soup was okay - beef was pink in the middle, the ramen were fairly firm, broth was hot and spicy if not overly complex. it's not even close to the excellent ramen we've had most recently in New York, but it was fine. My chicken dish on the other hand was a disaster. The panko coating on the chicken was good enough, not too oily, but everything on the plate was lukewarm, including the chicken. the rice was terrible - dry, flavourless and not hot. My guess is that this is how they've dealt with the timing issues - cook things ahead and keep them in warming ovens or something. even that though doesn't explain the lack of flavour of the rice which i assume was cooked in a rice cooker (thus should have been hot). the plate came with a bit of coleslaw, the amount too small to be noticable. we did end up with a black rice pudding for a dessert (mostly because i was still hungry since i didn't eat my rice), which was not bad - they mix two kinds of sticky rice, and top it with a coconut custard. strangely, this rice dish had proper texture and lots of flavour.

i don't imagine going back. the better of the two dishes was just okay. while there was very clear attention paid to service, making sure everyone got seated and taken care quickly, not one server (including the manager working the floor) was asking for feedback. when the server removed our plates, instead of asking about why i left the rice, made a joke of it. when i made a point of telling him the reason i didn't eat it, he apologized and proceeded to sell us on the deserts in the same breath. somehow i doubt he'll take the message back to the kitchen.

Sep 17, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking for Toronto Classics

Union is very loud and somewhat crowded, so my not suit your mom-in-law.

Sep 04, 2009
Kasia in Ontario (inc. Toronto)