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ISO kefir grains in the GTA

Anybody know of a good source for kefir grains in the GTA? I'm interested in trying my hand at making kefir.

Mission Burrito

Interesting. I live down the street from them, and to be honest I've been pretty happy with them. I suspect the cold filling problem mentioned in the original post has been corrected long ago, as I haven't run into that in the last 12-18 months. I usually get the steak burrito, spicy.

In my opinion they're far better than Burrito Boyz.

Burrito Boyz
218 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

Salted, Fermented Black Beans and Tamarind

A friend of mine brought me some fresh tamarind pods over the weekend, so I think it's season. I'd never had the pods before--I think they're great (although there's not a lot of fruit on an individual pod).

I've also seen tamarind concentrate in regular grocery stores. I think I've bought it at Loblaws, possibly Sobeys. The concentrate is a lot easier to deal for cooking than the blocks.

Best burrito in the city...

I live close to Mission Burritos and I think it's decent. I've only had the steak burrito, but the meat has some flavor (unlike Burrito Boyz/Burrito Bandidos). Worth a try if you're in the neighborhood.

I like Johny Bananas better, but it's further away (on Bathhurst just north of Queen) and I don't get there very often. A guy I work with says they've changed their recipe since the last time I've been in there, for what it's worth.


The web hosting firm's default page is up now. That could imply that they weren't paying their bills, which could mean they're in bad financial shape. Or that they're disorganized (Microsoft accidentally let one of their domains expire a few years ago).

It could also mean that they're having hosting problems, which could mean anything from their hosting provider is now frantically restoring backups for a thousand domains include Ho Lee Chow's to a badly coordinated transfer to another provider.

Frozen Lambic Ice

Sneek, you're probably thinking of one of the other Belgian beer styles. A lot of them have pretty high alcohol contents. Lambics, on the other hand, aren't particularly strong. You might find an exception or two (especially with the Belgians), but I'm pretty sure Lindeman's is not one of them.

So the freezing point shouldn't be a problem.

Sep 13, 2009
befuggled in Recipes

Loblaws for losers ? well, loses me anyway - off to Sobey's I go !

I've seen occasional stocking issues at the Queens Quay Loblaws. They're generally better than the one at Dupont and Christie, where I used to shop.

Fresh Sour Cherries (Where to find?)

Fresh is better, but it's been so long since I've had a cherry pie with fresh cherries that I'm not sure I could honestly tell you how much better. Cooking fresh cherries does however in my opinion remove some of the advantage that fresh cherries have over canned.

Exploring Kensington Market

I've only eaten at the La Tortilleria on Dufferin, but the fillings weren't bad. They were, however, lukewarm.

The tortillas, though, are good. I just wish they put a little more effort into the fillings.

What happened to Massimo's Pizza ??

I have to confess that I've had way too many bad or mediocre pizzas made by Italians to buy this.

tamarind hut?

According to my wife, a new Indian place has opened up there. She's had the butter chicken and enjoyed it. It's downstairs in the PATH, apparently fairly close to the McDonald's, so it's presumably not fine dining. I'm pretty sure this is it:

Worst in Toronto

After the first time I went to Hero Burger, I felt the same way. My wife and I both thought the burgers we had were very good.

After the second time, I came to understand why Chowhound is not so fond of Hero Burger. It was gristly, dry and generally unpleasant. The fries weren't any good, either. My wife won't go back. This was probably our second worst meal in Toronto.

I'm not sure what the problem is. They may have some serious quality differences between locations (Sherwood Gardens versus Queen Street West), but from what other people have said I suspect they expanded too rapidly and have quality problems at most or all of their locations.

Subbing lemon for lime?

In a marinade? Certainly. In my experience, marinades tend to be pretty forgiving. Like phofiend said, I'd probably just use a little more. I don't think you're going to notice much of a difference.

May 23, 2009
befuggled in Home Cooking

Authoritative cookbooks for ethnic cuisines

For authentic recipes from Sichuan and Hunan, take a look at Fuschia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty" and "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook."

May 17, 2009
befuggled in Home Cooking

Burrito Banditos

I've been a couple of times since they divorced. They seem to be about as good as they were before (although I admit I'm not a fan).

Adobo seasoning (Penzey's?) downtown?

Are you sure? I put a trial order in the basket, and the shipping destinations are US, Canada and Other. I imagine they might have restrictions on some items depending on local laws, etc.

As a side note, I really miss being within biking distance of their Madison WI store.

Also, I think the LoblawMetro version will be okay.

Toronto Vacation Plans. What do you think?

Although I've never had the halibut burrito, I've been pretty disappointed with Burrito Boyz (and their offshoot, Burrito Bandidos or whatever name they decided on). I would personally avoid Mexican and Mexican-inspired food if I were vacationing in Toronto. Toronto has a lot better food to offer, and I suspect you can find better in Florida.

Malaysian Curry at Lucky Curry House – review + pics

I was in the area for training most of the week and had discovered the food court on Tuesday (unfortunately after I had eaten lunch).

Today I had the chicken curry at the Lucky Curry House. I enjoyed it. I like the dark meat personally, although I do agree that the potatoes could have been cooked more. I had the curry without the roti, I thought that would be a bit much. Came out to just under $6 with a drink.

The Hiro Sushi Rip-off!

I would be surprised if he cheats when anyone is watching. You may not see him cheat on your sushi, but would you come back if you saw him cheat on someone else's? I wouldn't.

Irish Embassy in Toronto

These days, Hoegaarden is made by Anheuser-Busch InBev, so it's probably just the token Belgian beer. I've seen Hoegaarden at a number of places where it and Guinness were the only remotely interesting beers.

Haagen Dazs "five"

$7 a pint and half the time it has freezer burn. I'm not sure if that's because I'm buying ice cream downtown, or whether I'm buying it at the wrong places. Up until a couple of months ago we had been going to the Loblaws with the rodent infestation, so maybe their freezers weren't up to snuff either...

One other ice cream disappointment I've had since moving out of the states and into Toronto has been Breyer's vanilla. In Wisconsin, it was high quality ice cream, not as dense as Haagen Daaz but still very good. Here? Downright bad. I checked the package to make sure we hadn't bought the low fat or low sugar version, but we hadn't.

Wild yeast in Toronto?

Seconded. You'll usually get better results if you try to learn one thing at a time, and sourdough starters are tricky enough by themselves.

However, it is possible to buy a commercial sourdough starter. Does anybody know of a source in the GTA?

I wanted to add that I'm particularly fond of the "Bread Baker's Apprentice" (the author is Peter Reinhart). There's a long line of holds for it in the Toronto library, though.

Feb 28, 2009
befuggled in Home Cooking

Davids Tea on Queen West

For the most part I would second this, with the caveat that I don't know tea well enough to comment on the quality of the product. The cupcakes we had were really good.

Baldwin Street

I just moved to the area myself. I was not impressed with John's and I've had mixed luck at Konichiwa. The first time I was there, I had a bento box with some sushi and I thought it was pretty good. The second time, I had a sushi plate and the rice tasted stale. I've been to one of the Indian places and had a decent meal (I just don't remember which one). Hanoi Bistro is also decent. Oh, and we had a nice lunch at Vegetarian Haven.

Toronto Airport Area

I work close to the airport and honestly, that's the only place I've seen that I want to try. There are a ton of chain restaurants in the area (my office is across from the Boston Pizza and Jack Astor's off of Dixon). Granted, I usually take transit so I don't drive around the area a lot, but the airport area's still something of a wasteland.

Heaven found in Harbord Room

And the acoustics are decent? The problem I run into with music in some restaurants is that because of the acoustics, the room design and the direction the speakers are facing I wind up hearing mostly the bass portion of a song. It can be kind of entertaining playing "what's that song" when the vocals sound like they're coming through a tunnel, though.

New York Pizza

I have to disagree that NY pizza is physically impossible in Toronto. First, I'm not convinced the mineral content of the water makes much of a difference. Second, if it does matter it's not exactly difficult to add minerals to water. Water definitely matters to brewing, and brewers regularly adjust the mineral content of the water they use. It's a matter of execution: the vast majority of pizzerias in Toronto do not execute well.

canadian food gifts for US visit

If Canadian Budweiser is brewed in Canada, the Canadians brewing it may not be as good as their American counterparts. Seriously--it takes a lot of skill and effort to brew beer with as little flavor as Budweiser has.

Great Mexican in Toronto?

I think that's the place I noticed this summer when my wife dragged me to a knitting store nearby. Meant to try it, haven't gotten around to it.

The Bagel House: Reviews?

Dumb question: what makes Montreal-style bagels so special? How do they compare to NY bagels?