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Paulette's in Leslieville - any info?

the doughnuts leave a lot to be desired. Before I put it to rest, I'll definitely try the fried chicken but I wasn't impressed. It's a lot of style, very little substance. The place is cute, all turquoise and the servers are all kitted out with little paper hats and white aprons, like old soda shop servers. The branding is fantastic. Oh that the food tasted as good! The outfit is small, one lady takes your order and two other people behind the small counter grab your doughnuts (from a rolling rack) and your chicken (from some kind of oven/holding device). Even though all the food is prepared and ready to go, it takes a loooong time to get it. I went 4 days after they had opened though, so I'll forgive them as they iron out the kinks. Of the 6 kinds of doughnuts offered, we got 5 (they were sold out of the strawberry jammies). Blueberry balsamic, root beer float, mango-yuzu, and the D'oreo. Now this is where things start to go awry: ALL THE DOUGHNUTS ARE THE SAME CAKE BASE AND THE ONLY FLAVOUR DIFFERENTIAL IS THE GLAZE! Now, if any of you have ever been to Doughnut Plant, you know that they do cake AND yeasted doughnuts and the glazes, cake doughnuts, and the fillings differ, offering different flavour profiles and experiences. Not so Paulette's. It's all the same nutmeg-flavoured white cake doughnut base. The doughnut itself is nice - tender, good crumb, nice amount of nutmeg. But it's not $2.75 nice (the size is the same as a Timmy Ho's). Then they make the criminal mistake of DOUSING the doughnut in saccarine, unbalanced, and one-note glazes.

So yes, the Root Beer Float doughnut tastes like a root beer float, but do I want that in a doughnut? I'm not sure. The mango yuzu tastes (and I lOVE yuzu) tastes like the concentrated mango puree straight outta the package with barely any hints of yuzu. The D'Oreo one actually didn't taste at all like an oreo - the flavour was really muted. The best one was by far the blueberry balsamic - it wasn't too sweet and the balsamic acidity cut through and allowed the other flavours to shine. That was the only doughnut where I could eat the whole thing. Everything else, I took one bite and had to put it down.

I'll reserve judgement until I try their fried chicken, but since they only do two things, the fact that one of those things was disappointing doesn't bode well.

Jul 01, 2012
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

easter weekend - what's open?

hi chicago chowhounders.

i'm a canadian visiting your fair city this easter weekend. are most restaurants open on good friday? are reservations essential at places for easter brunch?

any help would be appreciated, thanks!

Apr 07, 2009
vox in Chicago Area

Chowfind at Main and Danforth

bistro camino was delightful! we ordered from the prix fixe options (you have two choices, $25 or $28, each three courses - we went with $28). the location is dreary - it's across the street from a canadian tire on a very downtrodden portion of the danforth (smack dab in the hinterlands between east york and scarborough). the sign outside is quite garish and hints more at 80s nail salon than french bistro. the interior features drop ceilings and a mish mash of quaint, country accents (fabric florals, hunter green wainscoting) and ye standard pub cast-offs (captains chairs). the service is hilariously well-intentioned.

it started off with what the menu described as "selection of 4 hors d'oeuvres - ask your server" so we asked the server what the hors d'oeuvres were (the menu was a little enigmatic). she rattled off a list of what seemed like 10 items. when we tried to order 4 from the list, she quickly interjected - "no, you get some of each of them." !!!!!!!!!!

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the hors d'oeuvres consisted of (clockwise from top): a lush, satiny, cream of lentil soup; dilled gravlax; salty, chewy bayonne ham with a dried fig; a ham and leek spring roll; a perfectly crisp-coated and oozy bit of fried camembert; a rosemary biscuit with a topping of crunchy sea salt and tobiko; and a pickerel escabeche. everything was extremely well prepared, tasty, and showed a competent hand in the kitchen.

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for my main i chose the duck confit with italian sausage from the prix fixe options. the duck was a staggeringly generous portion of perfectly cooked, moist, clean-tasting duck leg. served with crisp-tender vegetables and cheese sauce (!!!!!), a little potato topped with herbed sour cream, a little dab of chickpea puree, and custardy sauteed eggplant. the italian sausage was delicious.

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the dotytron got the steak in green peppercorn sauce, which was a full 8 ounce striploin cooked to a perfect medium rare. it came with the same vegetable accompaniment as my dish, but was sided with thick cut, crispy outside, fluffy starchy inside potato wedges with more some more flaky, crunchy salt sprinkled on top. it was delicious (do i have to remind you that this was for TWENTY EIGHT DOLLARS?????

)

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C ordered the lamb cacciatore, which i didn't try, but it looked delicious.

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to round out our prix fixe (TWENTY EIGHT DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we were told to order what we wanted from the dessert menu (regular price for desserts ranged from $5-$6). i ordered the profiteroles and got one jolly, fat one, stuffed with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. delicious!

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the dotytron ordered the english trifle which would have been perfectly lovely had it not suffered the curse of what i call "the attack of the random mish-mash of fruit." if they had just stuck to the jam-soaked sponge cake, custard, and cream, and left off the kiwis and whatnot, it would have been a winner. even at that, for the price we paid for the meal (TWENTY EIGHT DOLLARS A PERSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) it was well worth every penny and i almost felt guilty paying so little when we settled up the bill.

the best part is, the chef came out and inquired in his halting english how we enjoyed the meal, accompanied by stiff little demure bows. he was a compact, old man with a sweet, genial twinkle in his eye. it's all my favorite things in one place! old, asian men! hard-working cooks! people trying to make an honest living! good, unpretentious food!!!!! a price that can't be beat!!!!!!!!!!! TWENTY EIGHT DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i want to go back there and i want to bring everyone i know there so that they can support the endeavors of someone who deserves success. i wish a blight and pox on every overpriced gourmet burger joint, or any college street "little italy" excuse for a deplorable plate of penne with vodka sauce that takes business away from bistro camino.

Mar 04, 2009
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

moroco chocolat review (with pics!)

the interior of moroco chocolat looks like it was designed by someone who graduated from the bowmanville school of cliched design (with prop rentals from urban outfitters). it was TERRIBLE and tacky beyond all measure. purple, with grey accents, black and white highly lacquered crap everywhere - like a nouveau alice in wonderland's parisian boudoir (but someone who has clearly never been to paris) by way of versailles. it was horrendous. i mean, we can all agree that versailles is breathtaking, but it's not actually in good taste, per se. it's gaudy as all f**k. and the soundtrack was INSANE! they played all-4-one's "i swear" which would probably be fine (at a lower volume) - i get it...kind of po-mo pastiche. but then they followed it up with SARAH MCLACLHAN! at that point, the pastiche theory gets thrown out the window and you're dealing with someone manning the decks who just doesn't know better, or is a cultural r-tod.

i'm willing to overlook all that because there aren't that many places to go have a nice dessert in toronto. unfortunately, this place wasn't that hot. desserts were expensive...most hoveringi n the $14-16 range and for what you get, not worth it. big time beard fail.

i had the chocolate sticky toffee pudding, served with salted caramel and gingerbread stick. this was the size of a golf ball. i'm sorry, i know what the food costs are on pastry items and i know the rent is probably insane in yorkville, but that's not my problem, it's yours. GIVE ME SOMETHING WORTH FOURTEEN DOLLARS. the flavour was aight - sticky date cake was suitably tacky, but it committed the cardinal sin of sticky toffee puddings in that the thing WASN'T SOAKED THROUGH WITH THE CARAMEL SAUCE. so it was sticky on the outside but kind of dense and dry on the inside. the chocolate mousse accompaniment was a bit of an afterthought.

my partner had the brownie. this place also does that stupid thing where they give the menu items names that are embarrassing to say out loud in mixed company, when there are no children present. also, the names had no relationship to the actual items and featured inexplicable spelling. so the brownie is called "brownie and clyde" and there's a menu item called "kiss me kake" (a chocolate cake w/ cream cheese frosting) anyway, this was also MINISCULE. it was about the size of a wagon wheel snack cake. and was thin (you can see it's resting on blackberries). it was okay...like a fudgy, egg-heavy flourless chocolate cake. but as you can see, there's not a hell of a lot sitting on the plate.

i'm not the biggest fan of tromp l'oeil food. i don't generally find it that impressive. making food that's relatively malleable look like other stuff isn't all that impressive to me - it's a lot different in terms of skill set then when say, wylie dufresne makes a "fried egg" out of emulsified carrot juice and coconut. in the above example, you have a sponge cake "bun", a chocolate mousse "patty", lemon gelatin "mustard", shortbread cookie "fries", strawberry coulis "ketchup", and some green stuff that i didn't taste that's supposed to be "relish". in this case, making the food look like stuff seemed to have more to do with "what can we make this food look like?" as opposed to "what will actually taste good together and make sense from a textural/flavour standpoint?" this didn't taste that bad but it wasn't very wow. the cake overwhelmed the burger flavours and the lemon and chocolate didn't make sense. the lemon also ended up tasting kind of artificial and way too gummy - it was reminiscent of black forest cake with the fruitiness and the chocolate. incidentally, this is probably the best value for the buck as you get a crapload of shortbread cookies and the sponge cake bun is pretty substantial.

my friend got the trio of brulee's (chili chocolate, caramel ginger, and vanilla.) i didn't get to taste them but brulee is brulee and they looked alright from where i was. if this was $8-10, i'd think it was worth it, but it was also fourteen bones.

so finally, it's a waste of your time and money. don't go there. they also sell the MOST EXPENSIVE MACARONS EVER. and the MOST EXPENSIVE CANDIED ORANGE PEEL EVER. THE ORANGE PEEL IS THE PART YOU THROW AWAY. the stuff is nicely packaged and i get what they're going for...but you my friends, are no fauchon.

Feb 14, 2009
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

looking for mango puree

hi folks,

they used to sell green 1 L cartons of organic mango puree (didn't have to be refrigerated) at the big carrot and now they don't.

anyone have a source/store on the east side of town that sells nice mango puree? not mango juice...i need it to have some viscosity.

please and thanks!

Jun 27, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Burger Shoppe - Review

this is my review:

ended up at the burger shoppe last night. they ONLY do burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes and they market themselves as "specialists" in that particular idiom. dinner was on the pricey side: 2 "shoppe" burgers (with caramelized shallots and horseradish) combos, 1 with fries, 1 with rings, a side gravy, an upgrade to boylan's soda (instead of canned coke) and a vanilla shake cost $30. it's getting a shade high for me. the fries were outstanding, the onion rings needed a touch of seasoning, the shake was a good shake (if i had my own milkshake machine, i would exercise the masochistic need to be gouged every time i want blended ice cream and milk), and the burgers were quite good, although what i really enjoyed was the shallots and the horseradish. it was beefy little number, but it wasn't the kind of burger that makes me want to shoop, if you know what i mean. i had what i thought (on a tastebud satiation level) was an equally good banquet burger, made with a quantifiable amount of less care and cheaper ingredients, for $3 at square boy. so burger for burger, i don't know if it's worth the drive to acton. the fries were just the way i like them though. top fries in the city (in no particular order): the burger shoppe, duff's wings, and oyster boy. we got a side of gravy with our fries which was surprisingly tasty and had a great consistency...thin enough to make you believe that it might have been made from scratch, but beefy/salty-tasting enough to make you second-guess your optimism.

Jun 27, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Patisseries/Bakeries/Cakes

i also think the critique of chocolate heaven is that they look home-made in the sense that anyone could rip a recipe out of canadian living an produce the same quality of dessert, in which case: why would you go out and pay for it?

the flavour combinations are neither current or particularly well-executed, and the chocolate work is pretty amateurish.

Jan 29, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Patisseries/Bakeries/Cakes

i really don't think there's any comparison to home-baking, for cakes and pies and tarts and things.

where else am i going to find a crust made with lard? <-- produces superlative results

for bread, i generally really like the loaves produced by st. john's.

Jan 29, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chocolate Heaven Cafe on the Danforth

i don't find the cakes at sweet tooth look very current or "couture", unless you consider what amounts to hot pink breakfast cereal plastered on the side of cakes with all the grace of a trowel to be couture. they're gaudy, and the look of them alone is off-putting imo. i can practically taste the corn and corn-syrup byproducts and the grease from cheap oil-based shortenings just by looking at them.

also, clafouti is a big fat waste of money. they don't make anything on site. i did a stage there and was incredibly disappointed. the croissant dough is frozen, gets proofed and baked the morning of, thus justifying their "freshly baked" tag. freshly baked does not mean made in-house! plus a lot of cheap, tinned flavourings and pastes.

bonjour brioche is lovely though.

Jan 26, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chocolate Heaven Cafe on the Danforth

i took a peek inside, it seems very "home baking" and the truffles weren't very good at all, poor couverture on them, and i don't think they're tempered. i don't mind the atmosphere inside but i think the fluorescent lighting has got to go.

sweet tooth on the danforth is also terrible and i advise everyone to STAY AWAY. so many stabilizers, cakes are dry, too many additives and ridiculously overpriced..you're better off with dufflet, at least they emphasize all natural flavourings.

Jan 25, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

looking for cooking pumpkins

anyone seen them around lately? definitively?

is the season over?

thanks!

Jan 17, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Hong Kong-style Western Food (HK-style "cafes")

it's not idiosyncratic! ox-tongue spaghetti with the red sauce is awesome!!! as is the baked porkchop and egg rice dish.

there are certain things you can get at western style hk places (the classics) that you don't get anywhere else, and they're super tasty.

Jan 10, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Winterlicious at Canoe

i worked at canoe for a year and a half. the winterlicious wait time on the phones is NOT to build up hype. we had to turn over three phones lines and designate 3 staff members strictly dedicated to handle the volume of calls during the 'licious times of year.

i do agree though, that you're better off saving your money and eating at canoe during non-'licious. winterlicious is awful, for the industry, for the dining public, and for the food and service that you get for your money.

i hate it.

Jan 10, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Jean's Thai Kitchen BACK?

what's the exact address? or at least intersection? on the north side of the danforth? between coxwell and greenwood?

Jan 08, 2007
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

GLOBE BISTRO MENU

does anyone know who the chef is there?

i'm excited to try it out...i'm definitely adding it to the list.

Nov 25, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

dinner for two?

i kinda of like A&W. it's a nice change sometimes...although the minute differences between the burgers confounds me.

Sep 16, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

hakka chinese food? 'splain please!

what's the deal with hakka chinese food?

i live about a 30 second walk from danforth dragon, and in all my years here (4) have never ventured in, although i'm next door at sakawaya all the time.

i'm a born and bred fanatic of chinese cuisine, but i was raised in markham so i'm spoiled for the choices up there. what is hakka chinese cuisine? how does it differ? anyone recommend any particular dishes?

Sep 16, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

dinner for two?

terroni!

jamie kennedy wine bar!

Sep 15, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Leslieville

i think the food at kubo is decent, but nothing i would travel out of my way for.

i have a weakness for the babycakes though (against my better judgement about their "frosting" versus "buttercream" approach), but in my informal survey of cupcakes of toronto, they're in the number 1 spot so far.

$25 at batifole sounds like a great deal...but the menu usually hovers maybe $5-10 above that...so it's not the greatest incentive...although i do love it there.

that leslie jones place is new to me...maybe i'll have to do a brunch test to see how they measure up.

Sep 15, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

kitchen knives...where in Toronto

i really dislike global knives (handle and balance, especially), and i personally find the staff at the cook's place not overly knowledgeable about knives.

if you're looking to expand your knife collection, the knife merchant online is fantastic. shipping is fast and it's got a great selection of western and japanese brands.

i think that in north america, korin is the best. they also sell online, although you get MURDERED on customs and ups fees. it's best to go directly to the store if you're ever in nyc.

the selection of masahiros (!!!)

Sep 15, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Breaking the bank!!!! need some input

i would also do perigee over susur.

my meal at perigee was exemplary. very few fine dining places in toronto provide DIFFERENT courses for each diner participating in the tasting menu, so that was a lovely touch. i like that the food is very high-end (down to the bread and butter/condiments served at the beginning of the meal) but served in quite a low-key atmosphere.

and i definitely DO NOT recommend george. the food is ho hum, and distracted, if that gets my point across. i found the chef was lacking focus and direction and it showed in his dishes. nothing i ate there really coalesced into something that elevated the disparates parts of the dish into a cohesive whole, which is one of the things i look for in a dining experience.

Sep 15, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Malai Kofta in TO?

have you tried the malai kofta roti at ghandis (queen and bathurst, north side, east of bathurst). i don't know how it measures up to what you've had before, but it's one of the most well balanced, nuanced, rich versions i've had.

Sep 13, 2006
vox in Ontario (inc. Toronto)