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Cannoli in Toronto

On Saturday mornings, Royal Beef on the Danforth has fresh cannoli that I love.

The first cannoli I ever tried was nasty - heavy and greasy (they'd been savagely deep fried). Royal Beef's are light and crispy and wonderful with a cup of coffee.

With all the Italian bakeries in the city, there must be lots more, as well.

Jun 09, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

LCBO - cheapo scotch

The best cheap scotch I know is Famous Grouse. Blended, but from great sources. Less than $30 for 750ml. It's very smooth, and I don't feel like I'm slumming it when I pour a shot.

Next up is Te Bheag. Less than $40. More complicated than the Grouse. Also, it's "unchillfiltered", which to me means it gets cloudy sometimes.


May 27, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Feature to block users?

Any chance you'll introduce a feature to block users? I mean just from appearing in my login. I don't want to affect anyone else's view, just what I see.


May 24, 2009
aveivy in Site Talk


21 Colossus Drive, Unit # 125
Vaughan Ontario L4L 9J8
(905) 264-9977

Note that the main Chili's corporate site does not yet list this location. But it is part of the Chili's family.

May 23, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Favourite Places in Hamilton?

Mex-I-Can - any chance it's related to a place of the same name that used to be on Yonge Street in Toronto, west side, near the Summerhill subway station?

They made very, very good bread and a lemon meringue pie that my wife still remembers fondly many years later.

May 12, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Biffs ?

They usually have a chicken liver pate appetizer that I think is outstanding. Sounds simple enough, but they serve the pate in a small ramekin with an absurdly delicate crust of caramelized sugar. Somehow it just makes the dish.

And their steak frites are very good.

Great room, too.

Apr 26, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best chocolate gelato - what's your opinion?

Gelato Fresco's Devil's Chocolate.

And you can get it in supermarkets and corner stores.

Apr 25, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Holy Samosa!

Sultan and Moti Mahal are both great choices, I think, but very different takes on samosas.

Moti's are what I think of as "classic" northern style - a flour dough filled with potatoes, peas and spices. Goes great with the sweet red chutney, spicy mint chutney and (best of all, I think for this kind) tamarind chutney (which is really fast & easy to make at home).

Sultan, on the other hand, has several kinds, all in what most Torontonians would call a spring roll wrapper (but still in the traditional triangular shape). They have a couple of flavours that I'm hooked on besides traditional potatoes/peas: I suggest trying the lentil (daal) and chicken varieties.

And while you're at Moti Mahal, I also recommend the stuffed naan - a naan bread stuffed with minced tandoori chicken. Fantastic with their butter chicken sauce.

And at Sultan, try the onion pakoras (they might call them onion bhaji).

Apr 20, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gerrard and Jones suggestions?

Expect a good walk to get to interesting restaurants.

Suggest you avoid the places that cater to high school kids on lunch break. Pizza Pizza is there, with the usual caveats (it ain't brilliant, but sometimes, coming home in the wee hours, it's just right).

Head west several blocks to get to Gerrard/Broadview and you'll be rewarded with a few good Chinese and Vietnamese places. My favourites right now are Pearl Court (C) and Pho Mi Gia Phung (a mix, but predominantly Vietnamese). PC is on the south side, and Pho Mi is on the north side; both are east of Broadview.

And along the way you'll pass a pho place called Peach Garden (?) on the north side, just before Home Depot that I've never tried, but I've seen good comments here about it.

East of Jones, the few blocks before Coxwell is Little India, with several good spots, including Udupi Palace (strict vegetarian), Siddhartha (mixed buffet), BBQ Hut (they deliver!) and several others worth trying.

Walking south to Queen puts you in an increasingly interesting neighbourhood, with some new pubs, restaurants and a number of bakeries.

Hope you find good things.

Apr 19, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto Vacation Recommendations Needed

Since you have a couple of young kids, how about an ice cream tour of Toronto with an emphasis on the multicultural nature of the city?

Traditional style - but not so traditional flavours - can be had at Ed's Real Scoop in the Beach (and now in Leslievile, too) and Greg's at Bloor & Spadina. Wonderful stuff; I'm especially fond of Greg's burnt marshmallow flavour.

Moving on to Italian influences, there are plenty of great gelato places in Toronto. Two of my favourites are Hollywood Gelato on Bayview (a kind of yuppified neighbourhood with lots of other interesting restaurants of all kinds nearby) and La Paloma at St. Clair W & Lansdowne. La Paloma is a traditional Italian place in a very Italian neighbourhood, and is right around the corner from a great small restaurant, The Big Ragu (we go to TBR for dinner and LP for dessert). Of course, there are several other good Italian restaurants in the area.

Next up is kulfi from Little India, which is a little denser than regular ice cream. There's not a single place I recommend. Instead, take a stroll along Gerrard East, between Coxwell and Hiawatha and have a look around. You'll find people selling all kinds of street food (try the spiced, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and make sure they rub it with lime for you), and several vendors keep a freezer full of kulfi. Pistachio and mango are probably the most common flavours. For a sit-down meal in the area, I like Udupi Palace (vegetarian, try the masala dhosa) and Siddhartha (a really good buffet these days). Again, there are other good choices.

I'm sure I've missed other places and cultures, but I think this is a good start.

Some links....

Big Ragu:
La Paloma:
Udupi Palace:

Hope you enjoy your stay!

Apr 12, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Eat in/around Kensington Mkt

Back Alley Woodfire BBQ at 188 Augusta - the hours are unpredictable, but it's worth it for the scallion pancakes and the grilled calamari. And the folks there are very friendly.

Apr 09, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best price on Parmesan in West end?

It think it helps to get specific - In December I compared prices at Loblaws to Costco: Loblaws was $52/kg and Costco was $26/kg, so no comparison. Does anyone know what CB charges?

I have no idea how CB's aging affects the cheese, but I find no difference between Lowblaws and Costco cheese (and there shouldn't be - they've both got "REGIANO" burned into the rind). The one caveat is that Costco wants to sell you a pretty big chunk (I think about $20-25 - almost a kilo!). The cheese will keep for a while if you take care to wrap it well in the fridge.

Apr 06, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to find "bold" molasses in Toronto?

I'm thinking about making a gingerbread cake, but the recipe calls for "bold" molasses (as distinct from "mild").

As far as I can recall, all the molasses I've ever seen around here (and I'll admit it's not a comprehensive review) is labeled "fancy".

Does anyone know where to find the bold stuff in the GTA? And any opinions on the merits of the different varieties would be most welcome as well.


Mar 25, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

New burrito place at Queen and Greenwood

Anybody know their hours? No info on their website (and no way to contact except phone, which seems silly on a web site).

Mar 23, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Banana cream pie in Toronto?

I got one for my birthday last fall from Wanda's Pie in The Sky, and it was outstanding. I'll admit that it looked a little plain, but the taste and texture were about the best I've tried.

They've got a couple of locations - see

This time of year it will be a special order.

Altitude Bakery down on Queen East, near Greenwood, also makes a pretty good pie, but it's a) also a special order and b) I've found the place to be inconsistent over the past two years. Summer fruit pies have been downright nasty (burned; filling baked hard under the pie shell, gluing it to the plate). To be fair, cream-based item have all been good, and I am addicted to their Johnny Cake.

Mar 08, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ahi Tuna Steaks for Seared Tuna

I wouldn't buy from a supermarket, as few really sell a lot of the stuff. And if they don't sell a lot, then it sits around, which you don't want.

I get my tuna at St Lawrence market, and only on Friday or Saturday, when the fish is likely to be freshest and volume is highest. Don't know about Markham, but I'd suggest you find a specialty fish store that appears to sell a lot of fresh tuna.

Feb 24, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Pining for Kimchee Ramen like OJA used to make

There's a restaurant in Toronto on Yonge St, just south of Bloor on the east side called OJA. In a previous incarnation (when they had giant papier-mache mushrooms hanging from the ceiling) they made a killer kimchee ramen soup in a bowl that was guaranteed to chase away a cold.

They moved the decor in a more conservative direction and scotched a bunch of things on the menu, and it's just not the same any more.

Can anyone recommend a good place in/around Toronto for a big bowl of spicy kimchee ramen (pref w/chicken)?

Feb 24, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Visiting Toronto - Must-Try Restaurants?

Agree with Senator. I'm also fond of Aunties & Uncles ( for breakfast.

For dinner, I think Gio Rana's Really Really Nice Restaurant is a novel experience.

Thinking Koreatown, I don't know any of the restaurants, but there are a few bakeries selling hodo kwaja (walnut cake, shaped exactly like walnuts in the shell) that I love. My favourite place is on the north side of Bloor (i.e. further from the lake), between Bathurst and Christie Pits (the park west of Bathurst). The sign just says "hodo kwaja". I suspect any of the bakeries there are worth a try.

Same neighbourhood but very different cuisine is Tacos El Asador. It's a tiny place, but friendly and the food is very fresh and good. North side again, very close to Christie Pits.

And another unique experience is Back Alley Woodfire Barbecue & Grill in Kensington market ( Call before going, as they have eccentric hours, and have the scallion pancakes if nothing else. I also really like their grilled calamari.

Have fun on your trip!

Feb 23, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Hawaiian pineapples in Toronto?

Is there any place to reliably find Hawaiian pineapples in Toronto? Ideally, I'm looking for the Maui Gold variety.

And a related question, where to find li hing powder? Hawaiians sprinkle it on fresh pineapple (among other things), and it's a very unique taste. I'll try T&T Supermarket in the next couple of days, but would appreciate any advice on where to find it.


Feb 21, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

canadian food gifts for US visit

Shreddies. A friend of mine lives in Seattle these days, and he always stocks up when he visits. And don't forget to point out the "new improved diamond shape" :-)

I think that plain Kraft Dinner is also hard to get in the US.

Jan 26, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Big Green Egg in Toronto

Bear in mind that the WSM is a water smoker.

I got my Egg (large) at Classic Fireplace (link above from TexSquared) for about $1500, I believe. And it will last a lifetime.

Having used both, I'd pick the BGE without hesitation, but he WSM is still an excellent choice. It needs more attention, but that can be part of the fun.

BTW, Classic will want to sell you BGE-branded charcoal. It's OK, but there are better (and cheaper) charcoals available at Ontario Gas Barbecues.

Jan 23, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to buy good quality charcoal?

Not that I've ever seen.

If you go, they'll probably have Big Green Egg, Basques Hardwood (from PQ) and one or two others. They tried real hard to talk me into briquettes (last longer, more consistent burn), and they carry a couple of brands (all natural, they stressed).

I'm a little hardcore, so I stuck with lump charcoal. Between BGE's brand and Basques, I think I prefer Basques. So far, fewer impurities (i.e. rocks) and it does seem to burn nicely. I've had a load last >14 hours in a BGE, keeping a very stable temperature of 225F.

Jan 21, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to buy good quality charcoal?

Agreed with Kagemusha - Ontario Gas Barbecues in Concord - But be warned that their winter selection is not so good. Only about four lump charcoal brands to choose from. In season they carry many more.

They also carry a variety of woods for smoking - hickory, alder, mesquite, apple, cherry and grape vine were all avaible last time I was in (early December).

Jan 21, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Loblaws New York Pork Shoulder?

My local Loblaws is selling something called a "New York Pork Shoulder" for about a buck a pound. The cut is massive, with most pieces they've got around 14 pounds. I'm thinking of getting one to smoke, but I can't find a definition anywhere, and I'd like to understand exactly what it is before making the investment (money and time).

Anyone tried this or know how it's different from a Boston Butt?

Jan 19, 2009
aveivy in General Topics

Best bets on the Danforth

The flaming cheese is Opa! Saganaki. "Opa!" is really just an exclamation. Saganaki apparently refers to the pan, as the cheese has other names (I've always assumed it was kefalotiri, but I've found a variety of recipes that call for different specific cheeses - but they're all firm and a little salty).

Jan 15, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Oil Change Eats

I'd suggest Bonjour Brioche at 812 Queen East (at DeGrassi - NW corner just before the railway overpass)...

Not too long a walk.

It's a little hectic, and the service suffers as a result, but the food can be quite good. My personal favourite is the beef on a baguette - shaved, rare roast beef on a baguette with aioli and brie. DON'T let them toast it - the beef goes from silk to cardboard.

I am also very fond of the brioche and the fruit-accented pastries (not the tarts with custard, but the pastries made with lemon, blueberry and raspberry). Quiche is very good, as is the french toast.

Just west of Broadview there's Dark Horse Espresso (north side), and I think F'Coffee (south side, closer to the DVP). Never been to these two, but there seems to be some enthusiasm in other postings.

Jan 15, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Royal Beef on Danforth

Saturday mornings wouldn't be the same without RB: fresh ricotta, canolis (I've never had better) and pitas with fresh tzatziki.

They also carry some pretty good cheeses - they introduced me to "drunken goat".

And then there's the chaurice sausage. Paul talked me into putting some in my turkey stuffing a few years ago and it was a brilliant idea.

Jan 04, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get deep fried Mars bars in Toronto?

Dangerous Dan's - NE corner of Broadview and Queen (across from the Real Jerk, which should never have moved from Queen & Greenwood).

It's an eccentric place.

Jan 02, 2009
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

need scotch suggestion -- LCBO

Lagavulin's peaty, while Dalwhinnie is very smooth with honey notes. If you'd like something in-between, I'd suggest Oban (which I think still comes in a 14 year old that's very nice).

Ardbeg is also a very good choice, and it's a little unusual, both in taste and appearance (it's a little cloudy due to the filtering process).

And if you want to throw caution to the winds and go extra-peaty, try Talisker (16 yrs).

Distiller's editions of both Talisker and Lagavulin are very nice, ramping up the peat (but smoothly, mind you). Personally, I find the DE Dalwhinnie robs the stuff of the lightness that I like in it.

Lastly, if you want something very interesting that also happens to be (relatively) cheap, try the blended Te Bheag (pronounced, "Chey Vek"). Smooth, cloudy like Ardbeg - it's a bargain.

Dec 22, 2008
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best pie downtown

I'll vouch for Wanda's as well. At least their banana cream pie, which was wonderful. It looked a little flat, and had me worrying that they'd sold me a frozen sara lee as some kind of diabolical plot of unknown ambition, but it was fabulous. Even made a believer of my wife, who's never been fond of cream pies.

Dec 11, 2008
aveivy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)