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Canned Pumpkin in UK???

The Canada (and Australia/New Zealand) shop in London (Maiden Lane) has both regular canned pumpkin and the pie filling.

Aug 18, 2011
c.cow in U.K./Ireland

Keeping on top of holiday hours 2010

Hi all,

Am counting down to a month-long visit back to Toronto and one of the first things on the to-do list is a trip to the Hoof.

Here's the thing: they've mentioned a holiday closure coming up (on Twitter) and we all know how disappointing it can be to show up somewhere and find it closed!

Just thought it might be useful to get a threat going about holiday hours - have seen some questions floating around about places open Christmas day, etc., so why not consolidate the closures or other hours to look out for in one thread?

If anyone is aware of extended vacation hours beyond the norm (or alternatively, special holiday hours), let's hear 'em!

Thanks in advance for updates!!

Dec 10, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

ISO Dad's Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Have seen them at Loblaws (both Christie/Dupont and Forest Hill locations) and No Frills... but these are years-old memories. Worth a peek if you're in the area. Good luck!

Dec 10, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

grocery store soups

Non-grocery favorite: Leslieville Cheese (have only been to Queen W store) has a curried lentil soup to die for. SO and I picked up our first jar of it to have as a starter last NYE. It was so filling we barely touched our main and so delicious we didn't care.

At grocery stores, I'm a big fan of the Pacific Organics tetrapack soups. Their ginger/carrot one is good, though a bit carrot-y and not as rich as a gourd soup. (Their butternut squash doesn't quite tick the "richness" box for me either, but it's tasty and nicely seasoned.) By far my fave - their black bean soup. It's spicy and smoky and filling and delicious. Try with garlic toast or olive tapenade on crackers. Yum!!

Nov 30, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

2010 closings

SAY WHAT?! Any intel on the staff situation - will they be moving from the current Gabby's? Haven't been in over a year - we were trying to do as much "chow-worthy" TO as possible on a budget and a diet - but Liam, the friendliest and jolliest server in the world at Gabby's, was one of our happy memories from undergrad at U of T.

I'd say the service in general at that Gabby's is horrifying - it's not the kind of place you'd EVER want to go in a hurry - but we loved to go only when Liam was working.

My tastebuds may be totally discredited for this, but I love Gabby's burgers more than any of the arguably good ones friends and hounds recommend throughout the city. I sincerely hope they keep their better staff during the move so there's an excuse to get another burger!

Nov 29, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Warming Winter Chow-Treats - what are some of your local favourites?

Mmm... the hot apple cider at By the Way Cafe! It's so fresh and crisp, and such a nice pause while strolling around the Annex.

(Or we get jugs of cider from Fiesta Farms to heat and spice ourselves - with a little kick of bourbon!)

Weekend trips to Denningers in Burlington this time of year are great when they have samples of mulled wine while you browse the imported Christmas delicacies... The taste of the stuff is nothing Chow-worthy, but it's a nice way to feel warm and fuzzy while you're looking for more Chow-worthy chocolate delights!

But the one I'm most excited to load up on when I get home (two weeks!) is the Casteleyn Belgian chocolate mocha in Burlington. It's perfectly rich, slightly sweet, creamy, and I love the little foil-wrapped chocolate cars they pass out with hot drinks - I usually slip mine in a pocket, forget about it, and then get a second fabulous treat the next day while I'm waiting for the GO train...

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Fiesta Farms
200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

Nov 28, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Springerle - cookies or molds in London.

Hi all,

Have tried googling and searching the board but am no closer to finding German Springerle cookies - or molds so I can make them myself - in London.

Hoping some hounds might have leads on bakeries, market stalls, grocery shops - anywhere you might have seen them ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springerle

)

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Nov 28, 2010
c.cow in U.K./Ireland

Places to Drink Solo?

Starfish won me over for this. Partly because you can choose the degree of "alone" you want - my first time there alone, I ended up having a wonderful night with the shucker and bartender. The hospitality of both was better than any other service I've had in Toronto, and though I walked in a big pile of stress, I walked out happy as a clam. Forgive the lame seafood joke.

They have a really great range of wines, but my dad really enjoyed their martinis when I brought him, and he's a tough one to impress. You should be safe either way.

Nov 18, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Hamilton area wedding venue. Help!

Just working the Chow angle here, but what about working backwards - you could try going through caterers for their suggestions of venues that have been really successful for them. Like Burlgurl, I'm more familiar with Burlington than with Hamilton, and have had wonderful catering experiences with Grinning Gourmand in the past: http://www.grinninggourmand.com/index...

It might be worth looking into their food and asking for tips at the same time!

Nov 18, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Small Private Room for 21st Birthday Recommendations?

No private room, but I think Sidecar is a great go-to for early-20s birthdays (having celebrated there myself). If you go on a night when their prix fixe is offered, you get 3 courses for $25. It's a good value for a great meal, everyone knows how much they should expect to spend (though of course they can order a la carte to shave off a few $$) and you get plenty of food into bellies before a night of partying - they'll thank you later. The restaurant can easily accommodate 10 people if you take over the front half of the room. From there, you can walk to any number of great places for drinks.
You can check out the menu and photos, etc. here: http://www.sidecarrestaurant.ca/ but do call them if you want to see about reservations as the Open Table form doesn't accommodate groups.

Nov 02, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best pumpkin soup in London?

Hi all,

Looking for your take on the best pumpkin soup in London. Feel free to chime in with other favourite gourd-based soups - zucchini, squash, etc. No location limits as long as it's transit accessible. Restaurants, prepared foods, etc.

Personally, I like them quite smooth with a bit of heat, and back home (in Toronto) I prefer to make my own soups. Living in student accommodation (read: oven too small to roast pumpkin halves) makes the process less appealing!

Thanks in advance for all suggestions.

Oct 30, 2010
c.cow in U.K./Ireland

Any Fancy Romantic Dinner in Toronto?

I think there are two common issues with being out at an upscale restaurant in your 20s (coming from someone in her early 20s who still encounters these problems):

1) The comfort factor, i.e. feeling like a kid dressing up and playing restaurant - this is largely how you interact with the atmosphere and perceive the patrons, style of service, drink list/wine list, and more recently as our generation becomes interested in food, the sort of ingredients used and uniqueness of the menu. Anything too "classic" is better reserved for meals with older generations when it's okay to feel like kids because we're likely being taken out. Also appropriate for very special occasions a deux.

2) The "real" service factor - because sometimes we 20-somethings are ignored more than anyone else in a restaurant. I won't waste time on conspiracy theories here.

In Toronto, we've found most success in places that have a happy medium.

Starfish is great because its servers are in our age range but it's also a great place for a special meal. You could enjoy their wonderful steak and even have a romantic night sitting at the bar if there are no tables available.

Le Select also strikes a happy medium between appropriately "special," classical food, interesting options for food and drink (their beer list is great), and its a place where people of all ages can feel comfortable - when girlfriends and I had "Toronto adventures" from the 'burbs back in high school, we felt perfectly comfortable lunching at the old Queen St. location. Still comfortable as a 20-something.

I still swear by Sidecar. It may not have as much atmosphere as you're looking for, but I think the boite feel is romantic, the food is great, and it's certainly age appropriate. The drinks have wow factor.

And Biff's is a good alternative to Auberge if you're worried the latter O&B spot feels stuffy. We've felt a little young at Biff's from time to time, but the service is impeccable and the rest of the place sort of melts away. Great cocktails, wonderful food. The comfort factor builds, but isn't that true of any place that's not your local?

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

Oct 12, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Unibroue beers or wine (non-ice wine) from Ontario available in London?

No luck. They don't get them in anymore.

Oct 09, 2010
c.cow in U.K./Ireland

Unibroue beers or wine (non-ice wine) from Ontario available in London?

Hi all,

This Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving and I'm preparing a small celebration for a few other Canadians in London. Would like to serve a selection of "tastes of home" but prefer to stay away from the (not so tasty) typical Canadian brews.

Unibroue is a Quebecois brewery with some great offerings like Blanche de Chambly, Maudite, Don de Dieu, Fin Du Monde, Terrible, etc. and they seem to be enjoying more international popularity than most of their Canadian counterparts. Has anyone seen these labels for sale anywhere in London?

As an alternative, an Ontario or British Columbia VQA wine would be nice - but I haven't seen any Canadian wine offerings except ice wine in any online searches.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Oct 08, 2010
c.cow in U.K./Ireland

Breakfast near elizabeth bader theatre

I have had too many disappointing experiences at Over Easy... fool me once, fool me 5 or 6 times... but I would strongly suggest skipping that particular spot. Why not try booking brunch at the Gallery Grill at Hart House? It's a board favorite and a nice way to see more of the campus, which should be pretty gorgeous right now with the leaves changing.

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Over Easy
208 Bloor W, Toronto, ON M5S1T8, CA

Gallery Grill
7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

Oct 08, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best Mussel dish in Toronto?

Still can't get enough of Beer Bistro. Their Belgian White bowl is very simple and fresh and a good go-to for a snack. The Blue Blonde bowl is a little bit more "comforting" - the blue cheese adds richness and the broth is a bit more robust. Though I hate the price tag, I love the Fancy Shmancy bowl, which is usually quite generous with the lobster. Not a big fan of the Spicy Red Thai. Have enjoyed others not currently on the menu.

Have also enjoyed mussels at Starfish, Smokeless Joe's, and (though others may contest this) the Fat Belgian, where I feel you get pretty good bang for your buck (fries are included in the price - but not as good as BB fries). I like their curried moules better than the BB Thai version.

BB remains at the top of my list - I don't think you can go wrong with their mussel bowls.

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Beer Bistro
18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

Fat Belgian
115 John St, Toronto, ON M9N, CA

Smokeless Joe
Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

Oct 06, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Eloping in Ontario...Hotels/InnsB&Bs with amazing restaurant.

This might be a little too intimate as it's not a "restaurant" per se, but just putting forward one option in Stratford - during the off season, the folks at the Old Rectory B&B do special dinners at guest request: http://www.oldrectorystratford.com/be...

Though we only had their breakfasts (during the Festival season), those were among our best meals of the trip. The couple that runs the place are both fab cooks (I think Kevin, the husband, has a culinary background). So if you're looking for very romantic and intimate, you might consider this place!

In NOTL, you could still consider Stone Road Grille as there are a number of lovely B&Bs on Mary Street (Wine Regions of Ontario B&B does a good breakfast) within 3 minutes walking.

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Stone Road Grille
238 Mary St, Niagara-ON-the-Lake, ON L0S, CA

Oct 05, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for Burlington/Hamilton

The closest thing to a gastropub in Burlington might be Pepperwood Bistro (obviously also ticking the bistro category here). It's casual and pretty safe in terms of food, and they have their own microbrews. Service can lag occasionally but food has always been decent.

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Pepperwood Restaurants
, Burlington, ON L7R, CA

Sep 23, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where can one buy Batali cookward in Toronto? nmi

About a year and a half ago, it was being sold at The Bay. Not sure if they've kept up the stock, but the full range seemed to be available at the Queen Street location back then.

Sep 23, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Looking For a Restaurant/Bar Serving Belgian Delirium in Toronto

We always favoured BeerBistro for Delirium because they age it in the bottle and the flavour develops so nicely. To be honest, I don't like it from the tap - it tastes nothing like the Delirium I tried at BB the first time, a few years ago.

However, they are having trouble getting it in now - it's not on their menu and though I hate to speculate on why or how long it won't be in, I do know that they didn't have any available last week.

Sep 16, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anniversary dinner before leaving the country... where should we go?

Thanks Rabbit, I think we're going to go with Biff's after all. You're right about the sentimental factor, it's just so tempting to look for something else when time is running out and you want to try everything and return everywhere!!

Sep 10, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anniversary dinner before leaving the country... where should we go?

Hmm - thanks for the idea, Beast hasn't really been on my radar - having trouble tracking down a website! And thanks also for the Wine Bar update - good to know it's still a viable option in that area.

Sep 10, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anniversary dinner before leaving the country... where should we go?

Zee Grill looks great, thank you for the suggestion - it looks like a great menu and we will have to try it out, but probably during my next visit!

We did go to the Wine Bar before Scott Vivian left, but not since then, which is why I wonder about it now... both previous incarnations appealed to us, but the most recent menu check was a little blah...

Origin is a great idea, but I like it best for a cocktail and snacks... Of course, now I want to go there, too!! So many great choices, so little time... sigh... Thanks for the recs!!

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Zee Grill
641 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

Sep 10, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anniversary dinner before leaving the country... where should we go?

Thanks for the tip on Splendido!! That might be something to consider with the family... And thanks also for the reminder to check in at the Black Hoof before leaving! Will definitely want to see what's on the new menu!! And somehow it seems to be a good "Toronto" experience, too..

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

The Black Hoof
928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Sep 10, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anniversary dinner before leaving the country... where should we go?

Hi all,

Next week is our anniversary and we're looking to have a nice celebratory meal. Would prefer to keep the bill under $200 with cocktails, apps, mains, a shared dessert, and either glasses or a half-litre of wine. That doesn't mean we have to spend that much - if it could be done for well under, we'd be just as happy. It would be nice to have some romantic atmosphere, but nothing stuffy. Great fish options would be a major bonus for my SO.

Here's the glitch: I'm leaving the country (without my SO) for at least a year (with a few scheduled visits back here). This isn't exactly a last supper, but it would be nice to choose the best place to do something special in TO for right now. So if there's a special dish being offered somewhere that you think is fabulous but limited, it would be great to hear about that! Otherwise, it would just be great to make sure we're picking the right place.

Is there anything today that resembles the old JK Wine Bar? We really loved the food and atmosphere for a special occasion. We've had wonderful "special occasion" meals at Biff's, and one at Splendido (with our budget, we'd probably need to bring a great bottle from home if we ended up there). We've also thought about Starfish.

Any recommendations or advice would be most appreciated!!

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

Sep 09, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

What does Toronto do best?

For beer bars, we like Smokeless Joe's, Beer Bistro, Bar Volo, and C'est What. Each has a totally different vibe and different offerings.

Personally, I think C'est What is great value for money, though it doesn't get a lot of love for the food or service. It's an all-local beer list, which might interest you for stuff you can't get out of town.

Bar Volo also gets a lot of local stuff you can't find anywhere else (sometimes including the brewery, as is often the case with my favorite offering from Nickelbrook, their Cuvee). Service can be slow and I wouldn't recommend having a meal there, though their cheese plate makes a good snack.

Smokeless Joe's is great for atmosphere - we love hunkering down with some chowder or mussels and some of their great draught picks. In general, we stay away from their bottled selection - you'll find that the beers are priced higher than in NYC, and it's hit and miss to find your choices in stock.

Beer Bistro has fantastic service, but it's busting and most of the place is more restaurant than bar. That said, if you sit down with a basket of fries and get a chance to chat with the servers, you'll have a great time.

Two more spots that might interest you:

Duggan's Brewpub, with a selection of their own beers at fabulous prices (though we have stopped trying with this place after a lot of unfriendly service and our first choices of beer never being available)

The Victory Cafe is a bit tucked away and feels a bit more local - its draught beer list is great and all local. Food is just okay.

If you're here between September 20-26, you might check out the Toronto Beer Week festivities.
http://www.torontobeerweek.com/TBW_2/...

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Beer Bistro
18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

C'est What
67 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E1B5, CA

Smokeless Joe
Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

Sep 01, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cheap Eats around UofT?

Skip most of the sushi restaurants on Bloor (Big Sushi, Sushi on Bloor, New Generation, etc). Haven't been yet but recent reports suggest that Sushi Couture (across from Sushi on Bloor) is a much tastier bet, and their lunch specials are in the same ballpark, price-wise. There's also a newer place on Harbord...at Major? Had some fairly good sushi there once last year.

L'Espresso Mercurio on the south-east corner of Bloor and St. George will give you a lot of bang for your buck for breakfast or lunch (Panini sandwiches around $10), and students save 20% on takeout. Since it's busy there, you won't mind taking your food a short way to any student space.

You have a number of options at Harbord House for a couple bucks over your $10, so it's a good place to go with friends.

Likewise, take the coupon from your Timetable/Handbook and go to Insomnia with a friend or a date.

By the Way Cafe is another lovely option with great value - you can eat well for $12 and it's a fab place for a date - my SO and I had our first date there when we were in first year, we've now graduated and still dine there regularly.

Sweet Lulu is a short hike to Church and Wellesley, but the size of their noodle dishes will keep you full till you've finished a day of research.

If it re-opens (possibly on summer vacation), Midi Bistro is a gem for lunch - $10 gets you an open-faced sandwich with frites and salad.

There's a lot more around that fits your budget. Some is good, some is debatable, a lot is not so good - but that won't seem so bad when you're with good company. I realize that most of what I've posted is at the top end of the ideal $10 or less, and it's just not possible to eat that way throughout a uni career - wait till you get your book bills! Enjoy U of T and exploring the city.

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New Generation
493 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y2, CA

Midi Bistro
168 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T1W4, CA

Harbord House
150 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H2, CA

Aug 30, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sushi Couture: Get over there!

From 11:00 every day except Sunday, as we just learned. Today it's open from 5:00...

Aug 29, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best restaurant in Mississauga

My aunt in Mississauga swears by Rogues. http://roguesrestaurant.com/reshomepg...

A pretty solid record of good meals and service in our experience.

Aug 28, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good, healthy, not too pricey lunch in NOTL -

The Pie Plate: http://www.thepieplate.com/menus.php
(Many thanks to TorontoJo - have loved every morsel there thanks to her rec last Feb

)

Ravine: http://www.ravinevineyard.com/deli-ba...
Lovely setting, you won't want to leave.

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The Pie Plate
1516 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara-ON-the-Lake, ON L0S, CA

Aug 28, 2010
c.cow in Ontario (inc. Toronto)