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Cheap Pints around Yonge & Wellesley

I haven't been in a while, so perhaps things have changed, but Local 4 has $4 pints on Monday nights. Small but decent selection of local microbrews.

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Local 4
4 Dundonald St, Toronto, ON M4Y1K2, CA

Sep 13, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca VS Quanto Basta VS Scarpetta

I've eaten at Buca many times, Scarpetta twice and Quanto Basta only once (for lunch). My preference is Buca. I would say the food at Buca was slightly better than the food at Scarpetta, although I did enjoy both. Truthfully, I was expecting to be wowed at Scarpetta and I left feeling underwhelmed. Not that the food wasn't good, just that it wasn't exceptional. Quanto Basta is definitely in third place (although, to be fair, I did go for lunch!) In terms of atmosphere - Buca - no question. I've had late weekday dinners at Scarpetta twice and, maybe it's just the time of day, but it felt like a nightclub for 20 somethings (barely dressed girls and tight shirted men were gathered at the bar in the Thomspon hotel and kept walking through the restaurant seemingly aimlessly). Buca has a more sophisticated vibe to me.

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Buca
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

Quanto Basta
1112 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W, CA

Sep 11, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Solo Dining: DNA or Kitchen Galerie

Coming to Montreal from Toronto on business and wondering which of DNA or Kitchen Galerie is more suitable for solo dining, if either? I have already been to many of the restaurants recommended on other solo dining threads (e.g. APDC, L'Express, Pintxo, Ferreira) and wanted to try something different. Thx in advance for your help.

Sep 02, 2010
amy_whino in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Your favorite non-commercial peanut butter available in the GTA?

Summerhill market has an extensive selection of peanut butter. I can't remember the types or brand names off hand. We only go there as a last resort, (We stock up on Trader Joe's Valencia PB when we're in the States)

Mar 31, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Food-making class for bridal shower

These are all great suggestions! Looks like I have some calling around to do in my free time. Will report back on prices.

Mar 26, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Food-making class for bridal shower

Wondering if anyone has any suggestions for an economical private cooking/baking class in Toronto for a bridal shower.

Unfortunately, the prices for the usual suspects (Dish, Calphalon, Cooks on Eight) are likely out of range for the primarily graduate student crowd.

I've hosted a "chocolated making" bridal shower before at JS Bonbons, which was more reasonably priced (going back to 2006 here, but I think it was about $600 for 12 pple). Although JS is no more, Stubbes offers a similar package, but I'd prefer to not host essenttially the same shower again.

Are there classes I'm missing that would be in the price range of about $60-$75 per person? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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JS Bonbons
163 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R, CA

Stubbe
375 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N, CA

Mar 25, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Stop for Food March 1 - 31, 2010 prix fixe

The Menu for Niagara Street Cafe is: Sweetbreads (I think it was veal?), Lamb Shoulder, and Tapioca Pudding for $35.00. There were no options - either the sweetbreads, lamb, pudding or the regular menu.

Mar 13, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

De La Mer fishmonger - Bayview

This is a relatively new fishmonger on Bayview, just north of Millwood. Discovered it Tuesday and have already been back. Each time I've been, Dave - I think the owner? - has been working the counter. Was very friendly and helpful. Fish is fresh and competitively priced - and not only includes a lemon but a nice sprig of dill, too!

Mar 07, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bagel frustration

Looks like you've hit up most of the usual bagel suspects in Toronto. Two you are missing are Kiva (Bathurst and Steeles) and Dimpflmeier (Bloor and Kipling). Agreed that bagels are very much a personal preference; neither Kiva nor Dimpflmeier are my favourite, I much prefer Gryfe's. But perhaps they will suit your tastes?

Feb 16, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

coffee in kingston

I haven't lived in Kingston for years, but I doubt the Goat has changed much. The food and coffee are pretty good, but it's not the cleanest of places. Sipps (Brock and Wellington) opened after I moved but I've tried it a handful ot times, most recently about 2 years ago, and enjoyed it. Cute coffee shop to sit in and relax. I can't remember if Cooke's Kitchen (on the other side of the Brock/Wellington intersection) sells coffee to go or just beans. They roast their own beans, which are, consequently quite fresh.

Feb 10, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca or Scaramouche?

They're little bread knots seasoned with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and salt.

Feb 06, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca or Scaramouche?

Apparently the menu changes frequently so I'm not sure if the offerings will be the same next week. We really enjoyed the two pizza's we ordered (one funghi and the other prosciutto). Thin crust, quality ingredients. We loved the duck pasta, but weren't as fond of the gorgonzola gnocchi. The fish (I can't recall if it was sea bass or sea bream) was well cooked, but it wasn't outstanding. The hit of the night was the polenta/braised meats main - the polenta was so creamy. Orange and beet, and bread salads were also very good. Of course, you have to try the nodini - but as a warning - they're super addictive, and probably super high in calories! Enjoy your dinner!

Feb 06, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Espresso machine repair

We've used the repair technician at Green Beanery for both our Rancillo espresso machine and our hottop roaster. Quick turn-around time. Can't remember the cost, but seemed to be pretty reasonable. If you have a Saeco, probably best to go with the Saeco repairman. But, for anyone else needing a machine repair, GB is a good bet.

Feb 06, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca or Scaramouche?

So - we did end up at Buca for my dad's birthday. I loved the space and the vibe. Food was excellent - although we also experienced long waits between appetizers and main courses (about 45 minutes). We kept ordering more nodini to curb our hunger - by the time our mains arrived, we were all pretty stuffed! Our server was very energetic and helpful. Myself and siblings (all late 20's to mid 30's) definitely prefered Buca to Scaramouche - perhaps the food at Scaramouche has an edge (but I would agree with other posters - hard to directly compare) but Buca is just so lively and fun- how could we not love it? My parents on the other hand (mid 60's), prefer the more refined environment at Scaramouche. I'm already planning my next trip to Buca!

Feb 06, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca or Scaramouche?

Thank you both for your replies. If Buca is good enough for Geddy Lee - it shall be good enough for my dad! Out of curiousity, how far in advance did you need to make a reservation?

Jan 16, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Negroni

Negroni is delicious and both times I've been (weekday dinner), the restaurant has been less than half full. I feel I must extend my praise.

Simple quality ingredients at a reasonable price. I can't recall what was ordered on our first visit, but on our last visit, I ordered the mushroom/caprano panini, and my partner ordered the milano salami panini. We shared the tomato, bufala and pesto salad - it was one of our favourite 'caprese-esqe' dishes we've had in the city; considering tomatoes aren't exactly seasonal right now, that surely says a lot. Certainly recommeded to those looking for a simple, well-executed meal in the College/Bathurst area.

Jan 16, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buca or Scaramouche?

Planning my father's birthday dinner in early February. He isn't the most adventurous diner, but enjoys well executed bistro fare and italian. We've had great success at Scaramouche but I was thinking of 'mixing it up' so to speak and trying something different - perhaps Buca. The few reviews of Buca on the board seem generally positive. Has anyone tried both Scaramouche and Buca? If, so how does the food at Buca compare to the food at Scaramouche? Thanks in advance for your help!

Jan 11, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Guu is Guu(d) – review + pics

Based on all of the positive reviews, my SO and I went to Guu last night (Saturday) at about 8 pm. I knew we would have to wait for a table, especially on Saturday night, but I wasn't anticipating the wait to be an hour and 40 minutes.

I agree with all of the posters - the food was very good, especially for the price point (7 dishes + 2 beer+ 15% tip ~ $80). I wish I read the reviews more closely -the tofu salad - meh! Standouts were the grilled saba, the eggplant special (sauteed with garlic and onions), and the tako wasabi.

That said, I have to be the lone dissenter here - it was NOT worth the hour and 40 minute wait. Given the long waits, I won't be rushing back to Guu anytime soon. I guess that's one less person everyone else will have to contend with in line!

Jan 03, 2010
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Prairie Style Pizza in Toronto?? Please??

I can't speak to the Danforth Pizza house but Olympic 76 is NOTHING like the praire pizza you're seeking (e.g. Western, Verne's). Incidentally, I am not a fan of "praire pizza" but I enjoy Olympic 76 - their style is simliar to Copper Kettle in Regina. Praire pizza to me is like an open faced "hungry boy" sandwich, but to each their own!

Sep 15, 2009
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Watusi (?) on Ossington

I should clarify, the pizza at Watusi certainly isn't going to be competing with the best of the best anytime soon (e.g. Libretto, Terroni, or Mangia e Bevi - another Cabbagetown treat!); but it was better than some of the other items we ordered.

Never tried the pizza at Fusilli's (thanks for the tip) - but we've enjoyed their pasta and risotto dishes.

Aug 09, 2009
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Watusi (?) on Ossington

Eleven of my friends and I ended up at Watusi (Ossington and Queen) this past Friday night for a birthday celebration. In summary – okay food, blah service, but hey – it’s ultra-hip!

We walked in the door around 9 and the place was packed with trendy 30-something hipsters, all sipping on trendy cocktails. We had called a few days in advance to make dinner reservations for 9 pm; we waited by the door for a good 5 minutes before we were approached by the (rather surly) hostess who proceeded to inform us that our table wasn’t quite ready yet. She instructed us to wait at the bar – which we did – for half an hour! When our table was finally ready, the surly hostess showed us the way, literally throwing the menus down when she got to the table.

The waitress then came by (in a perfect amount of time I may say) asking for drink orders. She didn’t write the orders down (which is fine), but then proceeded to come back to our table another 3 times before drinks were delivered because she couldn’t remember what people had ordered. Despite the checking and re-checking, she forgot to bring 2 drinks to the table.

When it came time to order food, we were informed that several of the items on the relatively small menu were sold out for the evening. Keep in mind, we had been looking at the menus now for a good 20 minutes – the waitress had plenty of time to let us know which items were unavailable before we made our selections. Nevertheless, we ended up selecting several of the available (tapas style) food items from the menu (mushroom pizza, blue cheese pizza, green beans, roasted eggplant, grilled calamari, the “house dip of the day” – which was a spinach and blue cheese dip, vegetarian nachos, vegetarian rolls, unagi rolls, the cod, and the short ribs). The food came in a reasonable amount of time, and was decent. Some dishes were better than others - but, none of the dishes were worth the trek from Cabbagetown (the fish dishes were the worst of the lot and the pizza was probably the best of the lot). I agree with the previous poster – there is certainly room for improvement on the spice/flavor front.

Now – back to the waitress. Throughout the rest of the evening, she cleared cocktails from the table before we had finished drinking them; she forgot about numerous drink orders; and was just generally inefficient. To be fair, it seems like the place was pretty under-staffed (maybe someone unexpectedly cancelled their shift?). The real kicker is the mandatory 18% gratuity for large groups. Yes – thank you for mediocre service.
To be fair, this place does have a fun atmosphere, and if you’re patient, it is a decent spot for a big group birthday party. The cocktail list is pretty extensive – though nothing is too groundbreaking

Aug 09, 2009
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Who does it better: Toronto or Montreal

I have lived in many cities and I have discovered that different genres of cuisine are, on average, either executed well or poorly in each. For example, since moving to Toronto, I've discovered that the Thai and Japanese food are, for the most part, executed poorly here. The Chinese food on the other hand - yum!

I will be traveling to Montreal quite a bit in the next few months and am wondering if there are cuisines that are done better (on average) there compared to here. Obviously there will be variation within each city. For example - I'm frustrated with the sushi here - will it be any better in Montreal?

Thanks in advance!

Feb 28, 2009
amy_whino in Ontario (inc. Toronto)