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Big Jack Burger - Woodbine, south of Hwy#7

If the burger was dry it means that either the brisket they were using was not well-marbled or more likely they were cooked for too long. A burger is just ground meat with seasonings on the outside; filler turns burgers into meatloaf patties. The big issue I have with the recent burger trend in the GTA is that a lot of these proprietors promote a lot of bells and whistles in the way of toppings, but the actual burger itself lacks in thought and and execution. You can call it the "Lipstick on a bland cow" phenomenon.

Anthony Bourdain - Parts Unknown Premiere (Myanmar)

Considering the episode was in Myanmar, I was expecting a less food-centric episode. The NoRes episodes of similarly troubled areas like Haiti and Kurdistan were like that too. And I don't imagine the crew is any different from his other shows considering Zero Point Zero are this one as well.

Overall I really enjoyed the episode. Tony seemed a little reinvigorated and it had a really nice balance of the food, history and the new direction for Myanmar. The one benefit of not being on the Travel Channel is I get the sense that it won't be oriented to travellers (ie. less ziplining/ATVing scenes). I prefer a documentary approach, because I think Tony and the ZPZ crew are great storytellers.

Apr 14, 2013
gomes in Food Media & News

Montreal style rotisserie chicken

Not sure if you are a fan of Scores or not, but there was one in East Brampton on Airport Rd. (near Queen), but on a recent drive through the area I saw that they closed down. Perhaps they opened up more places in the GTA that have yet to hit the dust. Though, according to their website their western most location is in Ottawa.

Jan 21, 2012
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Layover Montreal

Any other Torontonians watch this show with an incredible sense of childish envy? I guess the only, possible trade-off is that we at least have street meat carts while Montreal is in more of a bureaucratic mess than us when it comes to street food.

Jan 03, 2012
gomes in Food Media & News

Lucky peach issue #1 in Toronto?

I believe they explain the change in price points in one of the first pages of the second issue.

Dec 04, 2011
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Layover - Singapore

Couldn't agree with you more! I loved the Singapore episode and the New York one last night. I think the weakest part of No Reservations are the non-food segments and often it delves too heavily into the scenic shots of the locale or worse the incredibly pretentious glamour shots (the black and white/Fellini Rome episode was in theory a good idea, but it was just distracting to the point of detracting from the food) . Granted there are episodes where the non-food segments can be particularly enlightening (the Cuba and Haiti episodes were great for those).

Nov 29, 2011
gomes in Food Media & News

Tim Horton's new espresso-based beverages -- confused [moved from Ontario board]

Okay, just to clear up some confusion. The $1 cappuccino they're offering is the French Vanilla Supreme, basically the French Vanilla they've been serving for years with whipped topping, which is indeed incredibly sweet. The new espresso based drinks are made from a totally different machine with grinds produced by Nescafe and the machine pretty much operates as a large scale coffee pod machine (without actual pods).

Although I'm not a big coffee fan, I did try their americano and it was decent. Nothing special, being a Tims product probably not going to be that expensive, and if I found any glaring faults it's that the machine may dispense a bit too much water.

Nov 14, 2011
gomes in Chains

ISO Potato Rolls

Just came back from New York where I had Shake Shack burgers for the first time and cannot get over them. Believe the hype people! Anyways, I wanted to recreate them at home this weekend using the recipe concocted by Kenji Alt on Serious Eats, but haven't had too much luck finding the requisite potato roll hamburger buns. I'm pretty sure Martin's Potato Rolls (the brand used by Shake Shack) aren't available up here, but is there any other brand of potato rolls available in the GTA?

Jul 18, 2011
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Top Chef Canada Ep 1 [also has discussion of episode 2]

I don't think people are complaining about Loblaws because of the product placement, but more for the quality of their stores. Their selection of foods is pretty genericized and pedestrian for a competition like this.

While I am as equally puzzled that they brought in someone who works in the States, you are way off base with your suggestion of more natural born Canadians on the show. I believe that chef from Chicago has been living in Canada for many years (and from the looks of it he's probably the only non-Canadian born chef on the show, so it's not even that big of a deal really). A lot of the food cooked in restaurants in the big urban centres are cooked by immigrants who weren't born in this country (gasp). Despite them not being "from here" they're the ones that are shaping our culinary scene. For example, Wolfgang Puck is way more synonymous with the culinary scene of California and the US as a whole than he is with his native Austria.

Apr 17, 2011
gomes in Food Media & News

Top Chef Canada Ep 1 [also has discussion of episode 2]

This looks unlikely as Loblaws is one of the underwriters of the show. There is a possibility that they may shop in McEwan's grocery store, is that still around? One thing that was glaring was that some of the contestants were seen buying meat that was wrapped in the styrofoam trays. I'm not trying to be snobbish, but I've never seen this on the US Top Chef, as they always go to the butcher counter.

Kind of ridiculous to see the four chefs share one plate of food, when everyone had adequate time to plate more. I still don't like McEwan as a TV personality. I hear he's a great chef and a great person, but it doesn't translate onto TV, seems very pompous to be honest.

Overall, I neither loved nor hated the show. The chefs seem pretty bland and so do their dishes (still can't wrap my head over someone putting out steak and potatoes as a signature dish). But it's just the first episode. And while I'm not bothered that everyone on the show is "White" (it's a loaded term, and a pretty diverse group, ie there's someone from Nfld, two or three Quebecois, someone who's Hispanic, etc.) but I find it really weird that they could only get three female chefs.

Apr 12, 2011
gomes in Food Media & News

Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #16 (FINAL Finale Pt. 4) - 03/30/11 (Spoilers)

During the Watch What Happens segment, was it really Jen Carroll heckling Cohen after he made a comment on the whole situation with Elia?

Mar 31, 2011
gomes in Food Media & News

bars downtown showing ICC World Cup matches?

I have heard that Scallywags and the Fox and Fiddle on Wellesley are showing games, but not exactly sure if they're showing the games live and I'm positive any Indian/South Asian restaurant would be showing it as well.

I actually have two important lectures next Wednesday, day of the India-Pakistan semifinal (with the exception of maybe Celtic-Rangers, it is the biggest and greatest rivalry in sport) but I've already received permission from my professors to attend earlier sessions in the week. Booked off work for the day of the final three months in advance and I'm writing this with post while watching the South Africa-New Zealand quarterfinal!

Like food, cricket is an obsession.

Mar 25, 2011
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Long Branch, New Toronto, Mimico Restaurants & Food Shops

I dined at Cafe du Lac in Mimico for dinner recently and it was a disappointing night.

Our group of three started with their charcuterie platter. What we were served was good and the highlight of the night, but we had no idea what we were eating. Unfortunately, the server, who was friendly, didn't take the time to explain what was on the board. As for the mains, my friend and I decided to go with their $25 prix fixe option. It started off with a choice of soup or salad. We both went with the soup. Again, the server failed to inform us of what type of soup it was. Regardless, we both felt we should have went with the salad, as the butternut squash soup was quite bland and could of used more salt, or maybe even more time to cook, to develop the flavour. My friend decided to go with the poutine with braised short rib for his main and I went with the mussels, which were unlimited/AYCE. Both dishes were good. The mussels were in a pretty flavourful "spicy tomato sauce" (curry and white wine were the other options). The poutine was also good and avoided the soggy fries conundrum plaguing most restaurant poutines. Also, if a place is serving moules frites, it should automatically come with some bread. There was a huge pool of broth begging to be sopped up.

But there was a huge discrepancy in portion sizes and it was the thing that bothered me the most that night. The poutine was really small, certainly not the size of an entree. Conversely, the portion of mussels was massive. Literally too much, couldn't even finish it. How they expect people to order a second or third bowl is beyond me, perhaps the chefs give a lot on the first go, so they didn't have to fire up more orders in case they get swamped later on. The mussels came with fries, which were reasonably good, despite being made with Yukon Golds, which never get as crisp as russets, no matter how you cook it and for how long. It was served what I think was an attempt at homemade ketchup (again no explanation was offered). And frankly, it was one of the worst things I have ever tasted. Don't really know how to describe it, it was a bit like canned tomato paste mixed in with some water to thin it out. Bland and incredibly off-putting. Back to portion sizes, I was only halfway through my massive bowl of mussels, when my other companions had already finished their meals (the third person of our party went with a venison meatloaf that came with some veg. and an incredibly rich and delicious potato au gratin topped with foie gras). It was an awkward situation and they should seriously fix this.

The prix fixe was concluded with a serviceable dessert of crepes stuffed with some caramelized apples. Ultimately, I really wanted to like this place, as I'm a sucker for bistros and especially for ones in a great neighbourhood like Mimico. I really hope this place turns it around, though I probably won't be visiting any time soon.

Cafe du Lac
2350 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M8V, CA

Mar 17, 2011
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

BLOOD ORANGES...still around??

Advertised in this week's Fortinos flyer.

Mar 11, 2011
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Where to get the best Frozen or Fresh Chicken Wings?

Glad that I'm not the only one exploiting Ocean's really cheap prices for wings. They are small, however. I don't think there's a difference in flavour, but it does mean a lot more prep work. And if you do go fresh, make sure to trim off the tips and put them in a resealable baggie and store them in the freezer, ready for the next time you make stock.

Feb 18, 2011
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

What's with Cardamom?

I'm not sure if this is true of all North Indian cuisine, but in Bengali cuisine whole cardamom pods (along with whole cinnamon bark) are often added to rice dishes or curries. It's actually a rather ingenious method, because it perfumes the entire dish and you get a much more subtler and refined flavouring. The drawback, however, is when you bite into a whole cardamom pod. It isn't unpleasant for the taste, though it does get more bitter as it cooks, but rather for the surprise, as you believe that you were biting into a piece of fish or a grain of rice.

It's also interesting to see a lot cardamom-flavoured chewing gum on the market these days. My father often chews on whole cardamom pods as it works as an instant mouth and breath freshener.

Jan 28, 2011
gomes in Home Cooking

Chuck takes the day off to challenge Bobby? [SPOILERS]

What is up with that sous chef? She was getting on my nerves! Does she do all that to get her own show like Anne Burrell or something?

Anyways it was great to see Chuck Hughes on the show and win. He's one of my favourites from the Canadian Food Network, love his show!

Jan 13, 2011
gomes in Food Media & News


Not exactly the most authentic, but I have seen it at Crate and Barrel in Yorkdale. According to the website it is made from volcanic stone.

This is from the American site so the price will be different.

Apr 09, 2010
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

No Reservations-Technique

I really liked this episode. Great and useful tips (though the lobster bit seemed out of place). Thomas Keller's chicken looked amazing. I really hope we see a sequel to this episode and see some more great chefs cooking simple, yet elegant dishes.

Apr 06, 2010
gomes in Food Media & News

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

I recently saw Fluff for the first time in Canada at my local Fortinos (Mountainash and Bovaird). It was near the take-home pies.

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

ISO: Passover Coke

Ashkenazi Jews have a tradition of refraining from eating certain legumes during Passover, and corn falls into that category. As you mentioned, I doubt you would be able to find it in a major chain supermarket in Brampton. However, you could try Ocean's. They sell Coke products bottled in Trinidad (in glass bottles no less) and I'm pretty sure they use sugar instead of HFCS.

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

Restaurants near Dave and Busters??

Our Thai is a really good Thai joint that is literally down the road from Dave and Busters in the AMC complex. They have some incredible Thai curry dishes, particularly their Panang Fish.

Nov 28, 2009
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

How long does pork keep in the freezer?

We were cleaning out our chest freezer yesterday and found a lot of hidden treasures, many of which we unfortunately had to throw away, like a once beautiful sirloin tip, that is now visibly discoloured. However, I did unearth two racks of pork spareribs, which were vacuum packed. They don't really look bad, but it probably has been down there for at least a year. Are they still safe for consumption and is there a rule of thumb for keeping vacuum packed pork in the freezer?

Nov 09, 2009
gomes in General Topics

No Reservations NYC outer boroughs episode tonight

I loved this episode, easily this and the Disappearing Manhattan episode are the best of this season (go figure the two New York episodes). However, I do think he could have diversified a bit with his choices. For instance, he showed two Chinese places and Southern Indian and Sri Lankan places, weird considering that he was just in Sri Lanka. I was hoping he would hit up some Turkish or Greek places in Astoria and of course Jackson Heights for Bangladeshi and other great cusines, but maybe an Outer Boroughs part 2 is on the horizon.

Sep 08, 2009
gomes in Food Media & News

Ask Aida - Not!

Unfortunately I work on Saturdays, which is the only day my PBS affiliate shows their cooking programs (or is that for all PBS stations). Personally I'm not a fan of Ming Tsai's new show and it does have that pairing two contrasting ingredients gimmick.

I used to have the American Food Network and was a fairly regular watcher of Ask Aida, which I didn't really mind. Aida is a great personality and she has great tips for the common Food Network viewer. Personally I'll take any of the American Food Network shows (with the exception of Sandra Lee's) over any of the Canadian produced shows.

Sep 01, 2009
gomes in Food Media & News

Tony Bourdain in San Francisco

Yeah it sucks to be an NR fan in Canada. I actually used to have an American satellite connection and I fell in love with the Travel Channel. Now I have downgraded to Rogers and you get like one episode a week at a crappy time and they are old. Your best bet is YouTube, there's a poster that posts the episodes the day after they premiere and it's pretty good quality.

Can't wait for the San Francisco episode, hopefully it will finally encourage me to make a venture out there one day.

Aug 07, 2009
gomes in Food Media & News

Too Much Basil

This summer one of the few successful crops I've had is my basil plant, which has grown wildly. Unfortunately, a few of the leaves are beginning to wilt and I guess I have to do something with them quickly. I'm a big basil fan and would love some basil-prominent dishes. Any suggestions, besides pesto and tomato sauce?

Aug 02, 2009
gomes in Home Cooking

Chicago 58 or Lesters Hot Dogs - GTA

I'm unfamiliar with these brands. Are they similar to the snappy Nathan's natural casing dogs, which I forgot to stock up on during my last trip to New York?

Jul 31, 2009
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Corn Tortillas in Western GTA?

Hey folks, I'm planning to serve a Mexican spread for the Super Bowl this Sunday, but I have been having a hard time tracking down some good some corn tortillas here in Brampton. Can any of you recommend a place to get some good corn tortillas and other Mexican goodies like chile de arbol in the Western part of the GTA, preferably Vaughan or Brampton? I really do not want to resort to using boxed taco shells.

Jan 29, 2009
gomes in Ontario (inc. Toronto)