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Junked Food Co. - Why is this place not rammed with hipsters?

I've popped into Junked a couple of times since they opened a few months ago. It's never that busy, which is kind of surprising to me given the quality of the food. Maybe I go during mom hours when they are not that busy (e.g. before 8 pm)?

On my first try, we got a bunch of crazy stuff - the cheese stuffed tater tots loaded with baked potato fixings (AARGH), a crazy good taco salad, a chicken club sandwich on a waffle, a mac cheese (that supposedly had white chocolate but just tasted good), plus a tomato soup (meh - the only disappointment) and one of their dessert cups, which is really just a cup with cake, candy toppings and frosting layered like a trifle. It was a bonkers meal all around, and I've been going back ever since. Especially for that taco salad - it's SO GOOD!!! Strangely, everything felt kind of clean too for such heavy food - I did not feel like I was going to die. Kudos, Junked!

I'm still planning on trying their deep dish pizza, which looks awesome, and some of their other stuff like the frozen donut. Junked - this place is 2 legit. 2 legit to quit.

Where do I find white grapefruit?

Me too! Finally, I've been able to get my white grapefruit fill after all these years. Thanks everyone!

Railee's Diner (in the location of former CH favourite, 'Goody's Diner')

They did my wedding a couple of years ago. Still talked about amongst family and friends as the best wedding food ever. AMAHZING.

Bar with great food on the west side?

I'm looking for a House on Parliament kind of place west of Bathurst. A place to have a nice, not too expensive dinner on a Saturday night in a fun, bar-like atmosphere. Any ideas, chowhounders?

Gelato Pizza

Really expensive, mediocre gelato.

Blue Jays Fans! Whaddaya eat when you're at Rogers Centre?

Pickles on a stick at the Shopsy!

best bets for a late dinner near Bloorcourt Village / Dovercourt Village / Dufferin Grove / Ossington Station

I've eaten at Tall Boys. I had this awesome burger with kimchee. It was super good! I think the fries were good too. Someone else had the fish tacos and they seemed to like them.

Nathans Kosher Dills

I recently saw Nathan's half-sours at the New Yorker Deli on Bay and Bloor. They also had Nathan's horseradish pickles. Their regular dills are my faves, but I'm not sure what brand they are. Putters maybe?

almond horn recipe?

I needed to add a lot more flour - like 1.5 cups in total, not just 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons.

Dec 29, 2012
eatravel in Home Cooking

Lee Chen Diner in Yorkville

I'm certainly not an expert, but I've gone a couple of times and really enjoyed it. The soup dumplings are delicious, and the pork bao (off menu) is much better than Momofuku's.

Let them eat Cake....all 40 of them

I got a great sheet cake for a work function from the Dessert Lady in Yorkville. The cake was moist, and the frosting was real buttercream Yum! And the prices are totally within your budget.

Rikishi, Korean or other around Bloor and Ossington?

I haven't been to Rikishi in a while, but I recall it being hit or miss. The small vegetarian dishes are what makes Rikishi interesting.

The new Ebi Sushi is okay. The nigiri dinner is good value, but the maki dinner is pretty boring. Their salmon is really good.

La Bella Managua is really good. It's Nicaraguan food. The Nacatamale is good, as is the ceviche. They make a great mojito.

The new Tall Boys has an interesting looking menu. They have a burger with kimchee, beer-battered fish tacos. I haven't been yet, but the beer is good and the owners are friendly.

Banjara and Madras Masala near Christie Pits are both good.

This End Up - Dundas and Dufferin - Great Casual Restaurant

I went again to This End Up today, and my first experience was no fluke; the food was fantastic once again.

I had a a fried chicken sandwich with a blue cheese spread, hot sauce, and pickled celery and carrots - sort of like a chicken wing platter as a sandwich. I got the green salad on the side, which wasn't, as I have come to expect, a bunch of leaves with balsamic vinaigrette. Instead, I got arugula, pickled fennel and sesame seeds in a sweet, creamy dressing. So good!

My husband got the fish poboy - same lightly battered fish as the tacos, in a soft roll with pickles, lettuce and mayo. The fries were perfectly crisp, with skin on to boot. I had a salted caramel soda, which was so good!

The place wasn't super busy while we were there. A few couples stopped to look at the menu and kept walking; I wanted to scream, "Come in! It'll be the best decision you ever make!".

This End Up - Dundas and Dufferin - Great Casual Restaurant

My partner and I popped into this place for lunch as we were heading to Roncesvalles. They had two menus - one for weekend brunch, the other a lunch menu consisting mostly of sandwiches - plus a bunch of specials. We ended up both ordering specials. I got the Better Mac, a homemade Big Mac style burger, with a side of chilled lima bean soup. The burger was perfectly cooked - just a slight hint of pink, very juicy. The bun was soft, but didn't get soggy. The soup was garnished with crispy garlic slivers and thinly sliced granny smith apples - super delicious! My partner ordered fish tacos - three cornmeal crusted fried basa tacos, with pickled cabbage, crema, and avocado. The fish was so light and crispy. Super good!

For drinks, we got homemade sodas - blueberry and almond & pineapple and sage. They also served us Q water for free in a big pitcher. For $30 (taxes in), it was a fantastic deal! I can't wait to go back.

any recent reviews of sushi couture's tasting menu?

I just went. Fantastic deal at $39 per person!

We got:
1. A tempura shiso leaf stuffed with mackerel, a piece of eggplant with miso, a few slices of stuffed jalapeno with rice and some kind of fish (can't remember what it was)
2. Sashimi course - hamachi, lobster, butterfish, salmon roe - hamachi was so buttery, the salmon roe was so fresh and tasty!
3. Cooked course - miso black cod with shoe string potatoes - totally fine, but nothing to write home about.
4. Nigiri - Horse mackerel (lots of ginger and scallions), tempura eel with avocado and .. something else, can't remember what. It was all really good.
5. Sushi burgers - panko crusted balls of rice, split, with scallop sashimi, lettuce and mayo. Really good, kind of reminded me of a chicken burger but in a good way (probably the breading + mayo + shredded lettuce combo).
6. Sushi couture roll - a california roll, with broiled salmon + cream sauce, + scallops and tobiko. Really good, but we were getting stuffed at this point.
7. Tempura banana + green tea ice cream - perfect ending to this meal.

The pacing was perfect too. Good service. I can't wait to go back!

Buca or Scaramouche Pasta Bar - weigh in!

Thanks, everyone! Scaramouche pasta bar it is!

Momofuku Milk Bar: Looking for several specialty products, please advise!!

It separates a bit too, so there is a layer of oil at the top. Depending on how much oil you need, might be a 2-for-1!

Seafood + Orioles - Recommend me something!

Thanks, guys! Much appreciated!

Momofuku Milk Bar: Looking for several specialty products, please advise!!

$5.99 for about 1 cup. It's a pistachio spread, however. 70% pistachios, package says it's lightly sweetened.

Seafood + Orioles - Recommend me something!

I'll be heading to an Orioles game in a couple of weeks, and will be looking for a place to grab a bite before the game. I'm looking for classic and not-so-classic takes on Maryland seafood (with beer, so no Faidleys) within walking distance (20 minutes) of Oriole Park.

What do you chowhounders recommend?

Buca or Scaramouche Pasta Bar - weigh in!

I have competing reservations at Buca and Scaramouche Pasta Bar when my parents come to town in a couple of weeks. My parents are in their late fifties and enjoy Italian food.

I have eaten at Buca before, but not lately. I have really enjoyed the food in the past, and find the diverse menu to be accommodating to most people's tastes. I do dislike, however, the crowd and noise.

I have eaten at Scaramouche before, but never in the pasta bar. It seems a little pricier than Buca, but since I can't find a menu online for Buca, it's hard to tell. I like the service at Scaramouche, and the food in the main room is really good too. The coconut cream pie is worth the trip alone!

What say you, chow-universe?

Momofuku Milk Bar: Looking for several specialty products, please advise!!

I recently purchased some pistachio paste at Gasparro's on Bloor, that butcher shop.

Midfield Wine Bar

I have. Really interesting selection of wines - not the usual suspects, that's for sure. Casual environment, lots of room. I didn't try the food (charcuterie and cheese), but saw a couple of platters pass by and thought they looked good. Reasonably priced - I think most bottles were around $40-50. I recommend it!

Report from a Weekend in Ottawa

My husband and I went to Ottawa this weekend for the first time together.

Friday night - Town - 296 Elgin Street and Social - 537 Sussex Drive
We made a reservation at Town about two week's in advance. The restaurant was quite full when we arrived, but a few tables were still available. We asked to be seated at a particular table (one with normal chairs, not stools), and got a bit of 'tude from the hostess. She ended up seating us at the table of our choice, however begrudgingly. Our initial impression did not exactly live up to their Elmo-esque motto of "Town Loves You and Wants You to be Happy".

The menu is broken up into small dishes, large dishes, cheese and sweets. We ordered a series of smaller dishes with one large pasta to finish the meal. Our server was quite sweet, and inquired about how we would prefer to sequence the dishes. We started out with a green salad with pears, taleggio and hazelnuts. The cheese had been substituted for something else, perhaps pecorino. Regardless, the salad was very good, and in fact, I think the harder cheese was likely a better choice.

Next up, the mortadella mousse crostini. I pretty much had to convince my husband to get this as the sound of emulsified bologna was not so appetizing to him - I'm a mortadella diehard, so I had to order it. Good thing we did, as it was absolutely delicious. A large, toasted piece of bread, with a pate made of mortadella, a little bit of bacon, a jam of some kind and a fried egg on top. Absolutely delicious!

Next up, we got an octopus salad and the chickpea fries. The octopus was probably the most tender we had ever had. A few fingerling potatoes, some greens, a nice lemony dressing. Very good dish. The chickpea fries... well, it's not like they weren't good. Maybe it was because we were expecting something else, but ended up getting falafel sticks.

Finally, we received the pasta bolognese. The dish was described as having traditional Quebec spices, pie crust and marinated cheese curds, so it piqued our interest more than the stuffed meatballs for which they are known. We were so happy we did. The sauce was essentially tourtiere meat with tomato - it tasted like my grandmother's recipe, with the hint of nutmeg and savory. In the end, Town really did make me happy.

After dinner, my husband and I walked off our meal and headed to Byward market. We ended up finding a beautiful courtyard in an alley way with a large patio. We were seated, no problem, on a lounge set. I ordered a piece of cheese (La Liberte, only $8 with apples, spiced pecans, cranberry bread, apple butter, and grapes - what a deal!) and my husband got a piece of chocolate torte with creamsicle ice cream. Delicious, and a lovely romantic setting.

Saturday and Sunday Brunch - Benny's Bistro on Murray Street
What can I say about Benny's Bistro? It is the best brunch experience I have ever had, which is why we went twice. And if you think I am just saying that, I am not. My former #1 was the Magnolia Place B&B in the Finger Lakes. I now have a new champion - Benny's Bistro.

Benny's is at the back of a bakery. It opens at 10:30 on the weekends, but they allow you to come and sit down in advance of the opening. During that time, the servers provide coffee and freshly baked slices of baguettes (very good). For a fee, you can also get a croissant (amazingly buttery!) or any other baked good offered by the bakery. The whole thing was so civilized. Coming from Toronto, where I'm used to lining up outside of my favourite brunch place, in the hopes of getting a table. And here, well, they just let you come on in. They even serve you. Imagine that. I feel like I've been suffering from Stockholm Syndrome with the Toronto brunch scene.

The food, the food. Here's where I gush. The first day, I ordered the tuna confit with a poached egg, these tiny chorizo panko fritters, and a fennel and radish salad served in a smoked tomato water. It was $19. It was unbelievable. I've never come close to getting such a well composed brunch entree in my life. The tuna and egg were perfectly cooked. The salad was refreshing. The fritters gave a good smoky and crunchy bite. And the water... sounds so frou-frou, but it ended up becoming a silky, smoky egg sauce at the end. Quite possibly the best dish ever...

Until I tasted what my husband ordered. A buckwheat crepe stuffed with smoked pork shoulder, sitting on a savoy cabbage and apple remoulade, with a sunny side-up egg. Oh my god. Unbelievable.

We just had to go a second time. My husband ordered the special this morning - a black bean and bacon puree, smoked pork shoulder, an avocado salsa and a fried egg. Wow. The salsa was amazing. Finely diced avocado (how do they do that??) with finely diced tomatillo and cucumber, a litle cilantro. I had the potato gratin with pork loin and poached eggs. Again, unbelievably amazing.

The service is quick, very professional. Always there with the refills, very accommodating. You pay at the cash, which I generally appreciate. As we were leaving, we saw their kitchen set-up. Only two chefs back there, hammering out that food for the about 30 people eating.

Saturday night - Sidedoor - 20 York Street
We booked reservations here a couple of weeks before we arrived. When we got there, we found the hostesses to be accommodating, but perhaps not exactly welcoming. We were seated, as requested, in a quieter part of the restaurant, which ended up being a great call. The restaurant is already quite large, so it was nice to not feel like we were on a double date with a couple we had never met.

We ordered a series of smaller dishes, and were generally quite impressed with the food. We started out with the lamb with funky chili tacos. Not sure where the funkiness was supposed to be coming from, but it was delicious nevertheless. Next up, we received the salmon ceviche. Perhaps a bit of a misnomer, as the salmon was sliced like smoked salmon. In fact, we suspect that it was just plain ol' smoked salmon, sitting on a pool of reduced coconut milk, topped with julienned apples. It was actually really good, our favourite dish of the night. But it wasn't exactly ceviche.

Next up, the pork belly with chili soy sauce. Delicious! Rendered down, very tender, nice kick in the sauce. The shrimp dumplings were also good, in a vinegar sauce. A small note about the pacing - we were told when we ordered that the food would come when it was ready. Fair enough. I will say, however, that they just started coming one after the other in very short order. No one wants to eat that quickly. By the time we asked them to slow it down, we were already on our last dish. We also had to flag down our server a couple of times for refills, and for wine that we had ordered that didn't make its way to the table.

Peking style chicken - I'm not normally one to order chicken in a restaurant, but we were definitely intrigued by the dish. It did not disappoint. THe meat was really juicy, the skin was crispy. We ordered snap peas with miso and parmesan on the side, plus a bit of rice on our server's suggestion (utterly forgettable). On the whole, the food was very good, but the service was a bit of a downer.

Sunday - La Bottega
While the new EnRoute service stops are a vast improvement over their predecessor on the 401, my husband and I were not too keen to eat Burger King after our amazing culinary weekend in Ottawa. We went to the counter in La Bottega and ordered a couple of made to order sandwiches. For about $5 a pop, these were really good. A lot of thinly sliced mortadella and provolone on baguette, with dijon mustard, pickled eggplants and hot peppers, plus lettuce and tomato. You can choose whatever toppings you want. Very good, almost as good as Mazzarro's in St. Pete's.

In all, I would heartily suggest a weekend away in Ottawa for any culinary enthusiasts.

Spicy pickles Toronto?

McLure's Pickles, a company out of Detroit/Brooklyn (not sure how that works, but that's what the jar says), makes the best spicy dill pickles. And I'm talking real, mouth-on-fire spicy. Scheffler's deli in the St. Lawrence market sells them, right by the deli meats. Might as well get some of their fantastic home-made roast beef while you're there.

In St. Pete - Tampa area for a week

One last addition - Mazzaro's in St. Petersburg. It's an Italian market with a deli section. We ordered a muffaletta sandwich that must have weighed about 3 lbs. I could barely finish half. For $5, it could not be beat!

Apr 05, 2012
eatravel in Florida

In St. Pete - Tampa area for a week

I just returned from a six day trip to this area. Some places we liked:

Waltz' Fish Shak - John's Pass - The whole John's Pass area pretty much sucks (imagine if the Jersey Shore birthed a shopping center), but tucked away near the very back is Waltz'. We came here on our first night and got a seat on the patio, which had a great view. The menu rotates based on what's fresh and available that day. We ordered an ahi tuna appetizer, some boiled pink shrimps, and a bronzed grouper dinner that came with coconut rice and peas and a sweet slaw. Everything was delicious, but perhaps slightly expensive (say, $22 for the dinner, $14 for the apps). The key lime pie was really good too. A glass (or a cup, really - it was huge!) of unremarkable wine was $8.

We ate at Keegan's in Indian Rocks Beach a couple of times. The seafood there is absolutely amazing. We ate stone crabs twice (an absolute must if you are in the area - so sweet and tender!), a seared tuna appetizer with wasabi mayo (again, so tender!), conch fritters, a grouper sandwich, boiled shrimps with old bay... The atmosphere is a little nuts (lots of families), but the food is really good. Try going in off hours, like for a late lunch.

In Tampa, we ate at Datz's Deli twice. Bacon Jalapeno Mac Cheese Croquettes. Sandwiches with real deli meats, not that weird reconstituted loaf stuff. Black and White cookies. Super delicious, decently priced. I had the scallop salad the second time around, and it was drenched with oil, though.

We also had an amazing meal at the Refinery in Tampa. Probably one of the top meals we've had in a while. We had a salad of summer squash, pumpkin seeds, greens and buttermilk vinaigrette. Clams with chorizo. A spicy meatball. Pork belly lettuce wraps. Roasted sturgeon. Amazing desserts. My only complaint? Warm wine. Make sure to get reservations, though. The restaurant is kind of in the middle of nowhere, so there aren't many alternatives nearby.

The wine at A Taste for Wine in St. Petersburg was amazing. A great selection of by the glass offerings. Lovely veranda.

For breakfast, we ate most days at Sweet Sage cafe in Redington Shores, near our hotel. They offered pretty much anything you could possibly imagine, from bowls of fruit and granola to eggs benedicts in twice baked potatoes. Very fast, reasonably priced. Their muffins were particularly tasty. They also offer a special dog menu if you want to bring your pet.

We had brunch at Casa Tina's in Dunedin. It was surprisingly quiet compared to Kelly's down the street, which was completely mobbed. My partner had amazing chilaquiles with eggs, while I had a seafood cocktail of lobster, shrimp and fish - sort of like a ceviche but with seafood that was not cooked in citrus. For $12, it was a fantastic deal.

Apr 03, 2012
eatravel in Florida

Bakerbots - Amazing bakery in Bloorcourt

My current favourites? The banana pudding and the butterscotch pie. OMG!!!

Where do I find white grapefruit?

But not the delicously bitter taste! Where oh where is my white grapefruit!??

Best Borscht in TO?

The New Yorker deli on Bay makes a mean cabbage borscht - generous chunks of beef, cabbage in a slightly tomatoey broth. Delicious!