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Oakville Boy's Profile

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The Old Toronto Restaurants you make the wishes for the comeback

The Taj Mahal up near Summerhill - oh the meals we had in that place. Chicken Dopiaza and Vindaloo. I have not seen the like since!

The popularity of Swiss Chalet seems to be waning in the GTA. Thoughts?

We still like the takeout once every 2 or 3 months when they have coupons - on good nights I find the chicken and fries are as good as ever, but our tastes and options have expanded so much that this can only be an occasional thing now. But it was very special when I first came to Toronto in 1964 . .

However, I will absolutely not dine in any more because of the terrible acoustics in their new stores. At a busy time of day you can't even have a conversation. I find the same problem in other new restaurants - they seem to think they are creating an exciting and convivial atmosphere by having a loud ear-splitting din. How wrong they are!

New Latte Offerings from Tim Hortons and Macdonalds

I have stopped buying the lattes I love from Starbucks. It seems that only 50% of the lattes I buy there meet my expectations - the right temperature, a nice tight microfoam for that creamy taste, the right amount of foam vs liquid, and a clean coffee punch without any off-taste. And I hate those grungy dirty easy chairs and why does nobody EVER seem to clean the cinammon shakers? The suburban stores with drive-throughs seem to be less competent than the downtown stores, and I find the ones in supermarkets like Longo's are the least reliable. And whenever I want to drink in the store, all the tables seem to be tied up by people with computers and schoolwork.

So I tried the new offerings from Timmy and Ranald - if I am going to have a less than perfect latte I may as well pay less for it! Timmys was a disaster - the staff were not sure how to use the machine yet or use the little template to sprinkle the happy face. The latte had very little coffee or milk taste - it tasted like it was made from a powder mix :(. It was also pre-sweetened and the server couldn't tell me if it was made from skim or regular milk. I dumped most of it out. The next day I tried the cappucino and it was a bit better with some coffee taste but still not good enough to drink more than half of it. Ordering is also confusing - they still seem to have a "cafe favourite" cappucino as well as the new "espresso" cappucino.

I have always been ok with Macdonalds coffee but never liked the ambiance and the smell of frying burgers and fries. The store I went to this morning had a pleasant, modern decor and the lady behind the counter was on her game when I presented my coupon for a free cappucino. The drink tasted like it was made by a quality machine with a clean coffee edge and milky foam. The lady offered me skim or 2% and unlike Timmy's it is unsweetened for you to add your own measure of sugar. At $2.29 for a small cup it seems like pretty good value! I will definitely it again.

Nov 17, 2011
Oakville Boy in Chains

Turkey prices where you live?

We scored a 11-pounder at Wegmans for $.38 per pound on our last shopping trip to Buffalo - they were price-matching Tops for the US Thanksgiving and it was obviously a loss-leader. We don't eat Turkey but decided to get one at this price, at less than the cost of a chicken here. We ate it today.

Nov 27, 2010
Oakville Boy in General Topics

The Big Smoke Barbecue - Oakville

I finally got around to redeeming a gift coupon for this place and it looks like I was just in time. Early on a Saturday evening the place was empty except for a few people enjoying drinks at the bar. While I waited for my takeout I noticed the reservation book was blank with no entries..

I ordered the chicken/rib combo for takeout and it turned out to be very dry and the size was small. They didn't include a piece of the nice cornbread they had when they first opened and the side Caesar was a few chunks of Romaine with a small containder of what tasted like standard bottled dressing. Ugh. They no longer had the sweet potato side we remembered from our visit last winter. There were also no small containers of the nice sauces I remember from when they first opened, on a $25 menu item. I really wanted to like this place since American BBQ is under-appreciated here, but this just was not good enough for me.

Sad, Bronte is a bit of a culinary wasteland and we hoped this would succeed.

I wish my gift certificate had been for Swiss Chalet..

Where in Toronto to buy refrigerator water filter replacements?

I have bought them at "appliance parts" stores - look in the yellow pages for one close to you.

However, since then I found a real good price on EBay of all places, from a vendor in GTA. I can't find the receipt but you should find her if you search Ebay Canadian vendors for the Frigidaire part number. Even with the shipping I saved if memory serves about $8. The filter arrived at my doorstep in a couple of days and I will find her again the next time I need to replace it.

How to get the Freshest Mussels

This from

PEI rope cultured mussels are chilled quickly after harvest, and may be stored alive in their shells for about a week.

• Do not transport or store mussels in water or in direct contact with melted ice.

• To ensure maximum shelf life, store rope cultured mussels at just above freezing (1 – 2 degrees C) and cover with a damp cloth.

• Mussels prefer airy packaging. Do not store live mussels in closed containers or plastic bags.

• Do not rinse mussels until you are ready to use.

• The mussels will leak a small amount of liquid each day, which must be drained off regularly or the mussels will drown. For this reason avoid direct contact with ice.

How to get the Freshest Mussels

We love mussels but nothing spoils a feast of these like biting into a bad one! (I know, I don't eat the ones from the closed shells, but bad ones still turn up)

How long do mussels keep after being processed? I was at a Sobey's on Jan 28 and was able to look at the labels on the mussel bags - some were processed on the 14th and others on the 20th. But I think the PEI mussel producers web site refer to 7 days' shelf life. Sobeys should know about mussels, being a maritime company. To be honest though these were on a cart and I don't know if they were being put out or withdrawn from display.

At many places you can't even see the labels on the bags or they have them loose. I notice that a lot of places have them sitting in ice water, even though the PEI mussel producers warn against this on their web site. Apparently they need good drainage. And how about those strange packages with plastic film stretched them - are they still good packaged in that way?

Does anyone know more about this, or where we can consistently get the freshest, plumpest mussels? (west end - mississauga, oakville)

Long Branch, New Toronto, Mimico Restaurants & Food Shops

We lived in Mimico up to 5 years ago and I loved the rye bread at the Polish Bakery on the north side of Lakeshore. I loved the texure and taste and they have the small loaves which are quite inexpensive. I passed by a few months ago and picked up a loaf. It is called Universal or Global or something like that, near Burlington St.

Where to find British Food?

There is a British store on Jones St. in the first block south of Lakeshore in Oakville. (Near Bronte Rd). If you are dying for a "packet of crisps" instead of Frito Lays, they usually have a decent selection here, as well as Marks and Spencer teas. Stock seems to come and go though. I haven't been there since last summer but they are long-established here.

They also have a small bakery section with decent pies and eccles cakes. There is a pretty good selection of candy most of the time altho I am not partial to British chocolate myself - give me the European stuff anytime!

Delis for Burek, etc., Cevapici, Lukmici ( Macedonian Leek Sausage )

I couldn't agree more about Starsky's - it has become a regular stop for us. You can even get them to split a loaf of bread!

Every week they have a couple of the cheeses on sales at very low prices and I have tried Radamer and Edamski - perfect simple cheeses for a Polish ham & cheese sandwich on one of those twisted Polish rolls. The deli samples are amazing - there are always many trays of large chunks of sausage pieces top the deli counters.

The Chelton tea is very good and we look for it to come on sale.

We have even been buying fresh fish there lately - pricey but top quality.

I have become very fond of the Wolanski pickled red cabbage salad. Great to serve with barbecue right out of the jar.

Oakville Favourites

For Thai the place we keep going back to is the Bamboo Legend, at 3rd Line and Dundas. It is a small restaurant with a VERY busy takeout operation. I find it a cut above Bahn Thai and a couple of other Thai places that we have tried here. Of the 20 or so times we have ordered here, we have only been a bit disappointed 2 or 3 times.

Our favourites include the SPICY Seafood salad, the spicy fillet of fish and the green curries, which are lighter on the coconut milk which is often over-used in other places.

They Eat Horses, Don't They?

I was raised in a Dutch family and sliced smoked horse meat or "paarderookvlees" was a real delicacy on open-faced sandwiches when I was growing up. It was sliced thinly like Westfalian or Prosciutto ham. It had a sweetish flavour, very lean, sometimes wth a faint irridescent tinge.

I can buy it locally here in Ontario in the Dutch stores but find the local product to be very heavily smoked, which tends to mask the horsey character of the meat.

May 10, 2009
Oakville Boy in Features