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Shakespearean in Toronto seeks food help!

The patisserie that I stumbled onto is on College, between Ossington and Spadina...sorry I can't be more specific, but it's before you get to Little Italy. I wish they'd had cards out...I'd have definitely picked up some...I'll have to backtrack at some point to find it. I was just walking down college one day because the weather was nice and I happened to run across it. I think they open around 9am, but I stumbled in as the French owner was doing business with one of his countrymen. It was so non-descript...I'd have never seen it if I hadn't been wandering past. White storefront with croissants in the window. If anyone knows the name, please let me know. It's driving me nuts...

Shakespearean in Toronto seeks food help!

If you like trattorias, you need to go to the Little Italy/Little Portugal (they are adjacent) sections of town. You'll see businesses that have Portuguese/English and Italian/English signs (even the grocery stores and drug stores)
A great place to just walk down the block looking for food and drink. I'll have to look up the street that is a good place to start, but I found some AMAZING croissants that way. It was as if I'd stumbled into a patisserie in Paris...run by a French native and with great pain au chocolat!! Most croissants made here are too dense and heavy. He was just putting them in the window, and was not officially open, but I happened to stumble in as he was waiting on a fellow countryman, so he couldn't exactly refuse, although he kind of rudely mentioned his opening time (then don't open the door and sell stuff to people). Still very much worth the attitude.
Spadina is pretty active at night, but it might just be for 20somethings (that's how old I was when I was last out there). So is the Danforth (Greektown).
There is also an Indiatown and 2 Chinatowns. You can keep your tummy very full in Toronto. Just buy a copy of Frommers so that you know which streets are which neighborhoods. You really can't go wrong with the food there.
And the weather should still be quite pleasant.
Hmmm, well, you can probably save a few dollars on some Canadian made ice wine (the Niagara wine region is just south of the city). Poutine is technically from Quebec, but you can get it all over Ontario too, and in my opinion, the best poutine is at KFC.
Just be prepared for awesome, authentic ethnic food, from a whole host of countries. My favorites were Laotian and Sri Lankan, just b/c they are options that you don't see that often.
Sorry to be so generic...I used to live in the Detroit area, and went to Toronto a couple of times a year, but I haven't been to some of these places in a while, and having been to Toronto in a year, and I'm not sure if the places I knew are the same. And mostly, we just picked places by going to the different ethnic neighborhoods and wandering around.

Freezing Zankou garlic sauce???

Good lebanese places will never put potato in the garlic sauce; the taste is awful when they do that, but lots of places do it b/c it looks like the real thing and is easier and cheaper to mass produce. And yes it does keep very, very well. You can make it at home, but it's tricky, but it is really just oil, garlic and lemon juice. It doesn't always work, but when it does, you get the light, fluffy looking stuff that you'll find in the best restaurants.

Nov 07, 2006
nicthommi in General Topics

Served "mystery sauce" at Egyptian restaurant

Yes, it sounds like Toum, and in its purest form, it is just garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. A lot of places will use potato or just mix it with mayonnaise. While the ingredient list is simple, it's a hard recipe to master. Half the time I make it, it does not work, but when it does...oh boy. It really does fluff up into a light, white mass, and one head of garlic makes a mother load of the stuff. It is so popular that restaurants that are good at making it sell it in large to-go soup containers. Apparently the trick is to add the oil, VERY slowly, so I guess when I was dumping everything into the blender or handmixer canister, it was pure luck that it actually fluffed up into what it was supposed to be.
I've had it with potato, but it just tasted like bland garlic potatoes...the best stuff is made with just the garlic, oil, and lemon juice (and salt to taste).

Nov 07, 2006
nicthommi in Home Cooking

Home made hummous just not as good as restaurants

Removing the skins really does make a huge difference. If you cook your canned beans and let them cool, you can just pop the each chick pea from the skin with minimal effort. It probably took about 15 minutes to do a 15 oz can.

You don't have to start with dried beans. But you should cook the canned beans first. I had always been disappointed that I could not achieve that wonderful creamy restaurant texture as well(it was very good, but not quite "it")...removing the skins, I made the creamiest, lightest hummus ever, and it only required small amounts (about 2 tbsp each) of tahini and olive oil(you can add more if you like a stronger taste). No matter how long you blend, you never get the same texture with the skins on. I'd tried adding more liquid, more tahini, more olive oil, and none of those things was the secret.

Also, the Lebanese places that I have been to do not use garlic or cumin or the other things that we tend to add here...only lemon juice and salt (and tahini and olive oil). I've realized that I do not like Americanized "hummus" at all, and most recipes that are floating around or the stuff you get in stores is just that...
I'm sure that in the restaurants, they use another method to de-skin the chickpeas...but that has to be their secret. I brought some home to do a side by side comparison, and I've finally matched it.
If you are ever in Detroit, try out the hummus at La Shish...served just as was mentioned before, with pine nuts and olive oil. Love it with lamb shawarma...

Nov 07, 2006
nicthommi in Home Cooking