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Ginsugirl's Profile

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Favorite Movies About Food?

God of Cookery is probably the only foodie movie to beat Big Night on my list!

Feb 22, 2011
Ginsugirl in Food Media & News

Drinking Wine While Pregnant in France

I can answer that, Apprentice, the rates of FAS are low across western Europe.
My aunt is a paediatric startistician for the WHO who studies this very thing. North America seems to be a different story.

There are many possible reasons for the disparity. How and when pregnant women drink seems to play a factor. A glass in late pregnancy doesn't seem to do much harm at all. But American doctors may also be better at the diagnosis than European ones. The third, and most contentious reason, is race. Americans are more racially diverse than their European counterparts, and can exhibit more risk factors for FAS.

Oct 19, 2010
Ginsugirl in Features

The World Cup Drinking Game

Well, in honour of the hosts, now is a good time to be drinking South African wines, of course!

Jun 27, 2010
Ginsugirl in Features

TTC Subway Dash & Dine 2010

Very close to Rosedale station.
Comfort food, much locally sourced. Warning: the cheese pennies are monstrously addictive, I dream about them.

Tipping Homeless "Helpers"

What might surprise people is how local restaurants too often function as the social workers some people so need but can't get. I worked for years at a cafe where we had a local "character", and we kept his meds in the till to make sure he would get them on schedule. He never asked for handouts, he just wanted odd jobs like sweeping to get enough money for cigarettes. And we'd feed him, but mostly all he ever wanted was a sandwich and a cup of soup. And you know what, that wacky old fella made me feel like my job was worth it!

Jun 24, 2010
Ginsugirl in Features

Where can i find the best chicken shawarma?

Although I usually go for the amazing falafels and mezes, Mashu Mashu does a great shwarma, as a loaded pita sandwich, side or platter. The aroma alone sells me on it. Nicely roasted crust without being dried out. And since they are very busy, everything is very fresh. I can`t go there without some of their creamy, smoky babaganoush or the cumin-spiked beets. The meal-sized green salads are enormous. And the bonus, it`s a really good, affordable meal in the heart of Forest Hill Villiage.

Mashu Mashu
387 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5P, CA

Worst in Toronto

Only on the "Mink Mile" could such a ridiculous idea exist. A slice of stale bread (flown in from Paris!), a few slices of duck on top, and it will only set you back $20. But I guess Yorkville is used to over-priced, bad food.

Holt's Cafe
50 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M4W, CA

Best foodie 'hoods?

Most of the foodie 'hoods in Toronto are very one-dimensional, offering predominantly a single type of cuisine. The monikers say it all: Chinatown, Little Italy, India Bazaar, The Danforth (aka Greektown). Others cater to certain classes of people: If you have to ask where to eat along the "Mink Mile", you probably can't afford it.

Kensington Market is the most logical choice. Not just for it's own diversity, but also it's proximity to other gastro-strips. A few blocks walking get you to Chinatown, College St., and Baldwin St., all foodie destinations in their own rights.

Musa or Kalendar - which one?

The first thing you notice about either spot is that they are quite...girly. The sort of places that stroller moms can go for lunch or coffee, but also go out with friends for cocktails in the evening (both restaurants happen to be owned by women).

Kalendar does light lunches well. The mini pizza-style naan breads are lovely, the salads good, and they usually have a well-made soup. Musa is a bit heartier, whether it's the savoury brunch crepes (best mornay sauce ever), or the robust moussaka, likely the best in the city, made from the family recipe book.

I'd say try both, but for a dinner I'd lean towards Musa.

Shawarmas in Toronto

I highly recommend Mashu Mashu.

This Forest Hill Village spot is better known for their salads and other vegetarian fare (best falafels!), but they also do a very good chicken shawarma. It's the aroma that reels you in. Usually moist (caveat: there have been a couple of times it's been a bit dry, but the tahini sauce deals with that quite well) and seasoned without being too salty, with lovely roasted crusty bits, and great fresh toppings. For spice lovers, add some tasty harrissa-type hot sauce, but get it on the side, it packs a wallop. They also make my favourite babaganoush in the city; very smoky and garlicky, and the cumin-laced beet salad is great.

Mashu Mashu
387 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5P, CA

Make the Most of Fresh Shiitakes

I like to add sliced, sauteed shiitakes to classic French onion soup. No other type of mushroom has the right texture to work in this one. II find that a sourdough crostini topped with a nutty cheese (like a good emmenthaler) brings it all together.

Oct 11, 2009
Ginsugirl in Features

Best Wine List/Sommelier?

Opus Restaurant was the ultimate wine list - rare gems and good finds but more importantly the right vintages and the right names. Verticals of the best of the best. Can't find the wine or vintage you want? Just ask - they probably have a bottle or two. If a wine is worth drinking they have it. Best sommelier would be Matt at Splendido whose easy manner and astounding knowledge make finding the right wine as easy as choosing your favorite breed of dog.

Best Masala Dosa in Toronto?

Udupi Palace is a reugular fixture at all the South Asian festivals over the summer, so you can check them out

Best Indian in TO

Oh, I forgot to mention Shalamar on Roncesvalles, I hope it's still there. I love the fact that the guy gives you only three choices for lunch: beef, chicken or vegetable curry. You do get to choose the heat level, and I think they also offer a couple of appetizers, and a full menu at dinner. My husband was always a big fan because they offered Fuller's ESB on draught when no one else did. something to do with the cricket teams from High Park.

Best Indian in TO

For high end Indian, although many seem to disagree, Dhaba on King st. really impressed me. They were able to accommodate a group, including children, for Christmas dinner (yes, odd family, I know), and everyone, including the fussy in-laws were very happy with the meal. I won with the goat curry special, but the lamb vindaloo (HOT!) was great, and they had probably the only butter chicken I've ever actually liked.

On the other end of the spectrum is Udupi Palace. Vegetarian masala dosas, a rarity in Toronto. Sort of a spicy stuffed gram flour crepe. They're on Gerrard, but seem to turn up with a kiosk at every South Asian event across the city, so there's plenty of opportunities to try them.

There's also a little hole in the wall spot (sorry, can't remember the name) on (I think) Hayden st., south of Yonge and Bloor that does awesome bhajiis.

Vegetarian restaurants in Toronto?

Buddha's Vegetarian (666 Dundas W, yes, right next door to where 668 used to be) does some amazing soups; $5 will easily be a meal. Zero decor, questionable service. But surprisingly flavourful for Buddhist vegan food (I think they may cheat and use onions and garlic).

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Jerk Chicken @ Caribbean Wave

For a really great take-out roti, you have to try Gerry's on St.Clair west (near Oakwwod, I believe). One of those little shabby take-away only spots you could blink and miss, but they can really cook! Their roti skins have a coarser peameal between the layers, which makes for a nice texture, and they load it full of meat, with very little potato filler, unlike most spots. I'm not sure how they can even turn a profit that way. Great flavours, but not spicy (break out the hot sauce). Ignore the patties, though, they're not very good.

Le Pain Quotidien - Coming to Toronto?

If you want an over-priced sandwich on stale bread, you may as well go to the cafe at Holt Renfrew

Best Doughnuts in Toronto

It's called Bakery On The Go, and it is on the mezzanine level of Bathurst station. Good bet for a yeasty sugar twist. They also have some rockin' beef patties.

Best Doughnuts in Toronto

Nova Era also has locations at College & Shaw (near Ossington), Dundas west of Ossington, ans St. Clair & Landsdowne. Can't speak to the quality of the donuts, but I'm a glutton for natas (custard tarts), so I've found them all.

Reasonably priced Italian restaurant with great food. Ideas?

Grappa on College St is always a good bet. No pizzas, but everything else is solid. Some of the prices look a bit high, but when the dish arrives, you'll see why. The cuts of meat look like something out of the Flintstones, and I know I could never finish one of their pastas. Oh, unlike most Toronto restos, they actually do a good risotto!

Don`t pass up the rolatini, a veg appetizer of puff pastry filled with roasted red peppers and cheese with a rose sauce. Also I think they do Toronto`s best carpaccio. No nonsense of filling up the plate with greens, just tenderloin soaked in a tonne of wine/liquor/spices, with shaved parmesan and olive oil.

If pizza is what you're looking for, I would suggest Eden Trattoria on St Clair West, Ferraro on Eglinton West, or Standard Club in Little Italy. All have wood-burning ovens, and a nice, casual atmosphere.

Sorry, I don't know any Italian east of Avenue Rd.

Reasonably priced Italian restaurant with great food. Ideas?

I had a terrible visit to Banfi. Too crowded, too loud, and the pastas were awful (mine undercooked, hubby's too mushy). I will commend the staff, though. Despite the crush, they found time to be charming and attentive. Perhaps the pizzas are a good bet, we might yet give it another try, just based on the quality of service.

School fundraisers gone mad

We're about to hit that time of year again...Spring/summer festivals at school, with the kids whacked out on sugary treats, sunburned parents, and obligatory bake sales.

The question I'd like to pose is, what would people actually like to buy at these sales? I assume we're all sick of butter tarts and cookies. If I'm to go to the trouble, I want to make grown-up food. Mini foccacias or pissadieres currently top my list, but I'd love a few other suggestions.

May 11, 2009
Ginsugirl in Home Cooking

Where to send European visitors on Yonge between Wellesley and Bloor?

I second the Pilot, an honest and unpretentious institution (mighty tasty burgers). Also the Korean Grill House, but as noted, it can turn into a lengthy meal. If your people are just wandering on their own in smaller groups, the Okonomi House on Charles St between Yonge and Bay is a unique Asian option (also dead cheap, even the beer), but is tiny. Just make sure to keep them out of the Duke of Glouchester, unless they happen to be soccer hooligans!

Looking for zucchini flowers...

My own don't start until at least the end of July.

boston foodie needs recs - eating solo

Do check out L'Espresso by Bar Mercurio. South side, nearly across from where you're staying, in the main floor of the funky new residence. Weird (not always bad, just odd) service, but great paninis on home baked bread, and some serious coffee.

The Second Cup at Bloor and Lippincott (a block east of Bathurst) has wifi, and the staff are way nicer than at most chains.

If you happen to be around the area and want to nurse a beer, Kilgours is the place to go. A charming mix of writers, artists and academics. Your biggest worry there is getting sucked into a Scrabble tournament.

Restaurants near or around AGO

You'd be talking about Saints And Sinners, on McCaul just north of Dundas(it's actually across from St Patrick's Catholic Church)? There's also The Villiage Idiot, right at the corner, but it's tiny and crowded.

Mother's Day Help Uptown/Midtown

This will definately require reservations, but try Ferraro 502, it's on Eglinton between Avenue Rd and Spadina Rd. Decent size, always lot's of families. Pastas, salads, paninis and wraps, but the real big thing there is the wood oven pizzas. So good. Killer homemade bread, too.

Any good greek restaurant in uptown Toronto?

I second Mykonos! Because it's only a half block north of the Canadian Tire, I think parking should be easy. All the food was easily comparable to what you get on the Danforth. The spanokopita was excellent, the pork souvlaki very tender, if a bit under-salted. Good, rich Tzatziki. I found the staff very friendly, and very accommodating to children (take that however you like).

2009 closings

Given the number of unfounded rumours on this thread, I just wanted to give people warning of an impending, temporary, closure. The much loved Splendido has been taken over by Sommelier Carlo and Chef Lee's second in command (sorry, his name escapes me at this moment), and will be shut for most of July for renovations. Word is that it will be a more accessible version, with less focus on the tasting menu. When they re-open, get yourselves out there and support these guys! (In case anyone cares, I'm not even friends with these guys. I just like supporting any new venture from the people who have toiled in the biz for years).