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Ottawagy's Profile

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Searching for Tam Tam Crackers...

You don't have to pay the Bruno's or Pusateri's markup for these crackers. These are availale at many of the mainstream grocery stores where they usually retail for $4.49 - $4.99 a box. They are made by Mansichewitz but with the new packaging they are playing up the Tam Tam brand and playing down Manischewitz brand and their Jewish roots. Just don't waste your time in the cracker section; you won't find them with the Ritz or Breton crackers. They are usually located in the kosher food section.

1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

Recommendations for high-end Chinese in Richmond Hill

Thanks for the suggestions. I would love to do a banquet dinner, but I don't think that's for this crowd. unfortunately, I can't find a websitesfor Yangs. Any suggestions for what they do well that fits the dietary restrictions of my group? We may also end at Emperor as my wife and I have had dim sum there a couple of times and we both enjoyed the food (although not so much the service). Any suggested dinner dishes? I'll let you know how it turns out.

Recommendations for high-end Chinese in Richmond Hill

I've convinced a regular group of dining companions to go to one of the high-end Chinese restaurants iin Richmond Hill this Saturday Night. Lai Wah Heen or Dynasty in Yorkville would have been our destination but due to babysitting issues and timing, we have to dine up North. I've previously been to OMei, Ambassador, Emperor and Regal. Mostly for dim sum (Ambassador, Emperor and Regal several time), and Omei and Ambassador for dinner. I had an unmemorable dinner at Omei and a decent dinner at Ambassador but am willing to admit that I probably didn't order the "right" dishes at eithere restaurant.

Here's the catch....3 or 4 of my dining companions are somewhat unadventurous, quasi-kosher eaters (by that I mean they will eat pork spareribs and bacon, but other pork products and all shellfish are out). I would have loved to have gone for the lobster 4-ways at Omei but that's too much shellfish for this group. I'm not even sure I can get them to go for the traditional duck 2-ways, but I'm hopeful I can get them there. We'll need mostly standard chicken and beef fare (fish is also a possibility), but I could probably throw in 1 or 2 seafood dishes (lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, octopus, squid, etc.) and possibly one pork sparerib dish.

So here's my plea (especially directed to the Chinese conoisseurs on this board like Charle Yu, Skyline33, Royaljelly and others). Where should I make reservations on Saturday night and could you suggest some dishes this group of 6 caucasians could order? Price is not really an issue - $150-$200 per couple for dinner and drinks is routine. As for atmosphere, I don't need uber-trendy but something nice is a must. Previous dinners have included Colborne Lane, Nota Bene, etc. so I need something upmarket.

Many thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Lai Wah Heen
108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

Colborne Lane
45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

Avenue & Lawrence update.

I'm probably going to regret doing this because this place is truly a gem (which we don't have many of in the Avenue/Lawrence and Yonge/Lawrence corridor) and the more I rave about this place, the more likely I am to have trouble getting a table or getting my takeout order. That said, I have to rave about this place because the food is deserving of high praise.

First the good - We've had three takeout meals and each time the food has been outstanding. We've tried the Chana Massala, Aloo Ghobi, Chicken tikka Massala, Chicken Vindaloo, Beef Vindaloo, Samosas, naans, rices and chutneys. We are not East Indian and by no means Indian-food connoisseurs, but to our taste buds the food is fresh and very falvourful, Far better than what's on offer at Mela further south on Avenue or at Amaya on Yonge (which we have always liked but found the dine-in food better than the takeout, and the food on Bayview better than the food on Yonge). We've eaten at Cuisine of India, The Host, Amaya (in it's all forms), etc. and this may well be the best Indian we've had in Toronto. Recognizing that the food in Brampton may be better but we don't get out there much and the food on Gerrard is a lot of Pakistani (like Lahore Tikka House). Staff have been nice and friendly. As noted above, prices are very reasonable (better than Amaya) and they are giving 10% off takeout and 20% off dine-in Tues-Thursday util the end of the year.

The bad - On a Tuesday food was ready in 15 mins. but on a Friday and Sunday it took about 45 mins - 1 hour (although to be fair, on the second visit they warned me it would take awhile). They are still working out staffing issues and I had a difficult time placing a phone order last Sunday (they didn't answer the phone). Went down in person and placed my order. They admitted they weren't prepared for the amount of take-out/dine in orders and one of their cooks called in sick. I'm more than happy to cut them some slack .

Other - The dining room has a more "traditional" look and feel which makes it appear a little downmarket from Mela or Amaya (which have better, more modern decor). Personally, I'd rather have good food than trendy surroundings (and Avenue/Dunblaine isn't exactly College or King West). But from the outside this may turn off some.

I hope this place does well. It is the first restaurant to open in our neighbourhood in a long time that I truly want to succeed (perhaps the only one in the past 5-6years). Now if only we could get a decent Chinese or Thai place, I'd be content - Satay on the Road being inconsistent and the takeout place on Avenue, I think it was called Purple something, which is now closed and one on Yonge, formerly a Ho-Lee Chow franchise, which was recently re-opened, both being forgettable.

Satay on the Road
2003 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

Business Dinner in Downtown Chicago

Thanks for the suggestions. Client dinner was cancelled and I ended up going for dinner with some colleagues to Phil Stefani's at 437 Rush. It was a very dissapointing meal. The steak was OK, but I've had better. Same goes for the shrimp cocktail I had as an appetizer. I know Chicago has better to offer but unfortunately we followed the dining advice of the concierge at the Sheraton. I'll know better for next time.

Jun 15, 2007
Ottawagy in Chicago Area

Business Dinner in Downtown Chicago

I'm a going to be in Chicago for business next Monday night and I have to take some clients for dinner. Just wondering if anyone has a recomendation in the downtown area (client offices are somewhere around Aron Centre). I'm not looking for something at the Charlie Trotter price level, but the next rung down would be fine (we're on an expense account). We're a 30 something crowd,so something a little trendy and not too stuffy would be a good fit. As for food preferences, better keep it relatively accessible as I don't know my clients' food likes and dislikes (so no trendy Indian for example). Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


Jun 06, 2007
Ottawagy in Chicago Area

Chowhound Review: Perigee dessert tasting

My wife and I had the dessert tasting over the winter. I think they've been offering it for quite some time. If I recall correctly, we received the breads with spreads, jam and honey, not cheese, and we each received 2 amuses and 3 main deserts (and just like dinner they made different dishes for each of us so we had 10 different items in total). We ordered it with the wine pairings, which if I recall correctly were an additional $25. The food and service were outstanding and we would definitely return. The sommelier picked some nice dessert wines to complement the food. I don't recall any of them being exceptional (but at an average of about $8/glass, I wouldn't have expected them to be). I think reservations are advisable since you'll be going for the late seating.

Best Romantic Gourmet Rest. in the city?

I don't disagree with the Splendido/Susur/Scaramouche threads or the comments about the hip/cool factor. I'm a huge fan of the food and service at Perigee but while there may be a certain hipness to its location I don't find the decor, lighting or big open room to be all that romantic. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Amuse Bouche. I haven't been there in a while, but the food is good and the small size of the restaurant and the nice patio out front can be very intimate and romantic.

Does anyone remember the eggrolls from Lichee Gardens?

The Egg Rolls at Golden Palace are truly fantastic. Open ended crispy egg rolls (hence the burnt ends that everyone remembers) with just the right aount of filling. The restaurant itself is a throwback to the 50's - 60's and the food hasn't changed much since then. Chicken chow mein (same as the chop suey but with dried noodles), Almond Guy Ding, "Canadian" sweet and sour chicken balls, and garlic spare ribs are some of the classics. It's a little on the pricey side, but the egg rolls are worth it. I prefer szechuan style chinese food, but if you're a fan of this style of food you'll enjoy the Golden Palace. It's actually at 2195 Carling Avenue, near Woodroffe. If anyone in the GTA knows of a place that makes this style of egg roll, please share with your fellow chowhounds.