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100-150 People- Business Cocktail Reception- Downtown Core

I second the Carlu and nominate the CN Tower. They have party space for a few hundred up there and it's ... reasonable.

Apr 20, 2011
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

LCBO - cheapo scotch

+1 on Te Bheag. It's a party in your mouth and everyone's invited. Rambuctious flavour.

But if you're just gonna knock it back, get some Alberta rye and be done with it.

In the $50 range, I found Knappogue Castle at King/Spadina and it's quite good, caramelly with an edge, like an Auchentoshan. http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/pro...

Apr 16, 2011
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Restaurants in Toronto with Valet

Chiado, if I recall. Been around for a looooooooong time.

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Chiado
864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

Apr 16, 2011
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Anyone know a Good whisky restaurant

Via Allergro does have a very interesting scotch list. I'm glad you went and had a good time. I was going to suggest C'est What, Allen's, or the Queen and Beaver. I seem to recall that La Palette had a halfway decent scotch collection. Also: pretty well any of the financial-honcho haunts on Bay Street, too.

.... gaah, I can't stand it. Everytime someone mentions Via Allergro I have to complain about it. The place is appalling for lunch - filled with women rolling up in their earth-destroying BMW X5's with giant sunglasses and fake everything, whose purses warrant a little bench to prevent it from touching the floor. Don't get me wrong - the food's fine, even good, and it's easy to feel like a Soprano when you're eating there. But then you walk outside, and you're in a strip mall opposite f*cking Sherway Gardens, feeling like a big dumb idiot. What a let-down.

Give me noce any day of the week over that BS.

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C'est What
67 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E1B5, CA

La Palette
492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

Apr 16, 2011
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best of Bloor West/High Park?

Henry VIII is on a hopeless stretch of Bloor West. I don't know why everything sucks between Royal York and Islington. It just does.

HOWEVER. On the far side of Royal York (east of, north side) there was a phenomenal tapas restaurant that was tapas before tapas was old hat. The food rocks my world; the intrusive entertainment does not.

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Henry VIII
3078 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1C8, CA

Apr 16, 2011
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Oh Boy Burger, Queen and Portland

I was in there, and someone who was either the owner or manager was in, on what sure looked to me like a coked-up rampage through the place, moving the pop machine and criticizing everything.

Hands down, they should fire the kitchen staff and start over with more experienced people, and more of them. I feel for them in that fishbowl. I can't imagine the carnage when it gets slammed at 2am full of drunks.

I had a meat burger and fries, and it was sadly undistinguished. It could use some garlic and some nutmeg, and might be more interesting. I will come back for their veggie; the cashier told me they source from Fresh, and that's a great recommendation to me.

Dec 13, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Recommendation for great (and reasonably priced) coffee beans?

Even the worst beans freshly roasted will beat almost anything that was roasted a month ago.

So, I tend to get my beans wherever sells them green and nearby me, so that tends to mean I go to House of Spice in Kensington.

Unless you have a roasting device - or a hot air popcorn popper - just buy beans from someone who has a roaster in the store. Balzac's, Moonbean, Alternative Grounds.

The comments regarding coffee taste are on point. A medium roast is a dubious gift indeed for someone who likes their coffee dark and tarry.

The beanery at Bloor and Bathurst is fine too. Look at, but don't buy, their absurd coffee makers.

I usually find Kicking Horse in my nearby health food stores, but their turnover is poor and the product ends up not being particularly fresh.

Dec 13, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Panago

I've ordered from the downtown location. As a pizza I didn't like it at all; thick, doughy, deep-dish style, which means that the pizza dough fries in its own grease. I found it to be reminiscent of Pizza Hut, albeit with better ingredient quality.

Considering the hype and the price, it was a let-down.

Downtown, I'd go to Pizzaiolo and at home my local haunt is Amico's.

Dec 13, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

dinner rec's for kamploops

Sort of stupid to waltz into a place in the middle of BC an expect authentic Japanese. The area is filled with ranchers and tourists hurrying from A to B. Seriously, what do you expect?

We passed by on a Friday at closing time, and would have stayed. Met a couple who had just enjoyed their meal and said they are regulars.

I'd give it a try.

Jul 17, 2009
svanegmond in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

dinner rec's for kamploops

I was just at Peter's. He works the place. He is an extremely nice guy and clearly passionate about what matters in life.

I had the seafood puttanesca which is a hidden gem on the menu; gf had the red clam sauce with some noodles and a very well-done caesar salad. Wine list covers the world with some BC emphasis, and the red (!) we had was well-paired on Peter's advice.

The unevenness in the kitchen may be due to the fact he seems to employ exclusively teenaged girls in his kitchen, or at least front of kitchen doing plating and some service. I heard "bye dad" - and this was a hectic Friday! He seems very hands-on with almost all aspects of the operation there. Swedish guy, running an italian joint in Kamloops. How odd!

I'm glad I went.

Jul 17, 2009
svanegmond in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Exploring Kensington Market

Hungary Thai? It gives both cuisines a bad name.

Jun 16, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Buddha Dog??

Small, tasty, poncy, hot dogs, pretty well sums it up. They have a lot of nerve with the name. Their commitment to local food is commendable - the picton store had asparagus the owner had picked that morning.

I enjoy going, usually order a dog of the day and a couple from the spicy side. It's enjoyable, but if you think a hot dog should only be a huge drooling mess, it will irritate the hell out of you.

Jun 14, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best of Bloor West/High Park?

If you're willing to venture over to Roncesvalles, you'll find some better options.

- Thai Chef is stand-out
- The Intersteer has moved a couple doors, clearly hired someone smart in the kitchen, and has a very spiffy art-deco coffin interior.
- Blue Moon Bay, mauritius cuisine, never tried it
- Cafe Polonez is very easy to enjoy

Jun 02, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best of Bloor West/High Park?

I have been to, and actively disliked, the Firkin (what a surprise) and Dr. Generosity.

The Griffin is passable if you want a burger and a beer.

Shakey's was fine. Probably loads of fun when it's busy.

The only place I can remember really enjoying is the Dark Horse pub. They have a big difference between their A team and their B team. The A team has done brilliant pad thai, and splendid blackened salmon caesar. The B team wasn't a colossal failure, but simply okay with some bungles that should have been caught by the servers. I don't know what the trick is to catch the A team. Their patio in summer is heaven.

Jun 01, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Brie cheese?

Global Cheese in kensington is great. Their neighbour to the south has screwed me once or twice as well, but they do stock Black Sheep cheddar.

Cheese Magic around the corner is also splendid for some more obscure stuff.

The winner for me is Thin Blue Line on Roncesvalles - around 10 doors from my house. They specialize in stankalicious blues and Quebec cheeses. They will have something for you. Their stock is small and so, turns over often.

Jun 01, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Vegetarian restaurants in Toronto?

Jun 01, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Vegetarian restaurants in Toronto?

My favourite is Cafe 668; it used to be on Dundas near Bathurst, but they've relocated further west into a glitzy new building, and the food has gotten better. Buddhist vegetarian, perhaps a bit too much emphasis on fake meat.

Live up on Dupont near Spadina is interesting, it's raw (uncooked) vegetarian.

God help me for saying this, but I think Sneaky Dee's deserves recognition for their efforts at introducing vegan meals to their menu. There's tofu galore on the menu now.

I keep walking by Fressen, and thinking, geez I should drop in there... and I never do. I don't know what it is about that place that doesn't work for me.

I dislike Commensal in concept, ambience, location, and price. The food is alright, but paying restaurant prices for buffet food is nuts.

I disagree regarding Fresh - it's usually OK, but never great, and the price to food quality is about right. I frequent the Queen/Spadina location.

Jun 01, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Thai Restaurants/Thai Chef Cuisine Review

I am thoroughly in favour of Thai Chef Cuisine. Every time I go, I'm surprised at how good they are. I too have loved their whole red snapper; it looked like a daunting project to eat, but they actually prepared the fish quite well for the fork + knife.

How thai food can be bungled is beyond me. Fresh ingredients and not buying your sauce in a jar - how hard can it be?

When I'm downtown and starving, my go-to is Salad King.

Jun 01, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Driving the 401 - Toronto to Montreal

Yesterday on the way out of Prince Edward County, when everything else was closed or booked, we landed in, of all places, Trenton.

The only place with a waterside patio (on the waterway) is called Tomasso's on Front street. It was far, far better than I expected, as it's got a personality-free street presence, and has the interior of a Casey's.

We had a credible greek salad, a caesar made from raw ingredients rather than a jar, and a very decent (deep, not thin) mediterranean pizza, clearly hand-rolled in the kitchen (spotted the corn meal), and again, pizza sauce made on a stove rather than in a can.

Surprising. I'd go back if I were in the area again.

Jun 01, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Good Kitchen Knives

Make sure you have a sharpening steel to keep your knives sharp: http://www.hub-uk.com/cooking/tipskni...

You can probably rescue your knife with a stone and a steel, but really, life's too short to put up with crappy knives.

The calphalon store at King and Bathurst has very good knives, I find at least about as good as Henckels. Tap Phong on Spadina north of Dundas also has a cache of decent knives behind the counter, and several stores northwards on that side of the street; there's one particularly good store a block further north on a corner, name escapes me.

May 08, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best resto between Ossington and Dufferin on Dundas?

Yeah, there's really not a lot along that strip. A couple of passable places that I've walked past, one on a corner (of Lisgar?) comes to mind, but I don't recall the name.

Consider Julie's Snack Bar, halfway town Dovercourt to Queen. Cuban.

May 08, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Via Allegro - Finally, a correct rating from JC!

Noce is probably my favourite italian place in town. Anyone been to both?

Apr 09, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

About Thyme in Niagara wine country - amazing

I had one of those I MUST TELL THE INTERNET ABOUT THIS meals yesterday at About Thyme bistro in Vineland. My girlfriend ranked it as the best meal she's had since she first discovered Libretto, and I rate it the best since I had my panties knocked off at Batifole two years ago.

The approach to the place is not promising: it's a two-unit "strip mall" type building on the outskirts of Vineland, and the signage out front is done in 100% authentic Comic Sans. Two things which say RUN LIKE HELL. But we got a recommendation from the impressively macho italian guy behind the counter at Ridgepoint Winery, and my girlfriend's sixth restaurant sense went off when we passed.. and one minute after they were supposed to open, we were seated.

The menu is prix fixe, and I'm going to leave the prix part to the end. The structure of the menu is appetizer, main, dessert. They aim for flavours on the bombastic end of the spectrum, clearly aiming for french bistro style - fat is in, flavour is in. Their sauces and reductions are DAYYYUM quality, and they seemed to have good ingredient quality.

The food was AMAZING. It's hard to say why exactly. Everything was perfect from idea to execution.

I had a paté over salad with a very intelligent vinagrette reduction dressing, the girlfriend had lightly curried cauliflower soup with pear and a crème finish.

Mains for her was seared duck breast - I always find duck a hair on the gamey side, and this was no exception, but she declared it the best duck she's ever run into, and she's French. Roast fingerling potatoes, some nicely treated vegetables. The sauce finish on that was some sort of fig thing. I had a lake trout (origin unknown) over a wine reduction, again more nicely treated veg (broccoli, beans, asparagus).

The finishing touch - carrot cake with brilliant icing for me, delirium-inducing crème brulée for her topped it off.

The wine list is 100% niagara, for the most part drawn from the lesser-known smaller wineries around Beamsville and Vineland. You can bring your own (corkage unknown) or order from a reasonable selection of great wines @ $7 a glass. There's some obviously excellent stuff in the cellar, too. The baco noir pairs amazingly with duck. Like, really amazingly.

Service is exactly what you'd expect and had an unconventional, though great, wine pairing for my trout.

So as I enjoyed that meal, my mind rewound to the beginning of the meal. What was the prix fixe? Oh yeah.... 27 DOLLARS.

This is an outrageously good deal. Some items bump the price up (fancy-pants beef with mushroom aioli poutine etc +$8) but.. seriously? 27 bucks for a 3-course genius meal?

Definitely going back.

Apr 05, 2009
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

east end breakfast

Really depends what you're looking for.

Steak 'n' eggs: Tulip

Fancy pants buffet: Whitlock's. Reservations are wise, but not a necessity like, say, the Hothouse Cafe which is a preposterous zoo.

Used to live on the east end, but really, no place compares to the lakeview lunch at Ossington and Dundas.

Jan 11, 2007
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

hot sauce in toronto supermarkets

For me, when I'm in a curry/jerk sauce kind of mood, Mado's is great. You can find at it House of Spice in kensington. Killer with eggs.

Of the tobasco types, Mr. Gouda's one is by far the best. It sticks with you and isn't pure vinegar.

Tobasco Chipotle is a welcome find whenever I come across it.

Jan 11, 2007
svanegmond in Ontario (inc. Toronto)