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Fishmonger on the West Side of Downtown

Best bet for you is Newport fish importers on Dupont (I think near Bathurst).
But FYI beautiful fish available in Kensington (best is on South side of Baldwin near Augusta), and around the corner from there in Chinatown.

8 Wine Bar - soft opening

Does that make you a formally trained (capitalized) splendid wine snob? Where did you go to school for that? Just kidding. I always appreciate your perspective.
Wondering what you think about the excellent cheese program at the Niagara St Cafe?

Going to Sursur tomorrow. Any advice?

Sorry please clarify, did Terrence stick you with a $98 1/2 bottle of wine without telling you the price before hand? Ummm I think I would have been a little dissapointed. And the pattern re-appears, quiet night at Susur=fantastic dinning experience.
A la carte items were about $20 (app), more for the foie gras, and $45 for a main course the last time I was there. From what I understand they are always available, sometimes they are printed on a menu, sometimes your server has to explain verbally what you can have. Main course portions were surprisingly generous.

Wine preservation systems

I just found this: http://www.avalonwine.com/Keeping-win...

But what about inexpensive systems (private preserve) vs the pricey ones that completely contain/seal the bottle.

Apr 01, 2007
nose_food in Wine

Wine preservation systems

What works well, what's a good value, etc.
Has anybody seen any reports scientifically comparing different products/systems (lets say vaccuum pump vs. nitrogen vs. argon). Any web links I should look at?
I found this: http:/ www.bettertastingwine.com/preserving....
What are restaurants using?
I'm leaning towards "Private Preserve" system (value for money) but have heard good things about the "ReServe" (expensive, especially if I need it for several different bottles at the same time).

Mar 31, 2007
nose_food in Wine

Seafood dumpling search...

Try the fried shrimp dumplings at the Saigon Pearl on Kensington near Dundas.

Going to Sursur tomorrow. Any advice?

How was your dinner?

Going to Sursur tomorrow. Any advice?

Some clarifacations for all you hounds:
1. Wednesday night should not be too busy so a tasting meny is probably a good idea, especially if it is your first time there. A la carte is always an option and often a great choice if you don't like the sound of the tasting menu. Ask the staff to detail what is on the tasting menu before you choose. Sometimes only vague answers are offered and qualified with an excuse like "Susur likes to change the menu in the middle of the evening without notice". I call bullcrap, at those prices, know what you are going to get, unless you really are somebody who eats everything and then let the man surprise you.
2. Wine pairings: Susur is all about the food. Sure they have a nice wine list with lots of pricey bottles (he will definately gladly accept your cash), wine pairings are fraught with danger. None of the staff actually sample food and wine together (go ahead and ask your server), nor is there a qualified sommelier employed there nor anybody with anything more than a basic knowledge of fine wine. Anything proffered by the staff there is going to be based on speculation, perception, and profit. The whole Susur tasting menu is contrary to most basic food and wine pairing tenants (richest and heaviest course first to lightest and most delicate course last, etc). At the very least if you are serious about wine pairing, make sure you get a palate cleanser (sorbet/granita/jelly) after the foie gras, especially if paired with sweet wine.
3. Be aware that some nights are magical there, and at those prices they should be. But also be aware that some nights are anything but magical. Most of the polished, gifted and knowledgeable staff there have been replaced by less experienced staff, some even struggle with the spoken english language, willing to put up with long stressfull hours and crappy pay to have Susur's name on their resumes.
4. Susur and his hard working kitchen staff still probably makes the best food in Toronto. Although the tasting menus may vary from week to week, maybe even from one day to the next, they are basically slightly different variations on the same elements he has been serving since he oppened. Although it is great food expertly prepared, I don't think avant-garde is a fair adjective anymore.

Downtown Dim Sum

Well, the Bright Pearl is pretty good (especially the steamed chicken buns and the hot mustard) and it has a big dinning room, but it's on the expensive side (at least $20 p/p).
The Sky Dragon is excellent and cheap and also has a large dinning room. Quality has been excellent recently but is not consistent. Try the curried cuttlefish.
The Rainbow Restaurant is great and cheap and it is a la carte (no trolleys). So you get what you want when you want it and it's always hot and fresh but it's missing some ambience.
The Saigon Pearl is excellent and cheap. Try the fried calamary and the fried shrimp dumplings. And the sticky rice there is also great. But it has a very small dinning room.

Astronaut ice cream

science city in the underground plaza at manulife bldg has some. Neopolitan, I think.

NYC Visitor: Susur or Chiado?

Splendido is probably the best resto in this city. If $$ isn't an issue you should consider going there. Susur has great food, but on a Friday night service might be a bit pedestrian, and they use the "spin the bottle" technique for food and wine pairing. I've never been to Chiado so no comment except others (including you) recommend it.

When you leave a small tip...

At high end restos the house collects a tip-out (sometimes up to 8% of net sales) from the waitstaff REGARDLESS of what percentage tip you leave. If you got acceptable service you need to leave at least 15% or you are a bad tipper. Tipping a percentage of the bill is the established system (right or wrong). Ultimately you may be recognised as a bad tipper and politely escorted to the table by the kitchen or denied a reservation at 7:30.

Mar 14, 2007
nose_food in Not About Food

Cocktails at Canoe -

Amen to the bar (and tender) at Canoe. Because $$ is always an issue for me, I have had some great dates at the bar on the 52nd floor. (Maybe cook some pasta and a bottle of wine at home, then drinks/apps & desert at the bar at Canoe). Still not cheap but always impressive.
Side note: at a corporate dinner (somebody else's expense account) at canoe, I watched the service staff over-charge our party. Near the end of the meal 2 open and half full bottles of champagne (why 2 open bottles when only a few of us were drinking the stuff?) were mysteriously and discreetly removed from a service table in our private room and taken away. Then when somebody asked for another glass, a new un-opened bottle was produced. When I asked our host a few days later about the bill, he said that he was suprised at how much wine and champagne he was charged for but at the time he didn't feel he could complain about it.
So when at Canoe, caveat emptor!

What should I bring back from Sicily?

blood oranges!

Mar 12, 2007
nose_food in Italy

Like gnocchi? Try strozzapreti!

Maybe I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure strozzapreti are noodles- hand cut and rolled into a fusilli-ish shape...
after further review: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strozzap...

we are both correct. how typically Italian.

Mar 12, 2007
nose_food in Home Cooking

Meyer Lemons in Toronto

I don't see what the big deal is. Sure they taste nice and have a lovely aroma, but they lack the "sour" and acidity that I LOVE in regular lemons. So they are a nice alternative but certainly no substitution for real lemons. They certainly make a sub standard lemon tart.

Best (Funniest? Wittiest?) Food Quotes

I don't remember the name of the girl, I don't remember the name of the place....
But the wine-was a Chambertin. (I think it was Balzac).

Mar 11, 2007
nose_food in Not About Food

Do-not-miss dining: Toronto

Let it be known! The Keg does a decent steak at a decent price. Grilled and seasoned to perfection, tasty baked potato, excellent (and hot as Sh*t) horseradish, and maybe the most reasonable wine prices in the city. If you don't like the decor at the Mansion go to the one at York and Adelaide and sit near the fireplace. But it's not "can't miss dining" (and neither is street meat or anything fried near the harbourfront).

where is the best fish and chips in Toronto/GTA??

Hint for takeaway fish and chips: Make sure they don't wrap it up. The steam gets trapped by the newspapper and makes everything soggy. Just keep it open and hurry home!
Also great to hear Regent Park F&C is still kickin it. I used to get great fish and chips there. Probably worth a trip. Anybody else have a recent update?

Samosa King - holy cow!

I'm sure Samosa Kings has the goods, this isn't a challenge, but does anyone else out there think as highly as I do about the samosas at Ghazelle (Bathurst and Bloor). So tasty and crispy. Actually everything there is delicious.

Do-not-miss dining: Toronto

I have never been to perigee, but Splendido does it right. Wow what a great restaurant, it get's my vote for best dinning experience in Torontol

Susur is also a great restaurant, and maybe his food is something that is a little out of the ordinary (and fantastic) and so worth a visit- but beware as service can be very average. I would not recomend it on any Saturday night. You probably don't need to book more than a day in advance. The tasting menu's are amazing, but not for everyone. Don't be afraid to order a-la-carte.

Diners/Greasy Spoons - what are your best recommendations?

People you are speaking my language.... I love great dinning but I love my eggs.

Try KOS (AKA the college st dinner), or Picadilly grill (formerly KOS) both at College and Bathurst and both better than Mars. Or get greasy and old school at The Stem (Spadina and Queen). All get especially big marks for the hash-browns.

Tuesday night specials at restaurants you recommend

how about the best italian food in totonto?
Zucca Trattoria has a 3 course pasta prix fixe for $22. Cheap vino, casual friendly service.
Better make reservations...