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Real BBQ in Etobicoke

Yep they still got it. We phoned in a takeout order a day ahead for a 4 person brisket dinner and a 4 person pulled pork dinner. Specified sauce on the side. Came with 2 vats of beans and 2 vats of cucumber and tomato salad. We only had 4 people eating so I've been having leftover bbq for lunch and dinner for the past 3 days.

Ate the brisket without sauce. I haven't been to Austin for 2-3 years, but Paul and Sandy's brisket would be competitive in Texas and is the best I've eaten outside of Texas. Just needs a mess of collard greens on the side.

I haven't eaten pulled pork in the south, but I think P&S is better than Stockyards or the old Drake BBQ. Ate the pork dry and dipped in the vinegary sauce.

I've never been to the restaurant; only takeout. Luckily the sister-in-law lives in Etobicoke so she'll pick it up if we feed her cava and prosecco when she arrives.

I love this place.

You're not supposed to drink sake with sushi!

Maybe I was joking.

Jan 08, 2012
Mr Rabbit in Not About Food

You're not supposed to drink sake with sushi!

The only real faux pas in Japan is to drink nothing at all. Order oolong cha if you really want the stink eye in a sushi bar.

Jan 08, 2012
Mr Rabbit in Not About Food

Centro (Corso Italia) hot table!

So we moved to Corso Italia and Centro has become my favorite place in the neighborhood. Actually, Centro was one of the reasons we moved there. We were walking down St Clair and wandered into Centro. I saw the big Serrano ham in the deli case and decided I had to live here.

Last week I showed up around 1:30pm and I was the only person in the room who didn't speak Italian. I wasn't sure what to order so I had a veal cutlet, some braised escarole, and some pasta. You want bread? they ask. I nod. They hand me a loaf of bread. The pasta was little tubes with broccoli in garlic and oil; it seemed like a throwaway choice but it turned out to be the best part - they doused it with good grated cheese and it turned out to be filled with big chunks of pancetta as well. So I couldn't stop eating it.

So today I wander in again for lunch around 2:30pm. The hot table has already been picked over by the Italian retirees but there is a small dish of some chicken looking stuff. What's that, I ask the lady. Rabbit, she says. You like rabbit? Oh yes, I say. So she dumps the rest of the rabbit on my plate, and some risotto and salad. You want bread? she asks. I say yes and she hands me a loaf again.

The rabbit was delish, and everything else too. I almost run out of bread sopping up the rabbit gravy. I wish I could have had half a bottle of wine to go with, but I was basically eating in the food court so no liquor license. The total damage was $12.95 plus tax. I asked if they did rabbit everyday. They said Tues, Thurs, Sat. Now I just have to figure out what to eat on the other days.

Centro Trattoria & Formaggio
1224 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E 1B4, CA


Mississauga has great Asian food. I frequent a couple of Viet places:

1125 Dundas E (near Dixie, across from Canadian Tire) has a bunch of Viet places. My favs are Pho Dau Bo and the Ba Le sandwich shop in the back. This place also has the bakery that makes bread shaped like alligators and rabbits.

888 Dundas E (between Dixie and Cawthra, the Chinese shopping center with the gate, pagoda, pond, and HSBC). I usually eat at the Viet place closest to the street. I've had the build-your-own rice paper rolls and I think I saw fire pot on the menu as well. This was also where I tried Hue soup for the first time (wow!).

Merchants of Green Coffee or the Green Beanery?

I buy my roasters and beans from Sweet Maria's. Caveat: I'm in the US so costs may be dramatically different in Canada.

Sweet Maria's has a great deal on the Fresh Roast: buy it for US $80 and it comes with 8 pounds of green beans. The green beans are generally US $5 / lb if you buy at least 5 lbs at a time. I buy 20 lbs at a time because that gives you the best shipping cost in the US. The green beans keep for months. (I also broke the top on Fresh Roast #1 so I bought a backup unit.) Coffee is mission-critical in the Rabbit household.

The secret of the Fresh Roast is that it says to use 2 scoops of beans. However, if you want dark roast, you have to use 3 scoops. The beans hold heat, so more beans in the roaster means the roast temperature is higher. 9-10 minutes in the Fresh Roast gives a good French roast for the espresso machine.

I roast outside because of the smoke, and the results and roast time required varies with the outside air temp. There is a lot of art to it and you have to pay attention and practice to get it right.

If not consider Michelin stars, where are your favorite restaurants?

Good point; that's my North America-centricity showing...
But it was good stuff anyway.

Feb 10, 2009
Mr Rabbit in Japan

If not consider Michelin stars, where are your favorite restaurants?

In Japan, I like to pick my restaurants using the "follow the oyaji" method: go to any JR station, wander around the warren of shops near the station, then eat at the most interesting looking place. My best find using this method was a place called Sa Sa No Han near Kitchijoji where they served whole grilled fish on tables made out of plastic milk crates and the locals drink sake long into the night.

My cousin's best find is a little sushi bar near Nishi-Ogikubo called Nigi Nigi where they are so small that you have to stand up (or lean). On the other hand, the food is great and they stock esoteric stuff like Hokkaido uni and whale sashimi. Pics and review here

Jan 29, 2009
Mr Rabbit in Japan

Need Recommendations for Professional, Classy Business Dinner in TOKYO

You can get private glassed-in dining rooms at Imahan in Shinjuku that are very conducive to business. We had dinner there about 15 months ago and have pictures available here:

Imahan is about 8500 yen for the set menu we had, so you may come in under budget if your guests don't drink a lot. On the other hand, you may have to double or triple the budget if your guests are heavy drinkers or if you have to take them to a hostess bar to close a deal. Ganbatte. ;-)

Jan 13, 2009
Mr Rabbit in Japan

The Boardroom (Varsity Club) - new resto Salem, NH

Rabbit is off her pellets today so I've been tasked with posting a follow-up.

To put the Boardroom in perspective, the cocktails were well done, the bar is a nice space, and it will be even nicer with live music. The HDTVs in the bar really do allow you to see every bump and blemish on people's faces. The horror.

The food we ordered (and we don't think we ordered the best stuff on the menu) was run-of-the-mill suburban restaurant fare. I ordered veal scallopini. I expected a plate with slices of veal (ie scallopini), a pile of pasta, and some vegetables. What came out was veal mcnuggets mixed in linguine with a heavy buttery sauce. The sesame-crusted tuna was actually a decent piece of fish, but the pile of veg and rice underneath it was drenched in a heavy soy-oil mix. I ate the veg because there was none in the scallopini, but the rice was like rice-a-roni. We think we should have ordered steaks (or the salads with grilled meat); we saw a lot of those coming out of the kitchen and they looked great.

I feel you have to cut the Boardroom some slack since they have only been open for a couple of weeks. If they add some more color to the plates and lighten up on the butter and oil, it would improve the menu quite a bit. The menu is also a bit confusing; the menu sounds Italian but the Italian dishes are poorly executed and inauthentic. There is a large section of seafood entrees but these are pretty boring, even for the suburbs (ie they have both kinds of fish -- baked haddock and fried haddock). My best advice might be to refocus the menu as a steakhouse. A steakhouse menu would emphasize the kitchen's strengths allow it to cut the dishes that just take up space on the menu.

We think that Southern NH has more than enough money to support at least one fine-dining restaurant in Salem. The Boardroom arguably has the potential to fill this niche but hasn't achieved it yet. Having said all that, the Boardroom is still one of the nicest places in Salem and we will undoubtedly be back since we live in town, and especially when winter weather makes driving to Boston risky. For now we will stick to the grilled dishes and tell the kitchen to hold the sauces or put them on the side.

Pictures available here:

Boston Hound seeks best of Toronto

Don't forget the Jamaican food. I'm not sure where you can get a goat curry roti in Boston.

Where to get frisee lettuce?

I'm pretty sure every supermarket in Yorkville has frisee -- "the awkward lettuce"

I used to buy it at the Valumart in the Manulife Center

Lunch at Thuet- not given option of ice water [moved from Ontario board]

I would never expect to be charged for tea in any Asian restaurant.

In a similar vein, my most infuriating experience was when I was charged for coffee refills in an American suburban business hotel bar. My comment to the server was "I thought this was the United States?"

(and I always say "tap water")

Feb 10, 2008
Mr Rabbit in Not About Food

ISO Cheap(er) Miso Paste

Yeah, you can get the 1kg plastic tubs with the lid for about $9 at Sanko. I think the one we got has the sumo baby on the label. Rabbit has been going to town with the miso fish so I imagine we'll need another soon.

T&T has miso, but when I was there they didn't have 1kg tubs, only 1kg bags. I don't like to buy the stuff in plastic bags. It makes a mess when you spoon or squeeze it out and it gets crusty and dried out in the fridge.

Colborne Lane

There is a certain etiquette to bringing your own wine -- you're supposed to bring wine that is better and rarer than what they have on offer. Bring in a bottle of Chateau Latour and no one will call you cheap (unless they already have Latour on their list); bring in a bottle of Baco Noir and everyone will know you're a jerk. It's also somewhat customary to offer a taste to your server and, if you have something really special, to offer some to the chef as well.

If the wine list sucks, as it does at Colborne Lane, I usually just drink cocktails.

Suggestions for Double Date night??

I used to love the Granite Cafe (I lived in Austin briefly 20 years ago) but I read that it closed. Are there any places with similar food and vibe?

Dec 09, 2007
Mr Rabbit in Austin

Living in Downtown Toronto

The Dominion on Front St is a great place to hail a westbound cab after stocking up at the St Lawrence Market and the LCBO, but that's about it.

What foods, available in the U.S. and not in Toronto, do you covet? [moved from Ontario board]

Good wine. I hate the LCBO.

Oct 06, 2007
Mr Rabbit in General Topics

Alternatives to Pusateri's

St Lawrence Market!

The only thing at Pusateri's that is not at the St Lawrence is the Indonesian civet shite coffee.

But you can buy Kangaroo meat at the St Lawrence.

Old School style fine dining?

The dining room at the Ontario Club is pretty old school.

Quick report on Vertical (July 30/07) -

That's a fair point. My criticism is directed more at the exorbitant prices for young wine than the lack of French/Spanish/German wine. And I did end up drinking Tuscan wine with the Tuscan dish in any case.

Quick report on Vertical (July 30/07) -

Nice review, Rabbit. The caipirinha was great and I thought the wild boar pappardelle was better than the wild boar rigatoni at Lucca Boston. On the other hand, the wine list is a bunch of young plonk from Italy and the New World for $11-$18 per 6oz glass. Sadly, this seems to be the norm for Toronto.

martini bars in TO?

My favorite is the Library Bar at the Royal York. I like to order an Old Fashioned and pretend I'm at the Drones Club.

The bar at Harbour 60 is nice as well. Avoid the fake Sazerac but do enjoy the all-you-can-eat bacon strips.

Lai Wah Heen- what to order?

Ah, I see. I've never heard of the whole Peking duck at dim sum either. But I have heard of Peking duck. And I wanted some, so I had to order the whole duck to get it...

Lai Wah Heen- what to order?

Well, I'm the one that ordered the Peking duck at this outing and I have to disagree. I used to eat a lot of dim sum in San Francisco back in the day, and Peking duck was always on the carts, along with duck feet and jellyfish. At Yank Sing, the Peking duck cart always had a duck head tied to the top so you could see it across the room.

The problem with the Peking duck at LWH is that you have to order the whole duck, as you mention. The whole duck that we got would have been enough for 8 people. With 4 people, everyone got 4 pancakes and a giant size lettuce cup of duck stir fry. With 8 people, it would have been 2 pancakes and a normal size lettuce cup per person. Of course, I was in duck fat heaven and ended up hoovering up so much Peking duck and jellyfish that I had to skip dinner.

Reds - still a good bet?

Yes! Skyline alread directed you to my review, but I would enthusiastically reiterate that Red's is probably the best restaurant experience I have in recent memory.

New Yorker in Toronto-a review

Another thanks for such a well considered and thoughtful review...


Solo woman diner in Copley Square/South End

Hmm. Sorellina sounds like the new Sonsie...

Jun 26, 2007
Mr Rabbit in Greater Boston Area

Windham, NH - is there life beyond Applebees?

Welcome to the NH. I used to live in Seattle and your mention of the Pink Door dredged up memories. I also remember eating fresh shucked oysters out of the tank at the Pike Place market, whole live geoduck (half sashimi and half stir fried with black bean sauce), and singapore chili crab in Chinatown.

But here we are in NH. Salem has surprisingly good middle eastern food; most of the local independents have decent kabob and mezza, but you would never know driving by. Rosey's Place in Salem looks like a coffee shop but I love the lamb kafta wrap and can never decide between the sweet potato fries or the tabouleh to go with it. When I was at Salem Kabob and Pizzeria, they were out of baba ganouj so the owner made a fresh batch while I waited. Samantha's (in an old church in Salem) has decent lamb and a full bar. At the Phoenician, you can get fries with your lamb but they are fried twice, extra crispy, and out of this world.

For Asian food, Lawrence MA has Vietnamese and Korean places. The T&N is the Rabbitz pho resto of record and is next to a southeast asian grocery store. Inaka has passable Japanese (I'm a huge snob here) and a small but interesting Korean menu. Northern Mass (esp. Lowell MA) has a huge Cambodian immigrant population but I haven't figured out where they eat. Anybody know?

Italian up here tends to be the classics. If you want more foodie food, go to Boston. My current fave is the wild boar rigatoni at Lucca followed by a cannoli and a ricotta tart at the pastry shop up the street from it. The food in Boston is worth the trip and if you drive south on I-93 during evening rush hour, you get the schadenfreude of seeing the poor people parked on the northbound side.

For French, Cassis in Andover is decent. 98 Provence in Ogunquit Maine is fabulous.

Shanghai'd (new review of Shanghai Cowgirl)

Mr. Rabbit and I brunched at Shanghai Cowgirl on Saturday afternoon. For those who don’t know, Shanghai Cowgirl is a small diner/greasy spoon on Queen West with a slight hipster vibe. Mr. Rabbit ordered a grilled cheese made with peameal bacon and blue cheese (came with salad). Given that I was nursing a slight hangover, I ordered the soup of the day (allegedly chicken vegetable) and some dry toast. Service was very pleasant, but slow. I think this was because a rash of tables (including our own) all ordered at once – so the wait was not a big deal.

Mr. Rabbit, continuing his love affair with bacon, thoroughly enjoyed his sandwich, which proved an innovative twist on grilled-cheese. Meanwhile, my soup was literally the worst chicken soup I have ever had. The broth was a strange brown colour, there were no vegetables any bigger than a dime, and the little "chicken" in said broth was also a disturbing dark brown. It was so bad that I did complain to the waitress, who suggested that the kitchen had probably forgotten to stir the soup, skimming off the dregs for me. Delicious. They did take this off our bill. Given the slowness of the kitchen, I opted not to order anthing else from the menu (there was shopping to be done).

This left me with toast for lunch. Unfortunately, the kitchen had also managed to screw this up, buttering my dry toast. It took them 10-ish minutes to sort this out, during which time I watched Mr. Rabbit eat his bacon sandwich, which he pronounced delectable, although definitely not spa food. Finally my toast arrived and I hungrily hoovered it back, loading it with those little packets of pb&j in order to put back enough calories to count as "lunch." I think overall this experience amounts to laughably bad luck. But I’m not going back to SC anytime soon.

PS - review is written by Rabbit, currently logged in as Mr. Rabbit (how confusing!!)