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Amazing Pie Recipe calls for uncooked eggs, how safe is this?

I'd warrant your chances of getting sick from an egg that had been refrigerated pretty much from the time it was laid until it appeared on your plate would be about the same as plummeting to death in a fireball on your next plane flight.

Feb 13, 2012
tonbo0422 in General Topics

Hershey's Chocolate Shell ice cream topping?

Yay, yay and yay! Lat night I was SOOOO lusting after some to cover my strawberry ice cream. I gave up alcohol just a week ago and am substituting like hell! The finest tea money can buy! Valhrona cocoa powder for hot chocolates! Hawaiian Kona Gold coffee!!!

And now that chocolate shell for my ice cream! I will let you little helpers know!

Hershey's Chocolate Shell ice cream topping?

They used to sell this in my CDN Metro but no longer. It looks like chocolate syrup but hardens when it hits your ice cream. Has anyone seen this anywhere?

Sushi with atmosphere near Piedmont Ave.?

Yes, Kotobuki was never anything to write home about, just that it was warm and fuzzy.

We ended up hanging around outside Uzen yesterday before the 5:30 opening, but it looked really clinical. Like an OR, I remarked to my pal. The staff were having their afternoon meal and it just seemed . . . somehow . . . not right.

We wandered up to Rikyu and were pleasantly surprised. The decor is much friendlier, more conducive to a good chat over saké. The itamae-san was a bit brusque, in a busy sort of way, and the tobiko/tuna rolls were way too tightly packed for my taste but everything was completely serviceable, if a little personality-less. The gyoza seemed Costco-ish and the house saké (Ozeki) was a touch too tepid but all in all, the atmosphere was very welcoming, everyone was pleasant and it gets a solid b- from this Montrealer.

Sparky's Piedmont Ave vs Barney's

I'm in on vacation from Montreal (do stop by -- and have been eating at Barney's pretty much since it opened, when I'm in town visiting the folks.

But the last few times it's really been intolerable -- I realise I'm not in Montreal any more, but lines out the door at 1:30 on a weekday afternoon, never mind that it's the holidays, is just silly.

We spotted Sparky's across the way the other day and made a beeline. It's astonishing how similar the ambience and even the seating is. We were out at the back outside the toilet (it's like a Bizarro Universe mirror image of Barney's!) and the menu is strikingly similar as well. I wanted to try the hot dog, since they have no decent hot dogs in Montreal (they have no decent BURGERS in Montreal -- it's a wasteland) but i went instead for the bacon cheese. It was good, easily on a par with Barney's. As usual, way, way too much food, but that's what America likes, but what I think I'm trying to say is by all means, ditch Barney's for Sparky's . . . after a while, waiting in line for half an hour for a burger loses its cachet.

Sushi with atmosphere near Piedmont Ave.?

Ah yes, I remember Kirala. Rikyu will be our visit after Uzen!

Sushi with atmosphere near Piedmont Ave.?

Robert, never heard of it, but it sounds like exactly the kind of place I'm looking for! Thanks for the rec -- I'll tell the old friend I'm meeting today that we should make that our choice. I'll let you know how it went.


Toque' or Better

L'Express is quintessential Montreal in a Parisian mode. Don't bother with any ethnic, unless it's Ferreira. Piment Rouge was not good (see my pal Barry's old review at

Schwartz's out of duty. Joe Beef is typical David McMillan. Toqué has held the mantle of finest restaurant in Montreal for over two decades.

Meh. Try that little diner Cosmos. Lots of atmosphere.

Sushi with atmosphere near Piedmont Ave.?

I'm in from Montreal (!) for the holidays visiting the folks . . . haven't been back in three years. I see Kotobuki has gone -- that used to be a good place to belly up to the bar and have a friendly chat with the itamae-san, but now all I see is Geta, which is pretty much cafeteria style. I seem to remember there was a place just up there on Broadway in the mall, but is there any place within walking distance of Monte Vista/Piedmont that might fit the bill for a leisurely sit-down at the bar with sushi, saké and conversation with friends and sushi chef, that won't break the bank?

Thanks in advance! When you come to Montreal I'll return the favor!



Japanese curry

As an American who's had Korean curry, allow me to enlighten you. Perhaps you should should do more research into your "Korean-ness" rather than snarking plaintively in public forums.

Oct 07, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Japanese curry

I hate to inject even an atom of negativity into this lovely discussion, but, being born in Calcutta and living there till the age of ten, I was astonished at the age of 33 when I moved to Japan for what would be five years.

Of course I leaped on the curry -- I leap on any version of curry (except that awful dreck called British curry -- NOT the excellent London curry made by Bangladeshi ex-pats, mind you, but that horrible blandly sweet stew that contained sultanas etc.) but my first taste of Japanese curry astonished me. It was definitely of a curry sort, but broken down, patina-ized (is that a word?) and as bland as a slab of unsalted butter.

The Japanese rice had a lot to do with it -- it seemed totally out of place. But it wasn't unlikeable.It just wasn't curry as I knew it.

I actually went to an Indian restaurant in Osaka run by an Indian fried . . . but he had long since learned to Japanify the curry to something that was barely identifiable as curry to my tastes . . . just a stewish-type dish with turmeric and curry powder. He apologised profusely, and I definitely forgave him. Plus, there was the rice -- at the time NO IMPORTED RICE was allowed in Japan -- not a shred of long-grain, arborio, no NOTHING was available. And to me, the rice is 50% of a good curry (I'm from the North-East, not from the south, who prefer naan and chapatis).

But please don't take this as a criticism of Japanese rice. It was definitely not unpleasant, and with the rice/cube curry combo, it becomes a totally different animal: kare-raisu.

I've had Chinese AND Korean curries and they're completely different.

Incidentally, I suggest all of you pick up a book called Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors," which describes the story of curry in all its amazing incarnations. All thet being said, yes, I would gladly sit down to a meal of kare-raisu and a nice ice-cold nama-zake.

Oct 07, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Refrigerating hot food: any scientific rationales?

I see the faster-the-better theories prevail. Good, that's what i've always done. But a lucky bunch of us may not realise the most efficient way of getting food temperature down quickly: when it's below zero (C, 32F) outdoors , I just drag whatever it is out onto the balcony table. And If I know it's going to be cold for a while, I just leave it there (mainly large containers of soup or such. Sometimes I have quite a party going on on the balcony! I would surmise that even if the temp were, say, only 10 or so (50F) it still would be a quick way to get the temperature down for the fridge.

Oct 02, 2011
tonbo0422 in General Topics

Refrigerating hot food: any scientific rationales?

I've always put cooked food, be it meat, pizza, soup, stew, roasts, you name it -- into the refrigerator while still hot. Not fresh off the boil, mind you, but at least a half-hour off the heat source.

I realize that this will heat up food next to it, but the problems with that seem to be to me negligible.

Yet some insist that you should wait until the food has completely cooled down to room temperature before they refrigerate/freeze it. I see no scientific explanation as to why this should be so. I figure, the faster something cools down, the better, as room temp is right about the region in which the bad bugs really thrive.

Any arguments, pro or con? (I once had a girlfriend who always left food out overnight -- uncovered. It was completely gross, and when she suggested that we have that again for dinner, well, you can see why she's an ex.)

Sep 30, 2011
tonbo0422 in General Topics

Ewww.. I have to cook that!?

If I were required to make something that I personally would never eat but that someone else loved, I'd do my best to try to make it the best way possible. I'm a little averse to cooked fish but not so much that I couldn't stand to handle it, debone it, whatever. My sister, who loves ground beef, won't even touch it because it's well, "ewww." You have to get past the "ewww" factor and just try to do something you've never done. That's how I came to love sushi. I just said F-you to the "eww" factor, plunged right in and developed an enormous taste for it.

I have lines, though. Insects will never cross my cutting board.

Aug 13, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Washing ham that's a bit old?

Yeah . . . I think the "Shelf Life" warning on ham slices is totally overblown. It's salted. cured, probably has nitrates in it -- christ, you'd have to do some serious things to it to make it rotten. Just like bacon. They're foods from another age, the age with "ice boxes" and like I say, I must have had seriously old ham at one time or another but I cannot recollect a single time when I actually got sick. in fact, I think I have an iron stomach -- I can't recall a single time I've had food poisoning, whatever that is.

That said, i keep my kitchen as clean as an operating room and if anything even has a brown spot on it, out the whole thing goes, no questions asked.

I despise people who say "Oh, that's just a brown spot -- just cut it off and it'll be fine." Yeah, right. Is it a coincidence that they're often sick with some "undiagnosed ailment"?

I take no chances but I think the ham thing is okay. My wife condemned three-day-old peeled and washed jumbo shrimp but i ate 'em and didn't get so much as a twinge.

Aug 13, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Washing ham that's a bit old?

I know it sounds nutty -- and possibly risky, but when I have some deli slices of ham that are, say, four to six days old (why do they sell these things in such huge quantities? Who eats ten slices of ham in three days?) and doesn't have that "off" smell (and I know that that means nothing, either!) I wash the slice under cold water, rubbing it with (clean) hands, then pat completely dry with paper towels and serve whatever it is I'm serving.

Am I deluding myself that the ham is less toxic? Just as an aside, I've eaten deli ham that I know to be more than ten days old and have never gotten sick.

What do you think?

Aug 13, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Stovetop smoker -- any experience?

I live on the 8th floor of a condo building, and although I knew that according to condo rules, balcony barbecuing was absolutely prohibited, I bought a small "Smokey Joe" by Weber last year. Although we only actually barbecued once a month, for some reason, last summer we were never caught.

Stupid me -- this summer I used last summer's hardwood charcoal, which had survived the winter sealed in a heavy plastic container (one of those that contains 30 pounds of olives for Greek restaurants) but somehow it had indeed gotten humidified. So huge plumes of smoke erupted from the grill and blam, we were nailed. So, *sigh* no more nights of happy grilling any more.

But a friend recommended an alternative, something I'd never heard of -- a stovetop smoker.

To be specific, a Cameron's stovetop smoker. These go for about $45 on Amazon, and I'm seriously considering getting one. Basically, the result I want is that the cooked item comes out tasting and smelling like it had been grilled.

I tried liquid smoke in a marinade, but it came nowhere close.

Does anyone know of these things and can provide info on their purchase? A Canadian option would be a huge bonus.

Thanks in advance!

Jul 05, 2011
tonbo0422 in Cookware

First, Congratulations and salutations, then let's discuss Moishe's

Well, my two cents, having been to San Francisco steakhouses (Ruth's Chris, Harris Ranch, Izzy's and Peter Luger) is don't waste your time on American-style steak in Montreal. The people who said a good steak-frites is your best bet are completely correct. I had a lousy time at Gibby's, Queue du Cheval and Biftheque, but the steak-frites at L'Express is to die for. I'm sure there are other less pricey bistros here that do it just as well.

No one who likes beef has mentioned Magnan's. I only went there once and didn't try their steak but their roast beef was fantastic and it really is a down-to-earth meat "joint" . . . not an upscale "steakhouse."

L'Express Restaurant
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

Biftheque Restaurant
, Quebec, QC G1R, CA

Kosher frustration

Well, I wish I could say it all went well, due to your many thoughtful replies, but it didn't. We ended up at Benny's. 5 more people than we'd planned for showed up, so I, as husband of the daughter, glumly sat alone at a separate table the whole time. Never mind. The whoever-priest-in-charge forced my wife, who can barely walk, let alone drive, to go back to the cake shop where she had bought a cake, to have it "sealed" because it wasn't kosher. That delayed the entire lunch for about an hour.

I was so pissed off by this time that not even the lousy food -- tired, thrice-pounded pieces of shoe-leather meats and greasy french fries -- could rouse me to try to like it.

In spite of this my wife tried her best to put a brave face on it and said "You're the only one who didn't like it -- everyone else loved it." Well, everyone loves McDonald's, apparently, because this is what it was -- an Israeli McDonald's.

It was hands-down the most insipid crap I've ever had to eat, and I've had to eat a lot of insipid crap.

Put that together with a lousy attitude and you've got the makings of a lousy Mother's Day brunch.

Not that I expected anything different.

It makes me ashamed to not be Jewish.

Kosher frustration

Wow, I knew I'd stirred up a can of worms, but little did I know! If I'm right, the Moroccan place is (was) called El Morocco. Since the guest of honor is Moroccan, Moroccan has been ruled out (we make it well enough, thank you!)

And yes, I went through the kosher thread, but it didn't tell me anything I don't already know. Rumi! The kosher restaurant with the Japanese name! I've heard of it (I think I've seen it) but it looked a bit too non-traditional . . . though what do I know? I'm neither Jewish nor Kosher and I can barely tell a Sepharad from an Ashkenaz!

And we thought of having the whole thing catered (I have no problem with it) but the son of the guest of honor thinks that will give my wife and me too many problems, so that's been nixed.

And yes, as far as I've seen, any lunch on Mother's day at any kosher place in Montreal (hell, at ANY restaurant in Montreal) is going to be an expensive waste of time, but what can I do? I'm only the messenger, whom you're not supposed to shoot.

I called this place that was mentioned by celfie and spoke to an Israeli,so that's a good sign, although the menu looks like a hideous parody of some ex-pat American diner . . . but I guess there _is_ no kosher foie gras and if there were, it wouldn't be found in Montreal. I suggested giving the Queen of honor a nice kosher hot dog at her residence and then we all go out and have a blast at L'Express but as you probably know, that did not sit very well.

But keep 'em coming -- I promise a full report. This should be good.

L'Express Restaurant
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

Montreal, QC, Montreal, QC , CA

El Morocco Restaurant
3450 Drummond, Montreal, QC H3G1Y2, CA

Kosher frustration

This wouldn't be the "New York Grill", would it, by any chance? The ones who answer the phone with an answering machine?

Let me check it out -- I'm now on a mission from God.

Kosher frustration


I'm not Jewish or kosher, but the occasion has come up where I have to find a kosher restaurant for 15-20 people on Mother's day for lunch, because the person for whom the lunch is for is also the only person in the group who eats only kosher.

I see that unfortunately, the kosher scene in Montreal seems to be pretty ghastly, or at least there seem to be two camps -- people either seem to hate the few places there are, or absolutely love them; no in-betweens.

And all of these places seem to have to do with someone named Ernie. The occasion is the person's 90th birthday, so it was my thinking that going to a place like Chez Benny was like taking the Queen to McDonald's . . . unfortunately it looks like I have very few choices here. (Considering the large Jewish population in Montreal, one would think they would have at least ONE classy kosher place . . .)

Anyway, any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. This is way out of my area of expertise . . .

Chez Benny
5071 Ch Queen-Mary, Montreal, QC H3W1X4, CA

I'm craving...

For many of those things, you'd be very well off right here in Montreal. Can't vouch for the grits, though. But then again, all of those things are extremely simple (and rewarding!) to make by yourself.

Apr 13, 2011
tonbo0422 in San Diego

Ham: when to toss?

I've found a great website about food longevity (I'm afraid to post a link in case this post gets pulled, so Google "Shelf Life Advice" and it should come up) and I'm wondering about deli ham -- you know, the Black Forest stuff you get in the shrink-wrapped packages.

Now common sense would tell you that ham that's somewhat slimy wouldn't be good any more -- yet countless times it's been slimy RIGHT AFTER OPENING THE PACK for the first time.

Now my thinking is, once you open that pack, assuming you have a 40-degree or less refrigerator, it should be good for at least a week (though most "food safety" recommendations always seem to say 2-3 days -- which begs the question, what single person eats an entire pack of deli ham in three days?)

But I've found that even after a week, if it doesn't smell AT ALL (and you'll definitely pick up that sour odor if it does) I just literally run it under a cold tap and dry it on paper towels, with the theory that, if there IS a thin slimy film of bacteria on the surface, I just washed most of them off and therefore it can go a couple more days.

I don't want to extend this into a rant about excessively large portions in packages that can't be frozen (at my local grocery store, they sell beansprouts, which go bad extraordinarily quickly,) in these vast shrinkwrapped foam flats that must contain, oh, at least 8 cups. It's very cheap (99 cents) but who, even a Chinese family of six, is going to eat 8 cups of beansprouts in two days? Or 4 cups of sugar snap peas? Even some sacks of potatoes . . . an 8-lb. sack? They'll be crawling around on your kitchen floor by themselves before you get a chance to finish them. But as usual, I digress!

Anyway -- anyone think my ham theory holds water (so to speak)?

Apr 13, 2011
tonbo0422 in General Topics

Hot and Spicy

Yes, I think I saw that somewhere in my Googling. Excellent idea! I'll follow up and report! Maybe he can give me the recipe :)

Hot and Spicy

Hot and Spicy on Decarie is neither, but I'm not really here to review it other than to say on my only visit, the service was sophomoric (they placed us at a one-legged table that one could push down at least 4 inches at any point -- when we complained they moved us but then sat another couple there -- when they complained they moved them etc. etc. presumably all night [and every night!]) and the food was blah.

However, the reason I was there is because they had some sushi (Yep! Chinese sushi!) called L'oeil du dragon.

Now the only other Dragon's Eye sushi I'd ever had came from that eternally-missed Masako on Cote-des-Neiges at Queen Mary, and man, it was spectacular. It wasn't quite an inside-out roll but if I had to guess it was coated with panko and briefly deep-fried (I think it consisted of green onion, tobiko, salmon, and a delectable mayonnaise/soy dip).

And the moment I saw it on the mailbox flyer from H&S I said "We need to go try it." Their's was light-years from Masako's but it held a shadow of the original spirit. In other words, it wasn't bad.

My questions are: does anyone know of a place that serves Dragon's Eye that might be better than H&S's and still better, would anyone have a RECIPE for it? I'm a good cook, but deep-frying sushi sounds a little . . . uhh . . . out of my league. Still, it might be worth a try!

Summary: avoid Hot and Spicy but if you end up there do try the Dragon's Eyes.

Queen Mary Restaurant
5504 Ch Queen-Mary, Montreal, QC H3X1V6, CA


If you have in mind a sit-down restaurant that serves home-made chu-hais and namazake or beer, and you can browse a usually large menu which may or may not include "butter corn", "german potatoes," a mixmash host of kissaten favorites such as yaki-soba and "napolitan supaghetti" (anointed with katsuobushi) and such things as onigiri (but not sushi), pizza with corn and squid on it all the while surrounded by large crowds of salarymen and office ladies and "irasshaimase!" and "arigato gozaimashita!" being shouted by every worker in the house any time a guest moves, with lockers at the front door where you leave your shoes and get a wooden locking token, which is great fun and where most guests smoke a lot and have purple faces because their metabolisms can't process even small amounts of alcohol, then the short answer is "no." The long answer is "And there never will be."

But I share your longing. It almost makes the biennial trek to Japan all worth it. I'm in like Flint if you decided to start one up. I'm sorry, but even after fifteen years, I've never found a place remotely like a Robata in Montreal. Try a tapas bar where everyone speaks Japanese.

Duck à l'orange, but with just breasts?

Sorry for the delay in replying. I went through all my cookbooks and hardly any of them even had the Whole Bird recipe, let alone just breasts.For some reason the Typepad link doesn't work on this computer, but the NY times article looks like just what I need.

Frankly, I'm leery of cooking a whole chicken, let alone a whole duck! However, now I'm thinking of scrapping the à l'orange idea and making duck burgers instead. A medium-rare sautéd duck breast already tastes like a fine Kobe filet mignon, so I'd imagine that if I ground one myself, it would make an outstanding burger, perhaps with some gorgonzola sandwiched between two patties and then grilled wrapped with Applewood-smoked bacon . . . but I'm definitely going to put your advice and links down in my Kitchen Notes book! Thanks for the help!


Feb 20, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Duck à l'orange, but with just breasts?

My wife would like me to make duck à l'orange (which I've never made in any way, shape or form) but it seems to me that a whole duck with be gross overkill for two people, not to mention the mess in the oven.

Anyone with an idea how I could make a version of this with just duck breasts and a combo of stovetop/oven? I've made magret de canard with great success but nothing like this.

Thanks in advance!

Feb 18, 2011
tonbo0422 in Home Cooking

Your favorite BYOW restaurant?

Greek: can't go wrong with Parthenon on Van Horne at Cote-des-Neiges (get me away from the Plateau . . . please!!) Their dishes aren't factory-Greek made by automatons and their tsaziki, no matter how many times I've tried to duplicate it, rules all tsaziki in the civilized world.

For Chinese, Peking Garden (Jardin de Pékin) on Queen Mary near Decarie is also quite tasty, though now you're limiting me -- if it wasn't BYOW only I'd much prefer Kam Shing at the Plaza Cote-des-Neiges -- and Peking are quick and very garlicky if you request it, which I do.

I would say hands-down the best Vietnamese BYOW is Cinq Épices on Jean-Talon. They're ultra-family-run, so if you ever have a problem, there's always Mom with her three kids sitting at a table very near you, their food is top-notch and they tolerate my jokes about which fish in their fish tank I want for sushi dinner.

Peking Garden
5339 Ch Queen-Mary, Montreal, QC H3X1T9, CA

Queen Mary Restaurant
5504 Ch Queen-Mary, Montreal, QC H3X1V6, CA