Saturday, August 21, 2010

Buca in Toronto

For a fantastic rustic Italian meal for a splurge, go to Buca on King Street West.
Holy moly, was that ever good. From the knots of dough covered in melted butter, to the meat and cheese platter we had, the pizza with the super thin crust, the pasta, etc. - it was all totally top notch and I am salivating just revisiting this meal in my memory from May 21, 2010.

Cafe Pasquales

One place you will never see me go to ever again is Cafe Pasquales.

I understand a touristy popular place will have a wait to get in for a table, but not a 1.5 hour wait for a table!!! Even for a party of 5 + toddler, that was insane and already for me, a bad omen.

Food is mediocre at best. However, the price for the food is outrageous. Outrageously HIGH!
They nickel and dime you for everything there, including sharing a plate costing an extra $2.00, or try getting a half order of one of their $15 breakfast items, and it'll cost you half the price PLUS an additional $2.00. Or how about this - an 18% gratuity is automatically added to your bill for parties of 6 or more - did I forget to mention we went with a 2.5 year old toddler, who ate what I put in her lunch sack? It's just ludicrous. Service there is so-so and very, very slow. If you're hungry, this place ain't for you - portions are small and it'll take a long time for you to get your food.

I will never NEVER ever go there again and can not, in a clear conscience, recommend this place to anyone.

Santa Fe Baking Company (Take 3)

So, a couple of years ago, I decided I couldn't go back to Santa Fe Baking Company for their breakfast burrito.

Well, something this year, made me change my mind and I am SOOOO glad that I did!

The breakfast burrito was all that I wished for and then some.
Green chile, scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, cheese were cooked inside the tortilla to perfection.
But the icing on the cake was that they grilled the entire burrito, thus getting a bit of a crispy crustier tortilla on the outside and it was just DELICIOSO!!!

Thank you, SFBC, for making the changes necessary for me to come back again and again this summer of 2010!!!

Restaurant Martin

It has been too long since I've had such an amazing meal - since May 21st, to be exact, but more on that meal later. :)

Restaurant Martin, here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is my absolute new favorite place to go here in town. Often, I do not know where to go for not only good food, but good service to boot, and R.M. covers both to perfection. Owned by Senor Martin Rios and his lovely wife, Jennifer, this is a show stopping, mouth watering place for a little piece of heaven.

I've gone now, 3 times - twice for dinner and once for lunch - from your chilled avocado/cucumber soup with lobster, risotto with bay scallops/bacon/mushroom/peas, Alaskan halibut tacos, chicken sandwiches, succulent pork loin, juicy beef tenderloin, Colorado rack of lamb, and divine desserts - creme brulee with major specks of vanilla bean, lemon mousse or opera cake, you can't go wrong with anything you order. My big test is the quality of the drip coffee - it is dark roasted but not burnt tasting like a Starbucks cuppa joe. The price - just right - not too expensive and quite frankly, is priced perfectly for what you are getting.

GO GO GO - RUN RUN RUN to Restaurant Martin, you will be in for a treat!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Frida Restaurant

On the channel SunTV on the Rogers Network, there is a Toronto Dining show and I was flipping channels the other day and this restaurant, Frida, caught my attention. It is Mexican food. And I love Mexican food. It was a quick clip, but I remembered and decided we'd go there last night as a family. Tuesday night, there were only 2 tables needed attention - ours, and a young couple out on a date. They have high-chairs, so it was kid-friendly. Located on 999 Eglinton Avenue West, it is between Allen Road and Bathurst Street. Kind of a strange location for an upscale Mexican restaurant, but I hope that it doesn't deter people from going. The food is impeccable. Definitely not inexpensive, on the contrary, it is pretty darn expensive for Mexican food. An appetizer runs over $10 and main courses over $20. Definitely worth it if you enjoy food, but don't expect stellar service to go along with it. Service in Toronto leaves much to be desired. When my husband ordered an espresso at the end of the meal, there was no sugar on the table or accompanying. The waiter was somewhat shocked when he asked for it. That is a given. Sugar ALWAYS accompanies coffee/tea! Water was never refilled in our glasses without us having to ask for it. To us, that is the tell tale sign of bad service in a restaurant.

Now onto their food...Their horchata ($4) and sangria by the glass ($9) are made in house and both were delicious. The guacamole appetizer ($11) was fresh and delightful. The tortilla chips could have been larger and more in quantity. I ordered the deep fried chile rellenos and Maurizio had the braised baracoa (lamb) and they were both exquisitely done. We capped the night off with a flan for dessert ($7) and a espresso for M. The bill came out to over $90 and that was before tipping.

We enjoyed our meal very much and would definitely go back - we just know what to expect from the service end of it for next time.

Cafe Jules patisserie, Toronto

For an amazing focaccia and "light" almond croissant, look no further than Cafe Jules on 617 Mount Pleasant Road, south of Eglinton. I stopped in one random late afternoon on my way home from the gym and impulsively bought the 2 above mentioned goodies and was left wanting more! The focaccia is baked with olive oil, thyme, and sea salt - the crispness the olive oil lends the bread and the softness inside - and oh, the salt bits, the saltiness is just happiness on my palate. The "light" almond croissant consists of a delicious almond paste inside a flakey buttery pastry that doesn't show it's true buttery role. It is out of this world. I thought Rahier on Bayview Avenue was good - this is even better. A focaccia loaf will run you $5.00 and a croissant nearly $3.00, I believe. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Me Va Me

Me Va Me - never heard of it before until Miah told me about it a few weeks ago.
It is shawarma like you've never had before.
Hummus like no other.
We went there yesterday for lunch and it was fierce. Fiercely busy and delicious.
Well worth the wait - the shawarma sandwich was large; the chicken was tender, and spices including hints of cinnamon. Like the greedy pig I am, I had every topping from their choices (cole slaw, red cabbage, tomato, pickles, hot sauce, tahini, hummus, etc.) and it was not even THAT messy to eat. This is a no-frills but big bang for your buck place to eat and if you've got kids, you can easily walk to the Toys R Us located a mere steps away. Me Va Me, I will come back for you!