Sunday, November 23, 2014

TKRE: The Kathi Roll Express, Indian Street Food in Toronto.

A sampling of indian street food.

Veggie toastie the Mumbai chutney: 3 layer toasted multigrain bread filled with masala potatoes, green peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and signature chutney ( I left off the cheese). A very tasty sandwich.

Indian parantha (whole wheat flat bread), grilled with freshly beaten eggs and then rolled around spinach, peas, carrots, beans and potatoes and a blend of spices.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

America Restaurant in the Trump Hotel

America restaurant is a partnership of Charles Kabouth's Ink Entertainment and Oliver and Bonacini Restaurant Group. The chef de cuisine is Bill Osborne. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 11pm on, America turns into a stylish supper club. We were here to eat.

Very tasty corn bread that was very quickly devoured before a photo was shot.

"Ham and pickles": inspired hams, house creole mustards, chow chow pickles all accompanied by grilled sourdough bread (no photo). The various hams and pickles were really good. One could make a meal of this dish alone.

"Crystal" fried western oysters, nameko mushrooms, kohlrabi, apple and saucisson. Really enjoyed the oysters which had a crispy outer shell but were perfectly undercooked and just warm, inside. Quite the feat of cooking.

"Crispy frog" cobb salad. Crispy frogs legs, avocado, cactus, smokey blue and sauce piquant.

The chef's surprise for the table, foie gras flapjacks: buckwheat pancakes topped with slices of perfectly seared foie gras, preserved peach caramel and peanut marzipan. Another hit.

This is actually the dish that drew us to the restaurant, Beef shin BBQ, a dish that is normally 10 pounds and supposedly serves 4-6 people. Well, we called in advance and ordered a "half Portion" and 5 people had trouble doing justice to this terrifically executed dish. The beef was accompanied by a marrow bone in which the bone marrow was scooped out in small, easily edible slices. The beef was sauced with "Billy Bob's birch BBQ sauce".

Glazed heirloom carrots and peas that accompanied the beef dish.

"Trumped" macaroni and cheese that also accompanied the beef dish. One of our group, a rather well known former restauranteur, practically devoured this dish meant for 5.

The only failure of the night, slow cooked chinook salmon (the very best tasting of all the salmon species). The salmon was overcooked and rather dry. The salmon was accompanied by artichokes, potato, smoked roe and parsley broth. The ingredient concept was very good and if the salmon was properly cooked, this would have been a very enjoyable dish. 

Blood orange sorbet was truly underwhelming, almost tasting ersatz.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Edulis, Truffle Season and The New Style Menu.

Recently, I have noticed that the trend for many of the best restos, when I travel to London, Paris and New York, is to have no menu per se. Just how many courses and how much. Essentially, an omikase (trust the chef) menu with whatever ingredient is the most interesting from the best of what is supplied from the region or locally. The waiter asks is you have any food dislikes, food preferences (such as better cooked meat or fish) or any food allergies. Another local restaurant that is following this procedure is Splendido.

The "new" menu. 

Kona Kompachi (yellowtail family), cured in sake lees, accompanied by tomatillo puree.

Whelks and matsutake mushrooms, charcoal grilled cucumbers and chrysanthemum leaves awaiting their broth.

Pine honey broth and sudachi zest is added to the dish above. Subtle and dreamy flavours.

The royal presentation for an egg!!!!

The egg, scrambled to curd perfection and loaded with chopped white truffles.

Madai snapper cooked a la plancha with ajo blanco (a sauce of crushed almonds, garlic, bread crumbs, vinegar and salt), roasted porcini and brussel sprout leaves. Another demonstration of chef Cabbalo's mastery of flavours.

Just shucked Gaspe scallops with slightly crunchy, perfectly cooked baby leeks and pine nuts all enrobed with a white truffle sauce. OMG this was a bit of flavour heaven!

Nova scotia albacore tuna, gently seared over charcoal with fennel, zucchini and fennel pollen lightly dressed with an olive oil sauce.

Another assembly of great flavours, an artichoke barigoule (braised artichokes) with chicken sausage, chanterelles and frisee.

A master stroke for any great food lover and the signature style of chef Cabbalo, 25 day old chicken is presented then cut up and sauced a la creme with cider and white truffles (more!!!...after all this IS truffle night!!), with apple and celery root. The chicken is accompanied with the dish below.

Sauteed potatoes and spinach.

Agaricus (bisporus.... the edible variety) mushrooms that had been freshly picked this morning, with sliced white truffles and celery root.

An absolutely fabulous white truffle risotto.

Chocolate birthday cake, dark chocolate and caramel, a cake of great texture. Believe it or not, an 11" diameter cake, 2/3 devoured by 3 people who could not stop from having  an extra, and an extra "just a small thin slice".

Chef Cabbalo expresses his rustic sensibilities in a highly knowledgeable and sophisticated manner. He is truly one of Canada's great chefs!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Big Crow BBQ Special Event

Big Crow BBQ, big expectations for this special event. we began with some snacks during the meet and greet: all beef salami (verscht) grilled over the wood burning fire with an apricot mustard glaze (sooo good!!)(no photo) and BBQ Crow bacon that had been marinated in Dr pepper and other good things, cooked over the wood fire and paired with wood fire grilled pineapple on a skewer (another amazing, I can't stop eating app) (photo below).

 Broccoli salad.

Guacamole and salsas.

Bean salad.

 Another salad.The tension is building for the meat!

Carving the pig.

A whole pig, slow roasted over a wood fire. We were served the head....source of the cheek, and other good parts!

 The ribs and crackling.

 More pig meat.

Tomahawk steaks ready for the grill.

Tomahawk rib steaks on the wood burning grill.

The steak on the plate. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mamakas Taverna

The Ossington strip has gotten busier and from my recent experience at Mamakas, this new resto has added a new dimension to the strip, a resto that will become a regular for many people because the food is in the Greek tradition and very pleasing.

Very good grilled flatbread with fresh herbal flavours. We Had about 3 orders and ate this with everything.

Eggplant salad spread. Ok...but, could be better if it had a smokier character.

Very good taramasalata.

Good kopanisti.

We enjoyed the beets with a garlic potato spread, pine nuts and dandelions sauteed in olive oil.

Imam baildi, perfectly cooked eggplant with tomato confit, caramelized onion, fresh thyme and grilled toast. A very tasty eggplant dish. The toast, dry, might have been more complementary, brushed with olive oil and a bit of garlic.

Horta, dandelion greens sauteed in olive oil. This veggie, cooked in this style, is a fave of mine.

Roasted sweet red peppers.

Very good hand cut fries, cooked properly to still be somewhat crispy despite the cheese topping, nicely seasoned with fresh oregano, rosemary and accompanied by garlic aioli (below).

The garlic aioli for the fries. For me, I would prefer a somewhat stronger garlic flavour.

A special just for the evening, lamb baked in parchment.

The opened Parchment revealing lamb, cherry tomatoes and potatoes all nicely flavoured with oregano and a bit of lemon. An ok dish, but I did not think that it did justice to the lamb and the lamb texture was not as pleasing as i would have preferred. The only dish that did not make it for me.

The restaurant's version of cheesecake, made with fetta and topped with caramelized fig. Tasty.