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100 Tastes to try before you die?

When I went through James Chatto's list for 100 food to try before expiring, I realized there are so many more things I yet to experience. I probably can only cross off 20 out of the 100 he came up with.

So for all chowhounds out there, do you agree/disagree with his list? and are there any other items that are unique to Toronto you would like to add to the list?

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  1. Baby beef.

    This is something literally unique to Toronto. Baby beef is a veal cold cut, rather like pastrami or corned beef. It can be sandwich-ed or it is sometimes served as a kosher side for breakfast (instead of ham and eggs).

    Honestly, I don't think it's quite as flavourful as corned beef or pastrami, but I do think its texture is a little finer (although I'm willing to entertain that I may be projecting this texture variance). Honestly, I'd rather have a corned beef sammy, but this is a unique-to-Toronto zag and worth adding to the list.

    You can get baby beef at the New York deli at Bay and Bloor.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      Fresh ripe durian. Love it or hate, you gotta try it!

      1. re: koknia

        Are those things really as smelly as they say they are... I think in Japan it is illegal to take them on the subway!

        1. re: abscissa

          They're even smellier than what you've heard, probably.

          Rather strangely, I find the smell somewhat appealing, and the taste vile as opposed to the other way around. What I find the most interesting is that like valerian root, the smell changes dramatically - not just in strength but completely in characteristic - depending on your proximity to durian.

          1. re: vorpal

            My landlord in Australia raved about durian! He told me that his wife and children wouldn't let him eat it in the house, so he had to take it out to the shed.

          2. re: abscissa

            In Thaliand and Malaysia, many if not most hotels have a no durians in your room policy, as the smell is so hard to get out. I was in one place in Kuala Lumpur that had a graphical no durian sign at the lobby elevators (like a no smoking sign, but with a durian in place of a cigarette).

            In any event, I agree you gotta try them.

        2. re: Rabbit

          Baby beef is a 700 lb. veal calf, and hardly unique to Toronto. http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&ct=...
          There is even a meat shop at 1354 St. Clair West called Baby Beef.

          I think Rabbit is referring to cured and smoked round, a poor relative of pastrami.

          1. re: Rabbit

            "Baby beef" used to be sold in the U.S. as just that. A steer that was too old to be veal and too young to be mature beef. It had its place. It made excellent schnitzel. You could roast it like full blown beef, but it just didn't have the depth of flavor. There are a lot of things that have disappeared from America's gallery of food choices!

          2. While I haven't seen the actual issue yet, I believe that this article was written by Chris Nuttall-Smith, not James Chatto. (And it was presumably one of the last things Nuttall-Smith wrote for TL, as he has left the magazine.)

            As for the comment above questioning the recommendation of Thunder Oak Gouda purchased from Cheese Boutique - I suspect that the vendor was suggested because CB is of one the few places in town (or perhaps only?) that sells Thunder Oak and other cheeses that they have continued aging on-site. So while you'll get a 1-yr or 2-yr Thunder Oak most places, you can get a 5-yr at CB.

            And having tried some of the 5-yr at an event a couple of weeks ago, I HIGHLY recommend it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: gregclow

              I thought the list was very informative but I don't understand why he thinks that eating a Toronto street vendor hot dog is a "must." It just seems so boring and out of place compared to the other gastronomic delights he recommended.

              1. re: czthemmnt

                I thought it had an interesting mix. Like most lists though, I wouldn't take it too seriously or it takes the fun out of it. A month from now, if written again it could look completely different. That's what makes us so lucky to live in Toronto and have all these wonderful products widely available to choose from.

                1. re: czthemmnt

                  I liked the street meat suggestion. It helps to at least pretend like a spectrum is being covered. I also happen to agree with whoever wrote that one. And I'll tell you, of all the major cities I've been to, Toronto's street meat is the best.

                2. re: gregclow

                  My girlfriend went out to Thunder Bay and picked up some cheese, straight from the factory this past summer. A decent piece of Gouda, and a combo pack of smoked, jalapeƱo, dill and red pepper. The smoked is nice.

                3. Eh, I can't eat 3/4 of what's on there (ie, all the meat). But I'm making headway on the veg options.

                    1. re: GeoNit

                      Having had a 'quick run thru' of the list...I would applaud Joanne Yolles Coconut Cream Pie (developed for Scaramouche) as still the absolute gold standard for this pie BUT, on the other hand..........BLUEBERRY BUNS (those that were made by the original Health Bread on Eglinton Avenue West were simply the BEST! Not one bakery of my current patronage comes even close (and trust me...I've covered miles looking !!!! Way too much 'bun' and the 'filling' glutinous (even in fresh blueberry season)

                      1. re: pearlD

                        Oh yeah, HB blueberry buns with the rock sugar on top. I can even picture the big banner they put in the window to announce the blueberry season. Yum! I could go for one (or two) right about now.

                      2. re: GeoNit

                        It's actually Chris Nuttall-Smith's list. Hence the lack of any bootlicking.
                        Obviously a personal selection - some good, some lesser. But as I recall posting on another thread:
                        "any list that doesn't include the Dry Rub Ribs at Universal Grill is not credible".

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/461788

                        1. re: estufarian

                          I doubt it's strictly a personal selection. I know a couple of TL reviewers who were asked for their suggestions (w/o credit).

                      3. perhaps not unigue to Toronto - more of a Northern Ontario taste - is a sandwich filled with smoked rainbow trout, sharp cheddar cheese, and strawberry jam.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: zseckley

                          The wild blueberry & white chocolate phyllo strudel at Messis (on Harbord) is very good--and while I've seen an imitation or two, I believe Messis' is the original.

                        2. Well, I would add a few things:

                          Pista Kulfi (from chowpatty beach in Bombay, if possible...i'm not sure where to get it here, but little india would be a good start)

                          Masala Dosa with Sambar and coconut chutney (any south indian restaurant)

                          I agree with Durian, it's so great, but the stuff here is not as good as in Asia, just like all of the tropical fruit.