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Best things you ate this month: Feb 2014

For me, it was a blueberry raised donut from VON, Pizze Pide's lahmacun, and the hollandaise (that came on the Eggs Benny) at Cafe Boulud.

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  1. 'Tea Smoked Duck' - Chuan Yu-Home
    ' Baked Chinese BBQ Pork bun ' - Skyview Chinese Fusion ( something close to Hong Kong standard )
    ' Har Gow ' - Skyview Chinese Fusion ( Finally!! One to shout about! )
    ' Gold Coin Chicken' ' - Fook Lum Court
    ' Rack of Rabbit ' - BERO

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Would also like to add the 'Freshly baked Chicken and Ham Pie ' from Dragon Boat.

    2. Lamb tartar with wasabi and sesame on sesame toast at Shoto

      1. Toss up between a half dozen oysters and the currywurst we had at Silversmith Brewery in Virgil (just outside NOTL). Both offerings were from the Tide & Vine food truck and both were divine in their own ways and went down very well with a beer tasting. We left very happy.

        1. Prima, you should have gone to Simone's and tried the shrimp roti, then I'd be seeing that on your list!

          5 Replies
          1. re: foodyDudey

            Would Simone's shrimp roti be the best thing you ate this month?

            I was in the mood for curry chicken when I was at Simone's this month. It tasted good, but the cumulative sodium from a patty, curry chicken and rice and peas knocked me out. I might order the take-out curry chicken (or possibly curried shrimp) without the sides next time, to eat with some plain steamed rice (made at home). I've been finding TO's WI restaurant food way too salty for my system lately, even though it tastes great.

            1. re: prima

              After I posted, I thought about it and yes, I'd say it was the best thing I ate that was not from my own kitchen. But then, I don't eat at many of the fancier places that people mention on CH. (I will in the summer when I have a bit more time) I talked to Simone last week when I was waiting for my roti, and she said they are mainly selling rotis and soup, which is not what she had expected. I can see why, both are really good! In fact any time I eat some place else, I compare it for value and flavour against the shrimp roti, even if I am eating something that is completely different.
              When I ate the food at Rally which I didn't care for much, I was thinking of how the roti was much more enjoyable. The same thing happened when I ate at a smokehouse in the hood some weeks back. I did not detect much salt in the shrimp roti at Simone's. Now after mentioning it here, I know what's for lunch!

              1. re: foodyDudey

                Ya, I was talking about best purchased food you've eaten this month. :D There's usually some sort of active "best thing you've made recently" thread on the Home Cooking Board, but I rarely see you over there, FD!

            2. re: foodyDudey

              I went to Simone's and tried the shrimp roti solely based on this post - I loved it! The shrimp were juicy and flavourful. Perfectly spiced. Great value for $8!

              1. re: danniii

                I'm glad you liked it, but I was sure most people would.

            3. Zeytoon Parvardeh at Banu (green olive, walnut, pomegranate and angelica spread)

              Arctic char ceviche at Foxley (a given)

              Slice of pepperoni at Bitondo's

              Surprising and good: whole wheat bagel at the Huntsman (the sous is a baker apparently)

              Not so nice things I ate this month:

              clams at Red Sauce

              3 Replies
              1. re: sufficientlybuttered

                Did you have anything else @ Red Sauce?

                1. re: kwass

                  yes. The drinks were excellent and the bartender charming and attentive. The food was adequate but nothing I'd return for. Steam clams gritty, overcooked and under seasoned. Veal sandwich standard but not standout. Noted the nice cheese ratio on the veal sandwich where other Italian sandwich joints tend to skimp. Mini calzones just fried dough with cheese - completely homogeneous flavour.

                  The tiramasu was the best part of the meal and I don't even have a sweet tooth, and rarely order dessert.

                  1. re: sufficientlybuttered

                    Thanks sb! I've been curious to hear from people who have been :)

              2. Mmmmmm last night I went to a pop up vegetarian tasting dinner at Lamesa, based on chef Olivia's travels the last year in India, Vietnam, Philippines. Today I can't stop thinking about the papaya salad with ginger crusted tofu, banh mi with eggplant pâté and creamy smoked tofu, and mashed potato and leek tapas in cornmeal biscuit pastry with onion purée. So sad I can't just go order these whenever I want!
                Also - chicken tinga tacos at el trompo last week were pretty delicious!

                4 Replies
                1. re: equalibra

                  I didn't know anyone smoked tofu! :)

                  1. re: prima

                    We have smoked tofu at home in our smoker. You should try it. Finished it of on the grill with a teriyaki glaze.

                    1. re: MeMeMe

                      Sounds interesting (and I'd be open to trying smoked tofu), but the only smoked foods I seem to like are smoked oysters, smoked salmon, smoked trout and smoked whitefish. I've got an extremely limited palate when it comes to smoked stuff. :) I don't even like smokey BBQ. The horror!

                  2. re: equalibra

                    I saw pictures of the vegetarian tasting dinner. It looked fantastic!!

                  3. deer tartare at small town food co

                    - khao san road

                    1. Conch fritters,pressed Cubano
                      la Cubana.

                      1. Sunagimo (Gizzard) skewer at Izakaya JU. Had no expectations but could have eaten them all night.

                        1. Swallow nest egg tarts at Grand Chinese Restaurant

                          1. 'Beef' at Actinolite
                            'Gnocchi' at Salt.

                              1. re: justxpete

                                Anywhere. :) (Edit, as per Charles Yu, replies about food beyond Ontario may be subject to moderation)

                                1. re: prima

                                  If we start mentioning great food from outside of Ontario, it will be treated as 'off topics' and get deleted! Better play safe and restrict to within the province!!

                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                    I think justexpete knows his anywhere replies might get deleted, but if he wants to post abt food from elsewhere, he can take his chances. ;-) Absolutely agree, if you don't want your comments deleted, better to stick with food in Ontario.

                                    1. re: prima

                                      Well, here goes nothin'! I could hardly post these in every thread on every board, so...

                                      A new dish in the tasting menu at Splendido. Chicken crackling with fried sweet breads, whipped potato w/ Parmesan, and pomegranate seeds. An incredibly innovate dish.

                                      Omakase Tasting menu at Octopus Garden. Check the Sashimi out. Also featured a sea urchin 'shooter' w/ duck egg - picture didn't do it justice, but it was amazing. If you're ever in Van, this is THE PLACE to go for Sushi.

                                      Madison, WI
                                      Discovered a hell of a gem balled "Pig in a fur coat". I was shocked to find food of this caliber in what I thought would be an insufferable food destination. However, this place would compete with any of the top restaurants in TO as far as casual dining goes. Pictured here is the Chilean Sea Bass w/ fried pork jowl. Every course was oustanding, including the Panettone bread pudding.

                                      Finally made it to Joe Beef's, and had the Beef. Ribeye is aged 2 months minimum. Sausages affected the dish as their juices spoiled the flavour of the steak a bit - but otherwise it's a very, very good steak. Would happily order it again, omitting the sausage. (Sorry for the mediocre picture - it's very dark in there!)

                                      1. re: justxpete

                                        Hi Justxpete! That Splendido dish indeed sounded awesome. Definitely have to give it a try! Thanks for mentioning it!

                                        Any 'shooter' with sea urchin and eggs, IMO is awesome. I once had a shooter using a Champagne Flute in Dallas. Composition was one Gulf Coast Oyster, one slice of Sea Urchin, one scoop of Salmon roe Ikura and topped with one quail egg! Killer!! I mean in taste AND cholesterol level!!

                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                          I miss Octopus Garden so very much.
                                          Thank you for the photos from Joe Beef's - very intriguing.

                                        2. re: justxpete

                                          Justxpete, Madison has a nice booming restaurant scene. A few places (including Pig in a Fur Coat) got 2013 James Beard nominations. Everything I had at Pig was good (but not amazing). I especially liked their basil gelato.

                                          I'd definitely go back.

                                  2. re: justxpete

                                    Yes, please, keep the focus here on Ontario.

                                  3. Pad thai from Khao San Road
                                    Schiaciatta olives at Enoteca Ascari
                                    Mocha (?) Von donut

                                    1. Spicy shrimp n' eggplant, General Tso's chicken


                                      1. Pad See Ew from Khao San Road
                                        Apple Pancakes from Huntsman Tavern
                                        Cannoli from Bar Buca

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kwass

                                          The pancakes at Huntsman were good! I only had one, because I never order pancakes out, but that tasted great.

                                        2. I made a pizza at home with TJ's white dough, creme fraiche, blue cheese, walnuts and sage. It was awesome.

                                          1. These were all recent revelations at places I go to quite often. It proves there are still gems hidden in plain sight sometimes:

                                            'Nduja sausage spread in between mini grilled cheese sandwich like things. Served as part of the charcuterie board at Terroni. They should add this as a regular item but at a bigger size at Sud Forno next door.

                                            Goma zukushi at guu sakabar. Love the contrast between the warm sesame balls and the smooth sesame ice cream.

                                            Lamb brisket hot pot at House of Gourmet. It's served with fermented tofu paste on the side which adds so much depth to the stew.

                                            Forget the Mayan hot chocolate at Soma. Just tried the bicerin for the first time. It's so decadent with espresso and heavy cream.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: num nums

                                              Tell me more about this lamb brisket at House of Gourmet... sounds wonderful! Would never expect lamb brisket at Chinese Seafood restaurant?

                                              1. re: sufficientlybuttered

                                                House of Gourmet is like most Chinese restaurants in that they have a large expansive menu. I wouldn't say they are specifically a seafood restaurant. They have bbq meats, noodle dishes, and they have "set menu" a la carte dishes.

                                                There is a hot pot section in their menu. Note that by "hot pot" this isn't the cook your own raw food in a broth thing. This is a braised dish that is served in a cast iron pot. I usually get the more usual ones like oysters with eggplant, roast pork with garoupa fish, or beef brisket with tendon .

                                                The lamb brisket is with yuba bean curd skin, water chestnuts, mushrooms, white radish and fermented tofu paste. Like beef brisket, there's a lot of connected tissue and fat that makes it very flavourful. But there are some bones.

                                                If you have never had this sort of Chinese hot pot dish, then you should definitely try. It's perfect for the super cold weather we've been having.

                                            2. Going with Von's doughnuts. The Greektown and the one night stand in particular.

                                              And, shockingly, the kale and falafel salad at against the grain. It's was delicious

                                              Unfortunately, other than that, the rest of the month has been pb sandwiches at home washed down with glass of wine after what has been a month of 15 hour days, including weekends. Feh.

                                              1. Apricot fritter/donut from Forno Cultura
                                                Chicken piripiri sandwich from Brock (yes, I was late to the game)
                                                Cataplana from Quinta

                                                We are only 3 months into 2014 - look forward to expanding the list.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: happycamper

                                                  I tried the fried chicken sandwich at Brock last week. Crazy good. Loved it.

                                                  1. re: acd123

                                                    IMO, it's one of the best sandwiches I'm the city!!!

                                                2. 'haleem' porridge at takht e tavoos. unreal good

                                                  1. Bosk (at Shagri La) - Coconut Tapioca Pearls - calamansi curd / pineapple / dulce de leche ice cream

                                                    Absolutely delicious...perfect!

                                                    1. Duck confit fried rice at Valdez. So good.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: Wino In Training

                                                        I'm going in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to try that!!

                                                        1. re: kwass

                                                          Look forward to hearing about your visit!

                                                        2. re: Wino In Training

                                                          just made reservations at Valdez - THANK YOU for the recommendation.

                                                        3. Bar Isabel - Spicy Side Striped Shrimp in the Shell, Pickled Button Mushrooms & Basque Cake

                                                          1. I haven't been dining out that much lately (Dining out would require that I go outside where it's cold. Really, really cold.) but I have bundled up and briskly ventured over to Cut the Cheese on Dundas a couple of times, and I have to say, the Harvest Grilled cheese sandwich is pretty damned good. Other things I've had there (Shroomin' mac and cheese, Bad Wolf Grilled Cheese, whichever is the mac and cheese with the popcorn chicken on it) have also been good, but of the things I've tried, I've enjoyed the Harvest the most.

                                                            1. Grits at Big Crow. It was freezing inside, but they were worth it! Garlic bread and ribs were very good too.

                                                              1. It's been a salad month, thanks January! (Eye roll) but the fried chicken sandwich at the wren, and caramel salt and peppa doughnut from VON's.

                                                                1. New addition: 'Boeuf Bourguignon' from Le Croisee, Leaside.

                                                                  1. Pork meatballs and rigatoni with two kinds of hot sauce at Hey Meatball on College!

                                                                    Back to the good ole days while not the same huge meatballs but delicious and juicy! I believe the two hot sauces/salsas were jalapeno and habernero - both super delicious.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                      Ditto on Hey Meatballs. I have only tried their veggie meatballs and found them very satisfying.
                                                                      I didn't have the hot sauces - good to know. Found their meatball sauce a bit sweet and gummy though.

                                                                      Also, thumbs up to their house salad, like many had mentioned.

                                                                    2. Risotto al Anatra - sautéed foie gras, duck confit, shaved radicchio with with crispy duck crackling, finished with truffled mascarpone at Pulcinella.

                                                                      1. So hard to pick - February was a good food month!

                                                                        - Everything I've had from VON doughnuts (lime might slightly edge out the others, but really loved chocolate mocha, creme brûlée and lemon as well)
                                                                        - Hen Egg dish at Bero
                                                                        - celeriac pasta at GLAS Wine Bar
                                                                        - fried chicken bao from Banh Mi Boys
                                                                        - fried beer cheese at Gabardine
                                                                        - pickerel buns at Bannock

                                                                        1. The shiitake in the shiitake buns at Momofuku. The bun, the accompaniments, the hoisin simply detracted from the deep resounding umami which did not depend on salt for depth.

                                                                          Oh, and the homemade ricotta we just made. Who knew how easy that was and how good.

                                                                          1. the fried chicken at Rose and Sons. wow. I also saw it come out in a bacon club sandwich that looked sick.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. Richmond Station - Quinoa Salad (soybean hummus, radish, sunflower seeds, red wine vinaigrette)