Entertainment Coupon Book 2004-Review
To purchase a copy of the Entertainment book call Lynn at 416-445-5422. It is $32.00. The book is sold by charities as fund raiser. They keep a portion of the price.
The new Entertainment book has just come out. This book has about 600 discount coupons for all manner of things: restaurants of all classes, etertainment of all brows, some goods and services such as dry cleaning and car rental and hotels.
I have bought a book every year for several years and have never done worse than break even on the purchase price. Sometimes I win big time, such as when I scored a good hotel deal. Some people say that they bought the book but didn't use it and so wasted the money. There is an art to using the book. The goal is to break even; after that everything is a bonus. So Parker's Cleaner's which has an excellent reputation, honours (or honoured, check) every one else's coupon. There is a 50% off coupon from somebody: gather your drycleaning, go to Parker's and you have broken even.
The Mrs. go to the ballet (not with me) on a two for one coupon and saves about $45 an outing. For suggestions where to view much healthier looking women performing dance forms which I can understand, please e-mail me directly. Even if, unlike me, you are not a Pole, you can still have fun.
There are similar tickets for the ROM, AGO, Blue Jays, Royal Ag, Casa Loma etc. There is even an offer to the movies. Out of town guests can follow the tourist trail at 50% off.
But now to the restaurant coupons, the purpose of this note. I can't say that I have had a whole lot of satisfaction from the restaurants in the book. But then again, the same can be said for the great majority of the restaurants in Toronto whether they are in the book or not. So if you want to try someplace new, you may as well see if there is something in the book that you might like. At least when the bill comes you can say, good thing for the coupon; I may not be satisfied, but at least I don't feel so exploited.
And once in a while you get lucky, you go to a place because of the coupon, and it is good; generally it is new. So Monitz for two years was in the book.
I found the $16.95 house steak soup to coffee prix fixe special at New Casa Abril through the book (not in this year, but go anyway, excellent and a bargain). A recurring good one is Mezzetta.
This year there are three new entries that I can heartily recommend, and are well worth patronizing even without a coupon; with a coupon they are really cheap and good.
Lakasbah Moroccan, 3430 Bathurst, 416-784-9548. A labour of love by the husband and wife owners who are actually Moroccan. The wife cooks, she is upper middle class and sohisticated and a talented cook. Her cooking is complex, flavourful yet gentle and and interesting. Her table is much better than Boujadi unless you are unfortunate to get the occaisional tagine that isn't fresh. Ask. The room is very interesting and elegant, done up in what I would suppose to be authentic Moroccan style.
Cosmo, 1201 St. Clair Ave west, 416-658-6555.
Describes itself as a tradtional French bistro with a twist of Hungarian. Two for one entree or unadvertised $25 three course prix fixe special 6 nights a week 4-7. The owners are two young Hungaians whose Hungarian dishes are refined and whose cooking otherwise is good and honest. Many of their dishes are superb within the place that the owners seek for themselves; the deserts would be good anywhere. Try the Hungarian wines. A nice room.
Sereno Lounge 1256 St Clair St West. Youthful Italian Portugese. Music most Saturdys. An elegant but relaxed room; a former bank building with high ceilings. They have a bar and a good patio, No sea of sweet red mud, no attitude.
The kitchen cooks with generosity, the flavours are full but harmonious and gentle. Sometimes the balance in the flavouing is a little off, but the dish is still tasty, and hey, this ain't the Ritz. The ingredients are good and the portions are genorous, In fact every dish is large enough for two: share your first time so that you don't over order. I have had good luck with the fritto misto ( pan fried sea things), their house salad with goat cheese and sauteed apple, fish soup (really an entree, $11 !)gnocchi Piemontese, chicken dishes, pastas.
I have had soups that are superb and the best Portugese soups that I have ever had. But I don't like their red soups, based on their tomato sauce. Their tomato sauce is however quite good; just don't have a red soup and a tomato sauce pasta. Often I don't get to a main course. Forget the deserts, mostly they are bought;you won't need one anyway.
Just remebered that Sereno was in the book last year; that is how I found it.
Other useful places in the book that I know are :
all the Thai restaurants for those compelled to wander from Thai Shan Inn to see if there is any place better. There isn't and you may as well save some money while you are regretting you fickleness.
Dhaba,( Indian) which was superb in Rexdale but has fallen off downtown, salve your disappointment ; Sher e Punjab, Nomads, Lakeview Lunch, Utopia, Prince Jsapanese Steakhouse ( good black cod) Aladin's Palace (don't like the kebobs, for the appetizers and shawarma you have to go to Detroit, where I haven't been in an Arab restaurant that isn't excellent) Great Khan Mongolian Grill.
Then there is Fat Phil 's (Marlee); Burger King, Pizza Hut , Baskin Robbins when with the kiddies.
Please let me know if you find any place in the book that I haven't mentioned that is worth going to.