Restaurants


Foodwithlegs has been moved to its new home at foodwithlegs.com this post can be found on the new site here.

Last weekend’s Globe and Mail has Joanne Kates’s take on the Black Hoof.  Like Ms. Kates, Kat and I enjoyed ourselves so much there that we took friends with us for a return visit last month and I’ve produced an update to my earlier review.

The Basil Fawlty

The Basil Fawlty

Chef Grant van Gameren gets a lot of (deserved) attention for his cooking but his partner, Jen Agg and her cocktails deserve as much praise.  I admit having a prejudice against cocktails because of the super-sweet, electric blue, hyphenated “tinis” that monopolise most cards. I’m pleased to see that the closest the Hoof comes to this is having memorable nicknames for the liquid creations but in a subtle (as in “Basil Fawlty”) instead of overtly sexual (as in “Red-headed Slut”) way.  I didn’t get to try them all but the table’s consensus was that the three we tried all tasted great.  Best of all these cocktails are actually served in traditional highball glasses instead of the annoyingly ubiquitous cone-shaped cocktail glasses. (more…)

Advertisements

Foodwithlegs has been moved to its new home at foodwithlegs.com this post can be found on the new site here.

On Saturday night dog-sitting duties found us walking in the heart of Leslieville / Riverville / South Riverdale in search of a decent spot for dinner.  Reliable Fish & Chips closes at the ridiculously early hour of 7 PM on Saturdays and it was obvious that a reservation was a must to get a table at the trendy (and apparently excellent) Table 17.   Indecision and the warm weather led us as far as Dangerous Dan’s hoping for a good burger and a look at what the neighbourhood was like before Rowe Farms and the Leslieville Cheese Market set up shop.  Dangerous Dan’s is right across the street from a seedy “gentlmen’s club” (Jilly’s) and doesn’t look like much from the outside but I have read on Chowhound and heard from friends that it’s a good place to get a straightforward burger at a decent price.

The Big Kahuna burger at Dangerous Dan's.  (Photo by Kat)

The Big Kahuna burger at Dangerous Dan's. (Photo by Kat)

(more…)

Small Charcuterie Platter

Small Charcuterie Platter

I have read a lot about The Black Hoof (BlogTo review, Chowhound discussion) and have had this restaurant on my to-try list for a while.  Kat and I finally made it to the The Black Hoof this weekend.  They don’t take reservations so we left our number and retired to the nearby Press Club.  Definitely a neighbourhood dive bar but the beer selection by the bottle is better than average and the live music is good (without being oppressively loud).  We were pleasantly surprised when Black Hoof called back within forty minutes (less than the hour we were quoted).  It helped expedite things that we agreed to share a table that could have fit five or six with another couple.  Shared table dining is something that we don’t do nearly enough of in Toronto and looking at what your neighbour is having is an especially useful method of performing a background check on unfamiliar menu options.  (more…)

I can’t wait to try (and write a review of) The Black Hoof charcuterie restaurant.  BlogTo has a good review already up and there is a good discussion of this restaurant on Chowhound.  Best of all the chef has a behind-the-scenes blog that I’ve added to the list of links on the right.  This blog is a rare insider view that is obviously written by an insider before he is told to do so by his publicist.  Check it out.

I also have the upcoming Seedy Saturday event on my radar.   Last year it was a great opportunity to find some of the seeds that eventually became a big part of my garden.  I’m glad to see that the venue has changed for this year (it was very crowded last year) and that it is a bit earlier (this Saturday, February 28).

Last Friday I joined seven friends at Smoke’s Poutinerie for an outing of our restaurant club.  The menu is simple and straight to the point: They take poutine–the quebecois combination of fries,  fresh cheese curds, and gravy–and add a variety of themed toppings.

Hog Town Poutine

Hog Town Poutine

I had the Hog Town Poutine ($8.95) which features sausage, bacon, mushrooms, and sauteed onions on top of the usual poutine.  It was pretty close to perfectly executed.  The fries are (apparently freshly cut on a daily basis from Yukon Gold potatoes) just the way I like them; crispy but slightly soggy just like  KFC’s and Swiss Chalet’s fries were twenty years ago.  Smoke’s cheese curds are much better than average but mine didn’t really squeek.  The bacon is unbelieveable; the mushrooms and onions are par for the course; and the sausage accurately mimics the Toronto street meat that I’m pretty sure it is meant to evoke.  Chowhound has hosted some debate on whether the strong note of thyme in the gravy is a good thing or not.  I liked it  because it is out of the ordinary and went well with the toppings on my poutine.   The gravy could use a stronger, more meaty base though. (more…)