Sunday, May 30, 2010


Cheese is the bread of my life so when I serve it up to my company and friends I always want to make sure that I do it justice. Cathy Davison is the owner and artisan behind Wineplanks. I first met her at the One of A Kind Show a couple of years back when I bought my first cheese board from her. All of her work is made from reclaimed recycled oak wine barrels. I'm usually not easily impressed by a lot of that recycled woodwork but her cheese boards practically whispered at me...."psssssst.....Christine....think Lemon Fetish....think Riopelle....think smoked Applewood Cheddar....."

I own two of Cathy's boards. I love turning them over and seeing the incredible deep rich red of the wood knowing that it has been the aging of grapes that has embedded their hues into the wood. How appropriate for serving cheese. My latest acquisition is a monster round board with a fork and a spoon being used for handles. These boards are beautifully constructed and the different colours in the wood grain give the board depth and character.

Cheese boards run anywhere from $80.00 - $115.00. This year I noticed the addition of a large round lazy susan styled cheese board which can be very handy. Care is quite simple, never, ever submerge into water, just wipe with a damp cloth. If you find the wood drying slightly then you just massage in some vegetable or mineral oil and let it sit over night.
Wineplanks are available at several retail outlets, one being Rosehill Wine Cellars where we bought our wine storage unit, located in Etobicoke. You can also order directly online from Wineplanks.

Lady Marmalade

I'm pretty sure that most of the furnishings at Lady Marmalade were bought up in garage sales all over Leslieville. Sitting in there having brunch one can't help but to notice that you feel like you are at your Great Auntie Myrtle's kitchen table. I half expected my breakfast to be served on melamine plates. LM has a kitsch that is almost cartoonish but it works and it puts you into a comfort zone that is fun and laidback. It's clanging, banging and noisy but you don't notice and you don't care.

The lines ups to LM always seem to ooze right out on to Queen St. and it appears along that strip of Leslieville they are the only resto for blocks in either direction that this is happening at. We waited about 20 minutes for a table and when we left there was an even longer lineup waiting for a chance to get in the door. Lady Marmalade is a bona fide brekkie joint that has quickly found its niche among the pop spots of Joy, Lil Baci, Barrio and Sophie's, none of which I might add had a line up of any sort even though they were all open for brunch.I met up with my fella Yelptress, Shari "shut the barn door!" M. and my daughter Meg "My Mother has exquisite taste" M. for some Saturday brunch. I opted for the eggs/bacon/home fries; Shari went right for the Huevos Migas and Miss Meg was jones'ing for some Eggs Benny. Regular coffee with your breakfast is a bottomless cup (I love bottomless cups of the java on a Saturday morning!). Meg delighted in some tangy, tart, refreshing, lip smacking homemade lemonade and Shari slurped up and savoured a tall glass of some sort of Latte Machiato.My eggs were quite good, soft and buttery tasting. I hate when restaurants turn scrambled eggs in something rubbery and lumpy. I ordered brown toast and got three slices of that thin chewy rye bread which I love and I'm pretty sure it was Dimplifmier (sp?). Shari was savoring her Migas, at least it sure sounded like that with the big mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm's rolling around.

My first complaint about my breakfast is that the homefries suck. How's that for constructive criticism? The chunks of potatoes are way too large, not cooked enough and the seasoning makes them taste dry. I prefer my homefries in smaller pieces and just a tad crispier and of course since they are spuds, being cooked all the way through is a must. My second complaint about LM is that they won't do eggs sunnyside up. Hey, a girl likes her eggs the way she likes her eggs. I want them the way I want them.

All in all, I like Lady Marmalade. They rock the tunes, the joint is just humming, there is great art of the wall, the salt & pepper shakers at our table were a pair of little cowboy boots, the menu is quite large so there is something for every one (damn you vegetarians....yes there is some sort of effing tofu scrambled concoction on the menu). Next time I'm going for the french toast because it looked awesome!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Frida que adoro usted tanto! Usted tiene el lo mejor alimento mexicano en la ciudad. Como la revisión anterior por Kat, yo no pienso que 5.000 palabras es suficiente en escribir acerca de cuánto yo le adoro Frida! Ok, enough of my crappy Spanish, I think you get the gist. We loved Frida! My SO took his fav FARC girls out for a personal farewell to my food loving sister Deanna and we hit up Frida. After reading the three 5 star reviews we were practically salivating at the chance to check out this uptown spot out and Frida had her food mojo on full blast. For app's we had to have some of the guac with homemade tortilla chips. Guacamole has been so bastardized over the last few years in chain restaurants that they've turned it into lumpy green sludge but no so at Frida's. Guacamole is alive and well on Eglinton Avenue. Deanna wouldn't let our waiter take the plate away, even during dinner, just in case we wanted to scrape up the last few nodules of that avocado goodness. Our second app was slices of a spiced fried cheese (the name of which escapes my brain), it came on a plate with some home made tomatilla salsa and a plate of soft, warm, light flour tortillas. It was absolutely delicious.

Mains included a Quail Mole Poblano served atop a bed of rice that had grilled plantains, spring onions, brussel sprouts and baby beets all adorning the plate. The mole sauce was perfection in motion and I've eaten my share of mole sauce over the years but what is on the plate at Frida's is blue ribbon. My SO ordered up the Lamb Barbacoa. Initially he wanted the Halibut but was informed a few minutes later by the wait staff that this fish wasn't available. They apologized profusely and then comp'd him one of his Heinken's to make up for the inconvenience. As it turns out the Lamb was incredible. Moist. Pull apart easy. It comes with a cup of broth beside it that you are supposed to slurp in between mouthfuls of meat. The lamb is braised in Morita Sauce and is served with Salsa Roja and grilled vegetables.

Deanna ordered up a couple of appies instead of a main. Tostadas de Scalpion Yucateco "Dizk" are mini tostados of shredded flank steak topped with Habanero sauce and some sort of Mexican cheese. Crunchy, delicious and a filling app. In addition to this Deanna ordered Enchiladas Lamb Barbacoa smothered in Borracha styled sauce, onions, coriander and cheese. We washed this down with some of their house margaritas (traditional, mango, pomegranate).

While we may be the girls who love to eat the meat we also like to eat the sweets. Our gluttony won us over and we ordered up a plate of Churros for dessert. Churros are Mexican donuts, the difference being they aren't round but rather usually long finger length pieces. Please purge any Timmy's thoughts you may be having. Typically Churros come with some sort of hot melted chocolate but these came with Dulce La Leche and the plate was beautifully decorated with venetian cream and hearts. We have a heart on for Frida! Food presentation is ever present at Frida's. You can see for yourself as I've pasted up a bunch of pics from our food adventures.

The room is comfy and decorated in deep blues with splashes of orange & red. I'm sure Frida herself would have approved. There is a real comfortable vibe in the restaurant and they were playing some great dinner tunes while we stuffed our gullets! Big props on the nice bathroom! For a small restaurant I was surprised at the lovely amenities. The service was excellent and the young man who served us was helpful and patient while we routed the menu. If you are in to really authentic, delicious, well prepared Mexican food then Frida needs to be put on your "must go to" list. Finally, one small tidbit of trivia about Frida herself. Did you know that Frida had a love affair with jazz icon, Josephine Baker. Yup, my daughter text'd me that little nugget of information that she learned in one of her art classes at university. Glad to know that she is learning something at school.

LPK's.....Lescia's really the punk kid but man can this girl bake!

Just for the record, LPK stands for Little Punk Kid and for those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting Lesia, I'm sure you'll agree, its a moniker that she wears well, right down to her purple hair. Being a part of the Cupcake Crawl debauchery from last weekend is how I was introduced to this new addition to the Queen St. scene (Queen & Broadview....doors away from Dangerous Dans). There isn't a lot more that I can add to what has already been previously written but I would just like to mention the Lavender Buttercream Icing is beyond anything other kind of icing I have ever tasted. Ambrosial. Gentle. It makes you close your eyes and quietly hum that "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" thing. I liked this store so much that I have already ventured back there from last Saturday. Like Kat, mentioned, those Spicy Chevre Noir Shortbread are addictive and perhaps should be made illegal. I made mention of them in my cupcake review when I spoke about the store. It was also the only store along the cupcake route that I spent extra money in. I have been jones'ing for those shortbread bites for a couple of days and couldn't resist any longer. I pit-stopped in yesterday and bought two bags, one to take home to share with my honey and one for my right hand desk drawer at the office (muuuhhhhhaaaaaaawww ww). I purchased a half dozen of their Cornmeal Anise Biscotti because I love the consistency of cornmeal and these babies hit the spot with my morning coffee. I also caved and bought a small 4 inch Poppyseed cake....iced with....yes, you guessed it, Lavender Buttercream icing. Ok, so I'm going to hell but at least it'll taste good.From a price point, it's a straight up hard core kick in the pocketbook but when it comes to eating real food I'm willing to part with my money. If you read the ingredient tags on the LPK's products they all denote which each individual product is organic, ethical or fair trade. This is all about love and respect for real food. I'm so down with that. Finally, while I was at the store there was a guy there from Toronto Life who was interviewing Lesia about the shop. He spoke with me for a few minutes because she had mentioned to him that I had been part of the Yelp Cupcake Crawl. At the end of our conversation I said to him "if you don't write something good about this place I'm gonna have a to kill you." :)

Later desk drawer is whispering to me....psssssssst.... .

Local Food & Wine Bar....another food haven in Parkdale

Local Kitchen and Winebar is based on the philosophy driven by the slow food movement and inspired by the foods of Italy. For those of you not familiar with the SFM, this isn't about chewing your food 100 times before you swallow or making sure you keep to the 10 km. speed limit when going through the drive-thru. This is about hard core, right from the roots to our table reverence for the bounty we live on.
Basically put the SFM is"a fundamental respect for our food, where it comes from, and the people who help cultivate it." In other words, don't fuck with the food, use it in its purest form, don't waste it, don't add nitrates to it, don't mess with the earth it's grown in or raised on and least of all don't diss those who show it all the TLC it needs before it hits our tables.

LKW opened just this past September and is a matchbox sized spot on Queen St. in Parkdale. It seats a modest 29 bodies and for sure one can say they didn't sink their setup deniros in the decor because this is Parkdale shtick in its purest form. The menu is tiny, very tiny. Ruled by what is available by season and at the market.

The wine lists are Ontario based which is ok, if you like Ontario wines. I've gotten a lot better about drinking Ontario wines because the wine makers have gotten so much better at making them. While I understand the philosophy of supporting the locals, including the wine makers, I'm broken hearted knowing that I can't have a glass of Barolo or Barbaresco to enhance the lovingly prepared Salumi (this is the Italian equivalent of Charcuterie) board. The bite of a peppery Barbaresco would have been the perfect compliment to those little bowls of Caponata and mouthfuls of Soprosetta. We settle on wines from Daniel Lenko, one chardonnay, the other a white Cabernet Sauvignon.

My food winger, Lauren Wilson and I order a Salumi board as well as butter & lemon soaked crostini topped with a fresh anchovy. The crostini is sublime and the anchovy has barely any fish taste which catches us off guard. When you expect that big salty whack from an anchovy and you don't feel like you've been smacked in the face by Luca Brasi (who sleeps with the fishes) it's a surprise. The thyme in this dish only serves to enhance the lemon.

The salumi board, served atop a piece of petrified wood with butcher paper is put together by Mike Sangregorio, one of the owners. His partner, is Chef Fabio Bondi and he is at the helm of the kitchen. Together these guys produce the bulk of their own salumi for their charcuterie boards and he proudly fawns over the board as he does his GPS of the layout of meat. Of the five meats on the board, strangely enough our least favorite is their own cured Prosciutto. Lauren nails it perfectly when she sniffs the meat and says "I smell ammonia". Something in the taste of the prosciutto is off but the rest of the cured meats are excellent. Black walnuts on the side offer up almost a moss like taste to offset the meat.

The menu is minuscule and even more limited this evening than usual, probably due to the holidays and fresh supplies being limited. I opt for Smoked Potato Gnocchi with Tallegio & Rapini. I asked Mike about the smoked potatoes because this dish has an unbelievable flavour. He tells me that they have a coal smoker out in the back of the building and that they smoke the spuds before turning them into the mixture for gnocchi. The gnocchi are large. The tallegio is like melted butter and the slight bitterness of the rapini make for a good combination. This is an odd trilogy but it works. The smoke flavour isn't forced but rather gently infused into the dish and the more you eat it the more it grows on you. My only criticism of this dish is they would be better off to make the gnocchi just a tad smaller. Their size makes them feel heavier than they actually are.

Lauren chooses the Parpardelle with Pheasant Ragu and Swiss Chard. I can't seem to see the swiss chard in the dish and since the pasta is verde I'm wondering if they use the chard to make the pasta. The pheasant ragu is delicious, delicately balanced with tomato sauce. The wide ribbons of pasta are perfectly cooked, silky in their consistency, folded on to the plate, embracing the chard and the ragu.

I like LKW. I like what they stand for and I like what their food philosophies are based upon. I pitstop at Mike's prep station to talk about Northern Italian cuisine and for a moment I gloat over the fact that I've ventured into the heart of the Slow Food Movement in Bra, Italy. We talk about wild foods and Forbes and then that bastard tells me he is drinking a Barolo as he is prepping food!

LKW is also the home of Foodie Meets (for all you twitter fans). The hard core foodies often meet and partake of tastings here. Rumour has it that LKW is the place where the chefs such as Michael Stadtlander, like to dine on their days off. That is a true testament to LKW. Another Parkdale food haven is born.

Trevor Kitchen & Bar

I invited an old friend to dinner and she really wanted to go to Trevor Kitchen & Bar. I hesitated because to me that little strip along Wellington is one of those chichi, pay through the nose, seen and want to be seen, one vodka martini over the line streets. I acquiesced to her request and managed to wrangle a reservation for 7:30 PM. I also decided to bring along my own bottle of wine as this was a special occasion and there wasn't an Amarone on the wine list.
Corkage at Trevor is a steep $35 @ bottle and for that I got a not so friendly waitress opening the bottle, while chiding me that they had a good wine list, after all, they were awarded the Wine Spectator Award. I wanted to remind her that to get a Wine Spectator Award all a restaurant has to do is send in their $250 bucks along with their wine list to the magazine and basically they yeah or nay the list. How is this an award for a superior wine list? Don't get me wrong, the wine list at Trevor is good but I wanted to enjoy a decent Amarone this evening. On Tues. & Wed. they wave the corkage but this didn't apply during Summerlicious. By the way, I really hate stemless wine glasses. Great for brandy & cognac, not so great for red wine and even worse on a warm evening in a restaurant with very little air movement.

When ordering at Summerlicious you have to order your whole menu all at once. The rule that we apply for ourselves is that we both pick different things, it's our hard and fast rule when we dine out at Summerlicious.

So here's what we picked: (First Course) Pan Seared Scallop with Corn beef Hash & Black Truffle Mustard; Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Leek Butter & Chevre Noir; (Second) Northern White Fish with Wild Honey Mushroom & Bacon Vinaigrette; Steak Frites with Dry Aged Alberta Sirloin with brisket & onion gratin; (Dessert) Strawberry Tiramisu and Dark Chocolate & Caramel Torte with Peanut Butter Chantilly. Sounded like pretty darned awesome choices to us. What you think you see is not always what you end up with. The scallop was tasteless with a Dijon mustard sauce splashed on the plate and a small blob of well riced potato broiled beside it. I have no idea of where that corned beef hash went. I love gnocchi. It was dry, dry, dry. If there was butter on them it got completely soaked up by the bread crumb/parmesan topping they put on them. No way was there any chevre noir used in this dish. For sure this dish was left sitting under a heat lamp for the better part of ten minutes. The results of that is dry little rubber bullets in a bowl. White fish which hails from Northern Ontario is fabulous fish. This white fish was simply two small filets pan fried, with no treatment other than perhaps being floured first and plunked on top of a bit of green salad with some small cherry tomatoes halved around it. They cut the beef to look like it was a chunk of tenderloin and you just can't do that with sirloin. It was sinewy and tough. The topping was the same grainy Dijon sauce that showed up with the scallop. On top of that they had some grated cheese mixed with bread crumbs broiled on top. The frites weren't frites. I consider frites to be thin and crispy. These were basically fries. I have posted some food pics from our dinner, you can see for yourself.

So here's where my whining ends. The dessert at least left us with a positive finish. The strawberry tiramisu was absolutely lovely. Light. Gentle. Sweet but not cloyingly so. The dark chocolate & caramel torte was warm and decadent. I love the peanut butter taste against the chocolate. The chantilly was almost like ice cream against the rich chocolate.
The ambiance at Trevor is probably what makes it such a popular place. It's dark wood, white linen, beamed ceilings with squeezed in sofas in and about the room. If you are a woman who is prone to mid life hot flashes, be prepared, this room is warm in more ways than one. It got downright hot in there. The woman at the next table fanned herself the whole time she sat there. You could see perspiration on the upper lips of most of the guests, but hey, its a hip place so what's a little sweat, right?

I would be willing to go back to Trevor to try their regular menu. I understand that they do a whiskey menu and also specialize in terrines & pates. I said it earlier in a conversation post and I'll say it again. I hate Summerlicious.

Simply Splendido!

It's great when you really love a restaurant but when a restaurant really loves you back it's a whole different ballgame. Splendido put a big heart on for my sister Yelper, Deanna and myself and showed us some big time loving. Deanna had chosen Splendido as her swan song high end restaurant before embarking stateside so we set off for Harbord Street with big anticipation. Chatting up our waiter Deanna let him know that Splendido was her choice (she was flipping back and forth between Sushi Kaji & Scaramouche) and that we came to eat!

I never thought I'd ever say this but I actually think I found a Charcuterie Board that I liked better than my most beloved Black Hoof.
Served up on a large piece of petrified wood the Splendido Charcuterie board is un-fucking-believable. Please excuse the vernacular, it is just difficult to put it any other way. The board could easily be shared by two people as an app. It's loaded with everything from Foie Gras parfait mousse, several types of house cured meats, macerated cherries, venison tartar, chicken liver pate, Lardo (or something akin to it), bread sticks wrapped in porcetta, poached plum and apple and on and on. This board has colour, texture, it's got sweetness, it's got savoury happening and it's got some bite with spice.

For mains I chose the Butter Lobster with chanterelle & mascarpone Risotto and Dea selected the Yorkshire Suckling Pig.
We opted for the wine flights to accompany our food. Tawse Winery was the featured wines and the flight included 4 different glasses (the flight is priced at $26) which said 2 ounce pours. So let the love begin...because they were very generous pours. Our waiter brought the first two (a Chardonnay and a Sauv. Blanc) and suggested to us to "save" the Chardonnay and as it turns out there was a wonderful reason for this. The waiter surprised us with a course of one of the most amazing pastas I've ever eaten. It was fresh Tagliatelle covered in shavings of Tartufi. Our nostrils were absolutely overwhelmed by the aromatic scent of the mushroom as he put the plates down. He told us that Chef/Owner Victor Barry had sent them out for us to benchmark this special occasion. We washed down our pasta with the honey coloured Tawse chardonnay. Oh Splendido, you really know how to show a couple of girls a good time.

Mains were stellar. Crackling pigs ear to be crunched and beautiful fresh lobster meat to be worshipped. The risotto was was an absolute thing of beauty. It was smooth and silky, kissed by mascarpone and flavour enhanced by the chanterelles.

We finished off the evening with the Lemon Meringue dessert. It was sweet and tart at the same time (much like us!) and was a lip smacker. So just when we thought we'd seen all the love we can handle, Carlo Catallo, the owner, who had already stopped by our table to chat wines, stopped by one more time, with some gorgeous late harvest Riesling in tow to enhance our dessert moment. He wanted to make sure we finished up our Splendido experience on a happy and positive note. Boy, this guy is one sweet talker.

What a night. The chef stopped by to ask us about the pasta and of course we fawned over him as if he was Brad Pitt. I left my heart on Harbord Street that night with a memory of simply one of the best dining experiences I've had the good fortune to indulge in.

My last words about Splendido would be that while it may seem pricey, you can indulge and enjoy some of their deliciousness by just sitting up at the bar, imbibing in one of their fantastic cocktails and ordering up a Charcuterie board for two. Then again, you might get lucky as Dea and I did, having the restaurant comp us the pasta and the dessert wine. Absolute class all the way.

Splendido, until we meet again...ti amo.

Arepa Cafe....a little Venezuelan harbour on Queen St. W.

Started out for lunch with all intentions of hitting up TO's newest burger addition, Oh Boy, only to discover they were not flipping the patties due to a technical glitch with their grill. So we crossed the street to the other newest addition to this section of Queen Street, the Arepa Cafe.

The menu at Arepa is focused on Venezuelan food so we just went with the flow. My SO and I ordered up a couple of Arepas which are the Venezuelan version of a sandwich. They look like a large English muffin and are made of corn meal.
They are cooked on a griddle, then moved to a grill and then slit open, pulled apart and stuffed like a pocket. I ordered the pork & caramelized onions and my SO ordered the Cod with sweet peppers & onions. There are about 9 or so options of how you can have your Arepa stuffed from Tuna to Chicken to Cheese & Avocado. The Arepa is hot and freshly made to order and the average price is about $7 each.

For the most part we enjoyed them although I would have liked some condiments on the tables because my pork and onion sandwich was screaming out for a splash of Kozlik's mustard or something comparable. My other comment would be that they would really do the Arepa justice to side it with something, either some salad or some Venezuelan cole slaw (which is on the menu) because if you have any sort of appetite you'll be left wanting for more. Which is exactly what we found. The Arepa comes in a basket all by its lonesome self. It needs something to keep it company.

We also ordered a platter (all the proper Venezuelan names of the platters etc. is escaping my brain!) of flank steak with rice, black beans and fried plantain. The flank steak was delicious. It was shredded and mixed with some red & yellow peppers, onions and some sort of sauce. The only problem with it was there just wasn't enough of it. This platter was $11 and like the Arepa, my SO and I agreed, these were small servings.

My feelings about Venezuelan food is that it doesn't have the flavour pop of Thai or Indian foods. I like food with an attitude and I'm not just talking about heat, but foods that have truly distinct flavours that make you close your eyes and brings on the mmmmmmmm factor. The shredded flank steak was there but its meager portion disappointed us. The soup of the day was a butternut squash with honey and almonds. I didn't try it but I did ask the couple next to me about it and they really liked it. It did look like it had the consistency of a veloute.

The cafe itself is lovely. Bright, airy, spacious and spotless. The staff were super friendly and quite chatty. They also have some lovely little desserts and coffee which might make this a sweet spot for an afternoon cafe leche and something to tame the sweet tooth. I brought back some Alfajores for my office which were like two layers of thin shortbread with Dulce La Leche slathered in between holding them together. These were exquisite.

I'd like to wish Eduardo Lee all the best at their introduction to what he calls "Venezuelan urbanity" to the Queen Street core.

Medium Rare

Any business that has a cow on the roof is a business that I want to know about. As one of the original FARC girls who love to eat the meat it is so appropriate that my 100th review here at Yelp is all about the carnivore in me. What just sweetens the pot for me is that it is also going to be an FTR (cha-ching!)
I have found heaven on earth and it's located on Dundas Street just east of the 427. Medium Rare is a fairly new player on the meat scene going up against the likes of the Healthy Butcher and Rowe Farms but as far as I'm concerned Frank Del Gobbo and his crew at Medium Rare have them beat hands down. MR is known to its customers for its butchery, its charcuterie and its great offering of prepared foods, hence they refer to Medium Rare as a cookery.

The real thing of beauty at this meat stop and their claim to true meat glory is that the butchery does a dry age cure of the beef. What's super cool is that they have put a window in at the end of the store where they have racks adorned with loins and prime ribs all tagged with aging dates. To quote one of my favorite sista FARC's (and I'll let you guess who that might be) SHUT THE FARM DOOR! I just can't believe what I'm seeing! I just stood there like a small child gazing all starry eyed into the old Eaton's Christmas windows with my little faced pressed up against the glass dreaming of what treasures might come my way.
Hey Santa, this girl's been quite nice (and maybe a teeny weeny naughty) this year so do you think you can leave a hunk of perfectly aged beef tenderloin under my tree? Perhaps a small prime rib 'o beef? Or maybe a New York strip...just a itty bitty one. Hell I'd do my best Eartha Kitt rendition of Santa Baby if I thought it'd get me some meat.

There is an endless selection of meats that are already vacuumed packed with seasoning such as the Chimichurri beefsteaks. They sell my most beloved Berkshire Pork in this store. The meat counter runs almost the whole length of the shop and this place is the mother lode of high quality, ethically farmed, hormone free, locally raised and harvested meats. Opposite of the butcher case is a full wall of upright freezers filled with everything from desserts to pot pies to seafood. I counted more than 20 kinds of sausages.

Fresh prepared foods are also readily available. I took home a bundle of giant Fred Flintstone sized beef ribs
and a container of roasted potatoes with prosciutto and herbs. I was told that they have a small smoker on the premises and the ribs I grabbed up had been smoked right there at the store. Frank Del Gobbo is my meat God. I am not worthy.

And for you grass eating, sprout munching bunch of vegetarians, yes there are things for you too. There is a beautiful line of freshly jarred soups and huge gorgeous platters of grilled vegetables.....whatever. Medium Rare has created their own branded line of food products. Kudos to them for making sure to cover all their food bases.

Medium Rare is my personal shrine to all things that are meat. I say hallelujah Brothers and Sisters and please pass the prime rib!!! It's my meat mecca on Dundas....amen.

Ajisen Ramen

Note to self: Never a good idea to sit next to a bowl of Ramen soup that looks like a zombie prop from the movie 28 Days Later especially when you are severely hungover.

My Yelp buddies south of border, Janelle P. and her husband TJ hit up the mean streets of the GTA in search of good eats and when the invite showed up to join them for a bite I couldn't resist. Funnily enough it seems that every time I do get together with them we find ourselves eating Japanese food! I know the truth about these two though. As much as it appears they are chow hounds on the loose the real reason they travel north is for the love of hockey. I expect to see them a few more times before the winter has passed.

I was sporting a major hangover when Janelle sitting next to me got her Ramen soup and when she began to stir it up I felt queasy. Maybe I'm just one episode of Dexter over the line but I swore it looked like body parts floating in that bowl. This is supposed to be appetizing how?

I ordered Ginger Pork with Rice plate. I'll be damned if I could even remotely taste a hint 'o ginger. The only ginger in this place was the colour of the hair streaks on the young teen like waitress who took my order. The meat was slivered very thin, almost shaved and it was juicy and moist but it was completely void of any flavour or seasoning. If I wasn't already feeling the need to drink a gallon of water I would have asked TJ to pass the salt shaker.
What is up with the loud music? Ok, ok...enough bitching on my part. There are a couple of bright spots, one was price point. There was five of us there for lunch and the bill was less than fifty bucks. We sat there for a couple of hours and they never pressed us to hit the road. They kept topping up our tea which is great especially when you are feeling like I was feeling. Now if only I could shake the image of that Ramen bowl from my brain.

It's Mainly because of the meats.....Witteveen Meats

Meat is serious business. You sell me a bad piece of meat and I'm gonna snap like a rabid Martha Stewart and beat you over the head with a day old baguette. Oh by the way, did I mention my husband was Italian? He knows knee caps pretty good. Budda boom budda bing. I'm a shopper who should come with a warning sign that reads "You fuck up my meat and I'll fuck up your meat".

Witteveen Meats is my go to place for meats when I'm making my Saturday morning grocery run at the SLM. The meat case is absolutely pristine and that is a big selling point for me. Even on the customer side of the glass you'll rarely seem any smudgy finger prints. Meat cleanliness is an important sign and tells me that these are people I want to do business with.
It was a frosty Saturday morning when my kindred spirit in meat, Shari M. and I hit up the SLM to stock up on our provisions and meat was one of them. I have been tutoring Shari in the fine art of making Bolognese sauce so she needed her some extra lean ground beef and some lean ground pork. I steered her in the direction of Witteveens which was perfect because it was kitty corner to the table and chairs we had managed to snag while giving some mouth to mouth to an absolutely perfect, juicy and fully loaded back bacon on a bun from the Carousel Bakery.

Witteveen Meats is one of the largest, if not, the largest purveyor of meats in the SLM. They sell some beautifully stuff pork loins filled with everything from fresh rosemary to dried fruits. Their French prepped lamb racks are a thing of beauty. Korean short ribs are fucking amazing and only take 3-4 minutes on the 'cue. There is every kind of beef imaginable available on the butcher counter. Price is accordingly scaled....tenderloin, grain fed, Alberta beef, it's all over the place. Yesterday they had strip loins on for 8 bucks a piece. I bought two and turned them in to Beef Strognoff, enough for two meals. I also picked up a fresh air chilled roasting chicken for ten buck which is about to get sodomized with a beer can and strapped to the Weber later today.

The best thing about hanging out at Witteveen Meats on a Saturday morning is the chance to have some potty mouth exchanges with Toronto Maple leaf hockey legend and all around bad ass guy, Eddie "Clear the comes" Shack. He had Shari and I just splitting a gut laughing. Meat and laughter together, What a great way to warm up a freezing winter day.

Olde Yorke Fish & Chips

There are plenty 'o fish in the sea but the ones that end up on the plates at Olde Yorke Fish & Chips are just a joy to be had, or in this case, haddock. Oh gosh, I think the punster that is Vivek is starting to rub off on me.

I finally made the pilgrimage to Olde Yorke and it was most definitely worth the effort. Shari M, my fellow meat diva and I continued on our travels to find the city's best fish and chips and I'm pretty sure we've hit the right fishing spot on Laird Avenue. OY has a really comfortable vibe about it and this is the sort of place my Mother would have absolutely loved. Cozy surroundings, straight up simple comfort food and nasty assed desserts, what more does a girl possibly need? Throw in the fact I can have a glass of the vino with my food and I'm as happy as a clam, or in this case, a clam strip.

I had the clam strips and they were great. A big, crispy pile of deep fried clams that were not remotely oily sided with a heaping mountain of golden hot chips, coleslaw and clam dipping sauce. Shari had herself a big honking hunk of fish that was so crispy when she cut in to it I could hear the crunch. Now this is the way fish and chips were meant to be.

To finish off the fish gluttony we shared a deep fried Mars bar for dessert. It was just downright ooey gooey nastiness. I had a bite and that was it for me. I lived the rest of that dessert adventure vicariously through Shari's best imitation of Sally's moment in the deli with Harry. It was food orgasms all around. (see the pics)

Dessert aside, if you are in the market for some serious fish and chips then this is the spot for you. We shall continue on our finding Nemo quest but I'm pretty sure in the end we'll both agree that the OY is absolutely one of the best, if not the best, fish and chip destination in the city.