Wednesday, March 30, 2011

m : brgr

Another burger restaurant opens in Toronto, this one rolling in from Montreal.  M : brgr, which you can find at King and Spadina, is close to competitor Craft Burger, but is a bit fancier with sit down service.  
The first part of the menu has instructions and there are lots of choices for your meat.  The menu comes with lots of topping options including nine different types of cheese, a fried egg, semi dry cherry tomatoes, and even pulled pork.  Be careful not to get carried away, because it'll set you back.  And they don't just serve burgers.   The mac and cheese is intense with a thick sauce and crushed potato chips sprinkled on top. Even better than the burgers and everything else, the freshly baked chocolate chip cookie with ice cream. Just look at it (photo below).  It's a must order.  Go just for it.    

Take note, a portion of M:brgr's proceeds go to SickKids Foundation.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Earls

West coast restaurant chain Earls is now officially open in downtown Toronto.  Finally!  Taking over a sprawling street level space at King and York, Earls is divided into two sections - the bar and dining room.  Find a seat in the bar area and you're good to go.  The attentive and very good looking staff are at your service right away.  On Monday night pitchers of Sangria are 15 bucks.  Order white and then red, why not.  Order a bunch of the appetizers and share them.  Below are a few of the dishes we ordered.  All delicious.   

Los Cabos Chicken Tacos two grilled white corn tortillas, spiced tomato poached chicken, melted cheddar and jalapeno jack cheese, avocado corn salsa, shredded lettuce and cabbage, honey lime dressing, chopped cilantro, salsa picante.

Prawn Dynamite Roll panko breaded prawns, mango, avocado, cucumber and togarashi mayo, drizzled maple soy reduction and sriracha mayonnaise, toasted black sesame seeds, wasabi and pickled ginger

The Naples Margherita fresh mozzarella, parmesan, San Marzano tomato sauce,
basil and extra virgin olive oil, hand tossed thin crust

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lola's Commissary take 2

The place is packed on a Sunday morning, great news for Lola's.  Since the initial post over a year ago, the menu has been adjusted (not reflected on the website yet) and the food is still just as good.  Plus, you get homemade rice crispy squares to snack on right when you sit down.  On this visit we ordered the 'Shroom Benny' - poached eggs, english muffin, caramelized onion and wild mushrooms, with a side of soup, and the eggs benny on top of spinach, ancho chicken and polenta cakes, with a side of their mixed home fries (regular and sweet potato).      

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fabarnak

A cute new restaurant called Fabarnak has popped up on Church Street in the 519 community centre.  What's cool about it is all the profits generated from the restaurant go right back into the centre.  They are big into locally produced food and the simple yet surprisingly sophisticated dinner menu is a fun read.  It's broken into 3 parts - soups, salads and 'something more.'  In the soup category we tried the daily special which was delicious - black bean with smoked pork and cornmeal.  The 'hearty' salad with smoked corn bread, tomato, red onion, cucumber, and romaine in a chili-lime dressing, had the makings to be a great salad, but I found the dressing far too spicy (remember I'm a huge spice wuss, so you probably won't).  And for our 'something more,' it was the 12 hour braised short ribs with smashed potato, house made tomato jam and vegetables, and the gluten free elbow pasta with four cheeses.  Devoured the mac and cheese, but the short ribs mysteriously lacked some flavour.  We were trying to figure that one out. 

They don't have their liquor license yet, so there won't be any boozing and there wasn't much to choose from if you're craving something sweet.  Dessert was displayed up at the front counter,  but it was just a small array of leftovers from the lunch rush - a few cookies and maybe a scone.  Wednesday is the day to drop by for one of their cupcakes.  A new one is concocted and tweeted about in the middle of each week, so keep your eye on that.  An example of last week's was ale cake - ginger ale and mill st tankhouse with ale maple, coffee, molasses frosting and candied ginger.  And a note about lunch - they serve something called a square peg which is described on the menu as 'the refined tray lunch, our kitchen creates a sample of our favourite foods, each square peg lunch box includes a selection of savory items and a dessert.'  I told you it was cute! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Salad King

Welcome back Salad King.  We're happy to see you again.  We missed your famous phud thai, communal tables, cheap spring rolls, the spicy scale, and cute waitstaff.  We dig your new 2nd floor location, colourful artsy vibe, and of course the same great Salad King taste.  Oh and also the single stall unisex fully automatic washrooms.    


Friday, March 11, 2011

Ruby Watchco

Ruby Watchco has already been featured a few times on Food & Co. and if you follow along, you'll know the restaurant switches up their menu every single day.  Sign up for their daily menu email, because well, it's just fun.  To satisfy someone in all three categories (app, main and dessert), not including the cheese course, is difficult, so if you see a menu that looks amazing, GO. Go that night.  

On this particular night the menu sounded fantastic, all parties agreed (Rob & Mitch shout out), and everyone agreed at the end of the meal it was delicious.  The only thing that was off was the cheese.  It was too strong.  Afterwards the waitress told us next time to ask because they usually have a few different kinds in the fridge.  Good to know.    

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2ND 

SMOKED BLUE HAZE & LENTIL SALAD
Spinach Leaves, Romaine Hearts, Brown Butter Croutons,
Kozlik’s Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

GRILLED FLANK STEAK WITH RUBY’S SHORT RIB GRAVY
Carron Farms’ Ruby Red Beets with Creamy Horseradish,
Boston Lettuce with Charred Red Onions, Button Mushrooms
Chipotle Whipped Sweet Potatoes

CENDRILLON BY ALEX DE PORTNEUF
Truffled Black Trumpets, Watercress, Hazelnuts

RUBY’S CINNAMON BUNS
Bacon Caramel Sauce, Candied Pecans

$49



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lee

Lee has always been one of Toronto's best and busiest restaurants, so it really didn't need the arrival of Lee Lounge to reinvigorate it, but it sorta has.  On a Monday night in early March, both rooms, side by side and now connected, are bustling.  And bouncing between them, the man behind it all, celebrity chef Susur Lee, over seeing everything, and making sure his vision is executed perfectly.  

Also perfect, his famous Singapore Slaw.  Now I'm just going to put it out there and say it's the best dish served in Toronto.  First, it's gorgeous.  Second, you've got the combination of a whopping 19 different ingredients including (are you ready!?) edible pansies, daikon, tropical ginger, picked onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro sprouts, toasted sesame seeds, red onion, rice vermicelli, crushed peanuts, fennel, hazelnuts, topped with taro and tossed with salted plum dressing.  The combination of sweet, crunchy, and everything in between makes it one of the most unique salads you'll ever eat.  

Susur was kind enough to send out some of the goods found on the Lee Lounge menu including cheeseburger spring rolls. Winner. Sorry that's my work life crossing over into this blog.  No more Charlie Sheen references.

Off the Lee menu we ordered the Susur style diced vegetable chow mein, Mexican goat cheese tart, chickpea sweet onion fritter, spicy crisp tofu (very spicy), orzo saute with crab and shrimp, caramelized black cod (a most order) and the rack of lamb.  The winning dessert was a rice dumpling filled with chocolate ganache, seen below in the spoons.      

And look out for Susur's young sons, who both work at the restaurant and are both making a splash on Toronto's social scene.  The bros were just listed on National Post Shinan Govani's worthy 30 list. 
   

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marben

When you think brunch, Marben doesn't naturally come to mind.  But it should.  Their homemade bread, butter and jam is ridiculous, as is the eggs benny, that comes with peameal bacon and cheddar cheese.  The cheddar adds a whole new unexpectedly awesome flavour.  The bread pudding french toast is very sweet, so be prepared.  I'd suggest ordering it as a sharing plate for the table.  The restaurant, which is slightly hidden on Wellington Street, is open everyday, and brunch on the weekend starts at 10am.  

Next thing to try at Marben is their pig roast (every last Monday of the month).