Scaddabush

Continuing my search for good grub in Toronto, we decided to try Scaddabush, on my sister’s recommendation. Apparently, it is well known for its stuffed meatballs.  Somebody was hungry post half marathon so we were looking for something substantial. Hubby helped himself to the spaghetti bolognese. I went straight for the stuffed meatball. The meatball was the size of a baseball and stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella. Their pasta is also fresh made in house. It was pretty good; the portions are deceiving filling. The tartufo made for a lighter finish to the meal.

Spaghetti and stuffed meatball
Spaghetti and stuffed meatball
Tartufo with strawberries and cream
Tartufo with strawberries and cream

Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Fresh on Spadina

Living in Calgary (Cowtown), I haven’t really learned to appreciate really good vegetarian food in restaurants, other than in Indian restaurants. Until I tried Fresh, on a recommendation from a friend. I had the Energy bowl, which had a coconut curry sauce with vegetables on top of soba noodles. It also came with marinated tofu, which had a rich flavour, with undertones of vinegar. It was quite large and substantial. The flavours were rich and satisfying. I would highly recommend it, even for non vegetarians.

Energy bowl marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea & vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower sprouts & tahini sauce
Energy bowl
marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea &
vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower
sprouts & tahini sauce

Fresh By Juice For Life on Urbanspoon

Kenzo Ramen Queen West

I was craving some ramen when I went to Toronto last week. Since I’d already been to Kinton, my sister suggested Kenzo on Queen West. This is a relatively new location; she had been to the original location and enjoyed their house made noodles.

They had a nice variety of ramen on the menu. I ordered the ji su men, which had a thick broth due to the addition of egg. My sister commented that the noodles did not taste the same as their original location.  I thought they tasted suspiciously like Chinese egg noodles. We asked our server, and she said they did make their own.

Their gyoza, however was really good. There was a good quantity of meat inside and they fried it in flour paste water.

The service was quick and friendly. With so much to choose from in Toronto, it’s not likely that I will visit the same ramen place again.

Gyoza
Gyoza
Karashi Ramen Spicy ramen with japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.
Karashi Ramen
Spicy ramen with japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.
Ji Su Men A soy sauce base soup combined with chicken, eggs and sesame oil. Mixed with stir fried vegetables. Vegetarian option avilable.
Ji Su Men
A soy sauce base soup combined with chicken, eggs and sesame oil. Mixed with stir fried vegetables. Vegetarian option available.

Kenzo Ramen Queen West on Urbanspoon

Bent

I’m pretty sure this restaurant is flying under the radar.  High expectations because of it’s pedigree, but not a whole lot of buzz. The reviews I read were mixed. I can definitely say that the food was fantastic.

SMOKED COD TARO TACO
Chipotle Mayonnaise, Cilantro, Tomatillo, Jicima
TUNA + WATERMELON
Shaved Red Onion, Cilantro, Crispy Shallots, Fresh Citrus Juice, Rocoto Chili

There were three of us and we ordered for sharing. The server was helpful in suggesting dishes to balance our selections.  The smoked cod taro tacos were bursting with avocado flavor with a touch of heat.  The cod got a little lost in the dance . The tuna and watermelon ceviche was exceptional. Strong spicy flavors with delicate watermelon to stave off the heat. Did I tell you I like my food a little spicy?

DUNGENESS CRAB SALAD

The dungeness crab salad was a good way to tone down the tuna and the tacos.  The most interesting thing was the toasted burdock root on top. The dish was not flashy, but did the job of cooling off my taste buds for the next dish.

CHICKEN DUMPLING
Filled With Mushroom and Leeks, Goat Cheese Sauce, Roasted Chorizo and Pesto

The dumplings had strong flavors of and mushroom and sausage that reminded me of a Chinese style chicken and dried mushroom dish. The dehydrated tomato slice was a nice textural contrast.

ASIAN STYLE WILD SALMON GRAVLAX
Tamago, Horse Radish Lemon and Chive Creème fraiche with Wasabi Tobiko
BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

I really liked the gravlax for both the presentation and taste. The seaweed, capers and creme fraiche were a nice contrast the salmon wrapped in tamago. They were served with a side of buckwheat pancakes and lime in cheesecloth to squeeze over the salmon.

BRAISED SPICED SHORT RIBS
Black Garlic, Parsnip Puree, Roasted Rosemary Duck Fat Potato with Sour Cream And Chives

I did not try the short ribs as I do not eat beef that is not hormone and antibiotic free.  The roasted potatoes however, were hot and very tasty. Ditto with the rare marinated beef. The beef was served with a side of cheese toast.

RARE BEEF
Lightly Seared Beef, Herbed Olive Oil, Momiji Oroshi, Diced Scallion, Ume Spicy Ponzu
with Crispy Rice Cake
TOASTED BREAD
With melted cheese
DESSERT
Sesame ball, panna cotta with milk foam

Dessert was complimentary. Although I was too full to eat another bite, I had to sample. There was a Chinese style sesame ball filled with peanut satay on a caramelized miso sauce.  The sesame ball was a bit rubbery and difficult to share, but I haven’t had one that wasn’t. Also fruit salad topped with a minty panna cotta which was very good.

Strong complex flavors that flowed well from one dish to another. Possibly too strong for some, but that’s the way I like it. This is one of the best Asian fusion restaurants that I have ever tried. Service was attentive even when they got busy. Attention to detail such as wiping off the table between dishes and providing fresh cutlery between courses.

Atmosphere is upbeat urban. Hallway to the washrooms is rather eclectic.

Bent on Urbanspoon

Richmond Station

A few of my relatives are foodies and they chose this restaurant for dinner. I had high expectations, as the “Top Chef” is Carl Heinrich, the winner of Top Chef Canada season 2. We had a late reservation (8:45) as this is a pretty popular place.

The restaurant is two levels, with a Chef’s table right next to the kitchen on the second level. The lower level is also open to the kitchen. Decor is modern, but not terribly so. White walls and dark wood are a nice combination.

We perused the regular menu as well as the specials on the board. My sister inquired if there were any specials from the chef, the waiter went to ask. The chef had a pork chop as well as a roast for the table. Most of us ordered off the regular menu and the board.

TROUT GRAVLOX
daikon radish, dill, red onion
POLENTA FRIES
bomba mayonnaise, marinara
LOBSTER COCKTAIL
tempura lobster, iceberg, cocktail sauce, lemon aioli, celery

The appetizers were tasty. Polenta fries are an interesting idea. I’m not a huge fan of polenta but it works. I enjoyed the lobster cocktail, the crunchy lobster went well with the refreshing taste of the lettuce and cocktail sauce.

Duo of Beef

I had the Duo of Beef which was on the chalkboard. The steak was done to a medium rare, on a bed of mashed potatoes, and the other side had a shredded beef stew.  The flavors mingled well together. Of course the beef is locally sourced, hormone and antibiotic free. I’m of the opinion that maybe Alberta beef is not always the best.

Pork Chop Four Ways

It turns out that my cousin did order the special from the kitchen.  This dish was hefty on the meat. The pork chop was very tasty. I suspect chefs appreciate it, when they get to exercise their creativity in the kitchen. Carl came to our table and asked my cousin how she liked her meal.  Only my sister and I were aware that it was Carl. He visited several other parties in the room as well. I like it when the Chef takes the time to check in with the diners.

STN. BURGER
aged cheddar, beet chutney, rosemary fries, radish salad

The Stn Burger was interesting as the inside was cooked to a medium rare. It is usually a risk to eat a burger which is not well done. I suspect they grind their meat in house to ensure quality.

Butternut Squash Cheesecake

I enjoyed the butternut squash cheesecake. The cheesecake was substantial. It went well with the mascarpone  and if I remember correctly, the maple syrup. The roasted, dry squash sliver on top was a nice touch. It’s something that I would like to learn how to make.

Peach Cobbler

This was a nice, rustic interpretation of regional cuisine. It’s definitely a restaurant that seems to cater to foodies. Will be on my list if I make it back to Toronto.

Richmond Station on Urbanspoon

Pizza Pide

Sometimes the best food can be found in a dive.  Pizza Pide (Peh-day) is a nondescript eatery on the corner of Gerrard and Pape. You could easily walk by it if not for the hordes that wait on the sidewalk for the streetcar.  If you never had Turkish pizza, you should give it a try. Number 18 is the best as it has an assortment of toppings. Bring a hearty appetite as one pide can serve a couple small appetites for lunch.

Onto the pide. This is no ordinary pizza. It is shaped like a canoe. It is thin crust, but the edges are folded over, brushed with some kind of oil, and baked to a golden brown. There is an assortment of beef pide as well as the chicken with mozzarella, spinach and feta and an all cheese. I suspect the meat is Halal, as it was a Muslim friend who introduced my sister to it.

It comes with some sides: a lemon for squeezing onto the pide, raw onion, tomato, hot peppers and parsley. I found the parsley good for cleansing the palate of pide and onion after the meal.

Assorted pizza on the left, and chicken and mozzarella on the right

Pizza Pide on Urbanspoon

Wanda's Pie In The Sky

I love sweets. Some more than others. I could have homemade pie three square meals a day.  I discovered this lovely little place when I was in town a couple years ago.  I did not have a chance to try their wares, but I did buy their cookbook.  I’ve made their coconut cream pie a couple of times and it is delicious.  So this time, I had to try their food.

Veggie pizza and roasted butternut squash soup

The homemade pizza and soup were very good. After arriving in town, it was the perfect comfort food after a hectic day of travel. But, I came here for the pie.

Coconut cream pie

I bought the 6″ pie. The filling was lovely, but the amount of whipped cream overwhelmed the rest. I should have gone for the full sized pie. Everything is fresh and homemade. Next up, sour cherry.

Sour Cherry Pie

The sour cherry was tart as I would have expected. Very good. If I wasn’t leaving town tomorrow, I would have bought at least a 6″.

They do get busy at times, but they are very good about asking people to lineup as most just stand around gawking at the pie case. I can say that is one of my favorite places for pie. Warrants mutiple repeat visits.

Wanda's Pie in the Sky on Urbanspoon

Khao San Road

My search for Thai brought me to Khao San Road. Except in Toronto, not Bangkok. This place is popular and like most trendy places, does not accept reservations. Thai food with an urban flair. The green curry was bursting with fresh flavors of lemongrass and spice. The Pad Thai smacked of tamarind. The spring rolls were fresh and tasty. Really good food.

Had I known about their specials, I would have tried them as well.  The squash fritters reminded me of the Gorgon Medusa’s hair and the Khao Soi apparently is very good too.

Fresh Spring Rolls with chicken sausage, Thail basil, lettuce, carrots and mint leaves with tamarind sauce.
Pad Thai with pork and green curry with chicken

When the restaurant is full, it can be quite loud so I wouldn’t recommend it as a first date kind of place. The service was attentive and the host came by to ask our opinion. When we left there was a lineup outside waiting to get in.

Khao San Road on Urbanspoon

Kinton Ramen

There are no outstanding ramen places in Calgary. I am so glad that there is a large variety in Toronto. My sister took me to Kinton Ramen, in Baldwin Village. It is small, with everyone sitting at communal tables.  The atmosphere is much like a Izakaya with the staff shouting greetings as you leave over the general din.  The broth is very good and tasted like it had been stewing for days.

I had the Shiro Ramen with the rich broth and pork belly. The noodles were nice and chewy. The pork was cooked perfectly, and the broth was not too salty.

Shiro Ramen
sea salt, kinton pork, beansprout, nori, seasoned egg

I tried my sister’s Spicy Garlic Ramen. Nice kick with the heat and full garlic flavor. We also tried the Gyoza which was hot and flavorful. I would say that this is a very good ramen place and worth another visit.

Sadly, I did not finish my soup otherwise I would have been a Kinton Bowler.

Spicy Garlic Ramen
chili pepper, Kinton pork, beansprout, scallion, fresh grated garlic

Kinton Ramen  on Urbanspoon

Hanks

My sister took me to Hank’s on Church Street for brunch. She has been there many times before and had a great experience each time. I was looking forward to the meal. The servers was very friendly and attentive.

I ordered the breakfast poutine and she, the Hank’s Benny.  Our orders arrived promptly and I could tell from my sister’s face that something was not quite right. She ordered her eggs hard poached, but they were soft. The avocado was missing from her dish and so were the fruit garnishes.

My dish was missing the green onions, there was not enough gravy or hollandiase, and barely any tomato. To top it off both dishes were room temperature. I added the avocado from her dish just for fun and sprinkled the green onions on top.

The server noticed our non-verbal cues and immediately enquired. My sister is not picky but she did end up sending her plate back. I did not know any better and ate my dish. The server brought the missing garnishes and my sister’s dish arrived piping hot with hard poached eggs.

The service was very good, but I think the chef was having an off day. My sister would give them the benefit of the doubt. I would rate this as a average restaurant, but due to the attentive service I would consider giving them another chance.


Breakfast Poutine
Yukon Gold fries tossed with Cheddar cheese curds, breakfast sausage and tomatoes, topped with a poached egg & finished with hollandaise sauce

Hank's on Urbanspoon