Friday, May 24, 2013

I Love Open kitchens

As a lone eater all week I've very much enjoyed the entertainment of the open kitchen   The good,the bad, and the fugly (here I'm think of the dishwasher chicken at Momofulu). Tonight's degustation is at a wonderful French place - La Palette - Chef Kavanagh. Come herere, visit, spend time, eat food, drink wine.
Also gloriously present in spectacular profusion are fabric, findings, and notion stores. Long time readers and friends may know of my addiction to fabric. Well, earlier today I hit the Textle Museum of Canada's "yard sale". Good God! I haven't seen elderly elbows so high since my Mum took me to the Filenes Basement White Sale. If you ask her, she will deny it it we were there. Sear's bargain basement had nothing on it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Toronto Dine Out

I've learned one thing about eating out in my travels, ask your waiter/ress what they would recommend. They know better than anyone what the kitchen does best, what people like and what they'd like to eat if they ate at their restaurant. It is a pretty good method of eating well while eating out. I've actually learned two things about eating well while travelling - ask locals where they eat. You will often get to know which of the multitude of restaurants actually offers good food.

Here in down town Toronto on the edge of what they call the entertainment district I've had some truly great meals. Number one has to be the Queen and Beaver on Elm St. The food was lick your plate good English staples from appetizer to desert. The service good, without being obsequious. Number 2 goes to the Queen Mother on Queen St. West. The food was Asian fusion, delicious and generous. Number 3 goes to Momofuku. A big name located in the Shangri-la Hotel on University Ave. The squid was divine. The rice cake as good. Unfortunately the rice cake was pinch hitting for a less than tasty radish/potato thingy. The chocolate pudding for desert was adequate - it really suffered following on two amazing dishes. Number 4 goes to Guu Sake Bar, although it would be more accurate to say that 3rd place is a tie. At Guu I had a really tasty jelly fish appy, a spinach appy and a rice bowl. All very flavourful, all well presented. I think it didn't rank higher in the Sarah Stakes because I was so surprised by the food. When you think you are getting one thing and your taste buds and eyes and expectations are in line with that expectation, the surprise can be difficult to fairly evaluate. 4th goes to some perfectly adequate East Indian from Timiku (I think it was called). The onion bajhis were amazing.

I was most surprised by the Momofuku open kitchen chef who, live, in front of diners, put some chicken in the dish washer. Sigh. I'm sure that shit happens, but do you really want to do it in public?!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mexican Cooking Class

Today's adventure was a wonderful cooking class with Chef Mavi. The food was delicious, the setting lovely. The drinks... very tasty. Photos to follow.
We started with the shopping. She showed us her favourite butcher who only kills one cow a day from his ranch. If you want multiple tenderloins you've got to go back multiple days in a row. Then it was off to the fish monger. There we saw tuna, red snapper, 7 different sizes of shrimp, 2 of crab, mackerel, mahi mahi, octopods and various other denizens of the deep. We also acquired a descaler for fish - a tool made out of a piece of pipe, cut with teeth that you run over the fish to get the scales off so you can prepare the fish whole on the grill and eat it entire. Next to the green grocer for all kinds of local goodness including 2 kinds of dried peppers, local peach and mango, and other unspellable bits and pieces.

The meal was amazing. The multiple salsa (sauces) made from one base of 3 different kinds of dried peppers astounded us both.

Ressurection Sorbet

After a rather hot day and some bank machine frustrations I was at the end of my tether. Then, I had some of the best lemon and coconut sorbet I've had in a long time. I was immediately turned from a grouchy zombie creature, to a sweet kind patient woman again. Yes, truely! Iced lemon can make that difference.

Puerto Vallarta Walks

We had a lovely walk around the historic centre of Puerto Vallarta with Sandra of Learn Vallarta. Educational and interesting.