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Chantecler in Parkdale

Ok, the reservation was bad timing. I have been meaning to check out Chantecler for a while now, but I seem to have called just after they got a bunch of reviews. A bunch of really good reviews, like this one http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/restaurant-reviews/chantecler-2-concepts-1-outstanding-tasting-menu/article10816124/so when I called to make a reservation for their famed tasting menu, I was told that they are booking into June 😦
But, and I say this is great service, they immediately told me that they could probably fit me in for their regular menu. For, eh, tomorrow, Saturday night? I asked? And yes…they made it happen! (Ok, maybe the time was a tad unusual, but hey, not exactly complaining..). When we arrived, we immediately spotted the place we wanted to sit. The prime seat “reserved for tasting menu guests”. Of course. But – service again- they agreed to swap seating and bingo, we had our seat at the bar in view of all the action. And I honestly did not even push very hard.
So all a very promising start.
So over to the first indication that this was going to be a fun evening: the drink menu:

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Jacob, one of the owners was behind the bar and gracefully helped us with our choice. Completely not necessary, since we were going to work our way through the list anyways ( a different ‘tasting menu’ of sorts). What can I say, these were some of T.O.s best drinks. And Jacob clearly enjoys mixing,putting on a good shaker-show every single time. And again. And again. And….

But food. They had three specials, and that’s what we had. Panko crusted baked oysters, cucumber salad with duck gizzard, and duck two ways.

I made a comment about the oysters probably being yesterday’s non-sold babies, but no, in sight they chucked in prepared them. So incredibly good. I seem to have a lot of oysters in my life these days, which is kinda funny given Toronto is…how many km from the sea again?
Once the oysters were devoured, we switched to the cucumber salad. We had both been a tad apprehensive about the ‘duck gizzards’, but they were yummy, dark red firm bits of flesh with almost no offal taste. I actually went digging for them in the salad, as they were quite tasty. The salad was great, with some sesame oil and coriander and other mystery ingredients.

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But now over to the pièce de résistance: the duck. Delish! Duck breast with a thick layer of fat and sweet crispy skin, lightly smoked.. And duck leg confit that was out of this world. Served with three mystery sauces, one sriracha based, once hoisin-ish and one more tangy. Add pickled cauliflower, carrots and lettuce leaves, and off we were playing with our food, assembling our wraps. (Funny enough we just did the same last week-end at Korean Village on Bloor, more traditional but also extremely tasty.)

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Conclusion: excellent drinks, outstanding food, fun atmosphere, gracious service…which included banter about our travelling all the way from Ronces (for some reason Jacob had asked us earlier whether we were from Montréal?! Because our German sounded so French? Or because of our stylishness?! I wonder)…and Chantecler is a clear winner. We’ll be back!

http://restaurantchantecler.ca/

Taza Chocolates

I recently discovered this Mexican style chocolate which bears little to no resemblance to the usual commercial chocolate you get everywhere. Its only ingredients are sugar and chocolate plus whatever flavour you get, i.e. pepper and salt in the p&s version. It has the texture of sand….in a really good way. Available at health food stores, so it must be good for you!

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Make your own maraschino cherries

Scared of the violently red sweet things that are sold as maraschino cherries? Nothing easier than making your own!
Either take dried cherries, or drain a glass of de-pitted cherries in light syrup. Put cherries in a jam jar or other sealable container. Heat plenty of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (don’t boil), add a splash of amaretto and a dash of whiskey, pour over cherries, close jar – normally it seals by itself, but you can can it if you would like to, although the cherries keep for quite a while in the fridge anyways. Let stand for a few days for the fruit to soak up the booze.
The dried cherries get super syrupy dense, great for drinks. The fresh fruit are to die for over ice cream…enjoy!

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Sunday School at Cheesewerks

Ontario cheese and beer pairing – Sunday School at Cheesewerks.

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Super yummy-sweet potato cinnamon chips. Dangerous!

Easter Preparation

Doing the yearly traditional Easter preparations – dying eggs, baking Easter bread…we are in charge of the family meal this year, and have agreed on Krustenbraten mit Sauerkraut, Rotkohl and Klössen. That’s more German than what my family will be eating back home, I am certain!
Oh, and not to forget the starters: duck prosciutto and chèvre courtesy of the cheese fairy @Sunshine Pantry.
Desert, you may ask? Vanilla bean ice cream with home made maraschino cherries, topped with whipped cream and shavings of Taza chocolate….

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The Gabardine, Bay & Richmond

Lovely dinner with B. pre-Mariza-cocert. Yet again the Gabardine did not disappoint, fave dinner place in the financial district. New menu rocked…and the drinks were top notch comme d’habitude.

Starters: warm olives, chili &garlic lupini beans, chicken liver paté with apple butter and toast
Main: risotto of the day, pan seared whitefish with warm potato and beet salad, pickled carrot and horseradish cream
Desert: tres leche cake with mole chocolate ganache, chili roasted pineapple& toasted coconut
Drinks: boulevardier -carpano sweet vermouth, maker’s mark campari & orange twist
french martini -vodka, chambord, pineapple juice & lemon twist

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Maialino, Queen W

Dinner with D. in the ‘hood (ish), we’ve both wanted to try tis place for a while. Definitely worththe visit, we had a great time. Fun outing on a school night…

Amuse Gueule:
House cured speck

Starters:
Insalata Siciliana – Fennel, red onion, orange, green olives, and fresh parsley Olive Oil Mandranova Biancolilla-Sicily
Insalata di Bosco – Sauteed Beech and king Oyster mushrooms, asparagus and toasted almonds served on a bed of frisee dressed with balsamic and Sicilian olive oil granished with fresh chopped chilli peppers

Main:
Gnocchi all fumo – House made potato gnocchi served in a smoky Siclian cherry tomato sauce garnished with roasted pistachio
BC Whitefish with olives and capers, green beans and celery foam

Desert:
Flan di Cioccolato – Warm 70% chocolate cake served with salted caramel mousse and peperoncino

Drinks: Negroni

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Carisma, King East

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Beef carpaccio
Halibut with capers and mashed potatoes
Chocolate lava cake with Lindt chocolate ice cream
Negroni

Sunday Dinner@The Ace

Relaxing Sunday dinner at The Ace!
Starting with R’s favourite local cocktail the After Ace! 2 or maybe 4?
Mains: Angus Burger and broiled Pork belly with green beans!

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Lai Wah Heen

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Lobster and bee sushi at Lai Wah Heen.