Tuesday, 31 January 2012

McClure's

McClure's

These pickles were featured on the show, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network. Ted Allen said these were the best spicy pickles around and when I spotted them at Alex Farm Products, I immediately picked them up. I was surprised to find them in Toronto, as they are based out of Brooklyn NYC. They were spicy, that is for sure. Intermingled with habanero and cayenne peppers, creating a fiery kick with perfectly garlicky, crunchy, vinegary pickles.




Grand Electric

Grand Electric (330 Queen Street West, Toronto)

The hype surrounding this restaurant is wildly insane and is owned by the former Chef de Cuisine and front of House Manager at the Black Hoof. I have tried to dine here on several occasions but only to be told that it would be longer than a 2 hour wait! So I decided to outsmart the crowd and go THIRTY minutes before opening. My boyfriend thought it was somewhat absurd but low and behold, when 6pm rolled around, there was approximately 40 people in line. This meant that the restaurant was entirely at full capacity at 6pm. The food was seriously delectable, the atmosphere was fantastic and the Grand Electric definitely lived up to the hype!

Entrance to Grand Electric 

The line up begins and at this point it is still 20 minutes till opening 

Grabbed the first seats the bar and the restaurant quickly filled up at 6pm 

Chalk Board Menu

Bourbon Bar

Grand Electric Sour 
Vanilla Bourbon, Agave, Egg White, Lemon
 Naturally I would order a Bourbon Sour. This had a interesting twist of adding pepper at the very end. The pepper worked fantastically well with the natural sweetness of the bourbon and agave. I love egg whites in "sour" drinks as it provides a frothy texture. This drink was refreshing and delicious. 

Michelada
Tecate Beer, Fresh Lime, Hot Sauce, Spices and Cilantro
This is a classic Mexican drink. They put their own twist on it, as it was a hybrid of a Caesar and a Classic Michelada. 


Guacamole with Salsa and House made Chips 
The guacamole was absolutely perfect, as it was well seasoned with a good amount of lime juice. Although the fresh house made chips were delicious and crisp, they were a little too greasy. .

Chipotle Shrimp
The flavours in this dish were fantastic! The chipotle shrimp had a nice smoky flavour, which blended well with the creme fraiche. The texture of the ceviche-like shrimp, with the cool, creaminess of the creme fraiche and the crunchy, salty peanuts and tostone were an excellent combination. 

TACOS
So good, we had several orders of the tacos. 

Spicy Arbol Chicken
This was one of my favourites of the night. The fantastically seasoned, saucy and (actually) spicy chicken was paired wonderfully with red onions, a white creamy sauce and topped with a generous portion of queso fresco. Delicious!!

Fried Queso with Poblano
This taco was OKAY. Nothing special, I found the texture to be too mushy. 

Pork Belly Al Pastor
Excellent seasoning of the pork belly. Completely savoury with a nice level of sweetness and acid from the pineapple. I really loved this taco but felt that the pork belly could have been more tender. 

Baja Fish
Another winner! The moist, tender, flaky fried fish topped with a creamy, cool topping. Just fantastic. 

Chicken Frito
Basically fried chicken wings. The sauce was incredibly savoury (the umami element was definitely present) but this was particularly greasy. 

Key Lime Vasa
A fantastic way to finish a meal. Graham cracker layer with a lime meringue and whipped cream. Just heavenly. 



Grand Electric on Urbanspoon

Monday, 23 January 2012

The County General


The County General (936 Queen Street West, Toronto)

Opened just a few months ago by ex-Splendido chefs, the County General has been on my short-list for some time. I have attempted to dine here on several occasions but it is always insanely busy. We decided to go for some pre-dinner snacks and the food really lived up to the hype. The bartender also made us some fantastic bourbon drinks and the atmosphere was wonderful -- just my kind of place. 


The "County Drive In" and a Bourbon Sour



6oz County Burger
Milk Bun, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Pickle and Fries 
Added the Ottawa Valley Cheddar Option
The burger was absolutely wonderful! The meat is ground up in house and the 6oz patty was thick, juicy, flavourful. With the addition of the cheddar, the sublime juices just ran down my hand. The milk bun has a nice texture and an overall a fantastic burger.


Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich 
Buttermilk Chicken, Milk Bun, Avocado Chutney, Coriander, Green Onion and Fries
I was very excited to try this one and also did not let me down. Tender, thick buttermilk fried chicken encased with a beautiful avocado chutney. They paired so wonderfully. The fries were pretty tasty as well (greasy and slightly overcooked) and the house made ketchup was a stand out.




The County General on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pizzeria Libretto

Pizzeria Libretto (221 Ossington Avenue, Toronto)

I ventured back to Libretto, as everyone I know loves it. My first time was a few months back and I had a good experience but I wasn't crazy about it. I decided to give it one more try and unfortunately (for my personal tastes), it did not live up to the hype.

Spicy Meatballs
Tomato Sauce, Crostino, Grana Padano
These meatballs were outstanding. The tomato sauce was rich and flavourful, coating these juicy, fork-tender meatballs. My only criticism was that they were not "spicy" but fairly mild. The best thing we had this particular night.

Cremini Mushroom
Buffalo Mozzarella , Gorgonzola, Roasted Garlic , Rosemary, Thyme, Pecorino
I am a HUGE mushroom and gorgonzola fan. I really wanted to like this pizza but it fell flat in flavour and texture. I could hardly pin point the gorgonzola and the mushrooms seemed a little dried out. It left me desiring much more.

Nduja Sausage
Tomato, Garlic, Oregano, Basil, Mozzarella, Stracciatella
We perhaps should have stuck with the classics but we wanted to try this one as well. The server described the sausage to be spicy, which was (once again) very mild. It was better than the mushroom pizza, as the tomato sauce used on their pies is very tangy but sweet (I do enjoy this aspect). Disappointingly, the nduja sausage which was very delicious was incredibly sparse.
Pizzeria Libretto on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Some more from Jacob's Steakhouse

Jacob's Steakhouse (12 Brant Street, Toronto)

Yet another post from Jacob's and Co. Steakhouse but I will not be redundant with photos/posts. I will only feature new items, as you have already seen photos of many of the items and especially the sides (I love the Tarragon Duck Fat Fries and the Potato Gratin, a must every time I dine there!). Featured below are more steaks and other protein options at Jacobs.

60 Day USDA T-Bone
I am not a striploin or tenderloin fan but the Tbone is a completely different animal. With the 60 day dry age on this steak, it is ridiculously flavourful and succulent. I am converted!

 
California Striploin Snake River Wagyu
This is usually one of my FAVOURITE steaks on the menu (who doesn't love waygu) but unfortunately it was a slightly overcooked, as I like my waygu steaks more rare. Still fatty and flavourful nonetheless.


60 Day USDA Ribeye
Again, the 60 day dry ageing on this ribeye was phenomenal. Ribeye is typically my steak of my choice and the flavour and marbling on this piece was sublime.


Organic Split Roast Chicken with Lemon and Thyme Butter
My boyfriend is a huge fan of this dish but I have yet to try it. The diner who was having the chicken was seated unfortunately too far away from me. There was also a ridiculous amount of food in addition to all this so I was somewhat overwhelmed!

 
European Sea Bass with Salsa Verde and Seared Lemon
Beautifully cooked fish, flaky with a crispy skin. The flavours are completely savoury and a surprising but excellent choice if you don't enjoy steak or want to try something different.
Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Urban Herbavore

Urban Herbavore (64 Oxford Street, Toronto)

My boyfriend introduced me to this little place in Kensington and I was surprised to find out it was Vegan! He is a total carnivore (as am I) but I definitely understand what the hype is about. They make a variety of interesting spreads, bake their breads fresh in house and offer vegan fare in a delicious and outstanding way. Be wary during busy hours, which can offer very slow and nonchalant service but the food is worth it. Other items that I have yet to try are the morrocan stew and the sweet potato date muffins.



Fresh Toppings of Sandwiches, Grain/Salad Bowls


Sesame Tempeh Sandwich
Scrumptiously delicious and perhaps the best thing on the menu. Tempeh is a type of soy protein, like tofu but I find the texture firmer and the taste is evidently different. The tempeh is savoury and meaty and is topped with alfalfa sprouts, marinated tomatoes (similar to a bruschetta), greens and a creamy lemon tahini.  The bread here is fresh, fluffly and grilled lightly with olive oil = carb goodness.


Avocado Sandwich
Anyone who is a fan of avocados will enjoy this sandwich thoroughly. I thought it was a touch bland considering how flavourful the tempeh sandwich was but overall pretty tasty. (I would recommend hot sauce and extra lemon tahini).



Urban Herbivore on Urbanspoon