Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carousel Bakery - Peameal, Experience This Toronto Experience, Eh? (Toronto, ONT)

Carousel BakeryCarousel Bakery

Carousel Bakery

After a good experience at the St. Lawrence Market the previous day for breakfast, my friends and I decided to make a last trip here before we head out to Montreal the following day. After hearing about this Peameal, which is basically an unsmoked bacon rolled in cornmeal, I wanted to give it a try!

Peameal Bacon on a soft country bun

Peameal Bacon on a Soft Country Bun

My friend went for the original Peameal Bacon sandwich on a soft country bun. It was good, but I mean, it is bacon, how can it not?! Even though it's just the bread and the peameal bacon, the bacon itself was quite juicy, though I would probably enjoyed a light aioli or some sort of sauce to add more moisture.

Big Hog

Big Hog

While my friend went with the normal Peameal sandwich, I went with the Big Hog, well, probably because I'm a fat ass! LOL! In the Big Hog, it's the basic Peameal shown above, but with the inclusion of a fried egg and a slice of of what I believe, American cheese. For me, I enjoyed the additions of the fried egg and cheese to make this into a much heartier sandwich.

Was the Peameal awesome? Nah, not even close. Though I'd take a Peameal sandwich over an Egg McMuffin anyday of the week!

Delicious Fish and Chips

Delicious Fish & Chips

While my friend and I were chowing down on some Peameal bacon, my buddy Benny decided to get some delicious fried fish and chips from the stall across the way. I have to say, it was better than our Peameal sandwiches. Fail on me I guess.....

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Carousel Bakery
93 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
(416) 863-6764

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rodney's Oyster House - Varieties Forgotten, But Pictures Aplenty! (Toronto, ONT)

Rodney's Oyster House

Rodney's Oyster House

After our failed attempt on our first day to visit Rodney's Oyster house due to the Victoria's Holiday weekend, we decided to return after our meal at Acqua as a late night snack since it opens until 1AM.

I'll apologize ahead of time as I lost my little "cheat sheet" for the variety of oysters served at Rodney's, as this will mostly be a picture post.

Various sauces

Various Sauces for the Oysters

Here are the various sauces that could be used for the oysters, though we mainly just used the lemon provided. At first, I was planning to just snack one an oyster or two, but we ended up running an oyster "gamut" a la kevinEats style. (Though if I was running a kevinEats style, I would not have lost my notes taken that night! LOL)


Here was the first plate of oyster we ordered, including the favorite of the night, the Kumamoto oysters. The Kumamoto, as always, tended to have more flavor I enjoy usually from an oyster.

Ginger Ale

Boylan Ginger Ale

While I was not in the mood for alcohol, I decided to get a bottle of Boylan's Ginger Ale to go along with the oysters.


This was our second plate of oyster, and we soon realized the best oysters were the smallest ones, like the Kumamoto oyster. Although tasty, we definitely enjoyed the smaller oysters a bit more.

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

My friend decided to get an order of Shrimp Cocktail, and at 21CAD, it was not really worth the price as he was a bit "meh" on the shrimp cocktail.

OystersUp close shot

Finally, we went with the giant oyster from Hog Island. Sadly, despite the size, the oyster wasn't quite flavorful as I had hoped. I guess in regards to Oysters, bigger isn't always better.

Stackin' it up!

Ah yes, the picture above was the damage caused by me, but was I done? Nope!


After the oysters, we decided to try both their clam options, and much like the oysters, the smaller clams had richer, and thus, better flavors. Quite nice!

CN Tower at night

Night Shot of the CN Towers

All in all, Rodney's Oyster House was a good place to enjoy seafood, especially oysters. The service was friendly, as our server was quite helpful guiding us through the oyster menu and checking back with us with a "these are good, eh?" Although it's not quite a "must-visit" restaurant, I'd certain pay a visit if you're staying around the Financial District area in Toronto. Love the late night, love the oysters, why don't you come and try it out yourself, eh?

Final Rating: 7 out of 10

Rodney's Oyster House
469 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1K4, Canada
(416) 363-8105
Official Website

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Acqua - Why Was It So Empty? (Toronto, ONT)


Entrance for Acqua

After our little trip to the National Hockey Hall of Fame, it was time for an early dinner, and prior to the trip, I read about this restaurant that was located in the building next to the Hockey Hall of Fame, so I figured we'd give it a shot!

Vodka TonicStellaCranberry Juice

Top: Vodka Tonic, Left: Stella Artois, Right: Cranberry Juice

Since we arrived a bit early, we sat down at the empty bar and ordered some drinks. I went with my always safe Vodka Tonic, while my buddies went with a Stella on tap and a cool glass of Cranberry Juice. You're too hardcore Benny, with that cranberry juice! LOL

Bread Bowl

Bread Bowl

Upon being seated, we were presented with a bread bowl. The bread itself wasn't worthy of much discussion, but we quite enjoyed sesame crisps and the breadsticks. Personally, I have an affinity towards warm bread and slightly soften butter. Lukewarm bread and hard butter just don't quite "cut" it for me.


Crispy Sweetbreads - dijon, tarragon mayo

We started off with two appetizers for the table. We went with a crispy fried sweetbread and a short rib ravioli.

Personally, I like sweetbreads, and I know it's not for everyone. Versions like this are quite pleasant to eat, similar to popcorn chicken, though it's not the case. Though when you have something fried like this, why bother telling the newbies that it's actually thymus gland and pancreas of a young calf or lamb?


Braised Beef Short Rib Ravioli - toasted pinenuts, sultanas, local squash

The ravioli by itself wasn't anything special, though with the texture balance from the pinenuts and the squash, it was quite nice. The short rib was cooked well, and the ravioli was quite flavorful.


Truffle Dusted Scallops - fennel, shrimp, pistachio foam

Black CodBlack Cod

Roasted Alaskan Black Cod - couscous, edamame, grapefruit date consommé

Those were the dishes my dining mates ordered, and I did not try their dishes. Though they seemed to be fairly satisfied with their choices. Yet, I think the key word was satisfied, but not impressed or wowed.

Chicken Breast stuffed with foie gras

Roasted Chicken Breast - savoy cabbage, smoked bacon, foie gras

And onto my entree of the night, the roasted chicken breast with foie gras. Normally, I don't order chicken, especially chicken breast, but when I saw bacon and foie gras, I had to give it a shot. As expected, the chicken breast was slightly dry, but definitely edible, though the foie gras definitely helped. I enjoyed the cabbage and bacon combination, but I felt the base of the dish was slightly too salty, given the use of the foie in the chicken, thus making it almost too rich for me to finish the dish.

Dining RoomDining Room

Dining Room

As we await our dessert course here are a few shots of the dining room. This is where I'll make a comment of the emptiness of the dining room, and the restaurant as a whole. Even on a weekday night, we expected a mad rush of diners, even if we arrived early at 5PM, however, there was only one other party during the course of our meal (~1.5 hours). Strange, and slightly awkward indeed, especially since I'm not eating at some hole in the wall Chinese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley.

Apple Strudel

Ontario Apple Strudel - Calvados Custard

Here, we started off with a flakey apple strudel with an accompany Calvados custard. Think of it as a nice flakey apple pie, quite nice. I also enjoyed the custard made with Calvados, an apple brandy, though I'm a sucker for any custard based desserts.

Expresso Mousse

Mascarpone Mousse - Espresso, Bailey's Foam

This dessert tasted almost as good as it looked. We all enjoyed the combination of espresso and the mascarpone cheese. The Bailey's Coffee Liqueur added a nice kick to the dessert.

Maple Creme BruleeMaple Creme Brulee

Laurie's Daily Crème Brûlée - Shortbread

Here, I go with my favorite dessert, the crème brûlée. In this case, the flavor of the day was Maple Syrup Crème Brûlée. I do have to say, it's probably my favorite dish of the day, even though I am slightly biased. I enjoyed the subtle taste of maple syrup in the crème brûlée, and the berries were a nice accompaniment.

The meal as whole was satisfactory, though sadly, nothing really stood out. As a trip to this point, the food in Toronto has been quite disappointing, though you could argue my friends and I did not hit up the hot spots in town. Maybe I am being overly picky, but another reason might be the cold surroundings in the dining room. Even though we were there until close to 7PM, there were no other dining parties that ate around us. If you're around the Hockey Hall of Fame, you could take a shot and see if I'm overly critical, but if I ever make a trip back to Toronto, I doubt I'd return to Acqua.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10

Acqua Ristorante
10 Front St. West
Toronto, ONT
(416) 368-7171
Official Website

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hockey Hall Of Fame - My Date With Lord Stanley (Toronto, ONT)

Hockey HOFHockey HOF


As we shift some of these review back to our neighbors upstairs, Canada, this is a way to introduce myself. Hi, my name is Danny, I'm a Panda, and I'm also a Hockey fan.

Growing up in the United States, before becoming a foodie, a "gourmand," I've always been what you call a sport nut. I love Baseball, Football, Basketball, and heck, even NASCAR, but in the past 3-4 years, the sport that I've been following primarily has been Hockey, and my San Jose Sharks. All this was probably due to the nightly hockey conversation with my buddy Samuel, a hockey fanatic from Canada.

One of the main reasons I decided on adding Toronto to our Canadian tour wasn't due to its food, but for me, selfishly, I wanted to see the National Hockey Hall of Fame. It's like going to Graceland for them Elvis fans. Here we go:

Hockey HOFHockey HOFEntranceHockey HOF

Shot from Entrance

Located underground in a small shopping center, the Hockey Hall of Fame was neatly tucked in a corner, though the Hall of Fame interior was quite deep. The Entrance fee was $15 for adults and worth every dime!

Canada!Mother Russia!Taiwanese Hockey team??Hockey of many nations

Hockey Uniform of Many Nations, Including Taiwan

Bobby Orr #4O! Canada~

Some various shots of yours truly at the Hall of Fame. On top, it's me and one of my favorite players of all time, and probably the BEST Defenceman of all time, Bobby Orr, #4. On the bottom, that shot was dedicated to my Canadian buddy. As a hockey fan, you gotta love watch Team Canada or Team Russia. My matchup for the gold medal game. Sorry USA, but I just don't think we can beat either of those two teams.....

Hockey HOFMontreal Canadian locker roomMontreal Canadian locker room

More shots of the Hall of Fame, including another one of my long time favorite, Super Mario (Mario Lemieux), and the locker room of the famous Montreal Canadians.

Hockey HOF

Yes! Les Sharks!

Hockey HOF

Finally, here it is...my date, Lord Stanley's Cup

Hockey HOFMe w/ the Lord Stanley Cup

One of the few (or many) times you'll see me smile like a moron. I was like a kid in a candy store. The Hockey Hall of Fame was filled with all the major trophies, but seeing the Stanley Cup up close was a pure thrill. I was tempted to pick it up and raise it above my head as they do after winning the Championship, though I doubt I'd be here writing this review if I had done that. If you're a hockey nut like me, or just simply enjoy hockey and somehow found yourself in Toronto, make sure you make a trek to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Trust the Panda!

Freshly SqueezedStrawberry Banana

Can I really do a post without some sort of food/drink? Well, after the trek to the Hockey Hall of Fame, we had some spare time before our dinner at Acqua, so my buddies Morgan, Benny, and I grabbed some Strawberry & Banana smoothies from Freshly Squeezed, which looked to be Canada's answer to Jamba Juice.

All in all, a fun time, a great experience. If I ever decide to visit Toronto again, it'll because I want to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame again!

Hockey Hall of Fame
30 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON, Canada
(416) 360-7735
Official Website

Freshly Squeezed
Various Locations