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We love eating at different restaurants all around the city, and we’re excited to share our adventures with you. Stay tuned for restaurant reviews, food photos, recipes, and more!

~ Ann and Naoki

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Eating Our Way Down St. Clair: Episode 5

 

annandfriendfull-2Well, here we are again! Well fed, as always, and ready to write about it. This week we had the pleasure of eating with my niece, Kate, and her partner, Dereks. Kate was in town to deliver a paper at a conference of Medievalists at the University of Toronto. They arrived in Toronto while I was down in Washington, DC for a little reacquainting myself with my history there and visiting my other Ph.D family member, Joe.   So I was feeling pretty happy that I got to see two of my family in one week.

When Dereks and Kate arrived at my apartment, Naoki gave them four choices of cuisines in the neighbourhood to choose from: Japanese, Korean, Italian or just plain Canadian pub fare. They thought about it and Kate made the decision that we should try out the Italian place. We had many to choose from but since we were all starving,  we chose Ferro which is the one closest to our houses. Ferro is sort of a classic looking Italian restaurant: lots of wrought iron, plants everywhere, tables too close together but cozy, and friendly chatter happening at the other tables. The only thing missing was candles in Chianti bottles. We all immediately felt right at home.

Now I’ll pass this on to Naoki so he can tell you about our eating experience!

Naoki’s Food Review

We sat at a round table with a semi-booth at the front of the restaurant so we could watch what was happening out on the street and in the restaurant. We thought the table was a little small but we didn’t want to sit on high stools because Ann was feeling tired which is what Ann is feeling right now while we’re writing this. Once we were settled, a waiter came and gave us our menus. It’s a decently-sized menu filled with Italian classics like pasta and salads and pizza. Lots to choose from. (By the way, Ann had whispered to me before we left her apartment that we were eating on a budget tonight and not to choose something expensive!) The four of us decided to go with pizzas. When they came, our little table was getting a bit too over-populated with food so we had to move the bread bowl behind Ann. In the end, we had a round table covered with round pizza pans and round bowls and round plates so much so that I thought we’d become round people too (which we might if we eat too much pizza). 

Dereks and Kate decided to share the Maria Pizza which was loaded with yummy stuff like smoked chicken, roasted red peppers, cremini mushrooms, goat cheese, tomato sauce and, of course, mozzarella.  “This is something new and different for us,” they both said. They also said they loved the taste of the goat cheese on the pizza. But they said that they were “cheese freaks” because Dereks works at a place where they have tons of cheese and when it’s at its best-before date he gets to take it home. He said it’s hard to mess up pizza but really good pizza comes down to who makes it and who you are eating it with — like me and Ann — that’s what makes it good.

Ann and I had the Originale Pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and lots of cheese. It usually comes with green peppers but me and Ann weren’t feeling it that day so we just told them to hold the peppers. Ann said she loved the sauce and it was really cheesy and good. For me I personally loved it. I love pepperoni and mushrooms. Ann cut the pieces for me since I’m such a baby when it comes to cutting things. She even let me have the last slice. We also all shared a Caesar salad with lettuce and croutons and thinly sliced pieces of Parmesian cheese. Dereks and Ann thought it needed more, or some, anchovies. But me and Kate didn’t miss them. 

Dereks said he would definitely come back there to eat and he rated his meal a 8-1/4/10; Kate didn’t say whether she would come back and since she lives in Rhode Island it doesn’t really matter but she gave it an 8/10; Ann gave it a 7/10 because when the server came to ask for drinks she asked Dereks and Kate but not her. I gave our meal and 8-1/2/10. Overall, Ferro is good neighbourhood Italian restaurant and I would definitely go back for pizza and I would say I’d also like to try the pasta. 

 

PS Ann forgot to take any pictures of our meal and I didn’t remind her until the end when we had eaten everything on the table. So sorry about that. We do have this cartoon drawn by Moo of Kate and Dereks.

 

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Sort of Eating Our Way Down St. Clair: Episode 4

annandfriendfull-2Naoki and I decided this week to do some of our cooking in my teeny, tiny kitchen. We had been wanting to make a couple of recipes that my brother, Joe, an excellent cook, had passed on to me. I’ve been making these for years and, every time I make them, I have to call Joe to make sure I’m remembering the ingredients, temperature, cooking time, etc. correctly. He always says something sarcastic to me when I do it, but I think he’s pleased that I like his recipes.

This is the first time Naoki had made these recipes — although he had eaten both of them at my house earlier in the year. So, for this blog, we’re just going to talk about how we made them and, yum, what they tasted like.

So, aprons donned, here’s how we made these recipes.

Naoki’s Food Review

We made marinated chicken wings and a potato salad that was something like I’ve never eaten before. While the potatoes were boiling for the salad, I started on the chicken wings. First I poured some grated parmesan on a plate, then took out the raw chicken JuNHeNlwQSelZSL9PVMP9Qthat Ann had marinated the night before with Zesty Italian Salad dressing. I had already prepared the cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheated the oven to 350. Then I
rolled the chicken wings in the parmesan and put them on the sheet. It’s good to leave a little space between wings so they brown nicely.

So while the wings were baking, I started prepping for the potato salad. I had to get green onions, green and black olives, chives from Ann’s garden and celery. But it turned out Ann’s celery was rotten so I had to go for Ann

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cutting chives on Ann’s porch

to the store to buy celery and Ann was surprised how cheap it was. I chopped it all up and put it in a bowl. Meanwhile, Ann had drained the potatoes since she didn’t me burning myself. When the potatoes were cool enough to peel, I chopped the potatoes into small chunks and put them in a bowl. Then I poured more of the Zesty Italian Dressing on the potatoes and put them in the fridge to marinate.

After the potatoes had cooled, the wings were ready and cooked to perfection with a crispy, smelly exterior. Yum! After that I had to finish the potato salad and add all the ingredients and stir it up with Ann bugging me to not smash the potatoes. Ann and I tasted just one wing a piece and it was amazingly delicious. The crunchiness of the skin and the juicy, moist, inside was heavenly.

After that Ann let me take the rest of the wings and potato salad home to share with my mom and dad so they could see what I was doing all day. My mom is lactose intolerant so she didn’t eat any but my Dad at a bunch of the wings and gobs of the potato salad  and loved them both.

I would rate the chicken wings 20/10 they were just that good. And the potato salad I’d give it a 9.5/10.

 

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Ann and me enjoying the scrumptious wings

Eating Our Way Down St. Clair: Episode 3

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This week we just couldn’t decide where we wanted to go. Since this neighbourhood offers food from around the world, we had almost too many choices — Thai or Mexican or Korean or Chinese dumplings. Finally, we narrowed it down to a tiny Japanese restaurant around the corner or a pub a few blocks away. Stef, who’s one of my cat sitting clients and the owner of The Magnificent Ace — was going with us so she suggested, since we were all starving, that

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The Magnificent Ace

we should have a coin toss to decide the Restaurant of the Evening. (I love a woman who takes charge.) If it was tails we were going to eat Japanese,  heads, to the pub. Heads won so off the three of us went to Dave’s.

This place is like the typical, friendly neighbourhood pub that you’d be happy to call your local. We got there early so there weren’t a lot of customers although the patio, which was most inviting on this not-so-hot evening, was full. We settled down at a side table and looked over the menu which was full of typical pub fare — Mac n’ cheese, wings, burgers, pizza, nachos, et cetera. The music was tad too loud so, in a usual way to handle too-loud music,  we just raised our voices to be heard over it.

For the sake of this blog, we each decided to have something different from the menu that way we’d have a variety of foods to talk about. Stef, a self-proclaimed afficianado of pizza, went with a sausage and rapini pizza, Naoki, dipping into his Japanese heritage, decided on the Japanese Karaace which came with pickles and a ginger dipping sauce. I, having enjoyed a taste of Naoki’s burger the last time we were there, went with Dave’s Burger. The service was pretty fast and before we knew it our food was at the table and we started in. Now, here’s Naoki to give his — and our — review of that dinner.

Naoki’s Food Review

The menu at Dave’s is full of comfort food that is sure to appeal to anyone. I chose the Japanese Chicken Karaace. The reason I picked it is because it’s one of my favourite meals that my Japanese mom makes at home. But my personal favourite place to get this uyzQvKt%StSeAhqTUlHPcgfried chicken is in a convenience store in Japan. You would be surprised about how good the food in the convenience store is and it’s cheap. The fried chicken at Dave’s wasn’t as good as my mom’s, but it was amazingly good. The crunchy outside with the sweet, smooth, juicy meat on the inside was “finger-lickin-good”! I really liked the ginger dipping sauce that came with it. I’d give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Stef had the sausage and rapini pizza which sounded delicious even though I didn’t know what rapini was until Ann told me. Stef knows a wig-snatching-amount (translation: a lot) about pizza. She and some friends have a Pizza Club and go out a couple of times a month just to eat pizza. So she was a tough judge. She thought the thin-crust was a bit too hard. She said she liked thin-crusted pizza when you could still bend the crust. She wasn’t sure about the cheese. She thought it was cheddar (it was scamorza s5Sf6d9bTm+W3MUhC0Re+gand fior de latte) but said it was good. No matter what she thought of it, she still ate most of it but did give me and Ann some. Ann thought, and Stef agreed, that the sausage should have been spicier. I didn’t think it was bad. Stef would give this pizza 7.5/10.

Ann had Dave’s Burger which was a basic cheeseburger except it also had deep fried onions on top which Ann loved. She decided to get a burger because she had tasted my Umami Burger which I had the last time we were there. It was crazily, amazily delicious. So Ann had high expectations for her burger. She was a bit disappointed because the burger was dry and overcooked. But the deep fried onions on top, in her words, were excellent. On a good note the burger came with a side qtiQu8I5Qu28JCegNHCT3Qof Yukon fries which were amazing. I was very happy because Ann shared them with me. She gave the burger a 6.5 out of 10.

All in alll, Dave’s is a good place to go for a hangout-meal and a casual night. It isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is — a good neighbourhood pub.

 

Eating our way down St. Clair: Episode 2

For this episode of our blog, Naoki and I wandered a short block off of St. Clair to the  Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market.

The Barns, as locals call them, were built in 19I3 to house the maintenance facilities for streetcars.  When the transit company

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Saturday market at Wychwood Barns

stopped using the facility, it was scheduled to be destroyed but with the efforts of neighbours and the city councilman this wonderful building was saved and turned into a community hub of which the market is an integral part. The market is open every Saturday all year around. In the summer it moves outside under festive white tents.

I go to the market to get wonderful fresh vegetables, cheeses, meats and fruit. Naoki goes to the marketto eat! And eat he does. So we decided to highlight some of his favourite foods and vendors.

Now, I’ll turn this over to him for all the yummy details.

Naoki’s Food Review

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Whenever I go to the Wychwood Market, I always eat and drink in a certain pattern through the market. I will always start with something to drink. In the winter, I will get a green smoothie with kale, banana, and strawberries. Butin the summer, like this past week, I decided on a strawberry lemonade. I like it because it has the perfect amount of sour in the lemonade and the strawberries add a perfect amount of sweetness. And the best part is Ann won’t bug me about plastic waste because they use paper straws.

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So, with my drink in hand, I moved on to FOOD. I was starving when I got to the market because I had forgotten to eat my breakfast that day. So I was pretty hungry and ready to eat. I headed for the stand that sells the breakfast sausage sandwich. It has mustard seeds, corn, relish, cheddar cheese and a breakfast sausage patty that was grilled to perfection all on a corn meal bun. It tasted heavenly. The crunch of the corn balanced out the moistness of the breakfast sausage. But it did not satisfy my hunger so I had to go searching for some more yummy food

I had to wait for Ann because she was signing a petition for making climate change a top priority in the upcoming election. There’s always a lot of stuff happening in the market. I just waited while she signed and got hungrier.

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We kept walking until we came to the Japanese stall (Natural Japan Eats) where I usually get my mochi. I love mochi but that day I wasn’t feeling like it. So I decided on the Sushi Megabites which I always call the “sushi burrito” because of it’s long long round shape like a burrito. I like it because it has a whole bunch of flavours from the sweetness of the tofu to the saltiness of the soy sauce. The sushi megabite has cucumber, carrot, fried tofu, and rice, of course, wrapped in nori which you probably
know is seaweed. I offered a bite to Ann who doesn’t like tofu but I told her the tofu was not raw and jiggly but it was fried. She said she liked it. While I was eating the rest of it,
Ann was taking to the two young women behind the counter telling them about our blog. They were very excited and let us take their picture.

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After that I was feeling like I wanted something more savoury. So I walked a few steps more to find my favourite Momos which me and Ann both like. These are Tibetan dumplings which I just love. I find it hard to explain it in words. They are just delicious and my mouth waters when I think of them. My usual order is two pork and two beef momos topped with cabbage salad that is simply purple cabbage and carrots. Once I get them, I drown them in soy sauce and cut them in half so they absorb the soy sauce and then eat them. One time, I made the mistake of putting too much hot sauce on them and had to run across The Barns to the water fountain a dozen times to cool my mouth down. Ann always buys frozen momos and alwaysthe same kinds — two vegetarian and two beef. the first time she bought them she didn’t didn’t know how to cook them so I had to teach her how to cook them.

I was ready to sit down and eat my momos but Ann had to have a conversation with all of the people making the momos. They all had a good laugh. Thankfully, they got

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Nam the friendliest memo seller I’ve ever met

busy selling more momos so we had to leave and I was able to finally drag Ann off to a shady place so I could eat. On the way we saw a lady doing some chalk painting on the sidewalk. Today, I went by and saw the finished painting and it was beautiful.

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Me finally getting to eat my momos.

Eating our way down St. Clair: Episode 1

Naoki and I decided a few months ago to start this blog on our various adventures in eating in our neighbourhood. It’s taken us a while to get started — eleven-year-old guys are really, really busy. But, it was time to begin so this is our first of, we hope, many entries in our Eating Our Way Down St. Clair blog.

For this first blog, we returned to The Rushton —  a sort of a laid back place a few blocks from where we live. It’s a very comfortable space albeit a bit noisy if you’re trying to have a real conversation. The food is pure comfort-food — fries, macaroni and cheese, sliders, onion soup, salads to name just a few. (Naoki will talk more about the food later on.) Naoki has eaten at the Rushton many times before while hanging out with his Dad watching the World Cup. A few months back, he introduced me and my friend Merrill to it and we were both impressed by the quality of the food and the ambience which is sort of laid back with just a touch of class. It’s moderately priced so a good a place to take a group which is what we did when the Fabros — my nephew and his family — were here on a recent visit to Toronto. A word to the wise, don’t make my mistake and reserve the west-facing window seat in the summer time. Thankfully, we were rescued from the sun in our faces and seated at the pleasant patio on the side of the building.

Now, Naoki is taking over to tell you about the food we ate that night

Naoki’s Food Review

The food was very delectable and easy for anyone to enjoy especially if you’re a picky eater. There seems to be something for anyone on the menu. This night, there were six of us for dinner. Ann’s family had never been there before so they looked for some of their own types of favourite foods.

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Lou, the father, ordered the Rigatoni Bolognese. When I asked him what he thought of it, he said, “It was great except the beef was a bit salty and the pasta a little bit underdone.” But, when I asked him how he would rate it, he thought about it and said, “You know, I think I’d give it a 9 out of 10.”

Susie, Lou’s wife, took a while to decide what she wanted to eat. So I recommended to her the lamb chops. But then because of the heat outside she decided to go with something more cool. So she picked the Rushton Salad which she said was “extravagant” especially because of the delicious roquefort cheese and gave it 10 out of 10!

Alex was the youngest out of the four of Ann’s family. At first he was wondering about the Mac and Cheese and asked the waiter if it was better than Kraft’s mac and cheese. The waiter said, “It’s a lot more elevated and delicious.” This made us all laugh. Alex decided on getting the soft shell tacos and also asked for additional cheese. When the tacos were served he said, “They’re a bit too small and not too much flavour and they’re too dry.” But then he ate all of them and still gave them a 7 out of 10.

Meghan, the oldest child out of the two, followed her mother’s lead and ordered a salad. She chose the Burrato salad with tomatoes, pickled onions, arugula topped with Mozzarella cheese and fresh mint. Meghan said that the mint was a bit too overpowering and she would have liked more of the balsamic vinegar dressing. She said she would
recommend it and gave it a 8.5 out of 10.

Ann stuck with her favourites: beef sliders with caramelized onion and sweet potato fries. She said that she preferred the turkey sliders she had had before. But she loves the fries — it’s her number one pick at The Rushton and would give them a 11 out of 10.

I had one of the specials: teriyaki steak with shitake mushrooms and cucumbers with a  small salad of cabbage and carrots. I thought the shiitake mushrooms were a bit undercooked and chewy but the steak was perfectly cooked to medium rare and the teriyaki sauce was mouthwatering. I would give it a 9.5 out of 10.

We would definitely recommend The Rushton for a very good eating experience in a friendly, welcoming, good service atmosphere. For the full menu and contact information, check out the link above.

We would love to have your comments about our blog and what further kinds of things you would like us to include.

We’ll see you next time as we Eat Our Way Down St. Clair

Ann and Naoki