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

Hee-Haw, We Finally Went for Barbecue Ribs

Naoki and I have been talking for a very, very long time about going down the street 03ouBg0DTM6HYG5Kbkwzewto the Stockyards Restaurant to try their ribs. They only make ribs on the weekend and you have to get there early or you will be disappointed and hungry. So we made our way a couple of blocks down the street around 5 pm yesterday to get in line.

Stockyards is a small restaurant, very informal with all the seating on stools at long bars around the restaurant. We took the “prime” seat at the window so we could make all the people walking by jealous as we gnawed on our ribs.

We decided to get a half rack of ribs (3 ribs each), french fries — because we are trying to become the neighbourhood experts on the best fries on St. Clair — and coleslaw. We didn’t have to wait long at all before our supper was served up in a cast iron skillet with the fries forming a bed for the ribs. 91KoInsXQmityFbwXkJFnwThe coleslaw came in a metal cup as did our glasses of water. Needless to say, there were lots of napkins and wipes so we didn’t have to lick our fingers too much.

So, now, without delay, here’s Naoki to tell you what we thought of our food.


Naoki’s Food Review

As Mr. Colonel Sanders once said, “It’s finger-licking good” and that is how I would describe these ribs. As we settled down in the rustic environment, we went up to the counter to see what we wanted. We saw giant racks of ribs stacked upon each other and I wished I could eat all of them. Ann asked if that was a whole rack of ribs and the lady at the counter said yes. Then, we immediately followed up by asking, “Can we get a half rack of ribs?” She said we would be getting three ribs each. Ann wasn’t sure that was going to be enough she also ordered fries and coleslaw just in case. I thought the ribs were going to be all bone and no meat but, happily, I found out that it was more meat than bone.

The food came very quickly in a cast iron skillet. Along with the food came a small container of barbecue sauce so we could add it to our ribs. As soon as I bit into one, I found it a little dry so I added the barbecue sauce. I consider the perfect rib to be so VhQCLbP9SJCqMy46BBKfEAmessy with sauce you get it all over your face. But, sadly, I did not get that sensation at The Stockyards. They were still very good but just not the best — like my mom’s. I’m sure everyone has a different idea of what’s the perfect rib.

Ann liked the ribs but didn’t like the barbecue sauce because she thought it was a little too vinegary. But she loved loved loved the coleslaw and the fries. I, too, thought the fries were excellent and ended up eating every last one of them in the pan.

On the whole, we decided that we weren’t really big fans of the ribs but would definitely go back to The Stockyards to try their fried chicken, and burgers and, Ann, especially wants to try their pastrami sandwich.

I would give the ribs at the Stockyards, 7/10. Ann, was more generous, and would give it an 8/10.

Oh, we have to thank Ann’s brother, Fred, for sending us a gift that we spent  we eating out at The Stockyards.

Naoki who’s a “Pig” both in loving to eat and as his Lunar Zodiac sign is The Pig, took this selfie with his “Brother Pig” in the corner





When The Moon Hits Your Eyes Like a Plate of Lasagna It’s Naoki and Ann Cooking

Yep, that’s right, Naoki and I hit the kitchen stove again — not figuratively, of course. It was quite a challenge to cook lasagna in my teeny, tiny kitchen but we did it. Unbelievably, it was the first time in my whole life that I made lasagna. So, because of it being a first for both of us, I decided we should do it from scratch. I asked my sister, Mary, a Lasagna-Maker-Par-Excellence, for her recipe but she, like many good cooks, only had it in her head and, besides, she doesn’t like to use the internet, so couldn’t send it. That left us Googling for recipes. I figured we couldn’t go wrong with something called, “World’s Best Lasagna.”

I made a trip to Kensington Market for yummy Italian sausage, and the best ground beef, Ricotta and Mozzarella and Parmesian cheese, oh my, don’t think of calories, and then the grocery store for four different kinds of tomatoes in tins, and, of course, the pasta. We had planned to start cooking at 3 pm for our 6 pm dinner but then I read the recipe aEkOi+xAST+K1FBTM4lsIQcloser and realized, oops, we had to start the sauce much earlier. So I made a panicky call to alert Naoki that he had to come over NOW and start chopping.

So, without further delay, here’s how our lasagna turned out.

Naoki’s Food Review

I loved this lasagna. It was the best lasagna I ever had mostly because it had a lot of cheese. We started off with chopping a whole bunch of stuff like parsley, onions, and garlic. I peeled the skin off the Italian sausage because who doesn’t like Italian sausage? Then I put a little olive oil in the pan then I slapped some sausage and ground beef in the pan  and I let it brown, stirring it and mashing it. Then I added onions and garlic. When it was browned we added tomato sauce, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and a little water. We added basil, Italian seasoning, a little fennel seed, and salt and pepper. I mixed everything together then put a timer on for four minutes. Then Ann and I went in and watched episodes of The Good Place that she hadn’t seen. When the timer went off, I stopped watching and stirred over and and over again until it was done then I added the parsley.

After that, Ann started cooking the pasta which we didn’t know how to do. So Ann called her sister, Mary, for advice. When it was cooked, she, per her sister’s instructions, laid it out piece-by-piece on towels. Ann started layering the noodles, then I put a layer of tomato sauce, then layers of all the cheeses. Then we did all again three times and put it in the oven. While it was cooking, I made a salad with “shreduce” which is shredded lettuce because that is a huge tongue-twister and I can never say it. Then I cut strips of red pepper that looked like red French fries, thinly sliced pieces of cucumber and half slice of baby tomatoes. So now we just had to wait until the lasagna cooked. What better thing to do, than watch more of The Good Place.

Steph, making her return to this blog after a meal at Dave’s a few months ago, came to dinner. Ann set the table and something to put the hot lasagna on. Ann

Naoki ready to devour the whole lasagna by himself

dishonoured her mother by putting a plastic bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing on the table (she should have put a little in a bowl). But we didn’t care because we were hungry and everything looked really good.

I think we all agreed that the sauce was the best thing of the whole lasagna. It must have been all that good meat and my stirring every four minutes that did it. It was kind of sweet and really balanced. All in all, it was an excellent lasagna with all that melting cheese that just thinking about that right now makes me hungry.

Ann and Steph thought it could have used more sauce between the layers. But it meant that there was lots of sauce left to put on top. Steph gave it a 10/10 and loved the taste of the sauce and the salad together. Ann thought it was worth waiting for even if it took three hours of cooking. She gave it a 9/10. I loved all the cheese especially the strong flavour of the Parmesian and the stringiness of the mozzarella. Also, the pasta was crunchy on the outside and soft in middle. Yum. I would give it a 100/10. The best part, was we all got leftovers to eat again and again.

Unfortunately, lasagna making also produces lots of dirty dishes



Super Sized Dinners at a Hardware???

Naoki and I ventured to a new corner of our neighbourhood on Sunday with two friends.  We had heard about a restaurant called the Oakwood Hardware which was housed in  — what else — what used to be a hardware store (thus the name). Evidently, according to Leslie, it had also been a bakery and who knows what else over the years. But the owners of this big, homey, family-run restaurant, went back to its roots as a hardware store.  There was a red brick wall running the length which was hung with old tools in EKCYchtEQye%mxBW00WS2Qmemory of its hardware store days. The fellow serving us — very friendly and knowledgeable — told us the owners looked all around for these little bits so they could bring back the old history of the building to the new restaurant. This included putting miniature bathtubs as trough-like sinks in the washrooms.

The restaurant had to have two grand openings since after the first, there had been a kitchen fire so the restaurant was closed right after opening for renovations. It had just reopened this past summer — which was a lucky thing for us.

So, without further delay, here is…

Naoki’s Food Review

The menu at Oakwood Hardware had oodles of really good sounding dishes, like Tacos with Seoul named for its kimchi addition, calamari and many more. We started off h2fFYX%gSUqM%PRkWUKgAAordering a meze with naan with za’atar and cheese served with gherkins, olives, fried cauliflower, labneh, baba ghanoush and tahini.  Leslie said she would come back just for the meze because it was so good. Ann agreed with her 100%. I liked it because it was very appealing to my taste buds. I liked all the tastes especially the yogurt and the mushrooms because I’m a freak for both of them.





TsAPiwn4TSuxLbOMWTfI+wFor the main course, Leslie and Ann both got the Cavaletti Spaghetti which had  shredded Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, smoked bacon, chilies, fresh lemon, and olive oil. It tasted boozy to me but there wasn’t any alcohol in it (as far as I know). Leslie said she liked it a lot especially because they didn’t put a lot of salt so she could add the little bit of salt she wanted. She also said that the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. She, and, Ann both, said yes to a little shaving of Parmesan cheese on top. Ann thought the spaghetti was great except the portion was a bit big (but she ate it anyway). She said she’d probably just have the meza next time. Leslie said she liked the dish and would give it an 8/10.  Ann, also, thought it deserved a 8/10.

Judy ordered the Ontario Lake Fish which we all laughed about because she said she R4QhaUcHTdWyV2TPDBMOcgwouldn’t be wanting to eat fish from Lake Ontario. But it turned out it was trout that was from lakes in Ontario. She said she liked the trout and the rice that it was on was excellent. Judy also liked the fact that it was a family-run business (the chef was the owner and her son worked with her in the kitchen.). Judy gave it a 8/10.

I got the KFC — not the kind in a bucket — this was Korean Fried Chicken. It usually comes with kimchi rice but I didn’t feel like burning my tongue off so I got fries instead which have practically become a normal thing of this blog. Everyone at the table had to try my fries. The chicken was battered and deep fried which is how every fried chicken should be. It came with a nice medium spicy sauce on n6KAtm+OT7CAcOH7ybIcXAtop that went amazingly with the crunchy outside of the chicken. I would give it a 8-1/2/10.

At the end of the meal, we all shared a delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding with ice cream and, Ann’s favourite, caramel sauce on top. The cake itself was so soft and moist inside. The ice cream and caramel sauce was amazing on top and complemented it perfectly. I think it was the best of all the Toffee Puddings I’ve had in my life which would be about 10. I would give it a 11/10. Oh, Ann forgot to take a picture and by the time she remembered it was almost all gone.

Overall, Oakwood Hardware is a great restaurant and we really enjoyed it a lot and would all go back again.



We’ll be Back in January

Hi everyone! Naoki and Ann here. We decided to take a little vacation from our blog and enjoy the holidays. We have both been eating a lot — well, ok too much — and definitely too much junk food. But, come January, we’ll be ready to go out and try some new eats in the neighbourhood and in our kitchen. So, don’t go anywhere we’ll be back with more of Naoki’s Food Reviews and Ann’s background stuff.

Have a very good New Year and may this new decade be the best ever for each and all of us.


Ann and Naoki enjoying the sunshine at the Saturday morning market.

Having Lunch At Ann’s

Every since this summer, Naoki and I have been promising ourselves some BLTs. But for some reason, we never got around to making them. And you know what that means? We missed out on all of those delicious summer tomatoes from the market and the fresh lettuce. Too bad.

But we decided we could have December BLTs. When my brother, Tom, came to visit this fall, I had bought a pound of bacon thinking that he’s American, he’ll want bacon and eggs for breakfast. Wrong! He ate, hesitantly, my oatmeal although he wasn’t sure about the blueberries and the level spoon of cinnamon I added each morning. So, after he left, I had that pound of bacon in the freezer still. So, Naoki and I decided it was time for our BLTs.

Out of our busy schedules, we found a little window of time today to fry up that bacon, slice those tomatoes, tear up some lettuce and smear mayonnaise (and ketchup for Naoki. Who ever heard of putting ketchup on BLTs???) on delicious egg-sesame rolls.

Now, here, as always,

Naoki’s Food Review

As soon as I smelt that sizzling bacon, I knew I was in for a treat. I was the assembler of the sandwich while Ann was frying the bacon so I wouldn’t get splattered in hot oil. I dOipCC2mRaOfDy0eEfde2Qstarted off slicing the egg rolls in half then putting a big layer of mayonnaise on Ann’s

and a tiny layer on mine with a big dollop of ketchup. Next layer was the lettuce then the thickly sliced tomatoes which were very hard to place because I was afraid of all of them slipping out — which happened! Finally, the star of the show, The Bacon. It was crispy to perfection, of course, that what you would expect from Ann.

It was outstanding! All the flavours went together perfectly. Ann said, “I wonder who discovered this combo of tastes?” I didn’t care who discovered it — I just wanted to eat it. I liked my ketchup-IbxANhHPTTqkZdTnE%kRZwmayo combo which I know Ann wouldn’t have liked. This was a really great sandwich and it was worth waiting five months for it.

Ann liked the juiciness of the tomatoes, the crunchiness of the lettuce, the maple flavour of the bacon and the taste of the mayonnaise which brought it all together. And she gave it an 11/10.

I thought this BLT was worth waiting the five months for. It was the best out of the five BLTs that I’ve had in my whole life. I would give this BLT a 20/10 if that’s even possible.






Still on St. Clair Eating Chinese

This week, Naoki and I invited my neighbours, Ian and Moo (Moo is the artist of this annandfriendfull-2lovely cartoon of us) to eat at a local Chinese dumpling restaurant a couple a blocks from home. Naoki has been trying for many weeks to convince me to go to this restaurant. But I resisted, partly, and he didn’t know this, because I’m very allergic to MSG. But I forgot that as we walked down there and started to order.

The Chinese Dumpling Restaurant is sort of a typical family-run small place. It reminded me a lot of the Chinese restaurant in The Christmas Story movie about Ralphie. This place has about 8 family-sized tables covered in oil cloth just like my mom used to put on the kitchen table. There was the usual calendar on the wall, the very small selection of alcohol, a grumpy and a nice waitress and a few Christmas decorations on the wall.

We four settled in and started to look at the very very large selection of possibilities in the menu that we could eat. We had decided that we would share everything but Naoki didn’t 4pIx%hAoTe+xbmSk0YLt+gget that message at first and thought he was getting the sweet and sour chicken all to himself! Surprise, Naoki, we were all going to enjoy your selection.

Since their speciality was dumplings, Ian chose to order Pork and Cabbage steamed dumplings — Ann would have preferred the fried ones but she was overruled. Besides the dumplings and chicken, Moo decided we needed some vegetables. On the table behind us, were piles of green beans uncooked. We decided to go with the dried fried green beans, but asked them to hold the hot spices. We topped it off with hot and sour soup, and green onion pancakes.

Now, here’s Naoki’s review of what we thought of all these yummy selections.

Naoki’s Food Review

Before they brought our dishes, we were given a little bowl of shrimp chips. There Vo8a5ufzSFqgU4351R+vpAwas a pink one, a green one and a white one. Right before writing this Ann and I had a dispute about what colour they were. She said they were all white. So I said, “You want to make a bet?” Ann said sure but not for $1 which I wanted.  I won! Moo thought they felt like “air” and liked them. Ann didn’t like them too much because they tasted like plastic. I thought they looked like flattened packing peanuts.

Before we ordered, Ian said that in this restaurant all the dishes were big. And he was right. We started with Hot and Sour Soup. It was very hot and spicy so I barely ate a spoonful. It had tofu in it which Ann doesn’t like but she tried it. Here’s a photo 3dqYWUUzQq+zzI5VC%3QXQof Ann trying the tiny bite of tofu in her soup. Moo said she liked it and it had a nice balance of spice and tanginess. Ian finished the whole bowl that was left. I dipped the green onion pancakes in the soup and that was great because it cooled down the spiciness. I think everyone really liked the green onion pancakes.

Now we got to the main courses. On the table were sweet and sour chicken, pork and cabbage steamed dumplings, and dried fried green beans. Ian told us, before we started eating the dumplings, that the soy sauce here was very salty so ULHgU3nKRNKZISVUlhpTqAto balance it out he would put a little vinegar in his soy sauce so we all tried that. I thought the dumplings tasted like plain dough because I have very high standards when it comes to dumplings after eating the mo-mos at Wychwood Barns Market. Ian liked them very much because he eats them a lot. Moo didn’t comment and Ann didn’t like them so much.

Everyone liked the sweet and sour chicken and the green beans. Moo especially liked Fc%QBZ3fR8W3ZSjBBQhzdwthem together. I ate a lot of the green beans. We all thought the beans were excellent. They had a great crunch to them like biting into a pickle. I thought the chicken was a bit dry but I loved the sauce on top of it and the chicken and sauce went great together. Ann didn’t mention it on the way but she is allergic to MSG but seemed to be ok and she ate a lot of the chicken. Moo liked the chicken and so did Ian.

Ian comes here a lot and gave the lunch an 8/10. Moo said it was unique and comforting and it was great food and gave it a 7.5/10. Ann thought it was sort of basic kind of food for this level of Chinese restaurant and gave it a 7/10.  I thought it was ok, it was decent and edible food and I would give it a 6.5/10.

Overall Chinese Dumpling is good to get if you want affordable, fast food on the go.


Moo and Ian joining Naoki and Ann for Chinese





Eating Comfort Food at elchi chai shop and Naoki Discovering Where to Find Tanzania

Naoki and I decided to go visit my good friends, Sukaina and Sayyeda. These sisters are the owners of the elchi chai %amYXR6HSlKJGQj3XJBDwQcafe on Harbord Street in my old neighbourhood. They have been running the cafe for over two years and told me they were trying out new recipes and we wanted them to try them out on us!

The cafe is a small light-filled, airy and very comfortable place. When we got there, the place was busy and all but one of the tables was in use. There was a large one that had a  “reserved” sign on it. This surprised me since they don’t usually reserve tables. They said they decided recently to do that for large groups. I think it’s a great idea both for the customers and the sisters.

As with all their customers, we received a very warm welcome from these young women. It was like we were guests in their home. I have been to the cafe many times since I used to live down the street. This was Naoki’s second time but his first time to eat there so he was excited. And he was very hungry and ready to eat. We thought it was a good idea to get our order in before the big reserved table arrived.

So, without any more delay, here’s what we ate!

Naoki’s Food Review

We went back to the counter and looked at the menu which was  like big “Menu Banners” on the wall. I thought it was a cool way to show what they had to eat. I didn’t know what everything was so I asked Sukaina what she would recommend. (Sayyeda was in the kitchen cooking so I didn’t get to ask her.) I told her I wanted something meaty and soupy. She recommended the Creamy Butter+vfsmFipShGGXyQ8xPmZrg Chicken. But I also I wanted to snack on something. I looked down the “snack” section of the menu and I saw they had meat samosas. Once before I had samosas with Ann and she said at that time, that she knew a better place. And I’m pretty sure that this was the place. Now that I’m writing the blog, I asked her and she said, “It was the place!” NIEDJ4uuQcOoWIAr9XB4%A

Ann, who’s eaten there many many times since they opened, got the stuffed grilled cheese sandwich. All of the food at elchi is served on parotha which is a pita-like flat bread that they grill on the stove. It’s really really good.

Our table was right next to the front door so every time someone walked it we got hit with a draft of cold air. But that was ok with us. The good thing about our table was that we were sitting right next to some beautiful art work on the wall that Sukiana had painted. You can see how beautiful it is in the picture.

While we waited, we ordered drinks. Ann who wasn’t feeling 100% didn’t get her usual Elixir but instead got some hot water. I ordered a hibiscus cold tea. Sukiana bought it with the samosas. Once I took a sip of the drink it reminded me a lot of apple pie on Christmas night dinner. It wasfY66bARgRM6R2y%gyjfO2Q so amazing that I had to order another one after I finished my first one. The samosas were very hot and steaming in my face. But they were delicious when I dipped them into the sweet-ish Worcestershire-like sauce that came with it. Ann thought that it would be nice if the samosas came with a bigger serving of the sauce. Later I asked Sukaina what kind of sauce it was and she said, it was tamarind and her favourite of all sauces.

Once both of our dishes came we immediately took a picture before we ate it all, something which we have done in the past. I was surprised about how the Butter Chicken was plated. I thought it was going to be more like an alfredo chicken but it PJfvFsjkQ56q7XWNqB538gwas more like a curry. I took a little piece of the bread and scooped some chicken and sauce with it. It was super. The chicken was so tender it melted in my mouth. Ann told me that since they were Muslim, they used only halal chicken. I’m so glad they did because it took me back to when I was in Japan and tried Wagyu beef for the first time. It really just melts in your mouth. I wish the dish was a bit more salty but it was still good to the last bite. 

I would give it a 9-1/2 out of 10 — just a pinch more salt and it would have been perfect.

Ann got the loaded grilled cheese sandwich. It had cheddar and mozzarella cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onions, ginger and jalapeños. Ann didn’t want it too spicy so askeddO6bpNiaSLOCFXl%Co7ZUg for it to be light on the jalapeños. She has had it before and still likes it a lot. She had to wait to eat it because it was too hot to put in her mouth. I had a bite and thought it was very very good. She gave it a 9/10. 

Overall, elchi chai shop is a great, comfy place to hang out with your friends, or alone, and eat some great food and drink delicious chai and cold (or hot) hibiscus which is a must if you’re like me.

We’d both go back a lot of times and eat more and more of the stuff on the Menu Banners!




Naoki had to take this picture so he remembered not only how good his hibiscus tea was to drink but how good it is for him!

Eating Our Way Down St. Clair a Little Bit Further from Home

This week, Naoki and I ventured down St. Clair to Yonge Street to have dinner with umO35LmuTCW6gaYmgayzRAmy friend, Bill. He picked the place because it was close to the subway for him and easy enough for me to get there on the streetcar. We city folks living in different neighbourhoods have to be transportation wise when making a date for supper.  Bill chose Midtown a gastro pub with a definite sports decor — including multiple screens for watching hockey which was the sport of the night. (I couldn’t figure out why just one of the screens wasn’t playing the World Series, for heavens sake. But, as Bill said, this is Canada, eh?) We found a cozy table with a view of the street. When the waiter brought the menus, he automatically gave Naoki a kids’ menu which meant he could eat for free which I thought was fabulous — I’m not sure Naoki shared my view at least at the beginning.  I did give the server a little bit of a hard time when he was giving me the list of beers. As he went through them I kept shaking my head and saying, “Bad, bad they’re all bad.” He finally went off to get me the list so he didn’t have to stand there while I decided. As we were eating, the Wednesday night trivia game started. Only Bill knew any of the answers but we cheered him on even though he wasn’t an official player. But enough of this, here’s

Naoki’s Food Review

All three of us decided on different types of entrees. Bill decided right away that he wanted the steak sandwich that had tomatoes, lettuce and fried onions with a huge 5AbdMKUJQcC3428NN+ba4Aside of fries. He also ordered a cider. Bill said he asked for medium rare and he got medium rare. He was impressed with that because usually in pubs they cook it well done. He was also surprised that they didn’t shred the steak but served it as a whole piece. He liked the garlic toasted bun, too. Bill said there were almost too many fries but it meant that there were enough to share which I was happy about. He was surprised by how good it was and gave the meal a 9/10.

Ann, once she found a beer she liked, was in a better mood. She decided on getting the special of the night — three crispy chicken tacos. They looked mouth-watering when the waiter brought them over. I wanted to eat all three of them right that second but Ann was holding on to them. They came in a tray that was zig-zaggy-ish (see picture). Ann was delighted when she took the first bite. She was also happy HUESJJkVScGA4fueYJYPCQ
with the way it was layered — on top was coleslaw, then the crispy chicken, followed by Thai chili sauce which was sweet and at the bottom there was a siracha mayo which gave a kick of spice that was just the perfect amount to make your eyes water. Lucky for me, Ann gave me one full taco which I was crazy about. Ann was really surprised just how good it was and kept saying that repeatedly and repeatedly that I got tired of hearing it. Ann gave it a 9/10 and said she’d come back just for that.

I got the tomato sauce pasta from the kids menu because it was free. My other choices were an Al fredo pasta, chicken nuggets and fish and chips. While I was waiting for my food I was doing all the teeny-tiny word searches on the kids’ menu that I quickly finished before my food came. Once my food came I was surprised about how huge the portion was because this was kids’ meal. At the beginning when I started eating it, I thought it could have used a bit more cheese but I later found out jsrcYoCgQ9W71QHs+n39+Qthat there was cheese on the bottom. I am obsessed with cheese. I could eat cheese for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. I thought the pasta was well cooked and that the tomato sauce had a great balance of sweet and savoury but I did add a bit of black pepper to it to give it more flavour. I read on the kids’ menu that it was supposed to come with a side of fries or salad but the waiter never asked me and I was too shy to ask. But Bill offered me some fries and I was happy about that and so was he. I would definitely like to introduce my parents to Midtown and they would like it because I can eat free!!! I would rate it an 8.5/10.

Overall, Midtown is good pub if you’re in the Yonge/St. Clair area and want an affordable, delicious meal.



Eating Our Way A Block From St. Clair

This week we stayed close to home because it was Thanksgiving and we wanted to celebrate with Naoki’s family. My brother Tom was supposed to join us but he got his dates mixed up so we missed him being there. It was great celebration! There was Naoki, his mom and dad and his uncle, Gonzalo and me. It was a Japanese-Columbia-American- Canadian Thanksgiving. As with all Thanksgivings everywhere, food was the main star. Naoki’s parents did most of the cooking except for Naoki’s special mashed potatoes and I made the cranberry sauce. It was feast worthy of any Thanksgiving. Now here’s Naoki’s food review.

Naoki’s Food Review

The day before Thanksgiving, me and my family were busy starting to cook the feast. I was in charge of making the mashed potatoes. I was bothering Ann the whole week before Thanksgiving and was hesitating what I should put in the mashed potatoes. Ann said not to worry and for me to shut up because she didn’t want the surprise ruined. I decided on doing classic mashed potatoes with a twist. I put oregano and basil on the top and over that I put melted gouda and cheddar cheese. My mom chose to cook wild rice

My mom’s delicious wild rice dish

with cranberries and carrots. My dad did most of the other cooking. He made ham with pineapples, roasted turkey, mashed pumpkin and squash, Brussels sprouts and green beans with garlic and mushrooms. Ann made cranberry sauce with ginger and orange zest. She also brought over pumpkin and cherry pies.

On the Thanksgiving Day everyone got there around 5 pm. I went over to Ann’s to help her bring all the stuff to my house. After we were all there, including my uncle, we all sat down at the table and started eating appetizers which were salteens with cheese and melons. We drank San Pelligrino with pomegranate/cranberry juice.

Then everyone went to the kitchen where the food was set out like a buffet. There was a lot of food on the table. Ann thought my special mashed

Yummy ham with pineapple

potatoes needed a little more salt but she liked them a lot and really liked the ham and green beans and the wild rice. My uncle really likes to put Aji (a Columbia salsa) on his rice. My Japanese mom makes the best with white vinegar, tomato, cilantro and lime juice. Ann tried some on her rice, too, and she really liked it.

I really liked the ham with pineapples but I’m not a really big fan of pineapples so I just ate the ham. I also really liked the turkey but I thought it was a bit dry but I loved it with the cranberry sauce that Ann made. I didn’t eat the squash or the pumpkin because I was going to eat pumpkin pie later. I don’t like Brussels sprouts like many other kids so I avoid them at all cost. But I’m a big fan of green beans and mushrooms so I ate most of those. After we all finished the main course, my mom made little doggie bags for Ann and my uncle.

Then it was time for my favourite part of all Thanksgivings — the desserts. Ann didn’t make the cherry and pumpkin pies but cheated by buying them at a bakery in the

neighbourhood. I just ate the pumpkin pie and was delighted with the pie it was delicious. My mom had a tiny piece of each pie and Ann only had the cherry because she can’t stand pumpkin pie. My dad didn’t eat pie that day and my uncle only had a little piece because he’s diabetic.

Overall, it was a great Thanksgiving especially having Ann and my uncle there. I would rate it a 9.5/10 it was that good.

Me Having a Very Good Thanksgiving Dinner!


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.