Tuesday, 29 January 2013


FRENCH ONION SOUP ( A Fooody tested recipe)

This recipe is based on the French method and is easy and very tasty. (serves 4)

2-3 tablespoons of butter
2  tablespoons of white flour
4-5 onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
41/2 cups of beef stock (beef Bovril works well - mix as directed on the bottle)
2 cloves of garlic - peeled and smashed [optional] - use to rub on the bread slices
8 slices of a crusty baguette loaf bread - cut to 2.5 cm thickness
200 g of Gruyere cheese grated or sliced into 1 cm thick strips  [mozzarella cheese can be substituted]

1.   Slice the onions into thin rings while the butter is melting in a deep frying pan on medium heat.
2.   Place the onions into the hot pan and stir into the butter and cook them in the hot butter - once the onions begin to cook lower the heat to a simmer and cover to let the onions cook in their own juices.
3. Cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes and prepare the beef stock in a medium pot.
4.  After the onions have simmered, remove from the heat and stir in the flour to mix with the onions.
5.  Place back on the heat and slowly add the beef broth while stirring the onions to mix well.  When all of the broth has been added, bring the mixture to a gentle boil while mixing, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
6.   Prepare the oven proof onion soup bowls by placing some of the cheese in the bottom of the bowl.  Slice the baguette into 2.5 cm slices.

7.   Carefully add the broth onion mixture from the pan to fill all 4 bowls evenly to a depth 2 - 3 cm below the top of the bowls and float 2 slices of bread on top.

8.   Place the cheese on top of the floating bread evenly and put the bowls under a broiler in the oven for 3 - 5 minutes.
9.   Voila!!  French onion soup!!
10.  This is the most important step - begin the whole process by opening a bottle of wine and sipping on it while you cook.
(Recipe adapted from The Complete Cookbook. Pub. by Colour Library Books. ed: David Gibbon.  Surrey England: 1985)

Saturday, 26 January 2013


156 Cumberland Street, Yorkville, Toronto, On M5R 1A8 (416) 967-7676 Open for lunch,  dinner, take out and catering. 

We went to Toni Bulloni for Winterlicious 2013.  I called a couple of hours before to make a reservation for 6:00 and basically got the same response as a couple of other places nearby.  They were full.  So I called again and asked if they had space for 5:00 to 5:30, since we were very close.  They said that they could accomodate us for 5:00 so we went.  One of the places that said they were booked solid was Ciao wine bar - we looked inside as we went by, they were half empty.  Another place we called Annona was also not full as we went by.  
I have a serious problem with reservations because I think they cause restaurants to lose a lot of potential customers.  Not all reservations are honoured and it frustrates me when I cannot be seated in a restaurant because of possible reservations!  When we left Toni Bulloni, at about 6:30 (who told us originally that they were fully reserved) it was half empty!!  See what I mean!!
That being said, they reluctantly seated us in an almost empty restaurant at 5:00 and we ordered a couple of bottles of Italian Montelpiciano wine.
My wife, my son Thomas and I were waiting for our other son Mark to meet us for supper.  

We all began with a complimentary bruschetta flatbread, that consisted mostly of chopped tomatoes and some garlic, herbs and oil.  It was very light and easy to eat without being filling.

complimentary bruschetta
My wife and sons ordered the spinach salad with warm caramelized onions, mushrooms, bacon, garlic and Dijon.  It was delicious.
delicious spinach salad with caramelized onions, mushrooms and egg
I ordered the mixto platter which consisted of; prosciutto, artichoke, marinated olives, tomatoes and bocconcini.  It too was delicious.
mixto platter nice and cool
My wife had the grilled salmon with potato and grilled vegetables.  She liked the salmon and grilled vegetables.
grilled salmon with grilled vegetables (simple)
I had the veal scallopini in a lemon white wine sauce with grilled vegetables, button mushrooms and capers.  It was well done and all the flavours went well together.
veal scallopini with grilled vegetables
My two sons had the lamb shank with garlic mashed potatoes (the potatoes were a little cool on arrival)  One really enjoyed his lamb but the other found a little gristle in his portion.
lamb with garlic mashed 
For desert Thomas chose the creme brulee.  It was delicious.
creme brulee
My wife and Mark (http://www.markallenrealty.ca/) chose the caramel crunch cake.  It was  good.
caramel crunch cake
I had the homemade tiramisu, which was light and satisfying.
homemade tiramisu
We completed our meal with a regular coffee.

For the four of us with two bottles of wine the bill was very reasonable, thanks to winterlicious.

It is always a wonderful evening when we are together!!

At Toni Bullonis we had a good meal at a reasonable price.  We will probably return again to try some other dishes here.  We found the food simple but good.  We did find however, that too many people were involved with serving us.  The restaurant was small and cramped, which kind of made our experience a little uncomfortable.  The waitress could have been a bit more directly involved and personal.

Toni Bulloni on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 19 January 2013


900 Maple Ave., Mapleview Mall, Burlington On., L7S 2J8 , (905) 631-1212, Open lunch, dinner, late night

A few of the lads and I decided to have a guys night at the Earls Kitchen and Bar at the Mapleview Mall in Burlington.  We met on Friday night at about 7:30 and the place was packed.  However, they provided us with glasses of champagne while we waited (what a great idea).  It wasn't too long for us to get seated.  We sat at a nice banquette near the bar and ordered a bottle of wine while we discussed the menu.  

We started getting hungry after a couple of glasses of wine so we ordered some appetizers.  We began with The Naples Margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella, parmesan, San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil on a thin crust .  It was light and delicious.

We followed this with calamari fritti.  They were very small and combined with small pieces of fresh red onion and an accompanying cucumber tzatziki sauce - it was an unusual presentation I hadn't seen before.  Although they were very small the onions made it difficult to pick out the calamari.

We followed this with another pizza The Italia - this one had meats on it including spicy capicolla, salami and chorizo, provolone cheese, parmesan, fresh basil and San Marzano tomato sauce on a thin crust.  It was delicious and light despite the meats it had on it.

By now we were getting thirsty so we ordered a couple more bottles of wine (it was reasonably priced and a light shiraz).

We found the calamari so appetizing we ordered another plate of it,  while we talked and talked.  The appetizers were a little pricey.  Next, we decided to order our mains.  Two of us had the roast chicken breast with yukon mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables without the Romesco sauce. ($20) 

One of us ordered the same but with the Romesco sauce.  

One of us ordered the Bronx burger with an angus beef patty, beer battered onion rings, roasted garlic aioli, red pepper relish, on a house made sesame bun with rocket greens and white cheddar. ($16)
The chicken was quite dry and boring but the yukon mashed potatoes were delicious. The burger was definitely man sized and melted in your mouth.  These were good mains well worth their price.  We finished our mains with a selection of beer and were very satisfied. 
The hostesses here were very personable and very customer oriented.  Our waitress was outstanding and genuinely wanted to make our meal enjoyable.  The atmosphere here was friendly and hip.  It is a good restaurant. I am sure, we will return here frequently.

Earls Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 17 January 2013

7555 Montrose Road, Niagara Falls On., L2H 2E9 Chinese Buffet

We received a gift certificate for the Mandarin, so my wife and I decided to try it on our way to the Fallsview Casino.
After a circuitous and frustrating drive to find the place we finally found the front entrance.  It was typical of most Mandarin Buffets with the typical decorations and selections.

We decided to order a bottle of Valpolicella to help us digest our meals.  Our meals mostly consisted of deep fried, garlic covered  buffet items that seemed to have sat too long.  We found the shrimp  balls and panko covered shrimp soggy and salty.  Most items we tried were very salty and rather ordinary buffet items.  There were no real standouts in this buffet - even the sushi items were bland and tasteless.  Our waiter was very good and attentive, but we are not big fans of buffet food.  One of the partners came around and greeted the patrons in the restaurant, which was a nice touch.

Mandarin on Urbanspoon



119 Osler Drive, Dundas Ontario, Dundas On., L9H 6X4 

Went to East Side Marios in Dundas University Plaza.  It is a gigantic place with a number of rooms with tables and a large bar area.  It also has an outside patio facing the parking lot.  This restaurant is not typical of most other East Side Marios because of its size and ability to seat many patrons.  It is not sophisticated but reasonably priced and family oriented comfort food.

We began with the typical Marios dinner - a salad and garlic bread.  It was good and appetizing.  We ordered a bottle of Valpolicella to go with our meal.
We began by ordering a bottle of Valpolicella wine, which seems to always be our first step.  Then the bread and salad arrived.

We ordered fried calamari for an appetizer.
I decided to order chicken piccata with capers and mushrooms and a side of spaghetti with herbs.  It was yummy and filling, especially after the salad and bread.

 My sister in law Kathy had the chicken Roma which was a breaded piece of chicken on top of pasta.  It was also quite good.

Our meals where quite filling and substantial, they hit the spot along with the wine we had.  It was reasonably priced meal in a nice environment.  Our waitress was distracted by some friends but somehow served us fairly well.

East Side Mario's on Urbanspoon