Sunday, April 24, 2011

Toronto: Drake Corner Café + Bistro

:Queen West:

After dark or afternoon, Drake always comes through. Toronto Life calls it a “hidden gem” for brunch, perhaps because it isn’t the first place that comes to mind?

I love Drake’s brunch on many levels, starting with the fact they take reservations – a rarity for great Toronto brunch spots. Once there, service is always pleasant and whether you’re seated in the cafe or the bistro, it’s laidback.

I spent this beautiful Sunday morning with the chicest twosome I know – trust, there isn’t another couple in Toronto that is more in vogue than these two. The three of us had a nice catch-up over a shared plate of Toronto’s famed warm blueberry scones:

Flaky + sweet
Simply sunhsine on a plate
Us ladies had Benedicts – Drake’s traditional with pork loin, and their Caleb with smoked salmon:

The arugula (“rocket”) was a nice touch.
The lone man had the Lumberjack:

Three eggs, sausage (or bacon), home fries, toast and buttermilk pancakes.  That's a mouthful...
This Sunday morning, no rain was falling; just a lovely day for three friends, brunch, and a stroll down Queen Street.  Parfait, j’aime ma vie.

The Drake Hotel on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Toronto: Guu SakaBar

another westcoast invasion
Negi Toro - It was a'ight...
Torontonians might disagree, but that's because they don't know better.
Good things come to Ontario. I have been adamant about not going to Guu when it first opened its doors. It’s like settling for what’s available, rather than what you really want. But after the second one opened at Bloor and Bathurst, I couldn’t ignore the cries. The cocktails were calling my name, and my next trip to Vancouver is several months away.
My fellow foodie, his girl, and one of my bois got together this weekend and ate quite a feast. Guu was just as loud as I remembered and the cocktails were just as badass, so much so, the drinks alone could carry this place.  (The drinks also help you forget that you waited ONE hour for a table.)
In true izakaya fashion, the service is fun, loud, and loud. The cocktails are superb, seriously. Especially those with Ramune (a Japanese soda that is light, smooth and superfun to open – ya, superfun).
A question I get a lot, apart from where should I eat, is what should I order. I can never answer that because it’s hard to say. I can usually only suggest one dish because it’s the restaurant’s shining star, at least in my opinion. For Guu, that dish is the grilled saba:
 Who knew mackerel could be such a loved fish, it’s such a simple one.
Here’s a random sample of a few other dishes we tried:
Ebimayo – loved how big the prawns were, too bad they didn’t even hold a candle to Gyoza King.

Ika – deep fried squid – one bite and we looked at each other and said “sweet and sour pork” aka fail.
Okonomiyaki – it just was okay.
Udon Carbonara – Bacon, cream, egg...perfect. *smack lips*
A couples hours, a few cocktails, a bottle of sake, and many dishes later, we met a little bowl of dessert heaven: black sesame ice cream, sesame balls and sesame mochi – a sesame trifecta.

You know...a sake mojito would be great right about now...

Guu SakaBar on Urbanspoon