Friday, December 18, 2009

Rustic Cosmo Cafe: Cozy and Delightful

Rustic Cosmo Cafe is my current favourite restaurant in Parkdale. Located at 1278 Queen Street West, the cafe serves up good breakfasts and good coffees: a winning combination.

On weekends, the cafe serves the best eggs benedict, with a side salad, and spicy homefries. Add a fancy cafe latte, and a warm 'n cozy atmosphere, and you've got yourself a great Saturday morning. The trick is to arrive early, or wait your turn in a short line-up. Do not even consider going to the Cadillac Lounge for breakfast down the street instead -- the homefries just won't cut it. (The last time I went to the Cadillac Lounge for breakfast, my homefries were not even completely cooked.)

Wooden benches, an open kitchen/cash area, good food, good coffee, and the comfortable atmosphere make Rustic Cosmo a delightfully relaxed neighbourhood locale.

Le Tibet: Fine Tibetan Cuisine?

Keeping in line with the Tibetan theme, Tasty Tastebuds and I checked out Le Tibet, located at 1526 Queen Street West. Okay, our original intention was to visit Danijela's, but the latter had actually shut down, and lo and behold, Le Tibet was in its place. So we decided to check it out.

(It's so hard to keep track of restaurant closures on the most western stretch of Queen Street these days -- there seems to be a revolving restaurant door as the neighbourhood moves somewhere in between, back and forth, from gentrification to ghettoization).

Le Tibet had amazing mulligatawny (yellow lentil) soup. Definite highlight. Otherwise, the meat dish that Tasty Tastebuds ordered was very rice-heavy, and my vegetable noodles were equally so-so. One should probably expect more from a restaurant that bills itself as "fine Tibetan cuisine." Locals seemed more inclined to treat it as a family restaurant, as the other diners among us all shared giant pasta dishes and dumplings as small groups.

The view of a massive, brightly lit big box store across the street is also not so "fine." But I saw today that owner Tenzin T. Valunbisitsang has set up a beautiful quilted window hanging to cozy up the atmosphere a tad. So he's on it.

In the end, we were not overly impressed by Le Tibet, with its only "finesse" in the fine service and fine price tag. But if you're a die-hard Tibetan foodie, and must check this place out for yourself, do try the soup and dumplings, but steer clear of the mains. Oh, and the hot sauce on the side is kinda nice too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Taste of Tibet, Queen West Art Crawl, and Parkdale Gentrification

One of the many Tibetan restaurants in my Parkdale neighbourhood has closed. Taste of Tibet, located between Jameson Street and the mini strip mall that houses a sweet computer repair shop, a laundromat, the Sally Ann thrift store, and the awesomely seedy Parkdale Breakfast on Queen Street West, has brown paper covering the inside of its front windows. No, it's not an installation exhibit on the Queen West Art Crawl. The restaurant is officially closed.

That Taste of Tibet never made it in the Queen West Art Crawl, I believe, raises an important point, and says more about Parkdale gentrification than encroaching condo-developers from Liberty Village would wish to hear. Who selects which businesses are featured in these neighbourhood festivals (not limited to the Art Crawl) and walking tour maps and guides? How are selections made? How are certain co-promotional partnerships pursued with some businesses and why not others? Whose Parkdale is it?

Parkdale, without any doubt in my mind, is undergoing a major re-branding. And yes, I am a part of this process of gentrification, making it a safer neighbourhood for young, up-and-coming twenty-somethings to move in, take up space, spend my money on expensive brunch, and take advantage of the cheap rent and proximity to downtown. But there are certainly other power-holders at play.

Opening up the guide that I picked up at a vintage clothing store on Queen Street West in Parkdale, I discover that none of my favourite eating establishments are promoted. Roti Lady? Not there. Taste of Tibet? Non-existent. What about the Vietnamese pho place Tasty Tastebuds and I love so much? Not there either. Many of these eateries have been in the neighbourhood far longer than Poor John's Cafe (not actually for poor people) or Mitzi's Sister (formerly the Tennyson Pub) which are both listed. Where's Happy Time, whose special is always -- gotta love 'em -- fish and chips? Where's Bukuchoy, the Filipino take-out joint on King Street with the best frickin' Saturday special on peanut butter stir fry ever? Whose Parkdale is it? Why are these restaurants excluded from Parkdale's brand image?

Maybe I should make an alternative map to the BlogTO version. In part, this is what this blog should be about: restaurants "undiscovered" (or simply not promoted) by the Parkdale Liberty Economic Development Corporation. Apparently, I have serious work to do. Suddenly, I am realizing that reviewing restaurants is becoming increasingly political.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yummy Chinese Food in Parkdale

Portions were huge. Food was good. Really, you should check this place out. I am not sure why Tasty Tastebuds and I waited so long.

Yummy Food, located at 1533 Queen Street West, offers free delivery after 4:00 pm, and besides the waste packaging created by take-out food, I would recommend this place as a take-out joint more than a dine-in restaurant.

We dined in, and ordered the house special pad thai and eggplant in yu-xiang spicy sauce. The pad thai featured various meats and vegetables, including shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, etc. The eggplant dish in a sweet and spicy sauce would have been good served on a bed of rice. We were not offered water to drink, even though the food was very hot/spicy. For this reason, I can see why this would be a good take-out or delivery place. Your own tap may be readily on hand. In the end, we were so full on our $20.00 (including tax) meals that we had to package a portion to go in a styrofoam container anyway...

Next time I'm looking to treat myself to huge portions of chinese food from down the street, without leaving the comfort of my own home, I'll order Yummy Food. Their menu boasts different dinner for two to five combos as well -- what I'll definitely be trying next. Call to order: 416-588-1333 or 416-588-5664.

It's Harvest Season! What's Cookin' in my Kitchen this August

Last week I made a) spicy pickled peaches using a recipe from a decades-old Women's Day Encyclopedia that I picked up at a thrift store on stuff-a-bag day, and b) peach and pear conserve with lemon which is so sweet and delicious spread on homemade bread. I got the recipe for the latter from the Canadian Living's Country Cookbook, which you can purchase used at BMV Books (471 Bloor Street West). I noticed they had several copies there the other day, when I was hunting for more pickling and preserves recipes.

Yesterday afternoon, I made a fresh basil pesto. I do not happen to own a food processor, so I invited a friend and her visiting guest from Norway-via-Halifax over for a pesto party. My friend and neighbour brought over her food processor (apparently bought at a yard sale for $4.00, which she has been dragging around with her for several years as she moves around the country) and a baguette bought on Roncesvalles. We used fresh basil that I had harvested that same morning from my small community garden plot near Richmond and Augusta. We froze much of the pesto in an ice cube tray for later use, omitting the cheese, because cheese doesn't freeze too well. Later, when serving, I can add fresh parmesan and/or romano cheeses.

During the pesto party, I also prepared a lamb and pumpkin stew. Admittedly, I still had some pumpkin stashed away in my freezer from last season, so it really needed to be cooked. The stew should taste great today. It was infused with fresh mint leaves from my windowsill herb garden.

This week, I plan to pickle cauliflower, trying out another recipe from the Woman's Day Encyclopedia (sadly, I only have the 'P' section, from 'peach' to 'plantain').

I will also be receiving a small food box from FoodShare on Wednesday (only $12.00), so I will have to see what's at my kitchen's disposal by mid-week.

Happy harvest, foodies!

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Farmers' Markets: Sorauren Park and Liberty Village

Every Monday afternoon, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, you can check out the Sorauren Park Farmers' Market in Parkdale. Vendors offer artisinal baked goods, cocoa desserts, empanadas, organic meats, cheeses, and garden-fresh, seasonal veggies. The atmosphere at the Sorauren Park Farmers' Market is festive, with live musical performances, dancing children, and friendly adults lounging on the picnic tables in the shade. Mondays in the park near suppertime is a nice and relaxing gathering of neighbours, where you can sit on the grass and drink a cool apple cider, watching the children play. A little pricier than other farmers' markets, Sorauren Park is more of a community-building block party -- on every week until Thanksgiving.

On Sundays, in Liberty Village, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, the parking lot on the corner of Atlantic Ave. and Liberty St. is a bustling spot for serious market shoppers. This is where I go to buy produce for canning, because I know they'll have everything I need. My favourite stand is the one that offers your choice of five vegetables for $10.00. There, grocery shopping finished. Then head over to the trailer, where you can buy a breakfast bun for a morning snack. I also recommend grabbing a bushel of tomatoes for all of that salsa you've been meaning to make (which can also be preserved for winter) or a basket of peaches for jams, jellies, or cobblers (which you can keep in the freezer, ready for a potluck). I am thinking corn and cauliflower will be my next bulk purchases, for relish and pickles, respectively, yum, yum.

It's harvest season, my friends! Time to eat vegetables, and preserve the tastes of summer! Cold winter months are but a few months away...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Go Fo' Pho: Pho Mi Thuan Loi in Parkdale

Located at 1265 Queen Street West, Pho Mi Thuan Loi is a Vietnamese restaurant (near the LCBO on Brock Avenue) open as late as 11:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays. If you are looking for a not-too-heavy late night snack, pho is the way to go as it begins to grow dusk out. Pho also feels slightly healthier than, say, a nearby Stampede Bison Grill's poutine topped with meat shavings.

Although you should be warned that Pho Mi Thuan Loi does not appear too vegetarian-friendly. I suspect that one of the main reasons their pho is so superbe (soup-herb!) is due to its rich (read: fatty) pork broth. So let's not delude ourselves too much in thinking that pho is completely healthy!

The "Chef's Special" pho is a good place to start. A large bowl is meal-sized, perhaps more filling than a "snack," so if you want to also order appetizers, such as soft-shelled or deep-fried spring rolls, you may want to go for the smaller version. An extra-large bowl is enough for two people.

Around 8 or 9 pm is the best time to go on a Friday night. The place fills up quickly, with patrons speaking a variety of asian languages. Looking around on our first visit, nearly everyone ordered soup, so that's how Tasty Tastebuds and I came across the Chef's Special.

The service has you write down your own order, while you are served several (complimentary) teapots of ginseng tea. The small restaurant is also air conditioned, which is a definite bonus in the summer heat.

In case you are not already sold on trying out Pho Mi Thuan Loi, perhaps the cost will lure you in at only $5.50 for a large bowl of pho. Most mains (and there are an overwhelming 211 combinations listed in their menu for take-out or dining in) are under $10.00.

Why not indulge in Toronto's diverse cuisine? Many international options are located right here, in Parkdale.

Please note: Pho Mi Thuan Loi has inspired Tasty Tastebuds and I to try all of the pho options in Parkdale, rating each one, leading up to our number one favourite. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that we did something similar in the past year with Parkdale roti, recently establishing Roti Lady as the ultimate roti destination in the area, factoring in both affordability and deliciousness. When friends come to visit, and haven't ever had a roti, we now take them to Roti Lady. When friends are looking to experiment with another international menu, we offer up Pho Mi Thuan Loi... until the latter is perhaps outdone by another pho option?

... to be continued!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Historic St. Andrews Farmers' Market

South of the old Queen Street West garment district, and just west of Spadina, hides a new Saturday farmers' market. I use the terms "old" and "new" very loosely, as the "new" St. Andrew's Farmers' Market is actually a blast from the past. It was one of the earlier farmers' markets in Toronto, and now it's back!

Tasty Tastebuds and I had the chance the check out a sneak peek of the St. Andrew's farmers' market a few weeks back, and were pleased to find close to a dozen vendors selling local produce. It is strawberry season, my friends! Time to indulge in the berries that go best with shortcake! We left the market a few weeks ago with Ontario-made beeswax lip balm, and homemade rotini pasta. The pasta was quite incredible. The farmers boasted milling their own grain, managing the entire production line from field to kitchen. We were told that the pasta would keep in our fridge for up to a week, and also could be thrown directly into a boiling pot of water from frozen. We finally did the latter recently, and had some lovely cold pasta salad, topped with fresh garlic greens and other seasonal delights.

The official grand opening of the historic St. Andrew's Farmers' Market is tomorrow. I'm looking forward to strawberries!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Alex Wilson Community Garden

Tasty Tastebuds and I have a small plot at the Alex Wilson Community Garden on Richmond Street West. We have planted many herbs, including dill, coriander, rosemary, and basil, as well as a few celery stalks, an eggplant bush, and some early arugula greens. We are both very excited about the prospect of growing our own food; this is our first attempt at city gardening!

The Alex Wilson Community Garden is a beautiful space, very tastefully designed by local landscape artists. Some fellow community gardening friends complain about the rectangular, graveyard-like layout of some other community gardens in the city, so we are both quite fortunate to share such a gem.

Unfortunately, the garden of late has also been the site of several acts of vandalism. People have climbed the rain barrels, breaking through the wood boards and mosquito screen covering them, as the barrels were not designed to support human weight. People seem to climb on top of the rain barrels to graffiti the wall beside the garden, even though local residents have actually donated much wall space for graffiti art in alleys in the neighbourhood.

Another, more strange act of vandalism that took place recently was the uprooting of certain prominent plants. An anonymous visitor pulled out a mature lovage plant that was tall and full and quite stunning. It was planted by one of the older members of the community garden, six years ago. The member is now in a nursing home, and is no longer able to tend a plot, so the lovage was left every year to grow into a massive, leafy stalk that may have brushed your side as you walked down the wooden pathway. Pulling out the plant must not have been an easy task. Certainly, at least five minutes had to have been spent yanking and tugging at the firm roots. Who, and why, would someone do such a thing?
I look forward to watching the plants grow as weeks pass...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Best Roti in Parkdale: Roti Lady

Roti Lady, on the corner of Queen West and Dunn, is now officially my number one stop for roti in Parkdale. The mixed vegetable roti includes spinach, squash, eggplant, and potato. Plus, there's a sunny patio for outdoor summer eatin'.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dine-In, Take-Out, Delivery, and Travel: What's Cookin' in April 2009

Been busy, mostly staying in to write. Did manage to go out a few times. Here's a wee round-up of a few Toronto restaurants, one spot in St. Catharines, and a local food delivery programme that can't be beat.

Cafe Diplomatico, 594 College Street, Toronto
The major selling feature of this italian lounge is their patio, but on a rainy April day, inside was the place to be. I probably should have ordered something italian, but as I regularly cook pasta in my own home (sometimes even making my own noodles) I opted for Toronto favourite pulled pork. They were out. My second choice was fish (lemon-grilled sole) with a house salad. I had also ordered their house draught, which I sipped while nibbling on bread buns as I awaited my meal. The room was full, and quite loud. In order to converse with some of my table-mates, I felt I had to yell. When my dinner arrived, the salad was missing its dressing, so I had to flag the server down again and put in another request. The meal in the end was not very satisfying. The portions were small, the fish was unexciting, and the salad was definitely nothing to write home about. My companions equally complained about their meals -- meat portions too small, not very flavourful, all around disappointing. Cafe Diplomatico boasts speedy service, a nice patio, and proximity to the Royal Cinema on College, but I doubt I will ever return, except maybe on a rare sunny day to share a pitcher with a friend if we happen to be in the neighbourhood.

Thai House Restaurant, 506 Queen Street West, Toronto
This place is amazing. Ordering the special dinner for two from home ($27.00 plus tax) was a gourmet treat. The delivery included two spring rolls, chicken coconut soup, mango chicken, rice, and seafood pad thai. Everything was superb. The soup was spicy and wonderful with mushrooms and fresh coriander. The pad thai was delicious with its ground peanuts and a few shrimp. The mango chicken was exciting, mixing sweet and spicy. The spring rolls were okay -- I especially liked the hot sauce that I later put on salads the next day. If I ever order Thai food delivered to my home again, I will not even consider trying another restaurant. Thai House delivery hit home. Though I wonder if it would be possible to order ice cream dessert without it entirely melting en route?

Roti Lady, 269 Dunn Avenue, Toronto
I finally got to try a Roti Lady roti one night, after discovering Bacchus was closed. (It seems Bacchus is often closed.) It took a while to be noticed, standing in front of the counter, but I had heard that this was part of Roti Lady's appeal. She doesn't give a shit about customers, but she makes a mighty fine meal. The smell of the place was, um, lived in, and the television was blaring Little Mosque on the Prairie. I heard scraping and coughing in the back, which went on for a few more minutes after clearing my throat a few times, feebly sounding a "Hello? Your sign says open." Roti Lady came out in a very dirty apron, covering a wooly sweater, and wearing a knitted cap. She looked tired. Like she has been making rotis for as long as I've ever lived. Which could be true. I would believe it if that's what someone were to tell me. I ordered the vegetable roti, while Tasty Tastebuds ordered meat. Goat, I think. The total came to a very reasonable $11.00, wrapped up to go. We didn't really feel like hanging out, staring at a few faded pictures on the wall beside us. We beat it home, and relished our flavourful rotis with delight. I am fairly certain that my vegetarian roti was missing one of the listed ingredients on the menu board -- either squash or eggplant -- and I believe this is why it was also slightly cheaper than advertised. I kind of appreciated the no-excuses offered. Part of the Roti Lady "charm."

Oasis Middle East Cuisine, 174 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines
I had some time to kill before an evening panel discussion at Brock University, so I ventured into this empty eatery downtown St. Catharines, on the street everyone says is "a rough area," where I might "need a gun" or meet "jailbirds." Then of course, I live in "bad" Parkdale, according to Eye Weekly, or "the no man's land between the Wrong Bar and Roncesvalles." So I ordered a lentil soup ($2.99) and beef donair kabob ($4.75), which I hoped would feature real donair sauce from the East Coast. Nope. Tahini. So Ontario. The soup was great, warming and filling from an afternoon walking around in the drizzle, trying to avoid crossing too many sketchbags. The donair sandwich was filling as well, and garlic-intense. I was very worried about my breath after my meal, so much so that I made a return trip to my hotel to brush up before heading off to Brock. It was worth it.

FoodShare, 90 Croatia Street, Toronto, Tel: (416) 363-6441
FoodShare is the best fruit and vegetable delivery/pick-up programme in the city because it's a) not-for-profit, b) privileges local produce, and c) is very affordable. I pay only $12.00 for a small box of food that I pick up once every two weeks down my street. In order to find your nearest delivery/pick-up location, best to e-mail FoodShare directly. In a small food box, I'll get more than enough fruit and vegetables for two people for two weeks. Unless you really can afford to spend all of your time cooking meals from scratch. There is also a more expensive organic option, and a strictly fruit option. In another city, I used to pay $25.00 for a box order, so FoodShare is a half-price dream in comparison. It also means I am eating healthier salads with many more meals at home.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cheap 'n Good Vs. Cheap 'n Shitty

Cheap food doesn't have to be all quantity, no quality. Here is a list of restaurants that are cheap, filling, and even (gasp!) tasty.

Falafel Queen, at Queen and Bathurst
Late night falafel sandwiches (for two at less than $10.00) made fast and ready to go while waiting for the 24-hour Queen car really hit the spot at 2 a.m. Make sure to get 'em with spicy sauce. And napkins.

Green Fusion, 403 Yonge Street, near Ryerson University
Get a bowl of vegetarian soup (a.k.a. "pho"). It's large, it's cheap ($5.25 for a small), it's spicy, it's filling, and it's amazing. I love this place.

Coconut Grove Roti Shop, 183 Dundas St. West, near OCAD
Before heading to the free admissions night at the Art Gallery of Ontario on a Wednesday, some friends and I hit this spot to avoid overpriced slices of old and crusty "gourmet" pizza at Pizzaiolio. Rotis at Coconut Grove start at $2.99, and they also have special plate dinners advertised for less than $5.00 if you're looking for a more complete meal with rice and salad. The vegetarian options for roti include eggplant, squash, and spinach, which are all very good. Again, spice it up! Go for the hot sauce!

Chinese Food Cart on St. George Street, in front of the Robarts Library at U of T
For less than $10.00 you can get about fifty different chinese dishes. I once had the pad thai, and was amazed at its generous weight and size. It included various types of seafood (unusual, but excitingly filling). This is the place to go if you're looking for what I like to call "lupper" -- a combination of lunch and supper.

Rasoee, 140 Spadina Ave.
Vegetarian lunch specials start at $6.99 (which include naan or basmati rice) while chicken, beef, or lamb lunch specials start at $7.49. Rasoee lunches are not exactly extra-large man-sized servings (only 8 oz.) so if you're really hungry or expect a late supper, then you may want to go for the 12 oz. meal option, which is an extra $2.00 (still bringing your order under $10.00 before taxes).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gandhi and Island Cuisine: Sometimes I Do Leave Parkdale (to Have a Roti)

The roti -- now a staple of my Toronto diet -- is not exclusive to Parkdale. There's a roti shop further east on Queen Street West, called Gandhi Roti, which, rumour has it, is owned by the same people that own Mother India in Parkdale. The difference is that Gandhi is cheaper, less catered to fine diners, but to taker-outters.

I ordered the mixed vegetable roti, one of the cheapest items on the menu at $6.95 plus tax. Oddly, I had a very hard time communicating my order, due in large part, I believe, to my ignorance of East Indian languages. I think I was being asked how hot I wanted my roti, and I was instead responding that I wanted my roti size "small." Then I requested "medium," which delivered a large roti that was not at all spicy. The confusion was entirely my fault, and the service attendant apologized profusely for my own stupidity, in an attempt to make me feel less stupid than I was obviously behaving. Oh well.

The filling of the roti was quite sweet, consisting of sweet peas, carrots and potatoes in a red sauce. The roti itself (ie. the bread) was very thin compared to Caribbean-style rotis and lacked that crumbly layer in the middle that usually consists of ground chickpeas or other hidden gems. In the Gandhi roti, there was no layer of magic sandwiched in between two thin layers of dough, which made it more like a tortilla than most rotis I've had.

(One year ago, I didn't even know what a roti was, and now I consider myself a critic!)

Island Cuisine, located at 4205 Keele Street, across from York University, has damn fine roti. They know what I mean when I talk about the crumbly layer of goodness in between the thin layers of wrap. (Though if I said it like that, they would probably confuse my request, making yet another awkward encounter in ordering meals.) They make their bread fresh, and their doubles (similar to chickpea sandwiches at $2.00 each) are great for grab 'n go snacks on the run.

Although their vegetarian menu is a little lacking -- herbivores only have a choice of the potato roti -- sometimes, if available, although not on the menu, they offer free sides of fried plantain, which, byt he way, will buy a good review from me anytime.

Island Cuisine is new, and I get the sense that their menu may change depending on customers' tastes. So, vegetarians, keep requesting that veggie food, and they'll likely expand their menu.

My only critique of Island Cuisine is that the line-up takes about five minutes longer than Pita Pit next door, but the roti is definitely worth waiting for. Oh yeah, and their hot sauce is the hottest sauce ever! Get it on the side and share with a pal 'cause it'll knock your socks off!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Parkdale Roti Ranking (to Date)

1. Roti Lady
2. Mother India
3. Bacchus
4. Ali's Roti
5. Chicken Curry Plus Roti

Monday, January 26, 2009

Best Burro Burrito!

Went to see a movie the other night at The Royale Cinema, with forty minutes to spare before the start of the film. Ran across the street to Burro Burrito, located at 615 College Street, attracted by the steamy condensation on the windows. Warmth!

I had my doubts of what Burro Burrito would deliver. Tasty Tastebuds and I make black bean burritos at home quite often, topped with homemade canned salsa. Homemade salsa!

At around $17.00 (tax and pop included) Tasty Tastebuds and I scored a bean burrito and three soft-shelled meat tacos. The tacos were delish! Then the burrito dazzled! Bean paste, rice, corn, fresh tomato, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh parsley, and likely other condiments -- the more condiments, the merrier -- comprised the giant wrap.

Very filling, Burro Burrito's burrito put my home cooking experiments to shame. Try it, and you may also be inspired to improve your home-style recipe.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Organic Food Conference Alert

Canadian Organic Growers Presents:
Visionary Farmers and Consumers Annual Conference
Growing and Eating for Nourishment: Nourishing the Future
Saturday, February 21, 2009
89 Chestnut Street, University of Toronto Conference Centre

If you care about the foods you eat, how visionary farmers grow for quality, and the enormous benefits of organic, then this conference is for you.

Panels include: Growing for Nourishment, Living Organically, The First Strawberry, Your Meat, Nourishing Community, Importing DDT, Preserving and Canning, Traditions: Lost and Found, Pregnancy and Organic, Organic Restaurants, and The Canadian Pantry.

Keynote addresses by Margaret Webb, Ann Clark and Carlo Leifert.
For more information contact Tanmayo Krupanszky at

PS. An organic conference panel on importing DDT sounds particularly scary. I'd call it: "Panel of Doom."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Stampede Bison Grill

Captain Hunger and I went for a burger, poutine and milkshake at Stampede Bison Grill (located at 5 Brock Avenue) after a long wait at the LCBO. We were not there long before engaging in a chat with one of the owners of the restaurant who was more than pleased to fill us in on where the bison meat comes from for their burgers. The co-owner informed us that it is farmed outside of Peterborough, and comes directly from the source to the restaurant. I have only ever had bison meat once before (in steak form) and was looking forward to trying it again as a burger.

The Stampede Bison Grill burger was the best I have had in years. The bison meat is very lean, the patty was a good thick size and the taste distinct from other burgers I have had. The poutine was made with real cheese curds (a must in all poutines), vegetarian gravy and fresh cut fries. The poutine was also really good, and Captain Hunger especially thought the crispy fresh-cut fries were perfect. It is nice to know that a real poutine can be found in Parkdale. The milkshake was nice 'n thick, served with the straw sticking straight up in the creamy drink.

Overall, there were no complaints about the meal or facilities. Really friendly, really good burger and poutine, and a clean washroom (upstairs). Stampede Bison Grill will be revisited anytime I want a cheap burger in Parkdale.