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Tuesday
Feb032015

Café de L'Ambre カフェ・ド・ランブル

"Coffee Only" says it all. Serving coffee in the heart of Tokyo for over 65 years. A family run coffee shop open since 1948 where 2nd and 3rd generation family members focus on a single thing, brewing the best cup of coffee they can. Café de L'Ambre roasts small batches daily from its collection of beans from all around the world, with many of the beans being over 10 years old, some even as old as 60 years. 

This place, like many places in Japan, take their craft seriously, always seeking perfecting with everything they do. They hand dripped coffee using cloth filters with water at the perfect temperature for each brew. This attention to detail, and selection of aged beans doesn't come cheap. A single 25ml serving will set you back between $7 to $11.

Even if you're not a huge fan of coffee, a place like this is still a must visit. The shop just has a beautiful character to it, and it's hard to appreciate the dedication that they have to the art of coffee. 


 

 



 

 

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Monday
Feb022015

Tora-fugu Tei とらふぐ亭

Another item off the bucket-list, Fugu (Puffer Fish)! #GoodEats

This has been on my list for as long as I can remember, it's also a dish/ingredient you cannot get in Canada, and many other countries have banned their importation as well. In Japan, each chef who wants to serve fugu must undergo extensive training and be licence, the final test is to prepare fugu and eat it your self. You live, you pass, you fail...well you end up in the hospital or die. Deaths from fugu are incredibly rare, the majority of which are untrained fishermen, in the past 13 years there's only been 1 death in a restaurant due to fugu. This restaurant, or rather chain of restaurants, was recommended to me by the shop I purchased my knifes from, and it also happens to be one of the most popular restaurant that serves fugu. 

The fish has a very delicate flavour, when cooked you would think it's much like any other white fish. The draw towards fugu is to have a tingling sensation when you eat it raw. There's enough of the poison left of the fish to give you that mouth feel without sending you to the hospital. Raw fugu has a texture similar to squid, in that it's a little rubbery and crunches as you bite though it. 

I went for a tasting of Tiger Fugu, prepared in varous ways. $55 Oyogi-Tora-fugu.

 

Dinner

 

Kawa-sashi. Sashimi of parboiled skin, served with ponzu.

 

Oyogi-Tessa. Tiger Fugu Sashimi.

 

Oyogi-Tecchiri. Tiger Fugu Hot Pot, fillet, gills, fins. Boiled for 7 min exactly, no less. 

 

Tora-fugu-Karaage. Deep-fried Fugu. Kinda like fried chicken, but with a lot more bones. 

 

 

Vanilla Red Been Ice Crean Sandwich

 

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Friday
Jan302015

Ichiba Sushi 市場すし

Breakfast #2! Seriously, I could eat this all day long! #GoodEats

Nakaya was already filling, but I was only here for the day so I had to indulge just a little more! More Ikura and Uni with Tamago and Miso soup. Another late opener at 6am, and mostly full of regulars (should tell you something) compared to other sushiya's in the market that have a long lines of tourists waiting 2+ hours. Like most Japanese restuants meals are quickly served and consumed, you're in and out in less than 15 minutes.

 

 

Ikura nad Uni on Seaweed and Rice, with Miso Soup, Matcha, Side of Ikura and Uni on thicker Seaweed, and Tamago to finish.

 

 

 

 

 

Chef has been cooking here for the past 32 years. Incredible. 

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Thursday
Jan292015

Nakaya 中家 

Breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market! For about $15 this can be all yours! #GoodEats

Nakaya opens later than some other restaurants in the outer market, 0530 hrs vs 0330hrs, because they use product fresh from the market that morning and only enough to last the day. Every morning while the rice is steaming and the miso soup is simmering, fresh ingredients are delivered as soon as they arrive the the market.

 

 

Ikura, Toro, Uni on seaweed and rice, with miso soup, chopped anchovy, and pickled vegetable. 

 

 

 

 

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Monday
Jan122015

Ginza Kyubey 銀座 久兵衛 本店

Edo style sushi at one of Japan's most well respected sushiya in the heart of Tokyo's Ginza district. The main branch (Ginza) has been open for 80 years, since 1935 they have opened 5 additional locations throughout Tokyo and the rest of Japan, and an additional Ginza location across the street. Kyubey is consistently sold out with reservations hard to come by, especially for foreigners (they do not accept reservations from overseas and they require someone who speaks Japanese to place the reservation), I was fortunate enough to have 1 seat open up when I arrived for dinner. 

Prices range from $40 to $230 for Lunch and $100 to $300 for dinner. Menus are all set courses with a selection of either Nigiri (rice ball with fish) or Sushi Kaiseki (Appetizer, Sashimi, Grilled Fish, Assorted Sushi, and Soup). For my meal I selected the Kyubey Nigiri ($150) which consisted of 18 pieces of sushi, Miso Soup, and a intermezzo. 

This was my first meal in Tokyo and while all my other meals were incredible, this remains one of my most memorable meals. I've had some great sushi in Toronto, but coming to Tokyo, was completely eye opening. One of biggest factors to sushi is the emphasis on rice. Many of us see the rice ball as just filling, and the fish as the star, but in Japan much more emphasis is placed on the rice, from how it's washed, cooked, and seasoned, to the temperature it's served at. It's perfectly seasoned to complement the fish toppings and being served at body temperature acts to contrast with the cold fish. The texture is soft and pollowy without being mushy or overly sticky, it maintains structure giving it a great mouth feel, again to contrast the texture of the fish. You are given a small bowl to place soy sauce into, however each individual pice of sushi is seasoned by chef right before serving, while it is recommend to eat to sushi as is, you have the option in dipping it in the soya sauce, fish side only of course. 

Sushi is designed as hand food. The table sitting consists of a hot towel to wash your hands, and a wet towelette to wipe your hands after each piece. Whether you're eating at a $200 sushiya or a $10 ramen restaurant, service is impeccable. At Kyubey, they noticed right away that I was left handed and quickly rearranged my table setting and moved me over one seat as well. Also, each piece of sushi was served facing towards my left hand to make it eaiser to pick up. As I do with most meals, I have my phone and camera by my side, as most of us do, I usually place it on the table off to one side. No big deal right? Minutes after moving seats and rearranging my table setting, they had also brought out two towels, one for my phone and one for my camera to the placed on. When I asked why this was one, I was told that items should have a soft place to be placed on so as not to be damaged. They weren't worried about the table but rather my phone and camera. Where else do you find this kind of attention to detail? 

Everything was insanely fresh. Serious next level stuff. Thank you to Chef Hayashi for an incredible first meal in Toyko!

 

 

Table setting before being rearranged for me.

Seaweed, Soy Sauce, Seaweed

 

Medium Fatty Tuna (Chūtoro)

Lightly brushed with soy sauce.

 

Red Snapper (Tai)

 

Squid (Ika)

 

Sea Urchin (Uni)

 

Amberjack/Yellow Tail (Hamachi)

 

Sweet Shrimp (Amaebi)

 

Tuna (Marguro)

Marinated in Soy Sauce

 

Scallop (Hotategai)

 

Halfbeak (Sayori)

 

 

Spanish Mackerel (Sawara)

Marinated between two pieces of nori. Tuna might be the star when it comes to sushi, but this was my favourit piece in the entire meal. I've always love mackerel, but the seasoning process of being sandwiched between the nori brings out another level of flavour. The subtle aromas of the nori come through the balance the stronger flavours of the mackerel. 

 

Fresh Prawn

Still moving prawn with a choice of either fresh (raw) or boiled), of course I went with raw.

 

The meat of the pawn is still twiching as you eat it.

 

Sardine (Iwashi)

 

Fatty Tuna (Otoro)

Melt in your mouth. Nothing like it.

 

Sea Eel (Anago)

Grilled sea eal dusted with Yuzu zest, one plain, one with a soy sauce base sauce.

 

Dikon Radish

Hand sliced Dikon with Shiso Leaves, Miso, and Sesame. Watching Chef Hayashi horizontally hand cut the dikon was impressive, single stroke, prefectly even. 

 

Fresh Prawn

Deep Fried Head. Nothing goes to waste.

 

Grey Tuna

Lightly torched Fatty Tuna

 

Miso Soup

The best miso soup I've ever had. Each restaurant/chef/family has their own version of miso soup. This has been the most unique and flavourful soups I've had. Filled to the top, it's not until you get half way though that you see these little surprises. These small baby clams adds a layer of brine and flavour to the dish. Got two bowls of this!

 

Assorted Maki

Medium Fatty Tuna, Cucumber, Dried Gourd (Kanpyō Maki), Pickled Radish (Shinko Maki) 

 

Egg (Tamago)

Beautifully sweet, soft, and spongy. 

 

Chef Hayashi

Chef Hayashi is one of the itamae's at Kyubey Ginza, he's been a itamae for 20 years.

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Thursday
Dec182014

Canoe

A memorable meal @OliverBonacini Canoe before heading off to Tokyo! Thanks @ChefHorne @Chef_Coulson for that incredible steak!

 

Holland Marsh Onion Soup

Bone Marrow, Rye Crouton, and Thunder Oak Gouda.

A cold snowy day, this dish part of the recent Taste Ontario was a perfect start to the meal.

 

Foie Gras Terrine

Wild Red Current Jelly, Confit Goose, Yoghurt, Sea Buckthorn and Orange Marmalade, Puffed Tapioca, Pickled Mustard Seed.

Had a bit of a craving for a terrine, and Chef Horne delivered with this little gem.

 

Bone-In Rib Eye

Tourné Potatoes, Matsutake Mushrooms (Shaved and Wedged), Pickled Beets, Roots of Parsnip Root Pan Roasted in Butter and Glazed. 

The 8 oz bone-in PEI potato finished rib eye was the special of the night, and has just been 86'd moments before we ordered. But little did I know, Chef Horne and Chef  Coulson had been holding off on one last rib eye. The photo doesn't do it justice, but this steak was huge. This 20 oz beast was simply pan roasted in butter and thyme and cooked to perfection (I say simply, but to cook a steak this size, it takes quite a bit of skill). Tourné potatoes, tho not something I expected to see at Canoe, was a must have old school addition to the dish. 

 

Rye Ice Cream

Much talked abou rye ice cream, had to give it a try, and boy does it live up to the hype!

 

Chocolate & Squash

70% Chocolate Soft Cake, Squash Butter, Caramel & Squash Cinnamon Ice Cream, Choux Pastry.

Finishing off the night with a new dessert from Pastry Chef Gonsalves. The squash butter reminds me of the nougat you would find in chocolates. So good!

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Porzia Impasto Collaboration

Phenominal meal between @porziaparkdale & @IMPASTO_MTL. #GoodEats

A sold out, one night event, featuring two of the most well respected Italian restaurants from Toronto and Montreal. This very special tasting menu brought together Michele Forgione (Impasto), and Basilio Pesce (Porzia) to create a unique meal that highlights the best they have to offer.

 

Antipasti

Pancetta.

Pork and Duck Liver Terrine with Fig.

Mortadella.

Cinnamon Salami.

 

Albacore Tune Crudo with Bone Marrow Aioli, Pickled Onion and Fried Capers. 

Baccala (Salt Cod), cooked in Spicy Tomato.

Quebec Bufala, with Fig and Pistachios 

 

Lobster Busiate

Hand rolled busiate cooked ali olio with anchovy and chilli. Finished with lobster meat and lobster bisque. 

 

Corzetti

Soffrito, Chicken Stock, Butter, Sage, and White Truffle.

 

Zampina Stuffed Lamb Belly

Lamb belly rolled around zampina (sausage made from lamb, tomato paste, pecorino, wine, and garlic), Lamb jus, puntarelle, and dandelion leaves.

 

Dolce

Pistachio and Candied Ginger

 

Almond, Nutella, and Pistachio cookies.

Formaggi: Rochetta (Goat, Cow, and Sheeps Milk Cheese from Piedmonte Italy, with a Creamy, soft texture). Vento d'estate (Cows Milk Cheese rubbed in Lavender from Treviso Region of Italy)

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Wednesday
Nov262014

Canoe

Still thinking about this dish from @OliverBonacini's @ChefHorne from over a month ago! #GoodEats

 

Ivory Salmon, Saskatchewan Lentils, Housemade Kimchi, Apple and Celeriac Purèe, Charred Onions, & Purple Brussels Sprouts.

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Wednesday
Nov192014

Gale's Snack Bar

Less than $5 for lunch at Gale's Snack Bar. This place hasn't changed in decades (prices or décor)!

 

Hot Turkey Sandwich with gravy, fries, peas, and tomatoes. ($3.75)

 

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Monday
Nov172014

Back of House

Lots of #GoodEats over at #BackOfHouse in #Leslieville! Thanks @bakerdonz for the reco!

 

 

Burger - Sous-vide chuck patty stuffed with oxtail, pan seared, topped with melted cheese, cold smoked tomatoes, pickled red onions, and fresh greens.

 

Pulled Pork - Cola brined pork shoulder, carmelized in pan with BBQ sauce, topped with cheese, and compressed Granny Smith apples.

 

Chicken Wonder - Brined and sous-vide chicken, breaded with panko flakes and quinoa, topped with bruleed goat cheese, arugula pesto, and cold smoked tomatoes.

 

Beet Salad with Cottage cheese, arugula, lemon curd, smoked almond oil, and crispy shallots.

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