Now That's Tasty!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Who's The Real Fat Pasha?

The air is damp and it’s drizzling as I sit down on the barely moist bench at Fat Pasha’s back patio. The Dupont Street restaurant – the third on the midtown strip launched by chef and co-owner Anthony Rose – has been open for just about two months. Reviews have been resoundingly positive despite catering to a nitpicky local clientele. Fat Pasha serves Rose’s twist on Middle Eastern food, with an added pinch of personality, and several dashes of schmaltz.

The best chopped liver I've ever had – drizzled tableside with schmaltz!!!
The 41-year old Toronto-born chef sits across from me in a jean shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His demeanor is more placid that usual. He’s getting over the stomach flu and a broken heart. His love for his restaurant, his son, his employees, his eats and his customers, is however evident.

It’s 8pm on a Saturday night and the restaurant is getting slammed. Unexpected rain has limited their patio seating to less than 50 per cent capacity (their full awning is being installed on July 28th) and some of the customers are cranky. Those with a more laissez faire attitude are enjoying everything from the food to the al-fresco atmosphere. He remains engaged in our conversation while somehow quality checking with staff and complimenting neighboring tables on their meal choices “You’re never going to please them all,” Rose concedes. “But we do our best and we do what we love and that’s what’s most important.”

READ MORE... full article and the truth behind "The Real Fat Pasha" on View the Vibe
Seared albacore tuna w/ preserved lemon and salsa verde
Sensational schmaltz fried rice
Ice cream sandwich for dessert w/ caramelized matzah and Manischewitz jelly
READ my full article on View the Vibe.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mandarin Restaurant Turns 35

Walking in to a Mandarin Restaurant is nostalgic. The emerald and gold carpeting leads you to the host’s station as instrumental Muzak plays through the speakers. Their welcome is almost as inviting as the aroma of the buffet, which calls to you immediately as you pass en route to your table. My salivary glands immediately become active and my self-loathing is pushed as far from my mind as possible – I know I’m about to go overboard.

For 35-years, Mandarin has been enticing indulgent Canadians with their array of all you can eat offerings. What I immediately think of as a Chinese buffet has evolved to incorporate the ethnic cuisine of our country’s diverse cultural mosaic. Cantonese style lemon chicken and sweet and sour spareribs, chow mein noodles and beef with broccoli, they’ve got that. But sushi and now sashimi, they’ve got that, too. And pizza, and prime rib, and salads and sweets, yeah, they’ve got it all.

Though their steamed snow crab legs, deep fried tornado shrimp and wonton soup could independently satisfy me, there’s always one more thing I have to sample. The latest addition to the spread is a selection of Canadian favourites as an ode to the country that’s supported them for three and a half decades.

Endless Snow Crab Legs
Mmmm... Lemon Chicken
So up until July 31st you can gorge yourself on poutine, tourtière, maple-glazed salmon, bison cabbage rolls and a collection of Canadian desserts. Personally, I found it hard to stray too far from my endless plates of crab legs on a recent visit (there were many plates!), but when it comes to the Mandarin it’s all about the variety, after all.

As I waddled out of the restaurant following three solid hours of feasting, I was reminded of that other familiar feeling – fullness.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Taste of Toronto – Toronto Events PREVIEW

Taste of Toronto is just about a month away from its first Canadian iteration and if you consider yourself a bit of a culinary enthusiast it must be on your summer events list. The TasteFestivals have become synonymous around the world as one of the premiere gatherings for gastronomes. From July 24th to 27th, over 20,000 food enthusiasts will descend upon historic Fort York to experience an array of edible offerings from 17 of Toronto’s top restaurants.

The Taste Festivals started 10 years ago in London, England and now host their gatherings in 20 international cities, including Amsterdam, Melbourne, Mumbai and Johannesburg, to name a few. Part of their success can be attributed to the presence of head chefs from each of the participating restaurants.

READ my full event preview on View the Vibe

Here are some of the exceptional dishes to expect:

Salt Cod Inari by Yours Truly
Charred BC Octopus with Chorizo and Green Mango by Yours Truly  
Albacore Tuna and Preserved Summer Tomatoes with Basil and Crispy Shallots by Hopgoods Foodliner
Smoked Duck Tacos with Crispy Chicken Skin, Pickled Radish and Hoisin Sauce by Barque Smokehouse 
Wagyu Hot Dog with Beet Mustard and Beef Cheek Marmalade by Weslodge
READ my full event preview on View the Vibe