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Green & Black’s and Pangaea Restaurant

Green & Black's Pangaea 1

Ten courses at lunch. All with chocolate. Cooked by Chef Martin Kouprie and his team at Pangaea Restaurant. You know what? There is absolutely nothing there that I can complain about.

Obviously, I was happy to be invited to Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate extravaganza but I have to admit I went in with a bit of skepticism. Chocolate has a pronounced, sometimes bitter flavour. It’s fans are so devoted–eyes open wider, mouths salivate more possibly only for bacon–that it can sometimes be stretched beyond its comfort zone. New packaged food items need to break into the all-important bachelorette party market with something-and-chocolate parties, after all. (more…)

Ravine Deli and Bakery

It is getting to the point where a drunkenly thrown wine bottle in Niagara is bound to hit a winery producing very good wine.  Outside of top-dollar places like Treadwell, Inn on the Twenty, Hillebrand, and Peller it is much more difficult to find good food.  Happily, the people behind the Ravine Deli and Bakery are stepping in to fill this void.

On our whirlwind tour of Niagara two weekends ago we made sure to stop in for lunch.  I was there in December 2008 when chefs Michael and Anna Olson were still at the helm and the deli was called Olson Foods at Ravine.  Since then Paul Harber (middle son of the family who operates the winery) has returned with his impressive resume to the kitchen at Ravine.  Chef Harber trained at the Culinary Institute of America, apprenticed under Daniel Boulud at Cafe Boulud, and worked for Michael Stadtlander at Eigensinn Farm.  After Eigensinn he went to Germany to work under Stadtlander’s mentor Vincent Klink.  The rest of the kitchen team at Ravine carries an impressively diverse array of experience in some of Niagara’s best kitchens.

Flat bread and spreads

Our lunch started with the flat bread plate generously sent out by the kitchen.  Hummus often contains cumin but here there is more of a Keller-esque and subtle use of the broader spectrum of curry powder flavours.  The chickpea spread also gave my table-mates an opportunity to correct my horrible pronunciation. (more…)

Review: MBCo Rosedale

The Montreal Bread Company (“MBCo” for short) has added their shingle to the block of food-related businesses to the south of the Summerhill LCBO on Yonge Street.  With this opening and Thuet’s across the street the Five Thieves (Harvest Wagon, All the Best, Oliffe, and Pisces–no one is really sure who the fifth thief ever was) are now Six Scoundrels.  Kat and I chose last Friday afternoon to give this new sandwich joint the once-over.

The offerings at MBCo are visually appealing but as a whole the concept strikes a discordant note.  Between eleven and thirteen dollars seems much too high for a simple sandwich counter (even in Rosedale) but these sandwiches are noticeably better than what is offered at Druxy’s; in fact they are at the level one would expect from a bistro or a casual restaurant.  Okay, fine, then why can’t I get a bowl of frites here or a glass of beer?  MBCo does offer such frills but not in Toronto and their website is so hipster-cool that I can only be sure that they do so in Dubai.  The idea that we are only getting a light version of the original would be easier to handle if the full version were less than a ten-hour flight away.  Everything looks so appetising that it’s not difficult to keep an open mind.

The top of this bun sort of looks like a croissant but clearly what we have here is much closer to a brioche

The top of this bun sort of looks like a croissant but clearly what we have here is much closer to a brioche