Tag Archives: food

Tufanos Restaurant in Vernon Park – Chicago

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When I was planning our Lollapalooza trip to Chicago I knew we would have one day to run around and pretend we were tourists.

Andrew only had three things he wanted to do in Chicago.  It’s so easy travelling with boys let me tell you.

He had seen a Food Channel episode where they had highlighted a mom and pop restaurant by the name of Tufanos Restaurant in Vernon Park.  Perfect – we had an opening on Saturday night.

After walking around all day in the sun and with achy feet we grabbed the blue line on the CTA, got off at Racine and walked up the road to a moon lit tree lined street which housed the tiny but beautiful brick restaurant.

We were greeted by Joe who warmly invited us in.  The restaurant was filled with regulars and families who look like they came there on a weekly basis.  They were familiar to the servers and there was truly a homey vibe to the space.  When we told Joe we were from Toronto and that we came specifically to his restaurant because of a Food Channel episode he was dead chuffed.  He told us about how we would come to Toronto and play hockey as a kid and that he liked Canada a lot.  That warmed us up all right.

When we were seated, Rachel our server gave us a wonderful snapshot of the menu at Tufanos Restaurant and exemplified great service by giving us a lot of space but also ideas to make our meal a good one.

We were starving – yet again.  Andrew ordered Mussels w/ Angel Hair (red) $13.00 and I ordered a Veal Picante w/ Pine Nuts $19.00. Andrew had a pint and I had a cocktail.

Again we hardly spoke because the food was all about Italian food courting.  I was not a big fan of Italian food walking into Tufanos perhaps because growing up I was exposed to such bad Italian food I tried to avoid it.  But Tufanos has wooed me back.  Honestly.  I am worshipping at their church.

Andrew stated that his Mussels w/ Angel Hair were fresh and extremely decadent.  The mussels were prepared just perfectly and he sopped up the meat of the mussel into the pasta and sauce.  The remaining sauce he scooped up into the crunchy fresh bread that was placed on our table – pure sweetness.  He stated it was a perfect meal.  For Andrew – that’s huge.

I also hearted my Veal Picante w/ Pine Nuts.  I had advised Rachel that I was not keen on a very tomato or creamy based sauce.  I wanted a veal dish that was yummy, not too filling but light enough that gave me my veal fix.  When she mentioned the lightly breaded veal picante, who knew cutting into it was going to be a dream.  This is the veal that I dream of at night.  I can never have veal again after my taste buds danced with this dish.  When it hit my palate, the veal melted.  The pine nuts added a nice texture and flavour to the veal and pasta dish.  The pine nuts really surprised me.

We were full when we finished our meals but we went for the gusto and ordered some lemon gelatos.  They were gorgeous and an awesome palate cleanser.  I also brought back to the hotel some cannolli.  Which let’s face it was a no brainer.

If you are in Chicago just for one night and need a lil something something for your belly and definitely a meal to write home about – please take the trek up to Tufanos Restaurant in Vernon Park.  Homemade Italian hasn’t tasted so good.  Good thing flights are cheap to Chicago from Toronto.  😉

http://www.tufanosrestaurant.com/

Devon Seafood Grill (Chicago & Wabash)

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After our flight got into Chicago we immediately jetted off to do some sightseeing and realized after that we were starving and could eat a whale.  Well not really, but yes we wanted a nice meal after a long day of hustling it from Toronto to Chicago.

Andrew is vegetarian but eats seafood.  I just love seafood.  A fellow blogger at CHiEATS | chicago eats, restaurants and recipes. recommended we try Devon Seafood Grill.  Thanks lady!  😉  After signing up to Devon Seafood Grill’s website, I received a $15 off coupon to be used towards our meal – I was sold.

Devon Seafood Grill is an upscale seafood restaurant offering simply-prepared fresh fish, premium steaks, an impressive wine cellar and handcrafted cocktails. Their chic-casual atmosphere suits any occasion, with seamless service and imaginative seafood dishes that truly sets them apart from other seafood restaurants.

We checked out their Chicago & Wabash location and marvelled at their menu.  It offered the area’s freshest premium seafood, Prime steaks & an impressive wine selection. Devon Seafood Grill works with quality fishmongers, water men, ranchers & artisan producers to create dishes that are excellent from the start, using fine ingredients that separate the good from the great.

Andrew ordered:

MAINE LOBSTER BISQUE $9

CHAR CRUSTED TAHITIAN AHI TUNA* roasted yukon gold potatoes, asparagus, foyot sauce $35

I ordered a:  LOBSTER SPAGHETTI cold water lobster, tomato-fennel pomodoro, olive oil, basil $27

In terms of presentation both meals were spectacular.  Andrew felt his plate was colourful provided a lovely juxtaposition of flavours and textures for his CHAR CRUSTED TAHITIAN AHI TUNA*.

He appreciated the server pouring the MAINE LOBSTER BISQUE into an elongated bowl.  The aroma that echoed from the pour into the bowl was all about romance. He was in love.

I loved that my LOBSTER SPAGHETTI was rustic and looked like it was plated in Tuscany. The opaque tomato sauce, thick noodles and beautiful crusty slice of doused olive oiled bread was warm and inviting.

In terms of taste, Andrew did not say much while sipping his MAINE LOBSTER BISQUE.  For a warm summer evening and hoofing it all around town and through an airport, he found the bisque to be soothing and a perfect starter to his main.

He found his CHAR CRUSTED TAHITIAN AHI TUNA to be lovely.  It was indeed lovingly seasoned and provided an adequate amount of protein. The tuna was soft, aromatic and went down like butter.  He stated even if he returned to Devon in the future, he would order this meal again. The tuna was the hero on his plate next to its asparagus cohorts.

I also fell in love with my LOBSTER SPAGHETTI.  When perusing the menu in Toronto before we left I already knew that I was ordering this plate upon my arrival at Devon.  The chunks of lobster in this plate was beyond generous.  The lobster was fresh, sweet, velvety and I wanted it to go on for ages.  The tomato-fennel pomodoro was a simple sauce but highlighted the lobster’s beauty gorgeously.  After I finished my meal I was sure to sop up the remaining sauce with the lovely crusty bread still left on my plate.

The service at Devon was just right.  Not too much attention but when the server was in the vicinity she was sure to check in appropriately and was friendly which only accented the ambience of the restaurant.  She advised us of Devon’s promotions in the days ahead – which we were sad we would be missing because of our already packed schedule.

We loved people watching from our spot in front of the restaurant as we prepped our Lollapalooza schedule.  Devon Seafood Grill was a great pal in offering us some respite from our day, filling our bellies with fresh seafood love and throwing out the welcome mat for our first day in Chicago.

http://www.devonseafood.com/default.aspx

Summerlicious Review: BerBer Social

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My sisters checked out BerBer Social for our annual Summerlicious catch up. We love getting together and taking time to flaunt our foodie knowledge even if it is amongst ourselves so we can giggle and marvel at the restaurant of our choice’s culinary delights.

BerBer takes you back to a time, when the Berbers of North Africa bestowed exquisite gifts of urban living on medieval Europe. We love the ambience at BerBer. It radiates a chilled vibe and a perfect combination with their food and drink.

The $35 Dinner at BerBer Summerlicious was pure decadence. It included of the following:

First Course
Arancini (vegetarian)
Parmesan stuffed risotto fried golden brown and served with house made red sauce
or
Soup de Jour
A fresh made seasonal specialty
or
Mixed Green Salad (vegetarian)
With preserved lemon vinaigrette, carrots, radish and candied walnuts

Second Course
Half Rack of Lamb
Grilled to order with roasted redskin potatoes, butter minted brussel sprouts, glazed carrots and lamb jus
or
Braised Short Rib
Tender fall off the bone beef, braised with traditional spices, finished with a rich red wine demi-glace, served over a parsnip puree and accompanied by seasonal vegetables
or
Salmon & Parsnip
Pan seared salmon, parsnip puree, sautéed spinach, golden fingerling potatoes and a frisse salad
or
Grilled Eggplant (vegetarian)
Marinated eggplant, carrot puree, sautéed lentils, confit of grape tomatoes and olive oil

 Third Course
Icy BerBer Pudding (vegetarian)
A traditional rice pudding, dried apricot, shaved lime, sauce anglaise
or
Crème Brulée du Jour (vegetarian)
A rich and flavourful crème brulée
or
Orange Chocolate Mousse (vegetarian)
Chocolate, orange, toasted coconut tart, almond crumble and mint

My sisters and I started off with a Mimosa Rossa, a Blue Lagoon and a Mango juice. The drinks came very quickly and were a nice to start after coming in from the summer heat. The space at BerBer is very mysterious. Tucked below street level – the wood hand carvings, romantic lightning, beautifully tiled floors and soft furnishings offered a nice respite after a busy week.

As my sisters and I giggled away and caught up after the waitress quickly took our orders and almost within minutes we had our first course. My sister and I ordered the Arancini which was not what we expected at all. What came was indeed a Parmesan stuffed risotto fried golden brown and served with house made red sauce. But instead of a risotto in a plate we received the meals as two tennis sized balls delicately drizzled with a light tomato sauce. They were warm, simple yet decadent and we savoured every bite. My other sister had the Mixed Green Salad which she found ample and refreshing. There was a kick to the salad and very crunchy. A nice choice if you want something light to start you off.

Once the first course plates were taken away they were quickly replaced with the Braised Short Rib, Salmon & Parsnip and Grilled Eggplant for my sisters and I. My sister enjoyed the Salmon & Parsnip. She found the salmon robust and married well with the parsnip puree. The sautéed spinach, golden fingerling potatoes and the frisse salad was fresh and just enough to feel satiated.

My other sister had the Grilled Eggplant. The marinated eggplant, carrot puree, sautéed lentils, confit of grape tomatoes and olive oil although looked easy on the menu was filling and a perfect summer choice if you are not feeling a meat option. My sister savoured the moist marinated eggplant. One thing my sisters and I all agreed on was that the parsnip and carrot purees at BerBer were fantastic. They could stand alone just as a lil side dish. My sister stated that she enjoyed sopping up the eggplant into the carrot puree on her plate.

I had the Braised Short Rib. Now I had the Braised Short Rib over Winterlicious at BerBer and it was nothing in comparison to what I received over the weekend. The plate that came out was 2 times larger a portion of what I received on my last visit. I actually felt a bit panicked that I may not be able to finish it. But I did. Of course. 😉

The Braised Short Rib came still on the bone and like last time just fell of the bone into the gorgeous rich red wine demi-glace without much effort. It was served over a parsnip puree and accompanied by seasonal vegetables. The parsnip puree again enveloped the beef as I ate my meal quietly. I passed some of the beef and parsnip puree to my sisters and we all agreed it was a winner. I would personally go to BerBer once a week for this dish. Not only was it flavourful, a meat lover’s dream but so yummy that you were beaming upon completion.

We ended our meals with dessert after a lil break between the first and second course. We needed a moment to catch our breath. We ordered an Icy BerBer Pudding and two Orange Chocolate Mousse. My sisters and I enjoyed our desserts but we’ll be honest that they fell flat in comparison to what we had just indulged upon for our first and second courses. It would be nice if perhaps a fruit flan, maybe even a cheese plate was offered as an end.

That said, we had a great evening at BerBer Social. We were sitting close to the front of the restaurant and it was charming to see people filtering in and out taking in the atmosphere and décor of the restaurant. The restaurant was busy but not too busy that we could take our time and enjoy the space and service.

Like always BerBer Social is always a winner and should take a space in your Summerlicious and Winterlicious checklist for restaurants to ‘try out’ every year to see what new offerings they can tantalize your palate with.

BerBer Social
49 Front St E
416-860-9000
http://www.berbersocial.com/

http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/summerlicious/2013/index.htm

Winterlicious Highlight: BerBer Social

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Winterlicious in Toronto always offers a flurry of excitement to see which restaurants will be offering unique wares to celebrate the season. 

This past Saturday night, I decided to check out Berber Social tucked downstairs behind an ornately designed door between Front Street and Church in Toronto.  I wanted comfort, warmth, great service and most importantly top food for my money.

BerBer Social takes you back to a time, when the Berbers of North Africa bestowed exquisite gifts of urban living on medieval Europe.  The focus at Berber Social is that of a style artisan selection.  The ambience in the space was casually decadent, with ornate furniture, chandeliers, luxe pillows and soft furnishings.  The ceilings were low and the vibe extremely sexy but yet sophisticated.

I was seated in a gorgeous enclave with a lovely set table, chiselled wooden painted chairs and the most comfy pillows.  After walking down King Street in the cold – this was a welcome spot.

I was greeted by Rebecca, my server for the night.  She was gracious and gave me some lovely insight on food and drink choices.  There was a lot of room to breathe and take my time.  This really echoed the energy in the space.  I decided to pick my three courses from the Winterlicious menu that included of the Duck Confit (Muscovy duck confit, served with cranberry chutney and toasted brioche), Braised Short Rib (Tender fall off the bone beef, braised with traditional spices, Finished with a rich red wine demi-glace, Served over creamed leek and potato mash and Accompanied by seasonal vegetables) and the Creme Brulée du Jour (A rich and flavourful crème brulée).

The Duck Confit was just the perfect palate lure into my entrée.  It was light, tantalizing and easy to eat.  It indeed left me wanting more.  I decided to sip my Kiss Me Cosmo (Absolut, Peach, Grand Marnier, Pomegranate and Lime Juice) as I savoured each delectable bite.  The cranberry chutney highlighted the Muscovy duck gorgeously while amplifying the crunchy brioche.  A true surprise.

Upon completion my plate was quickly taken away and replaced with the Braised Short Rib.  If you are looking for a true winter treat – this is your choice on the BerBer Social Winterlicous menu.  I would suggest going to Berber Social for this alone.  Fall off the bone beef is an understatement.  This beef was like butter.  The beef I was told by Executive Chef Erik Kekes-Marshall, was braised for close to 8 hours.  It oozed goodness on top of a bed of a flavourful but simple creamed leek and potato mash.  I felt like I was back in England again as I sopped the beef up into the mash.  Ladies and gentlemen, a true Winterlicious winner. 

Before my dessert I opted for the Blue Berber Martini (Blueberry Liquor, Hypnotq, Sparkling Wine and Lemon Juice).  It was lovely taking a moment in to inhale the relaxed ambience of the restaurant.  The drinks are extremely generous made for an even more delightful experience.

Again almost like magic my plate was replaced with the Crème Brulée du Jour.  Sipping my martini in between bites of my dessert was a true ovation.  The Crème Brulée du Jour was light and the sugared crust made for a nice play on sweet and crunchy.  Toffee like but still staying true to the essence of a well-made Brulée.  My only quip would be to add some berries on the side for a lil added zest.  Overall – divine.

Both Executive Chef Kekes-Marshall and Head Chef Harrison need to be applauded for putting such a cohesive but light menu together.  The meal as a whole was a perfect aperitif to an evening out for more drinks and merriment. 

I left Berber Social feeling satiated.  The martinis offered a nice interlude in between the courses.  I recommend looking at the drink menu and also if you have a chance the luxurious tea box as an after dinner warm treat.  BerBer Social has some lovely staples that even past Winterlicious is worthy of making an investment to visit time and time again.  If not only for the food but the true experience of being in a unique dining space.

Winterlicious runs from January 25, 2013 – February 7, 2013.

BerBer Resto Bar Lounge

49 Front St E

Toronto, Ontario

Phone:  416-860-9000

http://www.berbersocial.com/

Osgoode Hall Restaurant

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My new favourite spot for a prix fixe menu for $20.95 is at Osgoode Hall. Yes, Osgoode Hall.

I’ll admit, I felt a bit intimidated prior to checking out this restaurant knowing that there would be robed lawyers dining. But I was wrong – indeed it was refined dining but the mood felt amiable.

After walking through a metal detector at the entrance of the building.  It took me a minute or two to find the restaurant on the second floor.  When I did I was greeted by the maître d who took me to a table at the back of the room where I could absorb the grand space.  It was grand.  Wooden walls, wooden beams, glorious flags, coats of arms, large study tables and swept clean shining floors.

The Osgoode Hall Restaurant is open to the public from September through June from 12 noon- 2:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and features the cuisine of Executive Chef Adam Foley.

Foley, who has directed the kitchens of some of the top restaurants in Toronto, including the Rosewater Supper Club, Brassaii, Empire and Brant House, has a reputation for simple, clean flavours and classical flare with a modern take. While his cooking style reflects his classical training, his dishes are lighter than traditional European cuisine. “French and Italian food can be too heavy,” says Foley, whose updated classic dishes have won rave reviews.

You can order à la carte or enjoy a three-course menu of seasonal fare from the prix fixe menu, surrounded by leather-bound law books, stained glass and robed lawyers on their way to court.

I ordered the prix fixe menu for the day which included Cornish Hen Galantine with Goat Cheese Mousse and Chutney, Duck Confit with Butternut Squash Gratin and Sautéed Spinach and for dessert I had the Paris Brest with Ontario Apricot and Raspberry Coulis.  I was excited as the menu changes every day.

Carlos was my waiter and he was sure to gently inform me that if you do not make a reservation in the restaurant it’s hard to get a spot after 1 p.m..  He also advised me that some of the wine on the wine list you cannot find in the LCBO – they are exclusive to Osgoode Hall.

When the Cornish Hen Galantine with Goat Cheese Mousse and Chutney arrived at my table within minutes of ordering it – I found it to be beautifully plated.  The Cornish Hen was flavourful and quite a substantial portion for an appetizer.  In that moment I wondered why I even bother going to Summerlicious & Winterlicious in Toronto.  This meal was already proving to be more value for the money.  The Goats Cheese Mousse provided a creamy layer to the hen.  I loved the chutney.  It was fresh and made the hen and mousse dance in my mouth.  A mixture of flavors and textures painted a beautiful picture visually and as I digested.  Taking in the room as I ate added to the ambience.

The Duck Confit with Butternut Squash Gratin followed.  If I thought the Hen was substantial, the Duck Confit was plentiful.  The Duck (I was advised from Carlos) took 3-4 hours to bake in the oven at 350 degrees at a slow heat to ensure it was tender, moist and decadence once it hit one’s palate.  Agreed.  I didn’t want the rich, warm and velvety essence of the duck to end.  The Butternut Squash was a perfect Fall compliment.  Adding simplicity alongside the duck but ensuring the colourful spinach added an extra depth to my meal.

Lastly, the desert was the Paris Brest with Ontario Apricot and Raspberry Coulis.  The Paris Brest could be described as biscotti in the shape of a circle with a delicious almond and pralines cream mousse spread inside.  I loved how the soaked Ontario Apricot in the Raspberry Coulis opened up the flavours of the Paris Brest.  The Ontario Apricots on this plate were the real heroes.

This maybe the best kept secret on Queen Street West.  If you are looking to do something slightly different with your mates during the lunch hour – check out the Osgoode Hall Restaurant within the Law Society of Upper Canada’s premises at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. West, South Entrance.

Reservations are recommended. Reserve a table by calling (416) 947-3361 or email orestaurant@lsuc.on.ca.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/menu/

Restaurant Review: Bannock

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Tucked into side of The Hudson Bay Company at the corner of Queen Street West and Bay Street in Toronto is the home of Bannock.  This space originally housed The Bay’s signature label line, which I never saw anyone shopping in.  It’s nice to see the space transformed into a yummy eatery.

With a total of 4,348 square feet, Bannock is part grab-and-go café, part coffee shop, and part dine-in restaurant. The architecture reflects the menu – eclectic and approachably Canadian – featuring antique pine and hemlock reclaimed from one of the Queen’s wharfs that sat under the waters of Lake Ontario at York Street for over a hundred years.   The owners Oliver and Bonacini also own the likes of ‘Canoe’ and ‘Auberge Du Pommier’ in Toronto.

Bannock’s honest approach to food is rooted in familiar, wholesome ingredients that are reflective of Canada’s rich regional and cultural diversity, delivered in an innovative and playful way. Everyday classics are revitalized as the Chefs pay homage to traditional Canadian comfort foods, putting our cultural favourite’s front and centre. Bannock breads are integrated throughout the entire menu including artisan sandwiches and pizzas. Bannock garnishes are also added to soups, salads and main courses.

I have been meaning to come to Bannock for ages.  I decided to make a reservation for my best friend and I for our birthdays last week.  When we arrived we were seated at a lovely banquette table for two with a great view of the restaurant.

Marcel our waiter greeted us jovially and presented us with menus.  He provided us with some interesting recommendations for specials and left us to decide on our meal options.

My friend and I opted for the pickerel taco + cucumber apple salad on a steamed bun with caviar tartar as appetizer for each of us.  The bun was warm, doughy and indeed very comforting.  The cucumber salad had a chili punch to it.  We were advised by the server that the wine we ordered would make for a nice compliment to the appetizer.  The cucumber was fresh, crunchy and was a contrast to the softly steamed bun.  The caviar tartar was something to marvel over.  It was lush and oozed goodness throughout the taco.  Happiness.

The wine we ordered was the Pinot Grigio, Argento, Mendoza for $32.  It was a perfect accent to our evening.  It  anchored our appetizer and entrees choices.  It’s a great feeling when you are sipping away at a sweet but mild white between bites.  Very soothing and amplified the flavours within the meal.

For entrees my friend ordered the Seared B.C.  Albacore Tuna.  It came with wax beans, smashed fingerlings, roots crudités, banga cauda.  The Seared B.C.  Albacore Tuna was prepared beautifully on the plate.  The tuna was generous and could be swallowed whole – it was that soft.  It looked like Turkish delights only larger in depth and quantity.  The smashed fingerlings, roots crudités, banga cauda provided the colour and the background sounds to the main meal.  It was light enough that my friend felt satiated and had room enough in her belly for more wine, martinis and dessert.  Isn’t that the best feeling after having a gourmet and pristinely prepared meal?  Perfection.

I ordered the Ontario Venison Chuck Chili which came with great northern beans and bannock.  Bannock, also known as fry bread, skaan/scone or Indian bread, is found throughout North American native cuisine.  Today, bannock is a growing culinary trend across Canada with non-aboriginal people.  The bannock in my meal was prepared on site at Bannock.  It was lovely.

My friend and I had a conversation if the venison would make a good choice for dinner.  Would it be too gamey?  It wasn’t.  Again, perfectly prepared and plated.  The Venison Chuck Chili had a kick to it.  The spring onions added a nice texture next to the chunky chili and soft northern beans.  The bannock that was placed to the side was a gentle addition to be either eaten alone or to sop up the chili.  The venison was robust and very filling.  My friend actually helped me finish my meal.  The bowl wasn’t heaping but if you do order this dish either be prepared to take some home with you or have your friend help.

After dinner we ordered two Niagara Martini’s to start us off on the right foot for our dessert journey. Additionally we ordered a warm smore’s pie and a canoe fireweed butter tart.

The Niagara Martini’s indeed were lush.  We were glad to end our evening with these martini’s as oppose to starting with them.  They were light enough and kept the giggles and celebratory mood through our desserts.  The warm smore’s pie and a canoe fireweed butter tart were supreme.  The warm smore’s pie could be enough of a trigger for choco-holic’s to land them into a Chocaholic’s Anonymous meeting.  Ecstasy.  The slightly toasted marshmallows infused with the chocolatey brownie.  Definitely campfire worthy without the sticky mess.  Civilized but also pure debauchery.

The Canoe Fireweed Butter Tart is a good choice is you slide onto the other side of the sweets scale.  I personally prefer my butter tarts with raisins.  This one did not come with raisins but regardless it was just as buttery as I expected.  The crust was flaky but also sturdy enough to hold together the treat.  Very posh and would be perfect if you were wanting something sweet and light after a heavier meal.

The service that accompanied our meal from Marcel and Jackie was genuine, warm and dedicated.  It’s nice to be seated in a nice restaurant and not feel rushed and most importantly treated like a regular after one visit.  Classy yet comfortable.

The Café/Coffee Shop is open for breakfast and stays open well past dinner hour. The dining room is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday and is open for brunch on Sundays.  Check out Bannock when you have a moment – A truly Canadian and comforting experience.

Bannock

401 Bay St., Toronto, M5H 2Y4

Phone:   416.861.6996

http://www.oliverbonacini.com/Bannock.aspx

An Ode To The Perfect Veal Sandwich at ‘Nonna’s Place’

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I have been craving a proper veal sandwich for ages.  As I perused a list from another popular blog, I noticed one restaurant that sold veal sandwiches was listed as number one.  It was a chain and had pricey fare.  Hmmm.  No.  As I looked farther down the list, I came upon Nonna’s Place.  The name – there was something about the name.  I made my decision – they would be getting my money today.

When I walked into the door at Nonna’s Place on Bloor Street just west of Lansdowne station,  I was immediately filled with warmth.  There was a man sitting and eating a veal and pasta dish quietly.  Ah yes, I know that body language.  A love affair with one’s food.  This was a good sign.

I have had steaming hot veal sandwiches in the past where the sandwich looked gorgeous on a plate and the cheese was melting off the ends and have been gutted after the first bite.  I always feel nervous when I walk into a shop selling veal sandwiches – am I about to be disappointed?  Again!!

Nonna knows her veal sandwiches.  The bun was fresh, fluffy and yet firm.  The veal was beautifully breaded, plentiful, jammed into the bun, the sweet peppers were fresh, juicy and aromatic, the cheese a nice compliment to the whole sandwich.  Ladies and gentlemen, the angels were singing – ‘the perfect veal sandwich’.

As Joanne, the owner and I chatted – I noticed her husband and son working away quietly in the kitchen.  Joanne told me the story of Nonna’s Place with a zest that could only come from love.

Nonna’s Place started as a dream for an ambitious Italian immigrant couple in 1964. Rocco and Francesca Zuccaro wanted to create a business that would support their young family while reflecting their Italian culture. A true Canadian Dream!  😉 Originally known as Shaw Grocery, the Zuccaro family supplied the Bloor Street and Symington area with their daily groceries. As time passed Francesca and Rocco continued expanding their soup and sandwich shop business. After 44 years the Zuccaro’s retired, leaving the Shaw Grocery store in the hands of their eldest daughter.  Joanne changed the Shaw Grocery name to Nonna’s Place as a tribute to her parents.

A true mom and pop shop.  Supporting these local shops is a no brainer.  The prices are fantastic (Veal $6.00, Grilled Strip loin Steak $7.00, Meatball $5.50, Eggplant $6.00 etc.) and the service genuinely professional and appreciative.   Joanne even makes her own Biscotti.  You can also pick up other Italian staples and pasta dishes from her shop.

Keep it in the family with Nonna’s Place – I know where I’m going if I’m having a craving for some proper Italian nosh.  By the way, I needed a nap for two hours after that sandwich.  That says it all.

Hours

MONDAY-FRIDAY

8.30AM – 4.30PM

Nonna’s Place

1419 BLOOR ST WEST
TORONTO,ONTARIO,CANADA
M6P 3L4
Phone:  (416) 531-7367

http://www.nonnasplace.ca