Browsing: Restaurant Features

Crown Princess Fine Dining-Dim Sum in Toronto


We’ve been to a number of places for dim sum in Toronto but none in as opulent a location as today.  The Crown Princess  is a potpourri of crushed purple velvet, marble and chandeliers.  Not my taste in decor, but no matter, the food is fabulous.  We left the ordering to our beloved Chinaman and he did a splendid job. 

D and I were trying to describe one of our favourite selections from home.  This Crispy Taro and Mushroom dumpling came in an attempt.  

We were successful with guessing that it was fried Sticky Dumpling with Meat.  Not as good as Dim Sum Garden in Winnipeg though, I must say.

Sticky rice, normally served wrapped in a lotus leaf was double wrapped in a piece of leaf and pure white paper.  A slightly lighter portion than we are used to and we predict that is the reason for the alternate preparation.

We enjoyed a variety of steamed seafood dumplings:  Har Gow (Shrimp dumpling), Chicken with Vegetable Dumplings, Goose Liver & Caviar Sui Mai  and this new dish, which turned out to be my favourite, Steamed Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings.


Gorgeous presentation and taste.  

I also got brave and tasted Chicken Feet with Chef’s Sauce and

D got psyched up to try Beef Tripe with Spicy Sauce.

The steamed baby squid in Curry Sauce was also new for us-yummy.

Familiar Barbecue Pork Buns filled us up before we ended with Mango Pudding with a stream of evaporated milk drizzled over top.

Crown Princess on Urbanspoon

 Kath’s quote:  “Gourmets! serve the bird roasted, with pink feet, a strip of bacon to cover its modesty, the breast sprinkled with lemon drops.”– Charles Monselet

The Nook


We have bought a second house in our old neighbourhood of Wolseley.  Two of our three kids were born in Wolseley before we moved across the river.  One of the fun things about this process is discovering new neighbourhood haunts.  Our first venture was for Sunday brunch and we decided on The Nook.  The placed was jammed and we took that as a good sign.  

The Nook has been there for eons and I have driven by on my route downtown thousands of times.  It was my first visit inside and I was impressed by the comfy booths and rows of windows.  The staff was so pleasant and helpful.  They pour a great cup of coffee.

Parking is not plentiful and it was apparent by the comings and goings that people arrived at the diner on foot.  So it was likely that we were surrounded by our new neighbours and were duly impressed.

Some of us were still in breakfast mode, while others choose from the lunch menu.

Mom #2 (my Mom-in-law) and I had the perfectly cooked easy over eggs with crispy hash browns (they couldn’t guarantee this from the kitchen since they were so swamped).

Daughter #3 ordered blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon and hash browns (that’s my girl!).

The guys had a Denver,

a Reuban

and a Burger and all were well-pleased with their choices.

The Nook Diner on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote: “Your first job is to prepare the soil. The best tool for this is your neighbor’s motorized garden tiller. If your neighbor does not own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”-Dave Barry

Little Saigon


There is something particularly near to my heart about a family run restaurant.  I suppose it is because our kids have been encouraging D to open one of our own and we just have not has the gumption to do so.  There are toddler toys evident at Little Saigon and I got a glimpse of the newest generation when we were there last week.  Apparently Mom and son are the principals. 

Mom took my order for two Vermicelli Bowls to go when I was on my way to meet my own Mom last week.  She asked me on the phone if I wanted an order of spring rolls and when I declined, she said “no, worry, on the house”.

The very next night I was back again and Number One son took care of us.  In fact, when my sisters and I take our Mom out for dinner, he is almost always our waiter.  We go often with Mom, as parking right out the back door is almost always available and the space is very open and accessible. 

On this night D and I were being treated by a good friend of ours to thank us for our previous hospitality.  A case of paying it forward, as it were.  We had an all-inclusive meal for 4: an appetizer, a soup and four main course dishes to share all for one price ($49).  We started off with Salad Rolls with sliced shrimp apparent through the thin rice paper wrapping. 

Vietnamese Spring Rolls are accompanied by a smooth and creamy peanut sauce and once again Number One son declared “they are on the house”.

Next up was Sweet and Sour Soup.  I love all kinds of Vietnamese Pho (soup) but had never sampled this one-absolutely delicious.

The sizzling chicken in satay sauce, declared on the menu that it would be spicy but we did not find it too hot.

We also enjoyed the beef, ginger and green onions.

The combination seafood and BBQ pork is an old favourite.

The star of the evening, for this and occaisions when we take our Mom was the Salt and Pepper Breaded shrimp with the shell off.  The breading is both salty and sweet and we can’t get enough of these.  Even the shreds of green and red pepper that the shrimp are laid upon to serve them, are delectable.

Little Saigon Restaurant on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote: ““Food responds to our soul’s dream as to our stomach’s appetite.”-Joseph Delteil

Dinner at Deseo Bistro


D was off on a business trip, so it seemed a perfect night to join a good friend for dinner at Deseo Bistro.  I had recently been there for lunch and was salivating over the dinner offerings even then.  We sat upstairs again and the room that was filled with afternoon sun was now warm and cozy, with soft glowing candles and lights from the street.

The only trouble with dining while D was away, was that he was in Banff and asked to borrow my camera because he had never been there before.  This was the panorama outside his hotel window and I am glad that he got a chance to capture it.


But drat, my photos taken on my phone, simply to not capture the beauty of the dishes that were set before us because Chef Scott Bagshaw is truly an artiste.

We started with these BC Manila Clams tossed with pancetta, brussel sprout kim chee, chilis, garlic and a splash of white wine.  Served with grilled bread to soak up all of the delicious nectars.

We then shared this Carmelized Pork Belly that was topped with crispy chicken skin and sour pear.  This “loaf” of meat sat upon a flageolet of succotash.  The meat was sublime with the fat melting away like a smooth olive oil.

We had no room for dessert but enjoyed the comfortable visit over an exquisite Riesling that was suggested by Alejandro Moro, the part owner and manager of Deseo.  He also gave us a quick tour of the loving renovations made to the restaurant to become their new home.

Deseo Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Pork fat rules!” – Emeril Lagasse

Lunch at La Cantina de Mona Lisa


The media business is a close community.  Many people that I work with, I have known for almost twenty years.  In some cases, I am now collaborating with a second generation of media representatives.  But it is highly unusual when virtually 100% of persons gathered at a restaurant for lunch are from one business community.   Such was the case though, at La Cantina de Mona Lisa.  Hot 103, QX 104, CJOB, Power 97, CTV TV and Global TV were all represented by the tables in the room.  This all proves the point that not only am I an appreciator of good food but so are the people that I call friends.

When you travel in Italy and it is around the lunch hour, you might walk over to a market and buy a small, fresh loaf of bread.  You would break this open and find yourself at the cheese truck and request a creamy portion of unripened mozarella.  Continuing along to the meat stall you might ask for a wavy, thin slice of poscuitto ham.  Before you were done, a slice of grilled eggplant or red peppers may be to your liking so you would search those out.  In the end, you would have the freshest, sandwich, piled high with the best ingredients.

This is I think, the experience that Joe Grande is trying to recreate for his customers at La Cantina.  My sandwich was full of sliced chicken breast and a sauteed green vegetable that was think spinach but had a name like broccoli.  Help me out here folks-what would it be called?  It was served on a huge wedge of water bread.  I asked for an add on of grilled eggplant and was in heaven.

One of my lunch dates eats gluten free and she remarked that the same sandwich, when made with their gluten free bread-was the best gluten-free sandwich she had ever had at any Winnipeg restaurant.

My second date had five, cute little buns stuffed with a spicy sausage and cheese.  She called them her pac-man sandwiches.  We also ordered a Bocconcini and tomato salad to share.  Each of these ready to serve offerings are the flat price of $5. and an add on like the eggplant is an additional $2.  What a deal!

Joe was willing to let me behind the counter to photograph what was left of their lunch offerings (they make small amounts, so that everything is freshly made each day)-a Calabrese sausage sandwich and a anti-pasto plate.

When Joe let me into the kitchen there was one staff member, thinly slicing proscuitto ham and another making fresh pasta.


These are the trays that the pasta dries on.

Buon appetito!

Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “When you become a good cook, you become a good craftsman, first. You repeat and repeat and repeat until your hands know how to move without thinking about it.”-Jacques Pepin

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