Posted by: Food Lover | August 5, 2014

Savannah: From Regal Decadence to Country BBQ

Anyone who has been to Savannah GA will know that the trip is worthwhile for the food experiences alone. We’ve been twice in the past three years and while the great B&Bs, southern charm, and beautiful architecture are allure enough, what really keeps us going back is the food. This city is, quite simply, a foodie paradise! It’s impossible for us to capture all of our food experiences in a single blog without turning it into a novel. Rather, we’re going to offer a glimpse of Savannah’s food culture by highlighting two ends of the spectrum: from almost regal decadence to good-old-fashioned, down home country BBQ.


First, the decadence, which we’re so very good at. We happened across an online event guide to Savannah which highlighted the Jazz brunch at the Westin Hotel and Resort just across the river from downtown. Now, to be clear, the idea of a brunch in a hotel is not normally something we would consider. However, being familiar with the Gospel brunches of New Orleans, this did spark some curiosity. When we asked our gracious hosts at the Kehoe House B&B, they insisted that this brunch was spectacular and worth the $45/person cost.

Come Sunday morning, we donned our Sunday best and bundled ourselves into a cab (Full disclosure: this was a mistake. Taxis are notoriously late – as our was – and to make matters worse we found out later that there’s a free water taxi, that’s very charming, which will take you straight to the hotel from downtown. Next time.) Once we finally arrived at the Westin, there was quite the journey to the Aqua Star dining room. As we neared, the sound of soft jazz from the very talented live band lured us toward the feast that awaited us.

And what a feast it was! We were gob-smacked as we walked past sprawling tables laden with all manner of delicious foods. Tables were set up with beautiful displays, some things you would expect at brunch and some delightful surprises. Indeed, there was too much to take in at first glance, the selection was so grand.

There was a marvelous plate – nay, vast marble slab – of cold cuts, delicious pates and decadent smoked duck breast with a side of lovely mustard sauce and horseradish to accompany your selections.

deli plate

Next our eyes fell upon the selection of fresh raw oysters, cooked shrimp, smoked scallops and shrimp, baked salmon and lox that had our mouths watering before we even reached our table – a table perfectly situated close to the band and with a fantastic view of the river. Once we sat down and ordered our champagne (which was included in the price – and friends, unlimited quantities thereof!), we went on an expedition to explore the cornucopia of choice we were about to discover. So here we are: live jazz band, grand room with a great view, unlimited champagne and delicious food as far as the eye could see – we were in culinary slut heaven.


It’s important to note there were some typical breakfast offerings, like omelettes, pancakes and what-not, but we hardly spared a glance with all the decadent foods laid out about us. Indeed, we decided immediately to pace ourselves so we could enjoy as many offerings as possible. We started with the rack of lamb station, yes friends, freshly prepared perfectly cooked medium-rare rack of lamb! And this gem was situated immediately beside the beef tenderloin with blue cheese and blackberry sauce – OMG this is brunch! We indulged in the oyster rockerfeller, seafood potpie, roasted veggies, cold cuts and many cheese selections. We never even made it to the fresh pasta station, salad bars or some of the other foods available – we needed to save room for dessert.

rack of lamb

We think you’re getting the picture, we could go on and on. There was a lot of food – so much so that the desserts alone took three camera frames… so from here on out we’ll let the pictures do the talking.


baked salmon






In order for us to get to the Sandfly BBQ we had to take a taxi from downtown Savannah to the outlying community of Sandfly. Was it worth the $50 return (tip included) fare? On so many levels, Ab – So – Lutley!!!!

Let’s be clear. There is nothing fancy or pretentious about this place. Tucked away in a small commercial strip this place is all about the exceptional home cooked BBQ deliciousness; it’s not about ambiance.

The menu is displayed on a large chalk board behind the order counter. There are 5 meat choices: pulled pork; beef brisket; smoked sausage, BBQ side ribs and chicken. Then there is a wide array of sides, ranging from the famous baked beans, the equally famous fried okra, to mac & cheese and the ubiquitous sweet potato fries.


We ordered a sampler platter (sausage, ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket and Texas toast), then threw in a 1/4 chicken, fried okra, baked beans and mac & cheese for good measure. Gluttonous much :)

 meat sampler
chicken and ribs

So, to the food. Tied for best of the bunch: the melt in your mouth beef brisket and the smoky, deliciously fatty sausage. Both were absolutely heavenly. If we ever get back here we’ve already determined that we’ll order sandwiches made with each of these yummy meats .

Tied for second place: BBQ pork side ribs and the pulled pork. The side ribs had a wonderful sauce cooked into the ribs – not sloppy at all, this sauce was essentially caramelized into the meat. The pulled pork was tender and delicious, and we had fun experimenting with the bottled sauces to enhance the flavour.

As for the sides, the baked beans with delicious bits of bacon and pulled pork were to die for. These sweet molasses beans cried out to be scooped from their cup by chunks of Texas toast, and who were we to argue!?

The fried okra also lived up to its reputation, and we were just happy to have at least one vegetable – even if it was a battered and deep fried one – at the table!

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the visit was sitting outside and watching the steady flow of people in and out of the restaurant (this place does a booming take-out business). Families in mini-vans were followed by a patrician gentleman driving a C-series Mercedes, a high-brow couple in a brand new F-Type Jaguar, and then by another couple in a 5-series BMW. An eclectic crowd all attracted by some truly outstanding food worthy of a 96% “Like” rating.

And as fascinating was the parade of local stray, and we think feral, cats that peeked their heads shyly from the building’s corner, watching those dining outside longingly.  One very pretty ginger tabby was particularly brave, staying longer than others and endearing himself to us.  We tore off bits of chicken and ribs and tossed them his way, but he shyly retreated around the corner without so much as a nibble.  As cat lovers we were disappointed but soon discovered why he turned his nose up at our offerings.  Just before the 8pm closing time one of the employees came out of the restaurant with a tub of pulled pork for the cat.  As soon as she set it down the cat reappeared and tucked into the pork ravenously. Clearly this cat had much more refined tastes than scraps of chicken and ribs.  Turns out that this 8 o’clock feeding is a daily routine – just another thing that endeared this place to our hearts.



Posted by: Food Lover | May 18, 2014

Dark and Stormy goes Super Stormy

One of our favourite summer cocktails is the famous Dark and Stormy, a mix of Goslings and non-alcoholic ginger beer; and yes, it does have to be Grosling’s rum, it was MADE for this. While other rum will do in a pinch, the flavor profile of Groslings and the spiciness of a good ginger beer is unmatched.

We’ve come up with a lovely twist on the Dark and Stormy that we’re eager to share with all the lushes of the world.  The weekend had arrived after a long hard week of work and we had decided it would be a weekend of boozing. While in the liquor store we spotted a bottle of Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, a product we hadn’t seen since our travels in England.  It’s as good as Jamaican ginger beer,  which is nice and spicy, with the bonus of alcohol!

So, feeling eager to dip our toes into debauchery, we decided to replace our usual Jamaican non-alcoholic ginger beer with the alcoholic  British version – Crabbie’s (4% alcohol).  Not only was it delicious, it was also dangerous.  It didn’t taste any stronger than a typical Dark and Stormy, so one can easily get carried away.

Bellow you’ll find the recipe, and do use a lot of lime, it’s essential to the end flavour! The chunks of lime contrast and balance nicely against the picante ginger beer giving it a smoothness.


SUPER STORMY – one serving

1.5 oz Groslings Rum
6 oz Crabbie’s Ginger Beer (or alcoholic ginger beer of your choosing)
Half large lime cut into chunks
3 Ice cubes


dark & stormy


Posted by: Food Lover | May 8, 2014

Wall of Shame: Trailer Trash Dog

We had been driving across Bloor St. W in Toronto when we caught sight of a diner named “Disgraceland”.  The name alone caught our interest and we went online to check out their menu offerings.  When we noticed the menu heading “Doggiestyle” had a Trailer Trash hot dog and the desserts included deep fried mars bars… we had to go.  The Wall of Shame demanded it! Indeed, we owed it to all those who actually find love in their hearts for the infamous Taco-In-A-Bag to break new ground in disparaging dining.

The Trailer Trash Dog was an all beef dog drowned in melted cheez whiz and topped with crushed potato chips!  Oh the disgrace!  A dish so shameful, the Disgraceland diner couldn’t even keep it on the menu.

trailer trash hot dog

The sad truth is, growing up poor, one of us loved melted cheez whiz on their dogs as a kid. Then again, we couldn’t afford much.  Nor were we old enough to understand it was spelled “cheez” because it’s actually an edible petroleum bi-product – it’s not cheese at all, it’s post-apocalypse survival food.  Go ahead, show us cheez whiz that’s ever gone moldy, despite it’s ancient expiry date – it doesn’t.  That jar will outlive your great-grand children.

We’re happy to say, this proved every bit as Wall of Shame praise-worthy as we hoped it would be.  You didn’t even get the satisfying crunch of the potato chips because the cheez whiz made them all soggy…. mmmmmm.  We will say the dog itself was actually pretty damn good, and we’re pleased to see they’ve got a great menu with much better suited toppings for the good all-beef mouthfuls.

So there you have it Taco-In-A-Bag lovers, another delicacy for you to indulge in.

trailer trash hot dog2

Posted by: Food Lover | April 28, 2014

Saskatoon’s Dim Sum Gods

We have finally gotten around to posting about our favorite dim sum restaurant in Saskatoon, no wait, maybe our favorite dim sum restaurant in Canada. Yes, there, we said it. Yip Hong’s may very well be the best dim sum in the country.  Now before a flood of derisive emails arrives, let’s be clear. The food here is excellent, but what makes it really special is the atmosphere.  This place is simply THE go to Chinese restaurant in the city. There’s a reason that no matter what time you arrive for Sunday Dim Sum, you will assuredly stand in line for anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes, often times with mostly Chinese and other Asian families waiting for their traditional dim sum meal.   Don’t let the long wait stop you, it’s well worth it. For us it’s always been a pleasurable torture watching the carts go buy, deciding what we’ll order and invariably, once we’re seated, trying not to just raid the first cart that comes by us until we can eat no more.

The long established Chinese community, as well as the influx of new immigrants, allows the food to be uncompromising in it’s authenticity.  Be prepared for a taste of China’s culture as well, service can sometimes be curt and staff can be hard to understand, but that’s just part of the charm.  It’s always lively on a Sunday, keeping the food pouring out of the kitchen, fresh and hot. And because of this, the staff just don’t have time for idle chit chat.  They have to move quickly – and they do! You’ll find they clear and set tables like a well trained army, often before you’ve finished putting your jacket on or while you’re standing at the table waiting to be seated.

Some people are, apparently, put off by the high energy and no-nonsense approach. Perhaps our “favourite” Urbanspoon quote – and our vote for the most ridiculous – was the infamous “it’s too much like being in China” comment from a “don’t like” post  now buried amongst a slew of positive reviews from those who love the dim sum here.

You’ll find the selection is varied and exciting; old classics, some real traditional delicacies and the occasional new dish keep you coming back for more.  We think our photo essay will give you a good tour of some of our favorite offerings.




Shrimp Wraps: Firm  and meaty shrimp, with green onion and a touch of carrot. We love it with a little chili sauce.

Shrimp Wraps: Firm and meaty shrimp, with green onion and a touch of carrot. We love it with a little chili sauce.

The delicious ground pork with shiitake and green onion, is surrounded in a taro root exterior, with a light crunchy skin.

The delicious ground pork with shiitake and green onion, is surrounded in a taro root exterior, with a light crunchy skin.

This sticky rice was cooked in a lovely fatty broth, with delicious chunks of pork.

This sticky rice was cooked in a lovely fatty broth, with delicious chunks of pork.

This pork wrapped in noodle is one of our favourite dishes, the silky outer texture perfectly compliments the meaty filly and delicious delicate sauce.

This pork wrapped in noodle is one of our favourite dishes, the silky outer texture perfectly compliments the meaty filly and delicious delicate sauce.

Though this is not a personal favourite, we notice oriental families love this dish. it's quite fatty and there's a lot of cartilage, but what meat that can be found is tender, juicy and flavour packed. We do love the broth that this dish comes with and pour it over our sticky rice.

Though this is not a personal favourite, we notice oriental families love this dish. it’s quite fatty and there’s a lot of cartilage, but what meat that can be found is tender, juicy and flavour packed. We do love the broth that this dish comes with and pour it over our sticky rice.

Admittedly a classic at any dim sum restaurant, Yip Hong's bbq pork buns are so good that we always fight this temptation in order to leave room for something new.

Admittedly a classic at any dim sum restaurant, Yip Hong’s bbq pork buns are so good that we always fight this temptation in order to leave room for something new.

shrimp and green onion dumpling

This lovely dessert treat is filled with a coconut egg custard so thick it's closer to a paste.

This lovely dessert treat is filled with a coconut egg custard so thick it’s closer to a paste.

Official Website:

On Facebook:

17B 1501 8th Street East
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Phone (306) 956-3375

Yip Hong's Dim Sum Restaurant on Urbanspoon

On Yelp:

On Trip Advisor:

Posted by: Food Lover | August 7, 2013

Pub Wisdom

Some good advice for those of us who are fish-belly white and should flee the sun like a vampire:


Bobby’s Place Olde World Tavern
63 High Street
Moose Jaw, SK

Posted by: Food Lover | July 14, 2013

Wall of Shame: Smalec

Butter?! Pffffffffffftttt!  That stuff’s for health wimps!  At least that’s what my Polish Uncle, pickled with years of dedicated vodka indulgence would say. Okay… maybe he’s my imaginary Polish Uncle, but it’s a fair archetype!  Back in the old country we would indulge in Smalec, basically a seasoned pork lard.  My fellow Culinary Slut had his first taste while we traveled through Poland, and upon seeing the horror on is face did I really appreciate what I was eating. Sometimes you lose context when you’re too close to something.  This artery clogging goodness is seasoned with garlic, pepper and whatever other spice mix the kitchen has decided to concoct, then spread liberally on dense sourdough bread.   I suppose in our past we burned those calories off working  fields and pounding back some vodka. Today we still do the vodka… and we get fat.  Ahhh, the old country.



Posted by: Food Lover | July 14, 2013

Food Porn: Spicy Rice Bowl @ Golden Pagoda

We have wet dreams about this dish. This photo is from their lunch menu. Not only is it always served piping hot, but they don’t hold back on the spices. You can decide how spicy you want it on a scale of 1-8. We routinely order the 6, but when we want a real endorphin rush we will order the 7.  We’ve never had the courage to go to 8.   The uninitiated should tread carefully.

spicy rice bowl

Golden Pagoda
411 2 Ave N
(306) 668-9114

Golden Pagoda Burmese Asian Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Trip Advisor:

Posted by: Food Lover | June 12, 2013

Spice Up Your Cooking

No one knows more about blooming spices than Indian culture.  An Indian Chef once told me, “One cannot be a master Chef of our cuisine until he has become fearless with spices.”  Not only do they know how to combine spices, they know how to intensify the flavour, so that it blossoms on your taste buds.

– Don’t use a wooden spoon which can absorb flavours and odours. Plastic or metal.
– Get a mortar and pestal. Cracking and grinding spices releases their flavour. The same is actually true for coffee beans – a conical burr grinder which crushes the beans instead of cutting them with a sharp blade, releases the oils from inside the bean, making it more aromatic and more flavourful.
-Apply heat: Either toast the spices or heat up with oil.

A great article by: Floyd Cardoz


How to bloom whole spices:  Oil the bottom of a pan and place over medium heat.  You want the oil to be hot, bt you don’t want to see any smoke.  Throw in the whole spices and cook until very fragrant and little bubbles form around the spices. Don’t let them brown.

How to bloom ground spices: First, you need to mix them with a little of the liquid from your recipe—vinegar, water, stock, wine, whatever—to make a thick paste. The moisture in the spice paste helps keep the ground spices from burning when you put the paste in the hot oil. Then you cook the paste until all the liquid evaporates. You can tell it’s time to stop cooking when the oil starts to separate from the spices.

The article offers much more, so check it out!

On Blooming:

In another article food geek points out:

The first thing to note about spices is most of the flavor is carried by essential oils. Because the flavor compounds are tied to the oils, it means that they will not easily dissolve in water or water-based solutions. Although there are ways around this, dumping a bunch of spices into a stew and hoping everything distributes evenly and well is not a guaranteed method of success.

The Maillard reactions are the complex browning reactions that happen to food at temperatures below that of caramelization. Sugar caramelizes at a temperature above the smoke point of most cooking oils, and most food burns if kept at that temperature for too long. Still, the food does turn brown, and it is tasty, and the culprits in these instances are the Maillard reactions.

What blooming does is take advantage of the oil nature of the spice and the potential for flavor-changing maillard reactions without destroying too much of the flavor. The idea is to put the spices into an oil, heat to somewhere just below the smoke point of the oil, and cook for just a little while. Spices will brown, and more importantly, the essential oils will emerge from the spices and infuse the rest of the oil.

What can you do with this spicy oil? You can use it as a last-minute flavor addition, especially for long-cooking dishes such as a stew or anything in a slow-cooker. Any sauce that has an oil component could be modified with this oil. This goes from a reduction sauce or barbeque sauce to, say, mayonnaise.

Posted by: Food Lover | June 10, 2013

Paris Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

We call this the Paris Salad because it’s a dish we had enjoyed at a Bistro in Paris, France. After a late night we had rolled out of bed quite late, and we wanted something light but delicious. We were only just beginning to explore the world of salads,  trying to convince ourselves that it was not a barren wasteland of flavourless greens.  There are so many places that do salads badly, but they can actually be a delicious experience for those that like decadence and flavour. This quickly became one of our favourite salads to make at home!

Paris Salad1 Serving:


• 3-5 shrimp
• sesame oil
• 1 clove garlic sliced

• Spring Green Mix
• Imitation Crab Sticks OR Real cooked crab meat
• 1/2 Avocado – sliced
• Celery – finely chopped
• Cucumber – chopped
• Cherry Tomato – halved
• Red Onion or Sweet Yellow Onion 0-thinly sliced
• Boccocini – halved, I like using baby boccocini which is even smaller

• 1/4 cup tahini
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon soy
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 garlic clove minced
• .5 tsp salt
• 1/8 cayenne
• .5 tablespoon dried parsley
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Sesame Seeds


Tahini: Tahini is a sesame paste that is very common in middle eastern cooking.  Many large grocery chains carry it in the shelves of their ethnic food sections.  If you have a middle eastern market in reach, you may find it freshly made and refrigerated.  You can also make Tahini yourself: 2 1/2 cups of raw sesame seeds on a baking sheets and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted brown. Watch them carefully, they can go from toasted to burned quickly. Let them cool completely.  Place sesame in a food processor with 3/4 cup olive oil. Process for about 2 min, you want it thick but it should still pour into a container.

Avocado Slicing: Here’s a video of how to do it:  I personally like using an Avocado slicer:

Boccocini: This is a type of mozzarella cheese, these are smaller balls some as big as an egg and others are smaller.  Most good grocery stores carry this, you can also find them in Italian Markets, Cheese Mongers and Gourmet Grocery Stores. You’ll find it amongst other cheeses, kept in a container with liquid.


1. Place lettuce in bowl and fill with cold water, then add ice. Let stand so that the leaves crisp up.

2.Place skillet on stove over a medium-low heat.  Sesame oil burns easily so you don’t want to make the oil too hot.  Add in the sliced garlic and let lightly simmer for 2 minutes, giving it a light stir to mix the garlic flavour into the oil. Add the shrimp and simmer on both sides until cooked through. Set aside.

3. Prepare Salad Dressing: Blend the tahini, water, lemon juice, soy, honey, red wine vinegar, garlic, and cayenne together in a blender until smooth.

4. Drain the lettuce. Use a salad spinner to help dry off the leaves. I prefer to serve salads on plates instead of bowls and layer out the ingredients so one is not overwhelmed with too much lettuce or things not mixing right in a bowl. Cover the bottom of the plate in salad mix, just enough so that you can’t see the plate through the leaves. Over top sprinkle desired amount of: Celery, Cucumber, Cherry Tomato, Sliced Onion, Boccocini over top.   Slice 1 half avocado on top of salad.  Place shrimp on top.  If you are serving imitation crab meat cut it into chunks and sprinkle it on top. If you are using real crab, pull apart meat into desired sized peaces and place on top.

5. Drizzle with Tahini Salad Dressing and Garnish with Sesame Seeds.

Posted by: Food Lover | May 10, 2013

Lamesa – Chef Tasting

Lamesa is situated in the popular Queen St. W neighbourhood, and we passed by it often on our way to our favourite Japanese grocery store, Sanko.  One of us had never tried Filipino cuisine and was tormented by the prospect of something new, the other had enjoyed it before and was eager to see what Lamesa had to offer.  It took some time before we had a chance to go, busy city lives keeping this gem just out of our reach, always teasing and getting our tummies rumbling as we passed by.

Finally we forced everything in our life to the side long enough to set foot inside.  Our first meal was   a four course dinner at the bar. The place was packed – almost exclusively with Filipino families – and our scrumptious food and attentive, friendly service made us determined to come back as soon as possible.

Our hosts clearly enjoyed talking about Filipino cuisine and their restaurant’s interpretation of the many varied dishes. As we learned Filipino cuisine is traditionally defined by region,  and being made up of 5,000 inhabited islands there’s a great deal of variation. Even individual families’ interpretations of the same dishes adds to the delightful variations. Lamesa’s goal is to take these traditional meals to a whole new, gourmet level. That, and the prospect of the 11 course chef’s tasting dinner drew us back.

Our host that first evening explained that two days notice was required for the tasting. This enabled the chefs to select the market fresh ingredients that would determine what the tasting would consist of that evening. One thing we had come to expect after our first meal was entirely new flavour experiences, a rare treat for two people whose travels mean we dine out often; we are always trying to indulge our love of exotic foods.

When we made the reservation, it was clear they were excited that people had ordered the Chef’s Tasting. As soon as we arrived we knew the experience would be special. We were greeted by the same person who had hosted us at the bar our first visit and he clearly remembered us. That’s rare these days and made us feel very welcome.

When we were seated, the feeling of being at home intensified. Several of the staff came by to greet us and say that they were excited at the prospect of serving us that evening. It was also clear that they themselves did not know which creations the chefs had in store for us. However, they promised that each course would arrive with an explanation of the ingredients and thinking behind the dish. With that, we ordered our bottle of wine, sat back, and waited for the fun to begin.

Shrimp Bisque Pinakbet

Shrimp Bisque Pinakbet

Our first course was a light tasting of shrimp bisque pinakbet. This is traditionally a stew that comes from the northern regions, with mixed vegetables and a fish or shrimp sauce.  This delicious thick soup consisted of shellfish stock, squash, eggplant, beans, and was finished with Ontario radish.  It had a complex layered flavour that began with the sweet taste of the squash and finished with the velvety lingering flavour of the shellfish stock. It was simply delicious. (You’re going to hear that a lot in this post!)

Pancit Bihon Aroma

Pancit Bihon Aroma

Lamesa’s take on Pancit Bihon,  a very traditional Filipino dish, was beautifully executed.  Pancit is the word for noodle in their native language and the Bihon usually refers to a rice noodle.  This was a delicious combination of mung bean noodle, scallions, pea shoots, cabbage, shrimp, carrots, and Calamansi (Calamansi is a delicious fruit common in Filipino cuisine, the calamansi was described as being akin to a lime version of a Meyer Lemon. Another description was much more playful: “It’s like nature’s version of 5 Alive.”).  It was a light dish while still being packed with flavour.

Longanisa Slider

Longanisa Slider

Without question this dish was one of the highlights of the meal.  Longanisa is a Filipino pork sausage, most often associated with breakfast or brunch, and its origins are actually Spanish.  However, when combined with Chayote,  a squash with a flavour that is a cross between an apple and a pear, and served on a warm toasted ensaymada (Filipino Brioche), this already delicious sausage just explodes with sweet vinegary goodness in  your mouth. The tomato that accompanied the sausage was nice but was, ummm, incidental :)

Shrimp Rebosado

Shrimp Rebosado

Another delightful highlight was the shrimp rebosado.  According to Wikipedia it is known as the shrimp tempura of the Philippines. This slightly garlicky, crunchy shrimp treat was cooked to perfection. Even the tails were lightly crunchy and made for excellent eating.  The crispy coating was salty (but not too salty), slightly peppery, and complemented perfectly by the soy, vinegar and garlic dipping sauce. Eaten with our fingers, this was a fun interlude.

Steak Tataki

Steak Tataki

It was at this point in the meal that the chefs got really serious.  This beef tataki was a revelation. To be clear, we order beef tataki often at Japanese restaurants. It is one of our favourite dishes.  However, this version incorporated flavour combinations we’ve never encountered, and they worked on every level. Served with a sublime onion jam, and thin sliced shallots fried so perfectly they were crisp all the way through without being dry, flavourless or burned. They were perfect little shallot chips.  The calamansi also provided a lovely citric twist that added a distinct flavour to the entire dish.

New Brunswick Oyster

New Brunswick Oyster

At this point we felt daunted by the concept of eating much more, eleven courses sounded like too much.  However, the kitchen proved they knew exactly what they were doing.  The next course was a light serving of New Brunswick Oysters, one per person with some chopped mango for an extra flavour kick. This gave us a chance to digest a little before the next serving arrived.

Diver Scallps

Diver Scallops

Every now and then foodies find themselves chewing on a forkful of food and suddenly universes collide in a big bang of revelation.  This was one such dish.  Scallops, served with squash and gently fried greens on a bed of coconut milk – then off in the corner a pretty smudge of beet coulis, like a passing, almost unnoticed stranger in the background.  Those of you who don’t  like to mix  the different foods that chefs put on your plate miss out on a lot.  As we chatted away, not thinking too much, we mixed the coconut milk and the beet coulis… WHAT?! Conversation stopped. We both paused and did it again.  It was though a new flavour universe was born.  Never had we conceived of mixing coconut milk and beet, but there it was: there is a Dutch phrase “Als een engel plassen op je tong”, which translates as “Like an angel peeing on your tongue”.  This was that. Oh, by the way, the scallops were delicious too.



Quail, with all its crunchy, moist, delicious goodness is another of our favourite foods. We are always very demanding of dishes that feature this delightful little bird – and Lamesa did not disappoint.  A black garlic purée, adobo and chayote provided a symphony of flavour that complimented the moist, flavourful and perfectly cooked pan roasted quail perfectly. We were so excited to get at this dish, we found that we had torn the leg one of the quail before remembering to take a picture.

Beef Short Rib

Beef Short Rib

We think this dish is called Kelarta but we may have that wrong.  This is a deconstructed beef stew consisting of a braised short rib served with pineapple and carrot purée (apparently like the chef’s Dad used to do), kale, red peppers, potatoes, tomato and Parmesan.  This was a great dish, but thank goodness it was the last of the mains. We were stuffed.

Once again, the kitchen had its rhythm down to perfection. Instead of being served heavy sweet desserts the final two dishes delighted the palate while at the same time not challenging already full stomachs.

Avocado Shake

Avocado Shake

The picture speaks for itself.  Our first dessert was a small, flavour packed shake made with a combination of avocado, condensed milk and evaporated milk. This very small portion of one of our favourite beverages proved a great lead up to the main dessert.



The last dish was also the only dish that arrived with the intent that we should share, a very thoughtful gesture by the kitchen. An eleven course meal is a demanding venture, and they made sure that we left satisfied but not overly full.  Milo is a chocolate and malt powder sold in the Philippines, and the kitchen made a rich deconstructed cheese cake with it, the fluffed graham cracker piled up on the side.

I think you get the picture; we had a delightful, unrushed evening at Lamesa. We look forward to returning soon and experiencing new foods and flavour combinations.


Lamesa Filipino Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Official Website:

669 Queen St W toronto





On Yelp:

On Trip Advisor:

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