Eis Café Venezia (Crimittschau)


Eis Cafe Venezia

Situated in the main square of Crimittschau, Eis Café Venezia was one of the few stores opened during a Sunday visit. It’s a small establishment with a patio out front, which was where most customers were mingling on the beautiful spring day.

Some people were sipping on rich coffees, indeed we started with these ourselves. But, it was Eis’ sundaes that made people stare and after seeing one I had to try it. There were plenty adorned with fresh cut fruit, but the one calling for me had to be the Amaretto becher (€5.20).

It’s a behemoth consisting of three scoops of creamy cold gelato - vanilla, chocolate and cookies & cream. The generous mound of whipped cream on top is further covered with whole and crushed amaretti (lightly scented almond cookies), a crispy vanilla wafer and a drizzle of Amaretto (a rich sweet and bitter almond liqueur).

The ice cream and cookies would delight any child, but the liqueur is abundant enough that it reminds you: this is a sundae for adults. Certainly, there was plenty of it; even sharing with my husband we could not finish the dish.

There’s something magical about sundaes – as the gentlemen walked towards me holding it, my eyes lit and everything stops for a moment … until I could get the first taste. At Eis Café the sundae becomes an art form, a towering creation with toppings placed strategically over the gelato to excite and delight. If you’re ever in Crimittschau, a small town in Germany, I dare you to go and just order a coffee.

How To Find Them
 Location: Crimmitschau, Germany
 Address: Markt 4

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog


Little Sister (Toronto)


With an unassuming name like ‘Little Sister’, you may not expect the bold flavours showcased in the restaurant’s dishes. But, intense savoury, sweet and spicy combinations seems to be what Indonesian cuisine is all about - a region of Asian cuisine that’s under represented in Toronto. Truthfully, the dishes were reminiscent of the spicy and sour Thai combinations and aromatic savoury dishes of Malaysia I’ve tried before. But, that makes sense given Indonesia’s proximity to these countries, in terms of location and culture.

The ikan bumbu bali ($15.75) a spice encrusted fish (likely tilapia), was just cooked through arriving hot and flaky. Covered with a sweet tomato ragu and topped with crunchy pickled onions and daikon, this is a lighter dish, ideal for warm weather compared to curries or stir fries.


Apparently, we chose the sides well as I found the fish’s tangy sauce went nicely with the nasi gorgeng ($5.25), a dish that has a slightly spicier taste. The Indonesian fried rice is one of the most popular dishes in the country, so much so that it’s considered one of the national dishes.

At Little Sister, theirs was a bit oily, but the aromatic chili, garlic and shallot aroma more than made up for this. Julienned vegetables helped to add a subtle contrast against the grains of rice, while the sweet soy sauce toned down the chili. There was also another ingredient, perhaps fish sauce, that gave the rice a nice umami essence.

The spiciness of the watermelon salad ($7.50) was unexpected – boy do those finely chopped chilies add heat! Luckily, the watermelon, mint and basil helped to calm the sting and gave the dish a lighter property. The sambal vinaigrette, typically containing shrimp paste, fish sauce and a host of other aromatics, provided a savoury quality as well. Indeed, it’s a salad of many tastes.


With so many flavourful ingredients, dishes could easily become rich and overpowering. Little Sister finds a great balance amongst these intense flavours so that they work together and ensures milder proteins (such as the fish) isn’t masked. I only wish I had a chance to try more of their offerings as the menu sounds delicious! Alas, a return visit with a larger group is required, to replicate the actions of the Globe and Mail’s food critic, Chris Nuttall-Smith: order the entire menu.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2031 Yonge Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Click to add a blog post for Little Sister on Zomato

The Dirty Bird Chicken & Waffles (Toronto)


Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles

The age old saying goes – what came first the chicken or the egg? But, when it comes to chicken and waffles, what intrigues me more is why a dish, synonymous with the American South, first commercially served in New York? Leading me to rephrase the question to: what came first the North or the South?

We credit the Pilgrims for bringing waffles to America after passing Holland and introducing the recipe to New Amsterdam, the modern day New York. They even ate chicken and waffles, topping theirs with pulled chicken and gravy.

It wasn’t until 1938, when Harlem’s Wells Supper Club served the chicken in its fried form. Wells, a restaurant frequented by jazz musicians, concocted the dish as a solution to their diner’s eating hours. Too late for dinner yet too early for breakfast, chicken and waffles was the perfect balance offering a satisfying savoury element paired with a breakfast eat. Herb Hudson further popularized the tradition by opening Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, introducing the dish to artists in the area.

Which brings us back to my original thought: how did this New York dish signify the South? The answer may lie within the Civil War of the 1860’s. Previously, chicken and waffles were served, albeit privately, in the South after Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron from France; chicken was eaten with biscuits and gravy, so it’s not implausible that a waffle soon substituted the biscuit.

African American slaves, often fed from their owner’s leftovers, would have developed a liking to the meal, eating it before long church services during holidays. Then the Civil War happened, where coincidentally fried chicken was also served as the cooking method made the poultry less susceptible to spoilage. After the war, when slaves were freed, many emigrated to the North in search of jobs and a better life. Likely it was these first migrants who brought the dish to New York, the dish later served at Wells Supper Club.

The dish’s pilgrimage continues as it makes its way south of the border into Canada. Over the last year, it’s popping up on menus everywhere and at restaurants like Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles, they even cook it exclusively. Dirty Bird isn’t the diners of the U.S.A., rather it’s a casual eatery that’s largely takeout with about a dozen first-come first-serve seats.

Thankfully, the chicken is fried to order – so don’t expect the line to move quickly or the wait to be brief. Their menu is also thigh, legs and wings only; if you want white meat, you’re in for a disappointment. Luckily, I love dark meat so the menu addresses my need and I opted for the Up North Trip ($14) consisting of three drumsticks, a full waffle and coleslaw.

After waiting over twenty minutes and smelling the fried aroma, I was salivating. Upon cracking open the box I was greeted with dark golden chicken pieces and large waffle pieces.

Chicken and waffles

Although the chicken was hot and juicy, the batter lacked seasoning and flakiness – it was really just one step up from KFC with the crust actually reminding me of the fast food chain. The under seasoning I can live with – after all, it’s reasonable to assume diners may want to dunk the chicken in syrup or add some hot sauce. But, the thin skin that lacked crunch was a disappointment.

The waffle was nicely cooked with a crispy airy crust, but would be even better if the batter incorporated more egg and butter to give the waffle a richness to stand up against the chicken. I did appreciate that Dirty Bird served theirs with maple syrup, a nod to Canada, rather than the U.S.A.’s typical thick table variety.

No matter where it originates from, chickens and waffles is a true fusing dish: sweet and savoury in terms of taste; European and American in culture; and dinner and breakfast for meals. Classes converge and taste buds intertwine, but nothing matters when something is finger licking good.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 79 Kensington Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Click to add a blog post for The Dirty Bird on Zomato

The Re-Birth of Coco Lezzone in Yorkville


Coco Lezzone Toronto

Coco Lezzone has recently moved from their Little Italy location and into Yorkville and celebrated with a Re-birth party. Operating since 1994, diners have been accustomed to their Italian creations served in a swanky lounge environment – this isn’t Nonna’s house. The new Yorkville location carries on the tradition with a large bar at the entrance and an open space dining room that’s great for large groups and cocktail events.

During the launch party, I sampled a number of dishes that would work well for such events (dinner menu prices included for reference). Margherita ($17) and diavolo ($19) pizzas were wispy and thin with a flavourful sauce and tons of cheese. The diavolo is what I’d normally order, topped with salty capicollo and a jalapeno for kick and flourish.


Skewered meat balls ($15) lend themselves for easy eating. Tender and moist, they weren’t overly salty so could be eaten as an appetizer without pasta.


For cocktail gatherings, I’d also suggest having the deep fried spice prawn, which I couldn’t find on their menu but was hot and delicious.


The fried calamari ($15) was cut thinner than I’d like but had a great non-greasy breading. Meanwhile, if you prefer something healthier, the grilled octopus ($16) was meaty and satisfying paired with a red onion, caper and red wine vinaigrette.


An intimate dining room is situated at the back of the restaurant if you prefer privacy. The circular format table was a smart choice to allow for family style sharing.


Coco Lezzone’s menu isn’t all about the small plates, they have plenty of traditional mains as well. Although my picture of the osso buco ($29) doesn’t look the most appealing, the veal was well braised and contained an ample amount of bone marrow. Also, the accompanying saffron risotto was substantial enough to stand up against the rich veal braising liquid.



Little Italy’s loss is now Yorkville’s gain. Coco Lezzone is now satisfying diners with their traditional Italian creations, with a hip cocktail on the side. Aperol spritzer anyone?




How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 137 Avenue Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog

Click to add a blog post for Coco Lezzone on Zomato

Violino (Dresden)




On the top skylight lit floor of the large Altmarkt-Galerie shopping mall you’ll find Violino. The old-school Italian restaurant churns out heavenly smelling pizza and pastas with portion sizes that any Nonna would be proud of: the pasta being ordered by other tables could certainly pass for a family-style platter.

My husband and I stuck with pizza instead. The thin base of the paprika salame pizza (€7) was as light as any made in a pizza oven. A nice crisp crust developed on the bottom while the dough still retained a chewy quality. I can’t help but compare the pizza’s German ingredients with Toronto counterparts: the bell peppers weren’t as sweet rather having a rich pepper flavour while the pepperoni meatier and leaner - not a sheen of oil in sight.

In fact, Violino’s menu publishes the additives in dishes - things such as sweeteners and preservatives that extend the shelf life of products. This transparency is great for diners who are concerned about what’s in their food and shows Violino stands behind the quality of their ingredients.

Drinks are also reasonably priced with a small pilsner costing €2.50. Overall, Violino is a great option for decent Italian food at low prices… just bring an appetite or someone to share with.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dresden, Germany
 Address: Webergasse 1 (inside the Altmarkt-Galerie)


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Wish (Toronto)



Wish Cafe Toronto

Wish has a patio that elicits, “This is so adorable!” comments. With the white washed furniture and cream drapery, there’s a Tetro Verde vibe and allows for people watching on a quieter street in Yorkville. Service is rather slow, but when you’re seated on comfortable couches and having a great conversation with friends, the wait is actually enjoyable.

Visiting for a Summerlicious ($35) dinner, the restaurant was still calm at 6:30. However, an hour later, every table on the patio was occupied. Luckily, we had our orders in so the starters came out at a decent time. The grilled New Zealand lamb chops smelled intoxicating with the scent of charred meat comingling with the mint and citrus pesto.

Lamb chops wish cafe

Although our server requested how we’d like the lamb done (medium rare and medium the consensus), they all arrived well done. Restaurants need to carefully consider their ability to execute upon requests. If it’s difficult to meet exact demands during busy periods, I’d prefer the chef just decide what’s best and serve. Although I prefer the lamb less done, it was still tender and well flavoured; if it was just served that way I’d be content. However, I couldn’t help feeling something was wrong as, in this case, as it wasn’t cooked to my initial specifications.

The poached salmon was moist and flavourful having been brined in a spice mix prior to cooking. Vibrant roasted heirloom carrots set off the pale pink salmon while their natural sweetness complimented the creamy kale veloutee (essentially a creamed kale).

Poached salmon wish cafe

My friend’s half cornish hen was succulent and the dish had a rustic feel to it with the simple but delicious romesco buttered vegetables and a sprinkling of burnt rye toast crumbs on top for added texture.

Cornish hen Wish cafe

It was during dessert where the food started to falter. The Summerlicious menu tempted me with an “apple cinnamon divine”, but despite ordering before 7pm, they had already run out. If a restaurant is only responsible for offering three menu items, the pastry chef needs to ensure they have adequate amounts of it. Sure, I understand if something stocks out at 9pm… but, close to the start of dinner service? That’s poor planning.

An apple crumble pie was the mediocre substitute. Although the filling had a fair amount of apples, it was served cold and unadorned – no scoop of ice cream or even drizzle of caramel – hardly an adequate replacement for something that was “divine”.

Apple pie wish cafe

The spiced kraken rum rice pudding was thick and its paste-like texture not the most pleasant. Personally, I feel just a splash of coconut milk would help thin it out and help it develop a velvety texture. A huge slab of white chocolate speared the dessert adding a decorative element; if broken into smaller pieces and mixed into the pudding instead, it could have provided the much needed texture and flavour contrast.

Rice pudding wish cafe

Wish's plating is on point, providing Instagram worthy photos that will certainly draw in crowds. Sitting out on the patio, with the natural lighting and pale grey back drops, it was a breeze to snap a picture I was happy with. But, what keeps people returning to restaurants will always be the food. In Wish’s case, the savoury dishes (especially the mains) were a hit. However, the lackluster desserts hardly provokes a positive last impression for diners.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

Is Summerlicious worth it (based on my meal selection)?
Summerlicious - $35
Regular menu - $47 - lamb chops ($21), salmon ($22) and pie* ($8)
Savings - $16 or 31%
* The pie were based a wild guess from me

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3 Charles Street East

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Click to add a blog post for Wish Toronto on Zomato

Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse (Toronto)


For people who like meat, especially copious amounts of it, Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse is for you. As a rodizio restaurant, it’s all-you-can-eat: servers bring skewered churrasco (barbequed) proteins to your table until you signal them to stop with a simple flip of the sign. The full Copa experience is $40 on Sunday to Thursdays or $45 on Friday and Saturday (when salmon is served).

Sides, vegetables, charcuterie and other hot eats reside at a buffet area that’s self-serve. There’s actually quite a good selection and their salad bar is great, I particularly enjoyed the quinoa, mango and blueberry and kale salads.


As the server arrives table side, they announce what’s on the skewer. If you want a portion, they slice into it, you use the small tongs provided to grab onto the loose piece and then they finish slicing. Voila! You now have a piece of thinly sliced meat. Usually, they’ll have pieces with varying doneness so you can request something that’s cooked less or more.


The top sirloin was flavourful and tender and probably the meat I had the most of that evening. Other delicious picks was the herby chimichurri steak, fatty and moist butter milk rib eye and juicy flaky salmon.


The salmon, although looking overdone, was surprisingly delicious – glistening and just cooked through.


I find the prime rib with cheddar and filet mignon wrapped in bacon a tad salty, but they also tend to be crowd favourites. Luckily, the Toronto location has toned down their use of seasoning as I found the Niagara branch extremely salty, which for a long time was why I didn’t want to return to a Brazilian steakhouse.

Other beef items include skirt steak, picanha Brazil (a slightly chewier rump cut), flank steak and beef ribs (pulled off the bone and somewhat dry). But, it’s not all beef, Copa also serves chicken (drumstick, parmesan and Moraccan), leg of lamb (tasty and worth a try) and pork sausages.

After I’ve had my protein fill, the thing I enjoy the most is their grilled pineapples. Crusted lightly in cinnamon sugar, the heat helps sweeten the pineapple even more and get their juices flowing.


Fried bananas, corn bread and cheese puffs are brought around in baskets, so enticing that you can’t help but have one. The fried banana was crispy and has the same cinnamon sugar dusting as the pineapples. Their cornbread, always served hot out of the oven, is fluffy and aromatic. Only the cheese puff was a bust for me as the center was doughy and soft rather than airy or molten. 


Copacabana offered great service; the manager coming by on separate occasions to ensure we were satisfied. When we noted that the meat service was a little slow he instantly had more gauchos (servers) visit the table. When we started turning away items citing, “We’ve had this already” they asked us what we wanted and made sure to bring those items in return trips.

Live music and a dance performance may seem cliché but provides a cheerful environment; momentarily distracting me from the food and bringing a slight twinge of regret for accepting the third helping of top sirloin.


Overall, Copacabana was a good experience, especially for an all-you-can-eat atmosphere. Indeed, I probably wouldn’t want to visit too much, as it does promote over consumption on meat. But, as a once in a while indulgence, it’s not a bad way to spend two hours (their seating limit).

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Is Summerlicious worth it (based on my meal selection)?
Summerlicious - $35
Regular menu - $45 
Savings - $10 or 22%

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 150 Eglinton Avenue East

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Click to add a blog post for Copacabana Grilled Brazilian on Zomato