Tell me, who doesn’t love French fries? No one I know, or would want to be friends with, that’s who! Add to that some wonderful fresh squeaky cheese curds, and luxurious gravy, and you have the wonder that is (arguably) Canada’s national dish, poutine!
Bannock is the newest addition in the O&B empire, one of larger privately owned chains in Ontario. I had been meaning to check it out, on many friends suggestions, for a while and thanks to the lentil promotion that I have been working on I had the chance. The good folks at Bannock, helmed by Chef Stephen Pynn, were happy to be involved in this promotion, and I was happy to be invited down to try out some of the food at Bannock. Lentils are so versatile, as we have talked about in my last few posts, and they demonstrated this wonderfully with their dish. Hard to compete with Chef Brady at Toca, and his seared foie gras with strawberry and rhubarb, but the Bannock dish was a contender, for sure.
If you like garlic, you will LOVE the newly opened Lil’ Baci Taverna, in the Yonge and Davisville area of Toronto. Lil’ Baci has another location in the Leslieville neighbourhood that has been around for many years, and is a staple in that food centric enclave in the east end. Mark Bacci is a charming restauranteur, and his experience and knowledge are showcased in both Lil’ Baci locations. Im in love with this bright and airy space that is housed on a bustling midtown block. You know what the best part is? They are opening a sandwich shop, and it will be licensed! Amazing.
In the kitchen at Lil’ Baci is Larry Santos, and he has a wonderful new home in the space that Mark and his partners built to create the kind of food that this neighbourhood has been missing. I can really only think of a handful of decent restaurants in that area worth visiting, and am glad to have another option relatively close to home.
I do love all kinds of food, and through this series on lentils I am showing you my love for these wonderful little tasty gems. Earlier, we chronicled some of the food at Frank at the AGO, and their attempt at winning my affections with their lentil dish. Well, sorry to say Chef Yarmovitch, but Chef Tom Brodi at TOCA has blown you out of the water. So, The Ritz is pretty fancy, huh? I havnt been down to that are of the city in a while, and between The Ritz and The Shore Club, we are really elevating our hotel and dining options in the city, and we haven’t even touched on the Trump or the soon to be opened Four Seasons and Momofuku beside the Shangri-La. But I digress, because we are here to talk about lentils, and the food at TOCA.
Do you think Picasso loved lentils? Frank does, as one of three restaurants in Toronto participating in the loveyourlentils.ca contest to win a trip to PEI to hang out with Chef Michael Smith. Frank at the AGO was the first stop on my tour to sample the goodness being prepared by these chefs . I had not been to Frank before, and had wanted to see the Picasso exhibit, so this was a great opportunity to check two things off my list. Or was it? I’m not one for being overly prepared, so when we (mama bear and I) showed up to see the exhibit, and we were told the galleries close at 5:30 (it was 5:00) I was only partially surprised at my failure. Sigh. Well, at least mom and I were hungry, so we went right to Frank.