Tanjarine's Blog

Toronto GTA restaurant reviews

Aw Shucks! Another review December 13, 2011

Aw Shucks!

When you arrive you feel like you are in a Roadhouse/Bar. Once greeted you realize the dining room is off to the left side of the building behind the bar. Not very warm actually, it felt cold and uninviting. We were seated at the back of the restaurant in the corner. I like to be able to see my surroundings and check out everything that’s going on during my visit. Our server, Blair, was at our side to offer a wine list and the chefs daily creation. As I check out the wine list I notice one of my favorites, Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, a perfect accompaniment with Sea food. Of course, with a name like AW Shucks I would certainly expect the oysters to be on the menu for the evening. I inquire about the oysters, wanting to know who supplies them. I am pleasantly surprised when we are told that their oysters are supplied by Rodney’s one of my favorite Oyster Houses in Toronto. The selection is ample and we order a dozen oysters (Market Price) to share. Raspberry point, a medium size oyster that has a medium salty flavor and is very sweet along with Malpeque, easy to eat with the perfect balance of sweetness, brine and pickle-like liveliness, our favorite!

Our wine arrives, I taste, I like. The gooseberry and light citrus flavors are very playful as they roll around on my tongue. I want more! Blair comes back to see us with our oysters and to take our order. We order the Ahi Tuna ($31) with Sticky Rice, Wilted greens, Wasabi Cream Sauce. The tuna was seared perfectly, rare and still cool in the center, the sticky rice had just a hint of sweetness and a great accompaniment, the wilted greens added just the right amount of colour to the plate and the wasabi cream was delicious and in abundance, almost too much!!!!!!

Ahi Tuna

The Surf & Turf ($42) 7oz Filet Mignon, 7oz Canadian Lobster Tail, White Bean Mash, Braised Red Cabbage and Drawn Butter for Dan. Both the steak and the lobster tail where cooked to perfection.

Surf and Turf

We enjoy our meals as well as the entertainment of the Aurora Santa Clause parade that we watch form our table. Given sometime to relax and enjoy the last of our wine, we peruse the desert selections. All I need now is a great cup of coffee and my all time favorite, I spot the perfect finish to my meal, creme brule’.

My Creme Brule’ was wonderfully smooth, packed full of vanilla flavour, just the way it should be. Dan had an apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.

Perfect crispness, the apples were still plump enough and packed with caramelized flavor that is a must in any good apple crisp! The food and service we recieved at Aw Shucks was good. I found the decor a bit dated and lacked a bit in personallity. We did enjoy our evening but with all the other seafood restaurants out there to try, I don’t think we will be back soon.

Our total bill came to $152.00

Aw Shucks is located at

15474 Yonge Street Aurora, ON L4G 1P2

(905) 727-5100


A visit with Dr. Dog and Rodney March 4, 2011

Heaven on a Half Shell

The phone rings”Hello”

“Hi Tan what are you up to on October 16? Want to go see Dr Dog with me?”

Dr. Who?”

“Who or what is Dr. Dog?”

Then it comes to me, I’ve heard this Dr. Dog before at my brother’s home, they are a band from Philadelphia. I say Absolutely!!! Perhaps we can grab a bite to eat after the show. Hehe…

We make our way downtown Toronto, not really knowing what to expect. I suspect that the music will be good and the company even greater. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with their family and friends. We arrive and hook up with Trevor. We grab a couple of drinks and find our vantage point.

The band goes on, the crowd goes wild, they are good, really good. They sound a bit like a the Beatles meets Motown strange but really good and just the way I like it, LOUD! Really enjoyed the show and it was quite obvious that the crowd that had come to be entertained were truly satisfied. Enjoying them so much I pick up a few of their CDs to add to my collection.

Now for a visit to Rodney’s Oyster House, last-minute choice…so they think. I love to go to Rodney’s. The oysters are guaranteed to be the freshest and the tastiest in Toronto. We ask to sit at the bar and being that it is later in the night we are accommodated immediately. LOVE to sit at the bar not only do you get a great view of what’s going on, you’re also entertained by the bartenders who get to shuck all those oysters. We are greeted by an interesting character who makes us feel right at home, sort of. We  immediately order a dozen mixed oysters, Village Bay ($1.5), Pickle Point ($2.5), Mystic Cocktail ($2) along with a  glass of Cave Springs Sea Legs Oyster White ’09 ($8) for me and a Neustadt 10W30 Ale ($5.9) for Dan. I also decide to have the Krauch Smoked Salmon  ($13) one of our other favorites. Trevor orders the Steelhead Trout ($12). As we enjoy our drinks we try to no avail to engage our server but we get the feeling he’s really not into it. The smoked salmon arrives and it is outstanding, that wonderful hint of smokiness and that smooth velvety texture. The union of  cream cheese,  pumpernickel bread, capers and red onion is a classic combination and truly a delicious experience. Trev’s smoked trout is simply served with lemon and cocktail sauce, I can see he is enjoying the trout, different from what he had expected but tasty none the less.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Trout

Our servers drops by to see how we’re enjoying everything so far and explains he is finished for the evening and the other bartender will be taking over from this point. No “Thanks”, No “have a great night”, No nothing, and he was gone in a flash, off to sit at the end of the bar to have a drink with some of his other co-workers. That was absolutely fine with Dan, Trevor and myself.  We all felt we really didn’t get any service from our quirky little server. Between nibbles of the salmon and trout we indulge in the platter of mixed oysters each very distinctive.  Some sweet, some salty, some large and meaty,  and others on the smaller side but all outstanding.  Our new bartender arrives and I was relieved to see a familiar face, we had been served before by this young man, full of character and stories. Tales of competing in  oyster shucking contests,  and his engaging travel stories, along with the fantastic food have kept us coming back for more. As always we had a great time with great food, drink, and family. Thanks to Trevor for taking such wonderful photographs of the evening, you’re the BEST!

Our total bill came to about $70.00.  Good times free! You will find Rodney’s Oyster House located at 469 King St. West. Toronto, On. 416-363-8105


Downtown comes Uptown January 4, 2011

Filed under: Restaurants — tanjarine @ 1:40 am
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Craving Pasta, so it’s off to a newbie. I’ve heard its like Terra but more modestly priced. I’m down with that!!!!! Great food good price who wouldn’t be? We arrive, entering the dimly lit restaurant you can feel the buzz of a new restaurant.I’m not really sure if they will be able to accommodate us, we inquire about a table for two. Yes, they have a spot for us at the bar or by the kitchen. Normally, I would have jumped at the table at the bar but we take the other. I’m not only there for the food, but to see how well oiled the machine is.

As we are seated I notice the casual but comfortable uniform of blue jeans and black dress shirts. I feel comfortable, sort of warm and fuzzy. I watch all the plates of food leave the kitchen my mouth is watering. We wait patiently for our server, finally he arrives, greets us and asks if we would like a drink. We both ask for some water before we order some wine. Checking out the menu I noticed the Ahi Tuna crudo (19) I love tuna! What to have as a main course is more of a challenge, so many wonderful choices, but I do feel like a big bowl of piping hot pasta.The choice is easy for Dan but for me, not so much. Wild mushroom risotto, with baby spinach, Boschetto cheese and finished with White truffle oil (23) is his guilty pleasure. I on the other hand am leaning towards a seafood pasta. Ahh the Spaghettini ‘Gamberi’ is my choice, Black tiger prawns, pink peppercorns, wild leeks finished in a brandy cream sauce (25).

My tuna appetizer arrives and of course I’m eating with my eyes first. Simply presented on a rectangular white plate, so elegant! The combination of the fennel and radishes so delicately shaved and the avocado with lemon and sea salt all accompanying the seared tuna absolute decadence. I share just to be polite! Finally my 6oz. pour of Pinot Grigio (11) arrives but Dan is left waiting.

My empty appetizer plate is cleared, and almost as quickly our entree’s arrive but still no wine for Dan. His risotto arrives, the aroma wafting from his plate was so inviting. My Spaghettini is a lovely hue of pink, I can’t wait to dig in both pasta are simply plated in classic white pasta bowls. Offerings of freshly ground pepper and grated Parmesan cheese are made. I can tell from the expression on Dan’s face he’s enjoying his risotto but it’s missing something I suggest he take the lemon wedge from my glass of water, he squeezes just a few drops. The lemon seems to lighten the taste of the risotto. Now he’s happy and enjoying every bite.

My turn, shrimp first to make sure they are not over cooked. Perfect!  The pasta is so delicious with that peppery flavor that  arugula has. The sauce is not to heavy but clings to every strand of spaghettini. I want to sop up every last bit. Oh and just as we finish our meals the glass of Chianti (12) Dan has been waiting for arrives he sends it back. Our server does apologize for the delay and clear our plates.

He’s back in a flash with dessert selections. Hands down coconut cream pie made on site, coffee for Dan and Cappuccino for me. The pie is not a slice it’s an actual little pie about three inches wide and all mine, and Dan’s. The presentation is very simple not over the top. Wow! Knock my socks off the pie is great, crust is flaky and the filling is smooth except for the fresh coconut shreds with just a wee bit of whipped cream to cut the sweetness. Our server clears our table and presents our bill. All in all I would give Sarpa a second chance, the food was good the service not the greatest. Opening jitters are not uncommon in the restaurant business and I am always willing to give new restaurants  a second chance.

Our total bill came to about $120.00. You can find Sarpa located at 13311 Younge St. Richmond Hill On.905-773-2188


Massimo Capra “For Real?” October 1, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants — tanjarine @ 4:02 am
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As I do once a month, I look forward to the local offerings of new restaurants that are opening in our community. Early July I spot the article in our local Post. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the newest destination I have been keeping my eye on is open and a relatively well-known Toronto chef Massimo Capra lends his name to the cause.
We are greeted the moment we walk thru the door and take in the beautiful decor, to right was the bar and beyond, the patio with its cheerful large yellow umbrellas. On the left of the entrance the dinning room and kitchen await our visit. We did not have a chance to call ahead but not to worry we are there on a week night fairly early there seems to be ample room for us. Reservations are recommended on the weekend. We are seated in a booth, off to the side of the main dinning room but still in view of the open kitchen. Our server arrives and greets us.
As I peruse the menu my eye is immediately drawn to the grilled calamari ($12) served with sautéed diced tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, red onions, olives and a splash white wine. I have to admit I have a true love of calamari I can never resist it! I choose a Pino Grigio thinking it will be a the perfect pairing with my appetizer, the combination of the wine and the perfectly grilled calamari is wonderful very tender , not chewy and the flavors WOW! We decide to order the roasted mushroom risotto ($15). Roasted porcini, oyster and cremini mushroom risotto garnished with green onion, parmigiano and romano shavings as well as the Four Cheese Gnocchi ($17). Potato gnocchi and onion sautéed in brown butter and served on top of gorgonzola, fontina, parmigiano, and romano cheese sauce. Garnished with fresh diced tomato. The risotto is good but nothing to write home about and lacking in flavor I have had better. The Gnocchi is crispy from being sautéed, the center of the gnocchi is gummy and it’s not like a pillow of goodness.I am very disappointed. No table check was done through out our entire meal, in fact we finished our meals and I had poured all the our wine the whole evening. I was very surprised that there was really no interaction during our meals with our server, until she came to clear our main course plates and left a dessert menu on the table. I did decide to have a dessert. I love Italian desserts and was excited to say the least when I was told that they made their own Cannoli ($8) I had to indulge.
They arrive…. the moment of truth, this is my last impression. They come three on a plate, I take my first bite, crisp shell, and the filling is decadent I am please. Then I look at they other half of the Cannoli that’s left in my hand and realize the center of the treat is empty. I feel totally cheated! I grab the attention of our server and make her aware of my displeasure, she does apologize and offers to get me another. I explained that I really didn’t want another.I just really wanted to make her and the kitchen aware of how I felt as a paying customer.She promptly brought our check, received our payment and didn’t even bother to say thank-you or good-bye. I suppose they really don’t value word of mouth. Our total bill came to about $100.00.
You will find Fraticelli’s located at 10 Vogell Road. Unit B. Richmond Hill, On. 905-883-6841


“Where cash is King” Mexicanada August 10, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants — tanjarine @ 1:31 am


So it’s a Saturday night and my guy says we’re going out for dinner. He’s keeping a secret but bursting at the seams with excitement. He heads north on Hwy 404 from Richmond Hill and my radar goes into action. We drive a route I am familiar with but I still can’t figure it out. Finally I ask him for a hint, nothing, just a smirk. We head into Bradford and pull up to a little place on the main street. Immediately the light goes on in my head. I have noticed this place so many times coming home from the cottage and often wondered what it was like. From the outside I would never guess that beyond the doorway we would be eating some of the best Mexican food we have ever tasted in the area. We were greeted promptly and taken to our table. I notice all the tables had times and names on them this was a good sign to me they were fully booked for the evening, I soon found out why. Our server asked if we wanted a drink, we ordered a lime margarita and a Negro Modela.(Mexican Beer) I take in the decor, bright yellow walls sombrero’s and peasant skirts make you feel like your really in a little Mexican cantina. We check out the menu and immediately I have memories of my Wella (grandmother in mexican) I remember visiting her when i was a teenager she and my Tia’s making home-made Tamale’s for dinner. The smell is unbelievable my mouth is watering and I can’t help my self I have to order just one. I inquire if they are available? Si our server replies, they have Chicken and Pork and they come with Salsa. We also order our meals and another round of drinks the Margarita’s are outstanding and the Mexican beer is pretty good too. We ordered the Combination Platter it has one mini burrito, one quesadilla, one tostada, and one soft taco again you have the choice of chicken, beef or pork or you can order a mixed platter with a bit of all of the proteins. We also ordered Carne Asada it is grilled steak, onion green peppers/served with rice and refried beans (personally not so keen on refried beans but I will give them a shot) My chicken Tamale comes to the table with a mild sauce wrapped in the corn husk that it has been steamed in. As I open up the corn husk a rush of steam hits my nose, the scent of fresh corn and seasoned chicken make my mouth water I can’t wait I go in for my first mouthful….. DELICIOUS, and then I realize I have to share with my dinner date he agrees. Roger our server did a quality check right on cue. Up next was the Carne Asada, and the Combination platter. The grilled steak was tender and perfectly seasoned and the refried bean where out of this world I couldn’t believe it I loved the beans, and everything else. The combination Platter had flour and corn tortillas soft and fried and everything was so fresh and tasty we needed a take home bag for the leftovers we needed to save room for the finally, DESSERT. On the advice of our server we finished it all up with their flan. It was sort of like a Creme Carmel but a little bit firmer and was not quite a sweet, the perfect way to end our adventure! I will be going back again and again to enjoy the atmosphere, service and the food. Very reasonably priced, were “cash is king” our bill was under $70.00.
Last minute thought I should have included the address. You will find Mexicanada located at 32 Holland Street. E. Bradford, Ontario.(905) 775-5881


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