I love this business. Always expect the unexpected. So after spending the better part of two weeks anxiety-ridden over the prospect of having to move to Toronto, I finally made peace with the possibility. I listened to the assurances of friends, family, and representation. I did more research on the franchise and, had to admit, it looked like a lot of fun. I met the major players – over the phone – and found them smart and committed to producing a really great show. This morning’s conference call went swimmingly, the final hurdle before our big week-long pow wow in Toronto that would get the ball rolling. Actually, not the final hurdle. The second to final hurdle, the final hurdle being, of course, a general agreement on our deal. Nuh uh uh. Not so fast! The deal-making process has hit a bit of a snag so I’ll hold off on unpacking that winter coat for the time being.
Damn. I’d even gone through the trouble of putting together a preliminary restaurant list for my five night stay. Thoughts?
The Black Hoof: Specializing in offal (that’s organ meat, kids!). Menu highlights include brain ravioli, duck heart tartare, and thinly sliced tongue sandwich with tarrragon mayo. #1 on my list.
George: Highly recommended by none other than Robert Cooper himself. Menu highlights include pork belly with ricotta cavatelli and chocolate mousse with coffee meringue and pumpkin butter.
Lai Wah Heen: High-end Chinese. Menu highlights include wagyu dumplings and lobster dumplings. But given all of the terrific Chinese restaurants in Vancouver, it’s doubtful I’d make time for one in T.O.
Sushi Kaji: High-end sushi. Unfortunately it’s only omakase so there’s no online menu to check out. Also, Vancouver is chock full of great Japanese restaurants. See above.
Splendido: Named one of Toronto’s Top 10 New Restaurants of 2010 by Toronto Life. Menu highlights include venison raviolo with porcini mushrooms, and foie gras parfait.
Nota Bene: Popular with Toronto “in crowd” (which is, I suppose, both good and bad). Menu highlights include the stilton beef brisker burger and molten chocolate cake with peanut brittle ice cream.
Scaramouche: Thirty years old and still considered one of the city’s best. Menu highlights include red wine braised beef short ribs, lobster ravioli, and soft pistachio meringue.
Canoe: Fine dining with an awesome view of the city skyline. Menu highlights include tea-smoked duck breast with foie gras, pork with lavendar and crispy pig ear, and warm sticky date pudding with whisky sauce and toffee bacon crunch.
Buca: An honorable mention in that Top 10 New Restaurants list, Buca serves up “artisanal Italian”. Menu highlights include fried pig ear and eel, and house cured salumi and lardo.
Colborne Lane: High-end, innovative dining. In addition to a ten course Chef’s menu, the restaurant offers a fifteen course kitchen table tasting menu (“Hey, you, eating the soup. Can you come over here and stir this risotto for me?”). Menu highlights include wild mushroom risotto with whipped mascarpone and black truffle.
Well, I’ll know either way come tomorrow afternoon. Plenty of time to book that Monday flight – and make those dinner reservations.
Still no word on the Stargate front. Sorry, gang. When I do hear, either way, I promise you’ll be the first to hear.
Just got a text from my old Tokyo drinking buddy, Ivon, who is at home, replicating some of the cocktails we enjoyed at Star Bar. He’s already done the gin and fresh pear juice, now moving on to the Moscow Mules. I told him that, just the other day, I invented my own drink. I mixed together every fruit-based liqueur in my liquor cabinet (banana, watermelon, raspberry, grapefruit, lychee, and peach schnapps) and called it a”Fruit Cocktail”. Also, tonight, I’ll be experimenting with Jaegermeister and Apple Fresh dishwashing liquid. According to Ivon, that one’s called a “Bubbly Lady”!