Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Brunchcapades: Part Nine

Location: Saving Grace, 907 Dundas Street West

I first went to Saving Grace the day after Kat and Jer’s wedding. We had a good sleep in and so brunch was a late one on a Saturday afternoon. Not knowing what to order, I knew before the food hit the table that I would be back to order more.

My second visit was a calculated one as the hour and a half wait on a weekend was a tough one. This time, we chose a Friday at noon. It was busy but we didn’t wait.

There are only two problems at Saving Grace: it is teeny tiny and the dressing on their green salad tastes like water.

The rest is bang on. The menu is interesting and creative, it’s a lot of twists on the classics and it’s clear that someone in the kitchen has an affection for Mexican and Indian cuisine.

A BLT at Saving Grace is tucked into raisin bread and includes avocado. The flavours and textures are attracting opposites; smooth avocado, crispy bacon, sharp cheese and sweet raisins.

Their eggs benny replaced Hollandaise with avocado cream and ham with smoked trout. It was genius both in the mind and on the palate.

The French toast is actually made with French bread. Caramelized bananas are sweet and mushy and the bread is sopping with syrup and browned butter. Add a lamb sausage; it’s the perfect touch of salt to such sweetness.

The espresso is ok, the coffee is great and the tea is loose.

If you haven’t already been to Saving Grace, then go and if you have, then I know you'll go back.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ruby Watch Co.

Ruby Watch Co., 730 Queen Street East, has been one of 2010's most 'talked about' new restaurants. Obviously, I had to go. Now, this post is not going to be a review (per se), but rather a little bit of advice, a recollection of my experience, a certain word to the wise.

Here is the deal:

Ruby has been praised for its' food and criticised for it's daily set menus. You see, Lynn Crawford only serves one meal a day. It's $49 and includes a starter, main, cheese course and dessert. She will account for the veggie lovers, nut and seed eaters and allergic people but if you happen to be like me and not like chicken, well too damn bad if that's what today's menu is because that is what you are going to get.

I like the adventure of it. The unknown. The chance.

I do not like the idea of being forced to eat chocolate for dessert. I know, I know, everyone loves chocolate but I do not.

After a couple of months, Lynn broke and now posts the daily menus for the week so you can pick and choose which day you would like to go based on the gastronomy.

I am embarrassed by the current Toronto Star Restaurant Critic, Amy Pataki, and to be frank, I think that I could be doing a better job but to suite my own purpose, I am going to quote the drag; "Ruby Watchco is like going to a dinner party at the house of a brilliant cook, where the cocktails are dangerously delicious and everyone is drawn to the kitchen."

It's true, Ruby is like going to someone's house for dinner; you don't get to choose what you want to eat and the food may not be how you would have prepared it - this is Ruby Watch Co.

The salad was tender but like a 'Real Housewife', it was way over dressed. The sweet pear and sharp goat cheese totally out done by the wet lettuce. Not even the pretty fresh beets could save it.

The country bisquits, full of chive and cheddar and crunch and moisture were sublime.

The main back fired on me - it was chicken in a chicken wing sauce. What is chicken wing sauce? Beats me, all I saw was roasted chicken supreme in all it's dry, rubbery glory.

Sides were equally disappointing with chalky, slightly underdone potatoes. They were topped with a chive creme fraiche and thank God or else I would have choked.

Mustard greens rounded out the equation. I know they are good for you but I hate them.

Yes, I just used the word hate.

The cheese was a Lighthouse Tomme. It came with yesterday's bread (now toasted) and forced me to order another glass of wine to wash it down with. But being a cheese freak, I can appreciate this as a course.

I guess baking is her strong point as the apple crisp with homemade butterscotch and vanilla ice cream was also a winner.

Sadly Ruby didn't live up to her praise but then again, you can't necessarily take my word for it as today's mishaps could easily be tomorrow's triumphs.

I guess therein lies the beauty of a daily menu.