Friday, 31 August 2012



Memories are a powerful reminder of how things used to be. They can help enhance and reinforce good times in one’s past. When I was a kid, just old enough to go out on my own trips of discovery in Toronto. I discovered Mr. Greenjeans at the Eaton Centre and had many a good time with friends having burgers, shakes and all sort of homey goodness. Time has passed and many things have changed since those days but Mr. Greenjeans is still a great reminder of how things use to be.  As part of their 32nd Birthday Celebration I was asked to come and rediscover and take a walk down memory lane and have a nice meal at one of Toronto’s most nostalgic favourites. 

I hadn’t visited in a quite a long time but Mr. Greenjeans looks haven’t changed much from my fond memories. We got the choice to sit in the atrium portion of the restaurant which was lovely and airy. Our server was very pleasant and very friendly. Just like how I remembered it to be…the music playing retro hits was a great way to spark conversations amongst my friends and I. Many times it felt as if I were back in high school again…that was a great fun. Got all of us harking for the good ole days.

Taking the advice of our server and our personal cravings we ordered a variety of favourites and classic menu items.  Everything from Crab Cakes, Wings and Calamari to start were on order…I think everybody loves calamari…well at least we do!   We also ordered a variety of drinks ranging from a really well done Spicy Caesar, Peach Pit, Blue Gummy Bear Martini to a Classic Vanilla Float….oh yes!

The drinks and starters came promptly and we were happy with everything. To be honest, this is not fine dining but it isn't reasonable to expect that level of cuisine. The stand out was the Wings and Calamari which were done well and the portion sizes where as we had remembered…on the large side, which was great because we were hungry!

We had some time in between courses to look at the menu and talk about our past experiences at Mr. Greenjeans…the common theme that kept on coming up was how fun the place used to be and still is. The food was always known for its generous portions and diner classics like burgers, shakes and wings. These where good then and I am happy to report that they are still good to this day.

We ordered a few mains including their Perfection Burger and their stuffed Chicken Supreme and a Spinach salad to give some semblance of a healthy meal…please note that the salad was served with a warm BACON dressing.  The fact that I could order the burger my way was a very nice touch…I believe that more restaurants should take colours on their burgers. I ordered mines with a smile hoping for a nice medium done burger…happily, it came just that way. Impressive. 

Did we have enough space for dessert?  At first it was like…I can’t eat anymore….but the server tempted us with a few that were delish and lovely.  We ordered a classic Crème Brulee with fresh strawberries and a Monsterous Choco-Fudge-Brownie dessert that was beyond our expectations. It wasn’t on the regular menu but on their special Birthday Menu…I firmly believe that this could and should replace their current offering of chocolate on their full menu. That’s my 2cents. Anyways, it was very nice way to end the meal.

Memories have a powerful influence over people, that being said, Mr. Greenjeans is one of those establishments that draws on those feelings of the past, happy thoughts and childhood experiences and does it well. To be realistic the food was pretty average, but I can say that we enjoyed our visit, it was really nice taking a trip down memory lane. 

Mr. Greenjeans
Toronto Eaton Centre
220 Yonge St.
Toronto Eaton Centre
Twitter @MrGreenjeansTO

Thursday, 16 August 2012

What is Excellence Myth or Reality?

My Privileged Visit to Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine.

Excellence, is a tough word to define as it relates to the culinary world. Can it be found in the beautiful plating of foie gras custard in a delicate intricate pattern? Or, can it be illustrated in the use of an ingredient picked at its peak perfection and treated simply?  In my opinion it must be both. 

Let me explain, in order to achieve excellence which should be the goal of every restaurant.  Well at least it should be their goal to strive for it. Cause without it…or the striving of it…they would cease to exist or even worse, they would cease to be memorable.  In this cut throat world that is the restaurant business, the worst thing that could possibly happen to you is for you to be easily forgotten.  As is very obvious and evidenced by the numerous restaurants that have come and gone the way of the Dodo bird…

Spring Fresh Pea Custard Amuse Bouche
To describe a restaurant as EXCELLENT…it is a hard and daunting word for me to use when describing my culinary experiences.  It is NOT a word that I toss around lightly…the reality is that excellence is fleeting but not a myth.  It is very hard to attain and can be so easily lost.  Many restaurants go through peaks and valleys and a guests may visit at the wrong time…it happens to all establishments. But, the goal should be there to challenge and inspire!  I am not a food snob, far from it…I enjoy food as much, if not more than the next fellow be it a burger joint or a michellin stared restaurant in Spain.  I am always open to any and all experiences fine dining or not and will think within that framework of what I am experiencing. It is not fair nor even an easy comparison to hold one against the other and judge which is better.

"Pingue's" 24 Month Aged Prosciutto with "Monforte" Toscano, Preserved Lemon, Arugula, Baco Noir Balsamic Reduction
On a recent road trip to Niagara on the Lake, I had the pleasure of dinning with great friends at one such restaurant which I believe you will agree strives for excellence and in my opinion achieves it in spades. The restaurant in question is Treadwells Farm to Table Cuisine in Old Port Dalhousie. Executive Chef and Owner Stephen Treadwell is the true mark of what heart and soul looks like on a plate.  It is very evident that he and his brigade strive for this in his culinary creations and more importantly his tastes. Further, Front of the house Manager and Co-Owner James Treadwell leads their team and provides flawless service and knowledge of Wines, Food and Overall atmosphere. Happily this is a partnership that works very well together.

Potato and Lemon Gnocchi with "Ermite Bleu", Wild Mushrooms, Crispy Sage
I will spare you the reader my tasting notes which I am sure by the end you will see that I would just end up gushing over and over about how much this establishment hit every note and left us all very satisfied. I will let the photos tell the story, making comments as you go along. I will just say that if you consider what was experienced at Treadwells in terms of location, service, ingredients and culinary magic, you must put this place on your foodie bucketlist. It is truly that EXCELLENT!

Tartare of "Cumbrae Farms" Beef with Housemade Potato Crisps and Watercress

Pan Roasted Sea Scallop with Pea Puree, Smoked Bacon, Cheese Foam

Tempura of "David Irish's" Zucchini Blossoms with Sambal Mayonnaise

Pan Roasted Lake Erie Pickerel with "Berta's Bounty" Egg Yolk, Fingerling Potatoes, Summer Vegetable and Smoked Ham Hock Broth

Summer Mushroom Crusted "Cumbrae Farms" Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Potato Puree, Horseradish Jus, Heirloom Vegetables

"Confit" of Atlantic Salmon with Creamed Savoy Cabbage, Oven Dried Tomato, Wild Watercress
Wild Honey Crusted Duck Breast with Pommes Anna, Black Pepper and Balsamic Marinated Strawberries, Foie Gras Jus

Seared Lake Huron Whitefish with Butter Poached Lobster and Smoked Bacon Dauphinoise

A Truly Lovely Panacotta - Simple and Elegant One of the Best!

If I were so bold as to suggest a meal:  I would be torn between the Tartare and the Scallops for a Starter. For a main I for sure would pick the Duck Breast as my hands down favourite and finish with the Panacotta. It was simply divine.

For more information:

Treadwell Farm To Table Cuisine
61 Lakeport Road,
Port Dalhousie, ON

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

To Our Adopted Kitchen Mother - Julia Child

Happy Birthday Julia! 

My What a Revolution You Have Sprung On Us! 

To many she is was spark that opened the doors to the wonderful world of culinary. Professional Chef or home cook she has touched us all and we should all thank her for her gift. She proves that yes everyone can cook. Some better than others...but what of it? Cooking from the heart is what matters...everything else is just bunk. On the celebration of her 100th Birthday let us all charge a glass and say "Cheers!" to her and the joy that she has brought to so many! Big Hugs! Lots of Laughs and Love to our adopted kitchen Mother...Julia Child! Happy Birthday! May we never forget....truly one of a kind!

Photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
  Photo courtesy of Google