Rose and Sons

I am very much against things that are popular and trendy. This isn’t an attempt to be too cool or to discover and set the next trend, health it has more to do with my distrust of other people’s taste and my general dislike for busyness and crowds. I refuse to line up for hours to eat at the latest restaurant, ampoule and I will not pay huge sums of money because something is in and cool right now. Our meal at Rose and Sons confirmed this for me.

I know I was biased from the start. Rose and Sons is where one of my favorite diners, sale People’s Foods used to be. People’s Food was a huge part of my early relationship with GC. It carried a lot of sentimental value for me, and I am a person who holds very little sentiment in places and things. But I knew I had to look past that and give it a try. I loved that they kept the old signage of the storefront and that it still had the classic retro diner feel to it.

We went for dinner instead of brunch because we figured we could try some brunch menus off the all-day menu and then we could avoid huge, ridiculous lineups. The restaurant is small and they have redone the seating to accommodate larger groups. What this means for a table of two, is that if you are seated at one of the larger tables, you will get squished to accommodate larger groups. Unfortunately, this happened to us. About halfway through our meal, a group of four was added to the other half of our table which was fine but they were probably the most obnoxious people of all time and insisted on taking up far more room than was necessary. We should have been seated at one of the many available booths for two but we were not for reasons unknown to us.

I didn’t love the menu. There wasn’t too much that stood out to me and this was because everything was overburdened with too many different, conflicting flavours. I like simple dishes that allow the tastes and depths of each ingredient to shine through. This comes from doing too much – you can’t combine greasy, diner food with too many ingredients with strong, traditional Jewish flavours. It just ends up too salty.

GC ordered the Patty Melt.

Patty MeltPatty Melt Burger-Grilled Cheese with fried onions, French fries, and chili mayo.
Photo Credit: Rose and Sons

If you can tell me why this sandwich is $16, it would be greatly appreciated.  The burger pictured above is not how GC’s burger came to the table. The burger was almost a florescent pink it was so undercooked. Obviously this is what they are going for but when you are serving something this rare you need to A) tell your customers this burger comes mooing to the table and B) use the highest quality beef. This obviously did not happen as GC felt destroyed after eating this.

I ordered the Mac ‘N Cheese.

Rose and SonsMacaroni and cheese with 4 cheeses, griddled chili Brussels sprouts and breadcrumbs.
Photo Credit: Rose and Sons

And again: if you can tell me why this macaroni and cheese is $15, it would be greatly appreciated. I understand cheese is expensive, it is an unfortunate truth I live with every day of my life with cheese being my favourite food. But don’t charge me $15 for mac and cheese and not even tell me what kind of cheeses I am getting. The cheese sauce wasn’t thick and creamy, it was watery and a thin; not very cheesy at all.

I actually really enjoy Brussels sprouts normally, and I think they were cooked nicely but stood in too much contrast to the rest of this dish. The breadcrumbs added a nice bit of crunch to the dish, which made up for the soupiness of the pasta.

Overall, we were not impressed. We were squished, ignored and given less than great food for a bill close to $50.00. I think Rose and Sons has fallen victim to its own hype: The food was ok, not fantastic; the ambiance and décor were cozy but not warm and inviting; the service was bored and disinterested at best. If you need to scratch this hipster locale off your list, go ahead but you’ve been warned. Luckily, since we ordered foods that can be ordered all day, I can honestly scratch this off the BlogTO Top 50 Brunch restaurants.

Happy munching!

 

 

Breaded and Baked Chicken Drumsticks

When I was a kid I loved chicken drumsticks and now, as an adult, every time I eat them I get nostalgic. I was craving chicken drumsticks last week but I didn’t have any eggs so I needed to find a new way to bread my chicken…

Dijon breaded chicken drumsticks. Crispy, juicy, goodness. This is a mega yums dish and easy to make. And since I had to buy an entire bottle of Worcestershire sauce for this, I will be making it a few times.

Any other recipes I can use with Worcestershire?

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Friday Night Dinner

My dinner on Friday night.

1. Maple Orange Glazed Pork Chops – I love that this recipe is from a site called porkchoprecipes.net. Seemingly sketchy but this recipe is amazing. It is so easy because the glaze is only a few ingredients and just has to be brushed on each side of the pork. The glaze was sweet and complimented the rich, fattiness of the pork. I have officially gotten over my fear of under cooking pork. I have made pork a few times now and have not died! Pork is my favourite protein so I am glad I am not afraid to cook it and that I now have a go-to pork chop recipe in my back pocket.

2. Scalloped Hassselback Potatoes – I came across this recipe a couple of months ago on StumbleUpon and finally gave it a shot. It is cheesy, creamy and a heart attack. Although these are delicious I should not get into the habit of making them frequently. The Parmesan was salty and sharp and worked well with the creaminess from the sour cream and the heavy cream (yes, this is why it’s a heart attack). I would have never thought to pair Parmesan with baked potatoes but it is such a natural pairing.

3. Beet Salad with Goat Cheese – this is similar to, if not the same recipe, my cousin made a few months ago. I love beets and rarely get to use them. The dressing had orange juice in it so it worked nicely with the pork and the goat cheese was creamy and soft. I think I like goat cheese more than I like feta. I don’t think I needed to make a salad with cheese in it since I had made my heart attack potatoes but this is what I wanted to eat. This recipe calls for maple roasted walnuts which I omitted but I can only imagine the maple, nutty flavour that would have gone with the pork.

Some close ups of each part of my meal.

This dinner was a hit and was easy to make. The most time consuming thing was the baked potatoes which took a little over an hour. I can’t wait to get a barbecue so we can make the pork chops outside on the grill instead of inside on the reversible panini-grill.

Happy munching!

Weeknight dinners

I moved out exactly three weeks ago. I have been trying to be a good adult by cooking dinner and making my lunch. I think I have been doing fairly well. I have only bought my lunch twice – I took Theresa out for lunch on her birthday and I went to Subway on Monday. Dinner is a different story – when I first moved down we went out a couple of times but in the past two weeks we have been really good about it. We have only had sushi a couple of times and we went out for dinner with some friends. Overall, a pretty good transition into adulthood.

Before I moved out I stole a mini recipe book from Campbell’s that my mom had from a magazine. It was called “Better Weeknight Dinners” and it features 10 different recipes – 5 of which I have made so far.

1. Chicken & Sundried Tomato Pasta with White Wine Sauce.

This was creamy and sweet. The sundried tomatoes were slightly tart which cut the creaminess and richness of this dish. The chicken was tender and moist but didn’t brown as much as I would have liked. This was because I didn’t dry the chicken well enough (or at all) before I put it in the pan. This tasted great as dinner and just as good as cold leftovers the next day. This is going in the recipe box for future meals.

2. Creamy Basil Salmon Bake.

I will admit – this is not my image, but rather the one from the Campbell’s website. Unfortunately, I did not plate my salmon as nicely. It was because instead of using four individual, frozen salmon fillets we bought one larger, fresh fillet. The red pepper is sweet and the asparagus was perfectly crunchy but still tender. We had to leave the skillet in the oven for about 5 more minutes in order for the asparagus to rich the appropriate tenderness. The sauce had a subtle asparagus flavour and smothered the salmon and the rice making the entire dish creamy and delicious. Another one to keep in mind for future reference.

3. 3 Step Pear & Cranberry Pork Tenderloin.

This was delicious but I don’t think I would make this again. I am referring to this as a pseudo-stew and I think it could hold up on it’s own without any rice. The mixture of pear, celery and cranberry it light, and crunchy and works with the tenderness of the pork. The base of this stew is applesauce which is a natural compliment to pork and makes the pork tender and just fall apart off the fork. Not quiet pulled pork but as close as you will get in 30 minutes and without trying to make pulled pork. And I got to use a new spice! The recipe called for savoury which I had never heard of and I didn’t have but from a quick search I found that marjoram was a replacement which was something new but strangely enough I had some. Now I want to try savoury… what does that even mean? That is an adjective not a spice.

4.Orange Ginger Beef with Angel Hair Pasta and Snow Peas.

This is how mine turned out.

And the above is how Campbell’s made it. I would love to know how this happened. They don’t remotely look like the same meal. Regardless, this is still delicious. Part of my issue was I used way too much angel hair pasta because it is so deceptive. And it clumps instantly. And is so terrible. I now know why people hate it and choose not to use it. I think next time I would use spaghetti instead. I also didn’t use the right type of meat – I was supposed to use steak but I used stewing beef because that is all that I could find at the grocery store and that was a bad idea. Stewing beef, obviously, is very thick, tough meat that is intended to be marinated and stewed for hours to get a perfect, tender consistency. Stewing beef seared in a pan is tough and chewy and not good to eat without a knife. Next time, if I cannot find all my ingredients I will not make a recipe. And I love snow peas! They stay crunchy in the broth and are so fresh. Paired with the mandarin orange wedges. Perfect. However, in an attempt to stop my pasta from clumping, I was constantly stirring everything which pulverized my orange wedges so you didn’t get that big bite of citrus.

General note – everything I cook seems to have garlic in it which is amazing because I love garlic and we have about 12 bulbs of garlic. The only problem is, I don’t know how to chop/mince/cut it but I am planning on getting a garlic press.

5. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Soup with Brown Rice.

This soup is light, citrus, fresh and grainy. Probably not the best time of year to make soup – the past two days it has been close to 25 degrees but I think you could eat at this as a cold soup, which I didn’t try despite believing this. It is a good meal for the summer though because it is light but filling and doesn’t heat up your kitchen. The great thing with all of these recipes is they are made on the stove and typically use only 1 pot/skillet. My only complaint with the soup is yes, shrimp with the tail on is very visually appealing but then I have a bowl of shrimp tails at the end of my meal. Not so great.

5 meals down, 5 more to go. I decided to start with this group of recipes because they were easy and it was a great way to ease myself into cooking. My plan is to cook my way through all my cookbooks (this is very ambitious and slightly ridiculous) once I am done with these recipes. The five remaining recipes are:

1.Low Sodium Lemon & Rosemary Chicken with Quinoa

2. Dijon Cod & Veggie Bundles

3. Chicken with Cheddar Broccoli Sauce

4. Steak & Mushroom Florentine

5. Cowboy Pasta

Harry’s Social Kitchen

Harry’s Social Kitchen is a restaurant at Yonge & St. Clair that is in the former location of Fionn McCool’s. I was walking in this area a couple of weeks ago to meet a friend for dinner and I noticed that Fionn McCool’s was no longer there. I was severly disappointed as Fionn McCool’s was my location of choice (if I had to make that choice) for St. Patrick’s Day – Happy St. Patrick’s Day by the way! Last weekend, my parents came down to take me, GC and two of my three sisters (they love us equally, only three of us live in Toronto) for lunch and my mom choose Harry’s Social Kitchen.

From the outside, this place looks like nothing special. It has garage-door style patio window frontage and the exterior is painted a muted charcoal grey. Don’t let this exterior fool you – rather, see it as sleek, modern and hip which the restaurant is. I wasn’t prepared for how fancy this place was. GC and I showed up late (this seems to be a trend when we go places together but not when we go separately) and I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt which I would have rather not. This is the type of place where they take your coat and hang it up elsewhere before you sit down so needless to say I felt under dressed. The fanciest part about me was the fact that I had make up on. If this place had been busy, and full of it’s typical crowd, I would have felt out of place. But Saturday at 12:30, it was oddly empty.

Now this is a bit of a special post because it will feature the meals of 6 people, which I have never done. My entire family freely and willingly participated and took pictures of their meals. If when they read this, they would like to comment with descriptions and thoughts of their meals, that would be appreciated but I won’t force anyone to do so. I have briefly summarized the comments that occured around the lunch table.

My sister Theresa and my Dad both had appetizers, which I failed to take pictures of. Theresa had the Caesar salad with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. She gave me a flake and it was authentic Parmesan cheese. It was salty, with a little nutty flavour from being perfectly aged. The downside to the salad – it was overdressed. And unfortunately, you can’t really order your dressing on the side with a Caesar salad. Dad ordered the Soup of the Day which was roasted red pepper. The soup was this beautiful burnt orange colour and was speckled with a blend of different spices and seasonings. It was the right consistency – thick and almost smooth, leaving you with a texture so you know it has been freshly puréed.

1. For my lunch I had the Grilled Apple Brie Quesadilla.

Charred green apple, triple cream brie, willow grove hill bacon, maple mustard drizzle, and bourbon tomato chipotle jam.

This was amazing. The apple had been cooked long enough that it was soft but not the consistency of baby food. The brie had melted so it was stringy but not scalding your mouth. The bacon was crispy without being burnt. The maple mustard drizzle – let’s talk about this. I haven’t seen anything like this and after eating this dish I want to go the St. Lawrence market and go to the mustard store. I typically do not like mustard. I only like it on hot dogs and in my Mom’s macaroni and cheese (as an ingredient not some sort of bastardizing topping like ketchup). But this drizzle. The sweetness of the maple syrup was cut by the tangy, zing of the mustard and just created this unique flavour the complimented the sweetness of the apple and even the undertones of the cheese. And the burbon tomato chipotle jam. I like this trend that is emerging of jams in place of salsas and chutneys – they are overdone, often watery and from a jar. If you have a jam instead you know it is fresh, custom and is going to be something you can’t get off the shelf at a store. I want to make my own version of this jam and eat it with tortilla chips.

2. GC ordered the Hemingway Chicken.

Natural chicken breast, agave lime marinade, roasted tomato chipotle jam, romaine leaf & buffalo mozzarella.

I think he was sold at the buffalo mozzarella. And that bun looked unreal – like it just came out of the oven.

3. Theresa and Dad ordered the Woodland Mushroom Tortellini.

Tri-coloured cheese tortellini, basil pesto cream sauce, fresh mushrooms, roasted red peppers & parmesan regianno.

Creamy, woody, salty and cheesy. And a huge portion which Theresa was able to take about half home for dinner. When they wrapped it up for her the included a fork and a napkin in the bag. A nice, logical touch.

4. Mom had Harry’s Soft Tacos.

Two soft corn tacos with southwest spiced angus ground sirloin, shredded nappa cabbage, chipotle aioli, cilantro salsa fresco & manchego cheese.

The cheese was creamy and salty. The beef was perfectly seasoned and had the right amount of heat. We all thought fries were a bit of a weird side with tacos but my mom is never going to turn down fries. I think instead maybe you should get three tacos without fries but obviously the fries are a more inexpensive way for the restaurant to give you a complete meal.

5. Liz had the Parsnip Soup.

Roasted parsnip, organic chicken broth, spring leeks, willow grove hill bacon, roasted garlic cream & gruyère garnish.

Root vegetables are truly underutilized in most people’s cooking and this soup illustrates how delicious they are. It was creamy, but thick with the right amount of salt from the cheese and bacon. The bacon bits were soft and flowed with the texture of the soup. The garlic flavour but was subtle enough to ward off vampires. Delicious. Another dish I would like to recreate at home.

Dessert. Typically as a family, when we go out for lunch and/or dinner we do not order dessert for a number of reasons: allergies, we are too full or the quality is not up to the standards that we could make at home. But anytime a restaurant has crème brûlée you know it is going to be quality desserts.

1. Theresa and I both ordered the Crème Brûlée.

A satisfying crack led you to the silky, custard center. The drizzle on the side was a strawberry, vanilla cream which was sweet and was clearly made from real strawberries. I had two complaints and I don’t know if these were shared by Theresa: 1. All my vanilla beans fell to the bottom (can’t really be helped) so I didn’t get that real, rich vanilla flavour until the bottom of my pot and 2. My custard wasn’t the same consistency all the way down. I think it could have stayed in the oven for a minute longer.

2. Mom and GC had the Apple Crumble with Old Cheddar Cheese.

GC’s only complaint was the cheese – he didn’t want it to be melted.

3. Dad had the Chocolate Lava Cake.

Chocolate. That’s all you need to know.

Overall, we were all very happy with this place. An upscale, adult atmosphere paired with an eclectic mixture of food that is all custom made, on-site. The menu features unique offerings that are not too unique to the point that you will not want to try them or that there isn’t something for everyone on the menu. I would recommend this place for a date night, a girls night, or really, any kind of night. I want to go back.

crème brûlée