Introducing the ROMEOWs —  Retired Older Men Eating Out on Wednesdays. They graduated together at Brooklyn college in the 1950s, and still meet for dinner every Wednesday night.

We’ve yet to hear from the JULIETs — Joyful Unhurried Ladies in Epicurean Times, but we know they’re out there.

Photo: Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal.

It’s just a tad early, but clearly some specialty farmers have been able to get zucchini blossoms to restaurants like Petite Maison in Midtown Manhattan.

My Zia Annina would never serve them with a  sauce — or call them beignets. That’s just verbal embellishment for the menu. She’d put them on a fresh linen kitchen towel, and we’d grab them with our hands and chow down.

Still, a little spicy tomato sauce is a nice touch.

via Wall Street Journal’s Photo Journal. Photo by Ramsay de Give.

The Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, was completed last month, designed by J. MAYER H. Architects, carved out in the centre of town, meshing seamlessly with it.

The mostly timber structure has an archaeological museum, a farmers’ market, an elevated plaza, multiple bars and restaurants underneath and inside the parasols, as well as a panorama terrace on the upper level of the parasols.

How architecture can feed and inspire the soul.

Photographs by Fernando Alda and David Franck.

Today’s episode of Resto Store-Front Typography offers a mixed bag. Look and feel says polish and elegance. But why provide cross-streets at the point where people are already at said cross-streets?

Image via WeLoveTypography

Sottaceto is Italian for vinagery bits of veg that refesh the palate and brighten a dish.

The house pickles at Brooklyn’s Umi Nom. by Ramsay de Give via WSJ PhotoJournal.

Sarah Silverman’s not everybody’s cup of tea. You’re never quite sure with her. She’s always just a couple of degrees off. But it warms my heart to see the Denny’s logo off to the side while she mugs with Dave Koechner on his digital show, “Always Open,” as in, Denny’s is…. If only for Silverman’s impression of Neve Campbell, or maybe it’s the “two lies and one truth” game, it’s hard not to give Denny’s kudos. Here’s the trailer. Here’s the first in the series: Justin Bateman. Watch for Will Arnett, Amy Poeler, Kristen Bell, Will Forte. I’m going to say it. It’s a Grand Slam.

Identity and collateral design for this Vancouver boite is the work of  Glasfurd & Walker, who are also fans. They say the porchetta sandwich and the maple bacon ice cream sandwiches became instant hits.

Chocolate. Absinthe. Donuts. Said to be the signature work of pastry chef Zac Young at Flex Mussels in Manhattan. No wonder why. Photo: Daniella Zalcman via WSJ

Cold, but beautiful. Hot tea would be just the thing.

A detail shot of the tree-ring-inspired Oribe Tea House, Tajimi, Gifu, Japan, 2005.

Designed by Kengo Kuma

Photographed by Daici Ano

via Wallpaper

Worth gathering a party of eight just to nab this table.

I’d opt for a very long lunch, for as much daylight as possible. Dusk would be too bittersweet, as it is here. Too soon, the vista’s going to fade to night, still beautiful, but less so.

I wonder: with a view this delicious, would the food compete by being especially good, or would it be a lost cause, an irrelevant silence, little more than background noise for the senses?

via Racing Like A Pro

More fabulous and whacked photos by Geof Kern here.

… is often a very simple thing.

Chicken Pot Pie from NYC’s Celsius. Via Ramsay de Give for The Wall Street Journal

via This Isn’t Happiness, and yet it is.

Bittersweet to be thinking about ice cream this time of year.

If we’re going to have it, we’re having it indoors.

Come January and February, having a cone while ice-skating outdoors at the City Hall rink …

that’s a fully sweet embrace of the cold for us four-season Canadians.

Pretty frickin’ hot.

Wearing a respirator mask, Sous Chef Wahid Baig shows off the famous Phaal Curry at a Brick Lane Curry in Little IndiaNYC this week. Getting a whiff of fumes as the curry is heated up is enough to make your insides burn. Ramsay de Give for The Wall Street Journal

In my mind, I’m cutting into one of them to see the cross-section, thinking of tongue, which frankly, I don’t really like to do. But from a snout-to-tail point of view, I like that they won’t end up as waste.

At first, I thought they were clever beignets, which provoked a smile, but only briefly, because even though a sweet bit of fried dough is always an  expression of genius, I’d have to pass. For all you adventure-seekers, let me know.

This is the work of April Bloomfield of Breslin, a new NYC resto.

Via More Intellligent Life.

Here’s more on roasted snout.

The Media Panel at the fourth annual Terroir Symposium at Hart House really got my goat, but not in an entirely bad way. The talk gave me what I think is an exciting idea.

We heard a misguided complaint that the media talks only about new restos, which Time Out New Yorks Gabriella Gershenson was able to quickly explain away by iterating the media’s singular purpose: to report what’s new. Next question.

Still, it made me think of A.O. Scott’s weekly video paean to late-great movies. Last week he did Polanski’s Chinatown, with footage. Yup. The knife-to-the-nose scene. Although I was hoping to see Faye Dunaway being slapped through, “My daughter, my sister, my daughter.” Oh well.

Then it hit me.

Why not get people to tell their favourite stories about long-gone Toronto restaurants, and bring them briefly and meaningfully back to life?

What old restaurants are worth remembering and talking about? Which restaurants have great personal meaning for us? Which of them have put an indelible mark on the city’s culinary scene even though they’re gone?

I asked around informally and heard Fenton’s mentioned again and again. Also, Winston’s, L’Hardy’s, Pronto, Three Small Rooms….

For my part, I often think about The Copenhagen Room, where Toronto had its first ahead-of-the-curve experience with “ethnic” cuisine [discounting but not dismissing Italian and Chinese food — I’m talking the ’70s here]. The open-faced sandwich was the gourmet poutine of its day, and you heard that here first.

But back to the panel for another minute. There was a sad detour down a sorry side road.

Can we please stop comparing ourselves to NYC? Or to Vancouver for that matter?

Apple & oranges, people.

Yannick Bigourdan begged us to stop the comparison at the first Terroir. Clearly, it’s a habit hard for us to break.

On the panel’s plus side, kudos to Mitchell Davis for talking about Milwaukee as a food town. His recipe for making a city famous in gastronomic terms: “a citizenry passionate about its food.” We’ve certainly got that in spades.

A nod to Bonnie Stern for reminding us that there’s a difference between a restaurant city and food city.

To the esteemed Alan Richman, thanks for saying that the countryside is where we’re getting some of our best food and dining experiences today.

Sasha Chapman, the city’s treasured food scribe, thanks for saying that, at best, we have to be critical if we’re going to be credible.

More Terroir HIGHLIGHTS:

Indefatigable barristas Sal and Nick from Pantera for pressing out espressos, foaming up cappuccinos and pouring lattes pleasantly all day.

The broth in the dumpling course at lunch. With all the girlie I’ve got in me, I’m gonna say it: DIVINE.

“The cauliflower writes the menu.” David Kinch, who farms specifically for his restaurant.

Joshna Maharaj asking us to make the local food movement more welcoming to imports like spices. “After all, we’re all imports.”

Jason Bangerter on what his kids get to eat [which would explain why they spit out hot dogs at a neighbourhood barbecue].

The “old-school” debate on tipping. I’d love to see that format become a regular. The university setting screams for it.

Rory Gallagher on tipping [or not tipping] Julia Roberts on her last movie performance.

Finally, the touching standing ovation for Arlene Stein, who conceived Terroir and gives any restaurant or food city a good reason to want to compare themselves to us.

Top image via SwissMiss via @designglut


Bejing Noodle No. 9 at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Via We Heart and DesignYouTrust

Below, how the resto sees itself.



A Stanford University study released this week looks at the buying practises at fast-food outlets that display caloric information.

First the good news.

At Starbucks, customers who usually choose high-calorie items were twice as likely to choose a lower-calorie option now that the sad facts stare them in the face.

Since New York City made it mandatory to post calorie charts in April, 2008, Bucks’ customers have reduced their caloric intake by 26 per cent per transaction.

The whipped cream on top: no impact on profits.

Now the bad news.

Another part of town tells another story. Customers of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and KFC in lower-income neighbourhoods, where there’s a higher incidence of obesity, were tracked the same way.

The calorie charts made absolutely no difference.

For as long as there’s fast food of the sort we’re talking about here, there’s going to be the exercise of choices that revel in consumption, not vanity.

A couple of years ago in Toronto, McD’s put comfy chairs in one location for a café-style ambiance. I wonder if charts would work there.


For pocket-light teens and urban birds of every stripe, what cold?


Thanks to Doug Tee for Tweeting this today.

Creative ideas like this really get me going. Architecture and design are already riding the container revolution. Restos are a natural application.

And the Economist announced today that Canada is only 14th among the world’s most innovative countries [thanks Sean Moffitt]. There’s got to be a miscalculation. Don’t get me started.

Logistics? Not worried. If the same brights are on it, no problem.

Here’s the Globe’s report.