Tag Archives: mango

Toronto’s Best Dim Sum Part 1: Crown Princess

15 Mar

Search for Toronto’s best dim sum and you’ll likely find Crown Princess on the list. I have been there twice now, both times on weekdays, for lunch. Unlike many other Chinese restaurants, this one is calm and quiet. The decor by contrast, is over-the-top – it’s a space with high ceilings, Roman columns, large oil paintings, and faux marble everywhere – the floors, the bar, and the walls – and yet it’s not all that big. The more intimate size makes you feel like you’re in an exclusive club. The place is bright, with large windows opening onto Bay Street. This grandeur is matched by high-quality dim sum and attentive service.

IMAG1883Above: Beef tripe and steamed bbq pork buns. Everything was yummy!

Crown Prince, TorontoTea is served in fancy English-style teapots and the dim sum pieces themselves are small and dainty. Above: pan fried turnip patties; stir fried greens; shrimp rice noodle roll.

IMAG1880Fried taro dumplings are one of my favorite things to order at dim sum. Unfortunately, most restaurants serve them only lukewarm, and not hot. Crown Prince’s taro dumplings weren’t an exception – this was the only disappointment during my meal. They were also smaller than typical taro dumplings, although each order came with four pieces, instead of three.

Crown Prince - Chiu Chow dumplingsChiu Chow style pork dumplings. (The order came with four pieces. I devoured one before I remembered to take this photo!)

Crown Prince - tapioca puddingA highlight of our last lunch at Crown Princess was dessert. The restaurant makes what is likely one of the best tapioca puddings in the city. There’s no doubt that it’s impressively presented, elevated in a glass bowl. Each pudding is made to order.

Crown Prince - mango puddingMango pudding is cutely shaped like a fish.

The Final Word: Dim sum at Crown Princess is a deliciously refined experience. Though prices are higher than average, the quality of the food is terrific.

Info: Crown Princess, 1033 Bay Street, Toronto, Canada

Crown Princess on Urbanspoon

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Salsa Standoff

7 Jul

Trader JoesMy guy and I eat Mexican food fairly often – quesadillas are easy to make at home, and anything with cheese is delicious. That’s why finding a great salsa is so important.

Trader Joe’s Spicy Smoky Peach Salsa – The first ingredient is tomato puree – take that as a warning sign. It tastes just like tomato sauce, not salsa. Were there peaches in this? Hard to tell. 1/5

Stonewall Kitchen Peach Mango Salsa (medium) – large chunks (an inch long) of sweet peaches and mango balanced the spiciness of the rest of the salsa.  Like most Stonewall Kitchen products, this salsa is slightly pricier than its competitors.  3.5/5

Hedgies Mild Salsa – I bought this at the Farmer’s Market, eager to support local businesses. This salsa is perfectly mild, just like the label says. A good balance of tomato, green peppers, and onion but not particularly memorable. It’s good as a topping on grilled chicken and other hot dishes, but it’s not exactly the refreshing salsa I’d normally put on Mexican food. 3/5 Hedgie's

Archer Farms Pineapple Salsa – claims to be mild, but it’s spicy enough to be medium. There are small cubes of what might be pineapple. In fact, jalapeño peppers are listed ahead of pineapples on the ingredients list. Good balance with tomato flavour. 3.5/5

Paino Organics Number 9 Salsa (mild) – A very hearty salsa, so-named because it has at least nine different veggies. There are tons of tomatoes, onion, and four types of peppers. A good blend of spices makes this salsa stand out. 4/5

Desert PepperDesert Pepper Peach Mango Salsa (medium hot) – Great on chips, burritos, and other TexMex dishes. Not too spicy. Chunky, with good-sized chunks of tomatoes and peaches. However, this salsa loses one point because the peaches are canned, and the salsa’s sweetness comes from the syrup, not from the peaches themselves. 4/5

Drew’s Organic Salsa (mild) – Thick and chunky, just as the label claims. The ingredients are diced up just enough so that the texture is consistently thick, and not interrupted by large vegetable chunks. Not too spicy, with a lot of tomato and onion flavour, and a hint of cumin.  4/5

The Final Word: Lots of great salsa choices, but I’m still looking for one that will be amazing enough to give it a perfect 5.

Authentic Vietnamese: Pho Basil

8 Jul

Pho Basil (Boston, MA) is a small, unassuming restaurant in the Back Bay area that serves beautifully presented, authentic Vietnamese and Thai dishes. The staff is friendly and the food arrives quickly. The place is clean and bright, but like many good Boston-area restaurants, tables are small.

Calamari ($7) is perfectly crispy, served on a bed of fried wonton strips:

The Vietnamese crepe ($8) is a very thin, slightly crispy sheet folded over pork, onions and bean sprouts, served with a delicious ginger sauce:

Mango duck ($15) is a crispy fried duck, served with an assortment of bright vegetables, mango chunks, and a mango sauce. It’s topped with delightful, lightly- fried basil:

The bottom line: Pho Basil is a great place for a casual meal. You can easily fill your tummy without breaking the bank.

Pho Basil on Urbanspoon

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