Tag Archives: apple

Czehoski: creme brulee that doesn’t suck

While I was in Toronto a few weeks ago, I met up with some friends from grad school. One lives in Montreal, the other in London (Ontario, that is). And all the stars aligned and our paths crossed in the T-dot. How about that.

We met at Czehoski, a place too hip for its own good. Having said that, I love it just a little bit. The food is great, the wine list thoughtful, and the space cozy. The service is a little more…relaxed than I would like, but no matter. It just means that you can linger as long as you like – which we did. We lingered for six hours, gossiping and re-living our glory days. You know, the days when I wasn’t pining for my bed at 11pm.

Their composed salad changes daily, and that day it was arugula with quail’s eggs, parmesan and pancetta. The pancetta was so crispy it nearly disintegrated into a powder of salty pork goodness on my tongue. If that’s not enough, the Czehoski burger is insanely good. The patty is juicy and beefy, and quite possibly laced with crack.

For dessert, I was skeptical of the so-called “chocolate ganache” until it came to the table. It is exactly that: discs of chocolate ganache, served with bits of seafoam and crushed pistachios. It’s not exactly conventional, but it really was delicious. The tarte tatin was a little bit disappointing. The apples were cooked but not caramelized, and the pastry was a bit soggy.

Now, generally speaking, I’ve got a beef with restaurant creme brulee. There are so many things to get right. I’m looking for a perfectly smooth, perfectly cooked, unctuous custard, served cold. On top, there should be the thinnest possible layer of caramelized (not burnt) sugar that shatters when you take a spoon to it.

Most places don’t get all those things right, probably because most places don’t have a dedicated pastry chef. Most restaurants make the garde manger do double duty: after the salads and cold appetizers go out, then it’s time for the desserts. Really, do you think it takes the same kind of mindset to make a salad (as beautiful as some salads are) as it does to make and present a beautiful dessert?

That’s another post in itself.

Anyway, this creme brulee was beautiful. It was immaculate. It was perfect. In fact, it was so perfect that I got over my pastry snobdom, had a spoonful, and swooned. And then ignored the fact that the restaurant charged $6 for it when I know full well I can make it at home for a fraction of the cost.

But hey, I’ll pick my battles.

678 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON
(416) 366-6787
Czehoski on Urbanspoon


Food, science

It was a crazy week in IACP land, and I have a serious conference hangover. Not, mind you, an actual hangover, but just a need to decompress and reflect on the past five days. I’m taking the day off until I have the brain power to sift through my copious notes and compose some entertaining, yet informative, posts.

In the meantime, I’m spending the week in lovely Boulder, Colorado with an old friend from grad school. I’m looking forward to a home cooked meal – we’re having pork tenderloin stuffed with apples and nutmeg, the whole thing wrapped in proscuitto. Pork with pork. I love it.

Also, since we’re both chemists, we’re talking about science. We both developed liquid crystalline materials (he still does) so that’s been the main topic of conversation so far. It’s been a while since I’ve used words like smectic, atropisomeric, and chiral.

Anyway, that was my lame attempt at a joke about food science. Because for now, cooking + talking about science = food science. So there.

Happy pi(e) day!

Happy pi(e) day, everyone! The anticipation almost killed me, but it’s finally here.

Last year’s pie was so delicious that I’m repeating it. It’s a chocolate cookie crust, sprinkled with toasted peanuts and caramelized bananas, covered with cream cheese peanut butter mousse, and topped with dark chocolate ganache.

Also in the works is a deep-dish, double-crust apple pie. Just because. It’s classic, it’s delicious, and who doesn’t love apple pie?

Happy eating!

Dine Out Vancouver: Parkside

I’ve been meaning to go to Parkside for a while, going so far as to make it one of my new year’s resolutions. Well, I took advantage of Dine Out Vancouver to cross this one off my list – and it was so good, I’m hoping to cross it off more than once.

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Review: Sharffen Berger Tome Acu

I’m usually pretty skeptical of marketing copy, so I when my contact at Sharffen Berger told me about the utter amazingness of their Tome Acu bar, I took it with a grain of salt.

Well, I’m a believer. And you know what, I will eat my words – as long as those words are made of Tome Acu chocolate.

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Always be prepared

I’m off to a full-day workshop tomorrow, and I have no idea what the food situation will be.  Will there be coffee?  Will there be munchies?  Will I have time to grab lunch?  Will I starve to death in a room full of strangers?

But don’t you worry!  My bag is stuffed full of granola bars, apples and lollipops.  You know, just the basics.

An apple-y weekend

On Friday night, I attended a clothing swap that was to be accompanied by wine & apple tasting. Now, I had no doubt that there would be wine tasting, but lo and behold, there was an apple tasting! We did blind tastings of six types of apples (red delicious, gala, jonagold, fuji, ambrosia, and spartan), and I managed to identify only two of them (gala and red delicous). Sad. I’ll have to work on my apple palate.

I managed to catch a little bit of this weekend’s apple festival. Alas, all the tastings were sold out by the time I got there so I couldn’t practice! There was a display of different types of apples – at least 200 types, I’d say – that was really interesting, and a cider demonstration. The best part was the market, where for $6 you could buy 5Lb bags of apples to take home for the winter. There must have been close to 40 types of apples, many of which I’d never even heard of.

Given that I had bought close to 10Lb of apples while in the interior last weekend, I passed on buying more. I did buy a giant bag of apple chips (oh, so tasty and crispy and delicious) and they have disappeared faster than I could have predicted.