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Monday, April 23, 2007

Susur and another birthday

Nothing says I love you bro than a dinner at Susur. Especially when your brother works as a chef in the top restaurant in Ottawa. So, Dolby-boy got reservations for his brother, his girlfriend and myself to one of the top restaurants in Toronto.

I must preface this with my first Susur non-experience. I was to have eaten here two birthday's ago. However, after going bar hopping with the Golden Boy, I was too wasted and too incoherent to show my face at dinner. However, despite having drunk two bottles of wine, several glasses of scotch and smoked a Cohiba, I did somehow manage to exercise enough judgement to call my friends at Susur to inform that of my state of inebriation. The final crowning moment of that evening was throwing up in the taxi ride home.

Thankfully, there are always second chances. So off to Susur's for another birthday dinner though not my own. It was a splendid dinner worthy of the reputation of the restaurant. The Toronto Star's food critic has lavished great praise on the food but sharply criticized the service. This was not our experience as Terence our waiter guided us every expertly through the night's culinary delights without any attitude.

As it was Dolby boy's brother's birthday, we decided on the full six course taster's menu (plus dessert) with wine pairing: Cote du Rhone Syrah and Harbordwine Chardonnay. The appetizers consisted 5 dishes: the egg tofu with pickled vegetable, five spice coated foie gras souffle and tuna topped with diced avocado set the digestive juices following.

Next was the main course. Pork tenderloin in a ginger puree coupled with pork belly stewed to perfection with pouched pear. So tender it melted on one's tongue. There was an alternate version served to the birthday boy, peeled stewed grapes with the pork belly.

The foie gras dish followed with several preparations: a seared form in blue berry sauce, a souffle form in a gamy sauce, another seared on its own, a mousse foie gras with almonds in a waffle roll. This dish also had prosciutto and caramelized apple on a bed of fennel coleslaw.

Then the guava sorbet served with a spiced dehydrated pineapple on a tray with dry ice...lovingly referred to as "smoke and mirrors" by the restaurant staff. This was followed by a very Cantonese style corn and sake soup of lobster, prawn and scallop paired with tempura coated spider crab and plantains. This was followed by my personal favourite, seared tuna topped with edible flowers and Dolby boy's favourite, caramelized black cod (sable fish) with spinach mousse.

The dessert really put things over the top. A two tiered platter medley of chocolate (molten chocolate ball, black forest cake, apple crisps, dark chocolate cup with caramelized cherry, mango creme brulee, apple custard, lime merange balls closed the evening. All served with orchid oolong tea (with a hint of coconut).

Afterwards, there was a tour of the kitchen's of Lee and Susur as well as the private function room at Susur by the general manager. Alas, there was no meeting with the man himself. Although he would make occasional appearances in the restaurant, he was busy with a film crew for the Food Network filming new series called "Over the Top Chefs."And for the birthday boy, there was one last gift: an autographed copy of A Culinary Life, Susur's biography and cook book.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Judging by the dire warning of climate change scientists, you may think the end is near. Here in Milton, there have been another sent of warning signs of a ominous change to come. First, there was the flood on the labour and delivery ward. This was followed by the "odd" noises in the floating-tile ceiling. This was later attributed to a squirrel when its dropping were found. The creature has never been seen and really, how on earth did the creature get up into the ceiling in the first place? Today, the hospital is beset with a plague of ants. Now awaiting the hailstorm and the river of blood.