Sunday, July 31, 2011

Top 10 kitchen items

I've decided to put together a top 10 list of kitchen must haves for any Tomato Snob. These things do not have to be top of the line, but something good quality that will last would be my personal opinion )my preference would be top of the line obviously) 

10. Good set of knives particularly a chefs knife. Do not cheap out of here. Trust me you and your fingers will hate yourself if you do not follow this rule. Also you're chopping skill will only get better with a proper chefs knife. You don't need to go out and buy every type of knife, decide what you need/ do most in your own kitchen. As a rule have about 5 including your chefs knife (8 or 9 inch), a paring knife, serrated knife, (2) 6 inch utility, as well as a wooden block to keep them safe. Make sure the blades are stainless steel, molded or riveted handles made from forged steel will last forever and are worth the investment. You will also want to have a sharpener and a pair of kitcken sissors. 

9. Selection of cutting boards. Ideally you want a woden block for bread fruits and veggies, and plastic for raw meats and fish. This set of index style cutting boards by Joesph and Joseph is great way to keep everything organized. You can also create your own set by just buying different coloured cutting boards and using a colour index. Red is for red meat, blue is for poultry, green is for fruits and veg and so on. 

8. Cast Iron frying pan. There are a few things to know about cast iron cooking. The pan needs to be seasoned before used. To do this you must fry onions in a generous amount of oil (not olive oil). Seasoning will create a non stick surface and make it easier to cook in afterwards. Cast iron can last a life time if cared for properly. You NEVER want to put a cast iron pan in the dish washer - this will ruin it. These types of pans are prized for their ability to distribute heat evenly and hold up to very high temperatures. There are a number of ways to clean your cast iron - I like to use a very little soap and warm water with a soft sponge (and only if necessary) and wipe with a think layer of oil when dry. Otherwise I will just wipe with paper towel.  

7. Pots and Pans. Depending on what your cooking abilities are you may not need such a large set. I would start off with a large pot for soups and boiling water (for pasta veggies etc) and a medium frying pan. I have a combination of stainless steel and non stick and I use them for different purposes. The benefits to stainless steel is that they can stand high temperature and are the best for building flavor, searing meat etc... Non stick are great for eggs and anything else if you are a beginner cook. I only buy pots and pans that are oven friendly ie they do not have plastic handles. Make sure to read your labels before use. 

 6. Kitchen tongs. These are probably one of the most useful tools in the kitchen, you should have a few different sized. An extra long one for bbqing or use on a spitting stove item, medium for anything in between, and short for salads. Make sure to get thongs made of steel if being used on heat. The self locking ones are just the best! I really like the OXO brand of small utensils. 

5. Peelers. You really only need one peeler, and you're best off buying a Y shape. These are the easiest to use and cover the most are in one swoop. I just adore my Swissmar set of three from William Sonoma. 

  4. Immersion Blender. This is my absolute favorite of the small kitchen 
appliences. You can make amazing bean dips in minutes, home made mayonaise is a snap (although I always make mine manually) This set by Cuisinart is amazing! It comes with a mini chop attachment and whisk (which I have yet to use). The immersion blender works much the same way a traditional blender does, just be sure the blades are immersed before turning it on. 

3. Fine Mesh Sieve. These make life so much easier when straining small pasta, lentils or vegetables. I also use it to wash/ rinse anything. I like the ones you can hang, although if you prefer this can be swapped for a standing colander or you can even find ones that fit across your sink. The basic difference is the size of the drain holes. 

2. Food Processor. I know there is already a mini chopper on the list but the foodpro is like no other. With the assortment of attachments this tool is a real life saver in the kitchen.  It makes chopping, shredding, grinding and mixing much less monotonous.  
1. Graters. Do yourself a favor and just buy Microplane which is both the brand name and the type of grater. It's one of those long thin ones. I would get one of those for your citrus zesting, garlic, nutmeg etc... and a box grater if you insist for your fruits vegetables and cheeses (although your foodpro will have an attachment for grating as well). 

There you have it folks! This by no means if a lift of everything you need for a well stocked kitchen, just the absolute must have's. These little thing will making your time in the kitchen more efficient and hopefully inspire you to do more cooking.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I ♥ cheese, You ♥ cheese, who doesn't ♥ cheese

Here's a great photo for serving and decorating inspiration at your next shindig. 
Cheese plate  an absolute must when feeding a group is so simple delicious and fun to put together. Anything goes! It's important to have a mix of mild and stinky, and different textures. Here there are cranberry goat soft goat cheese, a triple creme brie, gouda, stinky Canadian Oka, Manchego, and an unpasturized delicious something or other ( can't remember the name).  It's nice to place some roasted nuts and dried fruit around the plate, a bowl of mixed olives. Then grapes are always a must! I also like to have fresh figs and strawberries if they are in season of course. It's also nice to have a diverse mixture of different types of crostini, flatbreads, and crackers. As well a nice chutney or jam is a great addition to any party tray.

Just place everything on a giant cutting board if you don't have a fancy serving tray, but make sure you have proper cheese knives. My favorites are the Antonini olive wood set from William Sonoma they retail for about $50CAN, and make an excellent gift for a bridal shower, house warming or just because. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Watermelon Lemonade with or without Pink champagne

Since I've been slowly writing about all the wedding entertainments I had over the last year. The next few posts are going to be about all the fabulous little details at my shower which was thrown by my ShlepMo (Sara) and her amazing daughters Jay and Roxy.  This delicious and refreshing beverage was a lovely touch. Who doesn't love lemonade especially when there's the option to spiked with pink champagne.


1 Watermelon - rough chopped
Juice from about 6 lemons
3 cups cold water
1 carton of premade lemonade
Sliced lemons

Cut the watermelon and blend until smooth, then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Stir in the lemon juice, premade lemonade and water. Add the sliced lemons and serve over ice.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pan seared halibut with tomato salad & wilted spinach

This is totally Tomato Snob-worthy. Simple and succulent dish. Now is the perfect time of year to enjoy this nice summery dish with local ingredients. The fish can be substituted with any other white fish, whatever you prefer.
filleted halibut
grape tomatoes
spanish onion
minced garlic *optional
basil/ mint or parsley - any combination of the three will be good
splash white wine vinegar (or red)
olive oil (evoo)
PREP: Season fish with s&p sprinkle of spices (more sumac then cumin). Quarter or half tomatoes, fine slice the onion and rough chop herbs and mince garlic. Toss tomatoes, onion, garlic and herbs in a bowl with s&p and drizzle of evoo.
COOK: Pan fry fish in a little vegetable oil or butter for 3-4 mins on each side until cooked to your liking.  Toss spinch into the hot pan after you remove the fish for a min or so.
SERVE: Exactly as shown. Spinach on the bottom with fillets and tossed salad on top.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goat cheese and pistachio truffles

These delicious morsels are super easy to make and are are so beautiful. They really make a splash at any cocktail party. I know this because I served them a while back and everyone went crazy for them. The truffles literally explode in your mouth and have an awesome contrast of cold crunchy and creamy the three most important C's of eating. I'm sure your all wondering what the heck are in these beautiful balls. The secret cold burst comes from the red grape center. No need to write out a recipe it's just too simple. You take a clean seedless red grape mould creamy tart goat cheese around it and then dust them in crushed pistachios - that's it! 

*cooks note make sure you make these right before you're ready to eat them or else the grapes get warm and the nuts get soggy. If you want to do some of the prep before hand mould the goats cheese around the grapes then refrigerate until ready to serve. Once removed from the fridge roll in your hand to warm the cheese slightly - it helps the nuts stick better and enjoy the expression on your guests faces when the truffles bust in their mouths. Priceless!

Uncle Betty's a business meeting and eating on the hottest day in TO

Last Thursday wasn't technically the hottest day in history although it was record breaking to say the least. Maybe this wasn't the best day to eat such a decedent lunch but it sure felt right at the time. If you're drooling over this delicious looking sandwich, well you should be! This was easily one of the best sandwiches i've ever had ever and i'm dreaming of the day I get to eat it again. Uncle Betty's is a newish old school diner style resto at Yonge and Eglington. My friend Becca also known as Rebecca or RTgDesigns suggested we meet there for lunch, and I was stoked at the idea. Becca is a fellow foodie and blogger and I'm really excited to introduce you to her over the next couple of posts. Becca had a great brunch/resto review blog post and I promise to share it with you soon, but lets get back to business.  Grilled cheesse sandwich with macaroni and cheese and pulled pork. This is the kinda sandwich that dreams are made of. It can also be ordered with meatloaf instead of the pulled pork but that's just not my bag. 

I had read about Uncle Betty's before hand so I would know what was good, bad or just not worth it. Becca and I decided we absolutely must try the extreme grilled cheese sandwich with fries obviously.  We decided to share it and order a salad as well to balance out all that grease - very logical we are. 
After some awkward banter back and forth with the waitress our our lunch arrived. It tastes every bit as good as it looks. I had read that the pulled pork was a bit dry and too vinegary but it was perfection to me! I guess the chef had worked out all the kinks because I could not find a single thing wrong with the extreme sandwich or the Greek. The salad had the perfect amount of tartness, good distribution of feta cheese vs lettuce and a nice variety of tomatoes, peppers and black olives. The sandwich was just heavenly. Crispy buttery exterior, creamy cheesy center and slightly sweet juicy  pulled pork to finish it off. I told my husband if he ever decided to stop keeping kosher this was the dish to dive into. The french fries were also really good. 

I should have called it a day after lunch however I couldn't resist a scoop of Gregg's roasted marshmallow ice cream. This ice cream is like no other! It was every bit as good as I imagined. Sweet rich ice cream with strong undertones of camp fire. Right now I'm dreaming of a scoop smack between two soft baked double chocolate cookies. Uncle Betty's actually serves their ice cream sandwiches on fresh made donuts, although I was slightly disappointed to see they were sugar donuts and not glazed. Either way the donuts I brought home for my husband and mother in law where happily gobbled up - even sans ice cream. All in all I would definitely recommend this mid town spot. I don't think it will disappoint.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not a bowl of chocolate pudding

As part of my wedding festivities my now in laws threw an entertainment know as the Noche de Novia or Moroccan Henna Party. They are Spanish Moroccan and this is a very important party to celebrate the bride and do some Moroccan voodoo on  the marriage and cast fertility spells on the couple or something like that. At least thats what our caterer Margie told me after the party. I was just so excited about the food and music and costume etc... I'll tell you more about the evening later on, I just wanted to post this pic of my mom and I holding the ceremonial henna. A lot of the people on my side of the family thought it was a bowl of chocolate pudding... LOL. I'm just glad nobody tried to eat it. Stay tuned. 

It ain't a party without shrimp on the barby

This is my cousin Joanne. She's also known as Joey or couzin by my sister and I. She is one of the best people I know and was one of my matrons of honour at my recent wedding in Mexico. Joanne was kind enough to host my bachelorette party in April and what a fun night it was. I know my sister was ultimately the party planner but I  just had to talk about a signature start to any party at Joanne's place - shrimps on the barby. Joey isn't the culinarian that I am in fact she pretty much can't be bothered in the kitchen for the most part but the grill is another story.  She always serves up something yummy and usually puts very little effort in to preparation. These shrimps were a huge hit. I think she buys a Presidents Choice lemon and paprika  type sauce to marinate the shrimps in, and then serves them with a sweet and spicy chili dipping sauce. Simple and delicious. If I were doing shrimps on the barby I would marinate them in the following: 
SHRIMP MARINATE: Per pound of shrimp ( let sit 30 mins before cooking) 
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin 
2 cloves minced garlic 
1 lemon zested 
fresh cracked pepper
salt just before or during grilling. 
squirt of lemon juice post grilling. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Retiring some tomatoes

To all of you who love this photo I'm sorry but I've decided to retire it. I really have no good reason other then I'm sick of it, and I think it takes away from the blog post at hand. 
Please forgive me - I know there are a few of you who are super attached to it. 
If you ever miss it you can always visit it here, or if you think you won't be ok with out it please let me know and I will send you a post card of it with recipe on the back.
chow for now. 

Fried chicken - The Stockyards smoke house and larder

Is it just me or is fried chicken one of life's most delightful pleasures? I love fried chicken and have ever since I was a little girl. My earliest memories of fried chicken date back to 5 or 6 years old when I had a   weekly date every Saturday with my grandfather. My grandfather is a very interesting man. He appreciates the simple things in life one of those being fried chicken. He's the kind of man who likes what he likes and thats it! You can't ask him to try something out of his comfort zone especially in a restaurant. The man hates carrots and onions although he adores French onion soup (I just don't get it), and if he doesn't like the look or sound of a dish he won't touch it with a 10 foot pole.  Some of the things he likes most are Mcdonald's, Jamaican food, Chinese food, lobster and other crustaceans & mollusks, pizza with pepperoni and anchovies, spaghetti and meatballs, caesar salad, whole fish although he won't touch a fillet, avocado, mango, grapes,  peanuts, but fried chicken is definitely his on the top of his list. I've certainly acquired his love fried chicken and wanted to finally take this opportunity to tell you all about it. 

I recently had some delicious although slightly salty fried chicken at The Stockyards. This tiny hole in the wall restaurant has a line up constantly. The menu is small and quirky consisting of proper bbq, burgers and sandwiches with some surprises like fish tacos and the brunch item called eggs Tommy that I'm dying to try (a take on shrimp and gritts). The day we went the line was so long we decided to take our food to go out of sheer desperation.  That day my hubby went from the peanut butter, banana and dulce de leche sandwich, yes I know he's a weirdo ordering bananas and peanut butter at a smoke house, a but it was Sunday brunch and that's what his stomach desired. 

We shared both dishes and thoroughly enjoyed our food, although we both agreed that the sandwich was slightly overhyped for what it was and missing the promise of drippy dulce de leche stickyness.  The dipping sauce for the chicken was kind of strange like strawberry jelly mixed with cayenne pepper and white vinegar. That being said I would gladly have settled for the chicken and waffles with some pure Canadian Maple Syrup. 

I think Torntonians are so deprived of proper Diner, Drive Inn and Dive worthy fried chicken and waffles we've settled for KFC and Popeyes for years and have zero standards on the subject. Don't get me wrong Popeyes chicken is fucking awesome but it was merely my childhood introduction to deep fried chicken and I've gradually developed much higher standards for gut busting southern fried poultry.

Since i'm still sort of undecided on the final verdict I will bring my grandfather to The Stockyards and get the master Jamaican grandaddy's take on his favorite dish. I will report back my snobettes oh yes and if you know of a great place for fried chicken in our city please let me know. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When bad desserts happen to good weddings

I'm not sure why I decided to write about this. I just came across the photo, and I figured why not. I hope it will be a culinary tale of what not to serve at your next big affair. Is it just me or is a bad dessert the kiss of death? It's the final departure to the meal and when it's bad it's the only thing you can remember. Luckily this terrible display was followed by a pretty excellent popcorn and candy bar. I really wish I had a photo of that instead of the dessert trio swirled together with green candy snot. Seriously thats what the drizzle looked like. If my memory serves me correctly it was also green apple flavored isn't that just the most disgusting thing you've ever heard? Ok I'm exaggerating but it really was terrible! The green goo was surrounded by a scoop of ice cream (vanilla I think) with a super sub par crème brûlée and lifeless flowerless chocolate blech. I think the only thing worth eating was the whipped cream blob and lonely raspberries. In all fairness I don't remember the meal being so great either but when there's 300+ people to serve it's difficult to control the quality of what's leaving the kitchen. Next time your planning a menu for an event and feeding lots and lots of people keep it simple! One well executed dessert would do! I beg you fellow Tomato Snobs no matter what the chef 
or venue says or how lavish you think three desserts sound it may look great, but I can assure you It will taste 
awful - case in point. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Beautiful Beets

I'm sure  by now you're all thinking I have an obsession with beets. I write about them constantly because I eat them all the time.  I really hope you're not sick of them yet. Beets pack a huge amount of vitamins they grow locally and are pretty inexpensive. I find them extremely versatile and I really love to eat them.  I think beets really appeal to my visual side they are just so interesting to look at. Being an artist I find the small variations in colour totally fascinating.  The striped candy canes are so beautiful  with flecks of magenta, pink and white. The golden are just so bright and delicious. I will never get sick of these wonderful root vegetables. I just had to post this picture - no recipe attached this time, but I promise to update soon and show you what I created with these. Happy Friday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top Chef Canada

When I found out one of my favorite Culinary competition shows was not only coming to Canada but being filmed in my home town of Toronto I was over the moon. The show premiered in April and from the very first episode I was underwhelmed. Neverless I continued to tune in every Monday night to see which Canuck would advance to the next round, and which of my favorite FoodTV personalities would be the guest judge.  I'm not sure what is was about this installment of Top Chef I didn't like, I really can't put my finger on it, but something just wasn't the same. Perhaps I have just become too attached to Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Padma Lakshmi  and their own brand of sarcastic entertainment. The prizes were obviously more exciting on the American version and for me so were the challenges and quickfires. Why couldn't I be content with Lynn Crawford, Rob Feeni, Michael Smith, Susur Lee and Chuck Hughes, even Gail maid an appearance, but the love was not there. 

I think most of my disappointment came from the Top chef Canada judges. Mark McEwan was perhaps not the best choice for head judge - yes he's more then qualified but his personality and performance were lackluster. I found him dry and boring, he was much like a lot of the food on the show - one note and totally flat as a t.v. presenter. Shereen Arazm and Thea Andrews were decent eye candy, there was nothing wrong with them, but in the same sense there was nothing right either. They just weren't memorable! 

On the contestant front there were some interesting talented chefs including Todd  and Chris who were eliminated halfway through. Dustin's smile lit up every episode and Francois's cute Quebecois accent made watching more palatable. I had a feeling Dale would end up in the final four as well as Connie even though she stumbled along the way. Rob was someone who didn't make a fast impression but quickly proved himself a force to be reckoned with. In the end I found myself routing for him as he would have benefited the most from winning the competition. Another element of the show was the harshness of which the chefs were criticized. On one of the episodes Connie used puff pastry something she would be damed for on TCA, yet the judges applauded her for it. I was left scratching my head in disbelief. 

I know I'm being tough, and many of you may not agree with me, but this is just my opinion. 
As you all know by now Dale took the win beating out  Connie and Rob. In closing all I can say is fair well, i'm not looking forward to next season unless McEwan is replaced. Any of the guest judges would have been a better choice including the ever arrogant David Adjey or the super corny Roger Mooking. Just a thought. I'm left jonesing for Padma, Tom and Gale. 
- chow for now

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eating Drinking and Being Merry in Montreal - Day 1 and a bit

Hi all,
So I just returned from my gals weekend in Montreal and what a wonderful weekend we had. I was there with some of my closest girlfriends as well as a few ladies I had never met before. We were all coming together for a bachelorette weekend of fun. We stayed at the Onmi Hotel downtown which was kinda outdated.  The rooms were spacious though, the linens were decent and the roof top pool was clutch. We were banking on having the opportunity to take advantage of the pool which lucky enough we did. The weather was just perfect for a weekend of strutting the city in sexy shoes on the pursuit of eating and drinking until our hearts content, 
or rather our stomachs. 

We kicked off the weekend with a late night order in to our old school favorite delivery place Alto. We were exhausted after driving for almost seven hours, and desired something familiar and satisfying. This place was the go to for our University late night greasy lazy fix of chicken fingers and gravy or sauce brune as they call it in MTL. We were totally overzealous with our ordering which consisted of two orders of six chicken fingers & fries and gravy with extra gravy, a large poutine, greek salad and three diet pepsi's. Not exactly sure why we ordered diet pepsi after all the other crap, like it made any difference whatsoever - but we did. 

The food came in a matter of minutes. Something we always really appreciated about Alto's the complete understanding of hunger and convenience in a timely manor. As soon as we tore into the paper bags the smell of our youth took over our tacky hotel room. I looked at the food and instead of feeling excited and eager to quench my hunger my stomach began to turn. The meal looked so much less appealing then it had in the past. I took a bite of my gravy drenched chicken finger and was immediately disappointed.  "This is bloody nasty ladies" I exclaimed. "It's absolutely disgusting" Jill confirmed as gooey cheese oozed off the plastic fork departed from her mouth, "but I can't stop eating it!". I'm not sure if it was Haley or myself who actually posed the question "has Altos changed? or have we?" We all pondered the possibilities. After picking creepy bits of breading and fat off two chicken fingers, and dodging large slices of onions and cardboard refrigerated tomatoes on the Greek salad, I retired into my tightly tucked single bed. "You're on your own gals, I just can't do it" I said. "I'm donzo!" They looked defeated as all well, our dreams of a delicious late night greasy meal was a complete bust, and we could only feel shame and indigestion. Good thing we were all too exhausted to bitch about it for too long before 
we fell asleep. 

The next morning we moved into our sorority like suit and were joined by the West side contingency. We quickly decorated the room with balloons and bottles of champagne, vodka and an abundance of gummy candy and melted chocolates before the bride to be and other guests arrived. All the memories of last nights terrible delivery were long gone, and we were ready to officially start the party of with a proper meal.

We decided a nice lunch on a beautiful patio with mimosas would be great. I was not in to drinking at that point so I decided to go for a pineapple juice with club soda in a champaign glass would do. The restaurant was called Chandelier on de Maisonneuve O. It was quite beautiful with great service, but the over priced was not very good. I had a grilled club sandwich with chicken, turkey bacon and truffle aoli with frites. There was a decent lentil and mushroom soup. The mini burgers and pizza just looked boring, definitely not worth the money! Oh I apologize for my  lack of photos these days, my camera was stolen in Mexico, and I've yet to replace it. I'm saving up for a DSLR. Soon my little Tomato Snobs, I promise. 

So after our over priced lunch we walked around for a bit but once we realized that nothing was open because of Canada Day we decided to pick up a board game from Indigo and head back to the hotel for a lazy afternoon of drinking games and sitting in the sun. 

That night we decided to go for dinner at a friends restaurant called Voro in the Plateau. After calling all my favorite restaurants without getting a single reservation anywhere I was super surprised when he said he could get us a table for six no problem the day of. My immediate thought was that this place was probably brand new, and not very good. We arrived a few minutes late -  very Montreal, and to my surprise pulled up to this super cool space. High ceilings with industrial accents, sleek modern light fixtures, and product display wall.  This place had a great vibe, super hip but not trying too hard. Great chilled out music that wasn't so loud you couldn't have a good time laughing and chatting with the people at your table. Most hip restos in MTL are supper clubs that are great for eating, drinking and listening to music but not at all conducive to having a conversation with the people you are dining with. 

The menu was an interesting with tapas style dishes full of Middle Eastern, and North African influences. There was also a great sandwich selection as well as some interesting mains. As we were all pretty starving I decided to just take charge and order a bunch of items for the table. 
1 - Za'atar bread and artichoke dip - absolutely delicious, there was enough of the yummy spread to slather the house made focaccia after we devoured the perfectly rectangles of smokey crustini 
2 - Salmon gravlax with shaved fennel salad and caperberries - the salmon was silky and just divine, the fennel salad could have used a little more citrus and some finishing salt. 
3 - Moroccan lamb in phyllo - another surprise winner. Not overly greasy I loved the undertone of mint and pop of green peas in the flaky crust. 
4 - Latkes with goats cheese - these were ok, the goats cheese was a nice addition but the latkes were slightly burnt. * I think there may have been an issue with the deep fryer as they apologized for not sending out our polenta fries we were told there were some "problems with getting them perfect" There was also a need for some finishing salt on this dish. 
5 - Chorizo with caramelized onions and orange - this was interesting, I really liked the smokey sausage with the sweetness of the orange. 
6 - short rib sandwich with pickled red onion and taleggio cheese - This was absolutely amazing! It was almost like a pulled pork sandwich with sweet rich pulled meat  and delicious tang from the onion and smooth melted cheese. 
7 - roast beef sandwich with virgin pickles and parmesan - Not quite as good as the previous sandwich but the yummy jus made up for the overly toasted bread. * There was a bit of an issue with the toastedness of the bread most of the sandwiches were way too crunchy, and others not crunchy enough. 
8 - plain old grilled cheese - I didn't try this but I hear all sorts of yummy noises from around the table, so I could only assume it was well received. 
9 - giant cubes of bacon glazed in what I can only  assume is maple syrup with super finely shaved sweet potatoes. This was some of the best/ most ridiculously glutenous cubes of pork goodness I have ever experienced - I can;t believe I for got about it. Thank you Jill for reminding me. 
The cocktails were also good, and fairly priced under 10 dollars. This is unheard of in Toronto were most restaurants think it's normal that a proper mixed cocktail should run between $15 - 20 bucks. 
I tried the dark and stormy - which was super stormy and not very dark - they didn't use the traditional dark spiced rum, but made up for it by using a very good quality proper Jamaican ginger beer. The Gin and tonic with infused cucumber was both a refreshing drink and delicious snack. 

All in all I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a group looking for a hip and reasonable place to have a nice dinner in MTL. They are hoping to make this place a neighborhood hang out, and since it's opened all day I think it has real promise. The kitchen is a young group still learning, but once they work out all the kinks it should make for a great night out. 

Stay tuned for Day 2, and I'll have some photos once the girls send them to me. 

Ciao for now.