Food Diaries: Jamie’s Italian

Jamie's Italian - Candy Coated Culinista

Jamie’s Italian – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 3401 Dufferin St.; Toronto, Ontario, M6A 2T9 (Yorkdale Mall)
Phone Number: 416-238-7450

Way back on October 19th 2012 I was sitting in Massey Hall listening to my first Cooking inspiration Jamie Oliver speak (see blog post). I left with very high hopes that one day a restaurant of his would make it to Canada; as he did say when asked by another fan that I’m paraphrasing of course “that if I could bring one of my restaurants to Canada it would be Jamie’s Italian as it would work best here; because of its regimented menu that could be moved to a Canadian market easily.” Well it’s been 3 years 1 month and 19 days and he stuck to his word. Jamie’s Italian is now open in Yorkdale Mall and the moment reservations were up I knew I was going to make this my birthday meal in January and I excitedly made reservations.

For my birthday dinner I had: Antipasti – Garlic Bread With oozy garlic & herb butter; Pasta – Pasta Vongole Tagliolini -Steamed sweet clams with garlic, chilli, white wine, capers, parsley & lemon; Main – Burger Italiano Chargrilled beef burger with melted fontina cheese, crispy schiacciata piccante, gherkins, chilli, crispy fried onions& salsa rosso crudo; Non-Alcoholic Cocktail – Refresher Fresh lemon juice, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade.

The food was great and if you love garlic and chillis; which is Jamie’s thing then this is your menu. I found the pasty spicy of course; but it was tasty and the garlic bread was butter goodness. The server quipped to be careful that those were pickles on the burger but chilli’s as another customer didn’t realize and mistook them for pickles. Yiikes. . This is one the few restaurants where I can say the staff from beginning to end were super friendly and knowledgeable. Also they were using a POS system that was on an electronic device much like an Ipad which made the whole experience sleek, cool and fast. Two can dine for about 60$ including dessert

The spirit of the menu is those things I attribute to Jamie and even Gennaro one of his mentors. His food has always been simple easy and uncomplicated; so if you’re expecting something out of this world then you should try another chef’s restaurants. However; if you want rustic, flavourful food that’s something mama would make for you then this is a must visit for you.

Overall the restaurant will fit in nicely with all the other casual dining franchises and restaurants across Toronto, and being located in Yorkdale mall makes it easily accessible throughout the G.T.A. Just make sure to make a reservation or be ready to wait upwards or 45 minutes for a table until the new shine of the first Jamie Oliver restaurant in Canada wears off. I already want to come back for the burger sans chilli’s of course and taste those fries and maybe a dessert next time around.

Jamie's Italian - Candy Coated Culinista

Jamie’s Italian – Candy Coated Culinista

Jamie's Italian - Candy Coated Culinista

Jamie’s Italian – Candy Coated Culinista

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Food Diaries: Pie Squared

Food Diaries: Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Diaries: Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Location: 366 Bloor Street East Phone Number: 647-350-2743

The science of the perfect pie. This Eatery offers those Hand held pies you’re accustomed to from the U.K. and Australia with a cute element stamp on each pie. I have passed by this shop a few times now and I finally decided to go in. The shop is small but; bright and welcoming. As I perused the menu the very friendly associate explained the whole Pie Squared concept to me. Hand held pies, pie desserts, tarts and even salads and soups are also offered; but let’s face it I’m here for the pies. I visited around Christmas and there was a seasonal Pie and dessert on the menu and of course I couldn’t resist as I love everything Christmas related. I choose the Pie Squared Combo which included a pie, sweet and a drink. I choose the Turkey Dinner Pie which was mashed potatoes, cranberry, turkey and gravy. The potatoes were creamy with the perfect amount of turkey chunks and a dollop of cranberry. For dessert I choose an egg nog butter tart; which was sweet and oozed filing. Now I’m not a fan of things that ooze much like jelly filled doughnuts; but this smelt just like egg nog and tasted delicious. I just couldn’t finish it because it was too sweet for me; but overall a great place for a quick bite to eat.

Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared - Candy Coated Culinista

Pie Squared – Candy Coated Culinista

Food Diaries: The Pie Commission

Food Diaries: The Pie Commission - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Diaries: The Pie Commission – Candy Coated Culinista

“Gourmet-style handheld savoury pies born and baked in Toronto.”

Place: The Pie Commission
Location: 935 The Queensway (Entrance at rear – located off Queen Elizabeth Blvd), Toronto, Ontario, M8Z 1P3
Phone: 416-848-7427
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11am – 7pm, Friday 11am – 8pm, Saturday: 11am – 6pm

5” individual round pies are made from scratch in-house, using natural ingredients – premium cuts of Canadian meat, the freshest produce and homemade beef, chicken and vegetable stock all placed in an all butter crust. Pies can also be purchased hot (to eat now) or frozen (to eat later) at a later time.

When I drove up to the Pie Commission, I was expecting a smaller store footprint as the directions were at the rear, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was also very bust and the 7 or so parking spaces were full and customers were parking across the street in a factory’s side lot. (This is a good sign to me)

Before entering I read the menus outside. The standard menu includes: Braised Beef Rib Pie, Beef ‘n Beer Pie, Butter Chicken Pie, Chicken Cheddar Bacon Mash Pie and Veg-ilicious Pie (Vegetarian). Also visited there was a seasonal menu that consisted of: Hog Squash, Lobster + Shrimp, Caplansky “Reuben” Pie and Marky + Sparky’s Pulled Pork and Jerk Chicken. I believe the Caplansky’s is named after Caplansky’s Delicatessen & Marky + Sparky’s Smokehouse. I’m not sure if they use their meat or the pies are just inspired by them, but I loved the Toronto reference and keeping it local. It gives me the feeling there is a sense of community within the food industry.

I selected the Chicken Cheddar Bacon Mash Pie – Chicken along with cheesy bacon mashed potato in the pie and for Mr. C. I got him the Pulled Pork BBQ from their seasonal menu. We split everything so we could get a good sampling of their offerings. I also served the pies with a side of organic baby romaine, grape tomatoes and green onion with lemon poppy-seed dressing to give us a balanced meal.

The crust for these pies were to die for, they were buttery and so flaky. I found that I couldn’t taste the bacon in the Chicken Cheddar Bacon Mash, but that didn’t make me dislike the pie in any way. It was so so good and the cheese added creaminess to the mashed potatoes. The Marky + Sparky’s Pulled Pork was saucier that I expected and I welcomed that, as I love anything with a sauce. I found this pie was much denser as it was packed with a lot of pulled pork.

For dessert we split a Lemon, Lime Orange Chess Pie. It tasted like pie I have made before, but it was still delicious. A chess pie is a simple pie with a crust and filling made from, eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla and was originally an English pie said the cashier.

Sides on the menu included fresh hand cut fries, gravy, chipotle lime mayo, mixed green salad, coleslaw along with the soup of the day, and desserts like pies, fresh fruit crumbles and cookies and a selection of canned or bottle drinks.

The 3 items came to $25.36 – not the cheapest considering the size of the pie, but quality ingredients go into the pies and it was so filling I couldn’t eat my slice of pie and had to wait until the next day. I would definitely visit them again.

Food Diaries: The Pie Commission - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Diaries: The Pie Commission – Candy Coated Culinista

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