Archive for April 18th, 2011

April 18, 2011

Noma tops World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards again — plus read my picks

Bellevue Brasserie in St. Petersburg, Russia

Caviar and champagne at Bellevue Brasserie in St. Petersburg, Russia. The restaurant was one of my picks for the World's 50 Best.

[As published in the Toronto Star on April 18, 2011.]

Skim through the list of the world’s best restaurants and you won’t find one from Canada. No Langdon Hall, Rouge, West, North 44 or any favourites in Montreal or Vancouver Island. That’s not only discouraging for the chefs and restaurant owners here, it’s a shock to the man who’s been championing Canada’s culinary scene.

Steve Dolinsky, an acclaimed food reporter from Chicago, is the chairperson for the Mid-United States/Canada region of Restaurant Magazine’s World’s 50 Best judging academy. This year, Dolinsky made sure there were more Canadian-based judges than ever, which he thought would lead to more of this country’s restaurants making the grade. But the two establishments that scored positions on Restaurant Magazine’s World’s Best list last year — Rouge (60) in Calgary and Cambridge’s venerable Langdon Hall (77) — dropped out of the rankings for 2010. No Canadian restaurant has made the top 50 since 2003, when Michael Stadtländer’s Eiginsenn Farm from Singhampton placed 28th, a year after coming in the top 10.

“There’s no Canadian restaurant in the top 100 and that stuns me,” says Dolinsky, who was in London, England, where this year’s rankings were revealed at Guildhall on Monday. “With more judges from Canada than ever and with those judges being from all over the country, the only thing that I can think of is the votes were spread out. One restaurant may have gotten a vote here, another may have gotten two there, so things may not have been as concentrated as they were before. I’m really surprised there wasn’t more consensus.”

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April 18, 2011

Origin a ‘solid’ Toronto restaurant — and it could be a brand

Claudio Aprile at Origin

Claudio Aprile says Origin's menu is designed for short attention spans.

When I asked Claudio Aprile if the eclectic, tapas-style dishes served at Origin marks the way dining will be in the future, he said no. Origin is about now.

“It’s designed for short attention spans. That’s what our society is about,” said the chef who also operates Colborne Lane, long considered among the best restaurants in Toronto.

I’d been meaning to get to Origin, which is at King and Church, since it opened last year and finally made it there twice in a four-day period this month thanks to media events. The food came at us fast, in one satisfying wave after another. Taste is a personal thing and Aprile’s cuisine — which is innovative, sophisticated and often brave — agrees with me. So I wanted to find what others thought of the experience at Origin: of the taste, the price, the portion sizes.

The most repeated word was “solid.”

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April 18, 2011

The Daily J.P. Arencibia to Cooperstown Watch, Days 15-17: Running on empty

The Boston Marathon is on Monday, the Blue Jays may have been prepping.

They did their best impersonation of Forrest Gump on Sunday, running without care and for no particularly reason it seemed. With none out in the seventh, Travis Snider was picked off when he was caught leaving first base early on a Juan Rivera line drive that was caught by Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. An inning later, Corey Patterson — who’s done some terrific things since coming off the DL — was caught stealing third with two on and one out.

Never mind that the Jays scored their only run on a double-steal in the second. Mistakes are mistakes and these ones were costly.

Of course, you could also say it wouldn’t have mattered if the Jays ran up and down New England in game three of the series. Jon Lester (1-1) wasn’t going to give them much. He went six innings before leaving with a 6-1 lead at Fenway Park.

J.P. Arencibia had a decent day at the plate, bouncing back from an 0-for-4 perfomance on Friday — his last start. The rookie catcher went 2-for-4 and got his average (.308) back over .300, but defensively he was charged with two passed balls as the miscues mounted for the Jays (7-8).

For the second straight day they managed just one run and have to be concerned that they’re the ones who’ve given Boston a pulse. The Red Sox (4-10) have won two games in a row for the first time.

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