July 17, 2005

REVIEW: Harry Potter 6 (book), Courtyard Cafe, Bloom and more

Book Review of HP6 - I don't think there are any spoiler here.
Kind of disappointing. I found that it does a lot of set-up for HP7, but where is the plot? Where is the action?! At least HP1-HP4 could almost be read as stand-alones. HP5 was okay but what a cliffhanger... and now HP6...I can't really remember anything happening that is of substance. We just learn a bit more about some characters, and get muddier images of others.
I was surprised by who died, although he or she seemed likely to by the end of the series. Okay. Maybe that is a spoiler, but only if you are a big fan and have already done a lot of speculation. :P

Restaurant Review #1: Courtyard Cafe
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Located at the Windsor Arms Hotel, this quaint restaurant is ideal for high tea. Good service, good food, great presentation - not so great live music. Everyone in the party was pleased with this selection and found it to be worth the $20 Summerlicious lunch menu. Definitely a place to visit again. (My second time!)

Restaurant Review #2: Bloom
Rating: 4.75/5
I was persuaded to make a reservation at Bloom through the good word of the resident foodie. This small and intimate restaurant is in the Runnymede and Bloor area - full of shoppes and cafes. The decor reminded me of the phony/pretentious places along Bloor and Spadina that look cool but have no reputation in terms of food. On the other hand, Bloom food was Excellent and had good presentation. Despite not ordering wine, the service was attentive. (A recent visit to a Greek restaurant led to eye-rolling by a waiter when we didn't order wine!)
I chose the grilled quail, swordfish steak and trio of chocolate tarts with black pepper, ginger and hazelnut. Quail: tender and ...mm...just perfect. Swordfish: quite nice, although I enjoyed the veal tenderloin with squash pancake of another patron more. All desserts were good, although next time, I'd go with either the mascarpone cream and strawberries, or the lavendar creme brulee.
I believe that they regularly have a fixed-price menu on Tuesdays-Thursday: $40 for appetizer, entree and dessert (add $10 for the foie gras appetizer). I'd defnitely want to visit again, once my bank account has recovered.

Restaurant Review #3: Rosewater Supper Club
Rating: 4/5
I chose this place because they seemed to have one of the few decent vegetarian entrees. epn and I went out with a couple of my friends who are both vegetarians, and they were pretty happy with their meal. epn and I were also happy with our meals. The decor was nice, but the only faults were that it was so-damn-noisy! and very stuffy feeling, due to lack of ventilation on the second floor.

Restaurant Review #4: Acqua
Rating: 3.5/5
I made this reservation for people at my lab and we had a fairly decent time. We were not rushed, we sat in the "patio" portion of the restaurant and the washroom has very cute sinks. Food-wise, I regretted choosing the salad over the soup (only because I really like soup, not that the salad was bad), and the steamed mussels were quite nice and plentiful. The dessert was alright (fruit crumble with tahitian ice cream) but a bit to sugary and tart at the same time. The service wasn't bad but nothing special. If it wasn't for the seafood, I would say that it wasn't worthwhile as a $20 lunch.

One more to go! The one I am most excited about..

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