Cover photo from NAO’s site

New And Old

I’ve been intrigued by NAO Steakhouse — a Japanese-influenced steak place, in an old Yorkville house that used to be Boba — ever since it opened. A friend used to work there, but we never quite made it in during her tenure, and for whatever reason we just hadn’t gotten around to making reservations. This week was a tiring one at work though, so we decided on Thursday to try a new place to end the week on a fun note. So we landed here.

First we stopped in at Boxcar Social for an espresso and some drinks. I like that I can get great versions of both there.

Then, on to NAO. It’s a cool space, and they gave us a nice corner on the banquette, the feel of the place was a hit. And the food? Outstanding. The Japanese influence lent a little something to the typical steak experience, but the steak itself was top-notch. I also really liked the wine selection…not the kind of 4-pound wine list that confounds or overwhelms, but well-organized and well-thought-out. We tried to get a bottle of Rustenberg from South Africa, but someone snagged the last bottle just before we did. Instead we got a Chilean Carmenere/Cab blend that wasn’t on the list, which worked out just fine indeed.

Our meal:

  • Blanc de Blanc // Pearl Morissette Chardonnay
  • Hamachi with jalapeño and yuzu // Oysters from BC and PEI
  • 22oz swinging rib Canadian prime (Norwich, ON)
  • Broccolini with soy, chili, and garlic

Consider it added to the favourites section of my list.


Cover photo from NAO’s site

George Howell / Guatemala Puerto Verde: Cocoa, Apple, Panela

The plan last night was to keep it simple.

We tried, we really did.

We stopped in at Monk’s Table after work for dinner and a pint. That turned into dinner and three pints. So, okay. A little more than planned, but still under control.

The weather was perfect when we left, so we decided to walk at least down to Rosedale station before getting on the subway. That led us right past Boxcar Social, which I’ve been telling Nellie about. We stopped in; my plan was only to have an espresso to wake up a little. I was soon enticed by something their offer of a Whiskey Tango: two pairings of espresso and bourbon. Uh…HOW HAVE I NOT HEARD ABOUT THIS BEFORE??!?!!?!?

The first espresso was unbelievable: a lightly roasted Guatemalan that featured everything I love about Central American coffee. It was followed by half an ounce of Blanton’s original bourbon, which sort of became my new favourite on the spot. Then, after a little water, I got into the next espresso, which was Kenyan, and it reminded me that I tend to not like Kenyan coffee. That was followed by (if I remember right) Baker’s 7. That was followed by a glass of Evan Williams while Nellie drank some kind of weird small-cask Oban called “Little Bay”. And then THAT was followed by a Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodite. Then we lazy-cabbed home.

So it turned into a whole thing. I feel surprisingly okay this morning, especially considering I woke up at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Let’s see if I’m in any way productive though…

It's like spaghetti, except it's more square than round

What a goddamn enjoyable day. No one stellar thing to trump all others, just a collection of goodness. Examples:

  • Eating rosemary/olive bread and cloth-bound cheddar and pineapple for breakfast, which sounds disgusting but was awesome.
  • Getting some work done. (Okay, so this isn’t particularly fun, but it feels good to get it out of the way and not have to go to the office.)
  • Listening to the new Elbow album, which is excellent, and the new PJ Harvey, which I hated at first but now cannot shake from my head.
  • Lunch at La Bettola di Terroni which, despite being right around the corner from us, we’d never tried. It was fantastic. I had the braised beef agnolotti in a sage brown butter sauce; Nellie had the chitarra pasta in a lemon cream sauce with sausage & truffles. We also helped the couple sitting next to us, in town from North Carolina, to find a place to spend the day (the Distillery District) and eat dinner (Origin).
  • Gathering supplies at a less-crowded-than-normal St. Lawrence Market, as well as two bottles of Flat Rock (Riesling, Pinot Noir) for this weekend’s meals.
  • Espresso. For which I have apparently developed a taste (need?).
  • Submitting 2010 taxes avec healthy return.
  • Running 4.5km and feeling pretty good doing it.
  • Eating a fairly tasty meal from Golden Thai (after we found out the even-closer Thai place, Ivory Thailand, had been replaced by a French bistro some 3 hours earlier) along with the afore-mentioned Riesling.
  • Watching many episodes of Sons of Anarchy (imdb).
  • Admiring the supermoon.
  • Booking a kick-ass campsite for this fall’s excursion.