Sunday, June 5, 2016

Patria

Patria (480 King Street West, Toronto)
416-367-0505
Sunday 10:30 a.m.  - 2:30 p.m., 5:30 - close.
Monday - Saturday 5:30 - close.

Those are some pretty vague closing hours.

The following are pictures of the $60 prix fixe meal:

Ibérico de bellota
Fancy, salty, Spanish ham. It is yum!

House-baked bread with fresh tomato and olive oil
While the ingredients may seem basic, it's still pretty tasty. 

Quince jam and cheese
Honestly, I wasn't sure how to eat this. The proportions of the jam, the cheese, and the bread were so skewed, I wasn't sure if they were supposed to go together. Wasn't a huge fan the jam, but I'm not a jam fan in general. Also not sure what cheese that is. *shrug* I suspect it is manchego.

Croquetas de setas
The truffle comes through in the aioli, and really classes up this breaded, mushroom cheese stick. Porcini mushroom and manchego cheese, that is.

 Empanadas
They gave us six empanadas for the seven of us, and we were all trying to be polite by waiting for the last one to come. Alas, I consumed the empanada at a lukewarm temperature. It was still tasty, but perhaps it might've been better warmer.

Ensalada remolachia
Many at the table thought that the toasted almonds were the star of this salad. It had a lot of flavour for such a sliver of an item. I liked the vermouth vinaigrette and the goat cheese as well. I'm pretty much a sucker for most cheeses. 

Garbanzos con espinacas
Chickpeas with spinach and migas. Upon the first bite, there were very hard bits that were surprising. I think they were breadcrumbs, and they were kind of too hard and crunchy to belong with this food in my mind. That first bite was a little unsettling, like finding a bone in your Filet-O-Fish. This was probably my least favourite dish of the night.

Gambas al ajillo
There was a lot of parsley. Much of it may have masked the flavour of the shrimp. Otherwise, still good.

Bisteca
Here's the beef, cooked to about medium rare. This was probably my favourite plate of the meal. The meat was deliciously tender, and the crunchy chip bits were big enough for me to see so that they did not surprise me in my mouth. Lots of flavour here. Delicious, meaty flavour with peppers.

Churros con dulce de leche and chocolate pudding
The desserts looked pretty cool, but also looked like a piece of shit... Anyway, the long stick coming out of the poop-shaped chocolate pudding is candied olive oil. What's cool is that at the bottom of the stick is a rounded puck shape and olive oil gushed out of it when it was chomped at. The chocolate was rich and of the dark variety. I quite liked it. The churros were sweet, crunchy doughnut sticks that I have nothing to complain about. 


They brought out about three of each of the pictured plates for our table of seven. Coming into this, I expected to leave hungry, but I was pleasantly full. I enjoyed trying multiple dishes, made with legit Spanish ingredients like the ibérico ham and manchego cheese. Some dishes impressed me more than others, but I didn't not enjoy any of them. And I'm still wondering how they candied the olive oil. 

The place is pretty fancy, and also extremely loud. The loud music and all patrons trying to talk over said music detracted a bit from my dinner.

Would I return? I wouldn't go here regularly due to loud volumes and the fanciness of it all, but maybe on another special occasion since the food was pretty good. I feel like I'd need to try their paella because Spanish.

Credit to Julie for the pictures and cheers to Jenny the birthday girl for opting to eat here!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sushitto

Sushitto (food truck found on University Avenue, near Toronto General Hospital)

Julie was raving about wanting to try this food truck that sells sushi burritos. I imagined a bastardized, oversized sushi roll wrapped in a tortilla, and told her to have fun with that. 

We passed by the truck at 11 a.m. on a weekday, but the sign said they open at 11:30. When we returned at about 11:35 a.m., there was a line of about 20-30 people waiting to order. Julie joined that line in anticipation of awesomely weird truck food. 

Prices seem a bit high, but I guess that's normal for downtown. 


The Cermaq box says "sustainable aquaculture", so that seems decent.

The wait in line was long, but the wait for the food was longer. Julie noted that the cash person was very focused on collecting cash and orders, and waited for a row of orders to be ready before beginning to hand out food. 

About thirty to forty minutes after lining up, the half shrimp tempura burrito was served - accompanied with what was described as sweetened sriracha sauce.
It looked like a hungry student made it. There was, however fake crab meat and alfalfa sprouts in it, which was considered a perk. It seemed like the wait and the price were too much for the product. Julie's review: "Sushitto was so shitto". 

Would I try it? I don't know... eating this would mean foregoing my lunch break nap. And I could actually get a full meal with beverage at McDonald's for those prices.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dumpling Restaurant

Dumpling Restaurant (4385 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough)
 Phone number(416) 293-8321



I only noticed this afterwards, but there is Korean writing on the sign. This was confusing because the staff spoke Mandarin to us and Northern Chinese dishes were on the menu. Renée noted that she also saw Korean offerings like pork bone soup, but I didn't notice that. 

Hot and sour soup with noodles.
I think we could've done without the noodles due to too much food ordered, but it was good. It wasn't extremely spicy, nor sour. 

Pot stickers
I think these are my favourite kind of dumplings, next to the soup-filled kind.

Green onion pancake. Not the best I've eaten, but passable.

Steamed dumplings
We got both the pork and lamb versions. The lamb dumplings were way juicier, with meat juice squirting out at the first bite.

Beef pancake roll
I don't know what it's actually called, but it's basically a thin green onion pancake rolled with slices of beef. 

Would I return? Sure. The food is pretty reasonably priced and decent. There is ample space inside the restaurant. Though the staff may be found on their cell phones, they will multitask and grab your empty teapot with their other hand. Service may be a bit indifferent, but this is by no means a fancy joint. 

Total damage: approximately $15 per person (3 people total) for everything in the pictures (plus an extra steamer of dumplings). 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Patties Express

647-350-0111
info@pattiesexpress.com


The extra spicy beef patty was more like mild to me, but I guess I eat really spicy foods. The patty was served hot, and the meat was gushing out with each bite. The coco bread was incredibly soft and pillowy. There might have been a very subtle coconut flavour, but that also might've been in my head. I didn't think a patty needed to go inside bread, but it actually works. And it was pretty filling.

Coco bread and beef patty

Would I return? Yes. Relatively cheap snacks are hard to come by in downtown Toronto. And I like oozy meat.

Total damage: $3.39 plus tax.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Snacks from Japan!


Udon by Lan
It's so fancy; look at all the extra stuff (other than noodles) it has!! So much cutting involved.

Lan came back from Japan with loot bags of stuff, including my very favourite snack in the world: msg crackers.
There was an orange package, and a red one, but I ate them at different times, so I'm not sure if they were different flavours or not. Crispy, puffy, and full of umami, of course, I ate these very quickly.


Also in the package was Japanese variety KitKats. 
Dark was nice. Slightly bitter, but it's what I like.

Not pictured are all the other snacks she brought back and were shared with us. The mochi balls were soft and awesome. 

Cheers to Lan for the imports! 


Friday, March 25, 2016

Ten Ren's Tea

Ten Ren's Tea (5095 Yonge Street)
(416) 229-1688

Pu-Erh Tea Beef Noodle
It was kind of salty, even for me. Many of the beef pieces were those weird parts I don't enjoy eating, like hard tendon, or lump of chewy fat. And maybe my memory is messing with me, but I thought that the noodles used to be green?

Chocolate Hokkaido Milk tea
Came with bubbles, which I never voluntarily order, so that's cool, I guess. Tasted like chocolate milk with tapioca bubbles.


Would I return? Uhmm... not sure. The beef pieces were definitely not enjoyable. Gone are the daily specials, and in their stead is a menu that I could not understand (not due to translation issues). There was a rice/noodle combo for $8.99 + two sides, and I still don't know what the two sides are, even after asking. The menu items in that section are awkwardly numbered, and it didn't really make any sense. The prices of the drinks range from about $6-9, which is a bit much. They're cheaper if you combine them with a meal, but still. This used to be the cheap Ten Ren location, but I guess everything has changed since my last visit. Maybe, I'll just have to stick to the highway 7 location, or you know, find a better place to go to.

Total damage: approximately $15.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House (3229 Highway 7 East, Markham)
905-477-8388

Small beef noodles
Renée and I call this restaurant the beef noodle place, but it should really be called the stinky tofu place. The stench of that trademark dish is the first thing you'll notice when you walk in. If you can stomach the smell, the noodles are worth it. It's the only thing I ever order there. The broth is flavourful, the beef is tender, and the noodles are bouncy and plentiful. A small is enough to fill me up. The noodles are garnished with some pickled vegetables which add some sourness. Wholly satisfying. 

Would I return? Yes. The beef noodles have been consistent every time I visit, and they're delicious and reasonably priced. It is my go to place for beef noodles.

Total damage: under $10 for a bowl of small beef noodles.

Pretty sure I typed "beef noodles" way too many times here.

Banana Rum Soufflé


Banana rum soufflé by Jo and Jude.
The top was pouffy and exciting! The flavour was banana and rum! Delicious! 


This looked so epic from her oven pictures that I had to drive over and eat some. I may or may not have had three of them... 

Cheers to Jo and Jude for the yummy dessert that was actually more like dinner!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pearl Diver

Pearl Diver (100 Adelaide Street East, Toronto)
416-366-7827
Hours:
Mon to Wed - Noon to Midnight
Thurs & Fri - Noon to 1 am
Sat - 4 pm to 1 am
Sun - 11 am to 12 am

Calamari ($9)
Crispy, well-seasoned, and included flecks of black and white sesame seeds. Sauce? I didn't really use it because well, I didn't really need it.

Oysters, plate three of three. 
We got the Thursday special which was 100 oysters for $100. Half were Fanny Bay and half were Malpeque. Because of the deal, they shuck them pretty much non-stop at the bar. Also appreciate the mini mound of freshly grated horseradish. 

Cured fish plate ($16)
As the plate was set down and explained, the octopus was presented as sturgeon, to which I raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He was unsure if he introduced the items correctly, and admitted as much, but the appearance of octopus is kind of distinctive. My friends didn't hear any of that anyway, as the restaurant is super loud. The mackerel was the most tasty for me, displaying a nice, smoky taste. The octopus was sort of whatever to me. The bread was warm, but in small supply. 

Fish & Chips ($18)
Yummy tartar sauce! Fish was crispy. Fries were shoestring, and very salty, even for me. I must have sodium deficiency, because somehow I couldn't stop eating them. Overall decent, but a little pricey for what it is. 

Mel also ordered the pearly chowder, which was quite hearty and chock full of chunks - in a good way. 

Would I return? Yes. The seafood bits are exciting. The service is good and friendly. Nothing tasted bland. The daily specials seem fun: mussel Mondays, Tuesday seafood circus, Thursday $100 for 100 oysters, and Sunday brunch. The only thing that was off for me was the volume of the noise, and the tall chairs we sat at. Two of the four of us wished/looked for purse hooks under the tables, but those two also happened to be the bag ladies of the day. 


Calamari photo by Andrea. Oyster photo by Mel.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ice Cream Break!


What would make black sesame ice cream better? Throw in chunks of cheesecake. Result: dessert gold.
Black sesame ice cream from Asian supermarket. Cheesecake from Loblaws (PC Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Cheesecake). So good.