Monday, June 29, 2009

Mango Smoothie

It's fun times with a blender again!

I didn't have my usual orange juice, so I tried blending frozen mango chunks with white grape juice. I made sure that it was juice because I don't drink sugar water.
I generally add too much liquid, so I skimped on the juice a lot this time. The result was a drink that could coat a stomach better than Pepto-Bismol.

Without the acidity of the orange juice, it was really sweet. Josie needed to add some water to hers to reduce thickness and sweetness.

Tucker's Marketplace Restaurant

Tucker's Marketplace (5975 Mavis Road, Mississauga)

If you want to find a place that lets you eat free on your birthday (assuming your birthday isn't a national holiday where everything except Chinese restaurants are closed), head on over to Tucker's Marketplace. It's one price fits all for this buffet style restaurant. Note that drinks are extra. The orange juice could be from concentrate.

Plate #1: steak and fries.
The steak wasn't bad. It wasn't super well done, like I was expecting. The fries were like crispier McDonald's fries.

Plate #2: meat, chicken, and something pot pie.
There were pieces of apple in the pot pie type thing... I'm not so sure that was on purpose. The chicken was really good. Its skin was nice and flavourful, and the meat was moist.

Plate #3: Caesar salad.
As Andrew said, any health benefits from this salad are negated by the dressing.

Plate #4: quiche, pasta, mashed potatoes, and vegetables.
The mashed potatoes needed more butter.

Plate #5: chocolate cake, chocolate brownie, and cheesecake.
I liked the brownie and the cheesecake. The chocolate cake was okay.

Total damage: approximately $26 for one buffet lunch, two glasses of orange juice, and one pop.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keung's Delight

Keung'sDelight (7030 Warden Avenue, Markham)

At the corner of Warden and Steeles, there is a plaza with many Asian restaurants and a large Chinese grocery store (and Boston Pizza and Shoppers Drug Mart). It may seem daunting to find parking on a Saturday afternoon, but the trick is to park near the non-Asian establishments. I've never had trouble finding spaces near Boston Pizza. Seriously.

There is a variety of eating establishments in this T&T plaza, but not all of them offer a cheap, late lunch. They call it "High-Tea" and it runs from 3-5:30 p.m. I don't care what they call it as long as it's cheap and good.

Just like Keung Kee, any food item in the High-Tea special menu comes with a free drink of your choice.

We arrive around 3 p.m. and there's already a line of people waiting to be seated. The line moves quickly and it takes about 10 minutes for us to get a table for four.

Expecting tea in the teapot, I am a little surprised to find out that it's just warm water.
Chris always orders the crispy chicken in black bean sauce on rice in these kinds of restaurants, so I decided to try it this time. The chicken is quite crispy, and the portion is huge. Judging by the size and the serving spoon it came with, it seems like a dish that was made to be shared. I eat it all.
Iced red bean drink:
I don't love the type of milk they use in this drink. I think it's condensed milk. Maybe it would've tasted better with ice cream.

I try a piece of deep fried crispy milk.
You're supposed to dip it in sugar, but I kind of like it without the sugar.

After a while, a waitress replaces our warm water with tea. That's the way it should be.

There is a happy face on the bill.
That bill is for four people, each of us having a drink. Cheapness!

Damage for the crispy chicken on rice and red bean drink: $6.45 + tax + tip.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Blue Fry Truck

Blue Try Truck (Queen Street West, near Bay Street)

Another medium poutine from the blue fry truck on Queen Street.
If you just get fries, the gravy is always free, according to the sign.

Steer clear of the birds. They're vicious and fearless.

Total damage: $4.50.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

President's Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto

President's Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto (here)

If you haven't hit up this two day event, I suggest you get to it tomorrow. There are chefs from all sorts of restaurants serving up food on the street at a price of $5 per dish. Yes, they will do this in the name of LuminaTO.

I tried to go the conservative route, so I only purchased four tickets. It's a bit annoying that the booths don't take cash themselves, but the line to buy the tickets wasn't long.
Well, it wasn't long for us. We got there around 4:00 p.m.

After a stroll through the streets, it's easy to realize that although everything costs the same (unless it costs more than one ticket), there is a huge range of portions and quality of food.

On to the food!

We walked all of the East block, and found that one booth had a noticeably longer queue than any of the other places. When it comes to street food, longer line usually means better food or at least better value. My theory doesn't fail, and after about forty-five minutes to an hour of standing in the sun, chowing down on the BBQ chicken and plantains from Mis Amigos was so satisfying.

The chicken was really moist and flavourful! Note the use of exclamation mark. It was that exciting. I wasn't expecting much from the plantains, but after finishing mine, I wanted to steal some of Sheila's. They also had BBQ steak instead of chicken, and salad or rice instead of plantains. Get the plantains unless you're allergic (or just don't like them).

I can totally understand why the line was so long. So delicious. I regret not ordering two plates of food from that booth.

Josie's chicken bone:

I don't remember which table this was, but it had fancy carved fruit. That stuff is straight out of Food Network competitions, yo:

One ticket will get you a plate of five P.E.I. oysters and a lemon wedge from the Rodney's Oyster House booth.
They vary a bit in sizes, but my plate didn't have any puny ones. I'm no oyster expert, but I liked them.

We saw a girl with something green in a clear cup, and she pointed us to the Loïc table.
A ticket gets you a cup of the green stuff, and three bite-sized appetizers.

The chilled soup was actually a bit frozen. It consisted of cucumber, yogurt, honey dew, and we noted some dill. The unintentional freezing made it slushy-textured, but I liked it like that. I appreciated the dill, but Sheila thought it tasted like onions. That being said, Josie tried some from Sheila's cup and noted that it had more dill flavour.
Of the three pieces on the plate, Josie and I agreed that the one with the tomato was the best. She said it was a "burst of flavour".

Next on the docket was a crêpe from the Crêpe de licious booth. I decided on a savoury crêpe.
It was bulgy, but that was mostly spinach. Actually, Josie pointed out to me that my crêpe should've included feta cheese, cheddar cheese, and the other stuff that was advertised under its name. All that I got was spinach, shredded mozzarella, and sauce. Maybe the other stuff was in the sauce, but I'm doubtful. I liked the sauce, but the missing ingredients (or at least the lack of their taste) was disappointing.
The string of people for the crêpes curled around itself. In my opinion, I'd rather wait forty-five minutes for a plate of the plantains.

Four tickets gone already? Well, that was fun. I'm tempted to go back again tomorrow to get more chicken and plantains (and try other stuff). I can take my food and sit on the Harbourfront Astro turf.

Random notes:

The trick is to look at what other people are eating, and ask them where they got it from.

The cutlery at the Mis Amigos booth (BBQ chicken place) was really flimsy. It's best to grab a napkin and eat with hands.

The spoon that came with the Loïc chilled soup was really sturdy.

The desserts that Sheila and Josie got from Senses came in a great takeaway box (with a mini spoon). You can take it away, and eat it while you're waiting in line for other food.

The fake grass is really exciting. Lots of kids (and some adults) treat it as a giant gym mat. It's quite squishy.

The subway ride was pretty entertaining. Our car was full of people with headphones on, dancing their butts off. It was like something out of Newmindspace. Maybe it was. Subway party!

Josie, while waiting in line for Mis Amigos: "It feels like a line for a ride at Wonderland... when the ride breaks down."

I want more BBQ chicken and plantains.

Total damage: $20.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bagel Nash

Bagel Nash (7355 Bayview Avenue, Unit 1C, Thornhill)

It's okay for a Toronto (and surrounding area) bagel. I'm a bit biased toward Montreal bagels, so it's going to take an amazing piece of Toronto carb to convince me that it compares to the cream of the crop.
Damage: none! I found it on the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Miso Soup and Sticky Rice

Josie was over, and we wanted to make dinner so we rummaged my kitchen for food.

Miso soup is easy with miso paste. Cut up some soft tofu and green onions. Add miso paste and cut up items into a pot with water. Add some enoki mushrooms for fun. Heat and eat!

Salty goodness in a bowl!
You can get frozen sticky rice bundles from Ah Fong Foods. I can get them from my freezer. With all the hard work already done, you just boil them, unwrap them, and eat.

This meal was too easy. Yay!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Senator Restaurant

The Senator Restaurant (249 Victoria Street, Toronto)

The Senator Restaurant looks like a diner, and the wait staff is pleasant like a diner's usually is. 

Smoked salmon and brie omelette with potatoes and Challah toast:
The Challah toast was nice, but I would've liked some extra butter to go with it, since I'm not a fan of jam. The omelette was good, but I didn't really taste the cheese.

Freshly squeezed orange juice:
I wasn't expecting the pulp that was in it. I guess I've been spoiled recently. Berta said that the pulp was good, and that she generally doesn't like the pulp in orange juice from grocery stores because it tastes "fake".

Left: bacon and eggs. Right: French toast with apple slices and syrup.
The sunny side eggs were cooked well, with the yolks runny enough. Berta is a big fan of the French toast. I thought they were okay, but I secretly prefer the ones I make because they have more character.

Overall, I thought the dishes had good portions of food on them. I just think that they run a bit on the pricier side for breakfast food. 

Total damage: $18 for 1/3 of all the dishes and a split jug of orange juice.

Random Home Food

Dumplings, noodles and choy in miso soup:
It's so easy to put things in water and boil them.

Farmer's Market chocolate muffin!
Salmon pieces with lemon pepper seasoning and garlic:

Mango pepper mix:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Keung Kee

Keung Kee (3300 Midland Avenue, Scarborough)

On most days, in the hours between lunch and dinner, many Chinese tea restaurants will have afternoon tea specials. These are usually dishes that are prepared quickly, and priced really low. They often include a coffee, tea, or milk tea, and cold drinks are generally fifty cents extra; however, at Keung Kee, you can have your choice of any drink.

So I picked a fancy iced red bean ice cream drink (number 87 on the afternoon tea menu):
The bottom is filled with sweet red beans, and the rest is made up of crushed ice, vanilla ice cream, and I think there's some milk in there too. It's a great summer drink. 

Satay beef with macaroni in soup (number 2 on the afternoon tea menu):
It tasted right, but the sauce had an unappealing mucous texture. I'm just going to assume that's from added cornstarch that's commonly used to thicken sauces. The beef wasn't overcooked, so that was good.

I had to take a picture of Chris's meal, which was crispy chicken in satay sauce on rice. The portion was just so massive. 

I liked my drink, but I would've been better off ordering a different food item. 

Damage for my soup macaroni and drink: $4.25 + tax + tip. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Breakfast in Waterloo

Vegetable Soup by Casey

I like how it's not heavy, and it feels healthy drinking it.


Melon courtesy of Jess. It was something to snack on while we made food.

Norwegian Pancakes

Jess and I had a hankering for some pancakes and Aunt Jemima wasn't around, so we found a recipe online and decided to try it out.

Blender action!

The first few looked a bit different. That's probably because they soaked up most of the butter.

With smoked salmon? With banana mush?

How about with just a bit of sugar?
Yes, that seems better.

The pancakes taste like chubby crepes. They were really easy to make, and I think they would have gone well with some maple syrup. In the comments on the recipe's webpage, "cardamom" is mentioned several times. I guess I'll have to find out what that is and where I can get it for next time.

Casey's Banana Bread

Mmm... eggs, sugar, and oil:

The bananas were super ripe. The mashed mush kind of looks like macaroni and cheese.

The batter is extremely difficult to mix before the mashed bananas are added.





The banana bread tasted fluffier than usual. It might've been because the flour was actually sifted, the baking soda was fresh, or because Casey makes it so often that each subsequent attempt is closer to perfection. 
End pieces are the best! Crispy outside with a soft, warm inside is what I look for in baked goods.