Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pho Joint at Times square Mall

Restaurant Name Unknown (2nd floor in Times Square Mall)

This is the second time that I've been to this restaurant and couldn't remember its name.

I also don't remember the name of what I ordered, but it was spicy:
I prefer the flat rice noodles.

Eating at a table next to ours was some Chinese actors that appear on some Chinese TV show. I didn't know who they were, but my friends seemed mildly excited.

Damage: I also don't remember.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Aroma Expresso Bar

Aroma Expresso Bar (Promenade Mall, 1 Promenade Circle, Thornhill)

Located near the food court of The Promenade mall, this joint seems to bring in a lot of business during lunchtime on a Tuesday. It has a designated eating area, but you can easily take your trays to sit elsewhere if there are no more fancy red chairs left.

If you're on a diet or can't finish a whole sandwich (why), you have the option of ordering half a sandwich (why). I ordered a whole sandwich, of course.

Whole avocado sandwich on white bread:
You might not be able to tell from the picture, but it was loaded with avocado. It was oozing out messily as I was trying to eat the sandwich with dignity. To add to my lack of elegance, the bread was really soft and just collapsed from the weight of the filling. In short: tasty, but messy.

Only the New York locations are listed on the website, but I can assure you that this chain does exist in the Greater Toronto Area.

Not the cheapest sandwich I've had, but quite tasty.

Total damage: $8.81.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daikoku Sushi & Ramen Bistro

Daikoku Sushi & Ramen Bistro (8865 Woodbine Avenue, Markham)

My first impression of this restaurant was that it was very clean. The decor was very... white and clean-looking. The menu looked pretty fancy with a partial metallic face. If you're looking for ramen, there are a few pages of options.

I decided on the noodles in a ginger-based soup with beef:
I could taste the ginger in the soup, but it wasn't overbearing. It was nice, and a bit refreshing. The ramen noodles had a firm texture. Think al dente. There wasn't a terribly small portion of meat, but I wouldn't have minded a little more. I think the winning point of my meal for me was the soup base.

Wing-See ordered the super strong white pork bone ramen, and recommended it. She also mentioned that the satay flavours were pretty good, but the curry one not so much.

Total damage: $10.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Firefly Seafood & Steak House

I was pretty impressed with the thick toast I got last time, so I came back for some meal food.

The cream soup that came with my meal:

Dorothy's vegetable soup looked better:
The buns were pretty good. They had the shiny tops that I like, and the insides were just a little bit sweet.

My meal came with a drink, but not the fancy one that I ordered. The red bean drink that I got was $2.50 extra:
It was really chock-full of red beans - more than I'm used to. I had to consume most of it with the spoon, as red bean chunks got stuck in the straw.

My meal - #5 fusilli with smoked turkey and scallops:
The portion was too massive to finish. The scallops were a bit overcooked for my liking, but overall I liked it enough.

Dorothy's pork chop in tomato sauce on rice:
She said the sauce was overpowering, but she seemed to enjoy it enough.

Yellow pudding for dessert:
It comes with the meal.
Considering the soup, drink, and dessert that most meals come with, this restaurant is great for people who eat a lot.

Dorothy discovered that there's a button on the table that can press for service. And it works! No need to flag someone down with your arm if you don't want to.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Poutini's House of Poutine

Poutini's House of Poutine (1112 Queen Street West)

As Andrew mentioned last time, he's glad they now have real business hours and not random hours like when they first opened.

Sun & Mon: closed
Tues & Wed: noon-11pm
Thurs, Fri & Sat: noon-3:30am

I'm a sucker for poutine.

After ordering, it takes a few minutes for our orders to be ready (just like the previous times that we've been there), but it's not a long wait.
I think they gave me more cheese curds this time. And I might have been dreaming, but I think they layered them between the fries too. Either that, or they fell through the hole I was digging with my biodegradable fork. I also received more gravy this time, as the fries at the bottom of the container were still pretty gravylicious.

Looks like they stuck with the gravy recipe that yielded a thicker result. Andrew liked the more translucent gravy that they had on our first visit. I can see where he's coming from, because the thinner gravy felt less heavy, but I think I'm indifferent to the vicosity in the end. I just wish it had a little more flavour. Until then, I'm a fan of the pepper mill.

The cheese curds are still thumbs up!

Total damage: $7.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Firefly (3229 Highway 7 East, Markham)

This restaurant has really stepped up in the quality of their food and the look of the place since I've last visited.

Thick French toast with peanut butter:
I was excited to have syrup with it (instead of weirdo honey, like at some other places). It was a lot better than I had expected.
The peanut butter oozed out, and even Chris seemed impressed with it.

Service was fast and efficient, but not necessarily friendly. Though that combo is pretty much expected in these types of restaurants. I don't mind the indifference as long as I don't get attitude. I prefer it to fake friendliness.

Total damage: $3.99 + tax + tip.

Random Fast Food

Chicken salad sandwich and a coffee from Tim Hortons:
It's passable.

Plain bagel with butter from Tim Hortons:
I like how they load the butter on so that the inside becomes super moist.

Shawarma from some shawarma place in Ottawa:
These places are everywhere in Ottawa. I don't remember which one this was. This particular one was too saucy (soggy bottom) for me, and I got tricked into getting a combo.

Chicken nuggets from Wendy's ($2.30):
Not crispy enough. If it's going to be deep-fried, it better be crispy. I prefer the ones from McDonald's.

Medium iced cappuccino from Tim Hortons ($2.61):
I liked them better when they were $2.51. After a while, it is so hard to sip from a straw.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Team Social BBQ (Kathy's place)

That's some nice glazing on the ribs:
Avacado dip:
Salad (by Alan), ribs, chicken, and presumably focaccia bread (by Kathy and Elton):

I enjoyed the salad and the chicken the most. The meat was so moist in its Shake 'n Bake goodness. (I was told it was Shake 'n Bake.) The salad also had fruits in it which carried it away from bland greenery.

Summer barbecue!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Earl Grey What?

Earl Grey Mixed Drink (Berta's place)

Berta didn't actually follow the recipe directly as she found it. The original recipe called for extra ingredients that she didn't add/have: lemon juice, simple syrup, and an egg white.

The drink I was given had Tanqueray gin, Earl Grey tea, lime juice, and sparkling water.
The colour looked pretty cool, and the Titanic-shaped ice cube was neat when it was right side up. The taste was very, very bitter. It was better with added sugar. I think it might be interesting to try this with green tea and Sprite or ginger ale.

Damage: none. Free for me! Cheers, Berta!


Summer's (101 Yorkville Avenue)

What's Summer without ice cream? Frozen yogurt, apparently. If I'm going to enjoy a frozen treat though, it's going to be with all the fat.

Here's another picture of my scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cone ($3.95):
When I was handed my order, the waffle cone was warm. This was a good indicator of freshness. And it didn't get all soggy either. I marvelled at how the ice cream bulged slightly over some parts of the cone, but didn't start dripping down the sides and onto my hand. The cool weather might have had something to do with that, but I think it was also partly due to the texture of the ice cream. It was creamier than the ones from the grocery stores. My scoop had lots of chocolate chips and chocolate chunks, but not as many pieces of cookie dough. Overall, my first experience at Summer's was a good one!

I liked it enough to get another cone right after I finished the first one.

Chocolate Pecan Swirl:
Tasted a bit like coffee. Not bad, but I prefer the chocolate chip cookie dough. They also had exciting flavours such as chocolate orange and Toronto pothole, but I had filled my fatty snack quota for the day.

Jess quite liked her banana flavoured frozen yogurt, and Berta liked her chocolate fudge brownie scoop, but lamented that she wanted more chunks. She seemed to enjoy it anyway, and commented that she really likes the waffle cone. She also went back for more.

I like the sign inside the shop that tells me to "Count units of joy, not calories." As if I didn't already.

The (ghetto-looking) website states that the ice cream is "made by hand every day." I don't know what that means exactly, so I'll assume they operate an ice cream maker machine by hand every day. Maybe they're churning ice cream with their bare hands. Whatever they're doing, they're doing it right.

Summer's might be pricier than many generic ice cream parlours, but with a Yorkville location, it's pretty much expected.

Total damage: $3.95 + $3.95 = $7.90.

Open from 12:00 to 12:00 daily in the summer.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Royal Teahouse

Royal Teahouse (10 Applecreek Boulevard, Markham)

Please excuse the lack of visuals. There wasn't an opportunity to paparazzi my food at this restaurant; however, I found this old picture on my phone of a fried dim sum bun from this place. It's shaped like a porcupine! I think an eye might be missing.
I actually wanted to order the porcupine shaped bun again, but I couldn't find it on the menu. It's probably still there. I probably just can't figure out the translation from Chinese to English.

The plain congee was plain. Really plain. Maybe some salt would've helped. I'm used to stuff laden with MSG that they serve at Congee Wong.

There was some sort of curry concoction served in a mini tart. It looked like an egg tart that was puffed up. I would've preferred that the tart crust held together better rather than have crumbs dancing down my face and falling off my chin. The crust actually started crumbling right when I picked it up.

I was kind of surprised at the egg yolk section inside the lotus paste bun. I found that the paste had the right texture and that the buns were quite tasty.

This restaurant seems to be a popular recommendation for good dim sum. I'd say it's pretty good. Mainly, I'm very amused by the porcupine bun.

Damage: none. Free for me!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Night Market

Night It Up 2009 (Metro Square, 3636 Steeles Avenue East, Markham)

If you love street food, then you'd love night market. It's a yearly event in which Metro Square plaza dedicates a good chunk of its parking lot to setting up a whole bunch of mostly food related tents. There's also a small stage for music and dance performances during the evening. If you can get a seat, it's a great place to sit down and eat your food. On to the food!

They call this "stir fry ice cream". I call that deceiving. There is no stir-frying [Dictionary!] of anything involved anywhere in the whole shebang. The ice cream never even touches a pan or a wok. Instead, the toppings are mixed into the ice cream on a marble slab. The whole mixture is served in a crêpe that's draped over a bowl. Wait... that mixing on marble part sounds familiar... Oh, that's right. That's because the idea was stolen from Cold Stone Creamery. I guess the originality of Marbolicious comes in the fact that they offer toppings that you might find in the snack aisle of a Chinese grocery store (like the T&T in the next plaza).

Here's my mango ice cream with chocolate chips and Oreo chunks being "stir-fried":
The finished product ($5):
It deeply disturbed me that the marble block and tools used to mix the ice cream weren't completely washed of previous ice cream mixtures. I'm a picky eater when it comes to sweets, and I didn't enjoy the visible flecks of green and pink in my food.

Authentic Osaka Takoyaki

This tent had a pretty long line leading to it, so I thought it might be worthwhile. Having never been to Osaka, I can't comment on the authenticity, but it was a pretty cool snack.

People lining up for this Japanese snack would've caught a strong whiff of the stinky tofu stand next to it. In the picture, you can see the lady with the SARS mask under the "Smelly Tofu" sign serving up some stinky goodness next to the takoyaki table.
Whatever this is, it is part of making "authentic Osaka tokayaki":
The finished product ($5, I think):
I expected more crunch from the shell, but I liked the sauce it was served with.

Deep-fried spicy chicken ($4):
It's so greasy, it's "window of opportunity" (Simpsons reference):

The piece of chicken was quite massive, crispy, oily, and spicy. It was perhaps just a little too much of all of those things.

Wei's Smelly Tofu!
It's quite a staple food at night market, and with the stench coming from these tents, people who have not heard of it might wonder why so many people are lining up to get food that smells so bad. I think it's because people would fear stinking up their homes if they made this dish for themselves.
Stinky goodness ($3)! With exciting pickled vegetables and tasty sauce!
The tofu is spongy, but not too airy.

Honey green tea ($1):
It takes a while to get used to. I scrunched my eyebrows at the first sip, but it slowly became refreshing afterwards.

Taiwanese Sausage ($2)
What's street food without meat on a stick?
The sausage has a unique flavour. It has a sweetness to it that I can only describe as similar to Chinese sausage, but its texture is more like that of a less fatty Italian sausage.

Diana's Seafood Delight

Yes, Night It Up 2009 even had fresh oysters.

For $10, you could get a box of eight raw oysters, lemon wedges, oyster sauce, ice, and a wet wipe. And a $5 discount coupon to Diana's Seafood Delight. This package was even better as night market was closing when its price tag dropped to $10 for two boxes.
My oyster shell had a funky shape, but it still tasted right:

These oysters were really good. You could see them being shucked as they were taken out of the van. I'd say they were better (fresher-tasting) than the ones from the Rodney's Oyster House booth during Luminato.

Young Coconut

Normally $2 or $3 depending on which stand you go to, but I got mine for $1. End of day sale. Towards closing hours of the night market, people from the tents yell at you as you walk by. They scream that everything is on sale, and you can learn the term "one dollar" in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.
It's a coconut with a straw. What's not to like?
There was a lot more liquid in it than I thought there'd be.

Unlike in the current city of Toronto, the garbage was well taken care of. There were people who changed the bags in the bins as soon as they got full. There were a lot of skewer sticks on the ground, but there were people picking them up by hand later in the night.

As a general rule for this event, if you stand in any line that is in the way of food vapours and smoke (especially stinky tofu), chances are that you'll go home smelling like you need Febreeze-ing (or a good wash).

Night It Up 2009 was full of food, but it was also full of people.
The map layout of the booths could have been helpful. Next time, I think I'll just go at 11:30 p.m. on the second day. The crowd is smaller, and almost everything goes on sale.

Total damage: $22 (I only had one oyster).

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen (5025 Yonge Street, North York)

Small dipped cone:
The ice cream was seeping through the cracks, as well as the gap between the chocolate and the cone. I knew this would be messy, but I can never resist the soft vanilla ice cream and crunchy chocolate casing.

Total damage: $2.50.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tea Shop 168

Tea Shop 168 (505 Highway 7 East, Richmond Hill)

Cantaloupe ice crush:
It tastes like a Freezie in a fancy cup. And that's all I have to say about that.

Dorothy thought that her guava drink was very weird, in a bad (real bad) kind of way. She mentioned that it doesn't taste that weird from other bubble tea places.

Josie noted that only Ten Ren's has the real stuff. I imagine she means that they're the only franchise that uses real fruits, taro, etc.

Damage: $3.99 + tax + tip.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Poutini's House of Poutine

Poutini's House of Poutine (1112 Queen Street West)

Trying to find really good poutine in Toronto is like trying to find real Chinese food in Peru: maybe it exists but you're going to have to drive around for a while to find it.

Despite how much I eat poutine, I can't call myself a poutine expert. From what I understand though, squeaky cheese curds are good. If that's a must in your poutine, then I think Poutini is the place to go in Toronto. They also advertise hand-cut fries and real gravy.

It's one size fits all here, and that size is huge. From my thumb to the tips of my fingers, my hand can't even wrap around half of the circumference of the top of the cup. The cups and forks, by the way, can all go in the green bin. Bonus points for the sturdy forks. It's such a necessary item when digging into something this dense.
I'm pretty impressed with the squeakiness of the curds. The fries hold their own and they weren't burnt dark brown, but the gravy is a bit tasteless, hence the pepper I added seen in the pictures. I also wouldn't mind some seasoning on the fries, but maybe I'm just being picky now.

The first time I went, the gravy was a bit transparent (as seen above). According to the site, they were still working to perfect the recipe. The next time, the gravy was a lot thicker (as seen below). It seems as though they are taking note of the online comments and reviews. Or maybe the batch of gravy was just randomly thicker on the more recent visit.

The cheese melted more on my second visit. It seemed that the gravy was hotter than the first time around. Andrew mentioned that it'd be better if they layered the curds throughout the cup, since he prefers the melted cheese as opposed to the chunks. I found this on the site: If you love your cheese, double the order of curds and we’ll put them in the middle AND on top!" I guess all he had to do was ask.
The space isn't very big at all, and seats are limited to the three stools by the window. There are wooden counters that you can stand around to eat your food. It sounds ghetto, but it's not all that bad. Everything is pleasant, from the artwork on the walls to the music to the people that work there. They are extra pleasant.

So, is this really good poutine? Well, it's really good for Toronto.

Total damage: $7 for a poutine. I like how they priced it. It comes up to a whole number with tax. Yay! No chump change!