Sunday, August 30, 2009

Richtree Market Restaurants

Richtree Market Restaurants (Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place), 42 Yonge Street, Toronto)
Mon - Thurs: 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Fri - Sat: 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Sun - 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

How it works:
They give you a card when you enter. You go around the food stations swiping your card for things you want to eat. When you're done eating, you give your card to the staff at one of the exits and pay. It may look like an all you can eat buffet, but it's not. They include a service charge on the bill.

BBQ chicken pizza:
I thought it wasn't bad. The chicken wasn't particularly moist, but I didn't really notice it. Ed thought it tasted like Indian food.

Chocolate pecan pie:
Maybe I read the sign wrong. Maybe it was really chocolate pecan cake because that's what it tasted like. The size was pretty massive and it wasn't crazy sweet. I actually got this while waiting for my pizza to bake. I only didn't like the fact that it came on a giant plate because it made eating my pizza and my dessert at the same time a little difficult.

Total damage: $19.44.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pâtisserie La Cigogne

Yet more cake!

Pâtisserie La Cigogne (1626 Bayview Avenue, Toronto)

Right when we walked into this patisserie, we noticed the display of exciting cakes behind the glass. The staff were a lot less exciting than the cakes. It took an unusually long time for someone to come by and help us, considering that they all saw us as we walked in. I couldn't tell if we were being ignored or if they were giving us time to choose. I hope it was the latter because being ignored as a customer is very annoying.

Sheila went for the Croq-Pistache:
The Croq-Pistache had nice layers and Sheila really liked it. That's not surprising though since she loves pistachio-flavoured stuff.

I went for The Paradise:

I liked how my cake looked like an orange. You could definitely taste the orange, as well as a bit of liquor. I appreciated this, but Sheila did not.

As I age, I find myself preferring lighter cakes that aren't too sweet. Both cakes were nice and light.

I want to try their other cakes, but I don't want to be ignored again.

Damage: free for me, thanks to Sheila!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ruelo Patisserie

Ruelo Patisserie (550 Highway 7 East, Richmond Hill)

More cake!

The cakes here are rather pint-sized.

Zuyu(?) something:
It has the volume of about two golf balls. When I tried to cut through the centre with my spoon, the pink jelly thing just plopped right out. I wasn't really much of a fan of its texture - reminded me a bit like stale gelatin. The white part was nice though. It had a really light flavour, and it wasn't heavy at all.
Ruelo cake and some mango thing in the background:
Andrea really liked the white part of the mango mousse cup. She noted some coconut flavour.

The Ruelo cake was pretty good. I liked the crunchy bits inside. It's surprisingly not overbearingly sweet.
The cakes are pretty good and it's clear that they put thought into their creation, but this is definitely not the cheapest cake shop around.

Total damage: approximately $15 for the mango thing and the two little cakes.

Le Délice Fine Cakes

Le Délice Fine Cakes (7355 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill)

Sometimes, I just want someone to eat cake with. Luckily I have Team Ghetto! Together we split two petits fours. There was no special occasion because having cake for the sake of having cake is reason enough.

I liked the crunchy bits inside, but the mousse was a bit more leaky than expected. The shape is what drew me to pick this dessert, and the flavour was good.

This version looked way cooler than the one they had in a cup. I especially like how the top was presented with that ruffle chocolate thing. I'm used to the lady fingers being shoved inside the tiramisu rather than encasing it. This way, the cookies are still a bit crispy.


I think this place is associated with the neighbouring Bagel Nash.

Passing by this plaza, you'd never know it was there because it's inside this sort of secret hallway behind the restaurants and Longo's facing Bayview.

Damage: Approximately $10 for both of the petits fours.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe (429 Columbus Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts)

Before our trip to Boston, I had Googled some local favourites for our crew to visit since I don't like eating crap. Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe was the recipient of a James Beard Award in 2005. That sounded like anti-crap to me!

There weren't any tables when we got there, so we ordered our food to go. Luckily for us, there was a park nearby where we could eat breakfast peacefully and take in the Boston breeze.

The menu advertises their turkey hash specialty, but I really wanted some pancakes that day.
Banana pancakes, to be precise. In the three large flapjacks, there were banana slices lodged inside. I thought this was pretty cool because for some reason I imagined bananas being mashed into the pancake batter instead. My favourite bits were the caramelized brown bits on the banana pieces.

Casey ordered the turkey hash, and it was quite flavourful and filling.

It should also be noted that there are no washrooms at this old school joint.

Total damage: approximately $10 USD.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Boston Backlog

Been a little behind with food posts, so without further ado, here's the best meal I had in Boston:

Atlantic Fish Company (761 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts)
Tel: 617-267-4000
Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Thursday 11:30 AM - 11:00 PM
Friday - Saturday 11:30 AM - 12:00 AM

The four of us walked into this restaurant and were asked if we had a reservation. We did not, and we were told that the restaurant was fully booked for another one to two hours. As we were debating whether or not to wait, the restaurant staff decided to tell us that if the next party didn't claim their reservation, we could have their table in fifteen minutes. It turned out to be less than a five minute wait before they seated us.

Unsure of whether or not to save room for dessert, we decided to ask our waiter for the dessert menu before ordering our main courses. He seemed amused by our request. That's how we roll. And of course, not wanting to waste time, we ordered starters while deliberating over which mains to pick. That is also how we roll.

By this meal, I felt that I had enough clam chowder on the trip. So I went with a cup of crab bisque.
My initial thought was, "It tastes very... crabby." And I meant that in the best possible way. That is good stuff, and I wish I had some now.

My eating buddies went with the tower of seafood for four. They were way more impressed with this seafood than with what they received at the other restaurants we tried in Boston. Though the platter is for four, not everything comes evenly in four equal chunks since the content is measured by weight. Grab the big lobster claw if you can!

Pan-seared Giant Sea Scallops with asparagus and spinach:
Honestly, I was expecting no more than three or four scallops on an empty-looking plate. I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. The scallops were great in terms of texture. Jess ordered her scallops blackened (not really, but our waiter just couldn't remember that hers were also supposed to be pan-seared), and hers had more flavour.

The spinach was simply seasoned with large grain salt. I think it was sea salt. Nothing was really overly complicated on my plate, and I liked that I could really get to taste each individual item. I also liked the shower cap type thing on the lemon. It was pretty novel to me.

Mel ordered the San Francisco Cioppino. It was like a giant seafood stew, and you really have to be a monster to finish it. I found it to be very tasty from the forkfuls that I stole.

From our pre-meal glance at the dessert menu, Jess and I planned to save room for the peanut butter ice cream pie. So pleased with the seafood tower appetizer, Casey and Mel decided that they wanted more raw seafood while the other half of the table went the conventional route and stuck to sweets after the mains. Our waiter mentioned that upon putting our order in, the chef/kitchen staff thought there was a pregnant lady at our table. No pregnant lady, we just eat what we want whenever we want. He also mentioned that he never had to place oyster forks and dessert forks down at the same time before we came along. We're special.
The ice cream pie reminded me a bit of a fancy sundae - one that I had to share. The peanut butter taste wasn't overpowering and I was thrilled that there were no berries involved. Jess really liked this dessert. The weird part was eating this and smelling the raw oysters from Casey and Mel's side.

Damage for our table:

Yup, in that order.

This was my favourite Boston seafood place.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Quincy Market

Quincy Market (Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, Massachusetts)

What's there to do in Boston (for non Red Sox and non Harvard/MIT fans) other than eat seafood? Go to Quincy Market, a.k.a. Faneuil Hall Marketplace... to eat more food. And seafood.

From my understanding and mini exploration, there are three long buildings that make up the bulk of Quincy Market. One of them has mostly dine-in restaurants, another has mostly stores with non-edible product, and the middle one is where the cafeteria style food is at. Our intention was to try a bunch of food from different vendors instead of eating at only one restaurant. We didn't really succeed because what we ordered was pretty filling.
We stopped by a cookie shoppe at the request of Jess's cravings. The Chipyard offers a small variety of cookies that all or almost all have chocolate chips in them.

I'm a fan of the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie:
Soft and delicious.

Through the window, we saw a huge mixer that could probably fit Jess in it. It was exciting.

The website offers online ordering. Looking at the available flavours on the site, I wish they offered banana chocolate chip in store.

Boston and Maine Fish Company (200 Faneuil Hall Marketplace)
Phone: 617-723-4111

I got the seasonal special ($17.75 USD) which included a cup of clam chowder and a lobster roll:
While I didn't enjoy the brown edges of the greenery in my sandwich, I did enjoy the large chunks of lobster. The chowder had large chunks of potato. It was okay, but not as good as the one from Legal (see previous post). Jess said it tasted like Campbell's. Yay to those crackers!

One shouldn't dilly-dally if the hallway is relatively clear because it can get pretty crowded.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Legal Sea Foods

Legal Sea Foods (The Prudential Center, 800 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts)
Phone: 617-266-6800
Mon - Thu 11:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Fri - Sat 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Not wanting to deviate from our itinerary, we decided on a seafood restaurant chain for our first meal in Boston. It was recommended to us by several people.
Mel, Casey, and Jess all thought that our server was a [insert expletive here]. I didn't notice any bad attitude from her, but I might've just been excited about seafood in Boston. They later said that she got better afterwards, thinking that she straightened out after we all ordered our own lobster.

I started off with a New England clam chowder.
It was good and chunky. I liked how the crackers hold up in the soup. Luckily for me, the same crackers are served everywhere else we ate in Boston, too.

Wanting to maximize seafood intake, we split twelve raw clams among the four of us. We ordered six Littlenecks ($6.95 USD) and six Cherrystones ($6.95 USD). The menu is a bit deceiving, since it states that raw clams are six for $6.95 and twelve for $9.95. When we received our bill, we discovered that the price for a dozen only applies if you order all the same kind. D'oh!
I've never had raw clams before, but I think I like them better than oysters. Speaking of which, the oysters that the rest of my table ingested didn't seem too impressive. Mel noted weird aftertastes.

Since it was our only planned activity, I wanted to stuff my face with lobster. I decided to go with the steamed 1.25-1.50 lb lobster. It came with my choice of two sides. I went for mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese. Broccoli tastes much better when it's cut into manageable chunks for me. I had some oversized pieces.
The shell of the lobster was super soft, and I didn't need the cracker. The meat was also curiously easy to pick out of the shells. I didn't notice this on my lobster, but Casey kept mentioning that his had a weird layer of skin in between the meat and the shell that was inedible.

Jess didn't eat the clams in her lobster bake. I tried one, but I was a bit grossed out by the sand in it. I couldn't quite get it all off the meat even with rinsing. I guess the clams were better raw.

As a first meal in Boston, I thought this was pretty good.

This was just the beginning of our high cholesterol weekend!

Total damage: $43 USD for my lobster, chowder and my share of the raw clams.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory (Colonie Center Mall, 1417 Central Avenue, Albany, NY)


Mon - Thurs 11:00 am - 11:00 pm

Friday & Saturday 11:00 am - 12:30 am

Sunday 10:00 am - 11:00 pm

The Cheesecake Factory is a restaurant chain that offers a wide variety of cheesecake (surprise!) and other food that we also ate. Though, I would've been fine just eating cheesecake for lunch.

This particular location was supposed to open at 11 a.m., but it was really more like 11:05. We weren't the only ones waiting for it to open.

Casey and Mel tried the tuna tartare appetizer:

Casey thought it was pretty good, but he was also expecting crap. Mel liked the avocado bottom.

It's not that visible in the picture, but my freshly squeezed orange juice was two-toned:
I liked it because the pulp chunks weren't that noticeable.

The brown bread was better than that white bread. Both were served warm.

I should note that when we were served our meals, Casey started chanting, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" We're not used to the massive American portion sizes. Usually, we just order more food.

I ordered Renée's special: one-half of a chicken salad sandwich, a cup of cream of chicken, and a small salad.
The soup was okay, but it was annoying how the skin kept forming on top. The bread for the sandwich was buttered on the outside which made it taste yummy but feel greasy. I thoroughly enjoyed the balsamic vinaigrette served with the salad. The whole dish was pretty filling, and I couldn't finish it because I had to save room for dessert/cheesecake(s).

The choices were a bit overwhelming for dessert, but I settled on a tiramisu cheesecake.
The colour is a bit more yellow than the picture of it on the site, but the cake itself was pleasant.

Out of the three cheesecakes that our table ordered, we all thought that Jess's banana cream cheesecake was the winner.
The banana cream cheesecake had a creamier/mushier texture, which I think is why we enjoyed it the most.

Though their red velvet cheesecake was said to be award-winning, it bothered me that the red food dye bled onto the other layers. Also, it didn't really taste that special. The waitress mentioned something about a dollar from all red velvet cheesecakes sold going to some charity. I thought that was nice, but we later realized that the red velvet slice costs a dollar more than the others.

The three slices that we ate weren't overly sweet and didn't feel heavy.


Total damage: Approximately $25 USD.

McDevil USA

McDonald's (Somewhere off the I-90? I-190?)
Premium Crispy Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich ($4.98 USD, including tax):

It was steaming as I was biting into it. It was pretty good for McDevil food.

This is what they call Chicken McNuggets® in the states:
They need to standardize them because I'm used to this. The ones from this McDonald's were not as crispy, but at least they tasted better than they looked.

Mel got cookies with her Happy Meal:
Jess said they tasted like cleaning agent.

Also, apple slices in a sealed bag are really weird.

Total damage: 580 calories for the chicken BLT and 230 calories for 5 McNuggets®.

Boston food posts to come!

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

Medium pan pizza:
I think it was Supreme. I like pan pizza, but this one was kind of doughy.

Pitcher of 7Up:
Looks like a mini pitcher. I prefer Sprite anyway.

Total damage: $15 for half the pizza and half the pitcher.