Tuesday, May 31, 2011



I don't know what this is called, but it's the first item on the first page of the menu. Based on how many people are at your table is how many portions you should probably order. It all goes in the same pan though. So the six of us ordered 3 portions of the chicken type, and 3 portions of the seafood type. (I think the seafood one is the second item on the first page of the menu.)

They come and cook it in front of you at your table. It sits there, and they come by and stir it once in a while. When it's done, they take it off the heat and let you know that you can dig in.

This is the seafood dish, and you can see the extra cheese bits that we ordered, as well as the rice cakes.

 We also ordered instant noodles to go in them. All of the add-ins are extra, I think.

Side dishes included kimchi, broccoli, mashed potato ball, and white radish sticks.

The end product looks like it could be spaghetti and meatballs from far away, but it's not. I remember when my friend added cheese to instant noodles when we were younger, and I thought it was gross, but it totally works here for me. Casey thought it was odd because it looked like Italian food, but tasted like Korean food when he ate it. The seafood plate was more exciting for me because it also included chicken.

Would I return? Yeah. The food was pretty good. There was quite a bit of seafood in the seafood dish, and the combination of cheese and Korean flavour was delicious. Prices are decent, but the portions were slightly on the small side for us.

Total damage: approximately $13 per person.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Man Doo Hyang


Yet another visit to Yuna Kim

These giant deep-fried dumplings were pre-ordered half a day ahead of time.
There were actually six dumplings on the plate before I took the picture. The dumplings came out burning hot and those who bit into it without fear made juice squirt out of it. 

I split a bowl of handmade noodles with Casey and this combined with the dumplings was about the right amount of food for me.
I like these squishy, pouffy noodles that are slightly rough around the edges. Broth is salty enough, too.

Inside a kimchi dumpling. 
They're not too spicy. 

Would I return? Yup, I always do. The dumplings and noodles are consistent. And as Jo would say, it's so authentic that there is potential for communication problems. Renée had a bit of trouble pre-ordering the dumplings over the phone, but she managed to do that after some time and make reservations (under her fake name that is more easily pronounceable). When we asked for the fried dumplings, they told us they were sold out, but we made it known that we were the ones who pre-ordered them, and they understood. Good thing we phoned in ahead of time otherwise Casey would have been sad. Their beer prices are now $3.99 each (up from $2.50 since we first came here), but the soju is still $9.99.

Total damage: $10 for my share.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Korbel Cream Sherry

Korbel isn't really known for their non-California champagnes. I can see why. This wine is very sweet and as Jo mentioned, it tastes like those Chinese haw flakes. I'm not a fan of those candies, so I didn't really like it. It also smells like whisky. This bottle was an apology bottle given to Casey from Korbel because of some incident. I can see why this would be free.

Would I drink it again? No.

Total damage: free for me thanks to Casey (and Korbel)!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ten Ren's


Ten Ren has some decently priced lunch specials during the weekdays. 

I ordered this grandpa noodles combo.
It comes with three mini sides (2 vegetable, 1 spring roll), and a small salad (that has raisins). The yolk part of the boiled egg was kind of dry, but expected. The grandpa noodles were okay but pretty plain. It also came with a drink, and I chose mango iced tea (I think). The drink was pretty refreshing and light tasting.

It should be noted that different Ten Ren locations have different prices. I've heard that the Ten Ren at Empress Walk on Yonge Street is noticeably cheaper than the one on Highway 7. 

Lorraine mentioned that she didn't actually like their noodles that much, but that it was a good place to hang out and talk. I have to agree that it wasn't empty, but it was peaceful enough to have a lengthy conversation without screaming or being rushed out. 

Total damage: free for me thanks to Lorraine!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Health Herb Harmony


Walnut soup paste ($4.50).
I think I've been mixing up the cashew and walnut flavours... I now know that the darker coloured one is the walnut one. It is this one that I like because it has a stronger flavour to it, and it seems thicker. I actually tried to order the cashew one this time (thinking it would be the darker walnut soup), but the girl kindly explained that they were out and that most people ordered the walnut one anyway. It had the soup skin layer on top, but that disappeared after I mixed it. I'm a fan of the strong nutty taste.

Steamed tofu dessert soup.
The tofu was really soft, and I liked it. 

Would I return? Yeah, it's the only place where I get my walnut paste soup, and there's a student discount (but we forgot to have them apply that).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Akasaka Japanese Restaurant

Sake appletinis ($8 each).
For some reason, the sake cocktails are no longer listed out in the menu. I quite liked the sake almontini the first time I came here, and wanted to know what other varieties they had. When we asked a server for a cocktail menu, she asked us what kind of cocktails we wanted. It was kind of weird. When we gave her a blank look, she started listing out common cocktails that we were not interested in. She stopped when I had asked if they had anything with sake in it. She suggested the appletini and something else with raspberry in it and said they were the best. She made no mention of the sake almontini until I asked about it. The sake appletini had little to no alcohol taste. It was okay, but nothing special. The blue flower was nice.

Our server suggested that we upgrade our miso soup to lobster miso soup for $1 each.
I didn't notice the lobster taste in the first few sips, perhaps because it was piping hot, but it came through  about midway in the bowl. It wasn't intense - not like bisque, and Jo said that it tasted like lobster only when she thought of lobster. I thought it was nice. 

Sashimi special of the day ($20).
I think this was sea bream. The sashimi slices were quite thin, and they were served over ice. There was dry ice in the shell that produced some small foggy novelty, but again, nothing like the first time Jo and I came to this restaurant. Jo seemed to like the fish, but we both noted some stringy pieces. The slices with weird strands in them were not enjoyable.

Ice wine foie gras ($15).
The foie gras tasted like butter, and seemed less salty than other foie gras that I've tried. I didn't really notice the ice wine anywhere in the dish, but there was a cucumber cup of sake. Jo poured the sake over the foie gras and unagi "tower", and we both thought that made it taste better. What was cool was that there was a cucumber taste to the sake when we sipped it out of its vegetable cup. The unagi was soft enough. Taking a bite with the seaweed, foie gras, and eel made the liver taste more like smooth peanut butter. I thought this was an interesting dish to try, but I wouldn't necessarily order it again. Also, I had no idea what the wasabi was for. Heck, we weren't even too sure about what we were supposed to do with the sake on the plate.

Spicy tuna maki ($6).
It was tingly in my mouth. There were a lot of crunchy bits. I liked it, possibly because I liked the softness of the tuna that day. Jo thought it had too many tempura bits and that they overpowered the fish.

Another special of the day: octopus slices with lily and plum sauce ($6).
The octopus pieces were chewy and kind of hard. The lily pieces had the texture of hard onions. I didn't really like this much, but this was Renée's anyway.

Toro hand roll ($6).
It sure looked like it was packed with toro. Renée thought it was fine. 

Would I return? Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with this visit. Perhaps it was because of what we ordered, but I wasn't impressed. Our drinks were okay, the food was okay, and the prices are kind of high. I probably wouldn't order any of the same items again if I were to return. The spicy tuna maki was good, but expensive for what it is. Based on previous visits, I think they do sushi and sashimi better in general, and the new wave maki rolls are exciting to try and read about. I think what bugged me the most about this visit was our server. She was brusque, and seemed impatient. Granted, Renée did take a heck of a long time, but she felt as though our server didn't like her by the time she wanted to order more. Though I was still hungry by the end of it, I didn't really want to order more either. The server was just too pushy... like a used car salesman in a relatively fancy restaurant. It was pretty off-putting. If I ever return, it probably won't be for a while.

Total damage: $88.14 before tip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Man Doo Hyang


I finally ordered something different at the place I refer to as Yuna Kim. The weather simply called for something that was not hot soup noodles.

I decided to try the cold noodles, but that wasn't available for some reason. So I got the cold noodles in soy bean broth.
The noodles are not the same handmade noodles as the ones in hot broth. Instead, these noodles are thinner, chewier, and seem a little more translucent. I prefer the other ones. The broth doesn't really taste like the sweet soy bean drink that I thought it would. Instead, the soy bean taste is really faint, and maybe that's why it's served with a small dish of salt that looked like flaked up snow that wouldn't melt. Noodle portion was more than enough for me. It reminded me of the Chinese cold peanut sauce noodles at Mr. Panino in Waterloo. I'd kind of want to try what the other cold noodles in different broth tasted like. Maybe next time.

Berta and I also split a plate of kimchi flavoured giant dumplings. The deep-fried ones weren't available. 
It should be noted that the kimchi dumplings still have meat in them.

Would I return? Yes. It's comfortable and casual enough for me. The food tastes good to me for the right price. If their alcohol prices haven't gone up, that's a plus, too. The giant dumplings are exciting, and it's even more exciting when they have the deep-fried dumplings available. I'm also a fan of their filling handmade noodles and their mini boiled beef dumpling side dish. 

Total damage: $13 for my share.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Mon - Sat 10 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sun 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Cappuccino cheesecake ($4.50)
Very dense, and it had an intense coffee taste to it. I liked it, but I think I prefer the chocolate cheesecake.  Most of their cakes are from Dufflet, and I now suspect that the ones that aren't are from Pauline's. I don't know who Pauline is, but from my experience in the past, she makes damn good cheesecakes. That is, if this is the same Pauline that I'm thinking of. Why do I suspect Pauline to be the mystery cake supplier? Well, I saw a truck with her logo parked outside Capriccio one day.

Would I return? Yup. This cafe is comfortable, I like the cheesecakes, and the staff is quite pleasant.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Costco Food

Renée and Andrea think Costco fries are awesome. I was starving, so I thought I'd try it out.
The poutine: It actually has cheese curds! They're not squeaky, but at least they were curds. Fries were crispy (when not drenched in gravy), but not double fried like how I like them. Portion is pretty massive, maybe comparable to the blue fry truck on Queen Street downtown.

Total damage: just under $5.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Attempt #1 at Macaroni and Cheese

I had to make a roux, which was something I've never done before (because I've never regularly owned butter until recently). I had some help from this video with how to do so. That chef explained it pretty well.

Attempt 1 was okay, but there were some small clumps of sauce inside.

 Attempt #2 at Macaroni and Cheese
I pretty much did what I did in attempt #1 and added some carrots and onions because I felt like I needed vegetables.

I cooked those vegetables in butter.

 If it looks grainy on one side, it's because I added bread crumbs. Yes, only to one side to see how it would taste.

Onions work in mac 'n cheese. Carrots not so much. Panko bread crumbs as suggested in the video link above would be awesome.

You can kind of see the small clumpy bits in this picture:

 Attempt #3 at Macaroni and Cheese
Try, try, and try again. Practice makes perfect. And I had a lot of cheese left since it kept going on sale.

I tried this one with egg since I saw it used in this recipe. Bad idea. Maybe it was because I don't measure things most of the time, but the egg just cooked in clumps within the macaroni. It was sort of gross. 

I will not be wasting any more of my eggs in mac 'n cheese.

 Attempt #4 at Macaroni and Cheese
 This was the best attempt yet. Although I burned the butter on the first try at making the roux, it was awesome after I started fresh. I felt a bit sad dumping out that wasted brown butter.

The result was sooooo creamy and very cheesy. No weirdo clumps.

The top was nice, but I really need to get some Japanese panko bread crumbs.

Things that would make it better: panko bread crumbs, more cheese (maybe Parmesan on top too - can never have enough cheese), fancy seasoning, and maybe some Italian sausage.

Or I could just follow this guy's recipe properly.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu (5445 Yonge Street, North York)
(647) 430-7458

This place doesn't seem to change.

Side dishes.

Mild dumpling soon tofu.
Mild is very manageable in terms of spiciness. The dumpling soon tofu is the same price as the vegetable one. Renée got the vegetable one only because she thought she needed to eat vegetables. We both agree that dumpling soon tofu is the way to go. This time, my dumplings were good and intact.

Another occasion where I got dumpling soon tofu.

Would I return? Yes. This place is pretty consistent, and almost always packed during meal times. It was a little slow when we got there before noon on a weekday, but it filled up quickly. I'm always surprised at how full I can be from soup and a bowl of rice. There's practically a whole container full of tofu in each bowl of soup. The server we got during lunch time seemed to be extra cheery.

Total damage: $9-10 per person.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Food

Hamburger Helper, made by Andrew.

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
They have this distinct doughy taste that I find a little odd, if not nostalgic. 

A cracker, cheese and deli meat dinner from Walmart. Not everyone can afford to eat fancy food every day. It went well with the green tea and Chivas, though. 

Josie's crackers of choice: Ritz. Mine: Triscuit (cracked pepper and olive oil).

My lazy way of making macaroni and cheese involves throwing cheese on cooked macaroni and baking. 

Frozen stuffed chicken breasts.
These taste better than they look. They'd look better if they didn't explode from the top.

Hot pot at Sheila and Jon's place.
Nothing beats a Jesus table full of food. People (friends) around you will cook the food in boiling water and hopefully serve it to you.

There were these cool fish-shaped fish cakes that cleared out fast. 

My favourite brand of instant noodles in cup form:
For some reason, the noodles taste different in the cup... it's probably all in my head.

This package tasted like imitation Nongshim instant noodles.  
 They were also spicy and delicious.
I added the soy beans because I felt like I needed to eat some vegetables.

Asparagus, mushrooms, and penne.
It's plain, but easy to make.

The chicken was leftover from the whole roasted chicken that I had purchased.
I like soft carrots, so I boil them until they're mushy.

Fried rice: with "holiday meat". Sadly, I used imitation SPAM.
 Fried rice is best made with leftover rice that has less moisture than freshly cooked rice.

My version of salad.
 I add fruit and cheese to spinach so that I don't have to buy salad dressing.

French toasted peanut butter sandwich.
I made it super eggy. And again, I drizzled sweet liquor over it in the pan because I didn't have syrup. Works for me. No playful face on it because I didn't have any bananas.