Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dumpling King


I was impressed with Dumpling King the first time I went there. It was charmingly casual, and the Dumpling King (whose face is on the sign outside) was very people pleasing despite his limited English.

I never realized how multicultural the sign was at the top.
The sign is complete with Engrish like "Vegitanian". 

These fried dumplings were what impressed me upon my first visit.
As I bit into one, the meat juice inside squirted a good projectile that landed about a foot and a half to my side. We ate the rest of them very slowly. 

I like that the noodles have that handmade shape to them.

My second visit there was just as memorable, but not in a good way... I've mentioned Dumpling Princess before, and this is when we encountered her.

Dumpling Princess incident:

We ordered almost everything on the menu. We tried to get the noodles, but they ran out that day. When we got our bill, we noted that we had been charged for the noodles. Not a problem, the girl made adjustments and gave the charges back to us. Then, we checked again just in case, and noted that we were charged for two orders of soup dumplings (which we ordered), but we were only served one bowl of it. We tried to explain this to the girl. That's when it all went wrong. Dumpling Princess immediately made some sort of whiny tantrum noise and started yelling at us in Mandarin. I had no idea what was going on. Dumpling King came out from the back and he looked angry. I think he said something to us in Mandarin as well. After some commotion, Jess understood enough to tell us what was going on. We had been given two orders of soup dumplings in one bowl, but they hadn't been able to communicate this to us. All that fuss could have been avoided with calm communication - hand gestures, slower Mandarin speaking, broken English, etc. Anything but yelling at customers would have been better.

Dumpling King later apologized to us, but not before he and Dumpling Princess yelled at each other in the back. She promptly stomped out of the restaurant after that.

As for the name Dumpling Princess, Jo didn't think that a normal staff member would yell at the boss that way, and thought the girl must have been a relative of his, possibly his daughter. Thus, Jo dubbed her Dumpling Princess.

Would I return? Not by myself. I'm still afraid of Dumpling Princess. Otherwise, food is okay and prices are decent for portions that you get.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pickle Barrel

Sun - Thurs 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. (-midnight for bar)
Fri - Sat 8 a.m. - midnight (-1 a.m. for bar)

In addition to their really thick regular Grand menu, there was a special limited time offer menu which offered a deli sandwich and a Coke beverage for $9.99. 
Montreal smoked meat sandwich and fries.
The fries were crispy, and needing salt. The meat was warm, plentiful, and a good amount of fattiness. Andrew said that he likes all coleslaw except the coleslaw from Pickle Barrel. It tasted like it had been seasoned with Italian salad dressing.

Andrew's brownie dessert.
This was larger than I had expected. It came with vanilla frozen yogurt and a cherry on top.

My chocolate chip muffin dessert. 
The top was gigantic and it was crunchy. It was just as good as the one I got from the other Pickle Barrel. Pickle Barrel muffins ftw!

Would I return? Sure. They have chocolate chip muffins that I like! :D

Total damage: $9.99 for the sandwich and Sprite + $1.25 for the muffin + tax + tip.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cucumber Shot Glass

Okay, I'll admit that I totally stole this idea from my last visit to Akasaka. I thought it's just a pretty cool idea. Plus, I had a cucumber.

The restaurant may have hollowed it out better, but it did not have a caveman-like picture of Google's Android on it. I didn't have sake, so I substituted with Grey Goose vodka.
It might've tasted better with sake.

Cheers! To vegetable cups!

Monday, July 25, 2011


The website has no affiliation with this restaurant, which makes me wonder why they named it so. The name and outdoor pictures are a little misleading. I was expecting a large variety of sushi rolls and the like, but their actual selection of rolls is confined to a small corner of their menu. I didn't take a long look at the list, but from what I glanced over, there weren't any/many of the raw fish kinds. The menu seemed to be mostly Korean food.

Dumpling ramen.
It is dressed up instant noodles, with bits of egg and some cut up vegetables that I appreciated.

Renée's ramen with cheese.
I thought it was gross when my friend would add processed cheese to her instant noodles back in the day. Maybe she was onto something. 

Candies with the bill.
These had a really cute packaging that Renée was excited about.

Would I return? Probably not by choice, but maybe for the fact that most of the other restaurants and eateries in the same building don't open until 3 p.m. on Sundays. Most of the noodles on the menu are spicy. It was hard to find something acceptable for Renée. The staff seemed pretty indifferent towards us, and were way more responsive to the TV; however, they didn't ignore us when we asked for stuff like more water and the bill.

Total damage: $6 for my noodles.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pickle Barrel MUFFIN

Sun - Thurs 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Fri - Sat 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.

I don't know what prompted my search for a decent chocolate chip muffin. I think I wanted one at some point, and realized I couldn't find one. That's when my continuous cravings started. It's always that I want what I can't get. Anyway, walking around in Vaughan Mills, we noticed some awesome-looking muffins at The Pickle Barrel, of all places. 

Chocolate chip muffin.
The top looked super crunchy, and not shiny and soft. It had the proper mushroom shape, with a giant top. Best of all, they had chocolate chip flavoured ones. 

It was everything I could hope for in a muffin: chocolate chip with a giant crunchy top. Underneath the cap, it wasn't as moist and buttery as the one from Cafe Palma, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Pickle Barrel's version was also larger. 

Would I return? For muffins? Yes. My craving is finally satisfied.

Total damage: $1.31.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Johnny Rockets


They have cool straw holders... but it'd make me feel a little better if the straws were individually wrapped.

My Route 66 burger and fries. 
The cheese made the burger. The onions were very flavourful as well. Along with the mushrooms, it was like omelette contents in a burger without the egg. The fries were hot, fresh, and crispy, but they could've used seasoning. That being said, I was fine with making snow with the salt shaker.

Jo's burger and fries.

The actual meat in the burger was of decent thickness, but so dry. It was so dry that it made me a little sad. Jo agreed that the meat in her burger was dry, but she said it was passable towards the centre of hers. I guess I got the hockey puck. 

Would I return? I don't know. It seemed a little pricey for such a dry burger. The worst part was that everything except the meat was fine. Jo seemed to like the bun as it reminded her of the Filet-o-fish buns from McD's. 

Total damage: $17 for my burger, fries and Sprite.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Banana Bread

By the same recipe as last time, I utilized my rotting bananas and turned them into banana bread.

I don't know if it was because the bananas were extra rotting, but the bread turned out super moist.

It also had a nice crusty top.
Though I was reusing the recipe, it didn't turn out as good as before. I think I added too much salt. :s

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tracy Dessert

Tracy Dessert (3255 Highway 7 East, Markham, Ontario)

In the back corner, there is always a plethora of mangoes. This is why we call it the mango place.

Mango tapioca dessert. 
I like it. It's thick and the fresh mango slices are nice. They were sweet but I did note some stringy bits in my dessert.

 Rice noodle rolls (cheung fun). 
These were served quite hot and with three sauces: peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, and hot sauce (which isn't really spicy). It's a decent amount of food for under $5. It's my comfort food.

Would I return? Yup. They're pretty consistent on quality, and the atmosphere is very casual. Jo noted that a staff member had a pretty blank expression every time we spoke to her. That didn't bother me much as she was polite enough and got our food out with no issues. Also, I prefer a blank expression over a bitchy one any day.

Total damage: $17 for 2 mango desserts and 1 bowl of rice noodle rolls.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Peter Pan Bistro

Sun - Wed: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Thurs - Sat: 12 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Went here for Summerlicious
The bread.
The bread was really good. It was quite soft with lots of flavour and served with oil and vinegar.

Portobello mushroom with chorizo sausage.
Salty. The sausage part was crispy and reminded me a bit of Chinese food somehow. The leaves at the bottom soaked up all the vinegary sauce. The mushroom was nice and plump.

Salmon with crispy polenta.
The asparagus tasted a bit burnt, and they were a bit limp for my liking. Everybody at the table who had the same dish as me thought the crispy ball was potato until I pointed it out that it was polenta. That crispy ball might've been the coolest part of my meal... except that it was extremely hot and I almost burned my tongue on the first bite. The salmon wasn't bad. It wasn't dry. The sauce tasted a bit like barbecue sauce.

I thought it could use a little more liquor and coffee taste. It was also a bit too cakey for me, but I ate it up anyway.

Would I return? I'm not sure. I thought the food was okay, not really mind-blowing. I really liked the polenta ball and the bread, though. It's hard to judge the restaurant from this meal as I've noted that the Summerlicious menu isn't always a restaurant's best or even average offering. Actually the three options for mains on the special menu was reduced to two, as they had run out of ribs before we ordered. The waitress mentioned that they were low on salmon as well, but we managed to get ours.

We all noted that everything took a really long time to come out. The bread, the food... we all thought the wait was getting to be a bit much. There might have been lots of patrons inside, but there were only two occupied tables (including ours) outside.

The patio is full of greenery. The outdoor furniture is green as well. And plastic. 

Despite the speed, service was friendly and polite.

Overall, I thought the experience was okay. Felicia didn't seem too impressed. She thought her bisque was too thick, and wasn't a superfan of her seafood macaroni. Her favourite part of the meal was the tiramisu. I'm not sure how everyone else felt about this place.

Total damage: $25 + tax + tip.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Night It Up 2011

This year, the festivities moved north from their former location at the Metro Square parking lot. There seemed to be a lot more space, and there were even some picnic benches for people sit down and eat properly. Even with the extra space, Night It Up was still fully packed with people and food smells. 

Lamb skewers (6 for $10)
I liked the spicy seasoning that was on them, but Jo was unimpressed with the meat itself. I wasn't expecting super tender lamb shank, so I was satisfied.

Takoyaki octopus balls (4 for $3).
The balls tasted like a lot of filler, and missing the brown tonkatsu sauce. I did appreciate the bonito flakes though. The packaging was also really cute.

Malaysian murthabak ($8).
These looked really exciting as they were making them. The dough was being stretched and cooked in front of our faces. A scoop of filling is then added to it, making it into a sort of savoury pita. There were originally two sauces to choose from, but when we got ours, one had already been depleted. The dough is chewy as you bite into it, but it's not flavourless. The meat and veggie insides were mild and quite tasty. It was a bit like meat and vegetable curry in a pocket of chewy dough.

Lots of people had pineapples with straws coming out of them. The contents of the pineapple had been taken out, mixed with ice/water (and maybe some sugar), and poured back into the shell for you to drink. Some booths had free refills, and others had refills for $1 or $2. At some stations, the pineapple is blended with ice into a smoothie/slushy. Unfortunately, I didn't get that kind. Mine was simply mixed with ice. It was a bit underwhelming, but at least I could taste the pineapple chunks. On the plus side, we saw some for $7, but I got mine for $5.

End of day sale squid (2 sticks for $1).
It didn't have much sauce, but Jo liked the softness of it. I think my piece might've been cooked slightly longer than hers.

Chestnuts (small bag for $3.25).
These were burning hot when the lady handed me the bag. I had to let them cool for a few minutes before attempting to eat them. The small bag was more than enough for me after eating all the other food.  Warm chestnuts smell absolutely wonderful - especially compared to stinky tofu. They taste pretty good too when they're warm.

The location switch was a good idea. There seemed to be more parking spots available, and the picnic benches were useful. It was still annoying to manoeuvre through hordes of people, and some of the lines were still pretty long. Again, towards the end of the night, everything goes on sale and vendors make sure that you're aware by screaming it out at you.