Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Hours: 24 hours daily

The MSG crackers are back (in my life)!
This brand seems to add more spices or something to the rice crackers that sets it apart from the others. I can see how someone might be turned off by the extra flavour, but I love it. If I think "fish sauce", it sort of tastes like that. They're very addictive, and I managed to finish a whole bag (with a bit of help) in one go.

Renée spotted some milk tea drinks on sale (3 for $1.98). 
She's pretty good at discovering new drinks. I liked it! They tasted like legit milk tea, and not too sweet. I haven't tried the green one yet. It should be noted that they're on sale because they expire within the next month. The green ones will last until October, but the brown ones are best before September something.

Walnut-shaped pastries filled with red bean (2 boxes for $5).
Mel said she wouldn't be able to finish two boxes, and generously gave one to me. Yay! :D

They're jam packed with red bean paste. I like the cool walnut shape too. 

Would I return? Yes. Not sure if it's because the stuff I buy at Galleria is more exciting than at a normal grocery store so that when I get to the checkout, the sheer joy is in my face and the cashier only mirrors that, or if the staff there really are just more polite, friendly, and approachable - regardless of what language they're speaking to me in. For the past two times that I've been there, I haven't come across the apathetic, bored/annoyed-looking cashiers that I see at other places. This time, I was greeted properly (even if it was in Korean - that's okay), and the cashier even smiled a seemingly genuine smile. It's like whoa. On my previous visit, I was even handed back change with two hands. (I'm still not over that.)

I don't know how they tax things. My MSG crackers had no tax, but the bottled milk teas did have tax. Mel's discount boxed food and walnut cakes that came to about $12? No tax. It seems that only bottled drinks were taxed, but not packaged junk food or end of day "fresh" food. 

Total damage: $2.24 for the 3 milk teas + $4.98 for the 2 packages of MSG rice crackers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nasty Peach Goo

I bought a basket of peaches because they were in season and looked so perfectly round (and they were on sale).

As I took one out, I noticed a strange, clear, gooey substance seeping out of it. I tried to wash it off, but it just danced around under the running water like rubber, still clinging to the peach.

After being slightly grossed out, I decided that maybe the rest of the fruit was still okay and cut around the offending substance. Then I found another pocket of that goo inside the peach. I cut around that too, and ate the rest of the peach which was sweet and slightly crunchy, by the way. Then I Googled. If it happens to be larva, I'm moderately confident that my stomach acids will take care of it.

Ontario freestone peaches for the win!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Domi Café

Time for something brand new. This small snack café opened up really recently. It's so new that the staff seemed green. Based on the menu on the wall and my flawless (sarcasm) deductive skills, I think "domi" describes the fish-shaped fluffy waffle like food product that they offer with different fillings. I actually didn't know what they were selling at first, but they've since put up pictures on the outside of their storefront. The wall menu inside is a bit awkwardly placed on the left side of the café, while the counter is opposite on the right. 

Some of the filling options were red bean, red bean with cream cheese, custard, red bean with walnut, and some sort of berry mixture that I blocked from memory. As we walked in, a girl on her way out told us to try the ones with cream cheese. So I got the red bean and cream cheese one.

It was a little strange, as the guy took one of the pre-made ones, and shoved it back into the waffle maker mould. Jo mentioned that it was weird, putting an already shaped waffle back into the waffle maker. I agree with her, but it did toast the edges nicely. 

It was way thicker than I had expected. There was also a lot more red bean filling than I was ready for. The waffle was fluffy, and denser than angel cake. The cream cheese added a savoury taste to the treat, but I think I might've preferred it without. I felt like the waffle part could have been sweeter, but that just might be because I was thrown off by the cream cheese.

Would I return? I think I might. It seems like a good place for a quick, affordable snack. If I manage to get one made fresh, it has the potential to be very exciting. I'm also a fan of how much red bean they shoved into it. This snack lasted me the length of a drive from there to downtown. 

On a random note, I feel like there a lot of Korean snacks (mostly red bean kinds) shaped like fish.

Total damage: I think it was $2.16, or some weird number like that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Sheila was kind enough to save me some of her giant cupcake from the wedding. Unlike the smaller cupcakes which were lemon and taro flavoured, this one was of the black sesame variety.
The cake was really soft and moist, and spotted with black sesame. I also tasted a bit of coconut in there. 

Cheers to friends that share cake! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Owl


We walked all along Yonge Street to find a suitable restaurant for my guests from out of town. We settled on the Korean 24/7 joint called The Owl of Minerva. 

Lauren wanted the dumplings in one of the pictures on the wall, but had a hard time finding it in the menu. Her being allergic to pork, the waiter assured her that they were beef. 
She seemed to like them, and they looked quite crispy.

Some of the bonus sides:

John's order of something with raw squid and stuff. I can't really remember what else was in it, but it did look like a platter of spiciness. 

My bibimbap.
Filling, sizzling, and delicious. I try not to stir it too much because I like the hard, crunchy rice chunks that get browned at the bottom of the stone bowl. 

Would I return? Yes. It's easy to see why this place can get pretty packed. The food is good value and the small potential for language barrier makes it seem authentic. Also, they're open all day every day. I'm sure I'll have a hankering for Korean food at 4 a.m. sometime soon. 

Total damage: free for me thanks to my guests! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pho Hung


There was a bowl of chilli peppers on the table before we arrived. Of course, such a thing would tempt someone to eat them raw.

#3 small beef brisket and rare beef pho ($6)
The beef was indeed rare, and it was also soft. I liked the strong flavour of the broth, and the noodles were pretty filling. 

Would I return? Sure. The pho is decently priced and has good flavour. Service is efficient, as it is in many Asian places. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Juliette et chocolat

So, I didn't manage to go to Montreal and eat my heart out this summer. But, I did get a little bit of Montreal delivered to me in the form of a brownie!

So chocolatey. Soft and delicious. 

I'll definitely have to check this place out next time I hit the Mtl. 

Cheers to Lauren and John for the domestic import! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Scotland Yard


I didn't really order any food here, but the drinks seemed cheap. I got a 10 oz glass of Molson Canadian ($3.25) and a 10 oz of glass of Blackthorn Cider ($4.25). I found the Canadian to be flat and... watered down? Maybe I just like my beer bursting with acquired taste flavour. The Blackthorn Cider tasted like Strongbow, but perhaps a little less sour. 

Their website advertises some drink specials for different days (on which most people wouldn't be drinking) of the week :
Monday: $3 brown bottles
Tuesday: $4 Corona and MGD bottles
Wednesday: $5 pints
Thursday: $5 martinis
Sunday: $6 Yard Caesars, $5 pints, $5 local Cabernet and Chardonnay

Would I return? I don't know... It was quite loud and rowdy, and I'm like a cranky old person sometimes. People seemed to be having a lot of fun with the dart boards, but I'm not one for sharp objects. It was busy, and our waitress had a tendency to disappear when we wanted to ask for another drink or the bill.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lim Ga Ne


Decided to try the 24 hour Korean restaurant with the orange sign. It seemed pretty popular for a Saturday night at about 9 p.m. 

The complimentary side dishes are not uncommon in Korean restaurants, but there were a lot here. And the little fish with nuts plate was new to me. 

Also somewhat different from other Korean joints I frequent was the purple rice. The purple gives it flavour. ;)

It's purple rice in Jo's dolsot bibimbap too!

 I decided to try something new, and got a sausage stew. In addition to the coloured rice, it came topped with a clump of spicy red paste. The stew was served bubbling hot and filled with coriander and green onion bits. The sausage chunks in it are pretty cool as they have glass noodles embedded in them. There were also pieces of mystery meat that I'm not sure I could identify. They were chewy like tendon with an odd crunchy section in the middle. I wasn't particularly a fan of these pieces, but I'm sure my tendon-loving friends wouldn't mind them. 

In the middle of our meal, a waitress comes up to us with this pancake dish. She asks us if we've received it yet, and as we reply that we have not (with puzzled looks on our faces 0_o), she asks us if we want it. We accept, of course, but I'm still not sure why exactly it was served to us.  
It's actually quite nice. It's crispy on the outside, and somewhat chewy on the inside. There are green onions and vegetable slivers in it. The pancake is served with seasoned soy sauce. Overall, it reminds me of Chinese fried white radish cakes, but with a slightly chewier texture. I felt like it had the consistency of a flattened Korean rice cake. Jo and I quite enjoyed it.

Would I return? Yeah. Purple rice! Actually, the rice might have been slightly dry, but I didn't notice when I dunked it into my stew. The staff are VERY efficient and they seem friendly enough. They cleared our table of all the dishes in less than 15 seconds. There's a raised section of the restaurant that's for cushion-on-floor seating with the short tables. The rest is just regular old chairs and tables. The prices seemed a little higher to me than neighbouring restaurants for similar items, but then I realized that tax is included in those prices. On our way out, there was a small queue of people waiting for tables. I'm not sure if it's the food that's appealing or the hours. Or the fact that they have Korean wine and Korean whiskey on the menu.

Exclusive specials are displayed on the walls - only for people who can read Korean.

Total damage: $8 for my stew + tip.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Amaya Express @ Urban Eatery

Amaya Express (Urban Eatery, Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge Street, Toronto)

Spicy lamb curry bowl.
This bowl was extremely filling, probably because of the rice and chick peas. The lamb is pretty soft and indeed spicy. 

Butter chicken poutine.
Bianca said that the fries were soggy, but there was a really long time between when the food was received and when we started eating. She also noted that butter chicken poutine was on the menu of the New York Fries Poutinerie next door.

 Would I return? Sure. I think this place had the most aroma surrounding it in the food court, which is what drew me there to begin with. The curry bowls are definitely filling. 

Oh yeah, good luck to those who want a garbage bin in the Urban Eatery. I don't think they exist there. 

Total damage for my curry bowl: $8.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rare @ Urban Eatery

Rare (Urban Eatery, Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge Street, Toronto)

I was excited to try something at the Eaton Centre's brand new Urban Eatery because many millions of dollars has been put into those renovations. Though the name is a little pretentious, it does seem a little nicer and bigger than the average food court. But I must insist that it is still just a food court, a really huge food court.

There were the food court regulars such as McDonald's and KFC, but there were also some more unique options. I noted a Big Smoke burger joint, Mucho Burrito, Amaya, etc. Among the newer names, Andrew noted Rare, a sandwich joint.

Oh Canada roast beef sandwich and mango salad.
The sandwich came with aged Canadian cheddar, bacon, creamy horseradish, and caramelized onions. I really liked the caramelized onions, and the pressed, toasty ciabatta white bread held everything together quite nicely. There was a good serving of roast beef, but I thought the meat lacked a little flavour. Andrew said that might have been because the other ingredients were really strong and overpowering. Also, I was still a bit sick, so my taste buds might have also been under the weather. A soup or salad of my choice was also included in the $8.95 price tag. The mango salad had bits of noodles and I think there was cilantro in there too. There was a sourness reminiscent of the clear vinegary fish sauce at pho restaurants.

Oh Canada roast beef sandwich and chicken noodle soup.
Andrew didn't seem to have many complaints about his sandwich other than the creamy horseradish sauce being strong. He mentioned that he'd like to try the philly sandwich next time.

Would I return? To the Urban Eatery? Probably. It's now the only food court in the Eaton Centre and it seems convenient when shopping in the area. There are a lot of options, and the area is clean (for now). The other big change that was implemented was the use of reusable dishes and cutlery. Cups and glasses too! It's like Ikea, but fancy. Andrew thinks the glasses will be stolen because they're pretty nice. There are signs on some tables to remind patrons to bring their trays to one of the service stations where staff will clear and sort trays. Andrew said that on Friday, the piles of trays and plates were about two feet off the counter. There were less people and less chaos when I went. Oh, and there are hooks underneath the taller tables to hang your purses, bags, new purchases, etc. 

Would I return to Rare? Sure. It's okay. It seemed like a healthy meal, and overall the food tasted pretty good. My mind wasn't blown, but it's pretty good stuff for food court food. Also, I'm a sucker for caramelized onions.

Total damage: $10.11.

All pics by Andrew's camera.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Richmond Court Buns


To my surprise, Mel, Renée, and Jo came by and dropped off some Chinese buns and some lozenges for my cough.

The buns were from Richmond Court and they had shiny tops!

One of my favourites is the hot dog bun. Simple and satisfying. The dough is slightly sweet and the meat is slightly salty. 

This bun trio was new to me.

In the first one, there was a soft, yellow filling. I think it was "milk yellow" filling. That's my crappy Chingrish translation by the way, and I could be totally wrong with that.

The second one had a red bean filling. That's when I started to understand that these were dessert buns.

The last one had the coconut-textured stuff. I think this type of bun translates to "chicken end bun". I don't know if that's right, but I'm pretty sure there's no chicken in it. :p

Yay for Chinese buns! And for awesome friends who bring over food and pills (not pictured) when I'm sick. Cheers to that and cheers to them!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Imported Chocolate

Swiss Dream Caffe Latte chocolate bar

Mel was kind enough to share some of her imported chocolate. I tried the Swiss Dream Caffe latte business, and I quite enjoyed it. It reminded me of the Villars chocolate from France. It had the same crunchy pops that burst with coffee flavour. The difference was in the creamy milk chocolate used to make the Swiss Dream bar.

Cheers to Mel for importing and sharing!