Thursday 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween with Asian Snacks

Treated myself to some candy for Halloween! Picked up Green Tea Kit Kat and Original Strawberry Pocky (with Halloween packaging) from T&T.

The Burger's Priest :: Lunch with Justin

The Priest
cheeseburger + The Option

The Burger's Priest
3397 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M4N 2M7

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Rare :: Mr Melty Fancy Pants

Mr. Melty Fancy Pants
grilled cheese made with tomatoes, pesto, and cheddar

I was interested in trying the Mr. Melty line of grilled cheese after seeing an ad on the upper levels of the mall. I ordered the Mr. Melty Fancy Pants which consisted of tomatoes, pesto, and cheddar. The taste of the sandwich was delicious, however, the not enough cheese was added so that the components were not melted together in a solid sandwich  As such when eating the grilled cheese, all the tomatoes and pesto fell out! It was delicious however, in my opinion grilled cheeses are difficult to get wrong and Mr. Melty Fancy Pants is just an expensive grilled cheese that was difficult/uncomfortable and messy to eat. For the price point - for an extra dollar or so - I would prefer to eat the grilled cheese from Say Cheese, where the grilled cheese sandwiches are more generous in terms of ingredients and are more carefully constructed. However, if you are in the Eaton Centre area and want a decent snack for $5 that is relatively filling and not overly fast-food-like, give the Mr. Melty line of grilled cheeses at the Urban Eatery a try.

Urban Eatery Toronto Eatons Centre
220 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
Rare on Urbanspoon

Monday 28 October 2013

Sabai Sabai :: Early Dinner with Mike

Housemade Panang Curry with Chicken & Sticky Rice

Beef Khao Soi 
egg noodles in coconut curry gravy

This was my first visit to Sabai Sabai. Mike raved about this restaurant back in August/September and we've been waiting for our schedules to agree such that we can check it out together. I was pretty excited to try out Sabai Sabai as the couple who made Khao San Road also created Sabai Sabai. We came here for dinner - so the portions were 'tapa' sized. The waiter told us that during lunch, the portions are entree sized (so much larger)! For future reference, we got there at 5pm, but dinner service doesn't start until 5:30pm. 

I had the Beef Kaho Soi. It was delicious! The curry was not overly spicy and enjoyable to eat - as I do not have a large tolerance for spicy-ness. The curry itself was creamy, rich, flavourful, and delicious. It's slightly on the sweeter side - which I personally enjoy - but I can understand that some others out there may not like their curry that sweet. There wasn't much egg noodles as I would have liked, but I could have ordered a side of sticky rice such that I could have eaten the rest of the curry. There was a decent amount of beef - but it would have been nice to have a few more pieces - but for the price of the dish, I couldn't complain. It definitely rivals the Khao Soi from Khao San Road but at a way lower price. As first impressions go - I will be returning to Sabai Sabai very soon. 

Sabai Sabai
225 Church Street
Toronto, ON M5B1Y7
Sabai Sabai on Urbanspoon

L'Esspresso Bar by Mercurio :: Pre-Interview Lunch

Caesar Salad

Of all the years of studying at the University of Toronto, I've walked past L'Esspresso Bar multiple times, but I've yet to try it. Now that I have graduated and I was requiring lunch somewhere close to my interview, I decided to finally check it out. The restaurant environment was quite enjoyable! I looked around and saw business people having lunch together, students on computers at their seats - typical downtown crowd. I liked the fact that you were assigned a seat, go up to order and pay, and then served your food. As such, there was no rush to leave the restaurant and when you left you didn't need to worry about the bill when you leave. I didn't know that tips were not charged so I was quite appalled at the prices (though should have been expected on Bloor Street), though I expected the portions to be a little larger. Now in hindsight, I realized they don't charge a tip so the higher price is justified. 

The Caesar Salad I had rang in at around $9 (but I had 20% off for showing my student ID). It was a good salad, but I just couldn't wrap my head around the price (at the time). Prior to ordering the Caesar Salad I was debating if I should get the Chick Pea Salad for $11. The woman who sat beside me ordered it and the portion was larger and was worth the $11.

I wouldn't make a trip to go to the L'Esspresso, though if I was in the area I wouldn't mind trying it again (since my review is based purely on a Caesar Salad). Next time, I will most definitely be trying something else (most likely the Chick Pea Salad) as the dishes that other customers ordered looked artisian-esque and quite delicious.

L'Esspresso Bar by Mercurio
321 Bloor W
Toronto, ON M5S 1S5

Saturday 26 October 2013

Joeys :: Post Shopping Dinner

Summer Sangria

Florentine Ravioli
seared wild scallop, crispy prosciutto with spinach & artichoke filled ravioli, tomato caper tapenade

Sashimi Tuna Salad
seared rare ahi, mixed greens, mango, peanuts, avocado, crispy noodles & cilantro dressing

Molten Lava Chocolate Soufflé
raspberry coulis & vanilla ice cream

Key Lime Pie

3401 Dufferin St 
Toronto, ON

Friday 25 October 2013

Spring Rolls :: Carson's Convocation Lunch

Miso Ramen

I normally eat from the To Go locations of Spring Rolls, which is the fast food version of the restaurant Spring Rolls. I've also been to the ones located at Fairview Mall and Dundas Square - this was my first time trying the Spring Rolls at Waterloo. Unfortunately, I didn't finish my ramen here as it was extremely salty! I enjoy salty soup bases (hence why I ordered the Miso base) but this was overly salty! I had to drink a glass of water after every few bites - to the point I got frustrated and just stopped eating it. This is one of the rare instances where I didn't finish my food because it was unbearable to eat! My friend Fontaine had the same ramen and also commented on how the soup base made her teeth taste gritty. On the upside, the decor was a lot fancier than the other Spring Rolls locations that I've been to and the service was pretty friendly.

Spring Rolls
550 King St North
Waterloo, ON N2L 5W6
Spring Rolls on Urbanspoon

Thursday 24 October 2013

Boston Pizza :: Dinner

Boston's Smoky Mountain Spaghetti and Meatballs
a mountainous serving of spaghetti smothered in bolognese meat sauce, with hearty homestyle meatballs and cheddar

Spicy Perogy
inspired combination of sour cream, smoky bacon and BP's favourite cactus cut potatoes with pizza mozzarella and cheddar, topped with green onion and a generous dollop of sour cream.

Boston Pizza
2910 Major Mackenzie Dr E
Markham, ON L6C 0G6

Shiso Tree Café :: Lunch with Justin

Okonomiyaki Fries

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Smoked Salmon Salad & Okonomiyaki Pasta with Garlic Bread

Shiso Tree Cafe
3160 Steeles Ave E #1
Markham, ON L3R

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Kekou Gelato :: Father-Daughter Ice Cream Trip

Green Tea Pistachio & Black Sesame Gelato

Complimentary Condensed Milk Topping

Kekou Gelato House
13 Baldwin Street 
Toronto, Ontario 

ND Sushi & Grill :: Catching Up with Virlana

House Sushi Roll & Edamame 
House Roll: imitation crab, salmon, tuna, hamachi, tamago, cucumber, avocado, tobiko 

ND Sushi & Grill 
3 Baldwin St
Toronto, ON M5T 1L1

Sunday 20 October 2013

The Fish House :: Happy Hour

Complimentary Bread

Martha's Vineyard Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Steamed P.E.I. Mussels with Tomato Sauce
choices of sauces includes: garlic sauce, killer tomato sauce, or Asiago cream

Crispy Fried Calamari
with a ginger cilantro dipping sauce

Early Bird Menu - Mixed Seafood Grill
herb crusted salmon, crab cake, grilled jumbo shrimp & calamari with Mediterranean salsa, dill, and chimichurri sauce; served with sweet potato mash and steamed asparagus

Tuna Taco's
quick seared blackened tuna, lettuce, avocado, wasabi cream

Classic Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops 
broiled and served with seafood cocktail sauce
(normally comes with 4 but my parents dug in before I was able to take a picture)

The Fish House
7501 Woodbine Ave
Markham, ON L3R 2W1

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Homemade Honey Mustard Walnut Salmon

So since I had a leftover ingredients from my Triple Layer Mashed Potatoes from Thanksgiving Dinner (including the leftover of that!), I decided to make a Honey Mustard Walnut Salmon using the leftover bread crumbs and parsley I had. I was inspired by this recipe, though I changed it up a bit. I normally just bake salmon with lemon juice, onions, Italian seasoning, and sometimes wrapped with roasted seaweed.

Left Bowl: 1/4 cup of melted butter, 3 tablespoons of honey mustard, and 1.5 tablespoons of honey
Right Bowl: 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, and ~2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.

Typically I've been told that 6-8 ounces per person is a sufficient serving of salmon. That equates to approximately 0.4lbs an individual. This is how 1.5lbs looks like. Some argue that you should not wash fish as it washes away the oils which make it tasty. Since the fish was already filleted, I quickly washed with cold water and patted it dry with a paper towel to be on the safe side (since you don't know what happened to the fish before you got it).

Brush on the left bowl (the mustard mix) onto the salmon filets. You can do it lightly if you want to preserve the taste of the salmon or you can do it with a heavier hand to have left over sauce (which is what I prefer).

All sauced up!

Next for the topping (dry bowl). Same principle for the mustard sauce - its up to you if you prefer to sprinkle or cover your filets.

Covered up! 
(PS: I didn't use all of the topping mixture)

The oven was preheated to 400°F (200°C). Place dish into the oven for 10-15 minutes, or whenever the salmon flakes. (Above is ~7 minutes into the oven; I had mine in for 12 minutes at 400°F and then 3 minutes at 325°F since my parents were late getting home.)

I served the salmon with a side of spinach and a lemon wedge to garnish the salmon and spinach.


Tuesday 15 October 2013

Ferrovia Ristorante :: Family Dinner with the Toms

Warm Mushroom Salad
baby arugula, charred onions, goat cheese, honey truffle balsamic dressing topped with a grilled flat bread

Sautéed Black Tiger Shrimp
in a sambuca sauce with baby arugula salad with shaved parmesan

Full Rack of Herb Crusted New Zealand Lamb
sauté rapini, roasted red peppers, potato gnocchi, pancetta, roast garlic, and a rosemary pan jus
*photo credits to Aaron

Slow Braised Lamb Shank
truffle parmesan mash potatoes, sauté green beans, and red wine lamb jus reduction
*photo credits to Zack

Caprese Salad
caprese, bocconcini, thin sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, shaved onions, cracked black pepper, and tomato sauce

Daily Risotto Special

Warm Banana Bread Pudding

Ferrovia Ristorante
7355 Bayview Ave
Markham, ON L3T5A6

Monday 14 October 2013

Mi-Ne Sushi :: Mi-Ne Opening Week & Thanksgiving Dinner with the Parents

The Markham Mi-Ne location just opened up October 10th, adding a third location to the growing sushi chain. Mi-Ne opened up where Ippai, another Japanese restaurant, used to be located. This Mi-Ne is not affiliated with the Mi-Ne Sushi on Yonge Street, but has two other locations Downtown Toronto and in Aurora. 

My parents and I ordered the Dinner Course C and the Gyoza Udon. 

The Dinner Course C provided the following dishes for $68:
Choice of 2 Wakame Salad (Seaweed Salad) or 2 Ika Sansai (Japanese Style Calamari Salad)
Mushroom Soup
Choice of Tempura Appetizer (Lobster, Shrimp, and Vegetables - 2 Pieces each) or Enoki Yaki
8 Pieces of Sashimi, 4 Pieces of Sushi & 8 Pieces of Crunch Roll
Chicken, Beef, or Salmon Teriyaki
2 Bowls of Rice
Ice Cream

Dinner Course C: Mushroom Soup

Great alternative to the traditional miso soup appetizer. The Mushroom Soup was savoury and also had gyoza inside. Unlike miso soup, the Mushroom Soup did not make you more thirsty and was a great way to start the dinner.

Dinner Course C: Tempura Appetizer

This tempura was delicious! Definitely better than your average tempura from regular Ichiban chains or All You Can Eat (AYCE) locations. The batter was light, yet rich in flavour. The Lobster Tempura was scrumptious and an unique option outside of the traditional tempura selection. The Shrimp Tempura was sweet and the Sweet Potato Tempura was delicious. I would love to have more of this! 

Dinner Course C:  2 Ika Sansai (Japanese Style Calamari Salad) 
*though I suspect at this may be the Wakame Salad (Seaweed Salad)

My family ordered the Ika Sansai option for our Dinner Course C, however, I suspect the salads that we were served was actually the Wakame Salad. Similar to the other two dishes - this Wakame Salad jumps outside the traditional standard of seaweed salads as additions such as avocados, apples, asparagus, and cucumber. Although these novel ingredients were added, the Mi-Ne Wakame Salad tasted similar to any other traditional Wakame Salad, but with added bits since the additional ingredients did not blend tastefully into the seaweed. However, the added ingredients did not lower overall taste of the Wakame Salad - perhaps another palette would enjoy it more than my family and I did.

Dinner Course C: 8 Pieces of Sashimi, 4 Pieces of Sushi, & 8 Pieces of Crunch Roll + Tuna Tartare*
Crunch Roll: Assorted Fresh Sashimi with Avocado, Cucumber, & Tobiko, Dipped in Crispy Batter
*compliments of the chef

The sushi portion of the Dinner Course C did not disappoint and rivals the freshness that Inatei provides (but at a lower price!). The salmon and red tuna was fresh and the white tuna was deliciously buttery. The Crunch Roll was delicious and in itself would have been an amazing maki roll to order for a smaller dinner party (which is available a la carte for $15). The chef graciously added a tuna tartare to our sushi platter which was exquisite and spicy. I also wanted to point out how cute the sushi dish was!

Dinner Course C: Beef Teriyaki + 2 Bowls of Rice

By this point, my family and I were already full as the portions provided by Mi-Ne are generous! The beef teriyaki tasted great - the beef was cooked to my favourite medium rare (although the waitress did not ask for the cooking preference) and the teriyaki sauce was not overly sweet. The beef teriyaki wasn't super chewy - but it didn't melt in your mouth either. Overall the beef teriyaki did not stand out above the traditional Ichiban quality beef teriyaki but was still good.

Gyoza Udon

The Gyoza Udon was very similar to the Mushroom Soup (described above) but with the added udon noodles and green vegetables. Great udon, did not taste floury and was not overcooked. If you plan to try the mushroom soup, I would recommend ordering a different udon as they both taste similar.

2 Scoops of Red Bean and 1 Scoop of Ginger Ice Cream

Loved the ice cream! Surprisingly my favourite of the two flavours was the ginger ice cream! It was cold yet refreshing with the "spicy" pieces of ginger blended into the ice cream. The red bean, a traditional favourite of mine, was also delicious.

Overall, considering that the restaurant opened 4 days ago - I am quite impressed with the quality and the service of the restaurant. The ambience is similar to that of its predecessor  Ippai, as no major renovations were done. The staff was extremely friendly and attentive, but not overly so - making the dinning experience enjoyable. I'm sure the Ika Sansai mix up was by pure mistake - but not an outstanding mistake as I didn't even register the mix up until I started writing this post. Although Mi-Ne Sushi is pricier than most Japanese restaurants the generous portions balances the price. The Dinner Course was meant for 2 individuals - which is why my family ordered the Gyoza Udon - but the Dinner Course in itself was more than enough for 3 individuals. I highly recommend Mi-Ne and I would expect this restaurant to be as successful as Inatei once its reputation is established.

Mi-Ne Sushi
8865 Woodbine Ave D5
Markham, ON L3R 5G1
Mi-Ne Sushi on Urbanspoon