ASSIGNMENTS!!!!!!!!!!

In no particular order…

Assignment #1

I’ve been eyeing this particular bar/lounge/risto place for a long time. Conan and I have appropriately coined it: The Telus Bar, since it’s located in the (fairly) new Telus building on York Street. However, it does have a proper name: Aria. This risto is brought to you by the ones who started up Noce on Queen West. Aria is supposedly serving up some “contemporary Italian” and to be quite honest, WTF is that? Isn’t that the same thing Noce is? Hence the reason I need to find out.

http://www.opentable.com/aria-ristorante

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Assignment #2

To continue with me and Wendy’s review of Guu in Toronto, the Bloor West (Annex) Guu has finally opened and we’re in the process of planning some meals! YUM!

Wendy’s first initial thoughts: “How pretenious! They’re so gimmicky (referring to the Zashiki)! They need a gimmick like this to sell the place?!”

WE WILL SEE!!!

http://www.thecdaily.com/2011/03/21/guu-sakabar-annex-izakaya/

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The Rebirth of Salad King

Salad King
340 Yonge St
Toronto, ON M5B
www.saladking.com

Salad King on Urbanspoon

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After the front wall of building on Gould street crumbled down onto the road and barely missing pedestrians, a few months later, a six-alarm fire broke out at the same building  and this time, burning down the Salad King location.

I remember going to Salad King in Toronto a few years back as a teenager. It was a great place to grab some decent priced food that tasted great. The highlight of it all was probably the Hong Kong cafe-styled (cha chaan teng) layout whereby patrons share tables, or “dap toi”, so no seats are left empty.

Since the fire, Salad King owners thought it would be a great time for a re-brand. And the results are great and a nice change from the old Salad King.

I went there this weekend with Conan. Conan, being the true romantic that he is, has been complaining about how far apart we are always seated from each other when we go out to restaurants and bars. He also didn’t like the old Salad King because of the “dap toi” situation, so it took a long time to convince him to try out the new location. I think he was quite happy with it how they’ve changed it up a bit. Now you have all the tables on one floor, tables by the window for your own party and they still have some “dap toi” tables as well. The kitchen is open and the washrooms are private.


The window seating, facing Yonge street.

Group seating

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The food – still awesome! We ordered the chicken satay and spring rolls as appetizers.

The satays were good…the peanut sauce really was the best part I think! It was peanutty, sweet, hint of spicy and salty, well-balanced. I love sauces too – could never eat without sauces on my food as a kid. And even alone, without the peanut sauce, the satays were grilled nicely with a slight taste of turmeric. I can’t say these were the BEST satays I’ve had, but they were pretty decent – like I said, the sauce really made it good!

The slightly pickled cucumbers were kind of sad looking though, just because there were so few of them on the plate, but they were ok, not much flavour.

The spring rolls were pretty good. Not much black fungus in them, but they were crispy – again, the sauce was pretty much the highlight. It was a sour sauce (rice vinegar) with some fish sauce, a hit of chilli and some peanuts.

For the mains, I had the Siam noodle. So phad thai with peanut sauce. Again, the SAUCE made it awesome! Although I thought there was slightly too much fish sauce, it was still DELICIOUS!! Better the next day ;)

Conan had the spicy basil chicken noodle. I’m not a fan of spicy foods. It seems almost backwards to suffer in pain too much to enjoy something good. I found it was too spicy for me, but he thought it was a great dish. I obviously think mine was better :P

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All in all, the new place is a great environment – trendy, fun, comfortable, yet different. The food is not perfect, but I still loved my time there and enjoyed every bit of my food! It’s a great place to meet up with your friends for a pretty affordable bite to eat in a nice environment. Would definitely have to go back again!


There are a lot of Subways in the world

As of Monday Subway has surpassed McDonald’s for number of fast-food stores worldwide.

Conan and I can definitely attest to the numerous Subways we’ve seen…in Asia at least.

What can I say? Sandwiches are in, burgers out?

Source


I ate Kangaroo

Yesterday I re-visited the Grindhouse for some gourmet burger action. One of the nice things about the Grindhouse is that they have different types of meat on the menu from time to time. Yesterday they had both a Wild Boar and Kangaroo burger available. Admittedly, the only time I’ve seen someone eat Kangaroo was in university over YouTube. It was a video of some dude eating a Kangaroo anus on either Fear Factor, or a show like it. I remember him saying it was rubbery. LOLOLOL

Anyway, I saw the Grindhouse was offering “The Aussie” and it read that it was “free-range ground Kangaroo” – so clearly, that was what I had to eat.

As you can see, it looked like any other burger.

But it tasted different.

Like Bison, Kangaroo meat is very low in fat – about 2%. Actually when you compare the nutritional value of the 2 types of meat, they’re very similar. When eating the burger, I felt the Kangaroo meat was a bit more gamey than Bison. Bison is dry and tastes like beef, but the Kangaroo, at least in this situation, was juicier and had more flavour. Now I’m a fan of gamey tastes. I find them to be a nice change to what I eat everyday. I appreciate meats like venison or caribou (my fav), so I found the Kangaroo quite tasty.

This burger was supposed to come with a fried egg – I opted to go with the burger sans egg, and I think it was a good decision. The fried egg would have masked the subtle gamey taste – the Kangaroo taste. In my opinion, the fried egg was only added to the burger to TAKE AWAY from the Kangaroo instead of enhancing its flavour in order to appeal to the masses? Either way, it was a bad idea and sans egg was much much better.

Although I give props to the Grindhouse for serving something like Kangaroo, I’m not soo impressed with their efforts in masking the Kangaroo flavour AND ALSO, giving us LEFTOVER SWEET POTATO BITS when we ordered the sweet potato fries. Unfortunately, this experience at Grindhouse was disappointing and quite frankly, not a great one because of that. We pointed it out and got nothing in return – not even an apology. WTF happened?!


Earl grey…hot

I like drinking tea…a lot. I have at least 4 types of tea stashed in my desk drawer at work and around 7 different types of tea at home. So perhaps “liking” tea doesn’t even do my obsession with it justice.

Whilst surfing the net one day I stumbled upon this article asking the question: “Are tea shops taking over Toronto?” Admittedly, it’s not even an article. Actually, it’s a weak attempt to segue into a review of a tea shop. But what can you expect from blogTO? It can’t be quality all the time!

However, the article did get me thinking about tea. I have, on lonely weekend days, wandered around the city and into the David’s Tea shop on Queen West. I was quite impressed with the selection they have there, including the ever cool blossoming teas – which are cool and perhaps, if I am ever in a situation where I want to impress the Queen of England or someone of importance, I may consider purchasing a blossom along with the glass teapots which facilitate the full blossoming experience.

At home, my family uses a Chinese clay tea set similar to the one pictured below.

I remember coming home after school and my Dad will be brewing some tea for us before dinner. I loved that part of the day. It was nice, relaxing and great way to wind down.

What is particularly nice about these tea sets, called Yixing clay teapots, is that the clay absorbs some of the tea you brew in it and after time, enhances the flavour of the tea.

Anyway, Conan, who is a pretty nerdy guy, just so happens to work at a pretty nerdy company. One day he was making some Earl Grey in the kitchen and one of his really nerdy co-workers comes up to him and says, “Hm. Earl grey…hot.”

When he told me that part of the story, I thought to myself, “Is his co-worker hitting on him? How awkward…” But I was quite wrong.

It took a while for Conan to get the reference, but when he did, it was quite a good reference. Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the Starship Enterprise orders his Earl Grey from the replicators and says “Earl Grey…Hot.” After Conan got the reference, he and his co-worker started to discuss how the computer would know what “hot” meant to Picard versus other temperatures for “hot” according to different people. This is just how nerdy they are.

Since that day it’s been somewhat of a running joke between Conan and I and my cousin.

The other day I went out to buy a package of Creamy Earl Grey and while researching how to make the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea, I stumbled upon this article in which the last step states:

Now if we were on the Starship Enterprise, then we would have just gone to the replicators like Captain Picard does, and state, “Tea. Earl Grey… Hot”. Alas, since we do not have that option available to us, we shall prepare and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey Tea, which shall tantalize our senses.

Touché, internet, touché.


What’s for dinner? Snapper with a Southern Accent

This dish, like all the other ones Conan and I make, was conceived at the supermarket and because we felt we wanted to eat something different. We’re standing at the seafood section, looking at all the fillets they had laid out and even considered the lobster (except they were really small and expensive). While we were staring at the fish, I was thinking to myself, “I wish I was in a Chinese supermarket and I could buy a live swimming fish and steam it in a wok.” Which is my most FAVOURITE way of preparing fish. Simple and super delicious. Anyway, we didn’t have that luxury here. Conan went for the trout, which I also love, but it almost felt like we always get trout, so I suggested snapper – and snapper it was! WOOT!

We have no idea how we’re going to make this fish, but Conan suggested maybe a breaded bake thing. I think he was remincing about some shake and bake commercial over the weekend and well, here we are at the supermarket shopping for ingredients to make breaded fish fillets.

We definitely cheated on this one because we actually bought bread crumbs that were “southern” – so pre-seasoned. Meh! I don’t need a huge tub of bread crumbs I’ll never use and we didn’t have bread at home.

In short, Conan patted the fish dry then patted the seasoned bread crumbs on the fish and baked it until it was crispy. He also paired it with some steammed beans, yams seasoned with some sweet spices (cinnimon, nutmeg) and of course, a lovely salad with some Macedonian-styled feta. YUMMM!!!!!