Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Dinner at Ici Bistro

If you travel on Air Canada a lot, you might have read about Canada's Best New Restaurants of 2011 in their November issue.  Ici Bistro was number 5 on their list.  This little 24-seat restaurant reminded me very much of the restaurants in Montreal and the quality of the food was comparable as well.  I think we enjoyed pretty much everything about this restaurant including food and service.  The only thing one could've complained about might be the fact that the restaurant is so small that some tables were located too close to the door and the cold air kept coming in - at least they had some heavy curtains covering the doorway.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Thai Bistro - Still my favourite Thai restaurant in Toronto

I went to dinner with my friend at Thai Bistro the other day and I realized that this is still my favourite Thai place in Toronto and I can't believe I've never blogged about it before.  It's a tiny restaurant operated by a female Thai cook and a couple of friendly staff.  I really like their Pad Thai and curry dishes and the food is pretty affordable.  We ordered the calamari with a Thai sweet and spicy dipping sauce, the red curry with beef and the chicken and shrimp Pad Thai.  This place doesn't seem to be open during lunch time on weekends though, which is the only thing I don't like about this place, but if you're looking to grab a bite for dinner and you are in the Yonge and Finch area, this is the place to go!

Thai Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Lunch at Hillebrand Winery and a Jaunt Deal in Niagara Falls

Last weekend, we exercised the $85 deal that I got from for a night's stay at the Ramada Inn in Niagara Falls along with a $40 coupon at Outback, a $20 coupon at T.G.I.F. and a $20 coupon at Dave & Busters.  Knowing that we would be eating at Outback that night, we decided that we should go for a nice meal at Hillebrand Winery during lunch time so that at least we'll enjoy a little bit of good food in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Strapya has cell phone accesories for the otaku

If you have a little bit of otaku in you, which I know you all do, check out my new cell phone accessories from Strapya.  I regretted not buying the One Piece cell phone case when I was in Hong Kong, so I decided to get it since Strapya had a sale during Black Friday.  The case is black and pretty subtle so it is work appropriate and hopefully won't attract too many stares during meetings.  These were all shipped directly from Japan.

Monday, 28 November 2011

What happened to Salad King?

A few nights ago, we decided to grab a quick bite at Salad King after work because we figured it was convenient and not too expensive.  I hadn't been to Salad King in a few years and I'd never been to their new location on Yonge St.  Their food turned out to be quite horrible.  I don't remember it tasting that bad before...
Their Phud Thai lacked in colour and their Thai fried rice lacked in taste.  The Tom Yum was pretty watery and didn't have any ingredients in it except for a few slices of button mushrooms.  I looked over at what my neighbors were eating, and their steamed rice looked like it was made with the lowest grade of rice you can find in Canada, probably worst quality than food court rice.  Yes, I realize Salad King is pretty much like food court food, but with the prices they charge, I would've expected a little bit more expedient service.  Took us quite a while to get our food.

Salad King on Urbanspoon

Late Lunch at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

I was in the Yonge and Finch area going to get my nails done when I walked by Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu.  I thought the place looked pretty clean and there were plenty of customers in there even though it was way past lunch hour, so I decided to give it a try.  We ordered their bulgogi and bibimbap, and I enjoyed their food very much.  I liked how the tofu soups and bulgogi are served with purple rice in a stone bowl.  Their side dishes were pretty good too.  I was losing faith in the Korean joints at Yonge and Finch when we had a bad experience at one of the restaurants that had really bad service, but I would definitely go back to this place again.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Hairy Crab Meals in Hong Kong

Fall is the season for hairy crabs, and since we were lucky enough to be in Hong Kong during this season, we were able to enjoy this delicacy.  Hairy crabs are characterized by their furry claws and the abundance and rich taste of their crab roe.  During our stay in Hong Kong, we had two hairy crab meals.  The first one was at my favourite Shanghainese restaurant Wu Kong.
For the price of $468 HKD per person, the meal included shark's fin soup with crab roe, one hairy crab, sticky rice with crab roe, stir fried greens, xiao long bao with crab roe, and dessert.  Although everything was in small portions, this was a really filling meal and very delicious.  Notice all the equipment required to crack open the crabs.  It was quite the ordeal and probably took me 30min to eat one crab.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pricey Dim Sum in Hong Kong

When we were in Hong Kong, we visited a couple of high-end dim sum restaurants and both of them have the character dragon in their names.

The first one is Dragon Seal (龍璽) located on Sky101 - the 101th floor of the ICC.  This is a fairly new restaurant by chef Wong Wing Chee, whom you may know as 幟哥 from the TVB food show 為食總司令.  I'm surprised that I couldn't find a website for this restaurant. 
We ordered four pris fixe lunch sets as well as a couple of extra dim sums to be shared amongst the five of us.  I thought the food was pretty tasty and each dim sum was very delicately made.  The fish was very juicy and tender.  And of course, you are paying for the view as well.  However, I was not impressed with the service at all.  One of the managers knocked over one of our tea cups and he didn't even change the saucer which was now filled with tea.  I thought the lunch service was very rushed and I felt pressured to have to eat each dish very quickly.  The meal worked out to be around $2300 HKD or $303 CAD.

Seeing Beijing in 4 Days

I'm finally back from a 3-week trip to Hong Kong.  It was nice to have some extended time off and we took a short trip to Beijing along the way.  With only 4 days, we managed to visit a lot of the famous sights and tried to look for some great eats as well but we weren't always successful in that front.
 After we landed in Beijing, we headed towards the Temple of Heaven, where the emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties prayed to heaven for a good harvest.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hello Kitty x One Piece Crossover

If you think the Hello Kitty x McDonaldland crossover was cute, you ain't seen nothing yet! Check out the Hello Kitty x One Piece crossover collection from Sanrio, only available in on eBay are selling the products for at least double the retail price in Japan.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Great Steaks with Great Friends

2hung was able to get a pretty good deal on some gift cards from Ruth's Chris Steak House, so we decided to share the evening out with some friends.  Ruth's Chris is known for serving their steaks on a 500 degree sizzling plate.  I remember the first time that I visited the Mississauga restaurant, I wasn't too impressed with their steaks.  I found that this time at the Richmond Steet location, I enjoyed my petit filet (8oz mind you is not petit at all!) more than my previous visit many years ago.  Look at the boys with their huge steaks!

Ruth's Chris Steak House on Urbanspoon

Fabbrica & McEwan

I have been wanting to try Fabbrica inside the Shops at Don Mills for a while now.  This Mark McEwan restaurant has gotten quite a bit of mixed reviews so it hasn't really been a first priority for me to go there, but I finally got a chance on Friday night.  I must say that the service wasn't quite on the ball at this restaurant, but the look and feel and the food was all there.  We ordered a linguine with shrimp and clams in a white wine sauce, as well as the risotto with sweet peas and cured foie gras.  The linguine dish had fresh pasta cooked al dente with pretty fresh ingredients.  The risotto I had expected to see a bit more foie gras but it was pretty hard for us to find a few tiny specks of foie gras.  Instead there was plenty of pancetta, which is not a bad thing.  I don't complain about pancetta.  Even though there were only a few bits of foie gras, you can still taste the essence of the foie gras infused in the dish.

Across the street from Fabbrica is the fine food store McEwan, similar concept to Pusateri's.  I love looking through high-end supermarkets, although the food could often cost you an arm and a leg.  I was glad to be able to find the Niagara Gold cheese here which I had taken a liking to ever since we tried it at George Restaurant.  The cheese has a pungent smell and strong taste, so I find that it goes great with a sweet apricot spread on crackers.
Fabbrica on Urbanspoon

Friday Lunch at Kenzo

Believe it or not, Friday was actually my first time eating at Kenzo Japanese Noodle House.  I know that this place is actually Korean owned so I've always been skeptical about its authenticity (yes, I am a ramen snob amongst many other things).  I went with a few coworkers and tried out the sho-yu ramen and gyoza.  They were pretty tasty!  Much better than the Japanese ramen store in J-Town (don't think I'll be going back to Niwa-Tei anymore) and probably costs a bit less.  The sho-yu ramen was $6.95, but I thought the size was a little small.  The gyozas were $8.95, but they were pretty big and the skin was nice and seared so that it's crunchy to the bite.  My coworkers had the spicy ramens and according to them it was quite spicy and the portion sizes are much bigger than the sho-yu ramen.

Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Monday, 3 October 2011

MOH Hairdo

This past Saturday my good friend from university tied the knot and I was her maid of honour.  Although, the weather was a little cold, the ceremony and banquet went by very smoothly.  I really liked my hairdo and the makeup, so I thought I'd blog about it.  And yes, braids are very in right now.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Carisma has charisma

Had another birthday celebration for 2hung tonight at Carisma restaurant.  The food was very good and the service was great!  I started off with the antipasto special of the night consisting of grilled tiger shrimp and calamari, funghi salad, prosciutto with arugula and mozzarella with tomatoes.  It was a good start to the meal and since I was hungry, this appetizer did a good job of appetizing instead of filling.
 For my main, I ordered the Tagliolini with duck confit, mushrooms and truffle oil.  As always with truffle oil, you can smell it from a mile away and that was a good thing!
 We also tried a couple of other pastas including the raviolini stuffed with veal, roasted pistachios and truffle oil, the fusilloni with smoked chicken, and pappardelle with wild boar ragu.

  We were all pretty happy with the meal and the service here.  Look at the happy bunch!

Carisma on Urbanspoon