Judskii

Choose amazing.

Tag: burger

“It’s my birthday month.”

Birthday FreebiesContrary to what others might say about me, I don’t really like being the centre of attention, and as such, I don’t really like throwing a birthday party for myself. If I do have a big party (which I have for the past couple of years), it’s because I want all my friends to have fun. That being said, I use my birthday as an excuse to get anything I want, and I celebrate all month long.

This year, I spent my birthday walking around downtown Toronto to collect all my birthday freebies that different companies offer! Starbucks gives you a big fancy birthday drink, Menchies gives you a free froyo cup (up to $5) and as most girls know, Sephora gives you different birthday gifts every year. Yes, all of these perks come with memberships, but they’re all free to sign up, so why not!

A couple other places that give you free things are Tuckers Marketplace and Wok of Fame (free buffet dinner), Booster Juice (free drink coupon), Pickle Barrel (app/dessert with purchase of entree), What-a-Bagel (free 6 bagels with purchase of 6 bagels), and Spoonful (1/2 price buffet dinner). There are a bunch on this list that I found online.

Lou Dawgs

Lou Dawg’s – 589 King St W., Toronto

So I woke up on the noon of my 24th birthday with a hankering for BBQ. I had been having flashbacks to our outing that had included the Lancaster Smokehouse in Kitchener, so I headed out to the closest place to the condo, Lou Dawg’s BBQ. I’ve seen a few Lou Dawgs around, and the Belly Monsters informed me that they weren’t bad. I had a breakfast birthday beer followed by their two meat platter — pulled pork and brisket — which came with two sides — coleslaw and baked beans, my weakness. I also ordered a cheesy jalapeno cornbread, because really, who can say no to that combination? The platter ($14.99) is a great value and it comes with a bun sliced in half for you to make sandwiches if that’s what your heart desires.

Now, I don’t know why I broke my rule of never ordering pulled pork at a restaurant. It is always disappointing and this one was no different. It tasted like what I can make in my slow cooker. I put it in the bread with my coleslaw, which made it marginally better.

The brisket was a little better. Soft, delicious, but sitting in a pool of grease and fat smothered in barbecue sauce. However, when you drain the fattiness at the bottom from the meat, it is actually quite delicious. They also serve the bbq with two different sauces on the side. The hot sauce is not so hot.

The cornbread was a muffin with pieces of japaleno in it. It was really yummy but disappointingly dry. The cheese on top was crispy and chewy and delicious. I did love the coleslaw and baked beans though. The beans were smokey and perfectly sweet. The coleslaw was the right about of tangy and crunchy. The sides were definitely the highlight of the whole lot, along with the funny and upbeat bartender/waiter.

boston pizza

Boston Pizza – 2915 Eglinton Ave W., Mississauga

Yes, I do not only eat at independent restaurants. We actually eat at chain restaurants quite often when we’re trying to please everyone and just need a quick bite. This night was just some wings and desserts. These Caesars were probably the worst Caesar I’ve ever had. The bacon was bleh. There was too much vodka, and not enough tomato flavour, or any other flavour really.

The big round thing in the middle is what they call a “Doughcano.” It’s their chocolate explosion cake wrapped in pizza dough, baked, then topped with whipped cream. It was chewy, with thick fudge in the middle, and oh man. It was perfect. Chewy, sugary, and a huge hit of chocolate if that’s what you’re craving. my only complaint is that the cheesecake tasted and felt more like marshmallows than cheesecake.

The panookie on the right is always a good bet. A giant chocolate chip cookie that’s pan-fried, then topped with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel sauce. A nice dose of sugar. The edges are crispy and the inside is chewy.

d hot shoppe

D Hot Shoppe – 4155 Fairview St, Burlington

D Hot Shoppe is a Caribbean/West Indian restaurant that has been recommended to me over and over again by both Dave (@1goatroti) and Justin (@the_Jmoney). On the left is a goat roti drenched in medium gravy and on the right is a doubles, which is a deep fried dough traditionally stuffed with curried chickpeas. They put chutney in it and I asked them to put chicken in it too. They do not look appetizing to someone who’s never had them before but DANG. So good. I’d go eat here twice a week if I were nearby. If you can handle spice, I would still recommend getting the medium. I thought I was soo strong and ordered the hot level the first time I ate at D’s and I regretted it for a few days as it burned through my digestive tract. It was still delicious though.

French ToastPhoenix Chinese Restaurant – 4040 Creditview Rd, Mississauga

A pretty normal Chinese restaurant where you can get your noodles and rice and sweet and sour pork. That beast up there is what they called French toast with peanut butter. It is a pretty dense, sweet bread with peanut butter spread in the middle, deep fried, and then you smother it in more butter and maple syrup. It is deadly. It is delicious.

St Louis

St. Louis Bar & Grill – 6485 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga

My friend Audrey has been obsessed with Caesars lately, and rightly so. They’re delicious. I love it when my caesar comes with a pickled bean. Yum yum.

The burger was quite good, but I just needed a second to rave about these sweet potato fries. Ultra yummy with just the right about of crispiness and potatoeyness still in the middle. They even serve it with a spicy mayo — perfect.

MilestonesMilestones – 10 Dundas St. E. (Yonge & Dundas), Toronto

The Tuesday Peach Bellini special at Milestones is great! It’s like a slushie made of Tim Horton’s peach drink, but not as disgustingly sweet. Then it’s topped with a flavoured vodka, and apparently an animal of the deer variety. The boys were feeling too manly to order one for themselves even though they really really wanted one.

The white chocolate cheesecake is BEYOND. Just beyond beyond. Soft, sweet, decadent, light, with some coffee underneath, whipped cream at the top. Smooth. Take-me-home-to-yo-momma delicious. Tuck-me-into-a-bed-of-rose-pedals-and-make-love-to-me delicious.

Couple Photo

And lastly, the dude that made my birthday outings possible by spoiling me.

I hope all your birthday wishes come true around the world! If they don’t, make them happen.

 

 

 

 

Food Truck Toronto

These past few weeks have been something of a mission for me. I was walking home one day when, lo and behold, there was a big white truck sitting in a parking lot. There were quite a few people lining up in front of said truck and … getting food? What sorcery is this? Looks like I stumbled upon a fabled food truck. I’ve heard so much about them, but always in other cities. Places like San Diego and Los Angeles. I had never seen one in real life before, yet here it was. Naturally, I got in line and from that first bite and conversation, I was hooked. Cue adventure time.

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Food Cabbie // @FoodCabbie // Facebook

Food Cabbie has been around for about 5 months now, with the chef (a very nice man!) coming from California and bringing with him American cuisine with a touch of Mexican flair. They have different sandwich specials each day, each sounding taster and tastier than the last. I can’t believe that I’ve been living a block away, yes, ONE block, and I had never seen this place until last week. Of course, to make amends, I visited them twice last week and will probably go tomorrow too. That philly cheese steak is looking extra tempting. Food Cabbie is parked on Queen St. E between Shuter and Dalhousie from Monday-Friday 11-5!

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Lunchtime rush!


The Ortega Cheeseburger // $6.50

Pico de gallo (my weakness), sour cream, lettuce, and secret burger sauce. The description alone is what intrigued me, I mean, who has ever put sour cream on a burger? Worth a shot. The burger was nice and juicy, basically leaking into my mouth (this is a good thing, people!). It was nice, tart, and fresh with the bun lightly toasted but soft. Filled me up quite nicely, too!

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The Carne Asada Burrito // $6

Smoky grilled steak with refried beans and tomatos. It’s like they channelled my soul when creating this menu. I’m a sucker for refried beans. And steak. And burrito. A proper burrito where they grill the outside as well! I can’t say how many places I’ve been to where the tortilla is just flimsy and doughy, completely ruins the whole integrity of my meal. But this, this was amazing. Enjoy my gross photo of a half eaten burrito and cry if you haven’t had a Food Cabbie burrito! Yum. 🙂

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Caplansky’s Deli Truck // @CaplanskyTruck // Website

Right next-door to the Food Cabbie is where Thunderin’ Thelma is parked. Yes, the truck’s name is Thunderin’ Thelma, named after the owner’s Nana, which I think means grandmother. Caplansky’s Deli was featured in Toronto Life’s April 2012 issue along with Food Cabbie and 8 other GTA-serving mobile eateries. As the chalk-based menu suggests, their items change up every so often with items such as the Brisket and Smoked Meat being staple.

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Look at this picture of their coleslaw. I love coleslaw.

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When you see something called Maple Beef-Bacon Donuts, you don’t just walk away. You look the man in the window in the eyes, nut up, and order these strange little creatures. At about a dollar each, depending on how many you buy, you can’t really go wrong. Unless you have blood suger problems, in which case you do what you do. The outside was nice and crispy while the inside was a bit doughy. It does give you a satisfying bite though. These balls were dense and bacon-y and sweet, dripping in a thick maple syrup. It reminded me of something like baklava and that really sweet syrupy indian dessert. Different, strange, not bad. Definitely couldn’t eat more to 3 by myself.

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BBQ Brisket Sandwich // $7

Let’s talk about this amazing sandwich for a second. Or five. Or forever. First of all, onion bun. AMAZING. Secondly, the brisket was nice and soft. Savoury and smokey. Not too sweet as some BBQ sandwiches tend to be. So much meat on one sandwich that it’s incredibly satisfying. What sets this sandwich apart from others for me? The super crunchy and crispy deep fried onions sitting there between the meat and the bun. Such a nice contrast between the softness of the bun and the meatiness of the brisket. So so so yummy. An incredibly dangerous sandwich. Guaranteed if you try this you’ll be coming back for more and more and more.

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With my appetite whet by these two food trucks, when I heard about the FoodTruckEats pop-up in Liberty Village, I just had to be there. It rained mighty hard in the morning but after my meeting, I trekked out the with my umbrella, and my hole-y flats, and my hungry hungry belly. 3 food trucks were featured that day for three hours between 11AM and 2PM: Caplansky’s Deli, Blue Donkey Streatery, and

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El Gastronomo Vagabundo // @ElGastronomo // Website

Unfortunately, my meeting ran late so I only had time to stand in line for one truck, and I’m so glad I chose this one. Although Blue Donkey is supposed to be mind-blowing, El Gastronomo’s feature was something I just couldn’t turn down. There were tons of people standing in line and waiting for food, and the air was electric. Or it might have just been me, but the rain had temporarily let up, food smells are wafting up in the air, the excitement was building up. I. Was. PUMPED. BRING IT ON.

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Biltong Belly Tacos // 2 for $8

Twice-cooked “Biltong” pork belly, jalapeno aioli, pickled daikon on corn tortillas. Is your belly crying yet? Because it should be. These things were amazing. I don’t think the above photo does it much justice because in my eyes, it looked like this. I’m pretty sure I heard an angelic choir singing somewhere. I was just going to take it on the streetcar and eat it, but no, I was too excited. Who cares if I was late for work, this was clearly more important, and it was so worth it. I sprinkled lime juice along the tacos and dug in. The pork, oh gosh the pork. Crispy. Tender. Not fatty like other servings of pork belly. Seasoned with this mysterious biltong pixie dust. I’m pretty sure I looked insane as I sat down by myself snarfing these down with a weird smile on my face. But then it was gone. How did these two tacos go by so fast? I don’t know. It was simultaneously the best moment of my life as well as the worst. Gone so fast. I was so tempted to go grab another one, but we all know where that leads us. Sitting curbside, constantly refreshing twitter, clutching onto the food truck’s bumper begging for more, draining our bank accounts, “Will dance for El Gastronomo.” Right, guys? Heh… heh..

Seriously. Amazing.

Definitely not my last food truck experience. These last few weeks have been amazing, and it’s just the beginning. I plan to try every last one of the GTA food trucks.

From what I glean, there is a bit of struggle in the city of Toronto whereby food trucks are not allowed to operate on pay-to-pay parking lots for more than 10 minutes to sell food even if they’ve bought all the necessary permits, and adhere to regulations that are even more strict than restaurants. So! Go and sign this petition so that Toronto can have more of this wonderful food, all the time! 🙂

THE PETITION

Oh. Hey. Hi. PHOTODUMP. :)

Delicious, delicious photodump.

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1. Hello. Bacon, onion, and spinach quiche. I know, so fancy. I made these because my eggs were going to expire and these quiches were supposed to last me a few days. However, after they came out of the oven, they smelled too good. So I ate one. And then another.

And then I ate all of them.

No regrets.

2. My vegetarian friend made too much spaghetti sauce so she gave me a bag of frozen sauce and I finally got a chance to use it. It was so hearty with some things that I’ve never put in pasta sauce before, like zucchini. Hahah. I had gotten home from one of my ridiculous days and was just starving. All I needed to do was boil pasta, brown some ground beef, and then dump in some sauce. Thanks Zizi!

3. I had some leftover pulled pork that I had made from the day before and a nice organic brie loaf and some cheese. What else to make but an inside out grilled cheese filled with pulled pork? I made one sandwich and left the ingredients on the counter because I knew I was going to make another one. And then I did.

And then every once in a while my mom comes over and cooks me food. Which is amazing. I mean, some of this Vietnamese fare, you just can’t get at a restaurant.

4. Bun thit nuong. She made me all the things and I just assembled it. The grilled beef though, I think I used this recipe off the internet. It turned out really nice, especially with a bit of lemon tang. Other than that, we’ve got nem nuong, carrots (no daikon -sadface-), cucumbers, and green stuff and vermicelli noodles.

5. Bun reu cua. She taught me how to make this and this pleases me. 😀 It’s an egg, tomato, and shrimp-based soup with vermicelli noodles and served with mixed greens with chili pepper and salt on the side.

Not going to lie, it’s been rough. Working too much, not sleeping enough, and not enough time to eat! That being said, it’s rare that I’ll fully get to go out and eat at delicious restaurants, and I can barely afford to either. The first three photos are from Utopia Cafe on College, west of Bathurst.

6. Utopia Nachos With tons of awesome melted cheese, chicken, beef and other nacho staples. They also serve with a side of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. But, as always, there’s never enough salsa or guacamole, and they do charge if you ask for more (which we found out on the bill). Though the middle of the nachos are great, the edges were sadly neglected crispy chips. The nachos are piled on top of this crispy baked pita which was really nice as well. $15

7. Steak & Cheddar Burrito The burrito was a bit on the smaller size (this coming from eating Burrito Boyz burritos, those things are MASSIVE), and was served with a side of spinach salad (even though I’m pretty sure I ordered coleslaw.. but didn’t realize this till right now), and black bean rice. The burrito, though, was really good. The mayo was excellent and tangy, the meat juicy. The burrito just seemed a bit sparse and empty, like there wasn’t a lot of filling inside. The salad was great and featured a nice balsamic dressing on top. I was sharing the plate and did not try the rice. Overall, this was an okay dish, I probably wouldn’t order it again, but I hear the burgers are amazing.  $12.50

8. Flourless Chocolate Cake The waitress had told us that they were newly just trying out desserts at Utopia but they got this cake bang-on. Definitely couldn’t have eaten this by myself (oh who am I kidding, yes I could have.) Flourless means gluten-free, which is great for the new gluten-free diet trend* and for those who are sensitive to gluten or have gluten allergies. However, being flourless means they replace the flour with… more sugar. So diabetics, hyperglycemics, and people with generally high blood sugar should beware. Other than that, it was really good, it was a flourless batter thing on the bottom (I’m guessing made out of butter and sugar primarily), nice and crumbly, topped with thick chocolate fudge. Served with a side of whipped cream and berries. Very delicious. $5

9. This is the Riverside burger from BQM Burgershoppe. They have 3 different locations in Toronto, and the one I’ve been to several times is the one on Queen, east of Spadina, right near my school. The burgers are great, nice and juicy patties that aren’t too small. I was craving burgers and onion rings so decided to kill two birds with one stone. It was great, with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, and garlic aioli, but while being great at the time, it did create some painful carnage on the roof of my mouth. BQM onion rings are really really crispy, which are great if you’re biting into them individually. Overall though, always a great experience here. Tiny seating areas though! Riverside Chuck Burger $9

*

Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback. ISBN 9780345529381

I’ve been seeing a lot of gluten-free diet books coming out at the bookstore lately, the most popular one being Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback, who everyone has been telling me was on that Survivor show that I never watched.

Okay, so what is gluten? It’s a protein found in a lot of wheat, rye, barley and other things. So, obviously, people with Celiac’s disease can’t actually eat gluten products because it causes their intestines to go all kinds of painful crazy. But what people don’t know, is that there’s a lot of people who are also gluten-sensitive. Humans ourselves can’t actually process gluten and wheat that well. It has less nutritional value and is a pro-inflammatory. So basically, giving up gluten is a really healthy choice and great for people who don’t have Celiac’s disease or a gluten allergy. It’s just one of those trends that I’ve been seeing popping up lately.

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In other news, I saw this new beautiful book on display yesterday:

Meat Free Monday Cookbook ISBN: 978-1906868697

It’s this huge campaign going on in the UK started by Paul McCartney and his family, showing us that just by eliminating meat from our diet once a week has great environmental and personal benefits and effects. I’m a meat person, I really am, but this cookbook is actually amazing. And really beautiful.

What they do is they create a whole meal-plan for you, for each Monday in a year. If I recall correctly, they provide Breakfast, 2 snacks, a lunch, and dinner recipe for each day, which makes it incredibly easy to switch over to a meatless day. I mean, I know one of the major excuses for not participating is, “I wouldn’t know how to cook meatless” and now you do.

They also sort the recipes by season much like one of my other favourite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s everyday Food Light, which makes it great when you’re shopping for your ingredients because all of them are in season, which means they’re cheaper and they taste better too!

Everyday Food: Light ISBN: 978-0307718099

Other than that, my favourite food blogger is coming out with a new cookbook on March 13, called Food From My Frontier, which is chock full of simple recipes, and knowing Ree (not personally), everything is going to be delicious!!!! 🙂

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Simple, Scrumptious, Satisfying ISBN: 9780061997181

Cheerio and happy eating! 🙂

Joey Eaton Centre

There is another Joey restaurant in the GTA a bit further north from me in the Don Mills area that opened up in 2009, but the Joey Eaton Centre location opened up just this summer on the south west side of the Yonge and Dundas intersection. I remember watching it being built every time I walked past the area last year, and finally, in July it opened up, and boy was it slick. A black exterior with their name plastered out front in glossy black metal, their huge front windows open up on warmer days so it’s like an interior patio.

Inside, you can choose the quiet dining area or the bar/lounge area with high chairs and tables. It’s a posh kind of bar-lounge that looks like it’s perpetually happy hour for the next new media gurus of the downtown area. The ceilings are incredibly high, making the space seem huge, and although there are a lot of people and it gets pretty noisy, dinner here always feels relatively intimate.

The waitresses are cookie-cutter beautifully formulaic women, but they’re so friendly. The first waitress we had gave us the above drink samplers for free, which really brightened up the evening. I’m sure it was just a little tactic to get us to buy drinks, but I’m going to pretend that she was just really nice.

Either way, it worked, and we both ended up ordering the “Stiff Lemonade,” which is a lemon slush with blue caracao (one of my favourite alcohols) and probably some vodka as well. They’re really big though, so I couldn’t finish mine.

The red drink was another sort of slushy drink, except this time with a peach slush. Yum! If I recall correctly, the red was rum with grenadine.

Pictured here is another Stiff Lemonade as well as the drink of the day, made with vodka, cherry cola, and a splash of lemon slush. I also tried a kind of beer that they serve as a special on Mondays called “Gringo” but it was a bit too limey for me, and after a few too many nights of a few too many Coronas, I couldn’t quite get it down.

Their caesar salad had funny little parmesan shavings, but I’m not complaining since they’re actually parmesan shavings and not the dusty things that some restaurants try to serve you. Other than that, it tasted like any other caesar salad, but it was a little light on the dressing.

I’d never had fish tacos before, so in a bit of an adventurous bout, I went to try these ones. I don’t know what other fish tacos taste like (oh ha ha. Yes, laugh.) but these tasted wonderful. The battered fish was crunchy and crispy with a not too overpowering fishy taste. The cilantro and lemon were great, the hot sauce wasn’t too spicy but it had a sweetness that complemented the salty fish quite well.

Also, they had guacamole on there. I loooove guacamole.

Their mushroom and cheddar burger. The patty was thick and so incredibly juicy. Juicy, juicy flavour. They even ask you how you like your burger done (medium rare) which always gets huge huge thumbs up from me. The mushrooms were spilling over, laying thickly on top of the cheese, on top of all the other toppings. The bun was not overly bready (such a killer for me), and not too hard that you scrape the roof of your mouth. The boyfriend, who is not at all a big fan of burgers, craves this one all the time, so that’s saying something. I’m not going to lie, this might be on par with burgers from Grover’s Bar and Grill.

Not pictured was a side that we got called crispy mashed potatoes. I was expecting a pile of wonderful mashed potatoes put in the oven to crisp up the top, but what we received was unexpected but just as good, and it gained points for being so darn creative. The crispy mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes rolled up in crispy spring roll paper and then deep fried so that when you bite into the flaky spring roll, you get this lovely contrast of the softness of the potatoes. Never seen or heard of anything like that before, and the flavours of the spring roll paper and the mashed potatoes complimented each other surprisingly well.

We also ordered a roll of sushi. This one was the Rainbow Roll. At first, it seemed to taste like a regular rainbow roll, nothing too extraordinary, but then I realised that the inside of the roll was made with a kind of tuna salad. Strange indeed, and you would expect it to be an unpleasant mix, but it was actually quite nice.

Deep-fried calamari with “vegetable tempura.” The vegetable tempura was just asparagus and onions, so not what we were expecting, but not terrible. The calamari was a little small but nice and crisp, and they provide a nice honey dijon dipping sauce which is a pleasant change from the usual marinara.

Mmm, doesn’t that look great? It’s one of their flatbread selections. Tiny white shrimps paired with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, some sort of sweet and spicy sauce (spicy mayo?), and wonderful wonderful pesto. I’m a HUGE pesto fan. The bread was crispy, sinfully delicious. I wasn’t a big fan of the shrimps, they tasted undercooked, but even that was masked by the wonderful flavours of everything else. I was about to eat about 60% of the flatbread before deciding that it started to taste a little too salty, so I took it in a doggy-bag to bring home. I’m told they tasted wonderful the next day.

For dessert we had the strawberry shortcake (sorry, no picture) but oh my golly, this dessert was so well-presented. It was like strawberry shortcake mixed with creme fraîche mixed with crème brûlée mixed with whipped cream mixed with custard. Now, not all of those were in there, but that’s the feeling I got when I ate the cake. It had this sugar wafer thing on top of the bread that tasted just like the top of crème brûlée. Then there’s the cream and the moistness of the cake. To die for. I was so glad that it wasn’t overly sweet, as most restaurant desserts are, and it was big enough for two to share!

Overall, we had a wonderful meal with great food, and the prices are not even too high. Each plate ranged from $10-$25 depending on which one you got, but the prices are so fair for the quality of food. The fact that it’s so close to where I live (a mere 3-4 blocks) means it’s very dangerous for my wallet.

🙂

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You can follow me on Foursquare to see some of the restaurants and places I go to about my day-to-day life. I check into all restaurants I go to, so if you’re looking for somewhere to eat, you can look into there as well. 🙂 I’m just sad I didn’t start doing this a long time ago, all those lost stats, it’s really unfortunate.

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EDIT:

So, we went back to Joey Eaton Centre recently and had the most fantastic meal. However, my phone was out of commission at the time, so no pictures.

For our appetizer, we had the Killer Ahi Tuna Tacos. These were SO much better than the fish tacos I had up there. The Ahi Tuna Tacos are an appetizer whereas the fish tacos were an entrée. Mmm. One of the most interesting and delicious things I had ever tasted. They had a super rare, seared piece of tuna on top of a mountain of garlic coleslaw (you know how I loove my coleslaw) in a nice crispy taco shell. On the side, there was a wasabi aioli with toasted sesame seeds in it that you’re meant to dribble on top. The aioli wasn’t at all spicy, which is nice, because I don’t particularly like the burning sensation, but instead it was sweet with a hint of the smokey sesame seeds.

These tacos were AMAZING. Y’all don’t even know. I thought that was the highlight of the dinner already, but, moving on.

The boyfriend had the restaurant’s version of the surf and turf, which is the same rainbow roll we had above as well as a 7 oz. steak. Since we’ve already discussed the rainbow roll, let’s talk about the steak.

Basically, don’t order the steak at Joey Eaton Centre. I don’t know if the cook was having a bad night, or maybe the steaks are just like that all the time. We asked for the steak to be medium rare, and at least it came out right. Except the sear wasn’t much of a sear as it was a char, and the meat was downright chewy. I couldn’t enjoy the flavours because all I could taste was burn. 🙁

I am at least glad that wasn’t my meal, but the boyfriend had the rainbow roll to comfort him so it wasn’t too bad, but it was a lesson learned.

Now, my meal. One of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten. I ordered the lobster ravioli, just so, well, I can say that I’ve eaten lobster ravioli. It was soo decadent, soft pillows enveloping the lobster mixture within. A layer of nicely grated aged parmesan covered the top and roasted cherry tomatoes highlighted the edge of the bowl. The whole thing was covered in a lovely lemon-dill sauce.

One bite was all it took. I ate it all. It was so lovely, the flavours melding together, the softness of the dough, the tenderness of the lobster. The cheese wasn’t at all overpowering, but instead just accented the lemon-dill sauce. Mmm. And I love lightly roasted tiny tomatoes. They just pop in your mouth and they’re warm, but still taste freshly picked. Mmm! Best meal. 🙂

Diet Round-Up

And by diet I don’t mean an “I’m-gonna-lose-weight” diet, though I probably should. It’s more like a “this-is-what-I-shove-down-my-guzzle” diet. How long can I go without blogging about food? Not very, evidently.

So, without further ado, what’s cooking over at my apartment??

For one entire weekend, I had these wonderfully thin and crispy crepes thanks to Mr. Alton Brown. I had them with (pictured above) nutella and (fake) maple syrup, I had them with ice cream, I had them with cream soup. I ate them all weekend long. Don’t worry, there was more than one batch. And there were more than one crepe on that plate (they’re hiding underneath. They don’t know that I know they’re there.)

Fry-up.

Maple bacon. Yum. Breakfast sausages. Yum. Scrambled eggs with green onions. Yum. (Cooked in bacon fat) Hello! Taco home fries.

I figured out how to make home fries. Well, not so much figured out as much as used common sense and logic.

  • Step 1: Cube potatoes.
  • Step 2: Boil potatoes a bit.
  • Step 3: Drain potatoes.
  • Step 4: Fry potatoes.
  • Step 5: Pour taco seasoning on potatoes. (Optional)
  • Step 6: Continue to fry potatoes.
  • Step 7: Eat potatoes.

I think I included more steps than is actually necessary.

A creamy primavera (which means spring vegetables) risotto (which means risotto) courtesy of Ree Drummond. That woman is my idol. This was pretty good, but next time, I’ll cook the veggies a little longer, and forgo the goat cheese. I don’t particularly like cheese, and I really don’t like goat cheese. I actually get a lot of recipes from her site, The Pioneer Woman. I like her. Her photos are great, they give a step-by-step and show how things are supposed to look as you’re cooking it. She’s funny. She’s unapologetic. She’s adorable. Her food looks delicious. However, on the butter scale, where 1 is lactose intolerant and 10 is Paula Deen, she’s probably an 8, but I think that just goes along with living on a ranch and cooking for a cowboy.

Wow I kind of want her life. Just for a second, though.

Risotto always reminds me of the lovely David Tennant and it makes me very very happy. Skip to 2:55 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, but you should, because it’s very funny.

A split yellow-bean and cane sugar soup/che/dessert/thing that my mother told me to make this for my stuffy nose. Now, I don’t know how it works, or if it works, or if correlation equals causation, but all I know is that after I ate this soup, my horrible stuffy nose was gone in under 36 hours. Juss sayin’.

All it is is boiling some yellow bean things that I got at the asian supermarket. The beans are yellow on the inside, with a green shell on the outside. After the beans boiled up and absorbed all the water (20-30 minutes), I stirred in two big ass sticks of cane sugar. They’re brownish and come in blocks. It’s super sweet, super yummy, but I only like drinking the water (which has bean nutrients and a shit ton of sugar). You see, it’s all very scientific.

I’m lying.

._.

It’s Vietnamese voodoo.

Another Ree Drummond recipe. This cauliflower soup is TO DIE FOR. It is so good. So good that I made it twice in two weeks. The second time, I made 3+ litres of the stuff.

I kind of got sick of cauliflower after that… but really, it’s amazing. 🙂 Unless you have some sort of deathly allergy to the ingredients, you NEED to eat this soup.

So after the cauliflower soup fiasco, I had so much broccoli leftover. Well, I had about half a head of broccoli leftover, but for one person, that’s a lot! No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get rid of it all and I didn’t want to just toss it in the trash. So, as a last ditch effort, I just chopped it all up with no plan.

I pulled out some other stuff that I needed to get rid of and got to work. Threw the broccoli in with some butter, got some onions in there, cooked it all up until the broccoli went soft a bit. Got my eggs together, whisked it up with milk, leftover goat cheese and green onions and a tiny bit of paprika and ground pepper. I poured the egg mixture into the broccoli mixture and made some sort of fake frittata/omelette/scrambled egg concoction.

Not bad.

Momma made home-made burgers! I followed this recipe, as it was my first time making burgers at home, ever. However, I only used about a third – half the salt that she used. Way too much! But my burgers turned out super juicy and super amazing. I also made the patties a lot bigger than she said (which is 2 pounds of ground chuck divided into 8 patties).

Doesn’t it look great? It tasted great too. I put a ton of garlic into those patties. Come take me now, Edward. MWAHAHHAHHAHAHHA.

More soup! Potato-bacon soup! I got one of those dime-a-dozen recipes. Doubled the onions. I love onions. It was really simple. Dice up the bacon and onions. Cook. On the side, boil some cubed potatoes. Drain. Add potatoes to bacon and onions. Then pour cream of chicken soup into the bacon-onion mixture. Pour in some milk and some water. Pour in some heavy cream if you’re feeling frisky. Heat to serving temperature.

Manger. Mange et soyez heureux. <3

The Great American Ride

So I’ve been neglecting this wonderful world of word wizardry for the past month, but I’m back and you can expect some wicked updates, hopefully consistently. I went back to Montreal for a month-long visit. I’ve got some school orientation activities to attend for the next few days and then officially begin university! Exciting. Terrifying. New. Amazing.

Today’s story took place just this past wondrous Tuesday. I love food. I love adventures. I love doing things that make me happy. So, Mixa and I decided to make an impromptu mini-road trip to the great state of New York and hit up some restaurants that have been featured on the show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives from the Food Network. The tentative itinerary had been to leave at 8am to get breakfast from Sophia’s Restaurant in Buffalo, do some light shopping in a couple of malls, snack at the Cheesecake Factory (not a Triple D stop), fill up my tank with some cheap cheap American fuel, and then head to Grover’s for dinner before going back home to London Tap House for some nachos.

The day started out not as planned with us just rousing ourselves from sleep at 8:30, which meant we only actually got out of bed at 9:30. Having just gotten to Toronto from Montreal the night before at 2:00am, I think it was justified that we were dragging our feet a bit, no matter how excited we were for the day. We left the house with a leftover sandwich from Tim Hortons to tie us over till breakfast while running errands before crossing the border.

We got to Sophia’s Restaurant at about 12:30, in time for lunch. There were just a few tables seated, but that was understandable since we were there in the middle of a weekday. Apparently the place gets very packed on weekends and dinner and breakfast time, I’d believe it.

The area was very unassuming. Sitting on a road that might as well have been gravel, in the middle of a podunk industrial region, with sketchy gas stations and autoshops on either side stood the little wooden house-turned-restaurant. As you can see above, the poster of Guy Fieri stood front and centre of the diner’s kitchen. Sophia’s Restaurant is a little diner specializing in greek food but also conventional American breakfast. They make their own bread, and get all their ingredients fresh from local farmers. I ordered an open face chicken souvlaki sandwich, and Mixa ordered an open gyro. They gave us a free order of french fries and potatoes because we were pretty. Ahem, well they said that they “didn’t want to waste them” but we knew what they meant.

This is Mixa with her order and the restaurant's manager, Sophia's younger son.

And my plate. Don't be fooled by how it looks!

I can’t vouch for Mixa’s plate (though she says it was delicious), but my plate was phenomenal. Atop a freshly baked, golden and crispy toasted slice of bread was a mountain of marinated chicken souvlaki, fresh tomatoes, spinach and melted feta cheese, accompanied by a nice pickle. Now, the chicken was tender, juicy, and so much flavour it hurt my taste buds. Spinach was soft and moist, the tomatoes were sweet, and the creamy feta just mixed perfectly with everything it came in contact with. The best part though, was the bread. A thick slice of it, hidden under the extravagant gastronomic orgy, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and miraculously not soggy through out. A slight hint of butter with bit of a tang of oil. It was so very very delicious.

The free potatoes were very good too. The home fries were soft, flavourful. Not too thick, and there were some that were crunchy because of their thinness. The fries were surprising. Delicious when they first came out and even after we finished our meal an hour later, they retained their crispy exterior!

At the end of it all, our two gigantic plates, the fries/potatoes, and two drinks came up to a whopping… $18. Are you serious? I love America.

We even met the restaurant's original owner, Sophia, and got a horrible picture with her!

After our amazing lunch, my gas light came on so we headed out to fill up the tank. Now, depending on the day and how much gas stations love me, it’ll take me about $40 to fill up my tank from empty. It’s gone as high as $46.  How much did it cost me in Buffalo? $30 flat. It was beautiful.

While getting ready to head to the mall, we were approached by a guy in about his 20’s asking if we were going to UB. “…Sorry.. what?” It might have been the Itis setting in, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying clearly, even though I detected no accent.

“University of Buffalo. Are you going to the concert tonight? Do you know what time it starts at?”

“Sorry, we weren’t aware there was a concert.”

“It’s a free Kid Cudi concert, everyone’s going but I don’t know when it starts.”

Free? That’s our favourite word. To the Google machine, where he is quickly given his answer and we are given another stop for the day.

We spent the next few hours racing up and down the state, passing toll booth after toll booth, this island and that. Hit up the Fashion Outlet Mall and the Walden Galleria. Spent a bunch of money. Nothing terribly interesting. Picked up a cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory to bring back home.

At around 6, we head to East Amherst to dine at Grovers Bar & Grill, apparently President Grover’s old hunting lodge. Grovers won the local “Best Burger” three years running and when you walk in, you can tell. The place was packed with people either eating or waiting to eat. When you walk in, you have to sign yourself up on the blackboard to be seated. Mixa and I ended up sitting at the bar to eat. We chatted with some locals around us who were waiting to be seated, sipping on iced tea and cola because we are not yet 21. Unable to order alcohol is a strange feeling.

Our guide on the wall

Still a bit full from lunch, we decided to skip out on the Cheeseburger soup, which I really wanted to try and instead each got a burger and shared a single order of wings. We got the “Honey Parmesan” chicken wings. I ordered the “Bruiser” and Mixa got the “Bacon Blue.”


The chicken wings were delightfully crispy and wonderfully seasoned. Piping hot, but it was nothing compared to these burgers. 12 oz. 12 OUNCES of burger. On top of these wonderful buns. I could hardly get it into my mouth. Mixa’s Bacon Blue is nearly self explanatory. Burger. Toppings. Bacon. Blue Cheese.

I’m pretty sure this was the best burger I’ve ever had. Ever. In my life. I ordered my burger medium rare and it came out just so, steaming hot. This gigantic burger sat in front of me and it was all mine. The meat was fresh, juicy, and slightly pink on the inside. The bun that it sat on could barely contain it. I cannot stress how juicy it was. The Bruiser: burger, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh onion, grilled onions, cajun spice, and blue cheese. I love onions. I could hardly pick it up to shove into my mouth but when I did, that first bite was the closest I’ve ever been to heaven.

There is no clean way to eat this burger. You forget what your momma taught you, you forget you’re in a crowded restaurant, and you just scarf it down. The juices run down your hand, there’s cheese on your fingers, and ketchup all over your face, but you know what? No one gives a shit. Not you, not anyone, because they are all engrossed in their own burger. MMMF, so good. I could only stuff down half the burger, but as I’m writing this, I wish I ate it all. I boxed the other half and gave it to my brother when I got home, and even cold, it was one of the best tasting things in the world (that I’ve eaten so far in my life).

Unable to bask in the afterglow of great food, we had to rush over to University At Buffalo for the Kid Cudi show. The internet said that it was to start at 7:00, while gates opened at 6:30. We left Grover’s at 7:30, but not being gigantic Cudi fans, we weren’t too miffed about not being very close to the stage.

Walking onto campus, we felt immediately as if we stood out. It was as if they knew we didn’t go to the school, or even lived in the country. The population was very nearly completely caucasian. Were they staring at us because we were Asian or because Mixa was wearing a stupid coat? Hahaha.

Part of the crowd and Mixa's hand

Cudi came on at around 8/8:15 and performed for about an hour. It was a fun show full of energy, and everyone was having fun. At one point, there was a guy swinging from high up in a tree.

Cudiii!!!

We left a bit before the end of the concert because we had previous engagements back in Canada. As we were walking away, we heard him say that it was the last song, so it was alright, we weren’t missing anything. Walking across the parking lot to Pursuit of Happiness, beating the end of concert traffic jam, and not getting questioned at the border brought a perfect end to our stay in the USA.

From the back of the crowd

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