Sunday, November 30, 2008

Horrible Night

I ventured out to the Union Train Station to buy my train ticket two days ago, for when I go home in December, and decided to go out for some dinner. I wasn't sure what to eat. It was either dim sum or pho. When I got off of the street car, I decided that if the last digit of the time was an odd number I'd go have some pho, but if it was an even number I'd go have some dim sum. I flipped open my cell phone and the last digit was zero. I took that as an even number. Should I have? Whatever, I went to go to a small restaurant called Rol San. I've been there once before with my cousin, just a couple of weeks ago, and it was a good experience so I wanted to give it another go.
The restaurant was pretty packed when I walked in just after 6:30. I saw that there was one free table that had 4 chairs. I also noticed that there was an older couple just finishing up their meal so I waited. I waited some more. I stood there foolishly for about 10 minutes, without a word. I got looks from some of the waiters, on waiter even brought a huge stack of menus and placed in at the front desk, where I was standing, without even asking me if I was being helped out. I was getting impatient and showed it by purposely taking one of the menus and "looked through it". Just then, a group of three ladies came through the door. A waiter immediately greeted them. They asked if they still served dim sum and were told that they stop serving it at 4 in the afternoon. Well, that helps me a bit. They talked amongst themselves for a couple of seconds and chose to eat there instead of going to find a place that served dim sum. They were showed to the free table that had the 4 chairs. I watched as the older couple took their time finishing their dessert for a moment before I was fed up with being neglected (not just because they didn't serve dim sum). I left the restaurant and decided to go to another place that I knew served dim sum all day.

On my way to the Forestview Restaurant, I remembered that I wanted to take Lucy to eat at a place called Asian Legend for some soup dumplings (xiao long bao). I've read great things about their soup dumplings and was curious as to where the restaurant was located. I remember that it was on Dundas W, but couldn't remember which way. I walked past the House of Gourmet blah blah blah, past the Forestview Restaurant, past the bubble tea place, and a couple of hot pot places. I was ready to turn around and just go and eat, when I saw the place. The restaurant is almost at the end of the Chinatown section of Dundas W, I believe. Anyway, there was a huge line up inside of the restaurant. I was surprised at first, but then the more I thought about it, the more I wasn't. Cool. I headed to the Forestview Restaurant while still debating whether I should go for pho instead. Nah, I'm already here.

I went up the stairs and was seated right behind the table that the manager and another lady were eating at. I noticed a couple of things right away: the restaurant was setting up for a small wedding reception at the back of the restaurant, two large tables beside me were reserved for a large get together (which was about the same amount of people that we have in our family when we go out for a special occasion), there was a large table of white uni/college students having dinner and there were two large tables in the corner that were in the middle of their meal. Not too bad, I guess.

I ordered some phoenix claws, siu mai, har gow, dumpling in soup, a crab claw (which is a deep fried shrimp ball formed around a crab claw), and some soft tofu for dessert. The soft tofu came out first. I was confused. Are they stupid? Why would you serve a dessert first? If you thought that was bad, I had to wait over 10 minutes while my next dish came. I was sitting there with my soft tofu before anyone from the two large tables beside me even showed up. I watched a waitress carry a bunch of spring rolls for the white students, while I was sitting there with my dessert and tea. I was STILL sitting there with my tea and dessert when the two tables beside were full and getting food.
At one point, a waitress was carrying a bunch of things which included a steamer of har gow. My waitress noticed that I still had nothing and was thinking about giving their har gow to me. She held the steamer for a second and said something to the other waitress and then let the white people have their stuff. Damn them for teasing me! Damn them for not timing the orders right! Damn them and their shitty service!

Just as I was waving down the manager to complain about waiting for over 10 minutes for my food, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, that one of the waitresses was carrying two steamers and some other stuff. I looked over and sure enough, it was my stuff. My crab claw, ha gow and siu mai. The only thing I was missing was my dumpling in the soup and the phoenix claws. While I was eating, I noticed that the male manager wearing a pink dress shirt kept staring at the food at all the tables. He even stood right behind someone at the large table beside me, watching people eat. Creepy, much? He almost looked like he was close to drooling at one point. I thought that was weird, because he just finished eating when I got there.

While I was munching on my stuff and waiting for the other stuff to come, I pretty much watched the two full tables beside me get all of their food. I saw that they pre-ordered their stuff, as their soup arrived not even 5 minutes after the last person arrived. They even ordered a plate of chow mien, because the kids were hungry. Their table reminded me of my large family and how we usually take over two large tables. This family/party had more kids though. Anyway, they had soup, the chow mien, peking duck, a sizzling plate of sweet and sour pork, veggies and pork, deep fried fish, ginger and onion lobster, ermm.. and I can't remember what else. I can't remember what we usually order, but they seemed like they ordered more than we usually do. I wanted to mention this, just because this made me miss my family even more. It didn't help that I was having a shitty night, either.

Anyway, the dumpling in the soup came. The last time (and first time) I had this, was when I ate at Rol San's. I remember the soup tasting like sweet broth mixed with the sweet juices of siu mai meat. Sounds gross, but I enjoyed it the last time. When I was sipping some of the soup from my spoon, I realised that some of the soup was still jelly. It wasn't cold or anything, but that just meant that it wasn't heated through properly. I stopped eating it and just finished the crab claw.
Another waitress came over and dropped off a dish of spare ribs on my table. I told her that I didn't order it and that I ordered the phoenix claws. I think she misunderstood me when I was pointing at the dim sum menu. Whatever. She went to the manager and said something along the lines of "She claims that she didn't order this, but she pointed at it. She said she wanted the phoenix claws instead." The manager replied something like "yeah, just give it to her." He came back, took the spare ribs away, then he continued to stare at the tables and the food at the other table.
My stomach was getting full with all the tea I was drinking. I was probably had two more cups of tea left in the tea pot before realising that I needed to eat at least one of the phoenix claws before bringing everything back home and finishing my tofu dessert that patiently waited with me for the 40 minutes that I was in the restaurant. While waiting for my phoenix claws to arrive, I looked over at the table of uni/college kids and realised that they didn't have any food left on their table. They were getting their food sporadically as well. I think they got more spring rolls and it looked like they didn't order it. They all had that expression that can say "is this ours?" or "wow, it took them that long to make this?" I can see that I was not the only one in the restaurant that was unhappy.
My chicken feet/phoenix claws finally came. I ate one and asked to doggy bag the phoenix claws, siu mai and har gow. As the manager was doing that, I finally dug into my dessert. I used the spoon that they gave me with tofu (just another soup spoon), because my spoon still had some of the soup and a bit of the phoenix claw sauce on it. My first taste of the tofu was weird. I couldn't put my finger on the taste, but I knew one thing: it didn't taste right at all. The second spoon I had revealed the taste - soap. It tasted like someone either put the soap in my tofu somehow, the dish was dirty, or the spoon was dirty. I smelt the bowl of tofu and I didn't smell the soap. I smelt the spoon and it smelt of soap. Wow, can they fuck up anymore? I wiped my dirty spoon with my napkin and with a bit of tea and then used it to continue to eat the sweet tofu. I asked for the bill and it came up to a total of $22 something. I gave them $22 + some change from my wallet. It wasn't more than two dollars, I can assure you all of that.

I should've complained about the service, the soup dumpling that had not been heated through properly, the soapy spoon, the bill and maybe, if I was really on a rampage, actually complain about the creepy manager staring at everyone's food. I didn't though. Could've, should've, would've. I was just not in the mood at all. There are no pictures, but I will substitute it with other pictures that I've used in the past (or future pictures) later.

I did not make any of this up. This is how bad my night was. I was neglected by the Rol San staff, pretty much neglected by the Forestview Restaurant staff as well, and suffered the horrible service at the latter restaurant. Would I go to these restaurants again? Yup. Why? Well, let's just say that next time I go to Forestview, it'll be with my uncle that knows their owner or whatever. Oh and now I know not to go to Rol San's by my lonesome after 4, even if I did want to order some dishes to eat.

I just feel like I needed to share my experience with you all (aka Angie). Just as a heads up. ^_^


65-75 Front St W
Toronto, ON

323 Spadina Ave,
Toronto, ON

466-468 Dundas St W,
Toronto, ON

418 Dundas St W,
Toronto, ON

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dim Sum and Hot Pot - December 28th, 2007

So here's a little reminder about what was going on back then.

My aunt from Hong Kong was still over, which meant that we'd go out whenever we didn't feel like cooking - we, as in the large extended family. I didn't mind at all, because we usually don't go out as a family often. That wasn't the case as of late, because of our family visiting from out of the country (my great aunt from Paris, France, visited for the month of October).


We went to have dim sum at Chu Shing and it okay. Just an average dim sum outing. Actually, thinking back, it was a bit better than average because we sat a couple of tables away from the doors to the kitchen. That meant that we'd pretty much get the first picks. I love when that happens. Erm. Yup. We had two large tables, one with most of the adults, my grandparents, and the other table with the "kids", my uncle and my aunt (from China).

Before I show some pictures, I would like to mention that when we were pouring our first pot of tea, my uncle got a dead bug in his cup. It looks like a fly or something. (Crappy photo, I know). When we mentioned it to the staff, they just took his tea cup, dumped the crap, and gave my uncle a new tea cup. They didn't even change the tea pot, until we pointed it out. Like, come on, it doesn't take a genius to figure out where the bug came from. If there was a bug already in the tea cup, I'm sure the people setting the tables up would've noticed. Also, we would've noticed it when we first sat down and definitely wouldn't poor tea into the cup that had the dead bug. I wasn't impressed with that at all. What do you think?

Here's the turnip cake that tastes like congee (in my opinion). But you know what, it actually looks good pretty tasty in this photo.

Here are the balls of deep fried shrimp. We didn't need the sweet sauce.

I believe the dish in the front is stewed tendons? Behind that is the chicken feet. I can't make out the other two dishes behind the chicken feet.

Finally, here's the bug I was talking about. How appetizing...

We ate more things, but I just didn't take pictures of them.
(Edit: I just realised that I've already posted about this, lol. You can see what I wrote here. LOL I can't believe this was the time Lucy was violated by the chicken feet.)

That night, we had hot pot for dinner. We made a quick broth using Campbell's Chicken Broth, water, napa cabbage, dried scallops, chicken bones and some other things.

The fixings included tofu, beautifully marbled beef (cut into thin slices by my uncle), enoki mushrooms, squid, bok choy, beef balls, and the green stuff at the top (I believe they're called watercress). As a dipping sauce, we mixed satay sauce and hoisin sauce, with Sriracha sauce on the side. Some of my relatives like to use fish sauce mixed with Sriracha sauce as their dipping sauce. I think it's too salty.

We also had glass noodles as a choice. Erm, we had rice too.

The only thing I really remember of that night, was the beef. Because my uncle sliced them very thinly, it only took a second to cook them medium in the hot pot. The beef just melted in your mouth. It was so good that no one touched the frozen beef. Oh, I didn't mention that we also had that? Well, we did, because I remember that once the beautifully marbled beef was gobbled up by everyone, I tried a couple of the frozen stuff, and it was just not the same. Not at all. So I remembered two things from that night. Woops.

For dessert, we had a coconut cream pie. Not sure where it was purchased, but it was pretty yummy.

As we drove home, it started to snow. It was still snowing when we got home, so I snapped this pic.


691 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, Ontario

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Missing Entries

I've looked through some of my pictures - my digital pictures, and I realised that I haven't posted about a bunch of things. Here's a rough outline of the posts coming up: 

December 28th: Hot pot
January 3rd: Pho
Jan. 4th: Eating out
Jan. 8th: Dim sum
Jan. 9th: Costco
Jan. 12th: Another time we went out
Jan. 16th: Goi Cuon
Jan. 21st: Beavertails
Jan. 23rd: More dim sum
February 13th: Korean BBQ
Feb. 16th: Winterlude

I'm not sure if I'll be posting about ALL of these, but we'll see. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Finally! Toronto Pho! - November 2nd

My friend and I went back to Chinatown to take pictures for some assignments and to.. uhh.. scout... yes.. scout... for our upcoming assignment in Digital Photography class. The assignment will be a documentary-styled shoot and yes. That's pretty much all we've been told about it. But yes. 

It was a particularly windy day when we went. Quite chilly, actually. That is why I decided to go and find a pho place. I remember seeing pho restaurants around chinatown, but couldn't recall where they were. And so we walked around and found the Pho 88. I'm sure a lot of people know where it is. It looks really nice. Too nice for a pho place, if you ask me. Honestly, all you need is good food and a decent interior. Meh. Points for trying to hard.. lol. When we walked in, most of the tables in the restaurant were being occupied. It's funny, because when I was explaining 'pho restaurants' to my friend, I mentioned that there's always people there eating. Always. And during lunch, people always go in and out. That's what I love about pho. it's so quick. Come in, sit, order, eat, pay the bill, and leave. Some people wolf down their bowls sooo quickly! It's nuts. Anyway, yes. The restaurant smelt good. It smelt like a typical pho restaurant. 

While Ben was trying to wrap his mind around all of the menu choices, I suggested that he get either a bowl of pho, like I was going to have, or the vermicelli salad with spring rolls and the BBQ pork. Attracted by the small picture of the vermicelli salad on the menu, Ben decided to order that. 

I was excited for pho. The last time I had it was back when I went to Ottawa over the Thanksgiving long weekend. Oh, and I've never had pho in Toronto. Wait, that's a lie. Never mind. This is the third time. It's pretty rare when I eat pho in Toronto. Crazy, eh? Well, I guess when you have the best noodles (my noodles) being made here in Toronto, there's no need for pho. Plus, you know what? Homemade pho is better. I'm sure it's healthier, too! Alrighty.. so back to our late lunch/early dinner...

We were both excited about what we ordered. Ben's dish came out first.

Now the picture doesn't really show it, but it was a huge spring roll. Man, looking at the picture now, it looks really REALLY good. Back then, I didn't think anything of it because only pho was in my mind.

My small bowl of pho came not long after Ben's dish came out. It's not a good picture of it, but whatever. It's a picture for you all to see - it's better than nothing!

So our early dinner came up under $20. It's expected. That's with Ben's strawberry and banana milkshake. lol

That is the first real food entry in a very long time. Since what... February? Yikes.

[Update: Wow. So much trouble uploading these damn pictures. Be happy that the pics are up... BE HAPPY!!]
[Update 2: I tried to upload the pictures again into a medium sized picture, just to see if it'll work.. AND IT DID!  I'm very happy.]


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...