Friday, April 17, 2009

Peach Garden Restaurant

Three things led me to Chinatown; It was a beautifully sunny day outside yesterday, I didn't have any classes for the day, and I needed to take pictures for one of my last assignments of the year.

(For food porn, scroll down to all of the pictures. Forget about all the words! Kidding, please read the words.)

(They will make you smart!)

(er. smarter) ^__^.

I don't think I've ever been to Toronto's Chinatown (located on Spadina) and actually took my time enjoying the sights. It's always been something like 'eat, shop, eat, go back home', 'quickly take pictures, eat, go home', or 'quickly take pictures, eat, shop, go home'. It's just so busy in Chinatown that it's very hard not to be consumed by the fast paced environment. Either you get pushed around while walking down the streets, or you push others. And by pushing, I mean nudging or bumping them to get by. It also helps that I was there alone, so I could chose my own pace of things. Oh, and it also helps that I only had two assignments left to do before the end of the exams.

Part of my assignment was to take pictures of buildings that were important to me. If you know me, you'll know that pictures of the Chinatown buildings is not my cheap way of getting my assignments done. I looooove Toronto's Chinatown! So many restaurants, so many different shops, so many people! I went around taking pictures of the places I've enjoyed. I'm not going to post all of those, cause there's a lot, but here's a random statue/pole that let's us know where Kensington Market is.. in a way. This was taken on the corner of St. Andrews and Spadina. Right in front of the cow place.

I was pretty much done walking around and taking pictures when my stomach rumbled. It was it's way of reminding me that it was lonely and bored. I needed to decide what to eat... it was a given that I was going to have lunch there. ^__^. I was debating if I wanted dim sum, dumplings, pho, or even bun (since it was a summer-like day outside). In the end, I chose the Vietnamese restaurant called Peach Garden Restaurant.

When I went inside, there was one other customer in the restaurant and he was waiting for his take-out. The waitress gestured for me to take a seat in the middle of the restaurant, away from the beautiful sun, so, being the rebel I am, I sat in one of the window seats. Arrr! (Rebels express their rebelling ways by grunting this, ya know? Just carefully listen to any teenagers and you'll hear it. Don't get too close though, cause they'll bite. For no reason!)

So as I was saying, I sat down, took off my jacket and bag. I noticed that all of the tables had menus and the order sheet with a writing utensil already laid out. Nice. That saves time. So I was reaching for the menu, rested my arms on the table and.... it was sticky! Gross! Instead of asking the waitress to wipe the table down, I took some tea and napkins and wiped my eating area. I can only imagine all of the fish sauce that has been spilt on the tables.. eww! Okay, so I order a medium bowl (they don't have small bowls) of pho and a thing of spring rolls. The waitress picks up my order, heads to the kitchen and then sits down to finish eating her lunch.

Can you spot the missing item in this picture? Hint: I didn't realize this was missing until the pho came.

While I'm waiting for ma grub, a couple walk in. They order their food and get their bowls of pho before I do. I was thinking, how is it that they get theirs first? I was here first! *throw temper tantrum* But then I got thinking... I never liked when we order spring rolls, which is an appetizer, comes after the main dish (bowl of pho, plate of rice, or what have you). Appetizers are supposed to arrive before the main dish!

The waitress brought me these condiments and dipping sauce for my meal right after I gave her my order.

The hoisin sauce was missing. I had to steal one from the empty table beside me.

Soon after that was running through my head, sure enough, the waitress carries my appetizer and main dish. I had some of their spring rolls and I was a fan. These were the kind of Vietnamese spring rolls I was used to. Their fillings consisted of meat, noodles, wood ear mushrooms, carrots and a couple of other things.

The filling was not mushy, it was firm. No mystery bits in there that you can taste/feel - if you know what I mean. Hahaa! As you can see below, the spring rolls aren't that large either... unlike Pho 88. Pho 88's spring rolls are huge but they're soggy inside. One point for Peach Garden. They also don't taste very good. Two points for Peach Garden.

Note the size of my 'medium bowl' of pho. It's huuuuge!

I was very surprised at the size medium bowl of pho. I swear they gave me a large. No complaints there (I'm a greedy person. To my parents who told me not to be greedy: Arrr!) I took a sip of the broth. Another familiarity. It's like any other pho place in Toronto and Ottawa - sweet, with very little flavour of the spices. (Pho Mi 108, in Ottawa, is not included in this crappy club, they're better than that.. unless they've changed their soup since the last time I went.) I didn't detect any pig's feet flavour like I did in Pho 88's broth. Three points for Peach Garden.

The noodle to soup ratio was something like 1:2, where there was more soup, instead of the typical 2:1 ratio. It didn't really bother me though, cause I love soup! I tasted the noodles and they were on the soft side. Not much bite to them, which is sad. And with every bowl of over-done-noodle-soup, I struggled to finish it.

Holy smokes, this entry is getting long.

Erm, okay.

I finished eating, paid the bill, went outside to catch the street car, got thirsty, headed down to Ten Ren's on Dundas, bought a mango slush, went to wait for the street car, watched a fire truck speed to the intersection of Dundas and Spadina, saw three firefighters walk out, followed them (there was no fire or anything harmful when they were there), took out my camera, snapped off a bunch of pictures, headed to the street car stop, got on and went home.

The bill. I love how cheap pho is!

Just look at my beautiful mango slush.

A tritone image of one of the firefighters.

A black and white image of another.

That was my awesome day. Hope you all enjoyed the sunny weather that we've been having! Now for the weekend... oh the weekend! I'm pumped! Why? Lucy and Jimmy are coming down for a bit to visit... and I have an awesome present for Lucy. I'm so excited to give it to her!! Oh, yeah, forgot to let you guys know. It was Lucy's birthday on Wednesday. Yeah... my bad. I forgots to let you all know... but now you know. No harm done. ^__^.

Why herrow!

Phew! All done now. I wrote this after waking up from my nap, refreshed. See, I can sometimes be funny!

~ Christine



Peach Garden Restaurant
332 Spadina Ave, Toronto

Ten Ren
454 Dundas Street W, Toronto

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