Thursday, December 17, 2015

20150712 Toronto Trip: Messini & Chatime


We had brunch earlier at Pho Dau Bo. Andrew and I had a free day, so we called our cousin, JT, and met her at Vaughan Mills. We browsed through a few stores and then made our way to Chatime.

There are so many choices! I went with the usual grass jelly roasted milk tea. Andrew wanted to try something new. Hilarity ensues.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

20150712 Toronto Trip: Pho Dau Bo


The morning following my cousin, JS's wedding, my aunt and uncle took us to a pho place for brunch. During the car ride to the restaurant, my aunt told us that she had friends from Vaughn that would drive down to this restaurant, Pho Dau Bo, located in the same plaza as Long Hui Supermarket.

They had an impressive spread of Vietnamese dishes.





We ordered a few bowls of noodles. I had to go with their pho with beef balls. My aunt said that the restaurant makes them, so of course, we were interested. They reminded me of the beef balls that we used to get from Montreal. Their beef balls were tiny though.

The soup tasted just like our homemade pho. It was very comforting because it wasn't overly sweet with a punchy cinnamon flavour. The rice noodles that the restaurant used was more slippery and bouncy than we're used to. I'm disappointed that I forgot to ask what brand of noodles they used. Were they fresh rice noodles?

Dad had their mild bun bo hue and enjoyed it. He preferred another place because they didn't add enough lemongrass here.

Their noodles stood out to me. I can see why people like this over other pho places. Their local chain has expanded to many locations in the GTA.

Pho Dau Bo
2437 Finch Ave W
North York, ON
Pho Dau Bo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday, December 03, 2015

20150711 Toronto Trip: Wedding and Bubble Tea


My cousin, JS, got married back in July. It was a gorgeous wedding! The morning began with the traditional Chinese ceremonies at the bride's family home. After the Chinese ceremony, we all had a quick lunch in the garage. My aunt had decided to get it catered by one of their favourite restaurants. There was rice noodles with beef, stir-fried Singaporean curry noodle, salt and pepper shrimp, and other dishes. We all had a quick bite to eat and then drove to the chapel. Once that was finished, we took a bunch of photos outside and inside.

At that point, the cousins and I were getting a bit hungry so we thought about going somewhere for bubble tea and a snack. The two choices were either go to a place called Destiny or go to Chatime and then head back to the house. KG chose Destiny since they made savoury food.




I was floored. Look at their extensive menu! It actually didn't take too long to order. Everyone already knew what they wanted.



Among the food that we ordered, the star had to be the plate of Popcorn Chicken ($6.99).

Oh, did I forget about all the bubble tea?

165 York Blvd,
Richmond Hill
Destiny Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 30, 2015

20150710 Toronto Trip: Chinatown

Our cousin, JS, got married back in July, so our family planned a trip to Toronto for a few days and then we were going to make our way up to Algonqiun Park for another few days. While in Toronto, we'd have some free time so we wanted to enjoy it.

My personal favourite Chinese restaurant in Toronto's Chinatown is still the House of Gourmet. It has become a family favourite too. When we made the trip down to Toronto, we had a chance to dine at House of Gourmet for our first meal: lunch. I wanted to check out the murals on the side of the restaurant before going in. I wonder what the person in the yellow was talking about.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Noodles at Rice Pea

The SG5 is growing on me. Just look at the photo of those noodles (N02)! #RicePea #Lunch #Hungry #Noodles #ChiliOil #NoodleHead #FoodPorn #Foodstagram #Instafood #SupportLocal #NoFilter #GoodEats #NoodlePorn #eeeeeats #Zomato #TasteOttawa #613eats #Ottawa

It was brought to my attention that we've only written about Rice Pea on just one other occasion. The small restaurant hidden on Carling has joined our regular restaurant rotation. Our favourite dish from this northern Chinese restaurant has to be the noodles pictured above. It's listed as 'N02' on the menu. These house made noodles are chewy and tossed in a mix of chili oil, black vinegar, roughly chopped garlic, and some dried chili. I can eat a bowl by myself. Let me correct that statement to: I have eatten a bowl by myself -- it's that good.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Japanese Beef Curry with Breaded Chicken

Need to whip up dinner in half an hour? Here's a quick meal you can make. Japanese curry with rice and breaded chicken, well, sort of.

Start off by making a pot of rice. Then take some frozen chicken burgers, which you might have in the freezer, and pop them into the oven. Now, peel and cut up some onions, carrots, and potatoes. Thought you had carrots and potatoes but can't find any? That's fine, just chop those onions. Great, now grab the Japanese curry roux cubes in your cupboard and open up half of it. Cool. Dissolve the curry roux into hot water and set aside. Your mise en place is done.

You can make your Japanese curry with just vegetables or you can add either cubed meat or ground meat. If you feel like adding meat, brown your meat in a pot with a bit of unflavoured oil. Add in your onions (and potatoes if you found some) into the pot before the meat is fully browned. Pour in the dissolved roux and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tidy up the mess you've made in the kitchen. Fluff the cooked rice. If you have carrots, add them into the pot of curry and cook until desired tenderness. The chicken burgers should be done. Take out the chicken burgers and slice. Now assemble and enjoy. That all made sense, right?

Badaboom, badabing!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Recipe: Homemade Coconut Snowballs


You've probably seen these in Chinese grocery stores or, if you're lucky, in pot lucks. These glutinous rice coconut snowballs can be filled with a variety of things like toasted ground peanuts, black sesame, sesame and sugar, or coconut and sugar. I've noticed that many cultures have a version of this. It's called nom plae ai in Cambodian, for instance; in Thai, it's kha nom tom; and banh bao chi in Vietnamese.

Here's the recipe Mom wrote down many years ago. She knew exactly what everything meant. I've seen her make this a few times so I'll try my best to break it down.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Jack Astor's Lansdowne: Zomato Meetup


Have you been to the redeveloped Lansdowne Park recently? Do you remember what it used to look like? My memories are a bit foggy. I vaguely remember going down for the SuperEx and going to 67's games. Gone are the empty lots. Now there are places like Whole Foods, Lindt Chocolate Shop, Winners, and Cineplex Cinemas. Among the new shiny establishments, Jack Astor's can be found by the Aberdeen Pavilion. Earlier this week, I had the privilege to be invited to the third Zomato Meetup in Ottawa.


Once we were all introduced to one another, we went on a brief tour around the restaurant. We learned that Jack Astor's has added more of a local feel at both their Lansdowne and Hunt Club location. At this specific location, they have coasters that feature local personalities, arena lights that used to light the old Civic Centre, pictures and memorabilia of Ottawa's sports history. Don't be shy to ask the staff if you're curious about the decor.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Sausage Flight From Adams Sausages

Our family loved the sausage flight at Central Bierhaus so much that we tried to replicate it at home. I went online and tried searching for a local butchery that made German-style sausages. Most places made the basic italian and honey garlic sausages, but one stood out. Adams Sausages made European sausages. I knew I found the right place when I checked out their list of sausage products. Then I checked their address: 1437 Michael Street. Where the heck is that? I did a quick search. East end. Near the OC Transpo corporate office. Eh, let's do it.

Since we were attempting a Central Bierhaus-like evening, I felt like we needed soft pretzels so I whipped up a double batch of Alton Brown's soft pretzels before heading out to pick up the sausages.

Tucked in side street full of warehouses, we pulled up on Adams Sausages. When we got out of the car, we saw two different guys with huge bags headed to their car. It was Friday before the August long weekend so I assumed they were stocking up for the cottage.


We went straight to the back of the European-style grocery store and headed for their two large deli counters. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Look at all the selection!

We picked up a few different kinds of European sausages, a jar of sauerkraut, and a bag of rolls.


Right beside the entrance, Adams Sausages serves sandwiches and bratwursts ($3.80 + tax) ready to be eaten on the go or on their patio. How tempting is this?

We headed home and got dinner ready. The sausages were cooked the way The Food Lab suggested. The sausages were precooked in a bath of sauerkraut, mustard, and beer before being finished on the grill. This method created a juicy and crisp snap to the sausages. It's more of a forgiving way to cook the sausages. There were five different sausages, from right to left: smokies from another company we had in the fridge, polish sausage, spicy chorizo, weisswurst, and German bratwurst.


Along with the freshly made homemade soft pretzels, cold German beer, and some baked potatoes, we feasted! Everyone was happy with the selection and, in particular, the cooked sauerkraut. Lucy and I both loved the weisswurst. The texture reminded us of Vietnamese white sausage (cha lua) and the flavour was milder. The spicy chorizo was a close second.

I realized that I gravitate towards family-style meals rather than casual dining. I tend to get bored of dinner if I have a plate of steak, potatoes, gravy, side of veggies. It gets monotonous after a few bites, whereas, you can keep your palate and taste buds excited when you're out for dim sum with a large group. With this sausage flight, there were a variety of flavours, from the mild weisswurst, garlicky bratwurst, and the punchy sauerkraut. This was such a treat!


Adams Sausages
1437 Michael Street
Ottawa, ON
Adam's Sausages Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Banh Xeo: Do You Wrap or Mix


Banh xeo is a Vietnamese savoury pancake. We fill it with a meat mixture of ground pork or chicken, onions, toasted shredded coconut, soy sauce and fish sauce. Then we add blanched beansprouts before folding them over.


Since we grow our own thai basil, mint, and fish herbs, we usually eat banh xeo in the midst of a heatwave -- when the herbs grow like crazy. Now, depending on personal preferences, you either wrap the banh xeo in lettuce or chop/rip everything into a bowl and mix it up. Mom says it tastes better when you eat with your hands. I agree -- only in the summertime though. Where do you stand on your banh xeo?

Do you wrap it or mix it?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015



Ahora has been popular with locals for many years. Located down some stairs along Dalhousie Street, this small Mexican restaurant serves items like tostadas, tacos, enchiladas, horchata and churros.


After we ordered and payed, we visited the salsa bar and brought some condiments to our table.

On this warm sunny day, I went with two tacos ($9.25) and had the chicken and steak, My friend, MB, was really hungry so she had a burrito grande ($9.25).

The double corn tortillas were filling. It didn't look like much at all. The tacos were alright. I preferred the chicken over the steak because the steak was overdone. I think the flavour of corn tortillas are not my favourite. Maybe I haven't had the right ones, or maybe I'm just not used to them, but they remind me of something being stale. I prefer the less authentic flour tortillas. I'll try their burrito next time.

307 Dalhousie Street
Ottawa, ON
Ahora Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cozmos Souvlaki


Our family really likes Cozmos Souvlaki. We get cravings for Greek now and then. Andrew wanted Greek for his early birthday lunch last month, so we got the Family Platter with 4 lamb and 4 chicken souvlaki skewers and a gyro meat platter to feed 6 adults.



The only thing that was left after lunch was the salad and happy faces. Wait. I recall my grandpa wasn't too pleased, as he's not a fan of anything that isn't Chinese food.

Cozmos Souvlaki
196 Greenbank Rd
Click to add a blog post for Cozmos Souvlaki on Zomato


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