Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Tipper

Returned to the Tipper with a friend today. I'm not sure if they just opened or not because they didn't seem "ready". On the one hand they had dirty tables they had to clear, on the other hand, they weren't ready to serve (i.e. one of the servers was busy cleaning up the bar).

Anyway, we were seated after a minute or so. Our server never came to ask if we wanted anything to drink. After what felt like forever, our server finally came over and noticed we were missing the extra breakfast menu.

I ordered the Samble Benny because I didn't know what a samble was. It's basically scrambled eggs with salsa-like veggies. Served on focacia and drizzled with hollandaise. The dish tasted fine; nothing special. If I return, I will most likely order a normal benny.


My friend ordered the cheddar mushroom omelet. It was nice and cheesy. The omelet was a nice surprise because of the lack of oil. Oftentimes, restaurants screw up a normal omelet by deep frying it in oil. This was perfectly fried. I also get turned off by the vegetable sweat if chefs don't pre-fry the vegetables. There were no such sweat in this omelet. Overall, a well cooked omelet.


Of course, the potatoes were great as usual.

One thing to note this time: There were coffee spoons at every table! I finally have something to stir my coffee with. I wonder if the owner / manager read our blog and decided it was a good idea, because it certainly made my coffee experience much better.
The Tipper on Urbanspoon

Friday, 19 September 2014

Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen (皇燕)

The first place we saw when we turned the corner, so we visited Hoang Yen.


Typical Vietnamese setup; though I like the special touch of individually packaged chopsticks. You never know who's dirty hand has grazed the chopsticks if it's not, right?


As usual, a dish of bean sprouts and fresh herbs were delivered right after we ordered. As usual, I don't touch it: had a bad experience at Pho Hoang (Main & 18th) where a server took a dish from another table and served it to a new table.


I ordered the #7 House Special, and added a side of a salad roll.

The noodle soup itself is okay. The broth is not as flavourful as Pho Tan, but it has decent flavour. The meat wasn't raw enough when served, but not overcooked either. A little heavy on the tripe and not enough brisket, but filling none the less.


I expected the salad roll to come before the soup, or at least with the soup. It came a while after the soup, but at least I know it's freshly made. The rice paper was nice a moist. The only thing I wished for was more meat spread out, instead of a clump of pork and 1 shrimp. The peanut sauce was also lacking. I've made more flavourful peanut sauces than this. It was like watered down peanut butter. A little Sriracha can make a big difference.


B ordered the #16 Hot & Sour soup. It was not "hot" and he had to add more spice. The seafood was well cooked mostly (except for the squid) and actually pretty good after the addition of a spoonful of chili. There's lots of seafood in this bowl.


Service was friendly. Place was clean. There was a TV playing, but it was at a comfortable volume where it provided some sound but was not blasting. Decent prices.

We may come back after we try out all the other Vietnamese restaurants in the area.

Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen on Urbanspoon

Friday, 12 September 2014

Cuchillo

Dropped by at Cuchillo after going to Belgrad Kitchen and finding out we have to wait 1 hour because other people called ahead to be placed on the wait list even though they don't take reservations. How does that work?

Anyway, we sat down at Cuchillo twenty minutes later and got a call from Belgrad. No thanks. You can't run a establishment well enough, your food won't taste as good to me.


Anyway, we all started with some Taquerias. B and I ordered the Pulled Duck y Crackling. It was really well flavoured; a good balance of salty and sweet. The crackling was a nice touch.


My friends ordered the Baja Styled Battered Rockfish and the Mole Lamb Albondigas. According to my friends they were both good.



As our main course, we had the Char Grilled Flat Iron Steak. The steak was cooked perfectly; it was so tender. The chorizo buttermilk Kennebec mash and the lettuce really helped balance the flavours.


My friends both ordered the pork belly confit. It was sooooo flavourful. The fat was so thick and soft, your fork just goes right through it.


A great experience. A little pricier that other places, like La Mezcaleria, but still a good place to go. Will recommend and return.

Cuchillo on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 11 September 2014

New Spicy Chili Restaurant

Came for my aunt's birthday. Similar dishes to Kalvin's.

My uncle ordered everything so I don't know what they are. Somewhere in there is a smoked duck neck, spicy fish hot pot, and chicken.








The food was only mildly spicy, not overpowering. Mostly well seasoned. A little on the oily side, but in general a good experience - probably due to the company. My favourite would be the smoked duck while B liked the fish hot pot. Wish they made the chili chicken with whole chicken pieces instead of bone (ligament?).

Decent enough experience, but would go to Kalvin's over this any day - there was just no "wow" factor. Our service was good because apparently my uncle knew the servers. The table next to us had a greasy table and the chopsticks had greasy fingerprints all over them. Probably won't recommend nor return.

New Spicy Chili 小四川 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Adelitas

Checked out Adelitas tonight for dinner.

We were greeted promptly as the place was empty. I wouldn't say the place was filthy, but it wasn't clean either. As soon as we sat down, the server asked us if we wanted anything to drink. There was no drink menu to order from and the server didn't seem to know what they had either and had to keep running to the fridge to check.


Then she asked us if we wanted any appetizers while we check out the menu. I don't know how I feel about that as I didn't even have a chance to read the menu. Luckily there were only three appetizers. We ordered the guacamole.


The guacamole was okay. Good portion. Good balance of flavour - of lime and cilantro.

They had three (home made?) salsas. The spiciest one had a weird taste to it, and not as spicy as the medium one, which tastes a little strange too. The best one was the "non-spicy" one, which tasted like like and cilantro. The containers could be better, they were hard to pour.


We ordered three soft tacos each. I had the tongue, which was cooked well. It was tender and not chewy at all. Good mouth feel. Heavy on the cilantro side.


B had the carnitas (shredded pork). They actually taste the same. A little on the oily side. But flavoured well. The portions were good, as they double up on the taco shells, which end up giving you six instead of three tacos each.


We probably would come back for some cheap tacos. The service and the blasting tv kind of dampened the mood. Don't get me wrong, the server was nice, but just wasn't professional enough. If I wanted quality food and ambiance, however, I would probably return to La Mezcaleria on Commercial.


Adelitas on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Amay's House

Went to Amay's House because we've never had Burmese food before.


The place was clean, one of the cleaner washrooms I've been to.


We ordered the Burmese style samosas, spicy button mushroom curry, lamb satay, and roti.

The samosas were good. I like that the vegetables inside aren't mushy like Indian samosas. You can see and taste the texture of each vegetable, chopped into perfect squares. It came with a great tart sauce. Very well balanced dish.


The button mushroom curry wasn't spicy. At all. It LOOKS like it should be, but it's not. It tasted like salty broth to me and tomato soup to B. It left something lacking, which is why we ordered two more dishes.


The lamb satay was decent. At first I thought the meat was over seasoned, but then dipping it into the sweet and creamy peanut sauce really helped balance the taste. The meat was cooked well and tender.


The roti was good by itself. It came with some kind of chicken dipping sauce. The sauce tasted like the oil run off from when you bake chicken, and the chicken itself tasted like chicken from a can of chicken or chicken soup.


Overall, it was a pleasurable experience. After a 15% tip, the bill was still under $30 and we were both extremely full. Good value, just needs flavour. And  although the service is a little on the slow side, they were friendly enough not to sour the experience. We may return, but we still have a lot of places to try first.

Amay's House Burmese and Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Friday, 22 August 2014

Mr. Brownstone Bar & Grill

Went to Mr. Brownstone on Main for a friend's birthday. I was invited there once for another birthday, but never got to try the food - this time I got to try plenty.

We first had the spicy teriyaki chicken wings because we were so hungry, and our friend hadn't arrived yet. Though advertised as spicy, they actually weren't spicy. But the flavours were good and the skin was crunchy. The size was also decent.


When our friend arrived, we ordered two more appies and two main courses.

We had a truffle oil poutine and spinach dip. The truffle oil was strong, which made the poutine very flavourful. The cheese and gravy were generously well spread out. Every bite was delicious.


Spinach dip is spinach dip. You really can't go wrong with it. We liked that it was served with different types of bread. Although it may look small, it was plenty and we had to take some home.


Our friend had the shepherd's pie, which was well seasoned and the potato on top was really fluffy.


We had the special of the day - vegetarian risotto, made with asparagus, mushrooms, cherry tomato, and goat cheese. Although it was well made, I think our home made three-mushroom risotto was better. Maybe the dish needed just a little bit more seasoning.


Overall, we enjoyed the meal, everything was prepared well. The service was good and we actually packed a bit of everything to take home because they were so big. We will recommend but not sure if we will return for a while.

Mr. Brownstone Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Baked Cod with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Another recipe from myfitnesspal - Baked Cod with Pineapple Avocado Salsa.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless Cod fillets
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (we ran out of lime so we used a leftover lemon)
  • salt and pepper
  • quick rice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a small bowl, combine pineapple, avocado, cucumber, red onion, 1 tbsp lime juice and pinch of salt and mix until well incorporated. Set aside to allow flavours to meld (we did this the night before to save time the next day - onions help prevent avocados from turning brown).
  3. Place fish on baking sheet (cover with aluminium foil to help with clean up) and sprinkle with salt and pepper (we didn't have lime or lemon to sprinkle with).
  4. Bake until cod is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness. (Here's a little information on undercooked fish and worms - don't be alarmed if you find worms on your cod)
  5. Remove from pan and top with salsa. We served with a side of brown rice and lots of sriracha, as it was a little bland.
Although the salsa was tasty, the cod was bland - we probably won't be making this again.

Thai Beef Kabobs with garden vegetable saute

Another dinner recipe from Fitness Pal - what can I say, it takes too much effort to surf different sites for just one week's worth of dinner. We also could've used the barbecue, but it just seemed easier to use and wash everything indoors.


Ingredients
Marinade
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (we used lime because they were on sale at the grocery store)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb beef chuck, cut into smaller cubes
Vegetables
  • 2 cup julienned zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped scallions (we used green onions, apparently google says they're the same thing)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (we forgot to use this)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (we used grape tomatoes because we couldn't find any cherry tomatoes at the market)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (I think we may have used 4 tbsp, we really like cilantro)
Directions
  1. Mix marinade and beef in a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (we marinaded it overnight)
  2. Preheat broiler (or grill).
  3. Thread beef onto 8 skewers (reserve marinade) and grill or broil 4" from the heat for 12-15 minutes, or until beef is lightly browned on all sides and no longer pink in the centre (it's beef though, so you can probably cook less)
  4. While beef is cooking, heat skillet with oil and add zucchini, scallions, (corn), and beans. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the beans are crisp-tender. Add the tomatoes and 2 tbsp of the reserved marinade (more if you like it more saucy); cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add cilantro. Serve with the beef.
We really enjoyed this recipe and will definitely make it again. If you precut / pre-chop all the vegetables beforehand, it's really quick to make.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

We were organized enough to make this Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai from the myfitnesspal website after returning from a camping trip. We have a new found love for squash of all types. They're so healthy and make such great replacements for pasta (which makes me lethargic).

Unfortunately, there are no pictures because we were too hungry.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast
  • 1 large Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 large Carrots, grated
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 Green Onions, thinly sliced + more for garnish
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped Unsalted Peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar (or substitute White Vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons Lime Juice (if you roll the lime really hard before cutting in, you should be able to squeeze enough from one lime)
  • 3 tablespoons Honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and guts. Drizzle the flesh side with olive oil and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes (until a fork slides in easily).
  2. When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape out all of the spaghetti squash, until all you have left is the skin. Set the squash in a colander for about 10 minutes to drain all of the excess moisture.
  3. Make the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and warming over medium-low heat. It does not need to boil. Keep it warm while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  4. Grate, slice, and chop the vegetables (peppers, carrots, green onions and garlic). If your peanuts are not chopped, chop them now, before you contaminate your cutting board with raw chicken.
  5. Cut the chicken into small pieces and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Stir occasionally until the chicken is lightly brown.
  6. Add the vegetables and saute for about 3-4 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add the drained spaghetti squash and the sauce to the skillet and stir until evenly distributed.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the peanuts and cilantro.
  8. Garnish with more green onions and cilantro.
  9. And of course, add sriracha to taste.