Browsing: Restaurant Features

Dim Sum Newbie

November18

These days the world is a connected and smaller place and we are all very culinary sophisticated.  So I was unprepared for the answer when we recently asked Daughter #2’s BF if he liked Dim Sum.  Of course it became my mission to right the wrong of someone having never tasted one of our favourite foods.

In our younger years in the restaurant days, we had a friend from China named Tommy.  He was a famous eater due to volume and the hot sauce poured onto everything including scrambled eggs.  He turned us on to many Asian culinary delights including Dim Sum.  But it took us along time to get the hang of the art.  Once when daughter #1 was just a baby I took her to the ladies room to change her Nappie (sounds better than diaper in a food blog) and when I got back, our table was covered with food!  D said yes to every item that came by on the cart.  Instead of savouring the morsels and then anticipating the arrival of the next one, we were out the door in 10 minutes, stuffed to the gills.

When my office was next to Chinatown, Dim Sum Garden was a weekly treat and we turned many people onto Dim Sum there.  We had an “A” list of our favourite items that we recommended for their introduction: no to the desserts and NO to the chicken feet.

The first taste….

And so it was with great delight that we took the BF to Dim Sum Garden (our family’s personal favourite).  We like their version of sticky rice and find their prices most reasonable.

Inside a packet of sticky rice

Dim Sum Garden on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “If you never try a new thing, how can you tell what it’s like? It’s men such as you that hamper the world’s progress. Think of the man who first tried German sausage!”-Jerome K. Jerome

Love endures

Spicy Noodle House

November16

When I worked in Osborne Village, the Spicy Noodle House was a particular favourite of mine.  I would almost always decide upon a soup but if I was there with someone willing to share and my office gang almost always was, we’d share soup and another of their many stellar dishes-Shrimp Foo Young, Fried Vermicelli and Egg Plant with Black Bean Sauce stick in my memory even now.

On this day I was meeting a friend and colleague for “just soup” before a business presentation.  Their Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup is a classic.  It is a perfect blend of my fav firey spices-cumin, cayenne and red chili powder but you can still taste the heartiness of the broth.  If you want to be crazy decadent -order it with the Deep Fried Pork Chop.  The tender yet crispy strips are tasty on their own but even better floating in the soup. 

Now it would come as no surprize that I am an enthusiastic eater.  I can be dainty enough with the spoonfuls of broth but the noodles posed a real dilemma.  I suppose I could have requested a knife and cut the noodles into spoon size but where would be the challenge in that?  So I persevered and did my best to get the firm and delectable noodles to my mouth- but alas.  Two splatters of spicy broth landed on my white suit jacket.  I had hope that the people we were presentating to were food appreciators as well.

Spicy Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”-Bennett Cerf

Love endures.

Peasant Cookery

November12

How do two foodies celebrate their last evening together before one of them goes on a vacation?  By finding a new restaurant to try of course.  We had intended to visit this establishment when it was Oui and almost went to celebrate our last wedding anniversary.  But the Urbanspoon reviews were not glowing and when we are acknowledging a special event, we want “glowing”.  So I am not surprized that there has been a change in culinary direction.  I understand that the previous menu was very daunting for the kitchen and this simplified version should ensure stellar dishes from the chef.  Some of the former favourites have found their way onto the Peasant menu.  Simple, well prepared, tasty food is what we are all about and looked forward to tucking in.

We were sat immediately by a really personable fellow and he accurately predicted that we would enjoy one of their round booths.  The decor has not changed immensely and we loved the high ceilings and two walls of windows.  A lovely glass of wine was recommended and a wonderful baguette basket was delivered.  Bread and wine, a simple and yet so satisfying combination that have sustained generations and indeed civilizations.

Thinking ourselves to be poutine aficionados, we couldn’t resist sharing an order.  My husband and I discovered cheese curds together at the Minnesota State Fair which does not just contain a food concession but an entire arena designated to local food preparation  (AND we saw Kenny Loggins in concert that night so I was in heaven).     

The Peasant version of poutine is authentic using a made from scratch gravy and a fairly generous numbers of curds.  But on this night they salted the fries before the toppings were added and even though I love salty foods, it was a bit much.  Next time I think we’ll try a pate.

Remembering my recent trip to NYC where I sampled the most amazing fried chicken at  The Redhead, I was excited to repeat the treat or at least determine if the dish lived up to my Grandma’s recipe.  I would crown her the Queen of Peasant Cookery. 

Although the chicken underneath the crunchy coating was tender enough, I guess my standards were too high as something was off.  The chicken seemed to have been braised or boiled first to tenderize it whereas in my mind a marination works best.  The coating was over salted and also seemed to be overcooked.  And even though I did not finish my portion, the two little drumsticks and thighs did not warrant the price tag (in our humble opinion).  The coleslaw was just okay and the warm potato salad had way too much mustard for our liking.

BUT D’s pork chop was divine!  Well trimmed,  juicy, tender and perfectly cooked to medium.  The accompaniments too were well selected and prepared and lucky for me, D was prepared to share.  I sliced the left overs up for a sandwich the next day and it too was delicious.

So I wish WOW! Hospitality all the best with this concept and know that having peeked into the wine bar and loving the ambience, we will be back.

Peasant Cookery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “A married couple who enjoy the pleasures of the table have, at least once a day, a pleasant oppurtunity to be together; for even those who do not sleep in the same bed (and there are may such) at least eat at the same table.”-Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

Let love be multiplied.

Hu’s on First

November8

Hu’s is a favourite of many of my favourite people and it had been all too long since my last visit.  It was also been too long since my last encounter with this particular and special friend.  So this became a perfect time over lunch in the best ways.

We started with crab rangoon which I couldn’t assess from the menu description but turned out to be a kind of spring roll.  They were recommended by the waiter and okay.

He made up for the mediocre choice with his Chicken Pad Thai suggestion which we thought was outstanding.  We continued to take one “last” scoop way after we were full.  Kinda like the eating peanuts I guess and that presents the perfect segue.

Also suggested was the peanut crusted Pickerel.  My readers know that pickerel is my favourite fish and this recipe was outstanding.  The fillet was substantial and held up well to the powerful tastes.  The fish was laid upon a bed of edamame and string beans-also lovely.

The place was bustling when we arrived at 12:30 but had thinned out by the time we left.  So if you are looking for a quieter lunch, wait until the noon lunch crowd heads back to work.  I would call the decor “upscale” for an Asian experience as I am accustomed to the more Mom and Pop local restaurants.

Hu's On First on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven’t yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?”-Bill Bryson

Let Love be multiplied.

Soup’s On

November5

 In case you missed my column in the fall edition of Dish Magazine, here it is for your reading pleasure.

We call it “soup” weather when the sun sets earlier and the evenings are cooler.  Our meal planning naturally transforms with the colours of the leaves from salads and grilled items to savoury soups. 

Bernstein’s Deli has a huge selection of frozen soups that have been made for their restaurant patrons -10 varieties on the day that I was shopping.  The Chicken Noodle was just like Momma used to make.  For a special treat, I’ll stop at the Little Saigon Restaurant and order their Deluxe Beef Rice Noodle Pho (soup) which comes in two very heavy containers-one holding the mound of noodles, crisp bean sprouts and thinly sliced beef and the other, the rich dark broth with spring onions floating on top.  A trusted foodie has also recommended the rare beef soup at Binh An on Main St. (she swears it has healing powers).

I often choose soup for lunch and love the magenta coloured beet borsht at Alycia’s, the hearty pasta soups at De Luca’s, or the brandy flavoured French Onion soup at the Keg with the gobs of cheese crusted on top. 

A Chef’s skills are very apparent by the soups they serve.  I commend the stock makers at Bread and Circuses Bakery, The Fyxx, Dandelion Eatery and Prairie Ink.  Special accolades go to the Tallest Poppy where their daily, from scratch soups focus on local and seasonal ingredients.  A Facebook friend also praised the Pernod Chowder at Fude.

For supper soups the Lobster Bisque at the Promenade Bistro takes top stars as well as Spicy Peanut Soup at Saucers and the Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup) at Magic Thailand Restuarnt, Sukhotai and Sawatdee Thai Restaurants (I can’t decide which one I like the best).

Kath’s quote: “Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”-Judith Martin

Let love be multiplied.

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »