Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Xtreme Taste

I was looking for lunch options near the Yonge and Bloor area, when I found Xtreme Taste on Yelp! 
The reviews all said that the food was super cheap and healthy, so I knew I had to give it a try. 
It's a really small place: pure take-out food and yet so crazy busy! It was only when I got inside that I saw the two ladies working the counter with the food. I would totally wait in line again for the $5 meals!
Chicken with tahini and hot sauce
Chicken with 3 salads: chickpea, macaroni and potato $5
It's not a huge amount of food, but it's a pretty cheap option especially near the Yorkville area!
It's pretty healthy too since you can choose your options. 
I got the chickpea, macaroni and potato salads because everyone else in front of me was getting them. 
I really liked the chickpea and macaroni salad - very tasty, but the potato salad felt a little bland to me (until I ate like 4 huge coriander leaves). 
The chicken was pretty hearty and it was so much better with tahini and hot sauce! It's like the flavours just popped out more. 

Overall: A super cheap and healthy lunch option in Yorkville, no wonder there's always a line up! 

Xtreme Taste on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine

February 6, 2013
Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine used to be one of my favourite dim sum places in the GTA
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The restaurant is located on East Beaver Creek in an area that's predominantly commercial - if I didn't know where it was, I'd probably have a difficult time finding it. Also, parking is a hassle at the restaurant since it doesn't seem like there's enough and people have had their cars towed away in a nearby parking lot.
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Dim sum special!
Lunch menu
Pineapple bun filled with bbq pork
It's called a pineapple bun, but there's no pineapple in it. Instead, the top crust is cooked to a golden-brown colour and checkered thereby resembling a pineapple. The bun is usually pretty sweet, but when you add in the BBQ pork, it gets more of a savoury taste. 

Steamed oxtail with bean curd sheet in garlic
The dish sounded like it would be more salty and full-flavoured with the garlic. However, this dim sum dish was actually kind of sweet. The meat wasn't as tender as I would have liked, but it was okay.

Pumpkin congee
It was thinner than the usual congee and had a nice hint of pumpkin flavour.

BBQ pork in puff pastry

Beef tendons
I like it when beef tendons are soft and not very chewy and this dish wasn't quite there. The peppers were actually hot (so much for thinking it was just a garnish).

Steamed sticky rice with chicken wrapped in lotus leaf and har gow (in the back)

The sticky rice was okay - the restaurant used to serve two large wraps in the same dim sum container and now they serve three. I think it was better in the past when they went quality instead of quantity.
Har Gow

Rice noodle roll wrapped around youtiao (fried bread stick) with shredded meat
It's really nice with soy sauce.

Deep fried shrimp balls
The shrimp balls were crispy and packed solid with shrimp - delicious

Dumpling in soup
The broth was really nice and the dumpling was huge and filled with lots of goodies like Chinese mushroom cubes, ground beef, shrimp and some vegetables.

Dragon Boat Festival Rice Dumpling
A traditional staple near Dragon Boat Festival time - it's a pyramid of sticky and salty rice. There's usually a cooked egg yolk inside.

Spring rolls with coriander, Chinese mushrooms and carrots.
I wasn't a big fan of this...I still think Vietnamese spring rolls are the best.

Siu mai
You can never really go wrong with siu mai and har gow at dim sum.

Overall: Decent dim sum and for a reasonable price. The restaurant is huge and yet, you could still wait 1/2 hour for a table, but the service is fast.

July 6, 2014
Wow! Time flies so quickly, I can't believe it's been over a year since I ate here! 
The only thing that's changed is the crazy line-up of people waiting to eat Dim Sum at 9am on a Sunday morning. We were in line for an hour and a bit waiting for a table and according to the hostess, people regularly line up at 8am waiting for the restaurant to open at 9am so that they can get a table. 
I like the new containers!
Shrimp Balls - still crispy and deliciously filled with shrimp
Seafood dumpling in soup
Delicious and filled with crab meat and all sorts of goodies in a chicken stock broth. It was so good we ordered another one. I love the little tea light under the bowl - very cute.

Clockwise from the top: Mini curry octopi, vegetable dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf (lo mai gai) and shrimp rice rolls
The curry octopus dish was really good - then again it's always been a favourite dim sum dish of mine and they do it really well here. The sticky rice had an egg yolk in it which is different and kind of unusual - I'm not sure I like the new changes.

Tea leaf, peanut and pork bone congee and shrimp rice rolls in soy sauce
The congee was pretty bland and needed quite a bit of the salt to save it. Rice rolls were really good.

Eel in flaky pastry
The pastry was really good, but maybe I'm biased because I love flaky pastry. And when they put a savoury filling inside - it makes it even better! Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of eel in the middle of the pastry, but I liked eating the area where the juices soaked into the pastry.

Rice roll wrapped around youtiao with bonito flakes on top
I'm not a big fan of bonito flakes, especially after my trip to Japan. It felt like they put it on top of everything and the salty flavour and flaky & melty texture is not appealing to me.

Pineapple buns with BBQ pork in the middle
Still as good as last year's!
Milk tarts and Chicken pies
The milk tarts were nice and light compared to egg tarts.
I love their chicken pie dim sum dish at Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine! The pie has a nice baked mini pie crust and inside is the curry chicken filling with a kind of pineapple bun top. It's fantastic - a Must Try here!

Har Gow with a shrimp!
Siu Mai
Just as good as I remembered it!

Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder

Last time, I came for Burger Week. This time I'm back to have some BBQ!
The Stockyards

Chicken Dinner with 4 pieces of Buttermilk fried chicken and a hefty portion of fries
The chicken was nice and juicy with a mildly crispy skin. It definitely beats KFC, but I kind of wish it had more spices in the rub. The coleslaw was warm for some reason and it was awful - it had this weird sour taste (might have been a bad batch or coleslaw gone bad). The hot sauce was hot, but somehow the chicken tasted better with it. 

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Beef Brisket Sandwich
The brisket was really good with a nice smoky flavour and the combination of that BBQ sauce, garlic mayo and caramelized onions was crazy good! The only downside was that the meat was a little tougher than I expected for a beef brisket.

The Foxes Den

According to the Huffington Post, The Foxes Den is the place to be for Swiss fans near Bay & Bloor. The Swiss were eliminated by the time we went for lunch at Bay & Bloor, but the German vs. France game was going on and I knew they would be playing it.  
1/2 Philly Cheesesteak with soup and salad
1/2 Philly Cheesesteak Panini with a soup and salad
We caught the second half by taking a later lunch/beer break. A highly enjoyable meal! I tried to finish my minestrone soup and balsamic vinaigrette salad as soon as possible to focus on the game. Luckily, the cheesy and yummy Philly steak panini was easy to stuff my face with while watching the game and the small bite sized mouthfuls I took facilitated my yelling at the screen. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

W Burger Bar

I've passed by the W Burger Bar quite often, but for some reason I just never really had the chance to try it out until now.
W Burger lunch specials
Lunch Menu

burger and greek salad
Turkey Burger with Greek Salad
I decided to go for the special (so I didn't have to do any strenuous thinking at lunch) and I thought I was in the clear until the waitress asked me what I wanted on my burger and directed me to the toppings menu.
Yikes! That's a pretty long list.
Turkey Burger with alfalfa sprouts, garlic herb mayo, ketchup, lettuce, sauteed onions and tomatoes
Garlic Herb Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Lettuce, Sauteed Onions, Tomatoes and Alfalfa Sprouts is what I ended up getting with a turkey burger on a whole wheat bun. Yum! This turned out really well, the turkey burger was spiced and pretty meaty and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the way all the ingredients were put into my burger (I did miss the cheese, but I didn't know how it'd go with the garlic mayo. The Greek salad was an extra $2 and it was just drenched in dressing and was really salty.

Overall: Good burgers and fast service - definitely one of those gourmet burger joints. It's a nice treat every once in a while.