Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Metro @ College Park

February 28, 2013
Metro stopped their weekly lunch promotion, but they have some other deals going on:

3 topping Panzerotti with pop for $5.49
We stumbled on this one by chance at another Metro: the promotion was advertised to run until Feb 14th, but for some reason the system still showed the panzerotti deal for $5.49.
It's a great deal! The panzerotti is huge and the crust is pretty good. 

$7.99 for a 16 inch X-Large Pepperoni and Cheese 
They make the pizzas right to order and it's a lot of food: try to make sure you invite company over to share or else you'll be eating pizza all week.  

January 13, 2012
So my coworker and I were stuck trying to figure out a healthy lunch one day and after wandering all around College Park (we checked out Sobey's and the new Loblaws at the Maple Leaf Garden), we figured we try Metro and if we couldn't find anything we wanted to eat - we'd just eat at the College Park Food Court. 

Luckily (or unluckily for our "healthy lunch"), we saw the weekday specials at Metro and decided to check out the Panzerotti station. It turned out there was a huge line-up for Panzerottis and after eating there on Thursday, it really is no wonder. This was a GREAT Deal! A Panzerotti with your choice of 3 toppings made fresh for you and a drink for $5.65 (incl. tax)? It doesn't get any better than that! 

This is HALF of the Panzerotti of Doom:
They have some decent toppings including cubed chicken, roasted red peppers, onions, olives, pepperoni, ham, bacon, cheese, green peppers, mushrooms and a whole bunch more. 
The tomato sauce was quite good and the cheese melted evenly throughout my panzerotti. 

It was so filling that I couldn't move for like 10 minutes after finishing the half because I was so stuffed I was afraid I would have to slowly waddle back to work (and humiliate myself in the process). 
Unfortunately, it got worse later when I had the most severe case of itis after eating ONLY half of this panzerotti. So my conclusion is: you can definitely get a LOT of Value for Money here, but try to bring a friend and split the lunch? I don't think normal people are meant to be able to eat so much in one sitting.

Website: http://www.metro.ca/en/on/home.html

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Sovereign Room - Thunder Bay

January 24, 2013
Another coworker dining recommendation was The Sovereign Room in the Port Arthur area of Thunder Bay:
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They're only open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays and they post their lunch specials on Facebook.

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House Porketta Sandwich with Arugula, Lemon, Tomato Aioli $12 
I also got a cup of the daily soup of roasted tomato, basil and cream.
The soup was a thick tomato soup heavily flavoured with basil - it was a very strong soup.
I thought the porketta sandwich might be similar to a porchetta sandwich with chunks of pork flavoured with rosemary and spices. Instead, it was thinly sliced roasted pork - which was still really good - topped with arugula and some amazing aioli sauce. The bun was also toasted and buttered with a deliciously crispy outside. 

Overall: Delicious food! It has a nice pub feel to it and I can picture it turning into a popular local hang-out at night since it's so close to Lakehead's campus. I have been pretty impressed by Thunder Bay restaurants (even if some of them are on the pricey side) - the downside is probably the slow service though. 

February 22, 2013
The Sovereign Room was super packed at lunch time on Friday. It also probably didn't help that they only had 2 servers and a bartender. It took forever to get our meal:
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Poutine with Thunder Oak Cheese Curds, Tomato and Basil Gravy.
I didn't really taste the tomato or basil part of the gravy - but it was pretty thick and hearty. I really liked the Thunder Oak Cheese Curds - way to keep it local!
The fries were pretty good - crispy and delicious with the cheese and gravy.

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Sheppard's pie with potato, turnip and lamb
It was really pretty with all the whipped potatoes on top and it was fun digging underneath for the turnips and minced lamb. It was tasty and hot (clearly fresh from the oven). Yum!

Sovereign Room on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Neebing Steakhouse - Thunder Bay

The Neebing is about a 10-15 minute drive from the airport and it's split up into two parts: there's the rowdy side called the Roadhouse and the fine dining side called the Steakhouse. 
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Shots of the Menu:
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Basket of Bread with some multi-grain bread and croissants:
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The Croissant was buttery and fluffy and it got even better with garlic butter.

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Neebing's mixed greens
Cherry tomatoes, cranberries, cucumbers, feta cheese, balsamic dressing on mixed greens
It was a nice and refreshing salad with fresh ingredients and a tasty balsamic dressing.

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Prime Rib Special $19.95 on Thursdays
Really great value! I couldn't believe that this was 8oz. - it looked to be at least 10 oz. and for $20? What a deal.
 It was huge - thick cut and massive on the plate and the meat was prepared exactly as I ordered it. The Yorkshire pudding on top was tasty with all the gravy and the other sides of garlic mashed potatoes and buttered carrots, broccoli and cauliflower were good as well.

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Bailey's Cheesecake
I couldn't resist getting the Bailey's Cheesecake (my sweet tooth talking). It was clearly home-made (as much as I like the La Rocha Version, I think it says more about the restaurant if they make their desserts in house). The cheesecake was full of the Irish cream flavour of Bailey's with dense and heavy cheesecake. I also liked the spiced graham cracker crumb bottom which was a nice thick layer and spiced. 

Overall: You get great value for your meal at Neebing Steakhouse (or Roadhouse). The portions are huge, prices are reasonable (definitely come for the special on Thursdays) and the food is good. The service was pretty decent as well on the Steakhouse side, but it was a lot more populated on the Roadhouse side.

Neebing Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

Italian Cultural Centre - Thunder Bay

The Italian Cultural Centre had a huge sign on Algoma Street advertising the lunch and dinner buffets.
We were interested in the lunch buffet on Thursdays and Fridays. $12.50 for Lunch (incl. taxes)
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First Round: 
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Cream of broccoli soup and a plate with penne in pomodoro sauce, meatballs, fried chicken and pork tenderloin
The Cream of Broccoli soup was definitely homemade and had lots of spices, but it would have been nicer if it was less salty. 
The chicken was lightly breaded and fried and it wasn't too dried out. 
The tomato sauce had a ton of spices which added a lot of flavour to the pasta and the meatballs. There was also a lot of sauce (enough to almost make them swim in sauce). Both the pasta and meatballs were decent. I liked that each table had it's own shaker of parmesan cheese - Yum! 
The pork was okay if a little dry by itself, but it was even better with the tomato sauce. 

Second Round:
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Salad with dressing, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, meatballs and pasta
The salad was nice with fresh iceberg lettuce and a good dressing. 
The steamed mixed vegetables were lightly buttered and pretty tasty too, while the mashed potatoes were buttery and soft with some leftover red potato skin. 

Overall: Decent meal at the Italian Cultural Centre. The choices were relatively simple: pasta, meatballs, pork, chicken, salad, vegetables and soup.  

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Tony & Adam's - Thunder Bay

January 29, 2013
Tony & Adam's is open for dinner Monday to Saturday from 4pm onwards which is great when you're grabbing a late dinner in Thunder Bay. 
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It's a big nondescript building on the outside with a few signs saying "Tony & Adam's" and the inside has a pub/family restaurant feel. 

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Fried Bocconcini with baby mozzarella, breaded and fried and served with a spiced tomato chutney $10
The bocconcini was yummy - it was a nice morsel of mild, semi-soft, slightly melty near the breaded outside, crispy on the outside mozzarella. It paired well with the sweet tomato chutney with a little hint of heat at the end. 

Tony and Adam's had a Tuesday promotion: $9 pizzas!
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Smoked Chicken and Pesto
This was REALLY good - the pizza crusts were "made with 100% Brule Creek Farms unbleached flour" which is "locally grown and locally ground" - it was a very thin crust baked in a stone hearth and really tasty. The ingredients were fresh: from the authentic pesto sauce to the huge chunks of tomato and melted mozzarella cheese. I also really liked the pepperoni which was thick and not completely baked through (so it had a the perfect nice meaty taste without being crispy).

Overall: Nice! Great value for dinner too - reasonable prices and large portions.

February 20, 2013
Thursday's promotion is half price wine bottles and 3 for 2 appetizers after 9pm.
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Caesar salad 
Real bacon bits, parmesan cheese, fresh romaine lettuce and croutons - Yum!

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Pan fried Pickerel with garlic mash potatoes
The pickerel is a delicate fish and it's usually a little bland by itself. The spices were okay, but it was the tartar sauce that made it amazing! The tartar sauce was really yummy (with the fish and by itself). I even put it on my vegetables and mashed potatoes...it was so good.
The garlic mashed potatoes were good too, although I wasn't a fan of all that red potato skin. The veggies were good and nicely seasoned. 

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Red velvet cake $6.50
It was a smaller portion size (which I was okay with considering I had salad and a large portion of fish). The cake was a little hard and not as moist as I would have liked, but the cream cheese icing was good. 

Hoito Restaurant - Thunder Bay

November 11, 2012
Thunder Bay - the most populous city in Northern Ontario (after Sudbury). It's a 18 hour drive up to Thunder Bay from Toronto (but a two hour flight!)
It was really foggy and a little gloomy when we arrived...
My first time seeing Bearskin airlines! I've only ever heard about it:

We grabbed lunch at a popular local establishment that has been around since 1918 in the basement of the historic Finnish Labour Temple building:
 
The building is still in good condition considering it's more than 100 years old. 
The placemats double as a souvenier and a menu:

Fresh Rye bread
It was really nice, soft and came with real butter!

Clubhouse sandwich with French fries and gravy $10.50
The fries were plentiful! Not too oily and nice with the thick gravy. The sandwich was huge as well.

 
Lohiperuna loatikko $9.25
Salmon casserole
Salmon was salty and delicious and it was complemented perfectly by the scalloped potatoes. There was a good balance between the starchy potatoes and salty well-done salmon.
I love their coleslaw too, it was tasty with a creamy texture.

Overall: Great place for a meal in Thunder Bay! It was my first time trying Finnish food and I left feeling full and satisfied. Definitely great value for money considering the portion size and the tasty food. 

February 20, 2013

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Pancakes with Sausages
The famous Finnish pancakes! 
They're nice and thin with a crispy edge. Contrary to what it looks like in the picture, there's actually 3 layers of the thin pancakes and it's pretty filling. 

Website: http://www.finlandiaclub.ca/ and it has it's own Wikipedia site
Hoito Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

DeLuca's Family Restaurant - Thunder Bay

DeLuca's Family Restaurant sounded like a homey Italian restaurant on the Port Arthur side, so we decided to try it out.

The Entrees sounded like a great deal with unlimited access to the Soup and Salad Bar and they come with a side order of pasta. 
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Soup and salad bar offerings
There were quite a few variety of cold salads including a do-it-yourself salad station, mushroom salad, green beans, coleslaw, red/green pepper salad - all of which were pretty good.
I liked the Italian salad dressing as well and I have to admit this salad bar is a lot better than Prospector Steakhouse's Salad Bar even if they don't have the same buns.
The soup was good too: a ham and red pepper or tomato bisque (I think?) It was thick and hearty.

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Chicken parmigiana
Seasoned breaded chicken breast topped with pomodoro sauce and mozzarella cheese with
Side order of spaghetti and meat sauce.
The portion was sizable and the chicken was nicely breaded and baked with cheese on top. The spaghetti with meat sauce was okay.

Overall: Good value for your meal at DeLuca's Family Restaurant if you get an entree. The cold dishes at the Salad bar tasted much better than Prospector's; overall, food was okay and service was decent. 

Website: http://www.delucasfamilyrestaurant.com/
DeLucas on Urbanspoon

Gargoyles Grille & Ale - Thunder Bay

I read about Gargoyles Grille & Ale in the Walleye and we decided to try it out for lunch. 
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Peach BBQ Steak Sandwich $13
7 oz grilled sirloin smothered in peach bbq sauce placed on a toasted garlic baguette and topped with Cajun fried onions. 
The fried onions were seasoned nicely and quite yummy. I liked the sweet BBQ sauce on the steak and the crunchy garlic baguette. However, the steak and baguette were hard to eat together: the steak was thick and chewy while the baguette was crusty and harder to cut apart together with the steak.
The shrimp bisque was not very flavourful and watery. There was a piece of toast with cheese and green onions in the soup which was kind of nice. 

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Caramelized Bacon pizza $14
Candied bacon, marinated red onions, thyme, cracked black pepper and creamed brie cheese
The pizza had a nice thin and crispy crust and it was simply topped with the ingredients mentioned (no tomato sauce or anything) and it was really nice. The bacon was a little sweeter than usual (must be the candied part). 

Overall: It's a nice spacious restaurant with some gargoyle fixtures that follow the theme of the restaurant. The food was okay, if a little pricey. 

Website: http://gargoylesgrille.com/index.php
Gargoyles Grille & Ale on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Taro's Fish

Taro's Fish is a fish market and mini Japanese grocery store near Bessarion subway station.
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We picked up some stuff (clockwise from the left): Instant Miso soup, chicken teriyaki, octopus fried rice, BBQ Eel and Teriyaki Salmon onigiri (rice ball) and sweet yam chips.
The rice balls didn't have a lot of fish inside, but the packaging was really cool.
The octopus rice was a bit of a disappointment though. I didn't taste the octopus and there was a strong taste of mushrooms.
The teriyaki sauce is really good and I liked the chicken. I also really liked the sweet yam and potato chips and they were a good deal for $1 - the chips were like Terra chips, but with lotus root and fresher fried root vegetables.
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Chirashi, Octopus rice and Teriyaki Black Cod
The teriyaki black cod is amazing! It was so good because the fish was soft, tender and juicy and so tasty with the teriyaki sauce.

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Chirashi bowl
I couldn't resist getting the bowl with salmon, tuna, tamago, salmon roe, shrimp, mackerel and octopus because it was so pretty and colourful. The fish wasn't as fresh (probably a few days old).
A fresh chirashi bowl is $13.50, but this pre-packaged bowl was $12.95. It was pretty expensive.

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OMG! Baumkuchen in Toronto!!!!
The green tea cake wasn't very good, but the baumkuchen was pretty decent for a refrigerated version of the dessert. This baumkuchen is a good place to start trying the King of Desserts, but it definitely doesn't have the same taste, texture and deliciousness as Nenrinya's Baumkuchen.

Overall: Nice place for fish and Japanese groceries & treats. 

Website: http://www.tarosfish.com/home.html