Friday, 31 October 2014

Spring Villa Chinese Cuisine

Spring Villa Chinese Cuisine has been in the same location for years, but I don't recall trying it. I took today off work to run some errands, so we went before 11 am to get the discount ($2.85 for any size dim sum dish). 
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Tofu stuffed with fish paste
I liked the combination of crispy fried outside with the meaty fish paste and soft tofu. Crunchy, mushy and tasty probably describes it best.

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Rice noodles with shrimp and soy sauce

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Har Gow, Steamed Vegetable Dumpling and Curry Cuttlefish
Everything was pretty good for the most part. I liked the steam vegetable dumplings the best out of these three. I think I would have liked the curry cuttlefish is they absorbed more of the curry flavour rather than just relying on the sauce at the bottom of the dish. 

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Beef brisket and tendon stew in clear soup and egg dumpling in soup
The beef brisket and tendon in clear soup is not always available at Chinese restaurants since not a lot of people like the slightly acidic flavour that comes with the clear broth. I'm personally not a big fan of it either, but I thought it would be interesting to try it. You can definitely taste the distinct flavours of the brisket and tendon this way, but the acidic soup was not very pleasant in my opinion and I would much rather have it with the soy sauce to add some sweetness. 

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Siu Mai
Pretty good, but not as good as Dragon Boat's

Overall: Good dim sum at Spring Villa. It's the same price as Dragon Boat's dim sum, but there's no line up to get in and the servers have time to actually pay attention and serve you properly.  The location is convenient too - off the 404 on Woodbine.

Spring Villa Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Roll Play Cafe

October 28, 2013

I was super excited to see that a board game cafe opened up right behind the Atrium on Bay/Yonge & Dundas Square on Edward Street above the BMV books. My coworkers and I love board games, so this location is perfect for us to drop by, grab some lunch or snacks and play a solid hour of board games. The best part is that it's free to play all the games you want, you just have to buy something. 
They had a pretty simple menu with cakes, pizzas and drinks.
Marble Galaxy cake slice
Marble Galaxy Cake
Knowing my sweet tooth, of course I got cake. 
The cake was delicious and it was such a big slice too! It had a marshmallow layer, vanilla layer and chocolate layer of cake with a chocolate marshmallow swirl icing. Delicious and quite possibly home made. The board game selection wasn't extensive, but you could see that they were slowly building their collection. I'll probably be back soon to see what other new games and treats they'll have next. 

August 29, 2014
The game collection is growing! They have a lot more games than when they first started in September 2013. I've been away from the Yonge & Dundas area, so I haven't had the chance to visit as frequently as I would have liked. Unfortunately, while I was gone, the pricing structure changed - now it's $5 for a visit to play the board games following the Snakes and Lattes format but without the wide selection of games and knowledgeable people to teach your group.
Red Velvet Cheesecake
Red Velvet Cheesecake
The cake quality also got worse...I didn't enjoy this $7 sliver of cake at all. It was expensive and not particularly tasty with bland red velvet cake chunks in random places in the cheesecake. I'm hoping this is an experimental phase and that the next time I come back it'll be better. 

Oct 22, 2014

I always mean to get food here, but for some reason it never works out that way. Instead, I order a new type of cake each time. Luckily, the cakes have improved and even better, they're cakes from the Cheesecake Factory!!!! I think they finally got it right (although I wouldn't mind having another slice of the Marble Galaxy Cake because that was really unique and so yummy).
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Amazing! Super moist cheesecake and a nice dense chocolate crust with fluffy icing on top. 
What better way to spend an afternoon than playing Cards Against Humanity and enjoying cheesecake? Now if only they could go back to when they didn't charge cover...then life would be perfect. 

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu @ Koreatown

We were lining up to see a movie at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema when the tickets were sold out in front of us. So, we decided to just grab food in Koreatown instead. I go to the Yonge and Finch Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu location pretty frequently - it was nice to be able to go try the original location in the Annex. 
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Mild Combo #1
Mild #1 Combo: Seafood and Beef Soon Tofu Soup
I can actually handle the Medium version, but I wasn't sure if the Koreatown location would be spicier - so I chose a less spicy version. Still delicious! The tofu is fresh and super soft and there were mussels, clams, shrimp and beef alongside my favourite purple rice. 

Overall: Consistently great across Toronto! It's the perfect hot meal for a cold winters day. I also managed to make my friends fans of soon tofu after this meal too! 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Jackson's Burger

Jackson Burger recently opened up in the Yonge and Dundas area, so I went with a coworker to try it out after I got a flyer advertising a Buy One Get One Free promotion they had going on. 
I decided to go on a Wednesday for the BOGO Burgerziki to see if it lived up to the hype: 
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Burgerziki
What I didn't realize was that the burgers were marked up about $10 including tax, so BOGO was more like $5 for a Gourmet Burger. I guess I'm saving like $2 - $4 compared to if I went somewhere like Big Smoke or Five Guys. 
It was an okay burger: the chicken was kind of dry and crumbly and they didn't put enough tzatziki to cover up the dryness. The lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes were fresh, they grilled the bun and they did make it to order which was nice. 

Overall: I'd come back if they keep doing the BOGO promotion, but otherwise I don't think it's worth the $10 price tag. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Vince Seafood Restaurant

Vince Seafood Restaurant

sweet and sour pork
Sweet and Sour Pork
The batter was a little soggy rather than crispy and the pork used was more fatty than meaty.

suckling pig
Roasted Suckling Pig
The roast suckling pig was really nicely done. The bottom row was all the fatty pieces of pig, but the top two rows were really tasty morsels of pork and crispy fried pork skin. The cold jellyfish on the side was a nice side.

tofu
Cha-siu, chicken and tofu bowl
This dish was okay, but not as good as the Maple Yip version.

beef and kai lan
Beef and Kai-Lan
It was cooked really well with lots of beef.

fish
Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce
There was a lot of garnish on this fish and it was a little small for our large table, but it was still simple and sweet.

seafood
Stir fry Seafood and Celery

Overall: Okay meal at Vince Seafood Restaurant - it was cheaper than most of the other Chinese restaurants we frequent.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine

We usually go to Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine for dim sum, but they also serve really good Chinese food for dinner and we'll go for special occasions
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Steamed Fresh Shrimp
Just simple sweet shrimp paired with soy sauce.

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Stir fry scallops and Kai-lan
Yum! I love when they serve bigger scallops in restaurants - the flavour of the scallops is heartier and sweeter than small scallops.
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Mustard Seed Beef Tenderloin
We don't order this dish on a regular basis, but since we were here for a special occasion we decided to try it. The mustard seeds were pretty overpowering, but the beef tenderloin was tender and well-done.
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Fish Sauce Chicken
An interesting presentation - the chicken was heated from the candles underneath the plate and it managed to retain its moistness and warmth even 15 minutes after it was served.

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Fukien Fried Rice
One of the better versions of Fukien fried rice I've had. There was enough sauce so that the fried rice wasn't too dry and there was a lot of chicken and shrimp and vegetables.

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Braised Grouper Fin with mushrooms, tofu and bok choy

Peking Duck
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The before and after pictures of the Peking Duck
They shave off all the skin for the Peking Duck wraps
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We were also served this for the accompaniments

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A Peking Duck wrap with strawberries, grapes, cucumber, green onions, crispy duck skin and sauce

The rest of the duck
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The duck head presented on the plate made this dish seem a little awkward to me, but I guess it's proof that the entire duck was used and served making our Peking Duck meal.
The duck meat was really flavourful and delicious and the Peking Duck wraps were interesting since we got to experiment with different types of ingredients to wrap with it.

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Mushroom E-Fu Noodles
A big banquet-style meal comes with a fried rice and a noodle dish at the end and in our case, we ordered this Cantonese egg noodle dish which is served dry with spongy and chewy noodles and shittake mushrooms. There's not a lot of flavour, but it works well with all the other dishes we ordered.

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Dessert with red date jelly, almond cookies and hot red bean dessert

Overall: Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine does a really good banquet style meal (which we noticed a lot of other people ordering at the other tables) with quick service and good food. It also helps that it's pretty reasonably priced as well, which makes the place super busy on weekend nights.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Xiao Long Bao

We got a coupon for $5 off our meal after eating at the Markham Din Tai Fung (not to be associated with the Michelin Star Taiwanese Chain, Din Tai Fung). The restaurant was really big, but the tables were very uncomfortable because the tables really tall and chairs were much shorter. I found the height difference really awkward when eating since I couldn't even rest my arms or elbows on the table and I'm about 5'5.
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beef noodle soup
Braised Beef Noodle Soup
I love spicy braised beef noodle soup, but this one was lacking the spiciness to make the noodles and broth taste better. The braised beef was really tender and delicious - it's just too bad it was missing more seasoning and spice, otherwise it would have been really good.
 
shanghai noodles
Shanghai Fried Noodles
This fried noodle dish also missed the mark with the seasoning; if they had just a bit more flavour then it would be much better. As it was, we decided to take this home and cook it again so that it wouldn't be as bland.
 
shanghai noodles
Fried Mantou and Shanghai Fried Noodles
I would have liked it better if the fried mantou was crispier instead of chewy and if they had more condensed milk to dip it with.
 
xiaolongbao
Xiaolongbao
The Xiaolongbao passed the stem test, but failed in flavour and soup.
 
Overall: It felt like everything was missing just a little bit of seasoning and flavour. I didn't really enjoy my experience since it was so uncomfortable sitting at the tables, it was a little on the expensive side and the service was a little slow.
 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

CC Creations @ Nathan Phillips Square Farmers' Market

Every Wednesday at lunchtime in the Summer, Nathan Phillips Square hosts a Farmers' Market.
This year, I was surprised to see that the Farmers' Market was still running in October!
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I'm always on the lookout for sweet treats and I couldn't resist when I saw the CC Creations booth and they had mini pies and tarts! I quickly picked up two and headed back to my office to enjoy my pies.
Cheesecake pie and apple almond pie
Cheesecake pie and Apple Almond Pie
I was really impressed by the cheesecake pie! The crust was perfect and the cheesecake was really tasty and light and fruity. The apple almond pie was good too with a nice almond layer and crisp apples glazed with spices on top.
 
Overall: A great delicious and homemade treat! I can't wait until next year when they'll be back with more pies!