Friday, 26 February 2016

In Camera Dining Room

I've heard good things about the Legislative Assembly dining room at Queen's Park.  According to the waiters, it can get pretty busy when the house sits and you can even catch members of provincial parliament grabbing a bite here.  I came with some of my coworkers to try it out on a Friday (when the MPPs aren't around).  
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The Menu looked amazing!
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Maplewood Smoked Ontario Berkshire Pork Chop
They had me at Berkshire Pork - the maplewood smoked part was an extra bonus.  It was so good! The pork was tender and a nice thick cut with tons of flavour and the veggies and mashed potatoes were great compliments to the meal.  This meal was great value for money - pretty reasonably priced, yummy and a huge portion (win!). 

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Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ice Cream
I couldn't say no to this - and the sticky toffee pudding was to DIE for! It was moist, decadent, delicious, warm and not super sweet even with the ice cream and caramel sauce. I'm so glad I got this (but I was super full after). 

Overall: Great food, reasonable prices and relatively quick service. I would definitely recommend a visit here if you're in the neighbourhood of Queen's Park. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Jack Astor's

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Bombay chicken
An interesting presentation.  The Bombay chicken was pretty good (not too spicy either) and the cucumbers in yogurt sauce were a nice touch.  I would've liked the naan to be a little crispier.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Starving Artist

My friend and I were in the St. Clair West area on a Saturday and we decided to go for brunch.  After seeing the super long line up at Emma's Country Kitchen, we walked down the street to explore the area and found the Starving Artist: 
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I love this decor!

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So many waffle options! We decided to go one savoury waffle and one sweet waffle to get the best of both worlds. 

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Sammy Benny with smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce with a side of potato salad and a mixed greens salad
These were so cute! And quite delicious! The hollandaise sauce was great and I loved the smoked salmon and poached egg combination on the 2 mini waffles.  The potato salad and mixed greens were good as well.

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Split this! with waffles, bananas, strawberries and chocolate, caramel & strawberry syrup with whipped cream. 
I don't think we ever pictured this when we ordered it. They classified this waffle as an "after waffle", but if we could split the Sammy Benny - I thought this would be about the same size.  It was like the most overindulgent waffle ever with a ton of whipped cream, 4 fluffy waffles and bananas and strawberries thrown into the mix. So good! I was in waffle heaven. 

Overall: Great waffle place and fun brunch place! I would definitely come back here for waffles again.  The savoury and sweet options were fantastic and the service was fast. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Paradise Fine Chinese Dining

February 13, 2016

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Lotus root soup (they separated the ingredients from the soup and served it to us)

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Suckling Pig with Jellyfish
The suckling pig was super tasty and the skin was really crispy and crunchy (a sign of a nicely done suckling pig) and the jellyfish was pretty good too. 

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Chinese greens with sauce
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Beef with broccoli
The beef was succulent and tender and oh so tasty and I thought it was nicely presented. 

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Soy sauce chicken
Yummy! 

Overall: Great food and good service - it's a little on the pricey side, but well worth it. 

May 29, 2014
The place settings are so nice for dinner.
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Peking Duck
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The duck skin was crispy, but the wrap was home-made and a little doughy and powdery from the flour.

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Stir fried duck meat with lettuce wrap
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The lettuce wrap was better. The duck stir fry was really tasty and the lettuce was freshly washed (with extra water on the side). 

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Shrimp and chicken stir fry and mushrooms and peas

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Wine Sauce Chicken
A rather bony half of the chicken, but very flavourful.

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Snake soup
Yum! I really liked this soup course between all the other dishes - it was a yummy and nice change. 

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Bok choy

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Pork neck and broccoli
Thin strips of pork neck meat. 

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Sweet and juicy lobster

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Dried scallop and egg white fried rice
Interesting...not a favourite of mine since it just seemed too salty. 

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Longan red date dessert
Refreshing and healthy
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Almond cookies and strawberry jello

Overall: Nice meal at Paradise Fine Chinese Dining. The Majong tables are a little distracting though. 
March 5, 2012

The dim sum menu! If you order before 11am, all the sizes of dim sum are $2.75 a plate. So of course we got here super early in the morning for our Sunday dim sum.

The tea cup was not the easiest to drink out of but it was interesting trying to figure out how to hold it. Mmm Jasmine tea.

Har gow (shrimp dumplings) and steamed rice with chicken and compoy (beef and mushroom with rice and all steamed in a lotus leaf)
The har gow was ok, nothing particularly unique about it. I found that the wrapping was too weak, the shrimp filling fell through the wrapping when I tried to grab one for my plate. 
The steamed rice was good - it's always very filling. 

Crispy shrimp rolls with sweet and sour sauce
They were light and crispy and I loved the tangy sauce. Very nice.

Minced pork siu mai with shrimp
Apparently their siu mai is very popular and after trying it, I found that I loved the fake crab meat on top of the siu mai, but I didn't feel that they made the siu mai very unique or different. I wasn't astounded by the flavour or anything and couldn't figure out why it was so popular, I actually thought it was almost tasteless.

Steamed rice crepe with bbq pork at the top left. 
Double boiled fresh milk souffle at top right and Egg tarts.
The rice crepe was quite good and I really enjoyed it. I didn't like the souffle - I thought it was a puff pastry with egg whites and while I usually love puff pastry, I didn't enjoy this. The egg tarts weren't very good because they were flavourless.

Pan fried vegetables in tofu crepe
This dish was bland; I think it was because the tofu skin was too crispy and didn't soak in the flavour from the mushrooms and other vegetables inside. 

Vegetable tempura
Oyster mushrooms were way too salty with the seasoning, but the squash tempura was nicely done. The broccoli was ok too even though the brocoli inside was fully cooked and I found the batter to be light and crispy which was a nice touch. 

Baked lychee chicken salad rolls on the left and grilled dumplings with shrimps, pork and vegetable on the right. 
The dumplings lacked flavour and I thought that there was too much meat relative to the actual dumpling (not very proportioned or well-balanced). For the other dish, I love lychee and I love chicken - but this was (a) a terrible combination and (b) not very good. 

Shredded turnip and parma ham puff
We found that the shell was much too hard and we had to crack it open in order to get at the turnip inside which turned out to be ok - but we weren't fans of this at all. 

Chilled mango pudding
Delicious! They redeemed themselves with the mango pudding which had lots of mango flavour and mango chunks!

Conclusion: I think they had decent dim sum - nothing spectacular to make this one of my favourite dim sum places, but it's reasonably priced (before 11 am) and the service is fast (even if they occasionally mix up orders). They must be doing something right because it's packed on the weekends. 

Website: http://www.dine.to/paradise
Paradise Fine Chinese Dining on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Concession Road

Update: The restaurant has closed 
I'm a big fan of trying out new restaurants through Winterlicious/Summerlicious since the first year is usually the year they really try to impress new customers (although, they may have some service hiccups along the way) and Concession Road was newc on the Winterlicious list this year. (Items I would order again)
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We got some complementary bread with a tapenade 
I skipped the tapenade since I don't like olives. 

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Butternut squash soup
Really sweet - it didn't have the right balance of savoury and sweet. 

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Escargots
The escargots were delicious! I loved the butter sauce and the mushrooms gave it a nice Asian flavour. 

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Japanese Fried Chicken
For some reason, I didn't equate Japanese Fried Chicken with Kaarage and I think I was expecting something like Korean Fried Chicken with a lot of sauce. The kaarage was pretty good, but I found the mashed potatoes were a strange side dish with the kaarage. 
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Steak and Frites
The steak was really gummy and chewy (it wasn't a good cut of meat) and the fries were too greasy.  The spicy mayo was okay, but overall this wasn't that great. 

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Pecan Pie and Chocolate Mousse
The pecan pie had a nice flaky crust and it was pretty tasty without being too sweet.  The mousse was really weird - it was salty and didn't really taste like there was espresso in it. 

Overall: First time Winterlicious problems strike again - the service took really long after we got our appetizers, but the odd part was that two other tables that came later than us got their desserts and finished their meals before we got ours.  We were at the restaurant for an hour and 45 mins (mostly waiting for food) and the tables felt like they were way too close together (I was worried every time a waiter passed by). 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Valens

My coworkers and I were pretty excited for Winterlicious and we had a decent experience at Cafe California, so we made another lunch reservations to try out another restaurant nearby work. 
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 (*Items I would recommend and/or order again)
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Beef Carpaccio
Really thin slices of raw beef with a cheese and arugula salad tossed on top and a hint of olive oil. 
It looked great and sounded delicious, but there wasn't really anything to tie the dish all together. 
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Chicken and vegetables
My coworkers got this and thought it was okay (they preferred the lamb when they tried it). 

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Lamb
The lamb was delicious! The meat was so succulent and it just fell off the bone and the pairing of the mashed potatoes and vegetables with the sauce were great. Also - this was a huge portion (good value for money). 
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Chocolate cake
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Creme Brulee
Pretty good - nice crispy torched sugar layer and not too sweet custard underneath. 

Overall: The service was a bit of a mess since they mixed up the dessert order and they had to come back a few times to ask us what we had ordered.  The food was pretty good though.