Gal’s Sushi

•October 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Gal’s Sushi
3621 HWY 7 East, Unit 106
Markham, ON L3R 0G6
(905) 305-7753
http://www.galsushi.com/

Since Manz was so adamant about getting this posted, I decided to skip a few (hundred or so) posts and put this one up first. We decided to come here after spending almost 5 hours at RQ last night because we were all starving and couldn’t really settle on a place to go to. But Japanese and Korean food are generally a good choice, so we decided to go here. I had never been before, but I’ve heard in the past that the food was pretty good, although quite pricey.

We started off by spending a ton of time looking at their menu. It was quite extensive. Basically, all the usual items you’d normally find on a Japanese/Korean menu was there, including maki rolls, sushi, teriyaki and all the way to the Korean items such as bulgolgi and pork bone soup. Aside from spending a lot of time flipping through the menu, we also spent a lot of time admiring their service button. Apparently, Manz and Gordon had no idea what the function of the button was and weren’t even aware of its existence. Being the selfish brat I am, I obviously pushed the button before explaining what it did to them. It wasn’t until after we had to push the button a few more times that we figured out it was probably just a placebo button… because it sure as hell did not get us any service no matter how many times we tried it. We ended up flagging a waitress down and placed our orders, the old fashioned way.

Service Button

Food started coming in pretty quickly after ordering. Miso Soup followed by the standard Green Salad and lastly, banchan consisting of Potatoes and Chapchae.

Miso Soup

Green Salad

I didn’t like the Miso Soup here that much. It tasted off to me… maybe there was just a really strong smell of tofu or something. Either way, it really offset the usual miso flavour that I am used to. However, the Green Salad was nice and fresh. It wasn’t any extraordinary, but for some reason, I found that their vinaigrette had a good balance of acidity to sweetness ratio. Also, Manz gave me hers, so more for me! I got called a fatty, but it was totally worth it.

Banchan - Chapchae and Potatoes

The advantage of eating at most Japanese/Korean restaurants is that you get to eat their side dishes, even if you don’t end up ordering Korean food. Unlike most places, though, there wasn’t any kimchi. Instead, only Chapchae and Potatoes were offered. But seeing as how these were two of my favourites anyways, there were no complaints. For some reason, we weren’t allowed to refill the potatoes more than once. This was bad because firstly, the potatoes were good and secondly, it was also the only vegetable that Manz would eat. Nonetheless, both dishes were tasty.

Not too long afterwards, our orders started coming in, one after another, without too much delay in between. The first to arrive was the Tamago Sushi Manz and I decided to split. It was okay. For $3.99, not so much lol.

Tamago Sushi

Bulgolgi Bento

Second to arrive were the Bulgolgi Bentos, which both Gordon and Richie ordered. At $15.99, it was a pretty pricey bento. But it also came with 10 pieces of sashimi, 5 pieces of sushi and a dynamite roll, which made it a decent deal. They seemed to enjoy it for the most part. The only complaint was from Gordon, who needed a lot more wasabi than provided and the waitress failed to bring any even though it was requested. He ended up having to drench each piece of sashimi in soy sauce instead, LOL, poor guy.

Gam Ja Tang

Next to arrive was my Gam Ja Tang. I love pork bone soup. I haven’t had any in a while since leaving Waterloo so I immediately developed a craving for it once I saw it on the menu. It was a little pricey at $9.99 (compared a lot of other places in Toronto). It was the potato based type instead of the cabbage based type, which is what I prefer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as flavourful as I would’ve liked. It had some spice to it, but I’m definitely used to spicier pork bone soups. Aside from that, it was decent and it satisfied the craving I had.

Finally, Manz’s Don Katsu arrived. The menu had no mention of it coming with rice or veggies or anything. Instead, it only stated that it was a deep fried cutlet with Japanese style BBQ sauce. However, at $14.99, Manz refused to believe that it didn’t come with rice or anything else. Well… she was right.

Don Katsu (with rice and veggies, even if the menu doesn't say so)

As a matter of fact, it even came on a bed of stir fried peppers and onions. Personally, I would’ve preferred a simple bed of cabbage because the peppers and onions were quite oily. Normally, I wouldn’t care since it was someone else’s dish, but Manz doesn’t eat her veggies and apparently, I am the designated garbage can, so it kinda mattered. But no, I wasn’t able to finish any of the greasy vegetables. The pork itself looked like it was fried well. It was flattened out pretty thinly which allowed for a lot more breading, which led to a big overall portion. It also came topped with bonito flakes, which is a nice touch because most places don’t do that.

After our meals were finished (and Manz’s was packed… someone got too full off potatoes), the waitress came by with dessert. I liked the overall promptness of service here, even if they forgot the wasabi. Dessert consisted of a slice of watermelon for everyone and a small slab of red bean stuff. Watermelon is my favourite fruit. Yay. The red bean stuff looked really good, but wasn’t as flavourful as I thought it would be. I actually never had anything like it before, so it was a nice surprise. The texture was a little weird. It was like a mixture between pudding and jelly and it was way more crumbly than I expected.

Dessert - watermelon and red bean stuff

In terms of speed and service, Gal’s Sushi does a pretty good job. Their sushi is good, but very pricey. Since sushi/sashimi aren’t really my favourites anyways, I’ll probably stick to other Japanese/Korean places for their cheaper menus and crappier service. The quality of food was alright, but it wasn’t much better than any of the other places I’ve been to. It is, however, a very safe place to bring people to, assuming they enjoy this type of cuisine.

Windsor Arms Hotel

•September 19, 2011 • 2 Comments

<————– currently listening to The Script – I’m Yours —————>

Windsor Arms Hotel
18 Saint Thomas St
Toronto, ON M5S 2Z7
(416) 971-9666
www.windsorarmshotel.com

Another extremely delayed post. I went to the Windsor Arms Hotel for some high tea one afternoon with Welo who had purchased a deal for it earlier and didn’t have anyone else to use it with. Also, it was a 3 minute walk from our workplace, which made it perfect for a long lunch on a Friday afternoon.

We arrived and waited in the lobby area as it wasn’t time to start yet. We noticed as other people came rolling in and sporting the same coupon we had. It was a pretty good deal, I had to admit. Because this was back when the Royal Wedding as taking place, the main lobby had an entire table dedicated to memorabilia for the event. Lots of nice plates and things with the couple’s faces plastered on. Interesting to take note of and see, but not really something I’d ever buy…

Once the tea rooms were open, we were quickly ushered to our seats. There was a really cool purple room, but we weren’t seated there, unfortunately. Nonetheless, the ambiance of the room we were in was still very nice and everything looked really fancy.

Below was the menu:

FULL TEA

A Choice of our Loose-Leaf Teas
~~
Fresh Scones with Preserves
and Devon Cream
~~
A Presentation of Fresh Sandwiches:

Smoked Salmon and Wasabi Sour Cream
with Salmon Caviar
&
Cucumber with Sundried Tomato Paste
and Dill Cream Cheese
&
Grilled Chicken, Granny Smith Apples
Citrus Mayonnaise, Greek Yogurt & Chives
~~
Goat Cheese
and Caramelized Shallot Tart
~~
Berries and Whipped Cream
~~
Petits Fours

We started our meal off with the loose-leaf teas we picked. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what we picked anymore, sadly. But I do remember enjoying the tea =P

Teapot

Tea

A little while after our tea came all the food! I really like how the food is displayed at high tea. Everything is so fancy and delicious looking.

The tray with all the food

The scones were pretty good. I would’ve liked them more if they were fluffier and softer, though. But that would probably involve using a lot more butter, which wouldn’t be a very good impact on my health considering the size and quantity of these scones.

Scones

I actually didn’t expect the finger sandwiches to be like this. They were very tasty, though. Instead of the usual sandwich construction, they took the fillings and wrapped them up with the bread instead, like a sushi roll, for each sandwich. The bread part was pretty moist, which I didn’t really like. But I guess it has to be somewhat moist in order to mold into this shape.

My favourite out of the three were the grilled chicken sandwiches.

Finger Sandwiches

For some reason, the Goat Cheese Tart was not placed onto the tray, but was served separately instead. It was tasty as well, but wasn’t all that special. It reminded me of a quiche.

Goat Cheese Tart

The desserts looked good and tasted good. I have a feeling they don’t make their own desserts though, because I know that Pusateri’s is just down the street and I’m pretty sure I saw the same stuff on display there, lol. Nonetheless, they were very enjoyable.

Desserts

Finally, our meal was finished off with a healthy serving of Strawberries and Whipped Cream. The strawberries were a little tart, which balanced out very nicely with the sweet cream. A good way to end the meal.

Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Although this was a super long work lunch, I was glad we visited. I had been wanting to try high tea for a while and now I can say I’ve had the experience. However, next time I’ll try to go when I don’t have any time constraints. It takes quite a while and it’s not something you would want to rush through anyways.

Montfort Grill House

•July 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Montfort Grill House
1900 Fowler Drive
Mississauga, ON L5K 0A1
(905) 822-1444
http://www.montfortrestaurant.ca/

Went here with some Skinny, Sasha and Eleanor a while back when we were still all in Mississauga. We weren’t too sure on where to go for dinner one night and somehow ended up here based on Skinny’s suggestion.

We ordered the Assorted Maza for 4 persons. We didn’t feel like each getting our own dish, so Skinny suggested that we order a bunch of appetizers to share instead.

Dips

The dips were the first to arrive. Except we had nothing to eat it with… I’m not sure why this was served so early on. The white dip was tzatziki but I have no idea what the red one is. I think it had onions and tomatoes. It was okay, but nothing too memorable.

Mixed Plate

Our mixed plate of Hummus, Falafels and Chicken Shawarma arrived next. The hummus and chicken shawarma were both really good, but definitely on the salty side. I liked the falafel as well. It was fried crispy on the outside but not hard on the inside.

Except we had nothing to eat it with…

Pita Bread

Until finally, our Pita Bread arrived!

The pita was very soft and fluffy. However, four pitas for four people is a little lacking. None of us had enough pita to eat with all the dishes we got.

Tabouleh

Lastly, a pile of Tabouleh and our Kibbi came.

The tabouleh was really fresh. It was especially good in countering all the salt from the mixed plate dishes. The kibbi was okay. I’ve never had kibbi before. The outer shell of it was basically ground beef mixed with bulgar wheat and the inside was stuffed with more ground beef along with onion spices. It was tasty, but nothing special.

Kibbi

Overall, the food was pretty good. However, I’m pretty satisfied with just getting a pita sandwich. In most cases, if I were to order a chicken shawarma sandwich, I’d get chicken shawarma, hummus, tabouleh and tzatziki which already contains three of the five dishes we ordered.

I guess I’m just a little too used to the “fast food” versions of Mediterranean food to be able to properly appreciate Montfort.

m:brgr brgr bar

•June 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

m:brgr brgr bar
401 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1K1
(647) 729-1747
www.mbrgr.com
Toronto location now CLOSED

We passed by this place after our dinner at Grindhouse last time and it looked really good. I recalled hearing about it before from some sort of group buy site, but I wasn’t in Toronto at the time, so I didn’t purchase it. Coincidentally, another website decided to feature an m:brgr deal and so we bought a couple to try the place out.

One thing to point out is that no one was late this time =)

Since we booked a pretty early dinner, the place was pretty empty when we arrived. The ambiance was very nice.

We started our meals off with some fries. We ordered both Truffle Fries and Sweet Potato Fries. We didn’t taste too much of the truffle flavour in the truffle fries, which was a little disappointing. They were still quite tasty and fried well. The sweet potato fries were good. Nothing to complain about but nothing to wow over either. The only issue I had was perhaps the serving sizes; the cups they came in were not that big.

Truffle Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

I ordered the AAA Beef Burger with monterey jack cheese, french fried onions, a fried egg and mango and cucumber salsa. Cheryl and Catherine split a similar burger, but they topped theirs with sauteed onions and got the spicy relish on the side instead.

I enjoyed eating my burger. It was very big and filling. The egg was fried perfectly. However, because of the heap of fried onions in between the egg and the rest of the burger, it created quite a mess to bite into. I had to move a bunch of the fried onions to the side and eat them with the salsa separately because it was just too much of a mess otherwise. Of course, I’d much rather have more fried onions than less, so no real complaints here. I really enjoyed the salsa. It was fresh and full of flavour.

The patty was cooked well done, but it still had a plenty of juice in it. I would’ve preferred something a little more pink like at Craft Burger, but this was okay too. The bun was good. It was toasted well and held together. It wasn’t very soft, but it held everything together as needed. I have to say that I prefer sesame buns more.

AAA Beef Burger

Welo also ordered the AAA Beef Burger but with monterey jack cheese, foie gras, grilled portobello mushrooms and a fried egg instead. She really enjoyed it. We all tried some of the foie gras and it was very tasty.

AAA Foie Gras Burger

Freda ordered the Mushy Veggie Burger with a fried egg, a slice of tomato and roasted red pepper aioli. We were warned by the waiter when this was ordered that it was a very mushy burger. The patty consists of a mixture of mushrooms, tofu and other things that I can’t recall. The texture of the burger definitely lived up to its name. It was mushy. Having never eaten a vegetarian burger before, the taste and texture of this burger was very unique to me. I don’t have much to compare it too, but it was definitely good. I still prefer meat, though.

Mushy Veggie Burger

It took me so long to make this post that m:brgr actually closed down their Toronto location recently. To be honest, I’m not that surprised. Their menu is quite pricey. Their pricing is somewhat justified, considering the ingredients/toppings they offer up for their burgers but I think our experience at Grindhouse Burger Bar was actually more unique and for a good “regular” burger, I’d much rather head over to Craft Burger or Gourmet Burger Co. The restaurant was also fairly empty during our stay, even as it got later. That being said, I’m glad we got to give it a try before it closed down, we definitely enjoyed it.

Pretzels and Pretzel Dogs

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Aside from eating food, I also love watching food shows. One of my favourite shows to watch is Alton Brown’s “Good Eats”. I really like this show because Brown goes fairly in depth into every aspect of the creation of each dish. Not only does he describe how to make something, but also how to pick out the tools and ingredients necessary as well. All in all, it’s extremely informative and very interesting if you’re into that sort of stuff.

Every day for the last four months, I’ve had to walk through Union station to board the GO train home. This also means that I pass by Pretzelmaker on a daily basis and they sure make their section smell nice. I’m always tempted to go and buy one. But then I remembered an episode of Good Eats. One particular episode, “Pretzel Logic”, happened to go into detail on how to make pretzels.

I then decided to re-watch this specific episode, make a note of the recipe and how to prepare everything and finally, make myself some pretzels (and pretzel dogs).

I used the recipe found on the Food network website. I also found this particular blog post from a blog called “A Dash of Sass” to be very helpful for the extra steps in turning my pretzels into pretzel dogs.

The only difference between what I did and what AB’s recipe called for is that he used a dough hook on his mixer to mix his dough. Turns out… our stand mixer doesn’t have a dough hook. So what did I use in place of it? My hands. I won’t lie… my forearms were pretty sore after what felt like an eternity of kneading and forming the dough with my two hands (it was probably more like 37 minutes). The end results were pretty decent! Not bad for someone whose baking experience is limited to frozen pizzas and a one-time attempt at green tea butter cookies.

Pretzel Platter

Pretzel

Pretzel Dogs

This took a lot of effort, mainly due to the dough kneading. I was pretty happy with the results, but I definitely should have salted the pretzels more generously. Also, the inside of the pretzels were not as soft as I would’ve liked them to be. So I guess I either baked them for too long or I boiled them in the baking soda for too long. Not too bad of an attempt but I may be better off just shelling out the $4.35 or so to buy one the next time I get a craving.

The Bloor Street Diner

•April 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

The Bloor Street Diner
55 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M4W 1A5
(416) 928-3105
http://www.eatertainment.com/restaurants/bloorstreetdiner/

My coworkers wanted to sit back and have a drink after a long period of stressful work, so one day, we headed down to the Bloor Street Diner after work to do just that.

Although the Bloor Street Diner serves up a full menu of food, none of us were really hungry after having had a fairly big lunch at Spring Rolls earlier. Instead, we just had some drinks and good conversation instead.

The Table Setting

I was planning on playing badminton a few hours, so I couldn’t stay too long. However, I ended up ordering a beer anyways because everyone else was drinking something (peer pressure at its best). I ordered a Stella. The reason for this being… 1LOVETO and Stella ran a promotion where they were sending out free 9-Step Pouring Kits to people who sent in email requests to them. I felt that I should show a little support by drinking their beer.

Stella Artois

My coworkers ordered a bottle of wine. I’m not too into wine yet, so I don’t know much about it. It was a white wine and of the more dry variety. Aside from that, I don’t recall much. I didn’t even get any pictures of it… oops.

Our waitress was really nice and came by with some complimentary snacks for the table.

Complimentary Snacks

This was basically some small toasted pieces of bread with a selection of bruschetta mix topping on one side and a couscous mix on the other. It was tasty and went really well with my beer.

I’m not a very big drinker. My preferred drink is normally water. I also suffer from ridiculous Asian glow. Needless to say, that pint or so of Stella was not the easiest thing for me to finish. I may be extremely fast at eating and drinking most things, but alcohol is definitely where I’m slower than average. But since I had to leave to head home and get to badminton soon, and it just wouldn’t be right to leave without finishing my beer, I increased my pace and plowed through the rest of the beer.

Stella Artois Chalice

Needless to say, I rode the TTC and GO Train looking very much like a red light afterwards.

Spring Rolls

•April 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Spring Rolls
693 Yonge St
Toronto, ON
(416) 972-6623
www.springrolls.ca

Four months have gone by in a flash and my co-op term has come to an end. As my farewell lunch, my team took me out to Spring Rolls. Spring Rolls is a very safe place to go to with coworkers. It’s got a ton of options for people to choose from, assuming you want some sort of Asian food and while I wouldn’t say what they do is very unique, what they offer up is pretty decent. If you’re used to eating at different Asian restaurants, don’t come here expecting to be blown away by the food, but rather, what you can expect is to find is a variety of dishes to keep most people happy. Also, the service is pretty good and the restaurant is very clean. I would say that that, along with the atmosphere is what you’re paying a premium for.

Table Setting

Spring Rolls offers a lunch special for $12.99. Basically, it’s set up like a prix fixe menu where you can choose either a soup or salad for your starter, along with another appetizer and finally, a main entrée. Most of us opted for this option because it seemed like the best deal, considering that the price of an entrée is already in the $7.99-$10.99 range on average.

Tea

Tea doesn’t come standard here. Instead, you must order it. The selling point is that they stuff their own tea bags and you can’t get them anywhere else. I took a look at the mixture inside and it looked more or less like regular brown rice tea to me.

Garden Salad

I went with the lunch combo and chose the Garden Salad. As you can see, it was a pile of lettuce with a slice of cucumber and about four halved cherries tomatoes mixed in drizzled with some French dressing. The salad was fresh and cold. Otherwise, it was a pretty mediocre and uninspiring dish. And it’s not very Asian either!

Dynamite Roll

For my appetizer, I chose the Dynamite Roll. I found it to be pretty tasty. But once again, nothing spectacular. The sushi rice came apart a bit upon picking it up with my chopsticks, but it didn’t fall apart or anything major like that. The tempura shrimp was fried well and the avocado was fresh.

Chicken & Shrimp Pad Thai

I apologize for the blurriness of this picture. I ordered the Chicken & Shrimp Pad Thai with my meal. It was okay. There were quite a few pieces of shrimp and chicken, which was good. The noodles were also cooked to the right texture. The sauce was okay, but it had a very strong ketchup taste to it. I personally love ketchup, so I didn’t have any issues eating this dish, but I would have to say that The Friendly Thai’s version tasted much better and probably more authentic, seeing as how their version was not ketchup dominated and focused more on the tamarind.

Satay Shrimp with Rice

One of my coworkers ordered the Satay Shrimp with Rice. He enjoyed it, but had to order an extra serving of rice in order to finish off all of the meat, veggies and sauce that came with the dish. I guess that’s one tactic for increasing sales…

Singapore Vermicelli with Vegetables

Another coworker ordered the Singapore Vermicelli with Vegetables. She also enjoyed her dish, but couldn’t finish the huge portion of noodles. The picture was taken after some of it was eaten already… but there was definitely a bigger heap of vermicelli there before.

Thai Curry Chicken on Rice

Finally, my other coworkers ordered the Thai Curry Chicken on Rice. They said it was good, but a few of them commented that the choice of vegetables used in this dish were odd. I also found it weird to see bok choy in a curry dish.

In conclusion, I would have to say that in general, Spring Rolls offers up some fairly mediocre food. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s also not amazing. I would justify their prices based on the fact that they maintain a clean setting with friendly and relatively fast service. Basically, a very safe place to take people to, at a semi-decent price.

 
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