What are we doing for lunch today?

"Come on guys, it's Friday. Let's go to Upstairs" - T. Koop

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

John's of Vancouver?

Had lunch today at The Vineyard, the menu:

is a lot like John's, right down to some Greek dishes (not pictured) but pricier. I really should have a picture of the little patio in front, with the usual John's characters working on their 4th Ex at 11:30am. We started with Calamari (good) and I had the club (decent) and Jen had a chicken Cesar (looked good).

I would probably only go back to this place if I was hungover. Or when I become one of the fixtures drinking outside.

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Cafe Brasiliano

Today we hit up Cafe Brasiliano -- which as to be one of the BEST deals around (even though the price of a "plate" has gone up from $7 to $7.50).

For your $7.50* you get a piece of veal (dipped in sauce) and FIVE sides. Pictured: Salad, Mixed Vegetables, Rice, Pasta Salad and Mixed Bean Salad. This is more vegetable matter than most grad students eat in a month. And bread is free.

In addition to the usual mains they have a rotating choice of daily specials (eg. roast beef, fish fillet, baked chicken) and smaller choices as well and everything is of exceptional quality.

*Includes Taxes

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Recipe: Pasta Carbonara

You need:
-Pasta (like Linguine)
-Olive Oil
-Proscuitto (or Bacon or Pancetta)
-1 Egg

This is another easy-peasy recipe I whip up. In a pan sautee up some onion and your meat. I prefer proscuitto, but pancetta is more legit, bacon will work in a squeeze. I pour in a bit more oil, since this forms part of the sauce. I also slice up an anchovie in there, because I like that taste.

When the pasta is cooked and drained I pour the onion/proscuitto/oil mixture over the pasta and crack the egg on to it. Then mix up the egg, break up the yolk and toss it all up. The heat from the pasta cooks the egg (I think) and it forms a creamy sauce along with the oil.

I put in some dried flaked basil and cheese. The basil is my touch. The cheese is usually parmesan but I like shreded mozzarella on it too.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

5 buck taste of Bulgaria

Been sick so the blogging has slowed down.

Before I got sick, I hit up the 5 buck lunch at Hart House. Theme: Bulgaria. Check out the menu and the food:
You can pretty much figure out what everything is.
This was one delicious $5 lunch. The mushy stuff (vegetable casserole, shepherd beans) was only so-so, but everything else was A-number-one. By the way, that sausage, which reminded me of Romanian mittitei which I've had once, isn't encased in gut or whatever they use for sausages. It's just formed in the sausage shape. Very tasty.

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Sole Sandwich

I baked up a sole fillet, they're a but pricy at $3.00 ea, it could feed two -- or one Amit. 28 mins at 400 degrees with olive oil and lemon works out perfect, and put it on a good bun. I melted a bit of shredded cheese on it and a smack of ranch dressing.

It looks pretty lame but it is sooo damn tasty ! Despite the price I think I will make it again. Though it is kinda extravagant.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Guinness with Irish Stew (lamb) and soda bread

at the Wolf and Hound

Monday, March 13, 2006

Things That I Have Georged: Endives

I like to checkout different greens. Most of the less-common greens (like kale, escarole, endive) are chewier (some peeps might say tougher) and more bitter than the more common stuff (iceberg lettuce, spinach).

I picked up these endives for $1.99/lb. and georged them up with just some olive oil and salt. They are kinda smoky and crispy and a little bit bitter. I nice satisfying crunch.

Today was one of those days. I got home from pushin' pedals at 10:00, and was all set to grab a daily special or a chicken burger at Mayday Malone's. IT's nice to have that convenience around the corner, but inevitably with a coupla beers and the meal all said and done would be about $18, so it adds up.

So instead I whipped this up. I sauteed some onion in olive oil and threw in a sliced chicken breast. I little bit of tomato sauce and some basil and it was ready to go on some pasta. If I have some anchovies or artichokes or olives I might throw that stuff in too, but today I kept it simple. Pretty cheap, pretty easy -- if you're not total lazy-ass fuck.

...with the endives on the side.

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Taste Test: Korean Rice Drink

I went to Galleria, a Korean supermarket in Thornhill in search of some waffle cookies. I found those, and also picked up three different versions of Shikhye, or Korean rice nectar. From left to right, the brands are: Dongwon, Haitai, and Paldo.

The Dongwon was everyone's favourite. It had a clean, sweet taste. I thought it was almost fruity, and it was definitely "ricier." Very fresh tasting.

The Haitai had a strange thin film of white foam or bubbles on top. I thought it had a bit of a strange, metallic taste, but others didn't think so.

The Paldo was definitely the sweetest of the three. The taste was there, but overwhelmed by the sweetness. I guess it depends on what you want.

So, if you're in the market for some Shikhye, the recommendation here is to go for the Dongwon.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


On Thursday, I hosed and so I had some time to make breakfast at home. The result was a breakfast sandwich of a fried egg, a slice of smoked gruyere, crispy bacon, and some marinated artichokes on a toasted english muffin. I should eat these every day. Eventually, I'll be fat enough to apply for worker's compensation and just wear a mumu all day.

On Saturday, we went to a maple syrup festival in Warkworth (some small town just north of Cobourg). Had pancakes and really tasty sausages drenched in maple syrup. I guess I could eat this on the days when I'm out of bacon for a breakfast sandwich.

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Five Buck Enviro-lunch

We checked out the 5 buck lunch at Hart House last week - Environment week theme. Check out the menu:It was pretty tasty, considering it was almost all animal free (except for the blue cheese in the salad). The burger was quite good, with chunks of veggies inside. The noodle salad was quite good, with the crunchy bean sprouts and fragrance from some basil. At first, they told us that the quinoa was couscous - but I guess it wasn't, or else it was the hardest (and most transparent) couscous I've ever had.

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Lahore Tikka House (updated)

I've been by LTH many times, it was easily the coolest or funkiest lookin' place on the Little India strip (Greenwood & Gerrard), since the parking lot is decorated with lights and the outdoor patio used to be lined with shiny silk. When the chance to go there tonight came up -- I was all over it.

Right now it's being renovated, it'll be huge when it's done.

From the outside it looks like nothing right now. The (temporary) entrance is tiny and totally unassuming, just chipboard and two-by-fours:

Inside, it's HOPPIN'. It FEELS like *INDIA*, bright walls, x-mas lights and loud Bollywood music and more than a hint of sweat. For the full effect you need to listen to *THIS* (1.4mb mp3) while looking at these pictures. This is where you order, right at the front counter inside the door, when you place your order you get a holder with a number which you put on your table. Somehow it's coordinated so that your order is tied to this number and then the waiter with your food has to find you. This sounds like a chaotic system because it is.

Indians like to cultivate chaos, and Lahore Tikka Hut does this successfully. The temporary digs is basically a maze of portables connected with halls and passageways. It's packed with shouting waiters who are shoving you out of the way to get around and yelling orders and numbers to each other. This "dining area" is situated in the spot between two portables.

If you walk to the can you go through a passageway which splits the kitchen, so the grills are on one side and the tandoori ovens are on the other. A dude actually invited me in to eyeball the tandoor, but I didn't grab a picture since it was more packed than a New Delhi communter train.

We ordered chicken biryani (lower), a kekbab dish (upper) and I had a kebab wrap and extra naan. The biryani was pretty good -- satisfying. Despite lookin like turds on rice the kebab stuff was very tasty. The meat in the wrap was okay but what made it was the nice fresh, fluffy and toasted naan (not pictured). Next time I think I'll spring for the curry type dishes and naan. Overall the dished were pretty good and better than your typical Indian. The selection was a bit limited, but in fairness this is only supposed to be a Tikka (aka Barbecue) House.

There a line out the door and to the street by the time we were leaving; and as a bonus you get to go home smelling like a spice rack....Good times !

PS. I updated this posting to include a scan of the menu:

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Tacos el Asador

Breakfast at Tacos el Asador (Bloor & Clinton). The thick fluffy masa tortillas and tasty bean goop are the best parts. All for less than $6.00.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Recipe: Curry Noodle

This is a pretty simple dish I whip up now and then. You just need:

Chicken (boneless pieces)
Soy Sauce
Ramen Noodle
Curry (paste or powder)
Hoisin Sauce (optional)
Chilies (optional)

I sautee up the onions, then add the chicken. Here I just sliced up two chicken breasts and I put in a bit'o soy sauce.

The other spices I'm using are Hoisin sauce (why not?), Thai chili stuff and Trin-EE-Dad curry powder.

This gets added along with some frozen peas and corn. At the same time I'm boiling up the noodles from three packs or Ramen.

When the noodles are cooked spoon them into the curry mixture. The bit of water that gets carried in with it contributes to the sauce. And there you have it :

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Walnut Cakes

I picked up some walnut cakes in koreatown (6/$1.25). Dunno what the big deal is but there a few entire shops devoted mostly to walnut cakes. They have a spongy baked (I think) exterior and a nutty paste in tha middle. The come out ouf this massive steampunk-lookin' beast:

Recipe: Tacacho

Goes nicely with eggs for breakfast. Seems like it is a Peruvian dish from the Amazon region.


- 2 plantains (not yet ripe, still green and firm)
- about 8 strips of bacon chopped up or ideally an equal amount of small chunks cooked pork
- 1 small mild onion
- handful of cilantro

Peel the plantains (a surprising difficult task!). Can just use a peeler or a paring knife to cut the peel off directly. Boil the plantains until soft (not too soft though - it's like cooking a potato). Remove from water and mash up a bit, again you don't want mush. Fry up bacon. Using some of the remaining bacon grease, fry up chopped onion. Throw in mashed up plantain and bacon bits and cilantro and mix it up. Let flavours come out covered on low heat for a couple minutes (this is the time to fry up some eggs). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Check out the ancient stove at our place:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Taiwanese cooking in Deutschland

So Betty goes to Trier in der Vaterland, and her Taiwanese friend there makes some good cookin' (according to Betty). What's for dinner? Sausages, naturlich!

Some mashed potatoes and sauerkraut to go with some great Bratwurst sausages...

Too bad I was hosed out of Germany!

Cafe in Avignon

Looking through my photos, I only see one picture of some coffee and some type of pastry we had in Avignon. Looks good, just too bad I can't even remember what it's called....

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Robin Hood makes some picture perfect pancakes.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Veal Sangwich & Fishstick Sandwich

One of my favorite sandwiches is the Fishstick Sandwich, I think this is what I'll serve at my restaurant The DaVinci Cod. The recipe is pretty self-evident from the picture:

But, tonight I was Jonesin' for a veal sangwich, so I picked up uno from Bitondo's,where you get to wait on an orange lawn chair staring at the dirty floor or the Miss Pac-mac machine. But when you gets it, u kno it's worth that silent awkward wait ... and whatta deal ($5.00 + .75 for 'shrooms).


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kim Moon

Time to finish this old draft.

We went to Kim Moon for some afternoon dim sum, but on the way discovered these unopened bottles of supermarket sauce. Nearly a full box! But what would it take for you actually to eat food you found on the sidewalk?

At Kim Moon we had some rice rolls and some BBQ pork buns. The food at this place is usually ok tasting, but they always have less filling than you'd like. So in the case of the rice roll, there's too much rice roll and not enough beef.
For the BBQ pork bun, you can see that there's hardly any BBQ pork and a huge chunk of bun.
We also had some preserved meats on rice, and some fried dumplings (ham sui kwok - salty water triangles). Again, lots of rice and not so much preserved meat. But since I am addicted to these fried dumplings (the skin is made of glutinous rice paste), it's hard to say much bad about them.
Well, not a bad snack. The dishes are cheap (around 2 bucks) so one can live with the lack of filling.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Tacky Tako Sushi

A few weeks ago we went to Tako Sushi, a Chinese-run sushi place on Don Mills between Lawrence and York Mills. We've ordered and enjoyed sushi party trays from this place before, so we had high hopes for dinner. Apparently, those hopes were unfounded.

We started it off with some vegetable tempura. It was terrible. The tempura batter was super oily and soggy, and the veggies were mushy. In two cases, two slices of different vegetables were stuck together in one piece of tempura. Ugh.
Next up was a beef sashimi. This dish was alright. The beef was not sliced as thinly as I'd like, which meant a little bit of work to eat this dish. The spicy soy sauce was okay too.

We had these baked scallops hoping that they'd be reminiscent of oyster motoyaki which we've had in Vancouver. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The scallops were drowned in a too-salty curry sauce and topped with cheese (the only redeeming part of the dish). The scallops could have been styrofoam chips for all I knew - the nasty, salty curry just overwhelmed everything.

These sushi "rolls" were basically a deconstructed California roll. Overall, these were pretty tasty, but there was a disappointment: the bed of rice was supposed to be crispy (possibly by frying the rice) but it was just normal sushi rice.

At least we ended the evening with this katsu-don (pork chop on rice). This was a pretty decent rendition of a standard dish. Nothing special, but nothing wrong with it either.

I guess we're sticking to the party trays from now on. At least those have a cash discount.