Wednesday, December 17, 2014

German Town Deli: Sandwiches and Chili

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I can't even count how many times that I've passed the German Town Deli on the bus. It was time for a visit.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kim's Restaurant Revisited

I've tried to suppress my rice noodle cravings, but a combination of being sick and the cold weather made me break. I needed something to boost my energy. I was thinking stir-fried rice noodles. The one with sauce. It has been quite a while since visiting them.

Out of all the Chinese restaurants in Ottawa that I've been to, only Kim's Restaurant makes the stir-fried rice noodles with enough smokiness. I've only experienced only one so-so rendition of the noodles here once out of the 10ish times I've eaten in. We've done takeout twice and the food didn't taste good at all. Speaking of not tasting good; Grandpa ended up trying this place with my parents sometime earlier this year. Or was it last year? The point is, he wanted to see what the hype was after I repeatedly told him that that dish was great. Let's just say that they left the restaurant unimpressed. I wasn't there, but he said that the noodles were terrible because they were black. Dad agreed and said that it was way too smoky. I got a bit defensive when I heard the news. What? Their noodles are great! How was it too black?

Determined to prove them wrong Wanting to confirm that the restaurant still made a solid plate of rice noodles with chicken, we headed out to dinner.

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We pick and chose the three dish meal which included soup, rice, and dessert. There was a tepid bowl of black eyed beans, chicken feet, and pork soup to start. Other than that, we had the fish fillet with black bean sauce, shrimp with eggplant, braised beef brisket, beef with asparagus, and rice noodles with chicken (replaced the bean sprouts with choi sum).. I really enjoyed the fish fillet. I know they use a cheap fish like basa but the fact that they didn't drown it in the sauce made it better because it kept the fillets crispy. There was plenty of sauce for rice too. As for the braised beef brisket, we were all deeply disappointed in three things. Firstly, there wasn't enough flavour infused into the beef. Secondly, the dish was watery and didn't have the thicker gravy sauce. We really enjoy the New Hong Shing's version of the braised beef brisket (the one in the pot). Lastly, the daikon tasted sour so we asked the owner. She took away the dish and let us choose another dish to replace it. The beef and asparagus was the dish that we chose. It was very salty, but when eaten with plenty of rice or rice noodles, it was fine. Of course, I wasn't surprised when the rice noodles arrived with a delicate aroma of wok hei. There wasn't enough of the sauce sadly. Since there were dishes like the black bean fish fillet and the salty beef with asparagus, it all worked out.

As we're enjoying dinner, I had to ask the question: How do the noodles taste? My parents' answer: good.

Huzzah! 

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To cap off the night, we were given some warm silken tofu for dessert. Apparently my parents had the silken tofu last time they dined with Grandpa. This was new to me. Mom didn't say the exact words, but essentially said that this was the best silken tofu dessert it Ottawa. The dessert was silky and fragile, and when drizzled with the simple syrup, that was lightly imbued with ginger, the warm dessert was like a warm fuzzy hug.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Seafood Banquet at O Mei

Mom had a hankering for seafood. We were in the Richmond Hill and Markham area all weekend so there were lots of options. She flip flopped between a Chinese buffet to a Chinese restaurant. I was pushing for something a bit more special, so once she settled on the latter, I did a few searches and found a candidate. We couldn't get a reservation for a decent time, so we went for the second option instead.

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There were a few restaurants that served lobsters a few different ways. The place we chose, O Mei, just happened to be very close to where we were staying. O Mei's specialty breaking down a giant lobster of your choosing and cooking them into four different ways: steamed, stir-fried, deep-fried, and added into fried rice -- all with one lobster. Fancy, eh? Our family is used to the ginger and onion sauce. We actually make it at home. This was taking it to the next level. It was just what I was looking for.

We arrived a bit early for our reservation and were seated promptly to the rear corner of the store. The menus were all in Chinese. Luckily two people knew how to read it. Our server arrived and began talking really quickly in Cantonese. When we responded in Mandarin, he quickly stopped and immediately rambled on in Mandarin. When we asked questions, he replied so quickly, I started to think he was being timed. Jimmy ordered and the waiter disappeared with the menus but returned shortly after with a huge lobster.

"This is 8 and a quarter pounds", he said showing the live lobster. Upon first glance, the huge lobster looked closer to 10lbs. Mom thought it was too big as well, so we asked for a smaller one. The other lobster arrived. It looked much closer to 8lb but it was apparently 7.5lb. "We'll take it." We thought we were ready for what was to come. We didn't know exactly what or how many dishes we ordered. In hindsight, I'm not sure why we didn't just ask one of the waiters to be sure. With this uncertainty in mind, we sat in our chairs and O Mei began the ride.

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A lazy susan-sized plate of steamed lobster claws with garlic and bean thread noodles arrived. It was lightly seasoned and tame compared to how we normally prepare lobster. The noodles were great with the lobster.

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Next up, stir-fried lobster with Maggi. This was new to all of us and was a favourite. It was more on the sweeter side, which was a pleasant surprise. We were all so impressed with this rendition, we wished there was double the amount on the plate. Andrew took the head and picked it clean after failed attempts by Dad, Jimmy, and myself. There wasn't any of the guts aka tomalley (had to google that) though. The kitchen saved that for the last lobster dish.

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The waiter came to change our plates, which were already filled with empty lobster shells before the third dish arrived. The lobster was deep-fried and topped with chopped bits chilli, onions, noodle bits and lots of fried garlic.  This was reminiscent of the salt and pepper pork chops at the New Hong Shing. Mom couldn't believe they used so much garlic in this.

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And the finale: Chinese fried rice with the tomalley. Why not? At this point, we all began to slow down a bit. Andrew was hilariously just getting started. While everyone else kept trying the dishes as they arrived, he kept his own steady pace. That was the end of our 7.5lb lobster. To sum it up, the fried rice and steamed dish were alright. It was all about that Maggi seasoned lobster.

I began to sip some more tea in anticipation for the desserts. We all were.

But then this happened..

Friday, August 22, 2014

Can't Get Enough Dumplings

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I just can't stay away from this beautiful restaurant. Just look at it. We've written about this at least five times dating back to 2009 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th). I try my best to visit the Northern Dumpling Kitchen when I'm visiting Toronto and the Greater Area of Toronto (GTA). I used to try to visit House of Gourmet for my noodles but I haven't been there in over two years (!). During this trip back in May, I wanted to bring VN and have her try soup dumplings for the first time.

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