Wednesday, February 25, 2009

30 Pictures?!

I thought I'd point out that there are a combined total of 30 photos in the two previous posts. No wonder it took so long to write and publish the two articles... Anyway, there are more pics coming up! Stay tuned!

~ Christine

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Winterlude and Parliament Hill - February 13th - 16th, 2009

I had planned to take pictures of downtown Ottawa during my Christmas break, but the OC Transpo went on strike. There went that plan. They ended up accepting the city's offer the morning I left for Toronto. What luck, eh?During my Reading Week, I went downtown and took lots of pictures. It was great because the weather was awesome - blue skies and a bit windy (for the flags - more on that later). Here are a couple of pictures I took downtown.

Oh, I would like to point out that the only photoshop-ing I did on these pictures was adjusting the curves, levels and adding the water mark. ^_^

Here are some buildings on Slater. I love the way the blue sky is reflected by the windows. Don't you?

This is my current desktop. Love the Centennial Flame in front of the Center Block and the Peace Tower.

For some reason, there were Canadian flags lining the sidewalk around the grass and stuff. The weird thing is that they were only up for a day. I went by Parliament Hill the next day and the flags were gone. Does anyone know if they put them back up for Obama, cause a lot of us assumed that the flags were for Obama... hmm..

This is the Library that has been under renovation since I can remember. Beautiful, isn't it? Check out the blue parts of the building. Very nice!

A close up on one of the gargoyles.. well, it was one. This looks like an old lady.

This is the view from the edge of the sidewalk on the Hill. Look at the flags lined up in the background.. lol.

Here's a government building on the Mackenzie Bridge.


Cinderella ice sculpture.

There were two ice sculptures of a dragon. This was the better looking one.

Can't spend winter in Ottawa without this... Beavertails!

~ Christine


Cinnamon Buns! - February 19th, 2009

Because my last post didn't really have any food porn, I've included a huge dose in this post. One main reason was because I was playing around with my new flash.

~ ~

My younger brother randomly wanted to make cinnamon buns and somehow got my mom into it. We searched online and used a couple of recipes as a reference for the dough. Being my mom, she ended up just adding flour, warm water and sugar by instincts and by working the dough.
After you mix everything together, you have to kneed the dough and then you have to let it rise, by covering the dough (so that it doesn't dry out) and leave it in a warm area in the house.
When the dough has risen, you have to knead the dough a bit more and then roll it out.
This is the cinnamon sugar mixture we made. At first, there was too much cinnamon so I added a bit more brown sugar and white sugar.
The width of the dough really depends on how big you want the cinnamon rolls to be. Because we were testing out the first batch, my mom rolled the dough to about half an inch. We spread some melted butter and sprinkled the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Kinda looks like a huge Beavertail.
When you start to tightly roll the whole thing together, make sure you spread more butter on the dough that will be rolled into the cinnamon sugar. Why? It's to help the sugar mixture stick to the dough. Plus, a bit more butter just makes it that much better. lol
Depending on how large you want your cinnamon rolls to be, cut the rolls out with a knife. Place them on a greased baking pan and put it in a 350 degree oven (on the middle rack) until the tops are golden brown.

Not done yet...
While waiting for the first batch to bake, my mom mixed some dough and sugar mixture together with the intention of making Beavertails. I jumped in and explained that all they do is take the dough, stretch it out, deep fry them, slather butter on top and then sprinkle/dip it in the cinnamon sugar mixture... so that's what we did - kind of. My mom decided to cut out triangles for some reason. Meh. Cool looking design!

She deep fried them...

Then my brother and I spread butter and sprinkled them with the cinnamon sugar mixture. They were alright. I've made better ones in high school (for an accounting project). Anyway, good snack... but still waiting for them cinnamon buns!
They're done baking!
My brother attempted to whip up icing (icing sugar, butter, a bit of water and a bit of vanilla extract) but kinda failed, so I fixed it for him and it turned out great. Tada!
This is the second batch of cinnamon buns. They were baked the next morning.

I didn't want to mention this before, but doesn't it look like we made these during a sunny day? Well, I hate to break it to you.. but the light was courteously provided by my beautiful, new, SB900 Nikon flash. ^__^. We actually made the dough around 7pm and then rolled out the dough, etc. around 9pm - meaning there was very little/no sunlight.

After an awesome lunch of my homemade pho and almond jello with fruit cocktail, snacking on homemade cinnamon buns topped off a great day.

~ Christine

Friday, February 20, 2009

"God of Cookery" YES!!!

I was browsing around "Serious Eats" just now and found an article written by "The Girl Who Ate Everything" author, Robyn Lee, who mentions that "The God of Cookery" should be on the list of top movies that star Chinese food. Yay for Stephen Chow! The article comments on "Appetite for China's" article.

Christine has already expressed her love for the movie, but I just need to say that I love it as much as she does. Exploding pissing beef balls!!!!


Trip to “La Belle Ville” Part 1 – August 24, 2008

Nearing the end of last summer, Jimmy and I decided we would do a quick daytrip to Montreal. I practically grew up there with my second cousins when I was younger, but Jimmy had never been there before. I should mention that he also has an aversion to French, stemming from his childhood horrors that were his French classes before he was even able to speak English fluently. Did that sentence make sense?

Anyway, we called a friend of ours who recently moved back to Montreal and made plans to meet up. We weren’t sure what we should do, but agreed that good food would be our first priority.

I had left my camera in the car THE ENTIRE TRIP, so this will be the only picture of the post. No food porn here, peeps, so move along if that’s why you’re here.

On the way to Montreal, we munched on some bulk candy. The day before, Jimmy and I went to Sugar Mountain for some snacks. Lots of sour gummies for Jimmy, and chocolate- and yogurt-covered tidbits for me.

We met up with our friend and made our way out to Chinatown. Ah, Chinatown. It’s the only place I know in Montreal because I mostly hung out with family. We ate at some Mongolian hotpot place. I have their business card kicking around somewhere, but am admittedly too lazy to look. (*Edit: it was Little Sheep.) It was my first time eating hotpot at a restaurant! The two boys were shocked when I revealed that to them.

I honestly didn’t know where to start, or how to order anything, so the boys took the reins. We ordered a split pot with herbal soup on one side, and their spicy lamb soup in the other. A waiter came by and brought us plates of shaved curls of beef and lamb. Once we got the basics (hot soup and meat), we jumped out of our seats and dashed to the buffet of miscellaneous foodstuffs for the hotpot.

We had mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, and white button), greens (napa cabbage, watercress, and some other kind of vegetable that I can’t name in English), noodles (Shanghai noodles, bean vermicelli, and yellow chow mein noodles), tofu (tofu puffs, soft tofu, medium tofu, and fried tofu), seafood and seafood products (squid, shrimp, naruto), and various types of meat balls (fish balls, pork balls, beef balls, shrimp balls).

On another counter, there was a large and varied selection of sauces. It was nice to see so many different kinds of sauces. Everyone was able to get the exact type of sauce they wanted.

Needless to say, we gorged ourselves. Near the end of the meal, Jimmy found a fat, wormy grub in our vegetables. We showed it to the waitress, not expecting the meal to get comped or anything. We were pleasantly surprised to see that they had taken off 20% from the bill. This is far more generous than I’ve ever seen in Chinatown restaurant ANYWHERE.

We then waddled back to our car, and headed towards Old Montreal.

(To be continued in Part 2.)


Little Sheep
50 De La Gauchetière Ouest
Montreal, QC
(514) 393-0888

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dumplings Both Ways (Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter!) - July 19, 2008

*The pictures are awfully blurry. I was trying to get a few shots in before the carnage. Oh, and I linked to Eating Asia for my description of the black bean chili sauce.*

Many, many, MANY moons ago, Jimmy and I went to a friend’s place for a dumpling party. The host is a good friend of ours, and he wanted to have a get-together with the people who stuck around Kingston this summer. We didn’t know the other guests too well, but it still turned out to be loads of fun. Imagine Asians of various backgrounds trying to figure out the best way to make dumplings. I had to tone down my kitchen nazi tendencies, so I could play nice with the other children.

Usually, my cooking is based on foods that we made together as a family. My mum taught us the basics for almost any dish you can imagine, so it’s just a matter of translating the skills to a new dish. We had never made potsticker-type dumplings at home, jiaozi in Mandarin. The closest thing to jiaozi we made at home was wontons.

We had a couple of varieties: shrimp and pork, pork and celery, and a last batch of the leftover meat. I threw in some ground pork, minced shrimp, salt, pepper, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil to taste. Others at the party minced some onions, garlic, and napa cabbage. I was a little surprised that they all expected me to make the filling, since I had only made jiaozi once before. We may have had garlic chives as well, but I can’t be sure. They all got tossed into the filling, in various quantities. I really wish I wrote this post sooner now.

There’s no recipe for this one either, since it was last summer and I was making it up as I went along.

I should mention that we were all Chinese, but of many different backgrounds. When it was time to wrap the dumplings, everyone had a different technique. I considered taking pictures of this part, but my hands were crusted with flour and filling at this point. I did get to learn a few different techniques from my own. It was funny to see a plateful of our dumplings since each one looked different from the other.

We pan-fried some, and then boiled the rest. It was a nice way to make one dish feel like two different ones. The boiled ones were soft and pillowy. It was super delicious because the dumpling skins absorbed the juices from the fillings. In every bite, I got the dense, salty filling and the slightly sweet tender wrapper soaked with meat juices. The pan-fried ones were completely different—like meeting the other twin. The more rebellious one. They were crispy and chewy, and while they still had the juice-engorged wrappers, the flavours were far more intense. I really enjoyed the contrast in textures. After I got tired of chewing fried dumplings, I would switch to the boiled ones to give my mouth a break.

Since all of us at the dumpling party were from different parts of Asia (Taiwan, Henan, Beijing, and Singapore, just to name a few), we had quite a spread of different dipping sauces. There was light and dark soy sauce, black vinegar, red vinegar, sesame oil, and black bean chili sauce (the one with the stern-faced woman on the label). Each person mixed their own dipping sauce, so the dumplings ended up tasting different to everyone.

A few people had arranged a gorgeous fruit plate for dessert. Yummy! It included cherries, strawberries, pineapple, and watermelon. I remember the watermelon to be super juicy and not mealy, as ripe watermelons tend to get. After eating platefuls of dumplings—which, despite their size, feel like boulders in your stomach at the end of the night—the fruit was a welcome change of pace.

We had friends, food, drinks, and good conversation. Elements of the perfect dinner party. We all got to know each other through our childhood stories about dumplings. I realized that we have a lot more in common with each other than I initially thought. I have no doubt that food brings people together. While it’s nice to hang out and eat with your family, making food and eating with strangers is like discovering a new branch of your family. Once we move out into a larger apartment, I’m going to be a hostess extraordinaire.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rant: Yangtze.. No More

Sunday started off with people cancelling our little dim sum outing. My friend and I went to Yangtze (around 11:30), waited for 10 minutes for a table, and waited (for a total of about) an hour to get food. I'll explain.

We were seated in the middle of the restaurant, towards the back. The place was full of Canadians. We barely saw any Chinese people. The Chinese people we did see were with Canadian friends and/or family. Not long after we sat down, the siu mai cart came. A cart with the chicken feet came soon after. The siu mai wasn't bad, but the chicken feet wasn't good at all. We were munching on those while keeping our eye out for the cart hiding the steamed noodle rolls. We saw one that came around, asked for the beef one but the lady said that she didn't have any and that more was coming soon. I watched her as she served the table behind us, and guess what she had? Not one - two plates of the beef ones! Bah. I was thinking that they probably ordered it ahead.

We picked up a bowl of noodles (that wasn't stir fried properly) and a plate of shrimp spring rolls. Still, no noodle rolls. We watched the same two carts (that had nothing we wanted) being rolled around. One particular cart, containing deep fried wontons, shrimp stuff peppers and the white steamed dessert thing, seemed to always be around us.

I got fed up, asked the younger waiter (the one with glasses) for the noodle rolls and waited some more. We picked up a bowl of deep fried squid and waited. We watched the waiter (that I asked for the rolls) cleaning tables, setting them up and going to the little booth to calculate bills. He didn't pass our table once. Tired of waiting, we decided just to get almond jello. For some reason, I asked the guy for the jello. This time, he mostly stayed in the little booth calculating other people's bills.

Really annoyed that he wasn't making an effort to get us our food, I asked one of the older (and by that, I mean that she's been working at Yangtze for a long time) waitresses - the one with the spikey, redish hair who also has that mole - for the jello. She immediately went to the kitchen and came back with the jello. She even brought us a small bowl and an extra spoon! While my friend was dividing the dessert, the waitress quickly calculated our bill. Now THAT is how you serve customers. It's too bad that guy wasn't watching. He was probably still in that stupid booth. How could that guy be so retarded? We even watched him stand in one spot for a good 5 minutes. We paid the bill and left.

We definitely spent more time waiting for food than eating. The food wasn't even that great. We had horrible service and probably should've disputed the cost of our $30 bill. So expensive for what we ordered. I was just so frustrated that there were barely any carts, there wasn't a large variety, the foods they did make wasn't all that great, and, of course, I was (and still am) pissed off that we waited for so long. My face is getting hot as I type this.

Yangtze sucks for dim sum. They're over-priced, their food quality isn't consistant, and the restaurant isn't even wheel chair accessible. The only reason I'll go back is only for the deep fried shrimp balls (which I passed up on during our frustrating experience). When they stop making them taste so good, I'll stop eating there. No more Yangtze. You have pushed too many of my buttons. No more.

The end.

~ Christine

Doesn't matter where they are. You're not going.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Jamaican Patties

I've never really been a fan of Jamaican patties. The ones I've tried have all been frozen. They just aren't that great. I find the filling sometimes unappetizing, as I seem to always have mushy bits inside. I'm thinking they're supposed to be onions? Gross! I know it's funny that I'm going to say this, because I hate when my mom said it, but it'll taste so much better if I make it myself.

Why am I talking about Jamaican patties all of a sudden? Well, there's a small Jamaican food stall-place on (the North campus of) Humber College called Ackee Tree. Ever since the first day of school, I've always seen at least five different people eating their Jamaican patties everyday. I've also seen people eat some chicken and other things that the school's cafeteria could not make.

On a long and tiring day, I picked up a Jamaican patty before they closed (6ish?), found myself a seat in the hall and started munching. The first time I bit into it, I immediately thought of meat pie and shephard's pie. The second and third bites I thought to myself, okay, this isn't that bad. But then half way through it, I was struggling to chew and swallow the damn thing. The spicy patty that I got wasn't all that spicy, but the heat overwhelmed any flavour that was there. It just wasn't fun to eat.

The next week, my friends and I were walking up to class when one of them decided to pick up a patty. He asked for a 'patty in a bun', but they were sold out of buns. I had no idea what that was, so I asked him, and he told me that it was literally a Jamaican patty in a bun. Genius! He said that the bun really made it taste better, after I told him about my experience I had the previous week. Hmm.. okay, I'll give it another go.

Later that week, I found myself walking by the Ackee Tree on my way back from class. There was a pretty long line up, as it was noon. They couldn't have run out of buns yet... I turn myself around and stood in the line up. As I was waiting, I noticed that people were cutting the line and just went up to the cash and asked for a patty, paid, and then left. So after watching a couple of more people do this, I move toward the cash and ask for a spicy patty in a bun. The line was for people who wanted to order everything else. I found myself a seat nearby and looked at the patty in a bun. Will you end up in my stomach or the garbage this time? I took a bite. I was shocked. I stared at it again. I took another bite and then another.
The light, fluffy bread tasted sweet. I was expecting some crappy bread that was close to it's expiry date, but this was almost the exact opposite. It was so soft and moist. Mmm... my friend was right, it made the patty taste so much better. It only costs $3 too! Add a pop and it's $4. But since I'm a thrifty student, I went to the bookstore for a $1 Arizona's Ice Tea. I watered it down, like I do with all juices, and enjoy my watered-down-iced-tea for the rest of the day.

Since that first one, I've had many, many more. They usually run out of spicy patties by the afternoon though, so I open up my mild patty in the bun and add some of their green spicy hot sauce. I've tried squirting a bit of ketchup, too, just to help bring back the spiciness. I think it's the best thing on campus. Quick, delicious, cheap and healthy. Okay, maybe not the last one.

Now I'm one of those students eating a Jamaican patty.

~ Christine


250 Humber College Blvd.
Etobicoke, ON
Across the bookstore, beside the large screens.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Pho Hung

I've always been curious as to how good Pho Hung actually was. Pho Hung is at the corner of Spadina and St. Andrews. You can't really miss their huge sign with the cow cheese cow, especially at night when their huge sign is lit. What has really got my attention is that everytime I look over, they're always full. It might just look full because the waiters/waitresses smartly fill the window side first, is what you might think, but I assure you that I always took towards the back to actually see if it's full and not just a clever way of the restaurant falsely presenting themselves, like Yangtze does. That's right. I know what you're up to!

Well, Ben and I went to Chinatown, again, to buy some buns from the bakery before they closed, before heading to the popular pho joint. Good thing, because one place actually cleared their shelves and split the buns in a couple of bags. They placed six in a bag for two dollars each bag. Love it. I check every bag to try and find the one that has more of the ham, mayo and cheese buns. Mmm.... sounds weird, but it's sooo good! In the end, I just grabbed a bag because it seemed like they split everything as equal as possible. Too bad we didn't get there earlier. I could've had a bag of six ham, mayo and cheese buns... *drool*

We head to the pho place and what do ya know? It's packed. It's a Friday night, I know, but it's busy almost everyday! We get seated almost right away, look over the menu, decided what we ordered and tried to give our order to the staff, but they seemed to be hiding on us. I took a couple of pictures of the decor while waiting. They had quite a few fish related decor hanging on their walls, like this one above the door. 

Then there was this typical Vietnamese... mural-picture-expensive-thing?

So when the waitress finally decided to showed up, we handed our order and waited some more. We waited for, what seemed like 10 minutes. Other people who arrived after us got their meals first. It wasn't just one or two tables, it seemed like every table around us had their food before us. How were they getting their food right after they gave their orders? Where was our food? I was starting to think that our order got lost, when our order of spring rolls came. I almost forgot to take a picture of it. Can you tell? lol They weren't that great. Dinky compared to the ones at Pho 88. I still like the ones in Ottawa (at Vietnamese Palace and Pho Thu Do).

We waited another couple of minutes, watching the restaurant's turn over grow. I was amazed at how quickly people ate. There was one guy beside us that arrived after us that ate, paid his bill and left before we even got our mains. Craziness! My large bowl of pho tai chin (well done beef and rare beef) arrived soon after we realised the guy left. Not long after mine came, Ben's vermicelli noodle bowl game. He ordered something with BBQ pork, spiced pork (that sweet, red stuff) and a spring roll. Noticed the Sriracha bottle? It's actually filled with the nuoc nam (fish sauce sauce). I thought it was pretty smart, letting people add however much nuoc nam they desired. It's also saves time if you think about it.

The soup wasn't bad. It was the sweet stuff. I guess they make it taste like that everywhere you go. The noodles were a bit over done. There was no bite to it. It made me enjoy my bowl less. =( I guess what balances it out was that they actually gave me rare beef and not beef that they shock first, unlike Ottawa places...

My friend also ordered a strawberry milkshake. Fresh strawberries were used, according to their menu, and they did not lie (... not this time anyway). We definitely tasted fresh strawberries. How could you not use them though? People are selling little boxes of them for a dollar each, sometimes cheaper.

I think I might come back and have the vermicelli bowl next time. Not because the pho is bad or anything. I just miss it - but only realised it when I stole a bite of my friend's. I prefer this place over Pho 88, because I can't taste pig's feet in Pho Hung's soup. Maybe I'm going crazy, but I swear Pho 88 uses it. Does anyone else taste it? It's not just me, is it?



Pho Hung
350 Spadina Ave
Toronto, ON

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lazy Pizza Dinners

One of the things I miss about living away from home is the pizza. Don't get me wrong, I still miss my family, friends and home cooked meals. But when I'm really tired and hungry, I crave a greasy Ottawa pizza. If I were back home, I'd just call up Lorenzo's, Joe's, or Willy's. They have 3 things in common, or at least used to:
- They have a thick base and crust.. unlike Pizza Pizza!
- They have a really tasty sauce (Lorenzo's and Willy's pretty much use the same one, Joe's pizza sauce is the best though!)
- They aren't shy to lay on the cheese

The three pizza establishments are what you can call Ottawa/Lebanese-style pizzas. The pizzas in Toronto, at least the chains, just aren't the same. Probably because they're large chains.

There's two pictures in the slideshow of Lorenzo's pizza. Last night, I was craving it sooo badly! So badly! Why? Well, I went to school around 9 am to print out an assignment. I had class at 11, 2:30 and then 3:30 until 6 pm. After my portrait class, I went to try and retouch an assignment. I spent a good two hours trying to get a print I loved, but had to settle on something I was just happy about. My energy was drained and my stomach was empty. Anyway, while waiting for my prints, I was on the blog and was staring at the sad slideshow for a good 10 minutes. Everytime the picture of the Lorenzo's pizza popped up, my stomach ached. I was sad.

So my question is this, what's the better pizza places around here? I know there's a Pizza Depot, Pizza Nova and Pizza Mart. Haven't tried them yet. Are there any great pizza places near Humber College?

One last question. Has anyone had Peroni's pizza, and if so, is it any good? That's the pizza place that was on Restaurant Makeover a while back. I'd like to visit them before the school year's end. =)


~ Christine

I just noticed that I never blogged about the Lorenzo's pizza I had on the last day I was in Ottawa (for the Christmas break). It was AMAZING! Not heavenly, but one of the better pizza's I've had from Lorenzo's. A lot of cheese, just the right amount of sauce (that's a bit of extra sauce to everyone else), and thick pizza base and crust. As Rachael Ray would say, "Yum-oh!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Failed Cookies with No Recipe to Call a Home – December 4, 2008

A little while ago (ahem, two months ago), I tried making chocolate chip cookies without a recipe. The past few batches of cookies turned out beautifully, so I thought I could make it from memory and feel. You see, I lost the recipe card that was the source of my success. People who know me are well aware that I am a cakes and pies fiend, but cookies will defeat me almost every single time. I am nothing without that recipe. I’m pretty sure I got it from Anna Olson’s cooking show “Sugar” on the Food Network. As long as I follow it to the tee, I turn out delicious cookies.

Well, this was not one of those times. They turned out flat and hard and reeking of vanilla. They may have turned out better if I had chilled them before baking. I ate them all myself (Jimmy won’t touch a cookie that isn’t soft and chewy), but it took me almost two weeks!

No recipe for this because I didn’t have one. It was an EPIC FAIL of a baking adventure.

On another note, I did eventually find the missing recipe card. I’ve already stashed copies all over the apartment in case I lose it again.

Canada’s Wonderland – July 12, 2008

*Another old post from last summer.*

Earlier this summer, my siblings plus Jimmy and I went to Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto. We rented a car, and left before 8:00 a.m.! Crazy, eh? Usually, our family leaves at least an hour and a half later than we plan. I think I’ll blame it on our parents. Or maybe I’m just more strict about it. Whatever the case may be, we left early.

We decided to eat breakfast on the road in order to leave Kingston sooner. The first service stop was McDonald’s. My brother decided to order the Big Breakfast. In previous years, this consisted of pancakes, eggs, sausages, and an English muffin on the side. At least, that’s what my dad always ordered. This time, however, it was pitiful.

It turned out to be a deconstructed Sausage Egg McMuffin with scrambled eggs but without the cheese.

See? Lame. It was a bad omen for the day.

When we finally got to Wonderland, we waited a ridiculously long time for Flight Deck (previously known as Top Gun). That sucked. I forgot to take off my visor and almost lost it on the first drop. The entire ride, I had to slam my head back into the seat to keep it from flying off my head. I did not enjoy it.

We took a quick break and sat down for some Blizzards at Dairy Queen because it was craaaaaaaazy hot outside. No pictures, but if you’ve had one before, it looks the same everywhere. My brothers ordered a chocolate chip cookie dough Blizzard, while Christine and I had an Oreo cookie one.

The soft-serve started to melt the moment the server handed it over the counter. If you order a Blizzard at the store, they’ll turn it upside-down for you. I don’t know what it’s supposed to prove, but if it falls out, they’ll make you a new one. I really wished they had turned it upside-down this time, haha. They would have had to make dozens of Blizzards. Even then, it was just too hot outside, and they would have melted anyways.

The second ride was Dragon Fire—a crazy looping, corkscrewing ride. I had a lot more fun on this one. This was the ride where Jimmy confirmed his fear of heights.

By the time we left Dragon Fire, it was almost 3:00 p.m. The heat was really intense. Not only that, it was crazy humid. We exited the ride and saw a water ride! Just the cure!

Here’s a picture of my brothers and me on Riptide. We were soaked head to toe. It was refreshing in the heat. (Sorry about the poor quality of the picture. Christine forgot that my camera doesn’t have any optical zoom. Dang, I really need a new camera.)

We walked around for a while after Riptide, trying to decide which ride to tackle next. I was getting hungry watching other visitors eat foot-long hotdogs. I just had to have one. Being a group of mature young adults, we took some pictures of it. Tee-hee. I would love to say that the extravagant price was worth it for the pictures, but let’s be honest here, $30 for hotdogs and drinks for five people is quite ridiculous.

After our overpriced lunch, we waited in line for the Behemoth, the newest addition to the park. The dark clouds started creeping in. You can kind of see it here. We waited in line for 15 minutes, and then it started to rain. The rides close down for at least an hour and half (or so we’ve heard) after the rain in order for the ride to dry off.

Rained out at 4:00 p.m., we decided that there was nothing left to do in the park. We drove about 20 minutes to get to our hotel, the Best Western Travel Inn Toronto Airport. After taking our showers, we headed to Chinatown for dinner.

We ended up at one of favourites, House of Gourmet yadda yadda yadda. I like it because their food is consistently good. I know some other people have had bad experiences there, but we really like it.

Jimmy ordered the Peking duck set meal. It comes with two courses of Peking duck, soup, and two dishes selected from a list.

Dinner started with one of hottest and sourest hot and sour soups I’ve ever had. It was so full of chili that I had to choke my way through it. That said, I enjoyed every throat-closing slurp. I don’t remember if everyone else liked it, but it has set a new standard of hot and sour awesome-ness for me.

Not long after they took away the soup, the server brought us the first course of Peking duck. Now, we knew that for the price of the set meal, we weren’t getting the best quality duck. I’m not sure if you can see it in the picture, but there were huge chunks of meat sliced off with the crispy skin. This isn’t supposed to happen. It was still good.

The first course always comes with crepes, shredded green onions, sliced cucumbers, and hoisin sauce.

Here, Andrew is trying to make an aesthetically pleasing wrap, Sakai Hiroyuki-style.

One of the dishes we ordered as part of the set was spicy deep-fried seafood. It had all sorts of yummy ocean bits: shrimp, squid, and scallops. The scallops were the best, but they’re my favourite seafood. They always taste good to me.

You can see the duck’s second course in the background. It was stir-fried with ginger. Cooking the duck twice dried it out. There also wasn’t enough ginger to flavour the dish. It was forgettable.

The other set dish we chose was young pea shoots stir-fried with garlic. It was gooooooooood. The pea shoots have a clean, sweet taste. For some reason, this dish is always prepared with a lot of oil, even when my mum makes it at home. This was the only vegetal matter we ate all weekend. Kind of gross if you think of it like that.

Christine’s noodles are in the background. ‘Nuff said.

Christine assembled a small plate with all of our dishes. It looks quite delicious presented this way, doesn’t it?

And this is the damage. Crazy, eh? We left the second duck course alone, for the most part. We packed it up to be reinvented into a different, more delicious dish a few days later (sorry, there are no pictures of that).

I’d love to make some mockumentary on Asians someday. (Narrator voice) “As you can see here, their young must eat twice their body weight to sustain themselves.”

No joke, though. We do eat a lot.

After dinner, we wanted to get some bubble tea, but most of the places were closed (it was 10:00 p.m. by the time we left the restaurant). Alas, we left our bubble tea quest for another day.
And that concludes our little trip to Wonderland. We ate more the next day, but I forgot to take any pictures.


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