Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Expensive Noodle Adventure to Green Tray – April 11, 2010

Jimmy and I passed by Green Tray at least a dozen times before we finally tried it out because we couldn’t tell what kind of cuisine it served. I thought they were one of those cafeteria-style restaurants. I was very surprised to learn that it was actually a pan-Asian restaurant, serving a range of Asian dishes from sushi to Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

Wonton noodle soup

Unsure of what to order, I decided upon the wonton noodle soup. Although the broth was clear and the wontons huge, I was disappointed with my lunch. The chow mein noodles were overcooked, which was their first major mistake. Secondly, the broth was bland and under-seasoned. It tasted like a vegetable broth, but coupled with the soggy noodles, the entire dish was blah.

Wonton noodles soup closeup

The wontons weren’t very flavourful either. In fact, they tasted like the frozen types that Christine likes to buy. In the end, I ate less than half of the bowl and had to give up.

Spicy beef noodle soup

Jimmy saw beef noodle soup on the menu and couldn’t resist ordering it. He’s been eternally hopeful in finding a worthy replacement for his former favourite, Mr. Sun’s Noodle House. As you can see, the noodles were unadorned with any greenery whatsoever.

Spicy beef noodle soup closeup

Again, the noodles were overcooked and limp. In the close-up, you can see that they were practically translucent. The beef chunks, however, were incredibly tasty. Just thinking about them makes me salivate. The spiced flavour was deeply concentrated in every tender piece, but alas, there weren’t enough cubes of beef for the both of us. We both agreed that their soup came close to Mr. Sun’s gloriously spicy broth, but it still fell short. It has the potential to be awesome.

Bubble tea

The real star of the menu is the bubble tea. It aced all of Jimmy’s criteria for a truly delicious bubble tea: good tea, soft and chewy tapioca pearls, not too sweet, and icy cold. I loved it. It rivals Ten Ren’s bubble tea in Toronto. The only drawback is the price. I’ve forgotten how much we paid for two large bubble teas, but I remember balking at the bill.


In total, we spent nearly $40.00 for lunch – totally unacceptable for two bowls of noodles, xiaolongbao (not pictured because it was unremarkable) and bubble tea. I wouldn’t visit again, unless I was having some SERIOUS cravings for bubble tea.

Green Tray on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Our Last Trip to Arisu – March 2, 2010

After a bad first impression, Jimmy and I came to love Arisu, located on Division and Queen.


We started with an ice-cold Sapporo beer. It’s a Japanese beer, but its light, clean flavour pairs wonderfully with Korean food. Just make sure that you finish it before it gets warm. This beer becomes completely undrinkable when it’s room temperature.

Assorted banchan

Shortly after the beer arrived, we received our assortment of complimentary banchan (Korean side dishes). The kimchi in the foreground was clearly made that day. It wasn’t fermented, so it tasted more like a napa cabbage salad with red pepper paste. Jimmy was disappointed since he favours Arisu’s kimchi over the rest of Kingston’s offerings. The seasoned zucchini was light and tasty. It contrasted the kimchi in flavour and texture. I loved the potato salad dish with its barely cooked potato in a sesame dressing. I am a fan of sesame oil, so this played right into my palate. I asked for another refill of this.

Yukae jang

Jimmy ordered yukae jang, a spicy beef brisket stew containing vermicelli and a barely cooked egg. It was deeply flavoured with beef and onions, though spicier than I normally eat it. I could only eat a few bites before giving up.


The bibimbap was very refreshing. The ingredients (bean sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, daikon, zucchini, and a fried egg) were incredibly fresh. The vegetables were laid out in a separate bowl, with a small bowl of rice on the side. I liked their bibimbap sauce, but I found it a little sweeter than I like. This was probably influenced by the fact that I was eating a lot of huedupbap with its vinegary sauce prior to this outing. I didn’t bother to take a picture of everything mixed together because it would have looked like a big, red mess.


I was feeling a little hungrier that night and ordered a maki. I can’t remember the name (French Kiss maybe… it was something unusual). It had avocado and shrimp tempura inside, covered with slices of smoked salmon. The soy sauce drizzled on top made it quite a salty roll. It wasn’t horrible, but the flavours didn’t do much for me. It was just a “meh” roll.

Altogether, the dinner cost less than $50, and we left with full bellies. The only thing that really needs work is the service. It took forever for our food to arrive, and we watched more than one table receive their food before us even though they arrived nearly 20 minutes after us. Still, the food is consistent and reasonably priced. I think this restaurant will be around for a while.

Arisu on Urbanspoon

Cousin’s Apple Pie – July 10, 2010

One weekend, MT decided she wanted to make apple pie from scratch. With the help of her mom, they made this:


Isn’t it gorgeous?


The crust and apple filling were made entirely from scratch. I believe she used shortening for the crust, so it wasn’t as flavourful as using lard or butter. Still flaky and unbelievably tender. They used Macintosh apples for the filling, and they baked beautifully in the pastry. The slices held their shape well and the texture of the baked apples were firm instead of soft and mealy.

I hand-whipped the whipped cream because my cousin wasn’t confident in her whipping skills. She did measure out the cream and sugar for me, where I would have just done it by taste. She told me that her dad (my uncle who used to work in a bakery) taught her that the perfect whipping cream uses 90% whipping cream and 10% sugar in terms of weight.

We polished this off in less than 10 minutes.


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