Friday, July 29, 2011

PC Frozen Desserts Melts My Heart


I've been pleasantly surprised by the President's Choice branded food items. When PC first started to sell their new products I just assumed they'd be like No Name branded stuff.

But that was before I tried their Blue Menu Raspberry Sherbet. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my friend Ange for brining this dessert to one of my pho parties a few years back.

The smooth raspberry sherbet was tangy and not too sweet. It would've tasted better if there was more raspberry though. As I was enjoying each spoonful of the raspberry sherbet, the Nestea Iced Tea commercials kept running through my head. You know, the one where the person who drinks their iced tea falls into a swimming pool. That's how refreshing the sherbet was.

I tried PC's Dark Chocolate Ice Cream back when the PC Summer Tour visited Ottawa. Although they only handed out tiny samples, the richness of the chocolate ice cream made a huge impression.

This ice cream was actually made with cream. Did you know that ice cream that doesn't contain cream can't be called ice cream? That's why brands like Parlour call their products frozen desserts. It's there, although they're in a tiny font. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that you can taste the richness of the cream and the chocolate. Deee-licious!

When eaten together, the raspberry sherbet and dark chocolate ice cream apparently tasted like raspberry truffles at Godiva. *Shrug* We'll have to wait until Lucy fills in the details.

In the meantime, go to your local Loblaws grocery store and buy yourself some raspberry sherbet and dark chocolate ice cream.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Noodles Galore! June 24-26, 2011

Jimmy and I attended a wedding last month in St. Catharines. Since it’s a 7-hour drive from Ottawa, we decided to stop in Toronto on Friday night, and then continue towards St. Catharines on the following day. Lately, we’ve had a tradition of stopping for noodles whenever we’re in Toronto, and this weekend was no exception. We searched for ramen places on Urbanspoon and came up with two winners: Kenzo (visited here and here) and Ajisen. We chose Ajisen for the abundance of free parking on Friday night, and then checked out Moo Beef Noodle House on our way home on Sunday.

First stop: Ajisen Ramen in Markham!


Jimmy ordered pork ramen. It had green onions, sliced pork, soy eggs, and a generous amount of the house specialty, fried garlic oil. The soup was a thick, tonkotsu broth and had straight, very QQ (i.e. chewy, bouncy, and al dente) noodles.


I ordered the BBQ pork and corn ramen, but the waitress didn’t catch the “corn” bit. I was too tired to complain (it was nearly 11:30 PM by the time we arrived in Toronto). The noodles and broth were identical to Jimmy’s, but mine was accompanied by tender slices of chashu (rolled BBQ pork), a heaping pile of blanched bean sprouts, and shreds of wood ear mushrooms.

Although I prefer curly ramen noodles, I appreciated the fact that the noodles were not overcooked. The broth was perfumed by the intensely aromatic fried garlic oil, and I noticed that the restaurant provided a jar of the magical stuff on each table. The soup was well-seasoned, and it wasn’t too rich. I’ve had tonkotsu ramen at other places where it’s a struggle to get through the bowl because of the thickness of the soup.


The real star of the night was the chashu. As you can see, you could practically see through the fatty bits. Each perfectly seasoned slice melted in my mouth. The charred outer layer added a smoky flavour to the rest of the pork. Jimmy declared this ramen as his order for our next visit to Ajisen.

We were in and out of Ajisen in 20 minutes, much like our previous visits to Kenzo. We drove to our hotel in Mississauga and crashed after a long day of driving.

In the morning, we grabbed some continental breakfast at the hotel, and left for St. Catharines. The wedding was very sweet and unique. I didn’t end up taking pictures of the reception because I was too busy trying not to cry and stuffing my face – sorry!


We stopped in Toronto for lunch on our way back to Ottawa. Christine texted us with the name and address of a beef noodle restaurant – Moo Beef Noodle House. Again, we were in the Scarborough/Markham area. This restaurant was located in a small strip mall off of Highway 7. It was about half full when we arrived.



We both ordered beef noodle soup, with a couple of sides.


Marinated duck wings. My childhood favourite snack. I was devastated when I realized I failed to eat any in Taiwan (series of posts to come), so I took advantage of this opportunity to eat them. The marinade and drizzled sauce were strangely sweet, and something had hints of sesame oil. It threw me off guard because it didn’t taste much like the wings I grew up eating. In comparison to Cantonese style duck wings, I was very disappointed in these. It didn’t stop me from eating the entire plate, though.


We spotted signs for stinky tofu in the windows, so we thought we’d try them out. Clearly, our expectations were set far too high (again, blame it on the recent trip to Taiwan), so we barely at any of these. The tofu itself had a dry spongy texture. It was very unappetizing because I had to chew so long to break it down. It also wasn’t the right type of stinkiness. Generally, the stinky smell doesn’t translate to the taste, as it tends to mellow out once you bite into it and the garlic flavour takes over. This tofu was stinky from start to finish, without being tasty. It was rather bland for stinky tofu.


They also used the same sweet drizzle from the duck wings on the tofu, which I didn’t enjoy. You can see the pools of sauce in the indents and wrinkles of the tofu. Not great.


The appetizers being duds, we turned our attention to the beef noodles. Unfortunately, they turned out to be let-downs as well. At Moo’s, you have a choice of three types of noodles: thin, medium, and thick. We both chose thick, assuming that they were handmade noodles. Instead, we got store-bought udon noodles. It was very disappointing. The noodles were not boiled long enough, so they were practically doughy when we bit into them.


The soup was decent, but it tasted as if someone took a regular bowl of the broth and then watered it down for two bowls. The flavour wasn’t as intense as we’d hoped. It certainly did not measure up the now-closed Mr. Sun’s beef broth.


We had to punch up the flavour by liberally adding more chilli oil. Not a good sign. Overall, we ate very little at this restaurant. Lunch cost around $36 for two, which we found crazy expensive for sub-par food.

After this trip, we decided that we would wait for a trip to Taiwan if we craved Taiwanese beef noodle soup in the future. In the meantime, we’re going to return to the reliable ramen places in Toronto to get our fix of a well-balanced noodle soup.

~ * ~


Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon

Moo Beef Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tim Tams


I fell in love with these devilish Australian treats the first time I tried them a few years back. My uncle had returned from visiting some of our family in Australia and brought some back. I guess he traded the bacon he brought with boxes of Tim Tams. I bought these Tim Tams at a nearby Metro a few weeks back, but they can be supposedly found in Loblaws and other grocery stores.

These few cookies were left to chill in the fridge before consumption. Unfortunately, the rest of the cookies didn't make the trip to the fridge... if you know what I mean. It's an amazing cookie. In the words of Jimmy, "it tastes like Twix." The cookie tastes slightly caramel-y - but without the sticky goo. The cookies weren't as sweet or as caramel-y when I ate them straight out of the fridge.

Tim Tams have a few different flavours: dark chocolate, chewy caramel and black forest to name a few. I don't know if they're all available outside of Australia though. It's okay. The original ones are perfectly fine.


I prefer to eat the Tim Tam cookies when they're at room temperature, even though the chocolate coating melts as you pick them up. It's worth the mess! If you haven't tried these babies yet, do yourself a favour and go find some!

On a random note, drop in at 7-Eleven convenient stores for a free Slurpee® tomorrow (July 11th)!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

To all of our friends south of the border, Happy Fourth of July! I hope you all had a great time this past weekend!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

President's Choice Summer Tour in Ottawa

Updated: July 3rd, 2011 @ 14:22


Who doesn't like free stuff? President's Choice has been traveling around the country while promoting their new products. They will be setting up at the Real Canadian SuperStore in Westboro on Sunday, July 3rd, 2011. I hear that they'll be handing out free food (sliders, ice cream, etc.). Take a look at their flyer to see some of their new products.

What a gorgeous day! Dad and I dropped by the RCSS earlier and noticed that there were a lot of happy faces enjoying the free samples of food and drinks.


We headed for the drink tent first. They were handing out samples of their new sparkling fruit drinks: Orange & Tangerine, Pomegranate & Cranberry, and Peach & Mango. I tried the Peach & Mango one first. I found it too sweet.

We lined up for some free BBQ but they had only had mini sausages that were cooked. They were cooking a bunch of sliders behind the able. We were told to come back when we finished with our sausages.

The sausage tasted fine. There wasn’t anything amazing about them. In fact, they were a tad dry so I added some BBQ sauce.

I grabbed another drink, the Orange & Tangerine this time. I liked this a lot better than the Mango & Peach one because it wasn’t as sweet. I’d buy the Orange & Tangerine sparkling drinks.

Since the line to get sliders and sausages naturally snaked in front of the drink stand, I just stayed in line and picked up a slider. The sliders were average. I wouldn’t buy these, but young families with children should buy these. They’re perfect for little hands and stomachs!

The last of the freebees were little ice cream cones and your choice of ice cream. There were five new flavours to choose from: Dark Chocolate, Strawberry Shortcake, Tiger Tail (orange ice cream with black licorice), Pink Lemonade, and Mint Chocolate. I wonder if they chose not to serve the Praline Pecans & Cream ice cream because of nut allergies…

Anyway, Dad and I tried the dark chocolate ice cream. The ice cream was rich and wasn’t overly sweet. We’ll definitely be buying this in the future!

The summer tour will be at the RCSS until 4pm so leave now! Check their schedule to see if they'll be at a RCSS near you.

Thanks for the samples PC!

Sandwiches on a Hot Day

There’s a heat wave that will hang over Ottawa for a good chunk of the week. Now, I don’t know about you, but when it’s really hot and humid nobody wants to make dinner (let alone lunch).

The weather is screaming for some homemade bún with spring rolls, BBQ pork or chicken, herbs, and cold veggies. But we rarely have (homemade) spring rolls in the freezer. So what is Plan B?

Lucy's version of banh mi.

Sandwiches! Yeah, yeah, I know sandwiches are typically eaten at lunch… but it’s so simple to make and you don’t have to break a sweat in the kitchen! And you can also put a dent in your full fridge by using up some of your leftovers and groceries.

Jimmy was uncharacteristically motivated to make food a few Saturdays ago. We rummaged through the fridge and began to put things on the dining table. Jimmy started to stir-fry some mushrooms, red onions, and spinach with a few seasonings first. This is a variation of Jimmy's go-to dish: stir-fried mushrooms.

Jimmy fried an egg and then began to put his triple-decker sandwich together; A bit of chicken, some salami, the fried egg, and a bit of spinach.


The finals stages; some stir-fried mushroom stuff, ranch dressing, and salami was topped on a slice of buttered bread.

This is the not-so-pretty side of the sandwich.

It does look good though – even to me. Let me direct your attention to the melted processed cheese. The fried egg didn't melt the cheese, it was the hot weather - no joke!

My sandwich looks pathetic when you compare Jimmy’s sandwich to mine. There was chicken, BBQ sauce, and cheese squished between lightly buttered bread.

I think the best sandwich that was made that afternoon was Lucy’s banh mi. She generously spread liver pâté on a slice of bread and then topped it with a few slices of a Vietnamese sausage.


The egg sat atop the Vietnamese sausage, while a fried egg was dressed with some of Mom’s slaw.

The slice of buttered bread was sprinkled with some seasoning sauce.

The last thing on Lucy’s banh mi was cilantro.

Oh man, I can’t believe I didn’t try this! But thinking back, it probably would’ve ruined my appetite for my wimpy sandwich.

Although we had these sandwiches for lunch, you can easily make sandwiches for dinner. The best was is to have a few people make their own type of sandwich and then share it around the table. It would be nice to chase the sandwiches down with some cold smoothies...


Friday, July 01, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

It's Canada's 144th birthday today! Happy Canada Day everyone!!


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