Jang Su Chon

There are lots of Korean restaurants in Toronto, and I have tried a few of them throughout the year. Interestingly enough, I have never been to Jang Su Chon; despite it being located next door to one of my favorite (downtown) Korean restaurant. This small Korean restaurant offers the standard Korean dishes at very reasonable prices. 


My dining companion and I were seated in one of the side booths. It took us a while to get the menu (more on that below), but eventually we were given it. I liked that the menu was very easy to read (with Korean/Eng translations) and had colorful pictures of the food items.

To start off the meal, we were given six complimentary dishes of bachan which consists of glass noodles, beans, fish cakes, jelly, kimchi and spicy cucumbers. I liked the variety of bachan that Jang Su Chon provided. 


I absolutely love kalbi, so I ordered the chulpan beef kalbi jim ($12.99), which came with a bowl of steamed white rice. The kalbi was really well-marinated in a sauce that exhibited a very sweet flavor. Some people prefer fatty pieces, but personally, I am not a fan. I thought that the dish contained way too many pieces that were exceptionally fatty.

The interior was simply designed and basically a good place to get a quick bite to eat. However, Jang Su Chon appears to be severely understaffed. More than half of the tables were occupied and there was only one server on hand during the time I was there. The service was a tad slow, but our waitress was rather friendly.
quite flavourful and well-seasoned


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3.4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.4/5
Price: $

Address: 6 St Andrew St, Toronto, ON M5T 2K2

Jang Su Chon on Urbanspoon

[Food Event] TO Food Fest (06.23.2013)

Scarborough's TO Food Fest was back for its second year this past Sunday. The food festival brought together both foodies and chefs for one spectacular day of fun. The 2013's TO Food Fest was held at the Chinese Cultural Centre (5183 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, ON) from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It appeared as though the hot and humid day did not deter anyone from attending the event where there were more than 40 different vendors (both outside and indoors). A great thing about this specific event was the no entrance fee and it's a combination of aspiring and established vendors bringing forth their food creations.

I arrived at the location roughly around 1:20 pm, and lineups were already forming outside for vendors. A couple of my friends and I decided to seek shelter from the boiling weather indoors where it was air-conditioned, and there were several other food and drink vendors inside. I had a great time trying out a variety of different food at the event, and I am definitely looking forward to next year's event.

[07.05] Also, my friend Jeffrey from JINGFilms was part of the film crew at the event. You can check out his TO Food Fest highlights video here.
t’s a small event
b) It’s both indoors AND outdoors
c) There is NO entrance free
d) It’s a local community event. Specifically, it takes place at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
e) There’s plenty of volunteers
f) The food vendors are a nice combo of established and aspiring chefs
- See more at: http://momwhoruns.com/#sthash.YfhmDdkW.dpuf
t’s a small event
b) It’s both indoors AND outdoors
c) There is NO entrance free
d) It’s a local community event. Specifically, it takes place at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
e) There’s plenty of volunteers
f) The food vendors are a nice combo of established and aspiring chefs
- See more at: http://momwhoruns.com/#sthash.YfhmDdkW.dpuf
t’s a small event
b) It’s both indoors AND outdoors
c) There is NO entrance free
d) It’s a local community event. Specifically, it takes place at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
e) There’s plenty of volunteers
f) The food vendors are a nice combo of established and aspiring chefs
- See more at: http://momwhoruns.com/#sthash.YfhmDdkW.dpuf
t’s a small event
b) It’s both indoors AND outdoors
c) There is NO entrance free
d) It’s a local community event. Specifically, it takes place at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
e) There’s plenty of volunteers
f) The food vendors are a nice combo of established and aspiring chefs
- See more at: http://momwhoruns.com/#sthash.YfhmDdkW.dpuf

Below are some of the pictures that I took that day of the food that we ate.

do I like this event so much?
a) It’s a small event
b) It’s both indoors AND outdoors
c) There is NO entrance free
d) It’s a local community event. Specifically, it takes place at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
e) There’s plenty of volunteers
f) The food vendors are a nice combo of established and aspiring chefs
g) The committee does an amazing job at reaching out to food bloggers that they discover on Yelp, Urbanspoon, Twitter etc.
- See more at: http://momwhoruns.com/review-to-food-fest/#sthash.gX7V87It.dpu
Liko's Hawaiian BBQ
Liko's Hawaiian BBQ's Kahlua Pork on a Bun
Grilling the pork skewers
ME.N.U Food Truck
ME.N.U Food Truck's Fried Rice Ball with Lapcheng
N/A
Ice Volcano Ice Cream's Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream (oreo flavor)
Baha Tacos' Fish Taco and Fried Calamari
Babi & Co's Pork Shewers
Buster's Sea Cove (food truck)
Buster's Sea Cove's Maine-Style Lobster Roll and Octopus Taco
Buster's Sea Cove's Shrimp Taco
Kanga's Handheld Meat Pie
Dutch Frites' Authentic Dutch Fries
Nom Nom Crepes' Fried Crepe
 

Brazen Head

I met up with two girlfriends of mine for dinner a couple of months ago, and we were around the Liberty Village neighborhood. Brazen Head was highly recommended by one of them, as she often frequents this pub, so we decided to grab a quick bite there. 


Honestly, I have never been too particularly fond of pubs and bars due to my low alcohol tolerance level. However, I do find pubs to be great places for socializing with friends/co-workers, and also late night bites.

Brazen Head is a traditional three-floor Irish pub with an old rustic charm. We went on a Monday night, and there were tons of people inside enjoying themselves with the comfort of friends and alcohol.

Now, many of the reviews online have been quite critical about the slow service. However, I did not encounter this issue while dining that day. Although, the place was packed and busy; I thought that our waitress was quick, accommodating, and friendly. The three of us were quickly seated, given the menus and she took our orders. The menu is standard; serving traditional Irish dishes and the usual pub fares.

I shared my love of wings in a previous pub post so it was only natural that I ordered wings. So it was just our luck that Monday is Brazen Head's wings night. Every Monday, it's 1/2 price wings with the purchase of a beverage.


We opted for 2 pounds of wings ($10.50); normally $21.00 for any other days. The two flavors that we chose was honey garlic and medium. The wings were deep fried and then coated with the flavors. I thought that the wings were good and rather flavorful.

The side of fries ($5.00) was rather disappointing; it was very dry and salty.


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.7/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $$

Address: 165 E Liberty Street, Toronto, ON, M6K 3P6

Brazen Head on Urbanspoon

List: Cheap Eats In Toronto

Toronto is a great city to live in due to its very diverse culinary scene. However, some of the cuisine found in the city are not exactly super affordable. On average you can expect to spend at least $15.00 (+ tax and tip) for a meal only. Below is a list of a few places in Toronto where you can have a good and filling meal for under $11.00.

I will continue to update this list whenever I come across anymore cheap eats in the city =)

BANH MI BOYS (392 Queen St W)
various banh mi, taco and steamed bao all priced under $5.99 (each)

BANH MI NGUYEN HUONG (322 Spadina Avenue)
various banh mi for $2.25 (each)
pre-made food all under $4.50

BURRO BURRITO (655 College St)
choice of burritos, tacos, nachos and quesadillas for $9.80 (each)

BUSTER'S SEA COVE (93 Market St)
fish taco for $8
shrimp tacos for $9
lobster bisque for $6

COME AND GET IT (170 Spadina Avenue)
sandwich combo (sandwich, fries, drink) for $11.00

DR. AUGUSTA'S SAMITORIUM (602 Dundas St. West)
all sandwiches are priced under $9.00 (each)

FUTURE BISTRO (483 Bloor St W)
homemade burger and fries combo for $7.95

GOLD DIAMOND (346-348 Spadina St)
happy hour dim sum (M-F 9 am to 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to 3 pm) for $2.10 each item

IKEA (various locations)
chicken combo (chicken, fries, salad, drink) for $7.99
organic pasta with vegetarian tomato sauce for $1.99
15 pieces of Swedish meatballs for $5.99

KENZO RAMEN (138 Dundas W)
sho-yu ramen for $6.95
tonkotsu Ramen for $9.95
karashi ramen for $7.95

LESLIEVILLE PUMPS (929 Queen St E)
varous sandwiches for $7.74 (each)
BLT breakfast sandwich for $5.04
regular poutine for $3.99 (extra $ for add-ons including pulled pork, cheese curds, etc ...)

MCDONALD'S (various locations)
muffin with a small coffee for $1.50

OWL OF MINERVA (700 Bloor St W)
pork bone soup for $6.49

PIZZA NOVA (various locations)
medium pepperoni pizza (walk-in) for $7.99

PORCHETTA & CO (825 Dundas St. West)
porchetta sandwich [4 oz. of porchetta + crackling] for $6.45 (each) + extra for add-ons

POUTINI'S HOUSE OF POUTINE (1112 Queen St W)
poutine dishes ranging from $5.99 to $9.99 (each)

SALAD KING (340 Yonge St)
chicken pad thai for $9.00

SEVEN LIVES TACOS (69 Kensington Ave)
ceviche mixto tostada taco (yellowfin, tuna, shrimp, octopus) for $6.00

SUSHI ON BLOOR (515 Bloor Street West)
supreme bento box (choice of salmon, beef or chicken teriyaki) for $10.25

SWEET LULU (859 Queen St W)
design your noodles or rice dish from $7.95-$9.99 (each)

THE KATHI ROLL EXPRESS (TKRE) (692 Yonge St)
various kathi rolls from $3.99 to 9.99; mumbo or jumbo rolls (each)

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (581 King Street West)
haddock fish n' chip for $8.99

Food Deals: 50% Off of McDonald's Iced Frappés

Mcdonald's is offering 50% off their new McCafe Iced Frappés (coffee iced frappé or vanilla chai tea iced frappé) when you "fraptap" with a friend of yours.

1. Invite a friend on Facebook or Twitter.
2. Open mccafefraptap.ca on your smartphones.
3. Fraptap your phones together.
4. Redeeme your coupons in stores for 50% off!

For more information, click here =) 

O&B Canteen


I went to dinner with a few girlfriends of mine at O&B Canteen last week. As many may know; this is one of the many restaurants under the Oliver & Bonacini umbrella (some others are Canoe, Luma, Bannock, Jump, etc. …). The restaurant is conveniently located on the busy corner of King St W & John St, and their outside patio is always busy now that the weather is warming up.


This is a great place for casual dining and one of the charms of the establishment is their open concept (kitchen/eating space). Additionally, O&B Canteen offers both table service with its communal tables, and take-out with its "grab and go" counter. Their takeout counter offers baked goods, sandwiches, salad, and many other items for affordable prices. Overall, the vibe is very casual, and modern; which provides a great atmosphere for socializing.


Brittany got the roasted pumpkin soup ($7.00) as a starter. She enjoyed the soup and liked the fact that the taste of the sweet pumpkin flavor wasn't too overwhelming.


I opted for the grate Canadian grilled cheese ($16.00), which apparently was the 2012 winner of the Niagara Gold cook-off. I enjoyed the sandwich a lot and loved how the cheese just melted in my mouth with each bite. It was probably one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches that I have had so far (Joey's lobster-grilled cheese being the close second). Additionally, the prosciutto and arugula provided a nice tangy flavor to the sandwich.


Both Feena and Suzy got their own Mac & Cheese ($16.00); a dish that I'd considered to be a comfort food. O&B Canteen's version features the usage of garganelli noodles and accompanied by cheddar and smoked ham. I was able to try a spoon of the mac & cheese and found the pasta texture to be a little dry. Perhaps because I chose to scoop from the corner hence the dry noodle pieces/lack of cheese. So this isn't a fair review of the dish on my part, but both seemed to have liked their meals so it must have been good.


Brittany opted for the pappardelle ($16.00), and I got a sample of it. I usually don't like the taste of braised rabbit, but I thought that this dish was pretty well executed. The pappardelle (thick and flat noodles) was fresh and cooked perfectly.

If you're into gourmet burgers then there is the beef burger ($16.00) on the menu; which was what Varina ordered. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask for her opinion on the burger so I don't have a review on it for you guys.

In regards to the service, I thought that our waitress provided great service. She was quick to refill our empty cups of water, took our empty dishes away, knowledgeable about the dishes, and even took the time to take a couple of group photos for us. If you're in the neighborhood, then I would highly recommend O&B Canteen for a good and filling meal.


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4.3/5
Service: 4.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4.3/5
Price: $$ || Online Menu

Address: 330 King St W, Toronto, ON, M5V 3X2

O&B Canteen on Urbanspoon

Top 5: Things You Should NOT DO On A First Date

So you finally muster the courage, and asked the girl or guy that you have been crushing on out on a date, and they said “yes”. Just remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. So the following is a list of things that you should not do on a first date.

Dress Sloppily: As a female, I find that deciding what to wear on a first date is often difficult. I think it’s important to wear an outfit that is comfortable, but also try to avoid over-dressing for the occasion. If it’s a casual fare or event, just wear a nice flowy shirt with jeans, or a casual summer dress. As for males, don’t wear anything super baggy or dirty; it’s not going to make a very good impression if you like the girl. A good outfit idea would be khaki pants with a nice shirt or even button-up dress shirt. Also, don’t forget the perfume/cologne and deodorant.

Talk About Your Ex: If you’re out on a first date, do not … I repeat do not talk about your ex(es). This will definitely show your date that you haven’t moved on from your past relationship. It’s also completely unfair for the other person to listen to you talk about your ex, when they are trying to get to know you better.  I think that if you are not over your ex; then don’t date anyone until you are officially over them. 

Interview Your Date: A couple of my guy friends often complain that some of the girls that they go out on dates with would interview them during their first dates. These girls would go straight into asking them about their salaries (how much they make annually), what they want in a relationship, what car they drive, etc … First dates are supposed to be fun and not a job interview. So instead of bombarding your date with questions after questions, I think it’s good to just have casual conversations to get to know one another better.

Check Your Phone/Text While Your Date Is Talking: Unfortunately, I am a little guilty of checking my phone while I am out to dinner with friends. It’s something that I am currently working on improving, and I know that many people often do the same. However, whenever I am on a date with a guy, I try my best to avoid checking my phone. It’s important to be courteous to the other person, so it’s best to keep your cell phone on silent mode.

Expect The Guy To Pay: Who pays for the first date is often considered as a social dilemma these days. Traditionally, it is expected that the men usually pay for the first date. However, I don’t think that females should always expect or insists on their dates picking up the entire tab. I am sure that some guys would appreciate their dates offering to go dutch or at least offer to pay for the second date, if there is one. Personally, I don’t need a guy to pay for my meal, and I do offer to go dutch on dates. However, if the guy insists on paying for my share as well as his, then I would offer to pay the tab for the next time or we go for drinks or dessert after dinner (my treat).

Rua Vang Golden Turtle

Rua Vang Golden Turtle is a family-run Vietnamese restaurant located on Ossington Ave. Its popularity with the locals is pretty evident as it was packed on a Tuesday night. The turnover rate here is relatively high so it doesn't take too long to wait for a seat. 


Similar to any other Vietnamese joints; Rua Vang Golden Turtle has no-frills, and the decor is very minimal. Additionally, they are not exactly known for great hospitality. However, they do offer fast service, good portion sizes, and delicious authentic Vietnamese food at cost effective prices. The menu is pretty extensive and many items are priced under $10.00 per dish. 

I ordered #47 grilled pork & grilled chicken with steamed rice ($8.50). Both the pork and chicken are marinated with very sweet lemongrass and fish sauce, and grilled to perfection. I was happy with the generous portion as the meats was ample, and it was a filling meal.


My friend ordered the #98 bun bo hue ($8.50) which came in one size. Although I enjoyed my meal; my friend did not really enjoyed his. He thought that the broth was slightly flavorless and didn't have the spicy kick that is often found in bun bo hue. Additionally, there was no blood curds in his broth, something that he likes a lot.  


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.8/5
Service: 3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $

Address: 125 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z6

Golden Turtle on Urbanspoon

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu


Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is a small restaurant that specializes in Korean tofu stew (soon tofu). There is always a steady flow of patrons whenever I walk by the area. So when a friend suggested this place for dinner; I was more than happy to try this place out.

The menu is very limited with a choice of 9 items; most are just different variations of the soon tofu dishes. My friend and I were promptly seated and given the menus to look through while our server got us our water. Our server was friendly, prompt, and helpful. He brought out the bachan (kimchi, spicy radish, brown beans and spicy bean sprouts), and then took our orders down.


My friend ordered the kimchi soon tofu ($7.53); one of the more popular variations of the spicy tofu stew. The bulk of the dish contained tofu, beef, pork, and the flavor of fermented kimchi was nicely sealed in the boiling hot broth. Additionally, the meal was serve with hot stone pot (purple) rice. 


Instead of getting a soon tofu stew myself; I opted for the broiled BBQ beef ($8.85). The bulgogi beef came out on a sizzling hot plate, and accompanied by a bowl of hot stone pot (purple) rice.The meat was thinly sliced and coated with a very sweet marinade sauce which greatly enhanced its sweet flavor. I also thought that the portion given was pretty generous.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is very budget-friendly as none of the dishes are more than $10.00 each. Additionally, it’s very filling as well.

 RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $

Address: 5445 Yonge St, North York, ON, M2N 5S1

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu on Urbanspoon

Bishop and the Belcher

There is definitely an abundance of pubs to choose from if you're in the downtown core. I am a huge fan of chicken wings so I found the wings deal at Bishop and the Belcher to be very appealing, hence why I chose this specific pub to meet up with a friend. The only night where the wings deal is available though is every Wednesday. 

Bishop and the Belcher is a traditional British pub which you can tell from its dark, cozy and comfortable atmosphere when entering the establishment. My friend and I arrived at around 5:30 pm, and seated by one of the  hostesses. The menu isn't too exciting and just features regular pub fare, and alcohol. Unfortunately, I don't drink alcohol, so I cannot comment on the selection of the beer at Bishop and the Belcher.


The both of us decided to settle on the special of the evening which was $11.95 for 3 lbs of wings (you get two choices of flavors for each order). Just note that in order to get this deal; you must purchase a beverage, which is the norm these days for cheap wings.


They also have accompanied sides available for $2.50, and you can only order one of them. The choices are Irish nacho fries, half/half, poutine or jacket potato skins. My friend chose the jacket potato skins and I ordered a side order of french fries ($5.00).

The two flavors that we chose for the wings were Chipotle and sticky sesame garlic. Honestly, the plate of wings didn't look like 3 lbs of wings at all, and a few pieces were overcooked. However, the wings were pretty decent and the price for the amount of wings was really good. I didn't like the fries at all; they were overly salty and not crispy at all.


As for the service, I found it fairly inadequate. I know that the place was relatively busy but some of the waitresses were just talking amongst one another near the bar area. After we were seated, no one came by to take our order until 15 minutes later. Additionally, it took the food forever to arrive at our table. The table next to us (who arrived later) got their food before us. Perhaps, it was because they ordered a pitcher of beer along with wings which may have been the deciding factor as to why they were served first (who knows). Additionally, we were completely ignored by the waitresses who walked by our table despite us asking for water/bill several times.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 2.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $$

Address: 175 Bloor St E, Toronto, ON M4W 3T5

Bishop & the Belcher on Urbanspoon

[Food Event] Burger Day 2013 (06.02.2013)

Over the weekend, a friend and I went to The Grid's Burger Day 2013, which took place at the Artscape Wychwood Barns (06.02.2013). The burger event was from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm. The both of us got there around 12:30 pm, after the rain had stopped. I was unable to attend last year’s event but I read that it was $3.00 per slider. This year, they opted for an AYCE concept where $30.00 gets you all-you-can-eat burger sliders. Desserts, drinks, and alcohol tickets were sold separately. I thought that this year was awesome as it allows visitors a chance to taste test different vendors.

Each participating restaurant created their own version of a (burger) slider, and there were 67 restaurants there that day. The line ups for some vendors were relatively long but I was fortunate enough to have tried 10 different sliders that day before they ran out.

Insomnia Restaurant and Lounge -- Beef patty with thickly cut maple glazed bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce, and balsamic aioli on a milk bun.

The presentation of the slider looked a little plain, but it tasted quite good.


Barque Smokehouse -- Smoked-ham burger with tomatoes, arugula, aged cheddar, and spicy cherry jam.

This was the first slider that I tried and I was not disappointed at all. I thought that the beef patty had a very tasty beefy flavor and wasn't dry at all. At first, I was a little hesitant about the jam but it really added flavor to the slider, and I enjoyed it a lot. 
 
Big Smoke Burger -- Ground chuck with lettuce, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, and house-made “green” sauce.

Although this vendor is part of a burger chain with multiple locations in Ontario; it was still pretty good. There was a mild taste of beefy richness and the "home-made" sauce was tasty too.


Fidel Gastro's Lisa Marie -- Coarse ground beef with house-made pineapple-chili ketchup and banh mi slaw.

This was absolutely my favorite slider out of all the ones that I've tried. The bun was heated, the beef was rich in flavor, and the banh mi slaw provided a nice tangy taste.



The Happy Hooker -- Crispy shrimp patty, tartar sauce, lettuce, jalapeños, tomato, and two strips of bacon.

I thought that the crispy shrimp patty was an interesting twist on a burger. The establishment's take on the slider was decent but I am not too particularly fond of shrimp patties in general.


Lick's -- Jerk burger stuffed with a mozzarella/cheddar blend, sautéed onions, and peppers.

The bun wasn't heated and kind of cold, but the patty had a good jerk flavor.
Real Sports Bar & Grill -- Spicy fennel sausage, cured bacon, BBQ pulled pork, peameal bacon, and bacon-maple mustard sauce.

The only vendor that I went to that provided a burger size container which I re-used as a holder for the next two sliders. The beef was finely grounded and the bacon slices did add a very smoky flavor to the slider, wasn't bad at all.

Shakey's Original Bar And Grill Inc -- Porchetta-style Rowe Farm's pork burger with braised bitter greens and smoked-asiago “Cheese Whiz.”

It was a decent tasting slider; wasn't bad but wasn't memorable either. 
The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder -- Chicken fried–steak burger stuffed with smoked pimento cheese, topped with gravy mayo, sausage gravy, and pickled greens.

The line ups for The Stockyard was insanely long; I think we waited about 20 minutes for our sliders. I absolutely love their chicken so I was excited to learn that they would be coating the beef patty with their deep fried batter for their version of the slider. Although I liked the crispy crunch and texture; I thought that it was way too salty. 

The Works -- Chipotle ketchup, havarti cheese, four double-smoked bacon slices, and caramelized onions.

The only vendor that I went to that provided a burger size container which I re-used as a holder for the next two sliders. The beef was finely grounded and the bacon slices did add a very smoky flavor to the slider, wasn't bad at all.



Barque Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Lisa Marie on Urbanspoon