2017 July #2

We were pretty busy during the week, so the first shot I took of food was on Friday night. Serena made a honey-glazed steak stir-fry with mushroom and sweet peppers.

On Saturday, we walked part of the Lower Don Trail. Walked for about 2 hours, roughly 10 km.

It was good heading out early while it’s still cool outside. Even with full sun, it didn’t feel too baked.

I mistook the subway stations and we got off a station earlier. I meant to get off at Broadview so we can enter the trail from east of the Don River, but we ended up on the west side because we exited at Castle Frank.

Thankfully we did! There was construction on the original trail, so we were lucky to have taken the west bank.

Saw this giant artwork (graffiti?) on one of the supporting columns of the rails leading to Evergreen Brickworks. Amazing detail on the drawing.


I’d guess about 60% of the trail was in the shade from the trees, so we weren’t scorched too much. The temperature was actually quite nice. Warm and breezy.

After 2 hours, we exited the trail and drank some San Pellegrino while we took a break.

Beforehand, we agreed to not eat along Danforth so that we have our stomachs for Tinuno, the Filipino restaurant.

We ended up eating before we even reached Danforth! There was a patisserie along Coxwell called Mon K, and we ate some sweets there.

Lots of little mousse and layered cakes.

Some macaroon selection too.

We got this grapefruit pistachio cake. It was quite pleasant! Very subtly sweet and mellow.

Also got some… no idea what these are called. The 3 pieces on the left were not as good as we were hoping for, as they’ve been sitting in the display for a while, and tasted a little stale.

Came across this in front of a house. Very cute little box, as part of the Little Free Library program.

We then took the subway to Tinuno. It’s a small little restaurant near Sherbourne station. When we arrived, we got a seat but it was busy. They told us 15-20 minutes, but actually it took about 40 minutes for everything to arrive.

Since every diner there is basically getting the same menu items, they bring out the prepared food in rounds, all at the same time.

We liked the tilapia and the shrimp.

I liked the skewers which were too salty for Serena. The rice was good but I didn’t eat too much of it. Serena tasted some light seasoning in the rice, maybe garlic.

This white fish was too sour with too much lemon juice… It was the only piece we didn’t like.

Calamari was nice, and just when you thought it’s all seafood, you get a few pieces of pork chops.

The meal was really cheap for the amount of preparation and variety. Only $15 per person. No wonder when we left, there was a long line outside the store!

We spotted some $1.99 herbs at a nearby convenience store, so we bought some rosemary, parsley, and basil.

Before dinner, I went to Loblaws and got $62 in groceries, including 4 lobster tails which were on sale. Serena made Lobster Mac & Cheese. It was quite good! Crispy on the top from the oven, and soft and juicy below the surface.

In case anyone thinks the Mac & Cheese was too unhealthy, we had some orange, golden berry, and yogurt! (Okay, maybe I ate most of these. Ignore the bag of chips in the background…)

On Monday, I went to PAI to pick up some lunch. PAI is a really popular and busy Thai restaurant, so it’s usually hard to find seats. But they’ve started a PAI Market that makes take-out.

They offer 3 dishes each day, so you can choose 1 dish plus rice for $10, 2 dishes for $12, or 3 dishes for $14. Today was Khao Soi Chicken, green curry, and sweet and sour tofu vegetables. We picked Khao Soi chicken and the sweet and sour tofu with vegetables. The Khao Soi chicken was really good. The coconut milk curry sauce was really flavourful without being too salty. Chicken was tender, and went well with the flat noodles. The tofu fish was pretty bad. The pineapples tasted strange with chili sauce, and the tofu was hard and sour, possibly spoiled?

After work we went out for an indulgent meal at Barberian Steakhouse.

Listed as one of the 10 Most Expensive Restaurants in Toronto by BlogTO, the steak was much better than your average chain steakhouse, like the K*g or Milest**e.


The garlic bread was soft, and that garlic oil went really well with it.

The pickled vegetables Serena liked, but I thought were way too sour and overwhelmed the natural flavours.

The Porterhouse steak was wonderful. It was one of the softest and easiest ones to chew through, which I appreciated.

It had very minimal seasoning, just salt and pepper, and it was a joy to eat.

We asked for baked potatoes, which I didn’t enjoy as much. It had no flavour, and salt and peppers didn’t help to redeem it.

The mushrooms were okay. Buttery, but didn’t seem to taste as flavourful as I was picturing.

Overall it was a fairly good meal, celebrating 8 months together with my darling!

 

Post-Script:

For Serena’s dad’s birthday and upcoming trip, we bought a full-frame Nikon DSLR. Here are just some of my impressions about it.

  1. Low-light performance is noticeably superior on the full-frame to a cropped-frame APS-C size sensor. Allowing 2x the amount of light in, it allowed for fast enough shutter speeds even at twilight.
  2. Auto-focus was quite fast AND accurate.
  3. Operation of the camera was fairly easy. I expected it to be clunkier than on my mirrorless, but it was actually fine to use for normal operation. There are less options to customize, but it still worked better and easier than I assumed.
  4. So much heavier… The lens, you’ll notice, is fairly small and light. The body, on the other hand, hurts the wrists to hold for too long.
  5. Much more affordable than my mirrorless. This only cost $1200 (older model).
  6. The 50mm lens, which is newer compared to my vintage 50mm manual focus lens, actually produces different images, despite both being 50mm and F/1.8! My vintage lens makes sharper, less hazy, and higher contrast photos. That being said, the newer lens makes much more pleasing portrait photos…

Overall, it was an interesting experience trying out a DSLR, and a full-frame one at that. It’s not something I’d use day-to-day, as I still prefer the mobility and light weight of the Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless system, but it was fun to have the chance to try it out.

2017 July #1

Tuesday night, we were tired and sleepy, so we ordered some Pizza Hut. They had an online special, so we divided a large. I find Pizza Hut to have 90% crust, with only about 10% toppings, and their tomato sauce doesn’t taste very flavourful. Not like Pizza Nova… but ah so expensive. We still have to go to Pizza Libretto some time. I’ve yet to try, and Serena wants to show me what they’re like.

Wednesday’s lunch, we ordered some Mapo Tofu from Some Time Chinese Restaurant.

What a name, only Some Time… Makes you wonder what they sell at other times. Better not to ask.

It’s actually quite good. We’ve ordered from here 3 times already, and it’s been consistently good.

 

I cooked some eggs with fresh peas, but my photos were out of focus…

We went and got some water filter after work. For some reason, we thought our filter lasts 1 year. But ha… it’s just the regular Brita, which is supposed to get changed every 2 months! Oops…

For dinner we cooked the beef cheeks with the pressure cooker. It came out okay, but I’ll need to remember to do these things differently next time:

  1. Set the pressure to High. I forgot the left it on Medium, so after one hour, the collagen didn’t melt as much as I was expecting it to (not that I’ve ever cooked this before).
  2. Use beef stock. That should add to the flavour more than just soy sauce and water.
  3. Add onions and carrots. That should add to more flavour.

On Thursday, I went to the Ryerson Farmer’s Market. There aren’t that many vendors, but one of them is this Ryerson Urban Farm, which grows vegetables on the rooftop of the Engineering Building.

So I bought a pint of Gherkins. Nice crispy ones to eat raw.

I bought some chicken legs from Sanagan’s, and tried to make a simple teriyaki chicken. I deboned and deskinned two legs, and marinated a bit with salt. The cooking was fairly fast and easy.

I also added some baby potatoes, which I microwaved to parcook. I shouldn’t have done that, because the waxy potatoes actually ended up drying up too much.

In the evening we went to see Spider-man: Homecoming in IMAX 3D. It was really good! There was good humour throughout, and the acting was wonderful for both the young Spider-man and Michael Keaton playing the Vulture. The cameos from Robert Downey Jr. adds good character, too, playing the father figure.

I went to Sanagan’s again, this time for ribs. Looking online, side ribs (spare ribs) are said to be more tender, as it has more fat content than back ribs, which are leaner and have more meat. So I bought a rack of side ribs (11 bones). We ended up finishing the entire rack in one meal.

I was scared to use the short cooking time of 16-25 minutes on the recipe, because that seems too fast! So I pressure cooked for 45 minutes. The meat fell off the bones… Yeah, maybe next time I’ll just cook for 30 minutes.

After the pressure cooker. I brushed on BBQ sauce and baked in the oven for 15 more minutes. The sugar in the sauce caramelized a bit and concentrated into a drier glaze.

It turned out pretty well. I paired it with some cucumbers and pomegranate.

After work, we went down to the PATH and grabbed another piece of Nadege. The strawberry cheesecake this time. Fairly good this time.

Since we cooked at home for most of the week, we went out to eat for dinner. We splurged at a Chinese seafood restaurant because Serena has been craving lobster for a while.

The Golden healthy soup was gritty and didn’t have much taste. We didn’t like it much.

The battered fish fillet was quite nice though. The pepper sauce was good but would have been better with less salt. Broccoli paired well with it .

The lobsters were… Serena enjoyed it, but I thought the texture was tough and tasted bitter. I was not a fan… The claws were about the only parts I thought were okay.

We were actually full after that. So the fried rice and honey ribs we packed to go home, and had them for breakfast the next morning.

A little dry, but okay.

For dessert, a sweet green bean soup. I really like those as a summer dessert!

On Monday night, we went to Kinka for their version of Summerlicious.

For $29 per person, it was very reasonable, given the variety.

They had a special welcoming greeting card for making a reservation! Super cool!

 

The cold tofu salad was pretty good. Nice and refreshing.

The chicken skewers were nicely done too. A little salty for Serena, but pretty good.

Ah, the scorched boxed sushi. We’re spoiled from JaBistro for their aburi oshizushi, but these were pretty good too. Still scared about worms from that eel documentary, but ah…

Takoyaki. I actually prefer deep fried frozen ones, as opposed to fresh but gooey ones.

Their karaage was on point. Very crispy and flavourful! Greasy yes…

The sashimi platter. I like how they present the lobster shell. FYI, I tried keeping a lobster shell I cooked at home in one piece, and kept breaking it.

This was the only dish we didn’t like. Mushroom risotto. I found it too buttery, while Serena didn’t like the seaweed.

The kakimayo. Oysters with cheese and mayonnaise. I thought it was okay. Serena likes the oysters raw, so didn’t quite like this.

Lastly, the matcha ice cream for dessert. Not bad at all.

It was a nice meal, and a good way to finish the week!