2017 June #3

I went to Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market to get some beef cheeks (face cheeks, not butt cheeks), but they didn’t have any fresh ones at the shop. Beef cheeks are fair cheap cuts of meat, sold at $4.99/lb. It’s cheap because it has a lot of connective tissue, which means it needs a long cooking time, or else it will be very tough to chew. This makes it ideal for slow cooking and pressure cooking, because that will render the connective tissue collagen right into gelatin, giving it very nice body.

But like I said, they sold out of it, so I settled for the $7.49 brisket. It’s similar in terms of connective tissue, and is also relatively cheap.

Also picked up a pineapple. Looked really ripe. The way I’m picking pineapples now is to look for ones that have many many small leaves on top. It tells me that it’s been on the tree for a long time because it has many leaves. The leaves are also small, which means that the fruit hasn’t been watered down with heavy rainfall.

Well, I retrospect, it was kind of sour. I’m sure relative to other pineapples at this time of year, it was a good selection… Right? Right?

I ended up roasting them in the oven to inactivate the bromelain. My taste buds were numb when I ate it raw. Roasting made it sweeter and didn’t destroy my tongue when I ate it.

The brisket was so dry, that even after 90 minutes of pressure cooking, it was still so fibrous… Never buying it again.

I made it using high pressure and flavoured with BBQ sauce. It was just dense and dry… I’ll need to try another cut next time.

And for some vegetables, Brussels sprouts and mushroom stir fry.

While at Marshall’s, we spotted a three-legged wooden coffee table.it was pricey at $129.99. It looked so good… It was nice solid wood and was sturdy. The height was perfect for putting dishes or cups on it while we sit on the carpet, and also doubled as a foot rest!

We ended up lugging it home.

For dinner, we cooked the meatballs again, but instead of pasta sauce, we bought tomato passata instead, as recommended by Nagi’s blog, Recipe Tin Eats.

The Longo’s brand tomato passata lacked… body. It was sour but not enough tomato taste. We’ll try adding tomato paste to it next time.

Definitely not as salty as the pre-made sauce, which is good. But also not enough herb flavour. We’ll need to get some fresh parsley next time.


I tried to make this chili shrimp pasta for lunch.

It was okay,  but once again, lacked flavour from spices and herbs. I added the garlic a little too late, so the shrimp didn’t absorb that flavour. I’ll need to time that better.

The tomato passata was also too watery this time. Really need to combine it with tomato paste…

It turned out okay. Needs to be better next time.

For dinner we went to Buk Chang Soon Tofu. It was fairly mediocre because of stingy serving of appetizers (4 mini plates shared by 3 people, not refilled) and the tofu had very little flavour.

I offered item #1 on the menu, which was the assorted. It had tofu with one shrimp, one mussel, and beef. I picked mild spiciness, but should have picked medium. Not just because it wasn’t very spicy, but because the tofu soup had no other flavour beside spiciness…

Serena picked the dumpling tofu soup, which she didn’t like the dumplings.

My classmate picked the seafood tofu, which had 3-4 pieces of shrimp. He picked not spicy, and go didn’t have much taste.

Afterwards, we went to the Poop Cafe across the street. They feature toilet and poop-themed menu and interior decor.

We had a bubble waffle with ice cream.

My classmate had the Thai ice cream, served in a bathtub.

Saturday was Canada day! I have never seen this many pedestrians and vehicles! Even the Loblaws was so full of shoppers…

We toured around city hall and got a hotdog. There wasn’t too much yet, so we ate and rode to Steam Whistle Railroad museum. There were tons of people, because in addition to Canada Day, there was also a baseball game at the Roger Centre.

We went down to HTO Park to squeeze in a shot of the $120,000 dubber duck.

There were a lot of food stands, but even then, there were even more customers, so the line-ups were 10-15 minutes long.

We order another bubble waffle. Hmm, we had one just a few days ago, didn’t we? Taro and Mango ice cream. It was quite nice.

Serena wanted some, but they sold out of the blackened stinky tofu. Phew.

As it started raining, we went to Loblaws then cooked. Almost every cash register was open, and the lines were still about 15 minutes long each.

We grilled some steak.

And roasted some vegetables (tasted very sweet)! To be honest, we overcooked, and couldn’t finish.

The next morning, we had brunch at Eggspectations. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a seat, and for good reason.

High-Rise Pancakes ($13.95). It’s normally stacked, but the server asked for the pancakes to be separated for us, so the sweet and the salty don’t mix.

The pancakes had the chocolate chips on the outside. It was actually quite good, and we ate it all.

I ordered the teriyaki salmon ($18.95), which was quite well done. I ate the salmon and the salad, whereas the whole grain pilaf was dry and hard to chew.

It was a good meal, and we wouldn’t mind going back again.

2017 June #2

It seems like at the beginning of each week, we tend to get a pizza craving.

Maybe it’s fast and easy, or maybe it’s just celebrating time off with junk food. Either way, we’re back at Blaze Pizza.

Before it enters the oven…

We really appreciate the cheese and the toppings here.

Pizza wasn’t enough. So we then went to Marble Slab Creamery for some sweets.

The waffle reject graveyard.

$7.99 Banana Split. Serena liked it, but I thought it was just okay. A little too sweet.

The next day, Serena ordered Mealpal lunch from Bareburger (I can’t believe they’ve closed within 2 weeks after we visited), and I went to the food truck Jerk Brothers.

Jerk brother poutine had so little chicken, mostly fries. The gravy was very salty and meh, while the cheese tasted… flaky and powdery. One of the worst cheese I’ve tasted. Never going back.

After work, we picked up some pastry from Lucullus, the overpriced bakery. The curry beef bun had a thin line of beef, and was 90% bread.

The mango mousse cake was pretty good. $4.50 for a slice. Kind of expensive…

In the evening, we watched Wonder Woman, and really enjoyed it. Good characters and acting, with a funny and interesting plot that’s easy to relate to. This is the first DC movie I’ve enjoyed. Nice job, DC.

Earlier in the day, I picked up some fresh scallops from Seven Seas Seafood in Kensington. 6 giant scallops for $22. Yeah, I knew it was going to be pricey, but phew, at $25/lb, it was easy to spend a lot. We seared these at home, along with $5 of smaller scallops stir fried with broccoli.

Lunch went to Adelaide eats. Since Union Station is undergoing construction, the Front Street Market moved to Adelaide Place Terrace.

The place is pretty crowded, especially with suits from the financial district.

The ones that caught my eye were La Festa (Mexican) and Ishtar (Middle Eastern).

$11 pulled pork.

$10 Schwarma Saj (the man was kind enough to give me little bit of salad on the side too, so I could try out both flavours).

Both meats were a little too salty, unfortunatately. The schwarma meat had very good seasoning though.

After work, we cooked meatball using our new Breville slow cooker. Breville isusually expensive, but we caught a deal on Amazon for $130 for what used to be $220.

It was really easy to use, with built-in searing mode, then we switched over to pressure cooking for 20 minutes. Fast, efficient, and easy to clean up.

And yes, we ate the spaghetti with chopsticks.

The next day for lunch, we did the meatballs again. This time, I added in 2 fresh tomatoes, because the sauce was too salty on its own. It turned out great.

Not only was it less salty, the tomatoes added more flavour!

I bought two old camera lenses off of Kijiji after work. We went to Kennedy station to make the purchase from someone who used to shoot Nikon, but is too busy these days to take photos.

Got a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI-S MF and a Tamron 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 MF for $100 in total.

The Nikkor lens is very thin, and even with the adapter it’s less than 7 cm. It has a nice feel on the mirrorless, nice and light.

The Tamron is also short for its range. It actually has 2 collapsing tubes, so when collapsed, it’s only about 10 cm. It is heavy though. Lots of glass.

As we came back home, it started to rain, so we went for a nearby noodle shop, recently opened.

GB pulled noodles. We appreciated how it had a very simple menu. One main noodle dish. You only choose portion size and noodle width.

We each ordered a small. Neither of us could finish… So much noodles! We saw someone order a mega size. What a stomach!

Broth was nice, but a little on the salty side.

We also got a spicy beef appetizer on the side.

When we got home, we finished watching Logan. The acting was pretty good for all the actors. The emotions and actions were both quite good. Story was kind of sad though, seeing both Professor Xavier and Wolverine old and failing.

On Saturday, we went to Dim Sum King before I went to work. It was busy by then, but we were lucky and got a seat within 5 minutes of waiting.

For Sunday, we got a TTC Day Pass on Sunday because it was looking sunny, and perfect weather for an outing, perhaps even a grocery trip. Spoilers: didn’t make it worthwhile this time either.

We took the TTC to our first stop, Sunday brunch at the Hair of the Dog, located on Church street.

Nice air conditioned interiors and also outdoor patio. They have these fun word magnets where mischievous patrons can make up naughty sentences…

Huevos Rancheros: two poached eggs, crispy corn tortillas, mixed cheese, refried beans, salsa, tomatoes, green onions, guacamole, served with home fries and small green salad $12

Easy as Pie: scalloped potatoes, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, peameal bacon, roasted red pepper, onions, two eggs – poached or scrambled, hollandaise sauce, toast, and small green salad $13

Food was nice. My tacos were great with the hot sauce. Eggs and potatoes were great. The potatoes were coated with cumin seasoning. Very nice. I really like cumin.

Serena really enjoyed her scalloped potatoes. I finished her salads, which didn’t have any dressing.

We walked around the market festival… Before it actually started… So we didn’t catch too much, but it was fun.

We walked down to the St. Lawrence Antique Market (TTC didn’t have a straight line down).

We were browsing for vintage cameras lenses and jewellery. Didn’t really find much. Their lenses were in fairly bad condition, and were cheap. So for better quality lenses, still need to stick with reputable online stores and kijiji.

From the antique market, we walked to the Distillery District.

We had some sorbet at Soma Chocolate. Lychee flavour and redberry rhubarb flavour. I thought they were pretty good, but Serena found the berry too sour, and the lychee tastes unripe or possible just dragon eye.

After a stroll through, we went to Roselle Desserts.

Bought a $3 canelle, which Serena explains is very complicated to make. Need high heat and very conductive copper molds so the outside can be caramelized and crispy, while the inside remains like a pudding.

The Earl ($7.50) milk chocolate earl grey infused mousse, bergamot cremeux, vanilla sponge, crispy feuilletine. Fairly good. A little too sweet, but nice. Serena liked the layering.

Bella ($7.50) Milk Chocolate Orange Blossom Mousse, passionfruit cremeux, orange blossom scented sponge cake, soft coconut cream. Kind of expensive but quite nice.

After we came home, we realized we didn’t actually eat lunch. So went to the Carbon Bar for dinner… Thinking we could use the Day Pass again.

And nope. By the time we walked to the Carbon Bar, not a single streetcar passed us, so we didn’t get to use the pass this time either.

The Carbon Bar was quiet on Sunday night, so service was very prompt.

We ordered St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs, which were fairly good. They were good, but also no better than the rib fest stands. We got about 6 pieces of ribs for about $24.

Also got USDA Prime Beef Brisket ($24), which had 2 very nice flaky pieces, 2 tiny but marbled chunks, plus 4 thinner dryer pieces that were just okay.

Monday for lunch, we had dumplings. $5.99 for the bag of pork and napa dumplings, the two of us couldn’t finish the bag in one meal. It was pretty good, for the occasional fast meal.

My new favourite citrus these days, the Ugly Mandarin. Yes, it is literally called that, though in retrospect, sounds like a racial insult…