April 13, 2012

Ribs & Fried Chicken @ The Stockyards

I've been dying to try the Stockyards' famous fried chicken and ribs for a long long time! I had a fabulous brunch experience and couldn't wait to come back for dinner! This time, I managed to drag my mom along on my little food adventure.
The restaurant itself has very limited seating, so if you live nearby, take-out is highly recommended.
Naturally, the waiting area was packed with people waiting for their takeouts.
At first, we weren't really feeling for ribs, especially because my mom wasn't a big fan of ribs in the first place. But we had to endure a 45-min wait, all the while staring at some very enticing racks of ribs in the display case. In addition to that, we were informed that the ribs were selling out, so under all that pressure, we succumbed and reserved half a rack.
The veggies of the day also looked pretty good, but we decided against ordering it after seeing the gigantic portions.
And finally we were seated, and right in front of the deep fryer too! I was super excited to see all the action in the open kitchen.
My mom and I totally underestimated how substantial a half rack of ribs ($13) was. It was definitely a sizable portion, and I couldn't imagine trying to demolish a full rack. I had previously read many reviews that described these ribs as extremely tender. To my surprise, they were not fall-off-the-bone tender and had a good bite. My mom actually preferred it this way because it maintained the integrity of the meat (she's not a big fan of mushy meat). But above all, the ribs had an incredible smokiness that was simply scrumptious! The flavours were amazing and minimal sauce was needed. I especially loved the charred ends and the fatty bits.
And of course we had to order their other specialty- Stockyards fried chicken dinner ($14)- four pieces of buttermilk-marinated chicken served with fries, coleslaw, and hot sauce. I'm not overly picky about fried chicken, so I thought these were delicious, but they weren't mind-blowing. In fact, I preferred the fried chicken in the brunch version that I had last time.
As expected, the portion was massive, especially that pile of thin cut fries. My mom and I both enjoyed the fries a lot, as they were fabulously crispy. But even after devouring one too many, there was still a mountain of fries left in the basket. In the end, the only item that we managed to finish was the coleslaw.
My mom happily consumed our leftovers over the course of the next two days
Before the meal, I had my mind set on ordering their pulled pork sandwich. But no regrets that we opted for ribs instead. I think it speaks a lot that my mom, who never showed much interest in barbeque ribs, actually liked these ones. I will definitely be back to try out their sandwiches and burgers!
The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder on Urbanspoon

April 8, 2012

Golden Elephant

Golden Elephant is just around the corner of where I live, and yet I don't come here very often at all. In fact, the last time I came was more than 4 years ago.
I find that Vietnamese drinks are always so playful and fun! Initially, we intended to share a three-coloured bean drink ($3.20) with red kidney beans, yellow mung beans, green jelly strips and coconut milk. After it arrived, I didn't feel like sharing, so Jeremy ordered himself an iced black jello drink ($2.99). The drinks were quite filling themselves, especially with all the beans! Luckily, we didn't order a lot of food that evening.
I love Vietnamese spring rolls ($4.49), and these were pretty tasty, although not extraordinary. I also demolished all the vegetables on the plate.
Golden Elephant's version of pho- Vietnamese noodle soup ($6.49) with raw beef and beef balls. The menu allows you to pick the size and your own toppings, which I appreciate because I don't always love all the standard toppings. Unfortunately, the noodles were slightly overcooked, resulting in a mushy texture (although still tolerable). The broth itself was a tad oily, in my opinion, and Jeremy thought there was too much MSG. It wasn't bad, by any means, but it just wasn't the best I've had.
I would come back out of convenience because I literally live 2 minutes away from this place. The restaurant is clean, comfortable, and the food is decent. But pho connoisseurs (and I'm not one) would probably prefer other Vietnamese food options around this area.
Golden Elephant on Urbanspoon

April 4, 2012

Crêpes à Gogo (Spadina location)

I loved my experience Crêpes à Gogo in Yorkville, and the new Spadina location is equally charming. The place is tiny with limited seating, so it's best for take-out. Seriously, this place makes me want to move downtown just so I could here on a weekly basis!
Can't read this menu? You can now view it online on their Facebook page! All the prices include tax!
Even though I'm always up for trying something new, I couldn't resist ordering the Parisienne ($9) again because it was just so good! I love, love, love the combination of scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, red onion and dill! Look at all that mushroom!
The crêpe came piping hot and I had to consciously remind myself to eat slowly to savour every bite! There's just something about these crêpes that's so inexplicably addictive. My first instinct was to just inhale the whole thing!
At my insistence, Jeremy ordered a sweet and savoury crêpe- the Québécoise ($8), with scrambled egg, mozzarella, and maple syrup. This was a great option to satisfy the sweet tooth without having dessert. But if you're looking for an actual dessert crêpe, I'd recommend the tartinade ($6), made with their version of Nutella. We had it last time and it was absolutely fabulous!
A slight problem with the Québécoise was that all the maple syrup sank to the bottom, so you couldn't really get much of the sweetness for the first few bites. And when you get to the bottom, the maple syrup literally drips out (grab some napkins!) Nevertheless, I loved the sweet, savoury and cheesy combination, and I am seriously considering ordering this crêpe for myself next time.
We washed down the crêpes with a glass of their signature Limonana served cold. One glass wasn't really enough to share between the two of us, but we didn't feel like tugging around one of these gigantic bottles ($6). In summary, Crêpes à Gogo is the perfect place to grab a quick bite- the crêpes are fresh and delicious! It's no wonder that they were voted the best crêpes in Toronto on BlogTO. Make no mistake, I'll definitely be back for more!
Crepes a Gogo on Urbanspoon

April 3, 2012

Sakura Festival @ Guu Sakabar

This post is dedicated to my friend Mel, who insisted that I must write about our recent dinner at Guu Sakabar so she can reminisce about the meal. I know, I've already posted 4 or 5 times about eating at Guu, and by now, even I'm a little tired of raving about it. This time, however, we came during their Sakura Festival, so there were cherry blossom decorations everywhere!
The enthusiasm exuded by the staff is always quite infectious, and this time it seemed intensified by the cheerful décor. We came around 6 pm, so there was no wait at all! I think this was the first time that I didn't have to wait for a table at Guu. It was also my friend Mona's first time at Guu, and to be honest, I wasn't sure she was going to like it. After all, she isn't a fan of raw fish and deep fried food...
We ordered the two featured cocktails ($6.50 each) for the Sakura Festival. I opted for the Caffè Sakura- granadine, coffee liqueur, plum wine, milk and topped with whipped cream. This was very delicious but I would've preferred a little more alcohol. The pinkness of the drink made me very happy! Mel ordered the Princess Sakura (what a cute name!) with cassis liqueur, yakuit, red wine vinegar, and soda. Her cocktail was more refreshing and wasn't overly sweet. She also wished for more alcohol in her drink.
I didn't really try anything new this time, since nothing on the special menu enticed me. The deep fried seafood pancake ($6.80) was delicious, as always, slathered with tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayo.
So happy that I got to have more of the kinoko bibimbap ($8.80) this time since there were only the three of us sharing.
The sizes of these baked oysters ($7.20) seemed to get bigger and bigger every time I order this... but really, how can one resist gooey cheesy goodness with garlic mayo?
The deep fried brie cheese ($6.80) was the only new thing that I tried for the night, and unfortunately it didn't work for me at all. As much as I love cheese, I couldn't stomach so much at a time!
Grilled miso-marinated black cod ($9.80) - incredibly buttery and fatty!
Seared B.C. tuna sashimi with ponzu sauce and garlic chips ($6.80) - I really appreciated the delicate flavours after all that heavy cheese and mayo from previous dishes!
Mel is quite the dessert fanatic so she insisted that we must have 4 desserts. For some reason, the Sake tiramisu ($5) wasn't as strong as when I had it last time. Of course, the cheesecake ($3.80) was still my favourite, though my dining companions both found it too rich.
And finally, we enjoyed apple cinnamon spring rolls ($4.80) and crème brûlée ($3.50), and both were fabulous! I'm happy to report that Mona thoroughly loved her first Guu experience, despite her aversion to sashimi and deep fried food. It was certainly another great meal with great company!
Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon

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