February 12, 2013

My Kingston Diaries (Part I)


Kingston is a cute little town, but honestly there's not much to do, especially on a snowy weekend. Mona and I recently went to visit Alexa for a weekend and, in the absence of activities, we ended up eating all the time! I swear, there was not a moment during those two days that I felt hungry!
We started the day at Tommy's, a 24-hour retro-style diner for a delicious greasy breakfast! Every university is in need of a place like this!
Mona's Guinness pulled pork omelette ($8.99), served with toast and home fries.
Alexa's breakfast quesadilla ($7.99)- scrambled eggs,  bacon, sausage, cheese, onions, and peppers. It tasted good even without the sour cream and salsa!
I couldn't go past the monte cristo ($7.49)- a ham and cheese sandwich dipped in egg and fried on the griddle. The ham and cheese were excellent, but I found the overall combination a little salty. I wish the bread was slightly sweetened! We all finished most of our plate, which left us in a bit of a coma.
Tommy's on Urbanspoon
After breakfast, we attempted to attend one of Alexa's guest lectures, but unfortunately the room was full. So we ended up stopping for a drink at Coffee & Company. My latte was delicious and quite reasonably priced for its size (sorry I forgot the exact price but it was close to $3)! On the right is Mona's chocolate banana, which she also enjoyed. 
Coffee & Company on Urbanspoon
After coffee, we headed over to Sima Sushi for lunch
Alexa ordered Sushi Lunch A ($7.95)- 4 pcs assorted sushi and 6 pcs California roll. If you're looking for a lighter lunch, this is a pretty good option.
But my favourite had to be Sima's maki rolls. Mona and I shared a black deluxe dragon roll ($13.95) and a spicy tuna roll ($6.95). The rolls are fresh, well-executed and quite filling. Who knew that you could find quality sushi in Kingston?
Sima Sushi on Urbanspoon
After lunch, we strolled over to the City Hall and waterfront, where we marveled over melting ice on the lake (it was like tectonic plates shifting apart!)

Despite the lack of snow, it was actually an excruciatingly cold day. We spent the rest of the afternoon meandering around Princess St., occasionally ducking into stores to escape from the cold. 
Finally it was dinner time! We ended up at Le Chien Noir Bistro, an adorable French restaurant that was bustling with energy. Reservations are definitely recommended for weekends!
We weren't really hungry, but we were certainly tired from all that walking in the cold!
Alexa and I shared a $35 prix fixe menu which included 3 courses. For our starter, we had a winter salad- 'Verlinden Farm' endive, radicchio, celtic blue, candied pecans, poached 'Reinink' egg, crisp pig's ears, and port vinaigrette. For me, this salad was a definite standout with a great combination of textures and flavours. The crispy pig's ears were so addicting and had such a great crunch! My only complaint was that the poached egg was overdone. The salad would have been perfect with the addition of a runny yolk!
On the side, we also had an additional order of pork belly tacos ($9)- braised local pork, grilled shitakes, house kimchi on scallion pancakes. This was my other favourite of the meal! The pork belly was scrumptious and paired so deliciously well with the earthy mushrooms! To my delight, the kimchi was actually quite spicy! Alexa found the scallion pancake to be a little dense and heavy, and I would agree. If I had only order this as my dinner, I would've been full.
Mona was craving veggies so she opted for a large house salad ($14)- Organic baby lettuces, balsamic roasted 'grey ghost' squash, 'Clarmell on the Rideau' goat feta, toasted walnuts, and  black currant-honey vinaigrette. 
Our prix fixe main was steak frites with truffle butter and local mushrooms. Unfortunately, the steak was slightly overdone (we asked for medium rare), but I was more than pleased with the mushrooms. The fries were really salty, but in spite of that, Alexa and I still managed to clean the plate.
Mona was not very full after her salad so she ordered a cauliflower soup ($7), topped with sunchoke chips. I tried a spoonful and it was very smooth and comforting. The sunchoke chips added an interesting textural element.
We had some time to kill before dinner so I ordered a Rosé Sangria ($8.75)- Sandbanks Rosé, chambord, hibiscus & rose petal infused simple syrup, white cranberry juice, soda and fresh fruit. You could definitely taste rose petal flavour, and I didn't love it. To my surprise, the fruits in the drink were really good! The blueberries were some of the sweetest I've ever had.
Our prix fixe included a dessert and we chose crème brûlée. It was good but nothing to write home about. On the whole, I really enjoyed the food at Le Chien Bistro. That said, I found that the service wasn't very attentive (we had trouble locating our server several times), and near the end of the meal, two of the chefs from the Kitchen stared intently over at our table, which made my friends very uncomfortable creeped out. Next time, we won't be sitting next to the kitchen...
Le Chien Noir Bistro on Urbanspoon
Even though we have pretty much done nothing but stuff our face for the whole day, we still managed to find room in our stomachs for more dessert! Our final stop is Spin Dessert Cafe where we met up with Alexa's roommate Tina. Since we were all pretty full at this point, we decided to split two desserts. The first is a Godiva Double cheesecake ($5.95)- rich GODIVA® cheesecake baked with chunks of milk chocolate topped with chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, and chocolate whipped cream. If you're a fan of chocolate, this cheesecake is for you!
We also shared a on the floor crepe ($9.15)- pistachio ice-cream topped with chocolate covered rice crispy balls, pistachios, and hot fudge sauce on the side. Mona always raves about Spin's pistachio ice cream, but I found it a little underwhelming. That said, the addition of pistachio and rice crispy balls certainly made up for the ice cream's lack of nuttiness! I personally enjoyed the crepe a lot more than the similar variety from Cafe Mirage or Demetres. And this concluded Day 1 of pigging out in Kingston. Stay tuned for Part II!

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