Sushi Inbox – Downtown Montreal

2013-04-12 18.00.52

So I’ve been to this  sushi joint ever since it opened last October. I have never sat down to eat there (I’m not including the time I sat with my friend while SHE ate), and have always taken out. They make it fresh for you if you order your own combinations. They also have premade boxes of sushi at a slightly lower price in the fridge. Honestly I don’t think it’s worth that one dollar or two to get a bunch of stuff I don’t like, and wasn’t made as fresh as possible. So I always opt to order what I actually want to eat. Lately I’ve been getting the crevette épicée roll and sake (salmon) maki. It tastes pretty good and is probably one of the better sushi that I can get easily, at a reasonable price. They used to have 10% student discount but that promotion is over. It’s a shame but I still like coming here after a long day of school when I don’t want to cook. Give it a try if you’re in the neighborhood and crave a little bit of sushi!

Food: 8.0/10
Price: $15-25

~ kehwon

 

Advertisements

Patisserie Rhubarbe – Plateau Mont-Royal

On this lazy Wednesday, my friend and I decided to meet up to kick our sugar craving to the curb. She found a place called Patisserie Rhubarbe, and they had squash macaron! We were sold instantly. So we met up this afternoon and had a try.

2013-10-30 15.01.41

We ordered a drink each (I had a latte and she had a chai tea). We shared several things, as we wanted a taste of everything. The patisserie is comprised of 3 two-seater tables and one larger table. A portion of the kitchen is also visible from the front of the store. The display case was clean and simple, and was not cluttered.

They actually had a fairly large selection for such a boutique patisserie in my opinion. But onto the food!

2013-10-30 13.17.26

We ordered the zucchini mouelleux, which T. explained it to be similar to a lava cake. We figured that the zucchini one wouldn’t have liquid zucchini gushing out, so we took it as just a cake with zucchini bits. And that it was! It had a passion fruit icing on the top (not too much) and tiny zucchini bits on the inside of the cake. It had a rough texture, not too soft and not too wet. Definitely a great combo with everything else we were eating. It was also not too sweet which is also another bonus, but with the zucchini we didn’t expect it to be too sweet.

We also had two squash white chocolate macaron (one each). The macaron was done quite well, crumbled to my liking as I bit into it (but not too crumbly), and the filling was of an icing consistency (as opposed to ganache or buttercream). Disappointingly, there was very little squash taste. We kind of imagined it to taste like butternut squash but it just tasted sweet. I wasn’t too big of a fan of this, but it was interesting with the poppyseed sprinkled on the top.

2013-10-30 13.17.32

Lastly we ordered the gateau fromage as it looked absolutely beautiful in the display. This was actually our favourite of the three. The top was a soft cheese, more like a cream cheese. The bottom was of a harder consistency, closer to what you would normally expect when you think of “cheesecake”. The usual graham cracker base was replaced by this hard caramel yet with a slight crumble mixture. It was very interesting and absolutely delicious. Furthermore, it was garnished with slices of plum and sliced pistachios. I highly recommend this even if you don’t like cheesecake (like myself). I found that it had just the right amount of cheese-flavoured richness, without over doing it. The interesting base was definitely what gave it the interesting kick. The different textures were also amazing together.

Some other things to note are their extremely dainty and pretty plates! I thought it added a very nice touch to it (obviously catering to the female sex). They also sell tartinades and other jams and sauces. We were very interested in the pistachio one but didn’t purchase it in the end.

They also do birthday cakes if anyone’s interested. I think it would taste very good. It should be noted that they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. They also serve afternoon tea on Fridays 🙂

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.8/10
Atmosphere: cozy, simple, cute
Price: $5-15 (really depends on what you’re going for)

Patisserie Rhubarbe on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Icehouse – Plateau Mont-Royal

So last Thursday my friend and I decided to meet up and have dinner together as we hadn’t seen each other for a while. She suggested Icehouse as she heard it was good from her friends.

So we met there on this cold day. I was freezing and wanted to get in as quickly as possible but was told by the waitress to wait outside. I was obviously unhappy about that, wondering why I’m not allowed to wait inside. She didn’t explain the reason (although we figured it out later), and rushed us to order drinks. She said there was no menu and quickly ran off the list and told us we could sit outside on the patio. Luckily for us, the patio had heat lamps.

I ordered the Bourbon Lemonade and my friend ordered a fresh watermelon juice with cream soda and rum.

2013-10-24 19.46.45
Bourbon Lemonade

The drinks came and about half an hour later after we caught up with the most recent events in our lives, we were seated at the bar inside. The place is extremely small. It housed 7 tables and a bar. The kitchen is literally right beside you and it was a very cozy restaurant.

We decided we wanted to share the meal so we could get more out of it and not be so overwhelmed by one specific taste or flavour.

2013-10-24 20.09.19
1/2 bucket of ribs with Potato Salad and Coleslaw

We ordered the half bucket of ribs which come with coleslaw and potato salad. When she came with the bucket, she dumped it on the table, hence the long piece of recycled paper on our table. Apparently this is how you eat their buckets of fried chicken or ribs. The ribs were incredibly tender, and just fell off the bone. The flavour wasn’t too strong, retaining the rib flavour which I absolutely loved. Too often do restaurants douse ribs in bbq sauce (which already isn’t a flavour I like). They definitely did a good job with the ribs in my opinion. The coleslaw was quite good and I love that they kept the potato skins on the small potatoes in the salad. I did think that they over did it with the sauce in the potato salad though.

2013-10-24 20.09.25
Lobster Burrito

Next, we ordered the lobster burrito to share. It came in two big pieces and we each had one. There were huge lobster chunks in it, along with black beans, corn and other scrumptious veggies. Although this should have been a good dish, my dislike for burritos definitely took over. I don’t like the taste of burritos and this was one oily burrito! The only redeeming quality was that it had lobster in it. It was a little spicy (which my friend thought was a little much). It was quite fragrant and looked good but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

They do feature a “hot sauce bar” but we didn’t help ourselves to it as it was really quite cramped and getting out was a feat in and of itself. Furthermore we were quite content with the flavours of the dishes.

2013-10-24 21.18.00
The carnage

I thought the service was slow. Althoguh it was very relaxed, they were a little careless. I actually think one of the waiters was drunk. When I was paying (which we stood waiting for over 10 minutes and contemplated just walking out), he seemed quite drunk. The price was okay, although I did end up paying $37. There is also a TV on which they play any games that were on that evening (we watched the hockey game).

2013-10-24 21.32.28

Service: 2/5
Food: 7.5/10
Atmosphere: cozy, grungy, manly
Price: $30-40

Icehouse on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Wildflower Grill – Downtown Edmonton

2013-10-12 19.12.22

2013-10-12 19.12.28

We were most excited to try Wildflower Grill because we had heard some amazing things about this restaurant. Our first impressions were good ones. The decor was inviting and warm. However, for a grill, it was a bit more formal than expected, but we were quite ok with that. With a higher price point and more of a formal environment, we were treated with service that passed our expectations. After ordering, we were given Amuse-Bouche to start, which consisted of grilled salmon, feta cheese, and roasted peppers. All I could really taste was the feta cheese and a heavy dose of cumin spice. We did not really enjoy it.

2013-10-12 19.36.12
Amuse-Bouche – Salmon, feta, roasted peppers

But, then came the fresh baked Brioche with a side of sea-salted butter. They could have done without the measuring cup, but we very quickly let that go because the brioche was amazing. It was fresh, hot, moist, fluffy, buttery, and just melt in your mouth – basically all of that good stuff that just makes brioche amazing. Hands down the best brioche we’ve ever had.

2013-10-12 19.38.30
Fresh Baked Brioche

We ordered 3 appetizers and 1 main to share, mostly because we were more interested in trying different dishes, but also because the mains did not really appeal to us as much as the appetizers. Our first appetizer was their famous braised beef short ribs. The two very large pieces of braised short rib were melt in your mouth good. They had a very strong beef flavour. You can tell they use very good quality Alberta beef. The reduction and celeriac puree together with the beef gives the beef a sweetness that brings out even more of that beefy goodness. A very delicious appetizer.

2013-10-12 20.02.56
Braised Beef Short Ribs – celeriac puree, port demi glace & white balsamic reduction

Our next dish was the Cioppino. After visiting San Francisco and having the Cioppino at Taddich Grill, I was craving for another one just as good. Surprisingly this one delivered, but in a different way. As opposed to Taddich Grill, which stuffed their Cioppino with loads of seafood, this one used a very conservative amount of seafood – only a few small pieces of salmon, 2 shrimp, and a few mussels. The flavour of the broth however, was absolutely amazing. The broth was a very rich tomato based broth that tasted like it took hours to prepare. Flavours like fennel, tomato, fish and italian spices realy made the broth very tasty. The seafood was very fresh, but again, lacked in quantity. But really, the star of this dish was that wholesome broth.

2013-10-12 19.45.30
Cioppino – salmon, prawn, clam, mussel, charred tomato sauce, fennel

Last to arrive was the mushroom ravioli. The dish comprised of ravioli stuffed with a puree of three mushrooms, on a bed of asparagus, topped with a creamy peppercorn truffle oil sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. On our first bite, the fragrant and rich truffle oil kicks in with the flavourful peppercorn sauce. The ravioli are loaded with mushroom but unfortunately, the mushroom flavour just wasn’t as prominent as we had expected. The sauce itself is very good, but that is all that you really taste. For a mushroom ravioli, we expected more of a mushroom taste. The dish was good, but could definitely be improved.

2013-10-12 20.03.01
Three Mushroom Ravioli – truffle, smoked applewood cheddar fonduta, asparagus, piave vecchio

Now onto our main course: The Bison Tenderloin. The bison was very tender and moist. The outside crust was not that noticeable so you don’t get that crunch with the softness that you get with a really well grilled steak. However, the bison was very tasty. The blackberry sage reduction and the butternut squash puree complemented the bison very nicely as the reduction was fruity  and the puree was salty, making the dish sweet and savory. It was another very well prepared dish by Wildflower Grill.

2013-10-12 20.02.54
Peppercorn Herb Crusted Bison Tenderloin – fig & chanterelle bread pudding, butternut squash puree, blackberry sage reduction

Wildflower Grill is more than just a grill. They are a very refined and unique restaurant in Edmonton that puts out creative, top-quality, delicious dishes that really impressed us. Everything was intricate and detailed in their preparation and presentation. Their quality really justifies their high prices. It was a real treat dining here tonight.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 9.4/10
Atmosphere: Grill, Formal
Price: $40-60 per person

Wildflower Grill at the Matrix Hotel on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

Canteen – Downtown Edmonton

2013-10-11 19.20.40

2013-10-11 19.30.59

Karen was visiting me in Edmonton and this was our first night out together. We picked Canteen because it looked like a great place to try. It is located on the western edge of downtown.  Its decor is dark and grungy with a modern twist with the back-lit wall, the modern hanging light fixtures, and sofa seating along the back row. The cloth napkins were nicely held together with a Canteen elastic logo. Overall we thought the decor was good but not exceptional.

2013-10-11 19.24.50

We ordered a few appetizers, The first was a tomato salad with creme fraiche. The tomatoes were the standard hothouse tomatoes you can get at grocery stores. They could have used on the vine tomatoes for a more earthy and richer tomato that would certainly have improved the dish. The addition of the cherry tomatoes was a plus though. The creme fraiche could have been more light and airy, but instead was more of the consistency of light cream cheese. Overall, it was a good salad but could definitely be improved.

2013-10-11 19.36.15

Gull Valley Tomato Salad with Creme Fraiche, Thyme Oil, Greens, and Balsamic

The biggest disappointment of the night was the mussels.  To start, for $17, you get a very very small amount of mussels. To make things worse, the mussels themselves were tiny (about 1/3 the size of the shell). A few of them were not even opened either, which means that the mussels were not fresh. Another thing that is lacking is the sauce. The mussels were virtually dry. They give you two pieces of bread, but we weren’t able to eat it because there was no sauce to dip it in. The smoked bacon flavour was prevalent, which made the mussels taste quite rich, but the white kidney beans did not go well with it. Overall, terrible dish with a terrible price to go along with it. I would not recommend it.

2013-10-11 19.36.18
P.E.I. Mussels, double smoked bacon, tomato fennel sauce

After that disappointment, we were hoping that our mains would make up for the appetizers. For the most part, they did. Karen had the Scotch Egg. The outside is deep fried mashed sweet potato and on the inside, is a semi-done hard boiled egg. It sort of reminded me of a croquette but with more filling and a softer shell. The egg was placed on top of a bed of spaghetti squash, which was delicious and crunchy. Karen did not like the roasted lobster mushrooms due to the earthy taste. The sauce tasted like a creamy, less viscous tartar sauce that went well with the dish. Overall, Karen thought this dish was very good.

2013-10-11 20.05.40
Vegetarian Scotch Egg, spaghetti squash, marinated chanterelle, and grilled lobster mushrooms

I had the pork chop with roasted pork belly. I thought this dish was really well done. First off, the presentation is nice. The pork chop was done very nicely because it was very juicy and tender. The roasted pork belly was also very good. It was very moist and rich tasting. My only complaint was that some portions of the outside were roasted unevenly resulting in a few dry and tough spots. The Gnudi Succotash was delicious. They are these gnocchi-like pasta dumplings made from corn and beans. They have a doughy like texture when you first bite into them, but they quickly break apart and release the flavours of its ingredients. First time having them and they were a delight. The roasted beet bbq sauce had more of a sweet beet taste than bbq, but the sauce went well with the roasted pork belly. Overall, great dish that I quite enjoyed.

2013-10-11 20.05.47
Irvings Pork Chop, Crisp Pork Belly, Roasted Beet BBQ Sauce, Gnudi Succotash

Canteen follows the style of recent new restaurants. They are casual, modern, and creative. I really enjoy the style of these restaurants because you can really try something that you have never tried before and at these restaurants it really brings out your adventurous side. The food at Canteen is good, but their appetizers need a lot of work. Their mains, on the other hand, were absolutely delicious. The prices were generally reasonable for the quality of food you are getting (only exception being the mussels). I would recommend this restaurant.

Service: 3.5/5
Food: 8.5/10
Atmosphere: Casual, grungy, modern
Price: $30-40 per person

Canteen on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

King Noodle House Pho Hoang – Chinatown Edmonton

2013-09-28 18.32.54

King Noodle House Pho Hoang is a small Vietnamese shop in Chinatown Edmonton. Their speciality is pho, and let me tell you, they do a really good job at it. It is also known as the restaurant with the owner who has a very intricate beard (shown in the picture above).

2013-09-28 18.58.17

2013-09-28 18.35.03

The restaurant is built into a larger building so it was very difficult to notice it despite the large sign. It is a pretty small shop and can seat maximum of 40 people. The restaurant’s decorations are awkward to say the least. The walls are decorated with a fan,  a painting of a boat, and wooden model of a boat, and a random array of plants. The light fixtures look like they are from the 70s or 80s.  The plastic tabletops are flimsy and the chairs are all mismatched. I wouldn’t say that this is the worst I’ve seen, but its definitely up there on my list. But for a pho place, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is if the pho is good.

2013-09-28 18.38.52

I ordered #10, the Large Pho with raw beef, flank, and brisket. A few minutes later, the owner (The guy with the beard), brought us some tea and our pho condiments which included bean sprouts, fresh basil, chili peppers, and lemon. Lemon? Pho is usually accompanied with lime, but I’m just being picky.

2013-09-28 18.38.48 steak brisket and flank

The pho was delicious. It was garnished with green onions, cilantro, and yellow onions. The broth was rich, flavourful, and devoid of any MSG that I could taste. To my pleasant surprise, there was a very buttery taste to the broth that just made this taste amazing. They also did not skimp on the beef, which a lot of pho places tend to do (There is also the option to double the beef for $1-2 more). This one was loaded with beef and the beef was very good. The brisket was the beefiest tasting, with a buttery taste from the fats that surround it, The flank was leaner but had a good flavour to it as well. The raw beef was extremely tender since it cooked to perfection in the broth.  The noodles were also cooked perfectly. Not too chewy, not too soft, and the right thickness. The size of the pho was pretty fair as well. For ~$8.50, its a decent size with a very generous amount of meat.

This is the best well rounded pho I have had in Edmonton. I’ve tried the raved about Tau Bay and was disappointed. King Noodle House’s noodles, amount of beef, and quality of the beef wins over Tau Bay. The guy with the mustache is also definitely worth seeing, My only complaint was his customer service.  It feels like he is rushing you out and didn’t even want you there in the first place. Firstly, he isn’t very friendly when he takes your order. Secondly, he takes away your dishes, i.e. the bean sprouts, 10 seconds after your pho arrives, when you haven’t even finished adding them to your dish. He doesn’t even ask if  you are finished with it before he takes it away. But hey, their pho is amazing so I can let that go. Give it a try.

Service: 2/5
Food: 8.8/10
Atmosphere: Typical pho restuarant
Price: $10-15 per person

King Noodle House Pho Hoang on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

Lucille’s Food Truck

Goddamn, that was delicious.

On this beautiful day, I’m currently waiting for my flight to see tfung for the long weekend. As i headed home from my early class I saw Lucille’s food truck drive up University. I had a hunch that they’d be at McGill Campus today. So after going home and finishing up my packing, I headed out to search for Lucille’s.

2013-10-10 11.24.27

From Wang’s blog, I had wanted to try this for a long time, but hadn’t come across it. I only wanted one thing, and that was the lobster roll. I saw her blog post about it a short while after school started and that was the time I started missing tfung and my San Fran trip…

So, I have to say that this was pretty comparable to the Dungeoness crab roll we had at Woodhouse in San Fran.

2013-10-10 11.24.34

 

I was served in less than 10 seconds, which was great since I was starting to get very hungry. In the midst of the busy waves of students heading to their next class, I looked at this lobster roll with extreme desire….It looked SO GOOD!

The first bite, I could smell the fragrant buttered toast. It was absolutely mouth-watering. As I started getting to the lobster bits, I noticed that the filling was not overwhelmed by celery, onion or the mayo. Instead it was overflowing with big lobster chunks. It was so fresh and clean, along with the beautiful and fresh air, it was a feeling I seek and would want to feel every day.

The buttered toast added so much flavour to the roll it was actually kind of unbelievable. Although there was so much butter flavour, it wasn’t TOO oily. Not to say that there was no oil, but the feeling in the mouth was not greasy at all.

I highly recommend this if you see it on the streets. Just fly on over and ask for that lobster roll. It’s delicious!

~kehwon

Au Pied de Cochon – Plateau Mont-Royal

Two summers ago, tfung had come to Montreal with me as I needed to find an apartment to live for my upcoming school years at McGill. He had wanted to visit Montreal as he used to come here often with his family, as his mom is a McGill alumni.

We had booked Pied de Cochon about a week in advance and were only able to land an 8pm booking. From word of mouth, this was apparently a very good time. A lot of my friends can only get a 5pm or 9pm booking. Perhaps it was because we went on a weekday, I’m not sure.

Either way, we had closed the deal on my apartment, paid the deposit and signed the contract, so I was obviously very relieved and happy. I had said that this meal was my treat, as he was a huge help in my apartment-finding ordeal.

To be honest, the restaurant was a little difficult to find. The area wasn’t too difficult, but there wasn’t a huge sign that said Pied de Cochon, and I wasn’t used to the Montreal  restaurants back then. Nonetheless, we finally found it and were seated straight away.

IMG_2228

The decor of the place is a hybrid between a grill and a seafood restaurant. There were huge tanks filled with different types of seafood, and right behind if was the kitchen where all the grilling and stewing was done. There was also a bar by the kitchen, which was nice for patrons who wanted a heavy snack with a light beer. We were seated close to this bar and so we were able to get a good look at everything.

Bread came after we ordered, and I thought their logo was super cute. Au Pied de Cochon means Pig’s leg.

IMG_2232

IMG_2233

We ordered half a dozen oysters. It was this summer that we started getting into raw oysters and this was probably one of the first places that we had it together. It was quite fresh and I really enjoyed it. There was some salt at the bottom so on some oysters, you could taste it as you ate the oyster. I believe the oysters were of the East Coast which was why they were sweeter and did not carry the fishy taste.

IMG_2234

We also ordered the Foie Gras “Tout Nu”. It was a decently sized piece of foie gras of a firmer consistency. There was a reduced fatty sauce on it, served on a crostini. Honestly, when it first came I was thinking “That’s it for $21???”. But as we started eating it, it was REALLY filling. The two of us could barely finish this piece. It really was delicious and didn’t have a strong organ taste that can turn a lot of people off. It was rich and the sauce complimented it well.

IMG_2236 IMG_2237 IMG_2238

We were recommended the Duck in a Can by our friends, but we opted for the Pied de Cochon as our main. We figured there was a reason that this dish was named after the restaurant. What we got was a piece of pig’s leg covered in a scrumptious mix of onions, tomatoes and other common veggies. On top of the pool of mashed potatoes, was a piece of deep fried mixture of pig’s leg meat, fat and gelatin. I didn’t enjoy the deep fried package much, as I didn’t like the texture and it just tasted gross to me. However the pied de cochon and the mashed potatoes were very delicious. The pig’s leg was completely braised, tender and almost melts in your mouth. The medley of vegetable-filled sauce went well with the braised leg. The potatoes were not too salty or too bland. They were extremely silky which leads me to question whether it’s real potatoes. But altogether it was really good. However the portion size was a little much and we really couldn’t finish it.

The service was quite good. They came when we wanted them to and gave us enough but not too much time to decide. I hate when they rush us in the beginning then don’t come back to take our order for another 30 minutes. They were nice about us sharing a main dish, and were overall quite hospitable despite us being anglophones.

Although it was really good, the food was really really heavy and fatty. It was yummy but I felt guilty about eating this for days after. I haven’t gone back in the last year, mainly because I didn’t want all that fat in my mouth again. If you’re not conscious about what you put into your body, definitely give this a try, and make sure you make a reservation early!! I would recommend at least 1-2 weeks before!

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.6/10
Atmosphere: casual, bustling. grill
Price: $30-50 per person

Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

 

~ kehwon

Guu Izakaya – Church and Wellesley

This izakaya was one of the firsts to appear in Toronto. Most people still don’t know what an izakaya is, so here it is: It’s typically a chill hang-out place for Japanese working class to have a drink and snacks after work. They destress, have some laughs and have some hard liquor to take the edge off. The snacks are obviously to provide some sustenance, and also so everyone don’t leave completely smashed. I’ve heard so many people complain that their dishes are too small. But of course they are! They’re meant to be snacks! Furthermore, you may think that the dishes are expensive, which is true to an extent. However what I learned from our trip to Japan, is that Guu use much better quality ingredients than you’d normally see at a typical Izakaya, which is the reason for the higher price point. That concludes my short spiel about Izakayas.

Nonetheless, everyone was raving about it, and told us it was amazing; so amazing that we’d have to go early to line up. This particular izakaya is very special to us, because it was tfung and my first date (going out to a restaurant anyway).

He drove me out from London for the weekend one Spring Friday. We planned to get to Toronto early afternoon, so we had some time to go shopping at Eaton’s Centre, and then line up early for Guu.

Since then, I’ve been to Guu 3 times more, twice with my other friends and once more with tfung. As a result, this post will be a compilation of most of the dishes I’ve had, and will be quite representative of the restaurant itself. I have yet to go to the Sakabar, so this will be for the original Guu Izakaya, located on Church.

1
Scallop Carpaccio
3
Seared Salmon Tataki

I’ve tried all the tataki and carpaccios they’ve had to offer (other ones are maguro and beef), and these two are by far my favourite. The scallops are a little more on the soft side, and had that sweet and fresh seafood taste. Salmon is probably my ultimate favourite type of sashimi fish (like many other people), and so the salmon tataki was geared more to my own preference. The tataki and carpaccios in general are pretty standard, and the sauce is more on the sour side. It creates a appetizer to some of the more flavourful and succulent dishes to come. I thought that overall, the fish didn’t have a lot of fish flavour, which may be due to a lower grade of sashimi being used. But since it’s covered in sauce and served with green onions and garlic, it doesn’t make much sense to be buying the highest grade. I do like the tataki, and at around $7, it’s a pretty good appetizer. It’s definitely not a “must-have” at Guu though.

4.5
Kabocha Korokke – Baked Pumpkin Croquette with boiled egg inside

4

This dish is absolutely adorable. Even the name makes me smile. This is the Kabachi Korokke, which is a baked egg inside a pumpkin croquette. It is covered in thousand island-like mayo sauce, with the cute little wooden spoon sticking out of it. This makes for a very good dish to share. Due to the fact that most of the dishes at Guu are meat based, I like to order this for some carbs. The pumpkin provides some sugars to keep you full, and the egg is just a nice touch. It’s a pretty simple dish,  nothing extravagant, but it’s definitely something I wouldn’t make at home, and to me that’s worth ordering. The pumpkin is piping hot, cooked thoroughly so that it is very soft. The egg is fully hard-boiled, so for those of you who prefer a golden yolk, this is not the dish for you. It might sound a little dry, but paired with the mayo sauce, it’s pretty good.

5
Gindara

6

Now for the star of the restaurant, in my opinion. Every time I’ve been to Guu, I’ve ordered the Gindara. It is one of my favourite cooked-dishes in Japanese cuisine. As a result, tfung has learned how to make it, giving my wallet a nice break whenever I want to eat Gindara. Gindara is $11, (now the price has increased to $11.80). It is a pretty small piece of fish, so if you love black cod, I’d recommend getting one for yourself. If you don’t know what black cod is, or never had it, I recommend you getting it because it is absolutely delicious. There is no “fishy” taste. The texture is so soft and easy to break off, it’s what we call “cotton-like” when we describe the texture of a piece of fish. The sauce is of miso base, and is not too salty, with just enough sweetness. The only thing I have to complain about this dish is that it’s a little small, but only because everytime I order this I want to order another one! To put the price in perspective, I recently visited Origin and my friend ordered a slightly bigger piece of black cod for $30…Gindara is a definitely “must-have” at Guu.

7
Ebi Mayo

I have to be honest and tell you that I was thoroughly disappointed by the Ebimayo. While the shrimp was fresh with that crunchy seafood texture, the batter was awful. It may be because there’s sauce on it, but if it’s served fresh, it shouldn’t become so soggy so quickly. The flavour of this was good, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.

8
Kakimayo – baked oyster with mushroom, avocado and cheese on top

Apart from the Gindara, I’d say the baked oysters would be the other “must-have” at Guu. I’ve only had better baked oysters at one other restaurant, but they use more of a mayo base, and there is no cheese in it. The oyster itself in the Kakimayo isn’t particularly large or juicy. It’s a pretty standard oyster, but the avocado, cheese and mushroom with it is absolutely genius. At $7.50 for the two oysters, I think it’s a pretty good deal. This was one of the highly recommended dishes that tfung’s brother had told him about on our first date, and to this day I still think it’s a good recommendation. It’s something that you usually don’t make at home, so it’s nice to get it here. The avocado is very much a paste consistency, and the baked cheese on top adds an interesting and different type of flavour to the whole.

9

I’ve had two desserts at Guu. One was the coconut icecream and matcha green tea cheesecake, and on another occasion, I had the yuzu cheesecake. The coconut icecream was good, nothing extraordinary. It had good coconut flavour but might be commercially produced. The green tea cheesecake completely disappointed me. There was not a lot of maccha taste, and I didn’t like the baked edges. It gave a “woody” taste that I do not enjoy in my desserts. Thankfully it wasn’t too sweet, and the cheese wasn’t too overpowering. The piece is small, so it’s not too difficult to finish.

On the other occasion, I had the yuzu cheesecake which was absolutely amazing. Maybe it’s due to my crazy obsession with yuzu, but I thought there was just enough of the citrus yuzu taste to off-balance the heaviness of the cheesecake. There wasn’t the baked crust as in the green tea cheesecake, and it was quite light overall, despite the fairly firm texture.

Other than the fact that most of their dishes are good, I thought that the atmosphere is super cute. It can be loud, so this is not a place for a romantic, intimate date. It is actually better for a group of friends to celebrate something, as they have a “birthday special” which is essentially 7 shots of some kind of liquor. They like to scream IRASSHAIMASE when you walk in (followed by something else that I couldn’t understand). They also like to shout out the orders so that everyone working knows what’s coming. To me, this makes me feel like everyone woking is on board to make sure your orders are done. In a way it eliminates the “missing orders” that can often happen at a restaurant like this, where customers may order more dishes later in the meal.

Overall, I love this place. This is by far my favourite izakaya in Toronto and Montreal. I’ve yet to try one that displays better quality ingredients and accuracy and consistency in flavour at other izakayas. Furthermore, it holds a dear sentiment to me, and that’s what makes me love it even more! The service is efficient and polite, as expected by the Japanese, making me feel like I’m really paying for something legitimate. Since the sakabar opened, the wait has been limited to just peak hours only, which is great. I highly recommend this restaurant, especially if you have never tried Izakayas in your life!

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.9/10
Atmosphere: loud, lively, friendly
Price: $20-40 (depending on how hungry you are)

Guu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Montreal Food Trucks

So of course, since the food trucks are legally allowed back on the streets of Montreal, I had to go visit them. Around the time that I learned of this information was when tfung was coming to visit me while I was doing my internship in the summer.

We had decided that one of the mornings, we would dedicate to food trucks. The food trucks go pretty much all day from 11:30 to 6pm, and they move around to different locations. It’s actually really fun and exciting if you rent a bike (or use your own) to go around each of them and get a small sample.

That’s exactly what we did.

The first place we hit was by the port near Lachine, west of old port. We had biked down there on a beautiful day, but I was in fact wearing a skirt. Poor planning on my part.

The food truck was called le Quai Roulant. We quickly ordered and there was only one thing on the menu that we wanted to try. The crab cakes. So we ordered two crab cakes and a Blood Orange Iced Tea.

2013-07-06 12.57.02
Crab Cake + Blood Orange Iced Tea, le Quai Roulant

2013-07-06 12.59.14

The crab cake was full of juicy crab meat (whole pieces) and had good seasoning in it. It was just the right amount of saltiness, and the batter was done quite well. It doesn’t look like the batter was done right but it definitely had that crispy crunchiness that I look for in a crab cake. Overall I thought they were excellent.

The iced tea was mediocre, and I thought it was a little expensive ($3) to randomly buy it. But it was a nice day and iced tea just seemed right. It was nice because we were able to sit at some benches close by, and the view was either the richer, or cyclists on a Saturday morning.

2013-07-06 13.52.06
tfung resting at Square Victoria

Biking up to the next location, we didn’t end up getting any food. We were just too thirsty and opted for a large Lavender Lemonade from Lucky’s food truck. It was good, but a little too strong-flavoured for what I was looking for at the time: an ice cold thirst quenching drink. It should be a good thing that it was not watered down, there was good lemon taste but the lavender really shone through and was the star. It wasn’t too sweet or too sour. I just wished there was more of it.

Fast forward to September, I came back to Montreal for school. We were sent emails that food trucks were coming to both Macdonald campus and Downtown campus of McGill. We were all pretty excited that they would come all the way to Macdonald campus!

After running a bunch of errands one Tuesday morning, I was met with the site of Roux.

2013-09-10 11.11.22
Roux

As I looked through the menu, I felt like I wanted everything. But in the end, I went with the Club Canard. My friend ordered the Poutine Pulled Pork which is actually a wrap.

2013-09-10 11.11.14
Menu
2013-09-10 11.17.17
Club Canard: braised duck, chorizo, salad, tomato, swiss cheese, mayonnaise chipotle

The club sandwich came with spicy fries. Although the duck was absolutely delicious, for me the fries won my heart. The seasoning was done to a perfection in which it was sweet, salty and spicy all at the same time. The cajun pepper they used was absolutely amazing. It was not too soft or too crunch (I hate crunchy fries!), and I couldn’t get enough. I even contemplated  going back to just get an order of fries, but I thought that would’ve been too much and I would get food coma during class. The club sandwich was also very yummy. The duck was juicy, tender and full of flavour. You could taste every ingredient, but they all worked well in the mouth together. It is always such a shame when you have amazing ingredients, but together they overpower or work against each other. It was not ht case in this sandwich. I was not a huge fan of the chipotle as it had what I call the “armpit taste” (term coined by my mother). I suspect this is due to some cumin in the chipotle, but even though I don’t like the taste, it worked well with the sandwich.

2013-09-10 11.08.51
Poutine Pulled Pork

My friend had the Pulled Pork Wrap. She said it was also very good, and you can read about it here.

A couple days later, after class, I saw the Phoenix 1 food truck really close by at school. I decided to just buy lunch as I was pretty hungry.

2013-09-19 12.12.31

2013-09-19 12.15.13

I ordered the Pulled Pork on Naan bread. It was pretty good, the pork had good flavour, was tender and juicy and the sour purple cabbage made it less filling. The naan bread was warm and a little moist on the inside. The naan bread was also lined with a piece of swiss cheese on the inside, which made for a very interesting texture. I had learned that the cheese is to provide a moisture barrier so that the bread doesn’t become soggy ,and it had worked very well in this wrap. I thought overall the wrap was a great lunch, and was very satisfied when I got home.

Finally, the awaited Camion PDC. tfung and I had visited Au Pied de Cochon two summers ago when we first came to Montreal to find a place for me to live. I had signed that day and treated him to the delicious dinner. (post will be up shortly).

I ventured over to Rene Levesque and Peel today after class as I knew from twitter they were there from 11:30 to 10pm. I suspect it was because of the hockey game that was going on tonight.

2013-10-01 18.14.18 2013-10-01 18.15.02 2013-10-01 18.15.30

I just got the foie gras poutine. I had contemplated getting the Boite Gourmand #2, but when I asked the girl how big it was, she told me that she cannot finish it and it’s more for two people. So I just went for the poutine. The poutine sauce was mixed in the the fatty liver, and was absolutely delicious (I felt so guilty eating this). The Foie Gras was very soft and slippery, which may turn off some people but I thought it was really good. The cheese curds were squeaky and chewy, love it. Definitely thought it was a good buy, and I want to try some of their donuts as well!

So that’s it for the food trucks I’ve tried. I may have more and I will add to the post, but other than that, food trucks are definitely something I recommend. They run until November 3rd, so head over to one of the spots when you are free!

~ kehwon