Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lunch. Show all posts

Adamson Barbecue (Toronto)


As the age old saying goes, “Things are bigger in Texas”. When it comes to Adamson Barbecue, this isn’t necessarily true… their parking lot only holds 16 vehicles, they prepare enough product for the day (often running out before closing), and the meat on the lunch plates is satisfying but definitely not American sized portions.

For groups of four or more, ordering sides by the container and meats by the pound are their suggested value option. Visiting with only two people, we decided to each get a lunch plate, which allows you to choose from one ($15), two ($20), or three ($25) meats, all arriving with two sides.


Two pieces of lean brisket and baby back ribs are freshly cut and placed on my tray. Is that it? It’ll be gone like that, there’s no way I can share! I thought.  One bite into the succulent smoked rib, as it melted into my mouth, had me wondering if it’d be inappropriate to suck every ounce of sauce and meat off the bone in a public forum. That baby back rib was the best I’ve ever had, which made it SO difficult to share the other.


Even their brisket impressed, although eat it first and quickly. The initial bites of the tender cut were surprisingly moist for what can sometimes be dry and crumbly. Liberal amounts of dry rub melded into the beef so that it forms a beautiful smoke ring and creates a flavourful brisket – sauce be damned. But, once left for 10 minutes and starts getting cold, the meat becomes noticeably drier so that some of the thin tangy sweet barbeque sauce is required.


If you don’t mind the cholesterol, ask for the fattier cut of brisket instead. Having portions of my husband’s, this definitely stayed succulent to the end. While there are some blubbery areas, the fat is soft and simply breaks apart to combine with the beef.


The slice of white bread, mild thinly shaved white onions, and crispy dill pickles went perfectly with the pulled pork allowing us to make our own sandwich. Of all the meats, it arrives in the largest portion, a good baseball size that definitely gave us our fill. Salty, smoky, and having a light pork flavour, it made for a satisfying last bite.     

There are plenty of sides to choose from and after looking through the station the kale Caesar and cornbread were the things that stood out. Other options include coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, fancy pickles, beans, and loaded potatoes (available weekend only).


Kale is kale, but the cornbread is king. Moist, cakey, and just slightly sweet, it almost felt like a dessert to end the barbeque. Plus, it’s a side that’s perfect for wrapping to go (even without the Texas size portions a lunch plate is difficult to finish) and tastes great the next day.

I get the love and why people line up early for a taste of Adamson Barbecue, it really is that good. To be fair, I have yet to visit Texas to sample the smoked meats of the South, but really how much better can it get?

While most people rave about their brisket, the baby back ribs is what earned the golden star for me. Adamson does it low and slow in a wood burning oven and keeps everything warmed until it is cut-to-order. With barbeque this good, I’ll stay out of the states just a little longer.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 176 Wicksteed Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Adamson Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (Washington)


Biting into the thin non-oily tortilla chips dipped in the slightly spicy salsa was the first hint there’d be good food to come. Mexican cuisine is a meal I always look forward to in America. Where choices are abundant and things just taste more authentic compared to Canada.


Oyamel Cocina Mexicana didn’t disappoint. Their tacos were each four delicious bites. The palm sized shell could barely contain the lengua guisada ($4.50), to the point I had to finish the second half with knife and fork as the thick slices of tender beef tongue fell out. Braised until permeated with flavours, this is the way tongue is meant to be served: bites of the soft meaty properties while the unsightly bumps are hidden from view.


The pollo a la parrilla ($4) had lovely smokiness with the chicken even the green onion garnishes getting some time on the grill. If you order multiple tacos, eat this one first as the flavours are mellow. The smear of smashed heirloom Resboseros beans at the bottom were the perfect condiment, just thick enough to hold everything together but fluid enough to not get sticky.

Cheese lovers, the quesadilla huitlacoche ($10) is for you with tons of soft gooey Chihuahua cheese studded with corn and bits of bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. There’s something magical about the preparation of the cheese, slightly crusted so the caramelized parts breaks into pieces that tastes like bacon bits. We had to double check with the waitress to make sure it was indeed vegetarian and pork free as it tastes so real.


Of all the items, the guacamole ($15) seemed the most run-of-the-mill. But, to be fair, it’s a dish that’s easily made at home. At Oyamel, a staff member stands in the dining room making it fresh with mortar and pestle, before topping each with queso fresco and a green tomatillo salsa. I would have liked a more of the Serrano chile for heat, but did enjoy that the acid was balanced so the creamy avocado was present.


Oh land of stars and stripes, just remember how lucky you are to have such tasty Mexican food. Just why would anyone ever want to build a wall to keep out something so delicious?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 401 7th St NW

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Oyamel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


LiWan Kitchen 荔湾肠粉 (Toronto)


Previous rice noodle rolls and congee restaurants I’ve visited have been cozy establishments where tables are practically communal and anyone who’s claustrophobic should avoid them at all costs. Hence, stepping into LiWan Kitchen was a pleasant surprise. Despite the narrow store front, the dining room stretches far into the building and tables are spaciously placed apart. As a bonus, the air conditioning is more than adequate to hold off the heat sweats from eating congee in the summer.

With a full page of rice noodle roll options, we knew this would be a dish that is a must order. Having sampled three, they were all adequately filled and although the wrapper wasn’t as thin as some other specialty restaurants, they were still lighter than what’s generally found at dim sum.

The shrimp and snow pea leaves ($4.50) are evenly distributed amongst each roll with two large shrimp in each and half lined with the slightly crunchy leafy vegetable, which adds colour and a herby taste against the seafood. A vegetarian version replaces the shrimp with prince mushroom slivers ($4.50). While the menu describes it as multi-mushroom with snow pea leaves, there’s really only one fungi, but plenty of it is included in the roll. Plus, being a meatier mushroom with a slight bite, the prince mushroom contrasts nicely against the silky rice wrapper.


How good the dough stick in plain rice noodle roll ($4.50) is depends on the dough fritter. At LiWan Kitchen, it’s warm, very soft, and has a thin crispy crust… a good start to the dish. You’ll just need to ask for more sauce as the little dish they provide is comical (don’t worry, you’ll receive more for free).


I will never look at vegetarian congee the same again, the chestnut and pumpkin ($4) combines the stewed rice with puréed chestnut and pumpkin to give it a vibrant yellow colour and a light earthy finish. Corn kernels are thrown in for a bit of texture, but you will need to add salt as it’s fairly neutral on arrival.


In general, LiWan Kitchen keeps their dishes under seasoned, providing salt at each table so guests can add more. The fried rice with egg, BBQ pork, and shrimp ($9.99; also called yeung chow fried rice) also needed a liberal sprinkling for flavour but was nicely combined with plenty of ingredients. It’s definitely a healthier version of the dish as it’s also less oily than competitors.


If you don’t mind a 20-minute wait, their casserole rice dishes are even better. The pork pancake and BBQ pork ($8.99) topping the rice is fairly run-of-the-mill, but the golden rice crust on the bottom is beautifully crispy – the best part of casserole pot rice, in my opinion. It comes with bowl of bone broth with chayote, hence can be a filling meal for one. 


Having visited LiWan Kitchen on multiple occasions their friendly and efficient service keeps me going back. Surprisingly, customers can even request a complimentary Chinese newspaper at the end of the meal, despite their reasonable prices. I’m just glad I can enjoy these comfort dishes without being squished and leaving in a pool of sweat. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 4271 Sheppard Avenue East


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Laveanne (Campbellcroft)


Looking for a photo op amongst flowers and disappointed to hear the sunflower farm is now closed? Luckily, you can still nestle yourself amongst the lavender fields of Laveanne. About an hour outside of Toronto in Port Hope, Laveanne is a small farm with no admission charge containing a little store and open-air bistro. Unless you’re a photo fiend, you likely won’t spend more than an hour and half at the facility, but a visit to the goat farm and Port Hope marina can help fill the day.


They’re only opened for July when the lavender flowers. By the time we visited at the end of the month, the peak of the lavender bloom was over, but the purple flowers remained on the plants. Perhaps not as vibrantly coloured as mid-month, we could still smell the distinctive scent as we walked amongst the field.


A local restauranteur/caterer also takes over their open-air bistro for lunch. During 2018, it was On the Side Gourmet where they offered a simple menu with four sandwiches, a larger salad, soup, dessert, and sides. The bistro consists of a dozen tables under a tent attached to a gazebo where the kitchen resides. While the food was mediocre, at best, there’s something about eating amongst a lavender field that makes everything taste better.


The steak on baguette ($17) is better described as roast beef on a sausage bun. Everything was too soft for me – the beef so thinly sliced against the grain that it almost crumbles, which would have been okay if the bread also wasn’t doughy. Moreover, it needed seasoning - even with grilled onions and cheese sauce there wasn’t much flavour. While the French potato salad was a vibrant combination of cherry tomatoes, green beans, carrots, celery, onion, and olives, like the sandwich it needed something more than just herbed oil to give it interest.


Still, the “steak” was a better option than the grilled chicken kabob ($16), which had been precooked, left in a warmer, then re-heated on the grill. By the time it was served, the chicken was dry and hard. Perhaps if there was more sauce to rehydrate the protein it’d be better, but the wrap barely contained any tzatziki and the tabbouleh was really chopped tomatoes and not the flavourful Middle Eastern parsley and grain salad you’re expect. Luckily, I paired this with the garden salad, so when added into the wrap there was at least some flavour and crunch. Otherwise, the best part of the sandwich was the warmed flatbread.


While I’m not normally a huge fan of lavender in food, being at Laveanne convinced me to try the punch with lavender syrup ($3). Not surprisingly, there was no lavender flavours; I couldn’t even smell the aroma. To be fair, maybe it was because we had just walked through the field of flowers that had such a strong fragrance. For fruit punch, it was fine.


Disappointing lunch aside, Laveanne is worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a relaxing and low-key drive. Sometimes you just need to get out of the city and be amongst nature. In July, why not make it fragrant purple lavender? 

Overall mark - 6 out of 10 



How To Find Them
 Location: Campbellcroft, Canada
 Address: 8667 Gilmour Road
 Website: http://laveanne.ca/

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Aka-Oni Izakaya (Toronto)


While I do love expertly crafted sushi, made piece-by-piece and eaten at the optimal temperature, these meals are reserved for special occasions. Generally, I’ll limit my sushi and sashimi intake to “fancier” establishments - perhaps I’m being overly cautious, but low prices and raw seafood seem like a bad combination. Yet, I can still get my fill of cooked items at reasonable prices. The newest find is Aka-Oni Izakaya, a restaurant that offers an array of affordable lunch bento boxes amongst other dishes.


Standard items arrive with each bento meal:
  • Scalding miso soup that contains so much miso paste that it stays emulsified. A lone clam can be found at the bottom, surprisingly not overdone.
  • Simple green salad dressed with a tasty soy, lemon, and ginger dressing.
  • A daily appetizer, which in our case were two deep-fried gyozas. They’re of average quality but at least hot and freshly made.
  • A bowl of rice, even adorned with a bit of seaweed salt for extra flavour.
  • And for dessert, pieces of cut-up fruit (with the bento) and a scoop of black sesame or green tea ice cream (served afterwards).

Rarely are you able to find surf-and-turf for under $20. Aka-Oni’s take bento ($18) meets the challenge with a wee tempura lobster tail and small steak. While the lobster is frozen, you can still taste some of the lobster’s sweetness … it helps when the chef shows restraint with the batter. It’d be even better if it were cooked less.


Surprisingly, the Angus steak arrived pink-in-the-middle medium despite being cut so thinly. Simply grilled, it tasted like beef and was tender.


A generous portion of the saba shioyaki arrives in the matsu bento ($16), but does require a generous squeeze of lemon and grated radish to mask the light fishy essence (not abnormal with mackerel). Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed the enoki stuffed beef rolls. Some may find it a tad salty, but the flavours were perfect at complimenting all the neutral crunchy mushrooms.


There aren’t bento boxes during dinner, but there is a set meal for those who like crab and sashimi. Not feeling too hungry, we stuck with some sharable dishes that spanned their entire menu. With two pages of kushiyaki skewers, we opted for the Negima chicken thigh ($2.25) and Matsusaka pork jowl ($6.99); both cooked well remaining tender, incorporated enough of the sweet and savoury glaze, and had the requisite charbroil flavour. Just don’t expect very large skewers, each containing four to five small bites at most.


For something more substantial, the grilled squid with unagi sauce ($9.99) is a better option, especially since it also uses the same glaze and has a smoky grilled flavour. With plenty of pieces to go around, the squid is of course chewier than meat but great for munching on with drinks.


I liked the freshly fried tempura prawn that’s used in the dynamite roll ($7.50), nice and crispy and still warm. Aka-Oni does a good version of the popular maki, wrapped in thin layer of rice and seaweed with the customary avocado, tobiko, cucumber, and spicy mayo.


We finished with a bowl of Hakata black garlic ramen ($11.99) selecting the thicker noodles to hold up against the stronger soup. While I would have liked the noodles to be cooked a touch less, the broth was thick and filled with flavours without relying solely on salt. While not overly large, the restaurant didn’t skimp on the toppings, including a thick slice of pork belly chashu, half an onsen egg, corn, bamboo shoot, thinly sliced black fungus, fish cake, and seaweed. It could rival a bowl served at traditional ramen restaurants downtown.


While you’ll never dream of Aka-Oni’s dishes (a nod to Jiro), they’re well prepared and decent quality for the low price. Besides, it’s one of the few places where the dishes arrived looking like the menu’s picture, if not better. Thanks to Aka-Oni, I can eat well while saving up for meticulously made sushi.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 633 Silver Star Blvd

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Aka-Oni Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yin Ji Chang Fen 銀記腸粉 (Markham)


If you’re claustrophobic and have an aversion to sitting in close quarters, Yin Ji Chang Fen is not a restaurant to visit. Each table’s real estate is used to capacity – during peak periods a table that fits four will not be given to three – so it’s best to go in even numbers.

What makes people return is Yin Ji’s chang fen or rice noodle rolls. Unlike the versions you find at dim sum, Yin Ji’s is thin yet still retains a hint of elasticity to resist breaking. Each order arrives as one massive rice noodle that’s filled with toppings. The marinated beef and shrimp rice roll ($5.75) incorporated diced pieces of soy sauce laced beef (as opposed to the soft patty found elsewhere) studded with plump shrimp.


You can add an egg coating (additional $1.25), which gives it a light wash on top of the actual rice noodle. Having had it with the BBQ pork and chive roll ($4.75), it does give the dish an added depth of flavour (and perhaps helps the soy sauce stick better), but takes away from the silky feeling of the rice roll itself.


Most people also add on a bowl of congee - the typical order seems to be a congee and chang fen per diner - and their Lai Wan ($5.50) version is popular. There’s the customary seafood (shrimp and white fish), since Lai Wan is a seaside village in China, but also includes BBQ pork slices, pork rind slivers, crunchy peanuts, thinly sliced egg, and a hefty dose of parsley (in lieu of spring onions) that really awakens the congee.


Their shredded pork and gold preserved egg congee ($5) was also decent, with enough of each ingredient. Some reviewers find their congee bland, but I found it adequately seasoned and the abundant toppings give it sufficient flavours - it’s not out-of-this-world but at $5 a bowl is good enough.


The menu includes other dim sum as well. Their sticky rice wrap ($4.50) arrives two to an order, each almost double the miniature versions found at dim sum restaurants. The glutinous rice is filled with mostly meat (seems to be pork in lieu of the traditional chicken) and arrives piping hot.


From the moment you enter, there’s a sense of frenzy … as if you’ve stepped into a night market street vendor instead of a strip mall in Markham. The environment takes some getting used to, but that chang fen … once you’ve had it a Yin Ji, dim sum will never be the same again. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 7010 Warden Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Yin Ji Chang Fen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato