Rudy (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Sometimes life gets in the way of cooking. Sometimes life even gets in the way of dining out… or in our restricted dining age, Mother Nature puts a stop to the affair. It’s times like these that I still turn to delivery. After doing it for over a year, quickly ordering something from an app has become second nature. Don’t feel like cooking? Break out the app.

In all fairness, these lazy days are also when I get to experience different “fast food” places. In the past, McDonald’s was an occasional treat and Maker’s Pizza would generally fill in the rest. But, with all the lazy days I’ve experienced, we broke tradition and started ordering from other places instead. That’s when my husband read out great smash burgers in Toronto and realized there’s a Rudy in North York.

The Rudy burger ($6.99), with it’s smashed beef patty, is what drew him in. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why people like these burgers; to me, it tastes like having a burger patty in jerky format as all the juices are squeezed out and you’re left with crispy edges. It’s topped with tomato, lettuce, cheese, and their special sauce, but I still found it lacking in moisture. My husband tells me it’s supposed to be like this and it’s that caramelized crust that breaks through the soft bun that people like. I’d much rather get that crunch from raw onions or dill pickles any day.  

I’ll just stick with their chicken burger, the Valentino ($8.49), where the chicken patty is thick and juicy, but still arrives with a crispy lightly battered crust. The protein is amazing. Where there’s room for improvement is the bun – it’s way too soft becoming sticky and mushy and barely holds together.

At least they provide the sauces on the side or else that bun would have no hope. The Valentino sauce is sort of like a watery ranch and while the consistency is great for drizzling, it could be saltier. Once you really soak the patty with their light hot sauce and everything mixes with the coleslaw it does get tastier. Overall, a decent chicken sandwich.

Their fries ($4.19) are a little pricy but a fair size and can be shared amongst two. It just needs to be double fried, so it doesn’t arrive so soggy. And unlike the golden arche’s fries, these barely have a lick of salt. You’ll want to save some of the chicken burger sauce to dip these into.

I’ve certainly had my fill of chicken sandwiches and fries during the pandemic. Rudy hardly leads the pack, yet it wasn’t a disappointing experience either. Maybe I need to go beyond the chicken and broaden my palette by trying more smashed burgers – is it me, or do they seem to be all the rage lately? It’s certainly a possibility, because with life right now, I’m just so tired of cooking. Anyone feeling the same?


Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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 order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Hello Fresh meal kit delivery 2021

Meal Choices and Pricing

With 28 recipes available each week, Hello Fresh offers the most choice and was a breeze to find three meals to order. They also have extras - dessert and sides (veggie plate, garlic bread) – you can add on to really round out the meals and even extend a two-person kit to feed a family of three.

You’ll pay more for these options, $13.15 per portion (assuming three meals for two people) or $79 a week, which was the priciest out of all the companies I tried. This is also just the base price, as like their competitors, they also charge more for quicker 20-minute options (+ $2.99 a serving), special occasion recipes (think Father’s Day), or multi-protein meals (+$9.99 a serving).

Customer Service and Ordering

You can pick meals and skip deliveries up to five weeks in advance. Their skipping option was more difficult to find as you need to go into week and click the “edit delivery” button to navigate to the skip options. Then, there’s also a question asking customers why they’re skipping the week, which I find to be an annoying and unnecessary feature.

What is useful about the “edit delivery” area is that you can change the delivery date for each week individually (i.e., some weeks you can have it come on Sunday while others on Thursday) and even the plan option (i.e., three meals versus four meals) without having to change the entire subscription. From a customization standpoint, Hello Fresh is a leader with this feature and they deliver six days of the week in Toronto (everyday but Friday) so creates flexibility.

Ease of Cooking

As we entered spring, Hello Fresh started dedicating recipes for the BBQ, which is a great idea as I really would rather not turn on the oven during the warm weather. The cheesy brie and beef burger was delicious, a honking thick beef patty and more than enough brie to create a gooey decedent bite. I was just a little miffed about the recipe’s suggestion to add an egg to the beef mixture for a firmer patty – if anything it made it waterier and didn’t bind together as well, causing the patty to break apart easier.  

Even the potatoes get finished on the grill in a foil-pouch. Just put them on 10-minutes earlier than what the recipe calls for as we found them still undercooked after the burger was ready so ended up eating them separately.

Compared to other companies, Hello Fresh also didn’t require as many tools – most recipes only call for two pots and/or pans.  A recipe like the barramundi and brown butter lemon sauce with roasted potatoes and sugar snap peas could have easily become a multi-tool recipe with competitors. With Hello Fresh, there was just a sheet pan to roast the potatoes and everything else was prepared in a frying pan (with recipe actually saying to use the same one) making clean up easier.

The Taste Test

The recipes did have fewer flavouring components compared to others as most do not come up spice mixtures, instead relying on the ingredients themselves and salt and pepper. So, something like the barramundi I found a little bland.

Nonetheless, for dishes that use flavourful ingredients, I didn’t miss the spice kits. The gnocchi Bolognese had a lovely zest tomato sauce and when combined with the consommé, vegetables, and parmesan was a tasty dish.

While I would have like the cheesy chicken enchiladas to be saucier, they were still great and easy to prepare frying everything in a pan, wrapping the ingredients into a tortilla and baking with cheese and sauce on top. For a dish like this, Hello Fresh did include the necessary spices to make the meal taste like Tex Mex.

There were a lot of good vegetarian recipes as well. The Philly style portobello hoagies smartly calls for chefs to remove the gills from the portobello, so you’re left with a less watery mushroom that once mixed with peppers, onions, cheese, and spicy mayo makes you realize you don’t need the beef. And Hello Fresh uses Beyond Meat as an ingredient for some of their vegetarian recipes if you’d rather go for a fake protein.

Environmental Factors

I did like that Hello Fresh uses little packaging compared to others, even if it can sometimes create a slight detriment to taste. It’s a simple solution: pick up a couple of multi-purpose seasonings and use those to supplement the recipes that need a flavour boost. Creating less waste and helping the environment is worth it.

Conclusion

For those who do not mind paying a bit more, Hello Fresh was a great experience. Overall, I had a lot of success with their recipes and the amount of choice and flexibility with deliveries is helpful for those who like to plan. And if you’re going to use delivery services regularly, finding one that uses less packaging is also a great touch.

If the above has intrigued you, sign up and try a week for yourself. Hello Fresh is offering Gastro World readers $60 to go towards their first orders for new customers. Just click on this special referral link to go to their website.

Also check out the larger post for my comparison of other meal kit delivery companies. 



How To Find Them
 Website: Hellofresh.ca


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog



Stock Bar at Stock T.C (Toronto)

There is pent up demand within households – that’s what’s frequently being said about the torrent of money that’s about to flow through the Canadian economy once the flood gate opens. I can see why they’re predicting this: once my friend scored a reservation at the new Stock Bar, the roof top and street-side patios at Stock T.C, we wouldn’t bail even though Toronto was hit with a day of rain. Under normal conditions, we would have rain checked the patio and gone for an indoor dining experience. But since that wasn’t possible in June, and we had already been relegated to takeout and delivery for months on end, we were going anyways.

We saw umbrellas over the tables in photos and thought we’d take a chance. It’s a bet that paid off as we scored one of the last tables where everyone would be properly shielded from the elements. I bet Stock T.C wished they invested in more umbrellas to ensure more tables could get the full coverage – despite the plethora of umbrellas, when they’re placed only to protect from sun, it means few tables are usable.

So, was the risk worth it? Under normal conditions, the food would be a disappointment. The tagliatelle all’astice ($45) was so over seasoned. It’s perplexing why the chef felt a dish with lobster and marinara – two fairly flavourful ingredients – would need so much salt and pepper. The crustacean became lost, they could have thrown in any protein, a neutral chicken would have worked better. And for a high price point, the pasta had a lot of cherry tomatoes and probably a claw-worth of lobster. I’d pass on the pasta.

The Stock steak frites ($26) was decent – the beef was a little chewy, but that’s also expected from a lean sirloin that’s cooked perfectly to medium rare. If I were Stock T.C, I’d leave the steak uncut. Sure, the presentation will not look as nice, but it will help the protein retain it’s heat more as a common complaint is the steak arrives cold and dry. I wouldn’t say it was dry, but the temperature was a problem.

Perhaps the best dish of the night was the funghi e burrata ($26) pizza, but even this wasn’t something I’d rave about. I enjoyed the ingenuity of pairing burrata with mushrooms (typically it arrives with basil or prosciutto), as the earthy fungi gives an interesting twist with the creamy cheese. Yet, since I had this last, the pizza had two things going against it: 1) it tasted bland… after the salty pasta anything would seem tasteless; and 2) the crust, while nice and thin, had become hard from the cold.

If people are sharing dishes amongst a table, the restaurant should recommend having the pizza come between the appetizers and the main, or even act as the starter if the table isn’t getting anything. That would help ensure people are eating the pie at its peak.

The pizza would have made for a nice interlude between the prosciutto con gnocco fritto ($17) and the steak and pasta. Even the fritto, fried pieces of puffed dough, had cooled by the time they reached the table. Nonetheless, they had a lovely aroma, and the prosciutto was shaved thin enough that even the heat of your hand starts to warm the fat enough to stick to the pastry. Since it was my first bite of freshly prepared food since 2020, that fritto was freaking fabulous.

Eating outside always presents the chefs with challenges and deteriorates the taste of a dish. And with restaurants trying to recoup lost revenue, survive with limited occupancy, and deal with rising ingredient costs, menu prices will be higher than the historical norms. In the end, expect to pay more for dishes that aren’t at their best.

Which brings me back to the point of the pent-up demand. Sure, I paid a lot for a subpar meal, but I still loved it.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2388 Yonge Street


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!

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Project Fish (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Sushi isn’t really known to be comfort food - in fact, it’s what I turn to when I’m needing a ‘lighter meal’. Still, there is one type of sushi that I would consider to be comfort food and that’s when it’s prepared aburi-style: rice topped with protein and a generous layer of mayonnaise that is blasted with a blowtorch so that the mayo seeps into the protein. Usually, it’s finished off with one or two ingredients to give it that final flavour and garnish.

Comfort sushi is what you’ll find at Project Fish. Their oshi aburi served as a single order or part of a platter. At first glance, I wouldn’t have thought jalapenos would pair nicely with salmon, but in the salmon oshi ($14) it adds a bit of crunch and peppery bite that cuts through the otherwise rich fatty salmon. I could have done without the cracked black pepper, which adds a gritty hard texture and would suggest sumac, a spice that’s zesty but could melt into the background, as an alternative.

The small platter ($38) is a great option if you like variety.  There’s three pieces of the salmon oshi and that evening also included:

  • Saba oshi - cured mackerel simply adorned with miso aioli. It’s decent, but some pickled or fresh green scallion would have brought it to another level.
  • Basil shrimp oshi – while you can’t really taste the herb amongst the all the other ingredients, I did like the chopped black olives that complimented the sweet shrimp with a salty finish.
  • More aburi shrimp arrives in an unpressed form. Although it looks really like the oshi, Project Fish adds truffle oil into the mayo to create a decadent bite.
  • All the rich flavours are balanced off with simple salmon nigri, a spicy cooked fish roll that has quite the powerful kick of heat, and pieces of lightly sweetened tamago that could even double as dessert.

With 23 pieces of sushi and a small container of edamame, the small platter could almost feed two if you are not too hungry - add on another roll, appetizer, or oshi if you’d like a more fulsome meal. Plus, I love that fact that it comes in an environmentally friendly paper box instead of all that plastic that needs to be thrown away.

The Neo Tokyo roll ($18) tempted my husband but wasn’t a hit for me. I’m not sure why they added ‘Tokyo’ to the name … with the sweet and slightly spicy gochujang sauce slathered over it, I would have thought ‘Neo Seoul’ roll would have worked better. Or perhaps even ‘Neo Dallas’ roll as it seemed borne from an eclectic diverse neighbourhood from the American south: there’s the Korean gochujang sauce but also a spicy jalapeño relish, and possibly even habanero mixed with the tobiko so that you get a spicy kick.

There was just too much of surimi or fake crab meat salad and not enough other ingredients to round out the maki. The tempura bits should have added crunch but were soggy with all the condiments and I couldn’t taste any of the cucumber that was mentioned on the menu. Overall, it was just too saucy and soft for my taste.

Oh well, sometimes you can’t win them all. Luckily with our overzealous ordering there was so much food that I didn’t need the Neo Tokyo roll to leave me fully comforted and satisfied.  

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 16 Park Home Avenue
 Website: 
 Delivery: store delivery, Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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 order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Parmigiano Trattoria (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Every time I have a craving for eggplant parmigiano ($18)Parmigiano Trattoria is where I go to get a fix. They are wizards with the dish, taking thinly sliced eggplant and coating it in finely crushed breadcrumbs to create a delicate crispy crust. It’s then smothered with enough mozzarella to give it that lovely pull and baked in a fresh marinara sauce. The smell of fried eggplant and tomato sauce that wafts up before the first bite… just try not to salivate.

When I cracked the plastic lid off the black container and glanced at the four hefty slices of the parmigiano that smell was such a nice reminder of the dine-in days. Indeed, the crispy edges on the eggplant where no where to be found after steaming during delivery, but the tomato sauce was as delicious as ever, though needed a bit more salt. Somehow the portions were even bigger, the parmigiano accompanied by another container filled with sautéed vegetables and spaghetti. It was if Parmigiano Trattoria was welcoming me home with two meals.

There was more than enough for two in the baked chicken pasta ($18) as well. This arrived closer to the typical al dente with the chicken and pasta coated in a creamy tomato cheese sauce as well as roasted peppers and spinach thrown in to lighten up the dish. While it tastes creamier than other rosé-sauce pastas, it doesn’t feel heavy. Possibly because Parmigiano Trattoria thins out the sauce.

The good thing about getting all your food at the same time is the ability to combine dishes. I found the garlic shrimp ($12.50) a little plain on their own but combined with the spaghetti with tomato sauce instantly enhanced both dishes.

While the romaine in the Caesar ($9) salad was starting to pinken at the edges, the lettuce was still crisp and juicy. This salad does take some prep work as you’ll need to toss it with the dressing yourself. But it does keep it from getting soggy and allows you to control how much of the thick house-made dressing you want to add - It’s fairly flavourful so I’d gradually build up to taste.

As I write this post, the patios have just opened in Ontario. Let’s continue this momentum and get to the next stage when we can dine indoors again. That’s when I can finally return to Parmigiano Trattoria and have their beloved eggplant parmigiano in all it’s freshly baked glory.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3186 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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 order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Good Food meal kit delivery 2021

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve used a meal kit company – a service that delivers all the ingredients (except staples like oil, salt, and pepper) required to create a hearty meal in about thirty to fourty five minutes. When the pandemic hit, these services became even more popular, a promise for families to continue to get gourmet meals without venturing into supermarkets. As I started to get junk mail and magazine inserts promoting a huge array of companies, the intrigue set in… how have they changed since I’ve last used them?

First off, I tried Good Food, one of the newer entrants established in 2016 and claims they are Canada’s #1 meal kit delivery company.

Meal Choices and Pricing

With a choice of 18 recipes each week, it’s a company that has the least options. Somehow it didn’t hurt my experience as I found their pictures and descriptions more enticing, even with a smaller selection it was difficult to narrow it down to three. They try to help the process along with various filters (easy prep, low carb, family style, brunch, excluding certain ingredients, etc.) and when all else fails, they also sell ready-to-eat meals, combine and dine (a sauce that gets added to rice or pasta), and even a host of grocery items.

Prices are in the middle of the pack at $11.95 a serving (assumes 3 meals per week for two people) or $72 a week. Although, they do have a fair number of recipes with premium ingredients, which tacks on a supplementary cost that can raise the final box total.

Customer Service and Ordering

I was a little miffed that I had to call in to cancel my service (most allow you to manage this online), but they were quick to answer and cheerfully cancelled the subscription without giving me a guilt trip. Punctuality may be their downfall as out of the two weeks I used Good Food, the second delivery didn’t arrive during the stated 12-hour window (8am to 8pm) and finally came at 9pm. I’d suggest your delivery the day before you need the meals just to be safe.

I did enjoy the text notification feature where they let you know the box is on the way (at about the hour out point) and you can then click the link to track the van in real time. It’s a good option for those living in condos or those who don’t like having the box sit too long at the door.

It’s the only company that delivers 7 days per week in my area (Toronto) and if you pay $9.99 a month, you can skip managing ordering each week and just get them to deliver the next day whenever you desire. In most major cities, you can also pay a one-time $6.99 fee for next day delivery as well. This makes it great for individuals who find it difficult to place an order ahead of time or need to travel unexpectedly.

If you do sign up for the weekly subscription, you can pick recipes for the next four weeks and skip deliveries up to three months in advance.

Ease of Cooking

Maybe it’s the recipes I chose, but I found most required at least three pieces of equipment - a sheet pan for baking something, a pot, and a frying pan. Luckily, those who cook in my household don’t need to do dishes.

Their sheet pan meals cut this down to one item - the only problem is their recipe calls for a large restaurant sized sheet pan. For those who have large ovens you can easily rectify this by purchasing a new high lipped pan. But for those with an older oven *raises hand* or live in a condo with smaller ones, good luck fitting everything onto one sheet pan. I sensed it already after seeing how much more space my chicken and potatoes occupied compared to the recipe card.

In the end, I prepped the veggies on another sheet, but had to guess how much additional cooking time to add using two sheets. Using the higher range of the cooking time worked perfectly. It did mean the chicken probably lost an extra infusion of flavours but the potatoes turned out crispier than they otherwise would have been as well. So, all in all, a win.

The Taste Test

I really enjoy their spice blends, which adds tons of flavours to the meal. Each recipe generally also incorporates a sauce/condiment and a fresh garnish (green onion or parsley) so put together makes for a tasty dish with many layers of flavours.

A great example of this is the smoky BBQ spiced pork chops with potato and bean salad where the pork chops and salad both use the spice blend. The meat also gets finished in a sweet smoky BBQ sauce and the dressing for the salad combines creamy mayonnaise, more of the seasoning spice, and a thick zesty vinaigrette. The final finishing of fresh scallions in the salad gives it a burst of freshness and has become a side I’ve recreated for other nights.

Even the rigatoni alfredo is enhanced with lovely marinated artichokes that helps give the otherwise creamy sauce a nice hit of acid.

Environmental Factors

All the spices, condiments, and herbs does come at a cost – Good Food uses way more plastic than other delivery companies. It probably doesn’t help that they put ingredients in bags that are much larger than necessary, like these green beans that end up only occupying a third of the packaging.

Conclusion

If only Good Food wasn’t so plastic laden, they would have been my top choice of the three I tried in 2021. Yet, I can’t get over all the waste that’s created, especially if this is a service that’s supposed to be every week – god help our planet.

While my finished products don’t necessarily look as good as their stylized pictures, it nonetheless tastes like a gourmet creation. Good Food, just know that potato and green bean salad has left a mark in my recipe repertoire. 

If the above has intrigued you, sign up and try a week for yourself. Goodfood is offering Gastro World readers $40 to go towards their first two orders for new customers. Just click on this special referral link to go to their website.

Also check out the larger post for my comparison of other meal kit delivery companies. 




How To Find Them


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog


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Ramen Raijin's frozen ramen (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Before COVID, when someone mentions “instant ramen”, a square of hard dried noodles is what comes to mind. That goes into a pot of boiling water for about five minutes and a powdered soup gets prepared, sometimes enhanced with another packet of dried seaweed and vegetables. Many are spicy, but you’ll need to find a delicate balance of the soup base to water… one false move will leave you with a kick at the back of the throat. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I literally cough when too much powder is added.

Then COVID hit and Ramen Raijin reinvented the concept of instant ramen. Theirs is a frozen circular disk that literally incorporates everything – the broth, noodles, and various toppings that are a far cry from the rehydrated vegetable fragments. In about the same time it takes to boil water to create the dried version, the frozen disk goes into a pot until it melts and is heated through.

And there’s no guessing games with Raijin’s spicy tonkotsu ramen ($12). The spicy-miso pork broth has enough chili to flood your mouth with flavours, but the fiery finish is subdued, and the miso adds a lovely creamy finish.

Perhaps it was all the tightly packed vegetables (corn, slivers of cabbage, bean sprouts, and green onions) and the extra minced chicken mixed into the soup base, but the spicy tonkotsu did take a couple minutes longer to prepare than the non-spicy version so the noodles ended up being a less chewy than the other.

The noodles in the Hakata tonkotsu ramen ($10) turned out perfectly and Raijin’s Hakata-style rich pork broth was just as creamy and umami laced as anything you’d find at a restaurant. Something about the freezing process makes me like the pickled ginger more, it’s mellower and melts into the broth nicely. It’s all finished with a rather thin slice of pork belly cha-shu, kikurage mushroom, green onion, and enough sesame to add a nutty finish to the soup.

Will the frozen ramen overtake the delivery and takeout options across the city? While close to the “real deal” they are still missing some of the beloved toppings like a gooey onsen egg and the crispy fresh toppings that can make it sing. The additional garnishes are easy – you can easily get a dried seaweed snack pack and finely chop scallions – but the elusive egg is more difficult. Raijin provides a recipe with the order confirmation to allow home cooks to recreate them at home. But all the work for one or two eggs … let’s just call me lazy.

To augment the meal, as the lone slice of cha shu isn’t the most substantial, Raijin offers extra pork or a host of frozen appetizers, some care of Zakkushi on Carlton just down the street. The yakitori momo ($8.50) goes bag and all into boiling water for five minutes and then you’re presented with four skewers of juicy chicken yakitori. The sauce is waterier than the lovely glaze you’ll normally find at restaurants, but in a pinch these will do.

Before placing an order, ensure your freezer has some room as for deliveries there’s a minimum $50 order size (about five ramen) and a $7 delivery fee. If you create that room if your freezer, the delivery fee is waived for a $100 purchase.

I love and value the ingenuity entrepreneurs have shown during this crisis. Dried instant ramen, you’ve been disrupted. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 24 Wellesley Street West
 Delivery: store delivery

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 order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Grandeur Palace 華麗宮大酒樓 (Toronto) for takeout

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

One thing I loathed about Grandeur Palace was their ridiculous wait times. I would channel my inner Zen master while waiting for a table on weekends. It was a test of patience that I rarely had, so while I really enjoyed Grandeur’s dim sum, it’s a restaurant I hardly visited.

Then COVID struck and now Grandeur’s pivoted to “all day” dim sum and from 10am - 3pm, essentially the normal brunch hours, any small, medium, or large dishes are $3.88. No trying to order before 11am, when the special pricing is normally in effect, there is now five blissful hours to get your dim sum hit.

The only small hiccup is getting an order placed, which essentially means going old school and calling in. Of course, there’s always the trusty delivery apps, but you’ll be paying a premium – the $3.88 dishes will instead range from $5.85 to $7 before all the ancillary charges. So, get used to redialing starting at 10am and after a dozen tries, you’ll hopefully get through.

As with all my other dim sum experiences, takeout and delivery just isn’t the same. As soon as the lid is lifted and the steam escapes, the dish starts to wilt - it’s as if the protein packed dumplings are a plant. The wrapper on the steamed shrimp chive dumplings starts getting sticky and hard (although Grandeur smartly places them further apart, so they don’t meld together). They’re just as huge as normal, but the filling is skimpy on the chives, so they end up tasting like har gow.

While still the size of a golf ball, the shrimp sui mai loses a lot of its juices so they’re much harder than at the restaurant and sits in a shallow pool of liquid causing the wonton wrapper to become soggy. But when you haven’t had one of these pork dumplings in a few months, it still tastes awfully good, despite the sad state.

Forget about the deep fried savoury glutinous dumplings with meat. Any crispiness disappears, and it becomes a sticky chewy ball. I have no one to blame but myself – of course anything deep fried would be a disappointment. But I so wanted a bite of that five-spice laced pork with the slightly sweet chewy wrapper. At least the flavours were still on point.

The steamed rice noodle with shrimp was the dish that’s closest to what you’d find at the restaurant. They’ve always made it a bit thicker, so it held up to the travels and the consistency and texture remained consistent.

Strangely, the glaze on the honey sauce beef short ribs ($7.68) sort of melts off, leaving the top pieces lacking flavours and the bottom soaking in sauce. Do yourself a favour and open the takeout container upside down so that the sweet sauce recombines with everything. It’ll taste a lot better.

Following traditions, I had to finish the meal with the stir-fried lobster e-fu noodles ($18.88). Grandeur doesn’t skimp on takeout, really packing the noodles into the container so it’s not the easiest to portion out without having lobster fly everywhere. If I were the restaurant, I’d add a bit more savoury sauce to cover everything since the noodles will get soft regardless – it would allow the noodles to stay untangled.

Perhaps the lobster e-fu noodles aren’t ordered with as much gusto in takeout as the crustacean didn’t taste the freshest – not rancid or off, just not nearly as clean as normal.  

While I’m glad it was an efficient meal from Grandeur – call to place an order, arrive at the stated time, go to the cashier area to tell them your number and pay, then bring the receipt to the takeout table to collect your order – the saying “good things come to those who wait” creeps into my mind. While the dim sum was passable, it wasn’t great. Who would have thought I’d actually miss the days were I would have to stand in line for 30+ minutes for a table? What I wouldn’t give for a test of patience now.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


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 Location: Toronto, Canada
  Address: 2301 Brimley Road
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


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