Monthly Archives: June 2013

All You Can Eat and A La Carte Sushi in Kitchener/Waterloo

I’ve tried many All You Can Eat sushi restaurants in Waterloo and Kitchener between 2008-2013. The first all you can eat restaurant I went to was Ye’s Sushi. It’s like an initiation restaurant for university students. Anywhere you went in first year, the upper years and fellow students would say, you have to go to Ye’s; you have to go to Morty’s. The second all you can eat restaurant I went to was in Kitchener and it was called Sushi Star. My friend introduced it to the rest of my friends and I and we would always go there for lunch if we wanted to eat sushi lunch buffet since the quality was better than Ye’s. Then Spring Rolls started their all you can eat buffet and I couldn’t resist its premium menu even though it’s much pricier compared to the other AYCE restaurants. I loved their lobster avocado salad, Thai basil eggplant lemongrass dish, Boston lobster tempura roll, mango creme brulee, and their New York tempura cheesecake. Then Sushi 99 and O’Yummy’s came along and they were cheaper compared to Spring Rolls and closer compared to Sushi Star. I went to Nara Sushi last month and they have black sesame ice cream on their AYCE menu! Their Royal Nara roll is also very delicious. Instead of using rice and seaweed to roll it, they use pink radish. My friends and I tried AYCE Sushi Itamae on Friday night since we got their 50% off coupon in the mail. Their seaweed salad is delicious however their miso soup is ok. Their salmon and red tuna sashimi are ok. The banana mango roll is interesting. I liked the chicken skewer however my friend favoured the beef skewer. Their tofu tempura isn’t worth it, the tofu was course, not soft. Their eggplant terriyaki is abit salty but good. Their terriyaki salmon, tempura yam, tempura shrimp are delicious. The egg tart is soggy. My friends and I loved their cheese mussels. The mango and green tea ice cream are ok. Overall, it’s worth it with the 50% off coupon but at regular price, not so much.

Red Dragon Roll at Tomu Sushi

Red Dragon Roll at Tomu Sushi

I went to Yummyaki in first and second year of university and it was a la carte back then. It was good quality and decently priced for a la carte. Last year, after a particularly grueling exam, my friends and I went to Watami. It’s quite pricey and it’s a la carte. I had the Ice and Fire Roll ($13.95). The Ice and Fire Roll consisted of baked red snapper on top of a shrimp tempura and crab roll. I also split the taro ice cream ($6.99) with 2 of my friends. Overall, Watami has good quality food but it’s quite pricey on a student budget. Recently I went to Tomu Sushi with another friend for dinner. She got the Red Dragon Roll ($12.95) while I got the salmon terriyaki sakura bento box ($15.95). Tomu sushi has 3 kinds of kimchi dishes. They are kimchi, beansprouts, and potatoes. We also got miso soup and salad. The Red Dragon Roll consists of shrimp tempura, avacado, tobiko, cucumbers and it’s topped with salmon. The salmon terriyaki sakura bento box includes 2 pieces of shrimp tempura, a selection of vegetable tempura including onion, broccoli, yam, sweet potato, zucchini, etc., japchae, 3 pieces of california sushi, salmon terriyaki, rice, salad and miso soup. It was delicious and extremely filling. There was alot more tempura than I expected. The salmon terriyaki was on a bed of beansprouts with terriyaki sauce drizzled around the side. Tomu Sushi is very generous with the wasabi. Overall, I was very satisfied with my dinner at Tomu Sushi and it’s cheaper than Watami.

Salmon Terriyaki Sakura Bento Box

Salmon Terriyaki Sakura Bento Box

My recommendation for all you can eat is Spring Rolls (dinner and premium menu), Sushi Star and Nara Sushi. If you want cheaper options in Waterloo then O’Yummy’s or Sushi 99. My recommendation for a la carte is Tomu Sushi.

Categories: All You Can Eat/AYCE/Buffet, Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Kitchener, Food, Japanese, Kitchener, Restaurant Review, Uptown Waterloo, Waterloo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taco Farm

My friend and I went to Taco Farm this past Friday. Taco Farm opened this past Tuesday. Each table gets a bowl of chips, salsa, chipolte sauce and jalapeno sauce. They also serve water in a wine bottle!

Top Left: water in wine bottle Top Right: tacos Bottom Left: tacos Bottom Right: chips with salsa, jalapeno sauce and chipolte sauce

Top Left: Water in Wine Bottle
Top Right: Carnitas and Grilled Cheese & Smoked Mushroom Tacos
Bottom Left: Smoked Pork Belly and Grilled Cheese & Smoked Mushroom Tacos
Bottom Right: Chips with Salsa, Jalapeno Sauce and Chipolte Sauce

My friend got the pineapple and guajilo chile margarita ($10), the carnitas taco ($4) and the grilled cheese and smoked mushroom taco ($4). The pineapple and guajilo chile margarita consists of grilled pineapple purée, lime juice, tequila blanco, guajilo chile drizzle and a guajilo chile rim. It is kind of salty and the pineapple flavour is weak. The carnitas taco is delicious. The carnitas taco comprises of spiced pork shoulder, pico de gallo and guacamole on a tortilla. It has a lot of spiced pork shoulder in it. The pico de gallo and guacamole adds more flavour and texture to the taco. The grilled cheese and smoked mushroom taco consists of smoked mushrooms, Oaxaca cheese, pickled jalapeno salad, cocoa-mole on a tortilla folded in half.

Margherita

Pineapple and Guajilo Chile Margarita

I got the flor de jamaica margarita ($10), the grilled cheese and smoked mushroom taco, the smoked pork belly taco and the carnitas taco. The flor de jamaica margarita consists of hibiscus flower infused tequila blanco, hibiscus tea, farm citrus and a hibiscus rim. I really like it since its sweet and tasty. The smoked pork belly taco comprises of Maple Habanero smoked belly, red beet crudito, farm sauce and lime.

Flor de Jamaica Margarita

Flor de Jamaica Margarita

Overall, I recommend the flor de jamaica margarita and the carnitas taco if you’re eating at Taco Farm.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Mexican, Restaurant Review, Uptown Waterloo, Waterloo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guanaquita Restaurant

My friend and I attempted to go to this restaurant for dinner on a Tuesday in early May however the restaurant was closed for dance lessons causing us to go to Nara Sushi for dinner instead. I was able to go yesterday to the restaurant and treat myself to Salvadorean cuisine. The restaurant is on the second floor of the building so you have to walk up a flight of stairs to get there. It has outdoor seating on the balcony patio and indoor seating (several booths and many tables). I chose to dine al-fresco.

IMG_20130620_133550

Dining on the patio

Dining on the patio

I ordered the Guanaquita Platter (1 pupusa, 1 pastelitos, 1 enchilada and 1 tamales) ($9.95) and horchata (rice milk drink) ($2.25). Unfortunately I went at the wrong time and they didn’t have tamales so I replaced the tamales with another pupusa so my Guanaquita Platter consisted of 1 pork and cheese pupusa, 1 bean and cheese pupusa, 1 pastelitos (Salvadorean patty), 1 chicken enchilada, spicy salsa and coleslaw. I preferred the pork and cheese pupusa over the bean and cheese pupusa. You could barely taste the bean in the pupusa since it’s basically mashed up and the cheese overwhelms the taste of the beans whereas with the pork and cheese pupusa, you can easily taste both the pork and the cheese. I really liked the pastelitos. It has a vegetable filling and it has a crispy taste to it. It reminded me of a Jamaican beef patty but instead of a beef filling it’s a vegetable filling. The chicken enchilada was nice. It’s a bit messy to eat but it was tasty. The spicy salsa was only spicy for the first 3 minutes, afterwards it wasn’t spicy. Guanaquita Restaurant also provides salsa hot sauce and it’s definitely hot! The coleslaw was a nice touch to the meal.

Guanaquita Platter Left: enchilada Center: salsa, pestilitos, coleslaw Right: pupusas

Guanaquita Platter
Left: enchilada
Center: salsa, pastelitos, coleslaw
Right: pupusas

I recommend ordering the horchata. It’s milk with a sweet cinnamony, black sesame taste to it. It’s a cold drink since it has ice in it. It’s very delicious and worth the price.

horchata

horchata

I also ordered a plantain patty filled with milk ($2). It was alright. The milk wasn’t as smooth as I would like it.

empanadas de plantano  rellenas de leche

empanadas de plantano
rellenas de leche

Overall, if you want to eat South American cuisine, in particular Salvadorean cuisine in Kitchener-Waterloo, for less than $20 per person then this is a good restaurant to go to.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Kitchener, Food, Kitchener, Restaurant Review, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jane Bond

Yesterday, 3 of my friends and I went to eat dinner at Jane Bond. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with a great alcohol selection, however it’s only open for dinner. It’s a small restaurant however it has a nice atmosphere and friendly staff. If it’s dark outside, the lighting inside the restaurant relies mostly on tea lights so it can be a bit dim during the fall and winter. The menu has changed abit from the first time I went to Jane Bond, about 3-4 years ago, to its current offerings. The first dish I had at Jane Bond was the Mediterranean Tapanades ($10). It’s an appetizer however I was full from it. The Mediterranean Tapanades consist of several pita slices which is served with sundried tomato pesto, white bean puree, artichoke asiago caponata and rosemary olivi. Over the years, when I’ve gone to Jane Bond, I had both their burrito selections from their old menu but mostly I order their specials. The last time I went which was back in October 2012, I had the special which was chili with garlic bread ($6) and the Fly Girl Coffee ($5.75).

Left: Fly Girl RIght: Jane

Left: Fly Girl
Right: Calamity Jane

When we first sat down, I recommended my friend to try the Fly Girl cocktail ($7.5) while I ordered the Calamity Jane cocktail ($7.5). The first alcoholic drink I ordered at Jane Bond was the Fly Girl cocktail and I loved it because it’s chocolate and it’s sweet. It consists of white & dark chocolate liqueur, baileys, kahlua, butterscotch liqueur, frangelico, amaretto and milk and it’s topped with whipping cream. My friend describes it as chocolate milkshake with alcohol. The Calamity Jane cocktail was very tangy however the ice diluted the effects of the bourbon in the drink. The Calamity Jane cocktail consists of bourbon, honey, orange bitters and arranciatta. Another friend had 3 different kinds of beer including Fruli (strawberry beer).

Cajun Baked Sweet Potato Burrito with Minty Yoghurt

Today’s Special: Cajun Baked Sweet Potato Burrito with Minty Yoghurt

One of my friends and I ordered the special which was Cajun baked sweet potato burrito with minty yoghurt and half of a very sweet strawberry as garnish ($9). The burrito contains sweet potato, arugula and guacamole. The sweet potato tasted more like squash. I would have preferred more guacamole in the burrito. I’m not a fan of the minty yoghurt on its own however it’s a great dipping sauce for the burrito. Overall, it was quite tasty.

Crisp Tofu Fritters

Crisp Tofu Fritters

I also ordered the crisp tofu fritters ($10). It consists of deep fried tofu dipped in batter with roasted red peppers and brie in the middle of the tofu fritter. There is also fresh basil, marinara sauce, and half of a very sweet strawberry on the side. It was alright, I would have preferred more brie and roasted red peppers in the filling. For the price, the quantity is on the small side.

Spinach and Risotto Lasagna

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna with Garlic Ciabatta

Another friend had the spinach and ricotta lasagna with garlic ciabatta and half of a very sweet strawberry as garnish ($12). She loved it.

Quesadilla

Quesadilla

Another friend had the quesadilla ($9) which contains chipotle black bean, avocado, and monterey jack. It comes with salsa and sour cream and half of a very sweet strawberry as garnish. She enjoyed it.

Overall, if you like vegan food and it’s dinner time, Jane Bond is a great restaurant to go to.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Restaurant Review, Uptown Waterloo, Waterloo, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethiopian House

My friend from Singapore and I wanted to try a different cuisine that wasn’t Asian or Western. This restaurant was recommended to me by my friend’s friend. It’s a charming restaurant and the servers were very friendly and welcoming. We had the Ethiopian coffee (~$20), Bayaaynatu ($14.95) and Vegetarian Bayaaynatu ($13.95).

Vegetarian Bayaaynatu comprises of Misir Wot, Sherro Wot, Tikil Goman, Goman Wot, Yekik Alicha, Kik Wot,  Misir Alicha, and Atakelt Wot. Misir Wot is lentil stew in berbere sauce. Berbere is a  dry pepper powder. Sherro Wot is highly-seasoned chick peas in berbere sauce. Tikil Goman is cabbage, carrots, and potatoes that is cooked in turmeric sauce. Goman Wot is kale or collard greens in mild sauce. Yekik Alicha is yellow split peas in mild turmeric sauce. Kik Wot is split peas stew in berbere sauce. Misir Alicha is split lentil stew in thick mild sauce with seasoning. Atakelt Wot is string beans, carrots, and potatoes that is cooked in tomato sauce.

Bayaaynatu comprises of Tibs, Kitfo Special, Goman and aib. Tibs is pan fried beef sauteed with onions, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes and awaze with injera. Awaze is a paste made from small hot red peppers, cardamon, and cloves or afrinji made from red pepper. Injera is a type of flatbread. Kitfo Special is steak tarter sautéed with warm keebe and a dash of hot pepper sauce. Keebe is Ethiopian butter which is clarified. During the process, chopped ginger, garlic and onions are added along with other spices, including fenugreek, white cumin, basil, cardamon, oregano and turmeric. Goman is collard greens. Aib is cottage cheese.

Vegetarian B

Vegetarian Bayaaynatu and Bayaaynatu

Our server combined Vegetarian Bayaaynatu and Bayaaynatu onto one large serving platter with injera just on top of the platter, as you can see with the above picture. We also had a side dish of injera. Injera is like roti/chapatti, dosa, paratha, and/or naan in that they are all flatbreads however injera is more sponge-like and is much softer and not as course as Indian flatbread. It is also not as crunchy as Indian flatbread. The way you eat Ethiopean food is similar to the way you would eat Indian food. There are no utensils so you would first wash and/or sanitize your hands. You would rip a piece of injera into a small piece and use that to pick up the sauce/food and you would eat it. My friend and I both enjoyed the Vegetarian Bayaaynatu and Bayaaynatu. My friend found it quite similar to Indian food. It’s definitely not as spicy as Indian food. I found it to be a mixture of Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine with its own unique flair and taste.

Injera

Injera

Ethiopean coffee was an interesting experience. It’s made in front of you and it smells quite nice. We only had one cup of Ethiopian coffee each. It comes with a large bowl of unbuttered popcorn. I would have like to have more than a small cup of coffee however it is quite strong.

Ethiopian coffee

Ethiopian coffee

Ethiopian coffee

Ethiopian coffee

Overall, if you haven’t had Ethiopian cuisine before, this restaurant is a good introduction.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Ethiopian, Food, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holy Guacamole

My friend and I went to eat at Holy Guacamole after discovering that Guanaquita Restaurant and Bahn Mi Givral Deli weren’t open this past Monday. Holy Guacamole offers burritos, tacos and quesadillas. We both got the Mexican pulled pork burrito ($6.99). My original choice was the spicy Chorizo sausage but they ran out when I ordered.

Menu

Menu

My Mexican pulled pork burrito had lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, cilantro lime rice, refried beans, black beans, chipolte sauce, habernaero sauce, and hot salsa on a white tortilla. I also got a bottle of Guava Jarritos Mexican Soda. My total bill was $9.81. I like how Holy Guacamole, like Burrito Boyz, also puts the burrito in a panini press to toast it to perfection. I also like how at Holy Guacamole the sauce just compliments the burrito perfectly. The burrito is also well made in that all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the burrito rather than being in only a section of the burrito like how it could sometimes be with the burritos from Burrito Boyz.

My Mexican Pulled Pork Burrito with Guava

My Mexican Pulled Pork Burrito with Guava Jarritos Mexican Soda

Aside from the Mexican pulled pork burrito, my friend also got the nacho chips with guacamole and mango juice. My friend prefers Holy Guacamole to Burrito Boyz since their burritos isn’t as soggy as the ones at Burrito Boyz.

Mexican Pulled Pork Burrito with Mango Juice and Nacho Chips and Guacamole

Mexican Pulled Pork Burrito with Jumex Fresh Mango Juice and Nacho Chips and Guacamole

Overall, I prefer the burrito I had from Holy Guacamole than the burritos I had at Burrito Boyz and I wouldn’t mind travelling from Waterloo to downtown Kitchener for a well-made burrito. The next time I go, I will hopefully be able to get the spicy Chorizo sausage burrito.
Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Kitchener, Food, Kitchener, Mexican, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tofu Village

My friend and I had dinner at Tofu Village prior to going to Comedy Bar last Saturday. My friend arrived earlier than I did so he ordered an appetizer first. He got fried dumplings ($6.95). I tried one and it was alright.

I ordered the House Special Soon Tofu ($7.45). I ordered it as medium spicy. The House Special Soon Tofu comes with rice in a stone pot, 1 raw egg that you crack into the soon tofu, tofu, beef, clams and 1 shrimp. It was delicious and filling. The portions were generous and I ended up having leftovers to take home for dinner on another day.

House Special Soon Tofu

House Special Soon Tofu

My friend got the soon tofu and bulgogi combo ($13.95). The soon tofu is the house special soon tofu but in a much smaller bowl than mine and bulgogi is Korean BBQ beef. It also comes with rice in a stone pot. My friend liked it.

Soon Tofu and Bulgogi Combo

Soon Tofu and Bulgogi Combo

No Korean restaurant experience would be complete without kimchi and other side dishes. Tofu Village has 4 side dishes. I liked the fried tofu side dish best (bottom right in the picture below). The kimchi and beansprout side dish (top right and bottom left, respectively, in the picture below) were good however the other tofu side dish was very salty (top left in the picture below).

kimchi

kimchi

Overall, if I was in Koreatown and I was craving soon tofu, I would recommend this restaurant.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Korean, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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