DIY 豬腸粉 (Rice Noodle roll)

Had a craving for some 豬腸粉, so why not cook it myself. Just buy a pack of 腸粉 from supermarket. Cut it up into cubes and pan-fry it. When is starts to get crispy, sprinkled some sesame seeds and soy sauce on it. On the plate, put a spoon of peanut butter, then put the hot rice noodles on and mix it with the peanut butter. All ready to eat! Easy and simple. So yummy!

Rice noodle rollsa

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Pai Northern Thai Kitchen

This is my 2nd time here, this time I brought my parents to try. It was lunch time but of course, still packed. We were seated at the back room with at a shared picnic table. My mom loves thai salads so I made sure I got the papaya salad with dried shrimp. Last time I was here, their papaya salad was with salted crab so they do change their menu. I think the dried shrimp is better, very refreshing for my appetite.

Pai Northa

I also got my favourite “khao soi” and the “panang beef curry”. Khao soi is served in a clay pot. The taste is still as good. The panang curry was great as well. There was not enough rice to go around to soak in all the yummy sauce.

Pai Northern Thai Kitchen
18 Duncan Street
Toronto, ON M5H 3G6

Pai Northern Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Miniature Takoyaki stand

There are different method to release stress, sometimes it is hanging out with friends and venting over dinner; retail therapy; watching movies or art therapy. I brought this DIY takoyaki stand package from Japan earlier last year. It was pretty neat, it provided most of the materials to build from scratch. It was a lot of fun, it was quite different at some parts because the instructions were in Japanese and I don’t know how to read (except from a few Chinese characters they use). At some point, I just guessed and used my own way to get it to work. The kit is also for people who already have some art supplies at home, which they didn’t mention on the package of the additional materials needed. Good thing is that I already have paints, paintbrushes, glue etc. at home so it all worked out.

Takoyakia

It took me a few sessions but I finally finished it. And it looks amazing, small and it is easy to find space for display. The height of the stand is 11cm just to put it into perspective.  It turned out like the diagram on the package so I’m happy. It was a lot of fun, love DIY crafts. I must buy more next time I’m in Japan. 🙂

Bye Bye Target

I was pretty sad to hear the news today, that they are going to be closing all the Target stores in Canada. Wow, it was shocking, I mean all the store??? What if they only closed down some locations. They are losing millions $$ everyday and they were way too aggressive in the beginning of opening all these stores at once instead of gradually expanding.

Personally, I was really excited when Target was going to come to Canada. I love visiting the Target stores when I am in the US, so popular to us that we always make it as one of our stops for our shopping trip before we head back to Canada. What I love is that there are a lot more cute things than Wal-mart and the price is just as comparable to Wal-mart. And when back in the days when the Canadian dollar is strong, the price is awesome, I mean, my friend even brought detergent back from US because it was worth the trip.

Target-Wave1-30x20-ComplexMural-Front_v2

When the Target opened here, I’m not a frequent visitor. One – because the locations are not that convenient to me. Two – the basic things, the price is not cheap compared to the same product in Wal-mart. So whenever I need something, my go-to place will be Wal-mart because I know it will be the cheapest for most things not on sale. But I enjoy wandering around Target instead, checking out their products vs. in Wal-mart, I go, I grab, pay and leave.

Now… what is going to happen to the big store space?? They are all huge which only department stores would take over. Feel sorry for the new retail plaza (like the Stockyards) where the biggest store is Target, now without them, will there be other customers visiting the other stores? I was looking forward to the big Target in downtown location, I guess it won’t open now. Maybe Macy’s can take over … hope this doesn’t stop other retailers from coming north of the border.

Canada is not an easy market, us Canadians, we want both quality and cheap prices.

Target … you will be missed! 😥

Keg Mansion

One of our good friend from HK came back to Toronto for a short visit. His demands was he wanted steak because the steaks in HK are not good and way overpriced. So he wanted to go to the Keg to get his steak craving fixed while he was here in Toronto. The Keg Mansion is one of the chains from the Keg Steakhouse but it is in a heritage building and it is also known to be haunted with ghosts. Spooky ….

It was also a great UW reunion, it’s really hard now to get the group together. There was a big group of us and the downstairs dining room was packed with people and it was only 6pm. We went upstairs to try our luck at the upstairs dining room, there wasn’t many big tables available as most of them sits 2-4 people. But we were in luck that they had a large table at the back but they wouldn’t sit us until there was 80% of us on site.

steaka

There were lots of steak options, and decided on the 8oz blackened sirloin coated with herb butter and baked potato. The steak was not bad, but ever since I had that A5 Black Tajima, no steak I tried afterwards has been comparable. So I don’t want to be bias but the Keg’s steak was ok, worth the price I paid is what I can say. The herb butter melted into the steak so it was not dry, didn’t have to order separate sauce. I was really full so I didn’t get desserts but some of us got the mini desserts and it was still huge, shareable! I ended up helping my friend eat 1/2 of the brownie.

Keg Mansion 
515 Jarvis Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 2H7

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Niagara-on-the-lake Winter Wine Tour

This is my 3rd wineries tour in Niagara-on-the-lake with different companies. Surprisingly, I have not been to any duplicate wineries yet which tells you there are many out there in the area. This time, we joined Niagara Fun Tours. Our driver Joe was hilarious, told us many stories and jokes along the way. The tour was pretty big, at least 20+ people, the biggest group we have joined so far. We visited a total of 4 wineries.

Southbrook Vineyards – The building itself was a piece of artwork, environmental friendly, awarded LEED Gold certification. We tasted the 2013 Connect White and Red – made from organically grown grapes. I like the white wine better than red, a bit more on the sweet side, not as dry and easy to drink. The itinerary said that we were going to get 3 tasting including an icewine but we didn’t get to taste the icewine which was what I was looking forward to. Luckily, when we were at the store, I asked if I can try an icewine, he was nice enough to give me a free sample of the 2013 Cabernet Franc. It was not as sweet as the Vidal and it is made from red grapes instead of red. Since it was not as common as Vidal and only available at the winery, I brought a bottle back with me.

Next stop was Palatine Hills Estate Winery which was a change from the itinerary but it was one of the more enjoyable estate. The staff was like a comedian, made us laugh a lot. We first tried the 2011 Lakeshore – a white wine mix of Riesling and Gewurztraminer, not as sweet as the Southbrook but it was still on the sweet side for white wines. The red wine was the 2009 Merlot Cabernet – it was way too bitter and dry for me. I used to like red wine but so far today, I like the white wines a lot more.  The one I was looking forward to was the 2008 Gewurztraminer Icewine, it was sweet which I like, like sugar syrup. The bottle was on sale so there was no way I was going to miss this deal! Score!!

winea

Our 3rd stop was at Konzelmann Estate Winery. Our guide was very good as well, the estate was right at the waterfront and on a clear sky day, you can see Toronto from afar. But today, we only saw a shade of Toronto. He brought us to the winery field and the machine to pop the juice out of the the berries. Then we sat inside to do the wine tasting. Here we tried the red, white, peach wine and the late harvest vidal. The peach wine was not as I thought it would taste, it smelled very peachy, very fruity but it didn’t taste peachy to me. It smell better than it tasted. The 2013 Vidal Late Harvest was a dessert wine but not as sweet as icewine. It was not bad but I didn’t like it as the other dessert wines I tasted. We had lunch here as well, a gourmet sandwich with prosciutto, salami, pickled eggplant and cheese. I was really hungry so it tasted good, if only the bread was also warmed so the cheese would melt, it would be perfect.

After lunch, we went to our last stop Rancourt Winery.  It was a small winery but all the grapes they used are grown right on the property, each bottle is VQA labelled. But I don’t know if it was towards the end of the day for the staff but they didn’t seem that enthusiastic about their wine at all. They pour the wine and said a few description about it and left, didn’t feel like they were interested at us. We only got to try the red and white wine but the icewine was extra, had to pay $3 for a tasting. Not cool.

As the bonus stop, they brought as to a Chocolate FX Factory to sample some chocolates. I ended up buying something else that I never seen – red velvet cream cheese popcorn, vanilla chai white chocolate popcorn and greek yogurt pretzels. They were all very unique, can’t wait to try them.

It was a pretty long day, woke up quite early to get to Niagara Falls in the morning and then the drive back to Toronto after the tour. Good thing it was only a little over an hour drive so not that far. But it was a fun day, relaxing, drinking wine and girl talk with my gf. 🙂 Next year, we might try the Icewine Festival discovery pass.

HK style food

I don’t need to go to HK and I can still get the yummy HK style food, love the International food in Toronto. From breakfast to afternoon tea to dinner, all HK style today and taste just like in HK or even better. And I can enjoy it in comfort, in a comfy booth and not be packed like sardines in a booth or shared table. We can take as long as we want to eat and not be chased out of the table to make room.

chinesea

Breakfast – satay beef noodle soup w/ eggs and luncheon meat + toast. Afternoon tea – honey garlic wings w/ fries. Dinner – steak w/ peppercorn sauce and fries + dessert = steamed thousand layer cake (千層糕). Yummy!