20 September 2010

Matahari Grill: fire and ice

18 September, 2010

let me start by saying that as i am not being the overly crazed fan of spicy foods, I must confess that going to a place like this can be rather difficult for me (unless i were to go for drinks & desserts). As the cuisine there is Malaysian, it can be quite fiery for people who don't fare well with heat.
while there are some dishes that pack on the heat, there are also ones with a relatively tame heat level--the mee goreng (Egg noodles stir fry with blend of spices, prawns, tofu, potato, bean sprouts, and egg topped with crushed peanuts) is a favourite of mine, as is the Casbah Cashew Prawn - Prawns stir fry with mushrooms, sundried chili peppers, red onions and cashews ($18.00). i MUST admit that one of my favourite side dishes to eat when i'm cooling down my completely spice-shot palate is a steaming bowl of either coconut flavoured rice or jasmine rice. looking for an alternative side dish instead of rice? get the roti. i also really adore some of their cocktails--the lychee martini being one of them despite being a bit stronger in taste than anticipated and the mangotini being the other.
dessert is one of my favourite components of a meal. upon my return to matahari grill on Sept.18, my family and i savoured little crepes filled with toasted shredded coconut, fried plantains in a rum-caramel sauce with ice cream and one of my favourite desserts: Sago-Sago--a light, satisfying dessert of little tapioca pearls and slightly sweetened coconut milk, served cold.
personally, next time i'm back here it'll hopefully be just for dessert and drinks.
if you're adventurous, i highly recommend the rendeng beef (a bit pricey at $20, but worth it!), along with the dishes i suggested.

i can't be bothered to mention how much money can be spent here, even just on a date, as i have absolutely no idea.

location: 39 baldwin st
closest TTC station: St. Patrick
also in proximity: University of Toronto, St. George Campus

19 September 2010

philthy mcnastys: definitely an awesome sports bar.

voted as canada's best sports bar & grill in 2005 by the viewers of rogers sportsnet, it's easy to see why they got this accolade. not only is their menu filled with incredible pub fare, but some of the little banquette tables have..you guessed it: MINI TV so that patrons don't need to stretch their necks too far to see the games on screen! my friends and i were seated, incredibly enough, in the same spot where we sat last time we got together there during the 2010 Olympics. now, if i told you that eating four sliders (mini burgers) was the same as eating a WHOLE burger, you'd probably laugh..but yes, it is true. philthy mcnasty's at 130 eglinton ave east has really adorable sliders and you get the option of eating them either as an appetizer like i did or, as my friends did, have the sliders as a meal. as i recall from my previous visit, the chili fries, and cheesy garlic bread are SPECTACULAR options--especially for sharing with friends..on the other hand, just about everything there is perfect for sharing (yes, even the wings!). one of the other things my friends and i really loved about this place is the ambience & atmosphere--it's always been a big factor for us when we go out together.
overall, i adore this place to no avail and now i wish there was one closer to home and i now have the craving for a slider or two as a midnight snack!

affordable: YES
approximate price range after tax & tip, no booze: $10-14/person
next stop: to be determined.

11 September 2010

auld spot pub: small place, awesome food!

so..i know i said my next review would be philthy mcnasty's at 130 eglinton ave. east, BUT before i get to that next week, i'll take you through the auld spot pub on the danforth (just across the street from the Big Carrot around the danforth-chester area). the pub is quite small--at least in comparison to the other pubs i've been to...not to mention it's actually the FIRST pub i've been to where they have an organic beer available.

as a designated driver, i was unable to sample the alcohol, but i did get a good taste of their fish & chips (having just arrived from a baby shower, i opted for 1 piece of fish). i gotta say this: the fish was perfectly cooked, just a light coating of batter and just the right portion size. the fries on the other hand were a tad greasy and for me, beyond oversalted...and if you're gonna tell me i should have sent it back, i'll admit i didn't because i simply couldn't be bothered--not to mention i was already quite exhausted.

dessert options were vanilla crème brûlée and a chocolate pot de creme. not having had either dessert for a very long time, i must say it was quite nice to indulge the sweet tooth! the vanilla crème brûlée had such a distinct, fresh brilliant vanilla taste (the way vanilla should be in desserts), im 99.99% sure it's thanks to the use of both vanilla extract AND fresh vanilla beans. the chocolate pot de creme was not entirely as i had expected, as it is often warm when served...in this case, it was cold but nonetheless, rich and satisfying. thankfully i had a glass of water with lemon to help cut through some of the richness and some coffee.

auld spot pub: 347 Danforth Avenue (416) 406-4688
affordable? mains are $12-$18
note: fish & oysters priced according to market value
would i love to go back? YES PLEASE!

05 September 2010

el tipico restuarant ecuadoriano (the typical ecuadorian restaurant)

latin flavours here i come! they're flavours i love..and thankfully, they weren't overpowering and there were no chili peppers anywhere near my tongue, except for a ramekin of homemade salsa that i believe had either had habaneros or scotch bonnets! we asked for cheese filled empanadas and i honestly swear that there's nothing better for an appetizer than that...and while i knew that we were allowed to add some white sugar to the still hot empanada for a bit of sweetness, i preferred the deep fried tortilla and stringing cheese combination! for a main, i asked for clams and rice. not being sure if it was what i ordered, so after some verification from the waitress (meaning that i basically had it mixed up with another dish pictured in the menu!), i dug in with relish. i MUST confess that i totally underestimated how big the portion size would be, but i gotta say that i was glad for some sweet, caramelized plantains and some veggies (sweet peppers, peas & carrots) to make the meal a bit more balanced. all of that said, i only managed to finish about half of the dish--it's enough for two people to share--and took the rest home with me. i definitely can't wait to go back there again! i know the service there that night was a tad slow (and i know that can annoy a lot of people at times), but i gotta say it's worth the trip for something new and different! good for going to with friends? YES affordable? ABSOLUTELY. flavours all blend well? you bet. location: 2312 Keele Street, North York, ON (about 15-20 mins drive from vaughn mills) next stop: a trip back to philthy mcnastys (130 eglinton ave e).