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Ramen

16 Dec

Ramen is a noodle soup dish that has been popular in Japan for centuries. It is commonly considered a fast food and in recent times, ramen has become increasingly promient in North America, much like the way sushi was introduced some years ago.

Ramen consists of three parts: the soup base, noodles and toppings.  There are many variety of broths but the commonality is that the broths are simmered for hours to allow for a more delicate but rich flavour. Interestly, a tiny portion of each day’s broth is saved and used as a starter to make a new batch the next day. This is known as the master stock and the oldest known dates back 1500 years.  Traditionally, the ramen noodles at a location in Japan are handmade but in Canada this is rare.  The toppings vary but usually consist of a few slices of meat (often pork), seaweed, and oriental vegetables such as bamboo shoots and bean sprouts.

Pictured below are two ramen dishes sampled at Santouka. Santouka locations are found all over Japan and some places around the world. There are two locations in Canada; one in Vancouver and the other in Toronto, both locations which I have been to and were quite crowded each time I visited.

Shio ramen at Santouka.

Shio ramen at Santouka.

Shoyu Ramen at Santouka.

Shoyu Ramen at Santouka.

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Quebec City

29 Jun

Bonjour! There is so much history, culture and beauty to discover in Quebec City. The highlight of the city is old Quebec, which is a maze of whimiscal shops, cafes, restaurants and murals tucked amongst cobblestone steps and century old buildings.  Its most famous building is Chateau Frontenac, a grand hotel overlooking the st. Lawrence river. Cruises along the river are also available.

View of the St. Lawrence taken from old Quebec.

View of the St. Lawrence taken from the Promenade of Governers’ in old Quebec.

Le Chateau Frontenac.

Le Chateau Frontenac. Parts of the hotel are currently under renovation.

A mural located in old Quebec.

A mural located in old Quebec.

Surrounding old Quebec is the parliament buildings, the orignal fortress of the city (known as the citadel, I believe) and the Plains of Abraham, where many historical battles occurred.  There is also a reolving restaurant, L’Astral, located at the Concorde hotel which provides a panoramic view of the city. It takes approximately 1.5 hours for a full revolution. It’s an expensive place but here’s a tip: order drinks/desserts instead and let it be known that this is your intention before sitting down. The Observatorie de la Capitale also provides an aerial view of the city. Admission is approximately $10 and once there you can learn about the history of the city.

Parliament buildings.

Parliament buildings.

Drinks at the revolving restaurant.

Drinks at the revolving restaurant.

A view from the revolving restaurant. The shadow of the restaurant can be seen.

A view from the revolving restaurant. The shadow of the restaurant can be seen.

The revolving restaurant is located within Concorde hotel.

The revolving restaurant is located within Concorde hotel.

La observatorie de capitale.

La observatorie de capitale.

For the foodies, there’s so many delicious places to explore. Near the VIA train station is a farmer’s market and along Rue Saint Jean is Moisan, a specialty grocery store founded in 1871. My favourite food place was an incuspicous takeout joint that specialized in Lebanese galettes called La Galette Libanaise. Galettes are a circular bread type food item. At La Galette Libanaise, the dough is flattened in front of you and then baked, which only takes a few minutes. The galettes are accompanied with your choice of chicken, lamb, minced beef, cheese, veggies (lettuce, pickled onions, cucumbers, hot peppers and olives) and two sauces: a spicy one and a garlic one. Bon appetit!

A local beer.

A local beer.

Since 1871, Moisan is a specialty grocery store.

Since 1871, Moisan is a specialty grocery store.

A inside view of Moisan.

Inside Moisan.

La Galette Libanaise.

La Galette Libanaise.

Galette

La Galette Libanaise with meat and cheese, $6.95.

A Big Pizza

10 Jun

BigPizza

A friend shared this unique picture with me. This is a pizza from a restaurant in Belgrade, Serbia.

Thank you to Lillian for providing the cool picture.

KW Greek Festival

8 Jun
Performers from the Greek Festival.

Performers from the Greek Festival.

OPA! The Kitchener-Waterloo Greek Festival is a celebration of Greek food, dance, music and culture. It is a two day event and this year is its 33rd birthday. Food options include roasted lamb, pork souvlaki, gyros, dolmades and moussaka.  There are also tiropitas, spanakopita and an assortment of desserts such as baklava, kataifl, diples, kourabiedes and melomakaraona. There is also face painting, a live band and traditional Greek dancing. Admission is $2 or free for those who bring a non-perishable food item. This year (2013) the festival is being held from June 8 to 9.

Combination plate consisting of pork souvlaki, gyros, dolmades, pita bread and greek salad, $15.

Combination plate consisting of pork souvlaki, tzatziki, gyros, dolmades (hidden behind the tzatziki), pita bread and salad, $15.

Roasted lamb with potatoes, pita bread and salad.

Roasted lamb with potatoes, pita bread and salad, $15.

An array of desserts: diples $2.50, kourabiedes $1, Melomakarona $1 and Baklava $2.50 (clockwise from top).

An array of desserts: diples $2.50, kourabiedes $1, melomakarona $1 and Baklava $2.50 (clockwise from top).

A tray of baklava.

A tray of baklava.

Teppanyaki

27 May
Griddle and chef.

Griddle and chef.

Teppanyaki is a Japanese style of cooking. In restaurants that have teppanyaki, guests are seated in front of a griddle where a chef prepares your meal, which usually consists of a vegetable medley and your choice of seafood, tofu, beef or chicken. The chef also performs various  feats with food and kitchen gadgets including juggling knifes and flambé. Depending on the restaurant, the meal includes tea, soup, salad, rice and dessert. Teppanyaki costs more than a typical restaurant meal but it is a fun treat especially on a special occasion.

Griddle.

Griddle.

Flames and chef.

Flames and chef.

Salad and soup (in the background).

Salad and in the background, a bowl of soup.

Arabesque Cafe

5 Mar
Entrance

Arabesque Cafe, 869 Victoria Street, Kitchener, Canada.

Arabesque Cafe is a diner style family restaurant featuring Lebanese cuisine. It was recommended by a friend who raved about the quality and quantity of food. Indeed, the food is the heart of Arabesque Cafe.

Chicken mousahab with rice, hummus, fatoush salad and pickled beets, $12.99.

Chicken mousahab with rice, hummus, fatoush salad and pickled beets, $12.99.

The menu is unique and diverse. For example, the shawarma plate comes with your choice of beef, chicken or mixed, rice or fries and either tabouli or fatoush salad. Aside from these, the dish has a handful of vibrant red pickled beets, creamy smooth hummus and a couple of dipping sauces. It’s so hard to describe the exotic flavours but the variety of items on the plate offers so many savoury combinations to try. All plate dishes are accompanied with a warm puffed pita. When opened, a lovely burst of steam escapes.

Shawarma plate with rice, chicken and beef, hummus, pickled beets, tabouli and two dipping sauces (so good but sadly I don't know the names). $12.99

Shawarma plate with rice, chicken and beef, hummus, pickled beets, tabouli salad and two dipping sauces (which sadly, I don’t know the names of), $12.99.

Warm puffy pita. When opened, a lovely burst of steam bursts out.

Warm puffy pita. When opened, a lovely burst of steam escapes.

The front counter has a delicious display of homemade desserts such as bakalava and kunafa, salads and sauces. They are all available for purchase. For those wanting express service, there is a take-out counter. They also have hookah available on weekends in the later evenings.

Arabesque cafe is a must try for those wishing to explore authentic traditional Arab foods!

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Boomers Gourmet Fries

25 Sep

Boomers Gourmet Fries, 26 Erie Street, Stratford, Ontario

Boomers Gourmet Fries is a colourful quirky burger and fries joint.  I learned of it some time ago after watching an episode of Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here” and I finally found the chance to visit.

Cosmopolitan Poutine (sweet potato fries with gravy and cheese curds).

Boomers is known for their eclectic poutines and burgers.  You can have fries with marinara sauce or black bean chili, sweet potato poutine or onion rings. In addition, your Boomer burger can be accompanied with such items as avocado, goat cheese, mushrooms, onion rings or BBQ potato chips.

The Guacamolean.

shroom burger.

Boomers has one large long table off to the side where you can sit and eat with everyone else. The day I went was a beautiful summer’s afternoon and I noticed many people munching Boomer’s food outside while sitting on glossy black benches.

Boomers is a fun and happy place with delicious unique fries and burgers.