Tag Archives: Toronto

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.

Uncle Betty’s

19 Jun

Uncle Bettys, 2590 Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada.

Uncle Betty’s is a diner which specializes in classic comfort food.  The atmosphere is urban, warm, charming and homey. It is located in Toronto on a quieter and more residential stretch of Yonge Street. The decor is hard to put into words but is reminiscent of a mix between a modern version of the classic retro dinner and an old fashion ice cream parlour.   It also has a very unique and cheerful logo.

I learned about Uncle Betty’s on Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here“. The episode featured Uncle Betty’s homemade donuts and chocolate twinkies, eggs benedict and their signature macaroni and meatloaf grill cheese sandwiches.

Their homemade meatloaf made into a burger. This is called the Betty Burger, $12.

Grilled cheese sandwich with meatloaf and mac’n cheese, $14. The sweet potatoes were an upgrade from regular fries and were served with aioli (+$2).

A donut sprinkled with powdered sugar, $1.25.

The inside of the donut. This one is topped with cinnamon.

I had to try a homemade donut for myself and was glad to have made the decision. The donut was savoury and had a bread-like consistency. I really enjoyed its clean, simple and soft taste. Learn more about Dreesen’s donuts here.

A small nacho, $7.

Next, I tried the nachos which were topped with peppers, tomatoes, cheese and avocados. The addition of the avocados made the nachos exceptional. It was also accompanied with salsa and I believe lime sour cream. Everything in the nachos including the nachos tasted fresh and natural.

Pulled pork sandwich with house salad, $13.

For my main meal, I chose the pulled pork sandwich with house green salad. The sauce was light and a little sweet and the thin silvers of pork was soft and tender. I especially enjoyed the super hot (temperature wise) pulled pork against the crispy refreshing coleslaw.

A complimentary plate of toasted marshmallows for dessert.

I was quite full after my meal but the chef presented my table with a complimentary plate of toasted marshmallows. They were heavenly with a thin charred exterior and a soft warm sweet interior. So good and such a pleasant way to end a happy meal.

VIA Rail Canada

3 Jan

VIA train travelling along northern Ontario.

VIA Rail Canada is a Canadian rail line that travels across the country. Their trains meander through the Rocky Mountains and Jasper National Park, wander Ontario’s boreal forest and western Prairies, explore the icy north where Polar bears can be seen and in the east, travels along next to the St. Lawrence River. There are VIA stations in all the major cities in Canada as well as many of the smaller towns.

I recently took a long distance train trip from Toronto to Winnipeg which is a two nights and one day stay.  I had a cabin for two which includes two beds, a private bathroom, sink with vanity, a large window and every car has a shower. This is the sleeper plus class which includes meals.

My little cabin was cozy, comfy and clean.  The gentle rolling motion of the train put me right to sleep.

The dome car, which hosts most of the entertainment, activities and socializing, has two levels. Upstairs offers a panoramic view of Canada’s breathtaking landscape.

A view from the upstairs portion of the dome car.

The downstairs has two rooms. The first room has tables, banquettes and a tv, and hence is ideal for watching historic VIA videos, movies and/or playing board games. The second room, which has huge sweeping windows and comfy chairs, acts as the palour room.  This room hosts the live music, wine tasting, all day snacks and drinks as well as interesting conversation from people across Canada and around the world.

Willy Blizzard performing in the dome car.

The dining car is a full service restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu usually has three choices for each meal. There are also options for vegetarians and kids.  The food is classy, simple, healthy and delicious.

The dining car.

At my breakfasts, I had spanish omelettes one morning and the classic bacon, eggs and potatoes the next morning. Don’t sleep in; otherwise you’ll have to settle for a continental breakfast in the dome car.

Two poached eggs, crispy bacon and hash browns.

During lunch I enjoyed a hamburger with potato salad and soup, and chocolate ice cream for dessert.

Angus burger with potato salad.

Chocolate ice cream.

And at dinner I had prime rib with seasonal vegetables, salad and soup with chocolate cake for dessert.

Prime rib with gravy and seasonal vegetables.

A slice of chocolate cake.

My long distance travel on the VIA train was an amazingly fun journey and incredibly relaxing. The service was impeccable, the food scrumptious and the company of the other travellers never dull.