Saturday, 7 March 2015

Me Va Me Kitchen Express

Location: 860 York Mills Road, North York, ON M3B 1Y4, Canada
The new Me Va Me replaced Lick's Homeburgers as the new fixture on the corner of York Mills and Lesmill road and it definitely has a newer sleeker look than the previous restaurant:
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I couldn't wait to try it and compare it to other shawarmas and the other Middle Eastern food I've been eating recently (which has been mostly sandwiches from North Express)
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Chicken Shawarma
The first thing I noticed was that it was thinner than the sandwiches I usually get at North Express and we were only allowed simple fillings like hummus, red cabbage, lettuce, turnips, onions and tomatoes rather than awesome combinations at North like roasted eggplant, tabbouleh, olives, etc.  
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I tried to load up my shawarma, but it was pretty tightly packed and not particularly impressive. Also, it was actually a little pricier than North Express. 

Overall: I thought it was rather pricey for shawarma here, but the place is super popular and they made our shawarma pretty fast. However, I would rather eat at North Express than here (even though North's service takes longer, I get more options in my sandwich so it's better value and tastier). 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Seven Lives

Location: 69 Kensington Avenue, Toronto, ON M5T, Canada
Mexican two days in a row! I was a little disappointed with the tacos the day before, so I wanted better tacos and decided to hit up Seven Lives (which came pretty highly recommended) in Kensington Market:
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Simple take-out counter and easy to order menu
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Baja Fish and Gobernador (tuna, shrimp and cheese)
Really delicious and fresh tacos! I liked the baja fish even though I wish it had a little bit more of a tang to it than from just the salsa and lime juice. The Gobernador was good too! 

Overall: Good tacos! If you have one that's more of a snack than a meal, but fresh and tasty since they do make it to order. Do note that there is limited seating in the restaurant, so you might have to wait around for a bit before a table opens up. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Margaritas

Location: 14 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L2, Canada
Pretty Graffiti on Baldwin Street
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There were originally two Mexican places on Baldwin Street: Agave y Aguacate (which closed recently) and Margaritas
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They were offering a three course dinner (precio fijo) for $20: 
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Mexican Street Corn
with crema, tajfa, queso de feta and sour cream
Pretty simple and tasty

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The Moo Moo and Taco al Pastor 
The food was okay, I think I've had better burritos in the city (especially after that huge burrito craze with a ton of burrito joints opening up all around the city). I found the portions a little small for the price and dinner menu.

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Part of a tostada
This was pretty good! Mmm guacamole. 

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Churros
These were nice and crispy and the plating was nice. 

Overall: Okay meal at Margaritas, the restaurant was tinier inside than it appears outside and the service was a little slow, but overall it was okay. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Taste of Istanbul

Location: 2100 Steeles Avenue West, Concord, ON L4K 2V1, Canada
Groupon was having a local deals sale and when I saw the deal for Taste of Istanbul's 6 course meal for 4 people for $110, I couldn't resist trying it. 
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Our six courses included: cold appetizer, soup, hot appetizer, main course, dessert and coffee or tea

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Clockwise from top: Patlican Kizartmasi (fried eggplant salad), babaghanouj (babagannush) and Pilaki (kidney bean salad)
Everything was pretty good and the portion sizes were really very filling. The pita and the babaghanouj were good (the babaghanouj would have been better with a little more salt), but my favourite was probably the eggplant salad - delicious and so tasty despite being chilled. Everything was fresh and flavourful in our first course.

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Tavuk Corbasi (Chicken soup) and Kuzu Corbasi (Lamb Soup)

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Mercimek Corbasi (Lentil soup)

Of the soups, the only one I would recommend is the lamb soup since it was the most flavourful and aromatic. However, if you're not a fan of lamb, then the lentil soup would be the other choice (the chicken was really watered down and tasteless).

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Kalamar (Grilled Calamari)
The grilled calamari was good! Nice, juicy and tasty with the Cacik (tzatziki sauce)
The portions were also huge! A sure sign of lots of food to come if the hot appetizer was already so big.

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Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)
Crispy flatbread topped with ground beef and lamb, onion, garlic and spices. I'm not too sure if there was a sauce on this, but I thought it was better without anyways. A very meaty pizza with lots of crunchy flatbread. The tomatoes and onions were a little odd on the side of the pizza, but the lemon actually made the pizza taste better. Very interesting.

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Sultan Izgara (Sultan Grill) for One
An assortment of grilled meats (beef, chicken and lamb). This dish was probably the best value for money on the menu, but it was so much meat with kobideh, lamb chop and chicken breast kebab. All well done and rather tasty with the spices.

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Sultan Izgara (Sultan Grill) for Two
Some minor differences: there was a meat patty (chicken kefta?), ground beef kebab and everything in the Sultan Grill for one.
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The Sultan Grill came with a side and we got bulgar pilaf, which had this really interesting texture and flavour that I thought worked well with the meat. It seemed really hearty.

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Inegol Kofte (beef served with spices, pilaf and roasted vegetables)
The meat was more on the well-done side, but still tasty. The rice pilaf portion was pretty plentiful.

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Turkish Coffee
Very strong and a little less bitter than an espresso shot since we could add sugar. Personally, I preferred the tea (which was the tea they served at the beginning of our meal anyways).

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Baklava
Walnuts, sugar syrup, pistachios all drizzled in honey and wrapped in a phyllo pastry. A little too sticky and sweet for me.

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Different baklava
Another dessert with shredded phyllo and layers of nutty paste. Not as sticky and sweet as the one on top, but I wasn't a fan of the shredded top layer.

Overall: I found that I enjoyed my meal at Taste of Istanbul. It was a lot of food (especially meat), the service was good and it was good value for money for the Groupon experience. It was really a five course meal, but I thought the food was tasty and the portions were huge.

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Salad Days

Location: 2 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5T 1G1, Canada
My friend recently introduced me to Salad Days in the Yonge and Bloor area for lunch. 
They recently opened another branch in underground near the Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, but the original is in Cumberland Terrace. The line up at the newer location is much longer (and a little further for both of us), so we grabbed lunch at the Cumberland location where we could also sit down at a table to eat and catch up.
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Large Salad with smoked salmon
Custom salad with spring mix, tomato and cucumber salad, pears and green beans. 
Probably not the typical mix, but my friend said the green beans were good (and they were delicious - if a little cold) and the pears were crisp and sweet. I got Italian dressing since I thought it would help flavour the salad and keep it all together.

Overall: I was pretty impressed! A lunch in Yorkville for under $10 and everything was fresh and delicious. Awesome!