Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekly Roundup - Banh Mi, Kimchi, Rosti, & Chili

Banh Mi Boys Kimchi Fries - I have been dying to go to Banh Mi Boys ever since I first began hearing all the buzz about their savory vietnamese sandwiches, but what always seemed to overshadow their namesake sandwich was their intriguing sounding kimchi fries. After some shopping along Queen West with my mom last weekend, we popped into Banh Mi Boys to thaw out from the cold, and satisfy our craving for an exotic sub. I insisted that although we weren't sure if we could even finish the large sub, we absolutely had to place an order for their kimchi fries as well. The delicious house-made fries are generously slathered with pulled pork, kimchi, house mayo, and green onions, delivering a salty, messy flavour combo that both my mom and I went crazy over! This is one dish you have got to try! Forget poutine, it's all about kimchi fries for 2013!

Banh Mi Boys Grilled Pork Banh Mi - Although Banh Mi Boys kimchi fries took centre stage for my mom and I, I was still very impressed with their grilled pork banh mi sandwich. Tender and flavourful strips of grilled pork are topped with assorted crisp julienned vegetables, cucumber, and fresh cilantro, embraced in a hug of a soft and fresh-baked baguette. I really enjoyed this exotic sandwich, but for next time, I have my eye on their short rib steamed bao...of course, served alongside my new favourite fast food dish, kimchi fries!

The Federal - About once a season I trek down to Dundas and Ossington (usually in terrible weather) to meet up with my aunt Darlene for a one-on-one catchup lunch. Not only do I enjoy having the luxury of having my aunt's attention all to myself for an hour, catching up on what's new and exciting in both of our lives, I also love that she is right in the heart of so many great restaurants! It's always such a pleasure to be able to spend an hour with one of my closest family members, enjoying a delicious lunch at a new restaurant! For our winter lunch session this week, we ended up at The Federal, a new restaurant that opened this year, serving up charcuterie, sandwiches, omelette's, and more, with an ever changing daily menu. I couldn't resist trying The Federal's take on a Cubano sandwich, with theirs featuring creamy avocado along with the classic pulled pork, ham, cheese, and pickles and served on fresh St. John's Bakery bread. Although it was a tad salty for my palette, it was still incredibly delicious and comforting on a cold, windy, snowy day. The filling sandwich was served alongside a simple mixed greens salad and potato rosti with house-made ketchup (big bonus points for the house-made ketchup!). The service was top-notch, with a very attentive and friendly waitress, lacking the usual Ossington pretension, and the atmosphere was cute and cozy. I'm looking forward to going back soon to try out their dinner menu! 

Introduction To Cooking: Chili - One of the most inspiring things for me, as of late, is cooking for others or with others. So nothing got me more excited to get in the kitchen than hearing that my best friends cousin Josh has pretty much never cooked in his life (other than some barbecuing) and was looking to learn! The first dish he had his eye on? A spicy chili! As I began researching various chili's and reviewing my moms go-to recipe for a quick chili, I realized how perfect a basic chili is for a newbie cook. Filled with basic ingredients (most of which are already in the pantry), with only one pot to clean, very little labour, and room for experimentation, a chili is a newbie cooks dream! I had such a great time feeling like an expert showing Josh the ropes to make a comforting, satisfying, and delicious chili, but more than anything, I loved seeing how excited he got about creating such a simple and delicious chili that he would feel proud to serve his friends. It seems like making this chili lit the spark to get Josh's creative juices going in the kitchen. I'm looking forward to seeing what other creations he begins to whip up in the next little while! Check out the recipe for my moms basic chili here, but note that the spices should be altered to 1 tbsp red chili flakes, 1 tbsp chili powder, 2 chipotles (in adobo sauce, chopped), and 1 tbsp adobo sauce.

Honorable Mention: Too cold and hungry to remember to take a photo, I missed out on capturing my meal at A-OK Foods this weekend. The ramen and snack shop comes from the same masterminds at Yours Truly, allowing the public to enjoy some of their most loved dishes in a more easily accessible way (Yours Truly is a prix fixe tasting menu). After being absolutely blown away by our experience at Yours Truly recently, my boyfriend and I had pretty high expectations for A-OK Foods. We began our meal by sharing two dishes off of their 'Hot' menu, Chino Wings and Pork Ssam. The wings were reminiscent of a KFC batter, with significantly less grease and more flavour, served with a tasty dipping sauce and spicy chillies. The pork ssam was very tasty topped with a generous amount of cilantro (my weakness!). We followed our snacks with bowls of their classic Shoyu Ramen, which was so incredibly comforting on such a cold night. The piping hot and flavourful milky broth is seasoned with soya sauce and a hint of yuzu, ladled over nicely textured house-made noodles, sous vide pork belly, a soft boiled egg, lots of green onions, goji berries, and a crisp fried seaweed chip. The meal was tasty, and certainly comforting, but not blow-me-away incredible. I would definitely go back if I happen to be in the area and am looking for some comfort food...and can't get a table at The County General next door.

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Listening To:
Junip - Line of Fire

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1 comment:

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