Friday, December 28, 2007

100% Korean 韓國小吃

100% Korean 韓國小吃
Date: December 28, 2007 (Friday)
Address: 109-A Ravel Road, North York (Finch & Leslie)
Phone: (416) 499-3836

it's a small & cozy restaurant.. but with good food!
i went there once for lunch & the price seems reasonable..
$5.95 for a Pork Bone Soup with Rice, together with lots of Korean side dishes.. & the portion was big..

& we went there for dinner on one very cold night.. wanna had something hot!
we were given 10 side dishes at the beginning.. it's like the "highlight" of every Korean dinner!

some main courses came with soup.. & the soup was very light flavored.. good for 解辣..

Short Rib with Rice (燒牛仔骨)

Pork Bone Soup with Rice (豬骨湯)
..the pork meat was very tender.. i guess it has to be spicy or else it won't taste good..

To-Fu Soup with Rice (豆腐湯) was still very hot when the server brought to us.. very spicy (comparing to other Korean restaurants).. it had some "seafood" in the soup, e.g. crabmeat, cuttlefish, etc..

Grilled Beef with Rice (燒牛肉)

just one note.. there were not many choices on their menu.. just ~16 main courses with a few extra posted on the wall.. (but in fact, i went there for their To-Fu Soup every time anyway! hee hee!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Zee Grill

Zee Grill (Phebe's)
Address: 641 Mt Pleasant Road, Toronto (Eglinton & Mt Pleasant)
Phone: (416) 484-6428

i suddenly crave for oysters & wanna have a Christmas dinner with oysters!! we tried to call some seafood restaurants (e.g. Starfish, Oyster Boy, etc.) on Christmas day but couldn't reach any of those.. LG left a message on Zee Grill & surprisingly, they got back to us in the morning of Boxing day! & that's how we ending up having a belated Christmas dinner on the Boxing day at Zee Grill..

it's a cozy restaurant.. they had some antique ceiling fans.. the environment was great.. there wasn't many customers there on the night of Boxing day.. i guess Boxing day might not really be the night for fancy dinner.. =P
after having the baguette, we asked the waitress if she had any suggestion re oysters.. we would like to have some rich & creamy ones.. but they only have oysters from east coast, so we ordered two different kinds & some clams too..

the middle 6 oysters were Caraquette (from N.B.), the outside 6 were Eal Lake (from N.S.).. there were 6 Little Neck clams as well.. they were very firm.. we love the Caraquette more.. tasted very fresh! & definitely the clams, i can feel the taste of the seawater..

we had some cold appetizers too..
Seafood Poke (above left).. it's lime marinated ahi, scallops, shrimp with pine nuts & roquette.. it's just so-so..
Parfait de foie gras (above right).. the foie gras & sauterne-onion marmalade with toasted baguette & nut bread..

i took another two pics of it.. it tasted VERY good.. not very rich.. it felt like a spread.. it also came with a marmalade jam..

for main course, the Daily Fish was Halibut.. LG tried that & said it's good..

i had the Roast Breast of Duck, which has mushrooms, beans, garlic potato, & pear-rhubarb compote.. i love it..

since we parked our car on the road outside the restaurant, we paid the meter parking for up to 8:30pm.. & when the chef brought us the main courses, LG asked if we actually have to pay for the parking (as it's public holiday).. the chef said yes & he said he would pay for the additional half hour parking for us.. we were still wondering what he said, but he then went straight out & paying the parking at the meter!! he is so nice!! we didn't imagine that he would do so for us!! the chef is also the owner of the restaurant & he's called Jac Eckhardt.. he will also answer seafood questions if customers send him emails.. what a nice guy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

12 Days Greek Isles Cruise - Day 3 Dubrovnik

Date: November 11, 2007 (Sunday)
Place: Dubrovnik, Croatia (杜布羅夫尼克, 克羅地亞)
Day 3

we arrived at Dubrovnik at ~8am.. Dubrovnik was a tender port.. it took about 20 mins to go ashore.. the tender pier was an approx. 20 mins drive to the city centre, & there was shuttle for 5 euros per person one way.. but the 2 of us decided to take a taxi to the Pile Square, which was 10 euros one way.. it saved us some time from waiting for the shuttle (as there was a line-up as many of the cruise passengers took the shuttle)..

their currency is Croatian kuna, which was about $1 CAN = 5 Kuna.. but most of the shops/restaurants will accept Euros..

we planned to take a walk at the Dubrovnik city wall & that's our first destination..

Gate of Pile.. Outer Pile gate with statue Sveti Vlaho

we had to go up some stairs before we could start the walk..

we started walking from the right side (i.e. anti-clockwise).. the walls run around part of the city for about 1.6km.. they were built between the 8th & the 16th centuries..
the view was spectacular.. we saw all the reddish orange-tile roofed houses in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, from the City Walls..
it was our cruise ship at the very back..
i read from the internet saying that: 戰前房屋所用的紅色瓦片,全以工人的大腿形狀做成弧形,手工精細,但不少已在戰爭中消失,眼前的紅頂許多是重建時鋪上的..
it took us about an hour to finish walking the City Walls.. & then we wondered around the Stradun, the main street in Dubrovnik..
the Old Town of Dubrovnik has been approved by the World Heritage Committee to be included on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1979, it's also referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic"..

the taxi driver recommended a restaurant to us for lunch.. & after some time looking around, we finally found it..

Wanda Mediterranean Cuisine
Address: Prijeko 8, 20000 Dubrovnik
Phone: 098-944-9317

we passed by its sister venue Surf & Turf earlier.. there was a magazine clipping posted outside the window, saying "2006 hit Wanda shines amid the tourist-trap eateries"..

Wanda was opened in 2006 by a native Dubrovnik called Goran, who has been working in the restaruant industry in Los Angeles for 15 yrs.. they put together simple, well-conceived Mediterranean cuisine using fresh, locally found ingredients.. well i have to admit that the spaghetti that i had (Spaghetti allo Zafferano) tasted very good..
Spaghetti allo Zafferano (with clams, lobster & shrimp in a light spicy creamy saffron sauce)
Risotto Ai Frutti Di Mare (Risotto with seafood & fresh parsley pesto)

a little side story during our lunch..
we asked the waiter about the price of the "Special of the day", i.e. the Spaghetti allo Zafferano, before we ordered our food.. that waiter said it's about the same price as the other seafood spaghetti, ~90 kuna, so we decided to try that "Special of the day".. but when we got the bill, it turned out to be 250 kuna.. we then asked that waiter whether there was some mistakes.. & then another waiter came to us, saying that he's sorry but it was the 1st day for that other waiter, & that's why he's not sure about the price.. OH WELL!! (p.s. they spoke good english) given that there were lobsters & many other seafood in the spaghetti (+ it tasted good), i did think that it should cost more than 90 kuna.. it's just the way they did things annoyed us a bit..

Day 3 Dinner
(left) Coldwater Poached Peruvian Sea Scallop Ceviche & Avocado
(right) Succulent Shrimp Cocktail, Red American Sauce
(left) Lemon & Herb Scented Broiled North Sea Silver Salmon Filet
(right) Grilled Aged New York Sirloin Steak
.. i don't like the salmon, it was over-cooked; i didn't even finish it.. & the sirloin steak was just so-so.. maybe coz these were the two courses which offered every day.. (that's why it's not special at all..) but the desserts were great..

(left) Opera Cake (Almond Sponge Cake Soaked in Kahlua, Filled with Coffee Cream & Chocolate Mousse)
..this was one of the best desserts in our trip.. soft & tasted good..
(right) Vanilla Pudding (A Traditional Old Favorite, Garnished with a Strawberry Fan)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Afro Ken 爆炸狗

Afro Ken OVA part 1

Afro Ken OVA part 2

Afro Ken OVA part 3

Saturday, December 01, 2007

12 Days Greek Isles Cruise - Day 1 & 2 Venice

Date: November 9-10, 2007
Place: Venice, Italy (威尼斯, 意大利)
Day 1
we have been looking forward to this trip for a long long time.. wanna forget about work & have a relaxing holiday.. things turned out to be sooo unexpected! it was a very adventurous journey.. a memorable one!

we had an evening flight on Nov. 8.. it was raining that night, & our flight got delayed for over an hour.. i had a quick dinner before getting on board, as i haven't had any good meal on AC flight before.. & as usual, i found it terrible.. the only thing that i ate was the chocolate pudding dessert (& the bottled water!)
this was our meal on the flight to Rome..
this was our breakfast on flight.. orange juice, some bagged apple slices, & a muffin..

it was an 8 hours flight.. we had to take a connecting flight in Rome to Venice.. & that was chaos.. the instruction was so unclear.. the staff directed us to a gate & said we should wait there.. we didn't have the boarding pass yet & the staff said "just wait here".. & when it's time to board, we soon found out that we had to go upstairs to get our boarding pass!!! it was a rush! & that lady in the counter, she didn't even know what is an "e-ticket"! she kept saying that i don't have an air ticket, for which we used e-tickets instead.. she had to make some phone calls before she realized that we could use E-TICKETS!! unbelievable!!

luckily, the flight from Rome to Venice was only ~1 hour & the seats were more comfortable than the AC ones..
upon arriving at the Venice airport, we soon found out that our luggages were lost! almost everyone from that flight lost their luggages.. people were guessing that it must be the strike in Rome airport which caused this.. it was chaotic.. after lining up at "Lost & Found" for ~3hrs, all we had was a claim form!! we even had to give them the key for the lock of our luggage, the staff said it will be returned to us when we get back our bags.. but nope, we didn't get back the key even when our bags came back on the 6th day!!!
anyway, life must go on.. & our trip must go on too.. we were supposed to get on the cruise ship at ~3pm.. but due to all these mess, we didn't get onto the ship until 5:30pm.. & it was dark already..

we were on the Star Princess, which was launched in 2002, 109,000 Tonnage & 2600 Passengers.. we had travelled on Royal Caribbean 2 years ago to Alaska.. we decided to try Princess this time as we heard some good reviews about Princess re its food, + its itinerary best suits us -- we wanna visit the Greek islands, & this cruise covers the most..

we planned to go visit Venice in the afternoon, but unfortunately we didn't make it.. so shortly after we visited our cabin, we got off the ship & took the water shuttle to Venice..
& since it was late, we started looking for food.. from the tour book, i spot out a restaurant which has the cuttlefish risotto.. we had it in Hong Kong years ago & love it! & after asking around, we finally found the restaurant..

Address: Venezia - Calle Larga S. Marco 403
Phone: 041 52.09.299

since we also wanna tried the food on our cruise ship (thought we shouldn't miss the 1st dinner on cruise), we just ordered one dish, Risotto Seppie Nere (30 euro for 2).. it had a minimum of 2 orders, i.e. the portion was for 2 people.. it's rice cooked with cuttlefish black ink sauce..

the waitress was serving the risotto in front of us..

the risotto was "embedded" in olive oil, but surprisingly it didn't feel greasy.. it enriched the flavor of the risotto.. & it was the BEST meal in our trip..

we did some window-shopping after dinner.. & we saw many "Triangel" (from TVB's drama「衝上雲霄」).. they are called "Lucky Doll" in Venice.. very popular..
back to the cruise, we had some appetizers & desserts in the anytime Dining Room..

(left) Coldwater Maine Lobster & Seafood Terrine, Dill Mustard Emulsion
..its texture was like crabcake, but with lobster & other seafood.. & it's a good sauce to go with..
(right) Cream of Porcini Mushroom Soup Perfumed with Tarragon's not very rich, yet tasty.. (given that i love mushrooms..)

(left) The Princess Love Boat Dream (Fluffy Dark Swiss Chocolate Mousse, Flavored with Lady Godiva Liqueur)'s a Chocolate dessert that Princess offers every day.. when the waiter brought the cake to me, he asked me to close my eyes before he put down the cake.. the bottom part of the cake was something like rice crispy.. perfect for Chocolate lovers..
(right) Traditional New York Cheesecake (The World-Famous Big Apple Dessert, Presented on a Mirror of Fresh Strawberry Coulis)
..LG said it's just so-so..

so, that's Day 1..
since our luggages were lost, we had no clean clothes, no pajamas.. the cruise staff offered us a sanitary pack, with toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, comb, cotton balls.. glad that there were bathing soap, shampoo & conditioner in our cabin.. we could still shower.. but u can imagine what we were wearing to sleep.. the one & only t-shirt & jeans!! it's a nightmare!!
Day 2
our cruise ship.. Star Princes..

we got off the ship as soon as we finished breakfast & headed to Venice.. (our ship was leaving at 1pm).. in additional to visiting the city, our mission was to get ourselves some clothes (just in case we still couldn't get back our bags).. & we walked to the Coin Department Store to get some "necessities".. it's far from the port, but it was a pleasure walk..

here are some snapshots of Venice..

Gondola @ Riva degli Schiavoni
Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (at the back)
the lady feding the pigeons, & at the same time trying to get rid of them..
Basilica San Marco (聖馬可大教堂)
a panoply of pigeons in the Piazza San Marco (聖馬可廣場).. i read that the pigeon density is highest in Venice, about 3 pigeosn per citizen..

Piazza San Marco (聖馬可廣場)

it's the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri 嘆息橋).. this arched, 17th-century covered stone bridge connects the Doge's Palace with the old prisons.. 相傳死囚在此嘆息而聞名(原因是死囚從小窗看見以前的愛人在橋的另一端與新歡親熱
traditional Venetian masks on display
Craft Shop in Venice
Rialto Bridge.. the striking 28m span, 8m high Istrian stone Ponte di Rialto dates from 1588..
the famous Grand Canal.. it's 4km in length, 30-70m in width & avg 4.5m in depth..
Traghetto on the Grand Canal

Rialto Market
it's a small market located right by the Rialto Bridge.. there is a fruit & vegetable market (Erberia), & a fish market (Pescheria).. i love walking around in the local market, to feel & experience the Venetian's life..

after visiting the market, we enjoyed a cappuccino at Caffe Florian, which is Europe's first coffee house, opened on 29 December 1720, located under the historic Procuratie Nuove, in Piazza San Marco.. there was live band playing at the back, which costed 5 euros per person for the music..

Venice is a really nice place to visit.. a city with no car, only boats.. less polutions.. its narrow alleyways & canals pass between magnificent buildings & churches, & it's easy to explore on our own..

we spent the whole afternoon in our cabin.. waiting for our clothes to be cleaned.. the cruise offered us complimentary laundry, but it took ~3 hours to get it done..

Day 2 Dinner.. it was supposed to be a Formal Night.. but unfortunately, we still haven't got our luggages back.. which means, we were the only one who wore t-shirt & jeans in the Dining Room.. i felt soooo bad.. the waitress at the entrance remembered us since then.. she kept asking us every day whether we got our luggages back or not.. she felt sorry for us, & she said it happened all the time.. can't believe it!

(left) Gently Smoked Supreme of Duck with Wild Greens & a Cassis Vinaigrette
(right) Crab Quiche with a Jalapeno Chili Salsa

Soup: Lobster Bisque Garnished with Shrimp, Flavored with Cognac was highly recommended on the cruise critics forum.. & yes, it tasted good..

(left) Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin (Grilled Medallions Enhanced by a Madeira-Entree: Truffle Demi-Glace, Served with Squash, Baby Carrots & Croquette Potatoes)
(right) Jumbo Tiger Shrimp Newburg (Tender Shellfish Flambeed with Cognac in a Pink Cream Sauce, Served on a Bed of Basmati Rice Pilaf)
(left) Chocolate Hazelnut Souffle (Princess Cruises' Extraordinary Speciatly Presented with a Warm Zabaglione Foam)
..LG loves Souffle.. it's very soft.. i found it a little bit too sweet..
(right) Drambuie & Coconut Parfait (An Irresistible Italian Frozen Ice Cream Dessert)