Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chez Bong

I had been meaning to go back to Chez Bong for a while--I went about 5 or 6 years ago mostly because it was in the book 'Cheap Thrills' (they tell you where you can eat for cheap in MTL). Obviously I had loved it AND I love Korean food AND it's in Chinatown (because here, if it's anythin' Asian, it's in Chinatown...which we will henceforth call Asiatown).
Anyhoot, went a couple weeks back with my homie Lea with a sole purpose: to eat a good bibimbap! Oh how I love thee!If you don't like bibimbap (for shaaaaaaaaame!), you have about 27 choices on the menu. Dem Asians don't do shiz half assed I tells you.

Aight, so when you get into this resto, there is, you didn't guess it, techno music! What the what? The place looks nice and out of the ordinary with wood everywhere including the walls. The ceiling though is made of panels... with some mold. I tried not to concentrate on that.
We started off with some pork dumplings. The looked great but turned out to be a bit on the doughy side and even though there was a nice, vinegary sauce to go with, it couldn't save the dish. They were still alright though, por favor don't get me wrong (that's right, I use Spanish only when I'm serious about somethin').

They also brought us some boiled potato cubes and my fave by 8000 units (it's a thing!---remind me to tell you about that time in the tent when my friend Jadster said I was taking up 8000 units, just do it!), the BEST thing ever to come out of Korea, kimchi. Ps: I tried my hand at making kimchi last summer and it was quite good indeed (if you don't know what kimchi is, for the love of little baby Jesus, look it up! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimchi).

The potatoes were a tad overcooked and although they weren't necessarily bad per se, they didn't taste like much. Obviously the kimchi was wonderful. Oh God, I want some now! That fermented cabbage, in my mouth, RIGHT NOW. OK, I shall calm down.
Bibimbap actually means mixed rice, did you know that? Well, I didn't either until about 3 seconds ago :) The egg is kind of supposed to be raw but I was happy with this one; raw egg is a thing I not-so-much appreciate. Traditionally the rice is served with veggies, some meat and chili paste. I had all sorts of goodness in my bowl (which is scalding by the way---which is why I had to blow on my food throughout the meal!). There were some pickled veggies that had just a hint of vinegar and went well with the rice, the meat and the egg and well, everything. There were even some fiddleheads which was quite surprising! A damn nice surprise! They were cooked to perfection. And I ain't used to eating warm cucumber but you know what, it's pretty damn darn tootin' good!

Service was alright: we got water quickly and he came to take our order in a timely fashion. He didn't come check once if we liked our meal or to serve us water so that's -23 points right there. He did, however, bring us hot sauce 3 seconds after asking.

And now, the scores!

Food: 7.5
Service: 6.5

If I ever get the bibimbap craving again, I'm going back! Oh, wait, ya, it's here :) You know where to find me!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hoang Oanh

I don't know why but I had been craving a banh mi (uber vietnamese treat) for about a month. Well, that craving was satisfied at Hoang Oanh last Sunday! Called up Lea, told her about my banh mi dreams and set to meet up in Chinatown (I just want to mention how much I appreciate the fact that when I go to Chinatown, I can eat chinese food, korean food, vietnamese food, japanese food etc! Now if it could only be a tad bigger!). Half an hour later, we were there baby!
The place is tiny and has no room to sit, which kind of sucks for people like us who had not planned on eating this loveliness at home. Iz ok, don't cry for me Argentina, we hopped over to the Palais des Congrès and found a comfy sofa to drop our crumbs on :)

Anyhoot, we practically were in and out in 3 minutes! These banh mi girls are fast I tells ya! We didn't want to eat the same sandwich so Lea got the veggie one and I got the beef one. Oh and a big ass ps here, it only cost 4$. Yes I say.
This is the veggie one (and the only good picture---the other ones, they just look like 'well I see some ingredients but it doesn't look like anythin'). Lea had the choice between tofu marinated in curry or marinated in soya sauce. Great choice with the curry; I hardly ever tasted tofu that tasted this good. Ok, rarely. Alright, never. My beef was really tasty too; they apparently really got their proteins right :) Seriously, it was kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic (thanks Rachel) but in a good way. The bread in both sandwiches was a tad stale though which was not that super. Plus, you know, all the crumbs. When we got up, we actually saw a reverse body-shaped crumb infested area on the couch. The veggies were so darn good: just a tad pickled and oh-so-fresh! Carrots, daikon, coriander and a hint of hot peppers; so basically all the right stuff. Oh and there was a little bit of yummy yummy sauce that just made everything better. I's gotta say that the veggies were cut a bit too big but in the end, who gives a crap when it tastes this good? Precisely no one! Oh and the hint of really hot peppers was a good choice on our part; it just gave it a nice little kick.

Although I won't be grading the service because of the super duper short time we were in there, it was great! Fast, efficient, nice. 

And now, the score!
Food: 8

I'll be back every day I can. Now THAT is a promise!

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pho Bang New York

My friend Val and I LOVE restauranting (oh ya... btw I invent verbs now) together: she doesn't care that I spend a third of the time taking notes and pictures and I don't mind if she talks on the phone. Anyhoot, Val and I decided that, since we are uber poor right now, Chinatown will be our new hang out spot. Many restaurants, some of them good, most of them cheap!

That evening, we decided on a place that had gotten mostly great reviews; Pho Bang New York. Well, for me, any place with 'Bang' in its name is a done deal. So we're about to walk in and notice that it's full, overly lit and cafeteria style, meaning there are long tables and many dining groups sitting beside one another. I know it's not going to be a long dinner so cafeteria style sitting is ok by me.

We were seated quite quickly and as soon as we hit the chair, some tea was on our table. Thank the little baby Jesus (or as I like to call him, Heysus) for that hot tea 'cause I believe it was nearing the minus 8000 Celsius outside. Not cool man, not cool. We looked at the menu but knew what we were going to have, we were there for some Pho (more on pho: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pho). I really needed something hot to thaw my insides (insert picture here).

We decided to share a spring roll entree and both ordered the grilled chicken pho.
The spring roll. I LOVE spring rolls. This one, unfortunately, did not live up to our expectations.  I was dry and quite hard. Plus, I did not even taste the shrimp. And y'all know how much I loves me some shrimp.
Grilled chicken pho. Not the best decision ever made by either of us. The broth didn't taste like much; let's just say we added a lot of sriracha and hoisin to make it taste like somethin'. The chicken was good, thank Heysus, and the charred taste really came through. The choice of veggies... I mean, who wants what I call 'carottes d'avion' (you know, those tiny stooopid carrots) or cauliflower in pho? It smelled amazing when it was placed in front of us but even the yummy thai basil, the lime, nor the sprouts could save it.

Service was lacking, as it is in a lot of Asian restaurants that serve a shiz load of people per meal. Water was on the table quickly and we got the food really fast too but our waiter was looking around while taking our order and that just pisses me off. 

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 6

I'm not sure I'd go back, even for another kind of pho. Pho sho (hahaha, get it? mmmmya).

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