Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sweet Revenge Patisserie

Death By Chocolate, True Confections, Cheesecake Etc, and other such dessert places are just right for North American tastes, but when I go with some of my Japanese friends, they often remark on how many of the cakes and deserts are too rich, or over the top sweet.  I guess for me, I live in both worlds and I actaully like the cakes from True Confections.  I can only eat a sliver without feeling kind of gross.  I've also had deserts in Japan, I've been to some of the cafes and cake shops, and the styles there definitely have a French influence.  For anyone looking for something naughty but won't leave you in a food coma, Sweet Revenge Patisserie will be right up your alley. 
First of all, the place is damn near impossible to find unless you've looked it up on a map first.  The store front is so discreet, it's almost as if it doesn't want to be found.........
...............yet when we got there, a steady flow of patrons were coming and going. 
The place seems very fragile, and I felt like I was in an antique shop, rather than a dessert place. 
I ordered an Earl Grey, hot, just like Captain Picard.
The china was all made in Japan for some reason....

The Creme Brulee - $6.55
Chocolate Pudding Cake for $6.35.  It was like a chocolate lava cake, filled with dark chocolate pudding.

The place is small, there was only one server, and sometimes you have to share a table.  But it's a nice place if you want to just sit for a while, have some tea and some sweets to go with it.  The staff will more or less leave you alone, haha, whether you want them to or not.  But that can be a good thing as well, if you don't want your waiter or waitress pestering you to order more stuff, or to pay the bill and get out.  It's a nice little shop, and I'd probably go back.

Sweet Revenge Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

You go to Joe Fortes not for the food, not for the decor, or the spectacular service, but for the experience.  The experience of being pampered, of being treated like royalty.  Sure, some of it may seem a little canned, but still, it's an experience like no other restaurant I've been to (so far.....)

I've been here before, a very long time ago, but I lost all the pictures and wasn't able to do a review.  The place is amazing.  We were seated on the 3rd level, overlooking the rest of the restaurant, and had a view of the beautiful entrance, and the pianist.  The jazz being played live reminded me of the The Rooftop in Regina.

Chivas Regal, 12 yrs, the perfect friend to any slab of beef.
The bread was really good, and they kept on refilling it....I probably should have controlled myself but the the salmon oil/vinigrette (below) was so good, I couldn't resist.
Haha, I was reading Elaine's (Oh My Sweet Tooth) post on this, she wants her butter!  Actually, I really liked the salmon-based olive oil with the balsamic vingrette reduction, but butter would have been good too. 
I'm sorry to say, but the chickpeas in this salad tasted like B.O.  Hey, I never said the place was perfect, but not a big deal, just don't order this unless you like eating B.O.
I had half a dozen oysters.  Joe's Gold Reid Island was the selection of the night for me.  The cocktail sauce tasted like ketchup, but the horseradish was out of this world when used in combination with the sauce, a squirt of lemon and the oysters.  I wanted to eat more, but I didn't want to spoil my appettite too badly.

Joe's Classic Cioppino was a nice mix of seafood served in a creamy tomato sauce.  For $33.95, this wasn't my cup of tea.  But then, I'm not really a light eater.  My meal was worth every penny. 
My Ribeye Steak, 16 oz, Dry Aged Canadian Prime was invented by God, specifically for me (this, and Keg's Prime Rib, haha!).  It was large, just the way I like it, it had a nice ratio of fat to lean, just the way I like it, and it was seasoned to perfection.  I ordered it fat and bloody, but it came medium.  Despite this, it still tasted like heaven with every single bite.  I really, really wanted to eat the grisle and knaw on the bone for a bit, but it wasn't the time nor place for that sort of behavior.

Joe Fortes isn't a restaurant, it's an indulgence.  I wouldn't want to go here too often because it would spoil me rotten.  The services, well, our server in particular, was incredible.  He was truly a professional, and he knew his job well.  He catered to our every need, was friendly, but not overly familiar, he made suggestions that made sense instead of just trying to sell the everything under the sun to us, and most importantly, he made us feel like we belonged there. 

The food for the most part was of very high quality, the presentation was as expected - beautiful.  I still have yet to experience a chop house like Keen's, haha, where the veg is supposed to look unappetizing.  But the veg at Joe Fortes was actually quite tasty, even though they momentarily discracted me from the main objective - the meat.

Do you remember that scene in The Matrix where Cypher is in that fancy restaurant, eating that inredibly tasty looking steak?  That's Joe Fortes in a nutshell.  Save this one for special occasions.

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House on Urbanspoon

Golden Sea City Restaurant

This place has changed names so many times, I've lost count, but somehow, the food still magages to taste ok, it's still relatively inexpensive, and they still have dim-sum carts!  The service is as you would expect at any grease spoon of this calibre, so don't go in expecting much and you won't be disappointed....it's not fine dining.  The restaurant itself is getting a little run-down though, and renovations and cleanliness aren't a priority in these kinds of places.

The current owners aren't big on replacing the table cloths......clearly, they're still using hand-me-down stuff from previous owners.
Taking care of any moisture problems, water leaks, mold isn't a priority here.......I didn't even bother with the washrooms because if the dining area looked this bad.....
I wonder how legal this is for a fire exit?
Steamed spareribs and Chinese sausage on rice.  Tasty for anyone hungry enough to order something with rice at dim sum
Even though this rice noodle with fish was the last dish on the cart, we were hungry and ordered it anyway.  If it wasn't cold, it probably would have tasted really good.  The noodles were tender, and the fish inside was cooked just right.
The Siu Mai were a decent size, nothing to complain about here.  Nice large chunks of pork and shrimp. 
Haha, my dad said they used 1 less prawn than before in the Hagow.  To me they seemed a bit smallish compared to the hagow under the previous ownership, but they still tasted good.
My favourite dim sum dish - steamed spare ribs with a couple of black beans thrown in for good measure.  Lining the bottom of the dish was butternut squash, which helps soak up all that glorious fat from the pork.  I did something completely disgusting and took the sauce (aka fat with flavour) and poured it over my left-over rice from earlier....sounds gross, I know, but tastes like heaven.
Chicken feet!  For those with squeamish stomachs, skip ahead.  These were done well, skin and what little meat slip right off the bone.  Pop the whole thing in your mouth and spit out the bones.
Sticky Rice Wraps....these tasted ok, but not great.  Actually, they were a bit bland and didn't have much "stuff" inside...

Still edible though.  All it needed was a little chili oil.

I've been coming to this place for a couple of years, and although the name of the restaurant and owners may change, it seems like nothing else really does.  The servers (and probably kitchen staff), the food, the decor, the prices, the lack of parking, are all pretty much the same.  The restaurant could use some renos, and maybe some better house-keeping standards, but that's about it.  Everything is cooked, so just as long as your food is hot, you should be safe, haha!  Despite the place being sort of a dive, I still go back once in a while.

Golden Sea City Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 15, 2011


Loud, crowded, dimly lit, great food, better booze, just the way an izakaya should be!  The service is excellent and no less than what you would expect if you were in Japan.  My only gripe, and it's a personal gripe so don't look at this as a black mark on Suika, is the pricing.  Being the same owner as Kingyo, you get Kingyo pricing which is a bit more than say Guu.  Again, that's just a personal gripe because a) I'm not in the right tax bracket to drink there comfortably every weekend, or b) I'm just kechii (stingy).  Haha, probably a combination of both.

Nice bonsai, but I think it's dying.

I want this for my home - a chandelier made from sake bottles....pure awsome.

Suicka/suica is watermelon, and I think that's why those little bottles were up there.
I had a small taste of Niigata....I felt like splurging this night so I spent a couple of extra bucks on some good sake,  I guess I just didn't feel like drinking the typical Gekeikan which is barely fit for cooking and cleaning engines. 

We got amaebi, which was good but not as memorable as the one I recently had at Guu with Garlic.
Fresh wasabi (or from the tube at least) is heavenly compared to powered stuff.  You can actually taste the little bits of wasabi root in there.  I love this stuff and can just eat it straight.
Gyutan - or beef tongue....I know what you're thinking, sounds gross, but actually tastes really good.
Black Cod, or sable fish....it's really hard to screw this fish up because it's so inherently flavourful on it's own, and it's loaded with fat so all you have to to is add heat really.  But in any case, it's heavenly with all kinds of sesaoning, including miso. 
Chicken karaage.  It was good.
Sirloin Steak on a stone grill.  Nice and rare to medium rare.  There wasn't a whole lot of seasoning, but it really didn't need it.  It was a glorious cut of beef and the garlic chips on top were great with every bite.
Yaki-udon with clams and negi.  Holy crap this was good.  We should have ordered another one....wait, I think we did.
As usual, I like to get the ebi heads deep-fried.  They taste like giant shrimp chips, but better yet, they are an excellent friend to any sort of alcohol you may have on the table.
I don't remember what kind of salad this was, but it had lots of stuff in it and I don't remember complaining about the taste.
Haha, a plate of fat.  I thin they called it Toro Chashu, but it was really just a heavenly plate of fat and it tasted good.  My companions couldn't stomach too many pieces of this so I had to take charge and help them finish it. *burp*.

Ebi mayo, as if we didn't have enough ebi from earlier, these deep fried prawns came with the typical chili mayo sauce that most izakaya come with....tasty, even though it's nothing new to me.
The Green Tea Creme Brulee was absolutely incredible.  Normally, I don't bother with deserts at izakaya, but I had so much salty food, I was craving something sweet.  Unfortunately , I personally didn't order this.....yet.
I had the ice-cream daifuku....or at least that's what I thought they labelled this as on the menu.  Esssentialy, it was just a mochi skin on top of a scoop of ice cream.  You can actually buy actually ice cream daifuku at T & T now.  Either way, this was good and it was what I ordered....however, I really liked the Green Tea Creme Brulee so we ordered two more, haha!

Food-wise, you definitely get a bigger variety at Suika, many dishes have not been tried at other local izakaya.  The great thing about izakaya is they are never afraid to try all these weird and wonderful combination to create these incredible little tapas.  And if you don't like it, you're not stuck with a huge plateful of food you hate.  Suika definitely holds of the title of innovative at the moment. 

The place is fairly new and line-ups are not uncommon, but give it a few months, and it might be easier to get a seat at this place (hopefully).  I love the fact that all these izakaya are opening up around town.  Just like all the ramen shops popping, the increase in supply will demand high quality for hopefully competitive prices.  Plus it should reduce the wait times to get seated at these places.  There seems to be an infinite demand for authentic Japanese food and drinking holes, which should keep the market healthy.  Suika is definitely on my list of places to go when I have a couple of extra bucks in my pocket.

Suika on Urbanspoon

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