Soups @ Owl of Minerva

I always wanted to try Korean pork bone soup and there was probably no where better to try it than Korea Town’s Owl of Minerva which I have previously read about on BlogTO.

Pork bone soup known as “Gamjatang” was listed on the menu for only $6.20. Since the price was so low, I assumed it would be a small portion so I included the $3 add on of dumplings and noodles.

Not only was the portion pretty large and comparable to that of Pho, but it also came with a bowl of rice and a few sides. The soup was chocked full of pork. I expected a single pork bone, but there were many and the meat was fall off the bone tender. The red colour meant it was spicy, however it was a manageable heat. I totally did not need the add-ons though, there was plenty to eat for $6.20.

We never order the same thing (because that is silly), so Nash got the “Kalbitang” also known as Short-Rib Soup.

It came in a white broth that had a black pepper and garlic aroma. Ingredients included green onions, short ribs, onions, egg and glass noodles, which were very tricky to pick up! I have to admit I like my soup a bit better.

For under $20 the meal was filling and tasteful. We will definitely go back to try the non-soup dishes of which there are plenty!

Owl of Minerva on Urbanspoon

Addicted to Learning

As mentioned in a previous post, I have an irrational fear of losing brain cells. Now that I’m out of school, it’s up to me to keep fueling my brain, so now I am kind of addicted to learning.

Not only am I reading whenever I get the chance, but now there are a handful of online sites that provide university level courses for free. I am currently doing a course that teaches the fundamentals of Python coding on Coursera. I enrolled in a bunch of Coursera courses, but they are time sensitive and none of them have started yet. Most of the courses have start dates that are still far off in the future.

Other useful learning sites I am looking into include interactive programming community Code Academy and Udacity. I like these sites because they provide relevant courses for today’s modern world, something that my traditional schooling did not always consider.

Have any of you tried free online courses? I’d love to know your stories and experiences.

Delicious Burgers at The Works

I took Nash out for an early birthday dinner tonight. We decided that instead of something fancy we’d hit up one of the many burger places that we haven’t tried yet. We headed to The Works Burger on the Danforth. There’s also plenty of other locations for those of you who don’t live in Toronto.

The restaurant played on a construction work-site theme. It was very casual; like a burger joint should be. We even got our soft drinks in measuring cup-esque glasses.

The best part about this place is they have over 72 different burger combinations. That’s right 72. The menu also includes other delicious sounding things like fried pickles and an onion tower. However, we came for a burger, so that’s what we got.

crazy menu

The menu was categorized by types of burger combinations, from the most popular, strange, sauced, bold, meat and veggy. You could also choose from a variation of meats (beef, chicken, salmon, portobello, ground turkey, veggie). We both had the elk. I had the Beverley Hills Lawsuit with a side of Bold Slaw.

My burger had egg, leaf spinach, Havarti and double smoked bacon. The elk was lean and delicious. I gobbled the entire thing up and did not feel like death afterwards. The combination of ingredients tasted like a very delicious quiche in a sandwich. The Bold Slaw came in a generous serving size and had a little bit of a kick from the jalapeno juice and white pepper. I would have been happier with a smaller serving of that, as I did not end up finishing the slaw. The flavour was too pungent for me to have such a large portion of it.

Nash had the Neil Young burger with a side of cucumber. Who optionally chooses cucumber??!!!.

The toppings included grilled eggplant, fresh avocado, salsa loco and feta cheese. I stole a giant bite of it. I really liked that the avocado was a literal piece of fresh avocado and not some mushed guacomole-like paste. There was a nice texture to it and the grilled eggplant went really well with the salsa and the feta. Flavour explosion in one bite!

This was seriously one of our favourite burger places (and if you are a regular reader you know we’ve been to a lot of them). We’ll definitely be stopping by again to eat one of the other 70 combinations!

The Works on Urbanspoon

Soupstock 2012

Yesterday I attended Soupstock at Woodbine Park. There were over 40,000 people in attendance trying out soups from 85 different booths. Bands also played in support of their land. The festival existed to raise funds to stop and raise awareness for the high-land mega-quarry. To put it shortly, the Highland companies want to blast a pit deeper than the Niagara falls in more than 2300 acres of farm land in Ontario. It would also require tons of water to be removed from the pit every day, water that people who live downstream from it need. All this just for some limestone. Though many people (including myself) originally came just for the soup, most learnt about and supported the cause.

Nash signing a giant petition.

Soup tickets were $10 for 3 and me and Nash bought 6 altogether. I brought my own bowls from home. I brought these old ugly ones because we chucked them away before heading off to a concert for the night. The first soup we had was a Pumpkin, squash and pear soup.

Pumpkin, squash and pear soup

The booth was in a corner, and lines were non-existent, but it was actually one of my favourites. I generally love butternut squash soup but this was perfect in texture. It was bursting with flavour and the hint of pear was lovely. It wasn’t something we immediately tasted, but when thought about, it was definitely there.

Next we braved a line at the Rock Lobster soup tent.

disappointing lobster soup

We both unanimously decided that it was definitely not worth the wait. The broth was too thin, and almost water-like. It was also pretty flavourless, or rather had a strange after taste that felt like spicy, but was definitely not spicy. There were a handful of mini lobster pieces, but not enough for it to have been worth the long line.


After that thin soup, I wanted something with more substance so we tried the chili. It wasn’t spicy, but they had plenty of hot sauce at their station to add whatever amount of heat was desired. We dabbed quite a bit and enjoyed the filling beans, meat and cheese combo.

Susur Lee serving me soup

Up until this point we were just wandering about looking at the stands without a map, but while in line for chili, I heard one of my favourite food network chefs Susur Lee was serving soup! I haven’t been to his restaurant yet (not in my budget) but I have tried a couple of his items at various other food festivals. Sunday he was serving hot and sour soup!

Hot and sour soup

To be honest, I’m not regularly a fan of hot and sour soup. I always thought it was one of those fake Asian foods made for white folk. However Susur’s was delicious! There were a ton of flavours going on including a mouthful of flowery coriander. The ingredients in his soup reminded me of shark fin soup (which I have had plenty as a kid), without the shark fin.

Since the lobster soup was a fail, we decided not to judge a soup by its line. Instead for the last two, we went to booths with virtually no line at all. The first was the Fraser Cafe which had a lemongrass noodle soup.

Lemongrass noodle soup

There was a strong flavour of lemongrass, and pieces of it were visible in the soup. The noodles were thin and soaked up the flavour. Strangely, it almost kind of reminded me of the pumpkin soup in aftertaste.
Lastly, we got a potato leek soup with sweet breads in it.
Potato leek w/ sweetbreads

Sweetbreads, just as a reminder is weird organ meat. We’ve tried it once before at last year’s Food and Wine festival. The potato leek soup was perfectly thick. The sweetbreads were thick and this time, we didn’t mind the texture at all. In this soup it was a soft meaty delicacy.

Though I hope the mega-quarry doesn’t happen, I hope another Soupstock does, even if to raise support for another cause. It was a lovely Sunday, with a lovely mixture of happy people, food and music.

Pho Hung- The Junction

I’ve been to other Pho Hung locations including the one in Chinatown and the other in the Annex, although I’m not sure if the latter exists any more due to redevelopment projects in the area.

The one in the Junction may not be of the same owners as I have yet to see the location listed on their website. It was much nicer renovated than the other places I’ve been to and they had fancier shaped plates. The prices are very similar to other Pho locations with most meals being between $6-9.

Hue-style noodle

My favourite so far has been their Hue-style noodle soup. It has a bit of a kick to it (as indicated by the red broth), some thicker noodles. It’s also packed full of meat. I ignored the fact there was a pig foot in my soup though. That thing is too hard to eat. Otherwise, its so nice to have as the weather gets colder.

shredded pork vermicelli

We’ve also tried the vermicelli dishes. The portions here are a bit smaller than normal, but the meat is always flavourful and there is plenty of little shredded peanuts. They don’t skimp on the bowls of fish sauce either (or any of the sauces for that matter).

Sugar cane shrimp, sausage and chicken vermicelli

Me and Nash are used to places with way bigger portions, so sometimes we wander around for desert after. I have yet to try just regular Pho here, but I am sure I will soon. The food is cheap and good here, but don’t expect the normal sized portions!

Yummy Fish and Chips at Hurricanes

I don’t normally dine at bars unless someone recommended an item on their menu. This was the case with Hurricanes, located at Bloor and Dovercourt. I was told their Fish and Chips ($12) were off-the-hook, so that’s what I got.

There was a gigantic piece of fried fish on a bed of home cut fries. There was tartar sauce and coleslaw at the side. Fish and chips is not a thing I usually order from restaurants (unless the place only serves that) but this was delicious! It was nice and crunchy and the fish in the middle was soft and moist. I didn’t even use much of the tartar sauce.

Nash got a burger. It was nothing special, but the grilled flavour was nice. A bit pricey though with a base price of $11 considering that every ad-on (bacon, cheese, egg, onion ring, jalapenos etc) was $2 extra and could result in a $20 burger that we could get much cheaper elsewhere.

Their menu has some other neat things I want to try including Doritos crusted mozzarella sticks and “The Big League Dog”. The atmosphere is very relaxed, so it’s a nice chill place to hangout and have a drink with friends and eat some bar food.

Hurricanes Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

Photoset: Thanksgiving 2012

Since last year, I’ve been cooking the family turkey for Thanksgiving. I did this year too.

Here are some random photos I took of food, teddy and fall scenery.

Turkey before:

Turkey Before


Our house:

Our House
Turkey after:
Turkey After
Dad Taking a Picture
We didn’t notice this sign until after:

Jalapeno Burgers at The Wing Company

On my way to work every morning, I pass by The Wing Company. Though, I have yet to try their wings, I was drawn into the place by their sign advertising burgers. $6.99, burger, fries and drink included. As me and Nash are currently on tight budgets, it was worth a try!
I ordered the BBQ Bacon and Jalapeno Cheeseburger. It wasn’t as massive as some of the other bugers we’ve had recently, but it was pretty delicious.
It was exactly as it’s name described. A burger with bacon, jalapeno, cheddar cheese with the perfect kick of BBQ sauce. I enjoyed the kick the peppers gave and the BBQ sauce was nice and tangy. It was a simple burger, but it was definitely more flavourful than some of the other ones I have eaten lately. Plus, this was a meal for under $10.
The fries were made skin-on and gave it a lovely crunch texture. They were warm and tasted fresh. The only thing wrong with them was that they weren’t served salted. Although that was easily fixed since each dine in table had salt, pepper and vinegar for customers to season their food to their liking.
I had a pleasant dining experience at The Wing Company. The staff was friendly and I’ll definitely be back to try some wings next time!

The Wing Company on Urbanspoon