A weekend in the suburbs

This past weekend a few of us made our way out to the suburbs for the three B’s: buddies, BBQ and beer.  While out there, I feel like we got to a full taste of what life is like outside of the city.  We woke up fairly early on Saturday morning and grabbed brunch before making trips to Costco and Canadian Tire.  Costco is awesome!  Everything is HUGE!  After making the rounds we relaxed in the afternoon and went to pick up some meat for the BBQ.  I don’t know what the name of this butcher shop was but it is the reason we occasionally make the trip west to Brampton (aside from visiting our buddy of course).  The raw chicken is served on long skewers and taste like they have been marinating for days in a mystery array of Indian spices.  The thick and juicy thighs (or Thai as it is labelled in the store) stains your hands if you hold them for too long.  My buddy throws them on the grill and you can immediately hear the soothing sizzle of the meat.  As we wait around, having a few beers, you can smell the aroma of the cooking meat.  My buddy, who I’m now calling the Indian grill master, rotates the skewers around periodically to cook the meat ever so perfectly.  Look at the perfect grill marks on the chicken.

IMAG0040Once the meat come off the grill a few of us dive right in.  Even with a burnt mouth, it tastes amazing!  The Indian spices are spicy and rich.  The heat strikes a pretty high score on the, “How much is this going to hurt tomorrow morning” scale, but it is well worth it.  Our other friend brought a salad, for which we made fun of him at first, but were later grateful since it balanced out the heat.  It was a great start to an even better evening.  I won’t go into the details of the rest of the night but let’s just say there was music, flying cups, school rivalries, a broken screen door and some… well an inappropriately dressed (or not so dressed) individual.

We arose Sunday afternoon and grabbed some Hakka Chinese food before leaving Brampton.  Mmmmmmm.  Chile chicken, Manchurian chow mein, Garlic chicken, some weird fish thing that was really good….mmmmmm.  There is a place in Toronto that also serves Hakka food that I think is pretty amazing but I would like to try more dishes first before sending people there.  Anyways I arrived back in town and I get a call from a friend, “I’m hungry.  When are we going for pho?”  I said anytime is good so we left right away for Markham.  Now my friend has been raving about this vermicelli for some time now so I had pretty high expectations.  We arrive at Pho 88 (note, this location is much better than the ones in the city) and we order the pork vermicelli with a spring roll.  I felt the need to get some fruit in me so I also ordered a strawberry milkshake… I know, I eat like a five year old.  The vermicelli arrives and smells delightful.

IMAG0044I begin mixing everything together and then take my first bite.  The noodles are thicker than most vermicelli dishes I’ve had which means one crucial thing… it soaks up more sauce!  Awesome!  The noodles were tasty, juicy and a little hard to pick up.  The meat was wonderfully marinated and burst with flavor once you bit in.  And then there was the spring roll.  I was anticipating a roll of grease as most spring rolls are, but this, this was a work of art.  It wasn’t too greasy and the blend of vegetables and the deep fried roll almost put tears in my eyes.  It was magical.  Upon finishing my friend looks at me and says, “So, dumplings?”  I was pretty full but I thought, “I made the trip up here, I might as well try it all.”  We made a quick stop at T&T to pick up some jelly straws, yes my friend eats like a five year old too, and then made our way to a Shanghainese place call Ding Tai Fung.  We had to wait about ten minutes before getting a table and while waiting we noticed an article on the wall that said, “Pork fat rules in Shanghainese Fare”.  It sounded delicious.  We sat at the table and ordered the soup dumplings and Shanghai noodles.  The dumplings arrived first.  Upon first glance, you could see the soup floating around inside.

IMAG0045I carefully picked one up and placed it on a spoon.  I shoved the whole thing into my mouth and upon first bite, you could literally taste a burst of flavor.  Upon breaking the wrap layer, the soup comes rushing out and as you chew, it mixes with the ball of meat inside (I’m pretty sure it was pork).  Wow, I’ve had some good dumplings in my day but this one definitely ranks up there.  The noodles arrived next.  I was pretty full at this point so I only had one bowl.  

IMAG0046Among the thick tasty noodles were pieces of meat and vegetables like shitake mushrooms.  I LOVE shitake mushrooms!  They have the wonderful characteristic of being able to soak up a lot of sauce, so if the sauce is good, like in this dish, they are that much more amazing.  We couldn’t finish all of it so we packed it up and my friend took it home.  I was sitting around before lunch today and began to crave the dumplings and noodles.  I went down to the food court but couldn’t find anything close so needless to say the chicken yakisoba I had so lunch didn’t quite cut it.  Man!  Now whenever I want a vermicelli fix or a Shanghainese fix I have to go to the burbs?  I guess I was wrong about the suburbs when I said there wasn’t very much to do….they can eat and whoa man….they can eat well.

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~ by jlowjlow on July 28, 2009.

One Response to “A weekend in the suburbs”

  1. Justin, am caught up on your food blog and have an urge to book a flight to Toronto. We are going to Singapore Sam’s tonight to celebrate Tom’s birthday..that’s what we are eating tonight, so lucky you for having great choices. We are BBQing Lamb chops tomorrow. I got a good oriental style lamb marinade for a different twist. Cheers, Mom

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