Restaurant: Ichigo Ichie Izakaya (Montreal, Quebec)

Its been a while since I’ve shared any restaurant visits. I actually had quite a few to share but haven’t gotten around to it. We will do those if the time presents itself, however, this past weekend, I went out for a Bachelorette Party dinner at Ichigo Ichie Izakaya, which is the restaurant portion linked to Yokato Yokabai where I had previously talked about in a Weekly Adventures HERE.

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Located in Plateau Mont Royal, the best way probably is to take the Metro to Mont-Royal station and take  few minutes walk over. Ichigo Ichie Izakaya is a Japanese pub so we had reservations for the 10 people and gave us a big table on the side. I can’t say that there’s a lot of good stuff to say about the group seating there as the cushioned seats were too low (maybe I’m too short) and then the ventilation wasn’t quite good so it was very hot as its also quite near the kitchen. They need to add some kind of vents around that spot probably.

Putting all that stuff aside, we’re there for food and drinks and of course, spending time to celebrate our friend’s upcoming marriage so let’s talk food.

Cocktails

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Cocktail: Nashi

I can’t remember exactly what was in this drink called Nashi but it tasted a lot like those Lychee jelly that used to come in those little plastic cups which was pretty delicious. There were quite a few very interesting cocktail blends here that I’d definitely want to go back and check out if given the chance.

Main Meals
(shared among 3 people)

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Garlic Fried Raisu – Soy and garlic fried rice, shiso, sesame seeds

Garlic Fried Rice was my choice. Its always more substance to have some kind of rice or noodles so its why I chose this one, plus, it fit with what I could potentially eat, which was good because the other carbs choice was one that I couldn’t eat. This one was pretty decent. Simple, for sure but the rice and the garlic and how it was fried had really good texture. There was a lot of garlic and yet wasn’t too overpowering either.

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Ebi Mayo (I think) – Jumbo shrimp tempura, crushed almonds & sweet chili mayonnaise

Tempura is the sure fire at any Japanese restaurant. If you can’t get this right, then you can forget about it. This one had 2 jumbo shrimp tempura which was cut into pieces on the bed of crunchy noodles or something. I don’t remember why you call it. Everything worked really well even the spicy mayo that actually gave it a nice kick.

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Butabara – Grilled Pork Belly skewer, Japanese curry seasoning

Pork belly is something that I like getting when I go out and seeing as Yokato Yokabai has the option to choose pork belly in their ramen, I figured it would also be a good choice for this section. We spent a little time cutting up the pieces so everyone could share. The Japanese curry seasoning was quite powerful and rather spicy however, it was pretty delicious also.

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Carbonara Udon – Stir fried udon noodles, bacon, onsen egg, mushroom, spring onions, creamy sauce

Finally, Carbonara Udon was my friend’s choice which I completely forgot had creamy sauce so I had to skip it. My friends however did enjoy this one. They said that the sauce wasn’t too heavy and it was pretty delicious as well.

Dessert

Ichigo Ichie Izakaya

Matcha Tiramisu

Suffice to say that, I had to skip out on dessert as well, even though there was an option for Yuzu sorbet (but I was pretty full at that point) so my friends got the Matcha Tiramisu to share. It felt like it wasn’t exactly what they were expecting and from what they said the matcha layers were fairly bland but then the matcha layer on the top was too thick.

OVERALL…

I’ve never been to a Japanese pub as Ichigo Ichie is categorized at. The cocktails are really cool and they have a nice selection of drinks. Everyone at our table, who took other drinks also seemed to enjoy it. The service was also pretty good. Our waitress was very helpful and friendly and answered a lot of our questions whenever and happily went to seek out answers when she didn’t know the answer to it. The food itself was pretty decent as well. Its a tad overpriced in my opinion but its meant to be tapas style so meant to share and it all came out to an alright bill at the end. With that said, paying for food is always more enjoyable when you enjoyed the meal and I was pretty happy with the food presented. There’s a lot of interesting dishes on the menu which could merit a second visit.

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TV Binge: Sugar Rush (Season 2, 2019)

Check out the 1st Season of Sugar Rush review HERE.

Sugar Rush (Season 2, 2019)

sugar rush

Host: Hunter March
Judges: Candace Nelson & Adriano Zumbo

A baking competition with 4 teams, 3 rounds, 2 cakes and 1 winner of $10,000. – IMDB

Season 2 of Sugar Rush is here. With a quick 50 mins episode length and 6 episodes for the whole season, Sugar Rush is the perfect type of TV binge. It can be done in a day if you don’t have any other things planned or to do . Just like the previous season and the very on point synopsis on IMDB for the show, this is a professional baking competition which starts with 4 teams who compete in elimination format in 3 rounds to become the final winner of $10,000. Who makes the decision is between the two judges and the guest judge who may or may not be baking saavy but they are eating saavy (meaning they know how to eat and that’s really what is important here since baked goods isn’t only for expert tasting but for normal people too). Some examples of guests this season are Nick and Vanessa Lachey as well as Jacques Torres.

For those who haven’t seen Season 1, here’s a quick little rundown of how the competition is structured. There are 3 rounds to the competition. The first 2 rounds is cupcakes and confections respectively to be completed within 3 hours. Whatever time you save from those three hours adds on to the final cake round which also has 3 hours. The topics for each round is announced as you complete the previous round after the judges taste. The only trick here is that elimination of one team happens after each round as well. What changes in season 2 is two elements. The first is more relevant to the competition structure and that is all round 3 keep going. When Round 2 finishes, the final round topic is given as well as 3 additional hours. In that sense, the clock never stops making it embrace that time element much better and gives less down time where the other team doesn’t stand around waiting for their time to start like in Season 1. The second element is that the judges now all stay in the room while the competition is going on and does commentating which is great compared to the first season where they would leave and come back at the tail end. These little things keeps the process of the competition more engaging.

Other than one or two odd guest choices, Sugar Rush really does a good job in keeping up with the hype of the first season and polishing the structure and concept behind it which works better this time around. It had 2 less episodes from the previous season so its a quick one to binge through. The themes here also are pretty fun from starting with current popular baking trends to more thematic ones like science and love, they choose guests that match their theme while also having focus on both technique and visual appeal. Hopefully, Sugar Rush gets a Season 3 because I’d be down for it.

 

My Weekly Adventures & What’s Up Week 30

Another double Adventures and Whats Up post is among us. I have been very sporadic this month with posts, especially this week and really there isn’t a whole lot to talk about in terms of anything else. Adventures, will go first and then after it is the Whats Up!

Suffice to say that Fantasia Festival is well under way. Between the festival and increasing overload of work and as a result, overtime, its been a crazy and hectic 2 weeks. I won’t dive too much into Fantasia as I usually do a wrap-up post of sorts once everything is done and giving a general feeling about the whole festival. Lets move on to the other little things that happened.

Dinner at Dirty D

The husband and I don’t do a ton of date nights so when Fantasia comes around and we head for movies, its pretty much our date “nights”. We say two afternoon screenings so not exactly nights but we did head out to try out the dive bar Dirty D at Quartier Dix30 for dinner. I will be sharing my thoughts on it soon.

I forgot to mention it last time but we also went to check out Balthazar in the same complex the week before so that will probably have a little review as well.

Battle of Ingredients at Mama Dumplings

Some of the Battle of Ingredients gang are huge dumpling fans like myself so since the actual Battle wasn’t happening, we decided to go to Mama Dumpling. Everyone’s first time except for me. You can check out my post on it HERE.

This time we tried some that I had never tried before. The husband ordered the Wonton Soup and enjoyed it. We had Chicken Curry dumplings and that was pretty good. We also tried a lamb and green onion or something and I wasn’t too huge on it but then in general, lamb isn’t my first choice meat.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for My Weekly Adventures!

Moving on…

This week has been a bit nuts as well. Its still a whole lot of movies so I’ll try to dive more into that side. TV series has been my writing companion though, so I will talk about that as well.

READING

Within

Currently reading: Within

I’m not going to say much on reading. I’ve read probably 5 pages or something since last week because there’s just no spare time for it. Reading will resume when movies take a break after all the Fantasia reviews are done.

PLAYING

dr. mario world

  • Bonza
  • Dr. Mario World (mobile)

Mobile games are my haven when I need a break from writing. Other than Bonza being my fun little moments taking most priority, Dr Mario World recently got its mobile version and I have played a little of that. I have skipped Mobile Games Roundup for Game Warp for two months but its all a time issue so I will get back on it soon.

WATCHING

White Snake

  • The Father’s Shadow (review)
  • Daniel Isn’t Real (review)
  • Koko-di Koko-da (review)
  • White Snake (review)
  • Harpoon
  • Depraved
  • Riot Girls

As we reach the end of Fantasia with only a few days trickling into the next week, its been a decent week. Some average movies but some really big highlights. Its nice because the beginning of the festival was getting me a little worried to be honest about my movie choices. This week also probably marked the most changes I had made because I swapped a few movies, let go of some of them and then added some others in screening room or screeners. With that said, I loved a lot of these ones. Daniel Isn’t Real, White Snake, Harpoon, Riot Girls all really worked for me, probably all in my Top 10 somewhere (funny how I can’t do Top 10s for new releases in any year but Fantasia alone can have one). Why I chose to highlight White Snake is because its really beautiful as a Chinese animation and shows change and somewhere new to watch out for especially if they keep doing movies to share its culture.

BINGING

go fridge 5

  • Go Fridge (Season 5)

Currently binging:

  • Queer Eye (Season 4)
  • Go Go Squid (2019)
  • Love Signal 2
  • Dream Space 2
  • Sugar Rush (Season 2)

Cooking shows or food shows or something are really great companion shows for myself so I went back to finish up Go Fridge Season 5 which I started some time in April or May. It is a fun little show and a ton of laughs and some great looking food. Probably the more important part is the huge currently binging list. A lot of it is near ending and just one episode released and such. Go Go Squid is still the irresistible series for me right now. Full plans on restarting it with full focus, instead of the current multitasking phase to re-experience it.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
Whats have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

Battle of Ingredients #14 BBQ in the Thunderstorm

The summer is officially here and the weather has been beautiful with a heat wave of sort, more like humidity that swept through this past week as the thunderstorm just refused to roll in. Of course, Phoebe and I ended up choosing the day for the Battle of Ingredients on the day that the thunderstorm did hit. The thunderstorm did give us the perk of having a nice cool breeze. The husband was a champ and toughed out the rain under our car port to be the grill master. Summer BBQ is always a theme with us and we did try to keep things a little different and give some variety.

Drinks

Smirnoff Ice

As a change in pace, especially since I also found out that I had overtime on Sunday, my friends brought in the lighter coolers for our drinks and chose a mix pack for Smirnoff Ice which had the Classic, Wild Berry, Raspberry and Orange. These ones are always light and fun. Its been a while since I’ve had a Smirnoff Ice so it definitely brings me back to the early days when I first got introduced to the whole drinking alcohol business. Back to this choice, it was really refreshing and fruity and suitable for the general shindig.

BBQ Food

Phoebe

BBQ Mushrooms

Mushrooms, Corn & Zucchini

Coca Cola Chicken Drumsticks

Coca Cola Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Phoebe bought over some mushrooms (mini bella & fresh shiitake) along with zucchini and corn to grill as our veggies. At the same time, she did a take 2 on last year’s coca cola chicken wings except this time she used drumsticks and had marinated them for 2 days beforehand to hopefully get the coca cola flavor more prominent. While the drumsticks still didn’t have the cola taste being exceptionally standout, it still had a really nice flavor to it.

Kim

Chicken and Veggies Skewers

Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Bacon wrapped sausages

Bacon-wrapped Sausages

My contribution went to two very basic options. The first was the bacon-wrapped sausages which I had planned for last time but didn’t end up doing so here we go. It turned out as it would to be quite good since you can’t really go wrong with sausages and bacon combo (at least to me). Chicken and Veggies skewers composed of chicken thighs, zucchini, bell peppers and Spanish onion. We also decided to try a new barbecue sauce and bought the Joe Beef one. They turned out really good as well.

Dessert

Nothing for dessert tonight and we chose the healthy route of having fruits which I obviously forgot to take a picture of. Next time, I’ll have some other plans.

That’s it for this Battle of Ingredients!
July is a busy month (as explained in the last Weekly Adventures post HERE), so we are working out some place to dine out instead.
Battle of Ingredients should resume in August (we are working out availability…). 

Goodfood Recap #39

goodfood

Welcome to the next Goodfood. Its been probably about a month. This is definitely back to a monthly basis at this point. This time’s picks are fairly summery in my opinion, at least getting into the more warm weather foods that we tend to learn towards. There are some repeats and some that feel like a little twist added to something we’ve done before.

Let’s check it out!

Shrimp Boil
with Summer Corn, Roasted Potatoes & Green Salad

shrimp boil

As always, seafood meals kick off the Goodfood meals. This time, we start with our repeat meal. The last time we had this, I believe my husband made it so it was a new experience for myself. Other than the fact that I’d love to know how you break corn into 3 parts (my husband says the cleaver is how to do it) by hand, this meal was pretty good. The shrimp was nice and its pretty simple to put together. It has a few steps to it like boiling the corn and potato first before putting it in the oven with the shrimp. The sauce that they say to make with a butter base (which I replaced with margarine since we don’t have butter at home) was really delicious. The green salad also had a good oil-based dressing to it and was a refreshing side.

Glazed Korean Chicken Lettuce Cups
with Sticky Rice & Carrot Salad

glazed korean chicken lettuce cups

My favorite meal of this meal kit goes to this recipe. I’m always a big fan of the Asian foods here. They usually are pretty decent. Its been a while since I’ve tried some lettuce cups and such although I did end up eating it all separately in the end. However, the chicken is really good although it takes some attention. At the same time, the carrot salad is a bit like preserved style so has this sour flavor to it but it matches really well to balance out the flavors here. Plus, the sticky rice is one of the fave parts of these meals whenever it appears since I don’t buy Calrose rice but I definitely should just to be able to eat more sticky rice, not to mention the sauce the blends in with it from the chicken is just delicious.

Curried Tofu
with Coconut Rice, Roasted Vegetables & Thai Basil Salsa Verde

Curried Tofu

Tofu meals are usually hit and miss for us however we keep trying them out because its a good source of meatless protein and its always nice to add a vegetarian option every once in a while when we get a chance. While I can’t say the tofu itself was anything great (I’m not a fan of the extra firm tofu), the curried sauce was pretty good. The roasted vegetables are also pretty good and the thai basil salsa verde was also surprisingly a good addition to add some different flavors to the meal.

Beef & Shiitake Burgers
with Miso Mayonnaise & Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

beef & shiitake Burgers

Burger choices are normally for my husband because he likes trying now types of burgers. This menu feels familiar and yet also feels like a past one we have had but maybe with changes. I can’t quite remember right now. It was a pretty good one although, I have never had uncooked bok choy so was a bit skeptical and after this, learned that I prefer it cooked. It is somewhat of a messy burger so I ate it all separately. Everyrhing was alright except note to self, with miso based sauces, it already starts off quite salty.

Thats it for this Goodfood recap!
Any meals that peak your interest?

My Weekly Adventures: Hiking, Grand Prix and Food!

Its mid-June now! Summer is just around the corner although the weather probably doesn’t really feel like it much. Its been feeling very spring lately, which is normal but its been a while spring has lasted so long. Either way, enough about the weather. With the season well underway, we’ve been keeping ourselves eventful while different events have been showing up as well. I’ll wrap up with a little gardening update.

Hiking: Parc de la Yamaska

Parc National de la Yamaska

June kicked off with our walk in Yamaska National Park. Its a casual walk along a fairly flat walk also set for cyclists as well. Its one thats great to kick off the beginning of the season. You can see the full recap HERE.

Grand Prix in Downtown Montreal

Grand Prix

As usual, Grand Prix landed in Downtown Montreal last weekend. Its always a busy weekend. I ended going with my mom for dinner at Noodle Factory in Chinatown and then heading to see the stuff going on on Peel and Crescent Street. This year was pretty disappointing. It felt not very special with not a lot of cars in general being showcased. It was kind of boring..although the music performed on the Crescent stage was probably the best show I’ve seen so I believe the line-up might be the highlight.

Hiking: Mont Chapman

Mont Chapman

Being the hiking crazy people that we are trying to be and working hard to keep up with it as much as we can before any potential things with events all pan out in July, plus the weather being cooler works well for those long hikes. After some long debate, we ended up going to the Eastern Townships in the middle of nowhere on a mountain hiking trail that we found called Mont Chapman. I have a few good things to say about this, mostly how challenging it was and how I somewhat disagree on the difficulty level they put it as and well, some complaints as well about this location and warnings/suggestions I’d give on this hiking track. That is coming up very soon in the hiking recap for this one. 😉

E3 2019

As usual, we had our E3 2019 off site coverage over at Game Warp. I talked about it over at the What’s Up segment this past week. It did set the course off over here a tad bit but other than some late posts, most of what I wanted to do still stayed relatively on track. You can find all the written recap coverage on Game Warp blog HERE.

Shopping Haul: Prep for Bridesmaid Duty

Its a week until my best friend gets married. I decided to take care of my hair and make-up so I had to go hunt down some stuff since I don’t normally put on make-up or do my hair in any particular way.  I did also get a curling iron which was on sale. I have a general concept of how do it and its going to simple but still match with the dress. Anyways, lots of new things that I’m trying out here so I’ll have to do a test-run at some point before since its a fairly early morning.

Gardening Update

Flower Garden Flower Garden

First part of the gardening update is planting in the flowers that I didn’t get around to plant the last time. Its not too obvious but I ended up putting the Hibiscus into the patch because I lost my chrysanthemums. And then in the other patch, I pulled up some of the other plants that was there that wasn’t looking too healthy and put in some foliage and the Monarda (Bee Balm).

Garden

Cabbage, Marigolds & Lettuce/Kale

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Gardening

Kale, Tomatoes, etc

The vegetables are all in. The garden is now all planted. The cabbage/marigold containers are growing very well. At the same time, the kale and the lettuce containers are also growing incredibly fast and pretty much ready for the first harvest. As for the poor tomato plant that was supposed to be hanging, it looks so miserable even through the last few rainy days.

Restaurants

Noodle Factory Noodle Factory

The restaurant that my mom and I went to was Noodle Factory in Chinatown. We got some pan-fried dumplings and then some fried handmade noodles. They were pretty decent.

Labothery

Labothery

A new bubble tea concept place opened up in Quartier Dix30 called Labothery. I will do a more elaborate post for it soon. Its a neat concept but as with any customizable ideas, the price increases accordingly.

Cute Kitty Pic

Cat

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
Its been a fun two weeks even though a bit busy as I was working out some press pass application also! 
Events are coming up in Montreal so I’m hoping to get ahead with some posts.

Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles (Brossard, Canada)

Asian food is having this nice interesting wave on the Montreal South Shore lately, especially in the Chinese noodles sort of thing. Yunnan Noodles has also picked up especially in Chinatown so its nice to see it come into the South Shore as well. Yunnan Rice Noodles hasn’t been opened for a long time (I don’t remember when it opened) but finally got a chance to go check it out.

Yunnan Rice Noodles are also known as “crossing the bridge” noodles which derives from a Chinese tale about a wife bringing lunch to her scholar husband. The menu actually had the story written out for those who didn’t know about its origins before. However, while noodles is the focus, the traditional style rice noodles is the actual experience while the other ones feel like it is more like the normal experience. I’ll explain later when I talk about the food. At the same time, there is a free helpings of noodles (just the noodles, not the ingredients). Also, there are other foods on the menu such as appetizers and such as well as a pretty good selection of tea as the back has something like a tea “bar”.

Appetizer

Peanut Butter Dumplings

Slightly spicy because of the chili oil and mixed with peanut butter sauce, these dumplings are pretty good. They definitely have a nice kick to them. The taste of the actual dumplings are a little mild and perhaps for some, even bland, but then my taste buds are adapted to the milder flavors so it was alright for me.

Main Meals

Traditional Rice Noodles

Traditional Yunnan Noodles Traditional Yunnan noodles

The concept of the Yunnan Rice Noodles is that the noodles is separate from the ingredients and the soup so everything is added in in sequence with the meats going in first, the veggies and I honestly can’t remember if you put the noodles first or last. Point is, everything ends up being added to the broth and it gives it this more crispy sort of taste and the noodles don’t get as soaked up in the broth. Its an interesting concept and as with many soup noodles style, the broth is really the key to all the flavors as well as the texture of the noodles and this one delivered on both of those elements.

Chicken Leg Rice Noodles

My friend got the Chicken Leg Mushroom Noodles (something like that..can’t remember the exact name) and its one that already has everything inside like normal noodle bowls. I had a little taste of the broth and its a little more salty and other flavors mixed in. My friend said that its good. It looks interesting especially as it has goji in it as well.

Overall, Yunnan Rice Noodles is a decent spot. The service was good, the decor was comfortable and the food was pretty good and the prices are relatively good as well.

Have you had any Yunnan rice noodles before?
Is the noodle/ramen phase hitting wherever you are?