Restaurant: Congee Queen (Thornhill, Ontario, Canada)

I always talk about Asian cuisine after going to Toronto. Its usually the closest place with good Chinese cuisine in particular since to be honest, Montreal has a lot of great restaurants but Chinese cuisine itself is a bit lacking. Its why I tend to avoid it whenever given the option. Sad, because I do truly love Chinese food. I mean, its not hard to imagine seeing as I am Chinese and my mom makes about the best Chinese food in town or its my best friend who also is a master in the kitchen.

Not surprising that the rare time that we all end up in Toronto for a wedding, we meet up for a dinner the night before to hang out. We never do double dates much seeing as we all have funky work schedules and commitments so this was a great time to catch up and have fun.

We lived at the Courtyard Marriott in Thornhill and right next door was the flagship store of Congee Queen. Let’s check it out!

Congee Queen

Congee Queen

Dinner Selections

Congee Queen

Crab Meat & Vegetarian Shark Fin served with Conpoy Rice in Chicken Broth

My best friend was the one who ordered this meal. She wanted to give this a try mostly for the vegetarian shark fin. It actually had a really  nice flavor. The textures are all there and the chicken broth was nice. I was originally worried that it would be too strong like on the salty side as broth sometimes tends to be, but it wasn’t like that.

Congee Queen

General Tao Chicken Rice

My husband mostly focused on eating this meal. General Tao is very much non-traditional Chinese food however, I don’t usually fuss over these things. My husband thought it was good although he did end up not eating all the huge pieces of chili peppers because those were really intense.

Congee Queen

Snow Pea Leaves with King Mushroom

One of my choices for the evening was this snow pea tips with oyster mushrooms. I think my description is the correct one but the one in the description is the one that is shown on the menu in case you ever want to get it at this restaurant. The season for snow pea tips is a little bit past so it was expected that they were more old in texture so it was more stiff and chewy. The mushrooms are always a nice alternative. I actually eat more of these types of mushrooms in Goodfood boxes and I really like them a lot. This veggie plate is a win. If we had it back in April when the snow pea tips were in season, then it would have been perfect.

Congee Queen

Pork Rib with Onion on Sizzling Hot Plate

The second dish that I picked was pork ribs. This is a pretty traditional dish at least for myself when we went to Chinese restaurants when I was younger. I don’t go to Chinese restaurants as much mostly because Montreal cuisine isn’t great but Toronto is a different story so I was excited to see how they would prepare this. This one was okay. I think we all agreed that it tasted okay but it was nothing too fancy and felt a little overpriced.

Congee Queen

Fried Eggplant, Minced Pork with Spicy Sauce

My best friend’s second choice was this dish which is an uber traditional Chinese dish. I was pretty full so I didn’t eat a whole lot of this one but it was fairly good. I’m not a huge eggplant eater but I do appreciate its health properties so I try to eat it more often and learn to appreciate it. This one was slightly spicy also.

Congee Queen had some pretty delicious meal. It does some cool dishes and sometime switches up some traditional meals to something of of a fusion of sorts. I do think that for the experience, it is a little bit more pricier than I would want to pay. I don’t mind so much paying for good food if there is something original but for the portion size and the price of some of the very common dishes, it definitely felt not exactly equal. Luckily, I am visiting and I don’t like Montreal chinese food so I didn’t mind it so much.

With that said, I am aware that for a congee restaurant, I didn’t have congee. We did have dinner but next time, if I was going for brunch or lunch, then that would absolutely make an appearance. Suffice to say, despite little things, Congee Queen is a place that I would go again when I head down to Toronto again.

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My Weekly Adventures!

Life is an adventure so anything I do qualifies! So before you start talking about how watching TV isn’t, thats like saying reading a book isn’t. I can pretty much say that there’s a lot of readers who would disagree with you.  We are explorers and we travel to lots of fun places. Maybe you think I’m crazy but I’m not 😉 So to saythat this week is less actually going somewhere but just achieving little things.

Before we move along with this, I’d like to remind or bring to your attention that my Halloween Movie Marathon Poll has been up.  If you haven’t seen it or having voted, please head on over HERE to help me out 🙂 With some earlier planning, I can get more movies seen in October and make it an amazing month, especially with all of your help/recommendations!

1) Dragon’s Den!

dragon's den poster

I absolutely love watching Dragon’s Den.  I skipped a few season in middle but when it first launched, it was one of my favorite shows.  Its really grown to be completely amazing.  Although some pitches are just completely out there, some are really awesome ideas.

The last episode where recapped some of the some deals are usually amazing.  Its all so amazing to see people’s dreams become a reality.

2) Splurging on TV *blush*

A little shameless selfie :)

A little shameless selfie 🙂

I never intend to splurge and I pretty much don’t impulse buy anymore. And I didn’t because I fully planned to go out and get Season 2 of Arrow but then I was thinking, I have to catch up with Vampire Diaries also. Now I’m waiting for Grey’s Anatomy Season 10 to go on special too (but then I didn’t watch Season 9 yet so its not so rushed).  See, I’m still logical, right? 😉

I’m trying to not go too crazy over Arrow so I started watching Vampire Diaries on the weekend.

3) A Productive Weekend Starts….Harvesting Herbs

Vegetable Herb Harvest

Lemongrass, Orange Thyme and Yellow Zucchini

The weather got cold really fast last week and somehow is supposed to get warmer this week again….gradually.  Either way, it was the kick in my butt to speed up the process and let my fatigue take the backseat.  Thursday night activity consisted of going to harvest everything I could while there was still a bit of light before sunset.  Orange Thyme and Lemongrass is currently in the drying process.

4) Bike Support for my Friends

Thanks to my friend who took the picture

Thanks to my friend who took the picture

Oasis Marathon is going to be happening this coming weekend so my friends who are going to do the half marathon along with one doing the 10km and 3 others in for the fun went out for a group jog.  My job was to be bike support for their 17km run.  It included making sure that they were hydrated and giving them directions and scouting out the route ahead.  There were heavy winds and then my bike support broke down near the end because of bike issues.  Note to self, next time make sure to bring tools.  I did manage to bike very slowly home after making sure everyone passed the intersection to head home.  It was a pretty fun day and I biked a whole lot of distance and I was so tired after but I couldn’t let my body slow down because the garden and my house needed me.

5) Transplanting in and out

Garden

Top Left are the transplanted flowers from pots for next year

Between early morning before bike support and coming back afterwards, I got the two flowers at the top left planted into soil.  They should be both perennials viable in my zone.  They were also paired with others so I needed to pot those right away and brought in a few plants as well.

indoor plants

Eucalyptus, Orange Thyme and Citronella Geranium inside

This is only partial because others are by the bay window or in the dining room. Still a lot of transplanting to do this week and then hopefully it will be done…for now. Next is the shopping for spring bulbs and getting those in the ground.

6) Workout room done!

On Saturday, after the run, I went to battle the anniversary sale in Walmart and aside from a bunch of household products, I also ended up getting on special the final touches to our workout room.

Hello workout flooring ;)

Hello workout flooring 😉

Oh right, my boyfriend’s weights.  Mine haven’t been moved yet.  I can’t possibly lift that.  All I can do is roll them across the floor when they are in my way.

7) Making Awesome Ribs

Ribs

I know I’m backtracking, but on Friday night, I sat down after running errands at my place with more moving stuff around and came home to make my ribs.  Ended up eating at around 9:30pm or something but they were so worth it.  I don’t know the measurements but I used soy sauce, smoked paprika, ground pepper, honey, ground coriander, herbes de provence to marinate it.  I did marinate it in the morning and then just popped it in the oven for 1.5 hours in the evening.  They turned out amazingly delicious 🙂

8) Autumn Chrysanthemums

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Nothing more to say on that.  So beautiful 🙂

9) Hot Pot (aka Chinese Fondue) with my girl friends

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One of my girl friends came back from Western Canada to settle a few things so we got together for a hot pot hang out.  There was so much food and it was amazing to chat with the girls.  Its always filled with fun and laughter.  And we’re even going to go see The Maze Runner together this week.  Yay! 🙂

10) Favorite Quote this Week

dark side

It was a tad tiring and busy but it was pretty fun as well.  I’m looking forward to seeing The Maze Runner.  I can actually see the fuzzy finish line in this whole moving business where I’m trying to do it slow and by myself so I can save money, still, its almost there.

How was your week? Tell me about it!

Happy Monday! 🙂

Saguenay: La Voie Maltee (Chicoutimi, Quebec)

This past weekend, I had a 3 day getaway with my boyfriend.  Although, we didn’t splurge too much on food, we always choose one day to eat out and enjoy ourselves at a restaurant.

La Voie Maltee

After some research, we came to the rather highly praised resto-bar/microbrewery called La Voie Maltee which actually has some award-winning beers to offer.  I’m personally not much of a beer drinker and well, seeing as I’m going gluten-free and going through a 30 day alcohol detox, there was none of that going into my system, but my boyfriend is not either of those things so he can.  Plus, the menu looked really awesome.  Although almost everything was malted in one way or another, which is weird because it doesn’t bother me when anything is malted, we decided to go.

La Voie Maltee has a nice little atmosphere once you enter.  It has some nice decorations and there is even a terasse near the back so that in the nice summer weather, its comfortable to enjoy a few drinks with friends.  For dinner, however, we preferred to be inside.

If you take a look at its menu, you will see some very interesting twists on various meals and its this that attracted us in the first place.

For appetizers:

La Voie Maltee

Lobster Rolls VM

I started with Lobster Rolls VM. They are mini hot dogs with shredded lobster, veggies and fine herbs along with the mayon-Ale “East Coast”.  Ever since last year in Maine, I’ve been a huge fans of lobster rolls.  These were not only cute to look at but they were delicious.  I don’t know what herbs they used but mixed with their mayon-Ale, it was absolutely delicious.

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Chili Cheese Sticks

As for my boyfriend, he started with Chili Cheese Sticks. These are spicy cheddar covered with crispy corn served with tzatziki sauce.

We both enjoyed these quite a bit.

Now for the main meal:

La Voie Maltee

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My boyfriend had the pulled pork sandwich. The pulled pork is mixed with “BBQ sauce Libertine” (not that I know what that means). Its served with fries and coleslaw. He really like this a lot. I remember him complimenting it a lot.

La Voie Maltee

Buccaneer Ribs

As expected, I’m a huge ribs lover so I took the Buccaneer Ribs. All these fancy terms that I don’t understand is what I’m thinking as I write this up.  These ribs are served with Stout BBQ sauce, fries and Caesar Salad. I must say that the taste of the ribs tastes some time to adapt to and the meat didn’t fall off the bones like I’m used to.  However, the taste does get increasingly good and the let me say, the fries are done so delicious.  I was absolutely hooked.

I wasn’t particularly fond of the waiter and the service he provided but he seemed to lighten up a little by the end of the meal.

Overall, a great meal in Chicoutimi and I think we made a very good choice in the restaurant.

What do you think of the food? Are you into drinking beer? What restaurant types do you go for when you travel? 

Hong Kong Restaurant: Sharp Star Restaurant

Eating out a lot on vacation is normal, even if we have a place to stay. In Hong Kong, when you have a big group, its generally better to just go out because the space is so tight in the living quarters.

After the outing at Citygate Outlets, me, my mom and her friends ended up spending the entire day running around town.

At the end of the day, we stopped at Sham Shui Po to check out some technology products and to compare prices.

When my mom’s best friend joined us afterwards for a short while, she took us to a rather popular restaurant located in that area right by the subway exit of Sham Shui Po.  This lovely restaurant is called Sharp Star.

Sharp Star is hidden in an alley behind stalls located in front of it but welcoming you in the entrance are snippets of newspapers (if I remember correctly) and pictures of popular Hong Kong stars that went there to dine.

We went at a fairly early dinner time so the place was empty.  As we sat down, the waiter was funny and very nice as he helped us make our choices for the meal.  The service was pretty impressive.

First up, we had the chef’s invention on Fried Spare Ribs with the taste of plum and this other Chinese ingredient that I don’t know how to translate.

 

Sharp Star Restaurant

Next up, we have this Soy Sauce Chicken but its with this soy sauce which is supposed to be like the first batch making it more premium or high quality or something like that.

Sharp Star Restaurant

“Premium” Soy Sauce Chicken

I love chicken and one of my fave ways is eating it after its been simmered in soy sauce.  This one was mega delicious 🙂 The chicken was so tender and even the soy sauce wasn’t all that salty.  I wonder what else they put in there 😉

Following that, my mom’s friend had gone out to pick out a lovely fresh fish.  We took the simple option and decided to have steamed fish.

Sharp Star Restaurant

Steamed Fish

Don’t ask me what type of fish because I seriously cannot remember anymore.  I really should jot down notes while I travel at restaurants.

I can’t remember if there was another dish, maybe plain veggies.  I just can’t because I don’t have a picture of it but its rare we eat out without any veggies included.

Moving on, our last one was a little bonus from the waiter with a little fried dessert.

Sharp Star Restaurant

Dessert

I believe they had some taro paste inside but I don’t quite know and didn’t ask because the restaurant was getting busy. It was pretty good also.

I totally recommend Sharp Star Restaurant. It has some creative and delicious meals. The service is fantastic and…its just awesome!

I had really wanted to go again before I left but I never got the chance….

Here’s hoping  next time it will still be there and I can try some more awesome dishes 🙂

Is there a restaurant that you ate at while travelling that gave you an unforgettable dining experience?