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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Toronto Haul – August 2018

I go to Toronto more than I actually should. Actually this year was the exception to the equation. I usually just go about once a year or something unless something else comes up and well, something else came up. This past weekend was my best friend’s wedding. Her husband is from Toronto so they ended up holding their wedding there. I honestly think I’ve been to more wedding outside of Montreal than in Montreal. Its a weird thought and shows how many of my friends have moved away, I guess.

Either way, it was a really fun weekend. We ate some awesome food, tried out some new places: two of which I’ll do a restaurant overview for during this week. I’ll show more of the wedding stuff in the next Weekly Adventures, mostly because well, it seems we may have skipped the last one. I know I did and it was deliberate.

Before I jump off onto another tangent, let’s check out some stuff I got in Toronto.

Things I Bought Because I Was Forgetful..
Scarborough Town Centre – Yves Rocher & Walmart

Cosmetics and Lotion

First stop on Friday in Toronto was the hunt for everything we remembered that we forgot during packing for the wedding stuff. For myself, it was not exactly all forgot but I don’t use make-up a lot so a lot of mine had expired and I needed to get some new stuff. Nothing heavy since I don’t do eye make-up because it causes eye infections for myself so just some simple concealer to do the job and seeing Fantasia and work destroyed my sleeping schedule, I’m currently rocking some puffy panda eyes and I had forgotten my eye cream. A trip to Yves Rocher was in the stars and the closest we could find on the way to the hotel was at Scarborough Town Centre. I’ll share the eventful moment there in the Weekly Adventures but one of the great things was the great service at Yves Rocher but a lovely lady who gave me some really fantastic suggestions and actually suggested that I changed to the other skincare line as my skin had changed and its why I was having all the blemishes I’ve been having lately. I didn’t get the skincare line seeing as I was away and didn’t really want to spend so much just yet but I loved the service of just sharing the knowledge of it all. So I got some body lotion and the eye care gel at Yves Rocher.

At Walmart, I got a concealer and some nail polish. I actually ended up not painting my nails for the event but I did also pick up this interesting product called a blur stick which I’m still exploring whether its something I could use or not as it felt really oily. I’m not sure the texture works well for my skin type, so I passed on using it and am still researching. If you all know what it is and have any suggestions or dos and don’ts, please do share with me.

T&T Supermarket (2 Trips)

T&T Supermarket

Most of the snacks and such were bought on the first stop. We didn’t think that we would go back but we did end up going again on Sunday. Friday was to pick up a late lunch of dimsum, which I didn’t take pictures of. We stocked up on drinks which I also didn’t take pictures so and they are all consumed. I can tell you that I was on a semi caffeine detox since March where I cut tea out of my life completely. I don’t drink coffee so its a given, I suppose. Either way, this weekend, I drank all the tea that I didn’t drink in the last few months or at least it felt that way. However, the Vita brand which usually is known for its lemon tea and such actually has this Green Tea and Japanese Green Tea which both tastes fantastic and its unsweetened so its the legit ones. Going back to the picture, look at these flavors, its like a world tour of Lay’s flavors.

T&T Supermarket

During the first trip, we saw these pokemon Ocean Bomb sparkling water. Actually when we went back in the second trip, we saw one new one and lost two so I guess I shouldn’t procrastinate so much in buying stuff. Either way, that was a spontaneous purchase although I’m still fairly unsure about trying the Pikachu Cucumber flavor. We also saw this KIM brand drink for bird’s nest drink. I’m not sure how many people know about bird nest’s drinks. Regardless, the happiest purchase here is the black sesame stuff because I love black sesame paste. Its my favorite dessert. I’ve never tried this brand so hopefully it’ll be good. I ended up sharing the bag with my mom.

Big Apple & 401 Brewery

Big Apple

Our always must-stop location is The Big Apple. I love to grab a pie and strudel and my husband loves the brownies. It is quite amazing to see how this location as grown in size and variety of what they offer. I remember stopping there the first time and it was still known but not quite as popular as it is now. I kind of miss the quieter days but they have really diversified and made it a truly Canadian experience with what they offer also.

401 Brewery

In the building, they have the store for 401 Brewery. We’ve never had anything from there before. Seeing as we didn’t manage to pick up anything at LCBO this time, we decided to grab some ciders. We picked the traditional apple cider and then a peach cider and a pear cider to try. We also saw a sparkling oaked cider which seems like it could be a nice smoky taste sort of experience. We are looking forward to trying it out eventually.

That wraps up this shorter Toronto haul as I get things into order!

Toronto 2018: EGLX 2018

Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo 2018, aka EGLX ran from March 9th to 11th at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Game Warp didn’t quite meet the requirements so we didn’t bother to try to get the press pass. I might have just been busy and a little lazy. Either way, its nice to get back into the gaming expo coverage gear because I didn’t realize how much I did miss it especially since while there were a few familiar faces here from Montreal, a lot of games were fresh and new. Its nice to go to these expo also with friends because it gives so much opportunity to get into multiplayer games and there were a great deal of those.

If you want to see a indie game zone coverage, its over at That Moment In here.

EGLX is quite the fantastic gaming convention. Aside from the Indie Zone. There was a ton of cool stuff to look at. It was something like a ton of fests meshed together but balanced out to be a nice glimpse into the gaming world. Its always fun to jump into this atmosphere as its like being cut from the real world for a little while. I sometimes think its why I love gaming so much. The concentration and different worlds is such a nice escape.

EGLX 2018

A fraction of the indie games I checked out

EGLX 2018

Super Smash Bros Tournament

EGLX 2018

Giant Catan board

EGLX 2018

Nintendo booth

EGLX 2018

Cosplay (one of the many)

EGLX 2018

Furious Seas in the VR zone

There was some tech stuff from MSI and Microsoft and other hardware and other gaming-related gears. We went to try out some racing and gaming seats. Something we are definitely looking at especially myself  with my constant back issues. The effects of an office job and blogging and gaming after hours resulting in a lot of sitting time plus, my cat is destroying my current chair. Anyways, its an investment down the road. There was a lot of stuff going on that aren’t in pictures like retro zones and arcades, etc.

We wrapped up the day with the cosplay competition except this one is quite unique as its one where the contestants are groups that had a few hours with  designated materials like cardboard and whatnot to put together a costume while giving themselves a story and a special finishing move. There were four contestants and lets just say, it was pretty funny.

To see the EGLX haul, you can find here.

This wraps up the EGLX 2018 recap (as well as Toronto 2018)!

Toronto 2018: Toronto Zoo

On the first day in town, we actually didn’t go to EGLX yet but rather went for a day at the zoo. Normally, whenever we go to zoos, its pretty much a quick max 4 hour experience but Drew had mentioned that he was set for a full day there and other than a short lunch break, Toronto Zoo did have a lot to see and we stayed for about 7 hours. The highlight for Toronto Zoo which ends this weekend is saying goodbye to the Giant Pandas, who happen to be the first pandas born in Canada.

Toronto Zoo is pretty huge. It covers a lot of different continents. Due it still being in the winter schedule, it had a lot of empty spots so some areas like Africa was just a walk through the place and then checking out the pavilion. I think that is what sets it apart is that there are a few pavilions to go through for the more exotic animals and it gives it a lot more space to check out some cool birds and more.

Since this was a huge day and I have like 800 pictures or something, I’m going to trim it down to pictures that turned out well or animals that I found were pretty unique to this location.

And here you go! Not all of them are really that rare but its always a challenge to get pictures of animals because of how far away they are. A lot of really cool ones here in all the different areas plus a lot of them are various levels of endangered which really makes it worth it to see them protected. There was a ton more than what I have here from meerkats to sloths and all kinds of monkeys and a lot of fishes and frogs and snakes and other reptiles and insects. I could go on and on.

Toronto Zoo is really worth it to just see what they have. Not a lot of zoos have such a huge terrain with indoor pavilions and outside areas. It would be nice one year to visit when its the summer to see how its set up when a lot of the warm climate animals are back.

Plus, luck was really on our side for the zoo. A lot of times we would be right on time for feeding times or speaking by the carers of a certain animal. Sometimes, we’d double back and the animal would have woken up from their nap and started moving around. It was a really great time!

My Weekly Adventures #61 New Segment, New Project & Fun Times

These adventures post always creeps up on me faster than I ever imagine. Its already March and the next Weekly Adventures will probably be right after my birthday! Another year older and the only thing I’ve realized is that I love being busy. This workaholic thing seems to just be a constant but I love every minute of this unpaid job. Its a constant learning curve whether it be here, or Avenue of Daydreams, Game Warp and well, an upcoming new project that my Game Warp co-host and I are brewing right now.

With that said, its the perfect spot to start the Weekly Adventures!

Battle of Ingredients is Back from Hiatus

Battle of Ingredients

After almost 4 months of hiatus, family and holiday vacations and such Phoebe and I have gotten back for a Battle of Ingredients round at the beginning of March. It was nice to get back into the groove of things. It was a slightly spontaneous and improvised version although we somehow did have an idea of what theme we wanted it to be. We have our next one set already and it most probably will be Easter themed. I’m not exactly sure what that entitles just yet but I have a few ideas and I will be discussing with Phoebe soon.

You can check out the latest edition of Battle of Ingredients HERE.

Toronto Trip

A few posts for the Toronto trip last weekend has already been going up. As usual, I headed down to meet up with Drew as a celebration for a successful Ultimate Decades Blogathon as well as just meet up to hang out. This year, we went to a gaming event called EGLX instead of the usual Toronto ComiCon. For myself, I didn’t get a press pass but going to gaming events is part of my Game Warp duties whenever I can. Joining us was my husband who is also the resident Stunt Gamer for Game Warp. Due to work conflicts, he never could go with me the last two years but this year, it was nice to have him hang out. He always likes to be more involved in my online blogging life so it was great to just all hang out and go have some fun.

Anyways, it was a ton of fun and I should have two more posts to go up for the main activities!

New Segment Launched

Wine Recap

New segments are just popping up non-stop over here, right? Didn’t I just announce one a little while ago? Anyways, this is another monthly feature, even though the first one covered two months. Either way, I’ve always been thinking about adding in some cocktail or wine segment here and its taken me two years to finally just take the step to do it. Now, its nothing professional since I don’t know a ton about wine appreciation lingo and my husband and I was just exploring and learning more about different wines and what works for us. This is a monthly segment which should go up around the 10th of each month. I had to find another day since the first weekend of the month is for Music Obsessions, Sunday Lists happen every other Sunday and the 1st and 15th are taken for Weekly Adventures. Monthly feature for this one and I’m really excited about it. It might say “wine” but I’ll have the occasional cocktail or liqueur or something there for fun.

With that said, this new segment is another step towards getting a little organization in the fresh direction that I’m trying to have right now. You can see new banners for everything popping up and a nice and more balanced versatility going on and I’m pretty happy with it all right now. I don’t see any new segments for a little while as I also don’t want to overwhelm myself either.

If you missed the first wine recap, its right HERE.

Upcoming New Project

I mentioned it at the beginning about this but a new project is in the works right now for me and Elwood. We just hate free time so we were chatting one time after our Game Warp recording session and got talking about movies and as spontaneous as how Game Warp started, we came up with a seasonal podcast idea. After some discussion, we decided to call it Movies & Tea. Anyways, we’re still working out a few little things but you could always hop over to our lovely Facebook page that we just set up to wait for our kickoff episode soonish. If you head over there, the cover photo should give you an idea of what the podcast structure will be every season. You can follow us on the Movies & Tea Facebook here.

Kitty Cute Pic (more like grouchy cat pic)

cat

This wraps up this Weekly Adventures!
A lot of recaps and little announcements and such!

What have you all been up to?

Toronto 2018: Meals Recap!

Toronto is the closest haven for good Asian food. Of course, after last year’s success with Asian Legend for Drew, I started thinking up some spots to go to already. There were some changes in plans but in general, it all tastes pretty awesome and we had a few nice chats and some great drinks.

Lets check out where and what we ate!

Day 1 Dinner: Kinton Ramen, Markham

Kinton Ramen

Hogtown Ale, Sake Mojito and Bamboo

Kinton Ramen

Chicken Ramen

On the day we arrived in Toronto and even the day after, we had still some snowfall and what beats winter like eating some hot ramen. It helps that my husband was so excited to go. And when we got there and they had the whole Yakuza game soundtrack sort of music blasting, it was super good for everyone’s mood.

Day 2: Moxie’s Grill and Bar at CF Fairview

Moxie's

Moxie's

Starters: Sushi Cones

Moxie's

Half rack ribs

Hunger after a long day at the zoo and then some shopping took us to a more convenient location at the mall. We have had Moxie’s before in Markham and Vancouver and both experiences either left us with a sour taste from bad service or kind of average food for the price tag. The one at this Fairview mall however gets a thumbs up in both categories. It had some delicious food and pretty decent drinks.

Day 3: Korean Grill House in Markham

Korean Grill House

Cherry Blossom (Gin + Orange Juice)

Korean Grill House

Special Bibimbap (Spicy)

Korean Grill House

Chicken Bibimbap

The original plan was to do the whole Korean grill experience since my  husband hasn’t tried it before but since we were all fairly tired after EGLX, we ended up just going with some bibimbap. I personally love it a lot but wasn’t feeling quite as hungry so just took the chicken bibimbap. In the afterthought, I probably should have gotten beef but it still tasted fantastic. There was a choice to add on the spicy sauce but I didn’t take any. My husband on the other hand took the special bibimbap which had chicken, shrimp and beef and also added in one spoon of the spicy sauce.

Day 4 Brunch: Ding Tai Fung Restaurant

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Soup-filled Steam Dumplings

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Fried Rice

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Fried Pork Buns

To wrap things up, we went for a lovely little brunch at Ding Tai Fung for a little dim sum. Of course, there was no denying the soup-filled steamed dumplings because they are my faves. We also ordered a few other dumplings and such from the menu as well as a fried rice to wrap it all up. Everything still takes very good. I haven’t been here in 2 to 3 years and its nice to see the food quality still very much the way I remembered it.

Overall, a great foodie trip (as much as it was everything else)! 
We had some nice chats and tried some nice cocktails and beers.
Awesome company usually makes it even better!

Toronto still has lots of great food that we’re going to be trying out soon (or next year)!
The recap of our two main highlights of the trip are coming up!

Toronto & EGLX Haul!

We sneaked off for a little work and play trip to Toronto to cover EGLX and explored a little. To be accurate, we were in the surrounding Toronto areas and stayed in Markham. And of course, we met up with Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews, my darling Ultimate Decades Blogathon co-host like the past two years for celebration and fun friends hangout. This year, we decided to not go to Toronto Comicon and switched it to EGLX (Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo…something like that).

With that said, we picked up a few things here and there.

First stop: Pacific Mall

Glasses at Noble Optical

I have gotten my last three pairs of glasses here and my husband got his last pair here so when time to change, we got our new prescriptions and came to look for a new pair. He ended up with his 4th pair in a row of Hugo Boss glasses (never intended) and I had some struggles with this year’s style and ended up with a slightly bigger frame Ray-ban. Never thought I would get Ray-bans but they had a lovely matte finish and looked pretty good. I am still adapting to this new look but it happens all the time after a big purchase.

Noble Optical is pretty cool because they can get the glasses done the day of purchase which is useful for us because we come from out of town so we wanted it to adapt to new glasses over the weekend with our new prescriptions and everything worked out great.

The Best Shop

A little houseware shopping here as we picked up some kitchenware and a shower curtain. Nothing special just a little random purchases we found.

Egg Rolls

A staple of Toronto is picking up these sweet egg rolls usually as a little gift. They are delicious.

Location: Toronto Zoo
Toronto Zoo Cap

My husband loves caps. He gets a good few every year and the Toronto Zoo one had nice colors and the logo was really stylish. So it worked well for him.

Victoria’s Secret

I initially went into Victoria’s Secret to see what style of sports bras were available and whether they were on sale. To my surprise, the quality and design just wasn’t what I wanted. Walking out I saw these T-shirt bras that were so cute plus they had a 2 for $55 sale so I went for it, considering one is usually $43.

LCBO

It wouldn’t be a trip to Ontario without stopping at LCBO for some VQA wines which we can rarely find in SAQ stores. First one is the seasonal rose wine called Sibling Rivalry. The next is a new tasting white Moscato wine called Fresh Beginnings. My husband chose the Innis and Gunn ale beer and I chose a local apple cider drink called Queen Street 501 by Brickstreet Ciderhouse. The next wine recap will review these ones.

Location: EGLX 2018

Studio VTAS

The big day for the trip was definitely EGLX for myself since it is kind of work and play. We didn’t pick up any games however, we did have a goal to fill up a few walls in our house with art and we found two places that we just loved. I had never seen these two artists either so it was a lovely find. The first above is from Studio VTAS. Not sure what the name is exactly but you can find her on Instagram and Twitter. The silhouette ones are beautiful. She also has a fantastic Studio Ghibli collection. Lots of great art here.

Mariya Haponenko

The second artist created these original art called Crystal Monsters at least the one on the right is that. There is an obvious influence for its general design but its inspired by the galaxy and botany for artist Mariya Haponenko. They were slightly pricey but I do love to support indie artists and they were just too awesome to pass up. I love the design of the galaxy one but the botany ones have a really cool technique of pressing glass together or something like that. I’m not artist but the way she described it was very cool.

Location: Vaughan Mills
Disney Store

In theme with yesterday’s Moana review, I actually picked up Pua. There was a sweet deal on plushes at the Disney outlet there and I just couldn’t resist. On a side note, over on Avenue of Daydreams, I will be archiving my Disney plush collection. Still thinking of how to structure it but it will happen soon.

Location: Big Apple

Final stop whenever we go to Toronto by car is The Big Apple where they have a ton of pies and other apple baked goods. This, time, my husband wanted the brownies (not apples at all) but he said it tasted delicious. I got the Apple Strudel and we got an apple pie for my mother in law.

Thats it for this Toronto and EGLX haul!
Enjoy this post as I sort through 1000+ photos for the trip to share!