Tag Archives: happy or hungry eats the world

Happy or Hungry Eats the World: England (and Wales)

I am on a mission to eat an authentic dish from every country in the world, right here in Toronto. You can find all past recaps here.

Today we’re talking about England (and Wales), pip pip!

I know that England and Wales are actually part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain along with Northern Ireland and Scotland, but I really want to save those two to eat separately. The more comfort food I can eat from across the pond the happier I will be (although I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to eat haggis, but we’ll see).

For England I met up with my mates Casey, Michelle and Shanondoah (the bloggers and lagers aka the bloggers formerly known as the bloggers and joggers) at the Queen and Beaver Public House downtown Toronto.

I’ve been here a few times and every time I’ve loved it. My first time was with Harry Potter several years ago — wait, I should explain this. Not actually Harry Potter as in Daniel Radcliffe, but Harry Potter from Potted Potter. We became friends when he was performing Potted Potter here in 2012, because I wrote in my blog after I saw his show that I thought he looked stoned in the promo picture, which he then found while looking up reviews. He tweeted me and it went from there (he wasn’t stoned for the record, Potted Potter’s not about that, it’s all seven Harry Potter books in 70 hilarious minutes). Anyway, Harry Potter lives in London and said this was the most British place he could find in Toronto SO, I trust his judgment. I’ve never been to Britain (one day!) but to me it looks pretty British in there.

I suspect very much like a British grandmother’s house.

Actually, I had a British grandmother (my mother’s mother) but I can’t remember what her house looked like so I’m just guessing. The downstairs of the Queen and Beaver is more restaurant-y and the upstairs is more of a pub, which is where my friends and I sat.

These pictures are all from their website – that was not happening while we were there. Looks like a time, though.

My pictures are all super dark so bear with me. I was in the mood for a British cocktail so I ordered the Fitzgerald with Beefeater gin (authentic!), lemon juice, bitters and simple syrup.

I don’t know if you can tell from that picture but that drink was tinier than Trump’s hands. It packed a punch though, I really enjoyed it.

Casey and Michelle both started their British adventure with Scotch eggs.

A hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and coated with bread crumbs and then baked or deep-fried. According to Wikipedia, the London department store Fortnum & Mason claims they invented Scotch eggs in 1738, but they may have been inspired from a different recipe. The only time I’ve had Scotch eggs before has been at the Queen & Beaver before and they’re seriously delicious.

Since I have tried Scotch eggs, I started with the Welsh rabbit.

Also called Welsh rarebit because there is no actual rabbit in the Welsh rabbit. I’m glad someone told me that because I totally thought I was about to eat rabbit. Nope! Just toast covered with melted cheese and some other spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard, Worcestershire. It had a little kick to it for sure. Melted cheese on toast is pretty much my favourite snack of all time so naturally I loved it.

For my main dish I tried to order the steak and kidney suet pudding, but unfortunately they were all out. Bugger. Instead I went with bangers and mash, because I figure you can’t go wrong with bangers and mash. With stout-onion gravy!

I posted this on my Instagram yesterday and Evan saw it and was all “that looks so gross I can’t believe you would post that,” welp I’m sorry but it’s sausages and they’re not photogenic. The sausages are house made and the entire dish was SO SO delicious. No meal regrets here, I ate every bite.

I was wondering where the term “bangers” came from so I looked it up — during World War I when there was a meat shortage, sausages were made with such a high water content that they were likely to pop under high heat, hence a banger. The more you know!

Casey ordered the cider corned duck and potato pie

She said it was the dog’s bollocks (ie – really fantastic).

Michelle got the shepherd’s pie with English peas.

Super British. The shepherd’s pie was traditional lamb — we tend to eat shepherd’s pie with beef in Canada, but that is actually called cottage pie. I can’t remember what Doah ordered but it was less photogenic than my bangers and mash, but loved it, too. We all raved about our meals.

I was pretty full but I needed a real English dessert. I saw the British classic sticky toffee pudding on the menu and knew that was it for me.

Moist sponge cake with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. Blimey it was SO. GOOD. I was absolutely stuffed after that, like so much that I felt ill for a bit afterwards but I don’t even care because it was all so good.

So that’s England, and bob’s your uncle.

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Happy or Hungry Eats the World: America!

As you may know, I have been on a mission to eat an authentic dish from every country in the world, right here in Toronto. I knocked off 30 countries and then took about a six month break. I want to get into it again…I’ve missed eating with a purpose! So I’m back with country number 31 – America!

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You can find all past recaps here. Eating the US colours in a significant portion of my map, so I’m pretty excited about that.

I’m aware that in America, like many other large countries (Canada, India, China, etc.), food tends to vary by region. I can’t hit all staple American foods with one restaurant, so just keep that in mind. For my American mission I got my friends Emily and Hannah to join me at Home of the Brave, an open-kitchen on King West with creative interpretations of American dishes. I apologize in advance for my pictures being dark and crappy.

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We chose to go last Wednesday, the day the election results were announced. We planned this in advance thinking eating American would be fitting, and we hoped to be celebrating the first female president. Unfortunately that’s not what happened, so our celebratory eating sort of turned into stress-eating. Good thing carbs were plentiful.

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If I have one negative review about Home of the Brave it’s that they were reluctant to accommodate three people. I guess we were an awkward party number. They didn’t want to give us prime booth real estate since we were a smaller group, so they first started us out at a bar table seated in a row on stools, facing the street. This didn’t work out well as we were having a hard time chatting while sitting side-by-side, and also the stools were hard and uncomfortable with no backs (you know you’re getting old when you start to complain about the comfort level of your seating). We didn’t like. Next we squeezed onto a table for two, which was okay until our abundance of food started arriving and didn’t fit on our tiny table. It took some convincing (and ordering many, many dishes off the menu) but eventually they moved us to a coveted booth and it was much better. So if you happen to go there DEMAND a booth. Don’t take no for an answer! It’s times like these that I want to be like “I have a blog and I am going to write about you on the internet” but I can’t bring myself to do it. I’ll just quietly judge and take note to later write about on the internet.

Anyway, Miller Lite was on special for $5 a tall can so we all started with a round.

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It felt very American but I would just like to point out that if we were actually in America it probably would have been cheaper.

The first dish to arrive was the buffalo cauliflower.

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Beer battered cauliflower with Buffalo hot sauce and ranch dressing. It was AMAZING. The stand out dish of the night. I was expecting it to be soggy and sort of ho-hum but it was crispy and crunchy and perfectly flavoured. So, so good. I would have been happy just eating that. But you know we didn’t stop there…

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That would be the cornbread, a staple of the American south. Of course, this is a creative interpretation and it was basically cornbread extreme. It had roasted garlic and shallots, smoked cheddar sauce (that white sauce on the bottom), double smoked bacon, green onion and herbs. It was as delicious as it looked, though it was heavy, very heavy. Luckily I was sharing it.

We also ordered the tater tots, because when in America…

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These were fancy ones with cheese, gravy and herbs. Didn’t compare to that cauliflower but those were some good tots!

And we ordered the freedom fries, which came with Heinz Ketchup, malt vinegar and manchego cheese. Pretty good, but not very exciting compared to everything else. Hannah and Emily both ordered cheeseburgers for their main dish.

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They said that their burgers were good but they were like small fast food burgers, like Checkers burgers or something. So I guess accurate as far as American fast food burgers go.

For my main I ordered the chicken and waffles.

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Fried chicken with sour cream, spicy maple syrup, green onions, and sourdough waffles. I didn’t ever think I’d like chicken and waffles so I did not have high expectations, but I was really surprised at how good this was. The maple syrup was perfect, it was almost a savoury maple syrup, like a barbecue maple syrup, as weird as that sounds. I absolutely loved it, I ate every last bite, and I would definitely order it again.

We obviously couldn’t leave without getting dessert, so we ordered the funnel cake. The staple of American carnivals!

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Not just any old funnel cake, red velvet funnel cake! Delicious, but by this point we were getting pretty full so I don’t feel like I could fully appreciate it.

And we got a giant ice cream cone. Home of the Brave is featuring a Sweet Jesus (a Toronto ice creamery) pop-up menu with six of Sweet Jesus’ signature cones. We got the chocolate peanut butter EpiPen (actual name).

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Soft serve coated in peanut crumbs with peanut butter chunks and a melty peanut butter core. Just in case we hadn’t already eaten enough calories, you know.

I’m happy to be Canadian but eating America sure was a good time! I do think I’m going to have to hit up a traditional southern barbecue joint though at some point…

Evan and I are going to Florida next week and we will absolutely be eating all the things, so this was just practice.

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Happy or Hungry Eats the World: The Sultan’s Tent (Morocco)

This past Saturday I celebrated my birthday for the third time!

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And that was probably the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever written. To be fair, the first time was a total surprise to me, and the second time was just Evan being wonderful and making dinner which he does all the time… Still, I felt kind of ridiculous having a second birthday dinner with my friends when I already had a birthday dinner with my friends. But this was was already planned, and any excuse for a party!

I have been wanting to check out The Sultan’s Tent on Front Street for years, the self-proclaimed best Moroccan restaurant in the city. Not only is it authentic Moroccan food (or the most authentic Moroccan food we have in Toronto, anyway), which helps my eat the world cause, but there’s a belly dancing show! Each dining group is seated in their own tent-like situation, and once dinner starts belly dancers saunter by your area. Pretty groovy.

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I actually really liked the way the seating was set up in our tent. There were four tables of four, and it made it easy to talk to everyone because you could get up and walk around between the tables, or switch tables for a bit if you wanted to talk to a new group. This worked out well for me because I wanted to talk to everyone.

I was so excited my blog friends Casey, Shanondoah and Michelle came!

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And my longtime lovers Joanna, Dawn and Emily.

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Corey, Lisa, Brad…

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Corey, Lisa, Brad

(Every time I look at Brad now I think Otto Von Pinkelwurst from our murder mystery dinner — and funny because I think that was the last time we were all together and we were also eating Moroccan!)

Will, Sherrie, Evan.

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(Well, Will is fairly new but I feel like he’s been around for a while.)

And our new friend, our fantastic server.

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Pretty good turnout.

Okay, now for the eating. I was excited to colour Morocco in on my map.cuba

Drink-wise I ordered the Moroccan mimosa…

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And a Moroccan-style beer.

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I could not tell you what made either of those more Moroccan than regular mimosas or beer, but I enjoyed both of them.

There was definitely some delicious wine in there too. What, it was my birthday.

On Friday and Saturday nights you have to order from the three course prix fixe menu for $55, but there were a ton of options to choose from so no complaints here. Well, except that some of the options cost $5-$10 more. That was annoying and not really the point of a prix fixe menu, but what can ya do.

For my appetizer I went with the couscous since it is Morocco’s most well-known dish (actually their national dish).

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Delicious!

And I got a pic of Sherrie’s hummus, also very popular in Morocco.

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And also very good.

For my main I ordered the chicken tagine, Morocco’s other national dish.

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Tagine is a slow-cooked savoury stew typically made with sliced meat, fish or vegetables (Evan ordered the chickpea tagine) with various spices, nuts and dried fruits. It is apparently very popular in Morocco and named for the tagine pot it is cooked in. I enjoyed it, however the spices weren’t a combination that I would usually eat together so that was a bit weird. Definitely some ginger, cumin, cinnamon, tumeric and saffron going on in there, which tasted like an odd combo, though I didn’t dislike it. I also don’t think an authentic tagine is usually served over rice, but the alcohol had been steady over on my side of the tent by that point so it was probably good that rice was included.

For dessert I had the creme brulee with crushed pistachio, which was amazing. And then they brought me a little slice of couscous cake for my birthday, which was super interesting.

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It is called a sweet keskesu and it is a traditional dish with couscous, cinnamon, powdered sugar, roasted almonds, raisons, orange blossom water and creme anglaise. Different, but not too shabby at all.

Sometime during dinner the belly dancers started coming by. Since I was the birthday girl they were all about getting me up dancing with them. I didn’t mind.

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Of course I didn’t, I’m a jambon!

I essentially just mimicked what they were doing.

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And probably looked ridiculous doing it.

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But that’s alright, I’m sure it was entertaining to watch (judging by the amount of intrigued people in the background). Good times. We even got Otto von Pinkelwurst up there.

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And Evan made an appearance as well.

Oh man, last night was a TIME!

A post shared by Lindsey (@happyorhungry) on

Just click on that to play the video. It’s pretty dark, but hopefully you can make out Evan’s sweet dancing skills. The belly dancing definitely added to the hilarity of the evening.

Part of Dawn’s gift (which was a bunch of things that started with the letter B, for, as Dawn wrote in my card, my bra size — I wish) included a banana.

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Not weird at all. It all came in a Disney Princess gift bag, which Evan carried the rest of the night and I didn’t even have to ask him.

Afterwards some of us headed over to The Reservoir Lounge, a jazz bar basically across the street. It has a $10 cover so at first I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth it but ohhhhh it was. It was. It was awesome.

The highlight of my night was watching Sherrie do the air saxophone on the dance floor, specifically getting a row of strangers to do this with her. She was SO INTO IT, it was hilarious and I was dying. It was killing me softly. When we woke up on Sunday morning the first thing that Evan said was “My cheeks still hurt from laughing at Sherrie doing the air saxophone last night.” Yep. I feel that.

Anyway, it was a really fun time and I’d recommend hitting up The Sultan’s Tent! But I think it’s better in a group setting than say, a date.

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Happy or Hungry Eats the World: Kanga (Australia)

G’day mate! I am on a mission to eat an authentic dish from every country in the world, right here in Toronto. You can find all past recaps here.

Today I am talking about a land down under!

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A few weeks ago I hit up Kanga, a cute Australian meat pie counter-serve restaurant with my Ozzie coworker friend Rachel. Meat pies are iconic in Australia and New Zealand, and when I asked Rachel what their most authentic dish would be, a meat pie is the first thing she said. Though if you talk to an Australian they will tell you that New Zealand stole meat pies from them. It might be a bitter subject.

I love a good meat pie so I was all for eating Australia. Kanga is relatively new and I think it is the only place in Toronto where you can get authentic meat pies, and Rachel vouched that they are the Fair Dinkum*. She said that when she is feeling a little homesick here she just gets an Australian bottle of wine, goes to Kanga to get her some meat pies, Skypes with her family and she is all fixed up.

Kanga has several kinds of pies, but the choice for me was easy. Traditional Aussie.

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Minced beef in a rich beef gravy, with a hint of vegemite. I could taste the hint of vegemite! Rachel says she can’t, but I think it might be because she eats vegemite all the time, whereas I have only tried it once in my life and that distinct salty rye taste is different than anything I eat on a regular basis. It stood out.

As soon as Rachel noticed my little cup of Ketchup she was like “you’re doing it wrong,” and I looked over at her pie and saw that she had a pool of Ketchup sitting on the top. She explained that’s how they did it in Australia, just covered the whole thing. Huh. It made me wonder how many other things I am eating wrong when I don’t have someone from that country hovering over me.

The pie was everything I hoped it would be and more.

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I wish it was closer to me because I’d be picking up their frozen pies and bringing them home all the time.

I also ordered ginger beer (very popular in Australia, and sadly kind of hard to find here) and fries or “chips” because for some reason I was worried about still being hungry after my pie…

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But in reality I was so chockers** after my pie that I could not do them justice. I also needed to save room for my lamington.

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Lamington is an Australian sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce and coconut. Rachel assured me it’s all the rage in Australia and one of her favourite desserts. I get why, it was totally delicious.

So that is Australia done in Toronto. One day I hope to eat a proper vegemite sandwich in a land down under!

*Fair Dinkum: the real deal
**Chockers: full

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Happy or Hungry Eats the World: Paracas Peruvian Restaurant (Peru)

I am on a mission to eat an authentic dish from every country in the world, right here in Toronto. You can find all past recaps here.

My 21st country is Peru!

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I have never eaten Peruvian food before, so I was looking forward to it. Evan and I went to Paracas Peruvian Restaurant (Paracas is the capital of the Paracas District in the Ica Region in Peru) on St Clair W with Dawn, Mark, Emily and Corey before we did Escape Casa Loma.

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I asked Evan to take a picture of us girls and this is what I got.

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Not quite.

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Better.

St Clair W seems to be the Peruvian hot spot of the city — there were three Peru restaurants to choose from and Paracas was actually our last choice. I first tried to make reservations at El Fogon (which has amazing reviews) and Dona Luz, but unfortunately both were closed early that Sunday due to the holidays. So Paracas it was, and I was worried it was going to be a let down because of some iffy reviews, but let me tell you, we had an AMAZING experience. It could not have been any better.

We ordered a ton between the six of us and everything we tried was delicious. Most of us (not preggers) started with the pisco sour, Peru’s national drink made with pisco (it’s an alcohol), lemon, and egg white (for the frothiness).

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I am actually familiar with pisco sours as our friend Ian has a Peruvian aunt and has made pisco sours for us at the cottage before. They are goooood. I really like.

Appetizer-wise I felt sure that I would get the ceviche, a seafood dish popular along the coast of Latin America. It is apparently part of Peru’s national heritage and they even have a holiday dedicated to it. It’s basically chunks of raw fish in citrus. Another well known Peruvian appetizer caught my eye though, anticuchos, or grilled skewers of beef heart. I’m not sure I’ll have the chance to eat that again, so…you only live once.

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I had no idea how I was going to like it, but it was quite good. The texture was slightly different from most beef cuts, but I enjoyed it. Evan did too. We were the only two who would try it, haha. The potatoes it came with were also good.

I tried some of Dawn and Mark’s Papas Rellenas, potato stuffed with meat. The most popular croquettes in Peru!

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Delicious! I loved the addition of cilantro to the dishes. If you you plan to go here and you don’t like cilantro, make sure you request your dish cilantro-free. I loved it though. So fresh.

I also had some of Emily and Corey’s grilled calamari.

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Really good.

I was absolutely in love with my main dish. I got the Lomo Beef Saltado, a traditional Peruvian dish. It’s stir fry beef with onions, green onions, tomatoes, and fries, served with rice. You know I only wanted it because of the fries AND rice (and note the cilantro, though not listed).

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I loved it so, so much. Every bite was heaven. I wanted that dish to go on forever.

Evan ordered the Tacu Tacu, another traditional Peruvian recipe — Biftek served with olive oil creole sauce, with rice and beans.

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Evan is a rice and bean connoisseur and he approved. I do think he had some meal envy about my dish though.

All the salads that came with our meals had oil and vinegar dressing and tasted just like my Nana’s! I loved!

Peru is big on seafood, so Dawn and Mark got a giant seafood platter for two, and Corey got the same, but for one.

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I tried some of this and everything was fresh and tasty (I feel like I say the word ‘delicious’ too much, I need to switch it up).

Emily went with the Parillda de Criolla, grilled short ribs, spanish chorizos, and lamb with salad.

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Hers was really good also. We were all absolutely raving about our experience afterwards. We’re still talking about how good it was. One of the best meals I’ve had since I started eating the world, and that says a lot ’cause there’s been some really great ones!

Shout out to our awesome server, who I think might be the owner as well.

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We love Peru!

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Happy or Hungry Eats the World: Memories of Japan

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! Or is it belated Thanksgiving now? Is it like in Canada where the holiday is on Monday but we also celebrate on Saturday or Sunday (or all three days)? I don’t know how it works. All I know is you have a weird sweet potato casserole that includes marshmallows. I’m pretty food adventurous, but I don’t know how I feel about that…

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Actually, I might be a bit intrigued…

I had a better post planned for today but instead of writing it last night I somehow got sucked into watching an hour and a half of cat videos on YouTube with Evan. Sometimes that happens. We like to keep abreast of the cat video trends.

So, eating the world it is. Today, Japan!

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Japan is tricky. Not because it’s hard to find, totally the opposite – it’s too easy. It’s everywhere! There are sushi restaurants on every corner in the city, and I’m pretty sure most are run by Koreans. That’s not to say they’re not authentic, but I don’t really know how to tell.

So for eating the world: Japan edition, I hit up my very favourite Japanese restaurant, my old standby, Memories of Japan on Don Mills and Lawrence.

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Every few months I go here with my coworkers from when I worked at OFSAA, or once a quarter as we like to say. We have been doing this since we all worked together as it was close to our office. I have been here at least 20 times and I’ve never had a bad experience. For some reason it doesn’t have the best reviews online, but in my experience the service is sometimes a bit slow, otherwise it’s all good.

Memories of Japan is also actually the first place I ever tried sushi. In high school my friend Beth and I came here for dinner before a System Of A Down concert. First time sushi + SOAD, that was quite an exciting night for me.

This place used to be teppanyaki tables and sushi a la carte, but they have recently added all-you-can-eat, since it’s all the rage. I did AYCE here with my friend Emily after we were on Steven and Chris (I am still so sad about Chris), and it was good. Not the best, but pretty good.

But with my coworkers we always, always go for teppanyaki.

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Teppanyaki is a Japanese cuisine where food is cooked on a cast iron griddle. Teppan means iron plate, and yaki means grilled, broiled, or pan-fried. It’s very exciting!

The teppanyaki-style steakhouse originated from a Japanese chain called Misono, which was introduced in Japan in 1945 and was sort of the concept of cooking Western-influenced food on a teppan. Originally the food was less popular with the Japanese than it was with the tourists, who enjoyed that there was dinner and a show (I feel that). As the restaurants became more popular they increased the performance aspect of the preparation, and introduced fun things like the flaming onion volcano.

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The more you know!

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So we started with miso soup and green salad.

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I’ve definitely mentioned this before but one of my favourite things about teppanyaki is that you are eating almost as soon as you sit down. I love the no wait time and constant eating, it’s a dream.

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup, and commonly in Japan the soup stock (or dashi) is made of niboshi (dried baby sardines), kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried tuna), or dried shiitake. Miso paste for the soup is a traditional Japanese seasoning with fermented soybeans, salt, and a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae. Outside of Japan miso soup is sometimes made by dissolving miso paste into vegetable broth, rather than traditional dashi. The solid ingredients are chosen to reflect the seasons and provide colour, texture and flavour contrasts. Usually tofu, mushroom and seaweed.

I also got an order of salmon sashimi because I love it.

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But I was reading afterwards that salmon is more commonly cooked or salted Japan, rather than served raw.

My teppanyaki meal also came with salmon and cucumber rolls.

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I won’t get into everything about sushi, but if you’re interested you can read it here.

Our teppanyaki chef was awesome and put on quite the show for us, as you can see from the above onion volcano and flame pics.

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Next was beef-fried rice, very popular in Japan!

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For my teppanyaki combo I chose steak and chicken. Bit of a switch up for me as I usually get shrimp or salmon. My meal came with vegetables and bean sprouts, all cooked on the teppan.

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DELICIOUS. I always think I’ll have a ton leftover to bring home but I rarely have enough to pack up. It’s like my stomach was just warming up with the salad, the soup, the sushi, and now it’s primed and I could eat forever.

We finished everything with mango ice cream.

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Always a good idea.

And that is Japan. Have a great weekend!

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