Dineen

I’ve been in downtown training for the past week, and I fully took advantage of that.  I met up with a few SGI friends who are super pro photographers to go over details for the Oct 12 concert.  We went to Dineen Coffee for the meet.  I was super excited because I always wanted to try out this place.  I’ve walked by it many times and the interior is so trendy and nice.  Perfect for a get together with friends.
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The Baristas were super nice, and we had a quick chat while they were making my latte.  My latte was okay.  The esspresso shot was very good.  It had a very earthy, woody taste to it, which I enjoyed.  The foam was slightly below par, which is why I said my latte was only okay.  The foam consistency was a bit coarser than I liked.  The temperature was done properly -which is hot to the touch at approximately just under 70 degrees Celsius.  Overall, my experience here was good.  I said the latte was okay because I’m holding it to a higher standard -but if you want to know it’s definitely better than your chain coffee shops like Starbucks or Aroma.

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Where: Dineen Coffee
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Latte
Verdict: Great hangout place.

Dineen Coffee on Urbanspoon

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Origin

After wine class on Tuesday, R and I was on the hunt for food.  We happened to be in the area and decided to give Origin a try.  The place was fairly busy for Tuesday late night.  The menu looked really interesting and it seems like I won’t be disappointed.

R decided to have the burger with Spanish fries. The burger was fairly tasty.  The burger bun was good, the bread was soft and went well with the meat.  The meat was a bit over cooked, and too dry.  I think it would have been better if the cheese was in the middle of the burger, so that when you bite into it it’s juicy and melts in your month.  Overall, this is just your average burger.

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Spanish fries.  We weren’t sure why this is called the Spanish fries.  It was essentially a poutine.  It had sausages, cheese, sour cream, tomato…etc. It had a bit of a spicy kick to it.  It was yummy, but nothing that wow-ed us.  I think we could’ve got something similar from Smoke’s.

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I decided on the sashimi tuna salad.  It was a bit spicy, sour and sweet with avocado, zucchini, seaweed, pepper, and rice cracker bits.  There was so much sauce in the salad, it overpowered EVERYTHING on the plate. I could not taste anything but the sauce. It was to a point where you can’t even tell you were eating tuna sashimi. It was VERY disappointing.

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Where: Origin
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Sashimi Tuna Salad, Spanish Fries, Burger
Verdict: Disappointing. Will not go back.

Origin Restaurant on Urbanspoon

2:1

Ru and I were out again on a hunt for yummies around downtown Toronto.  After an hour of battling traffic, we finally made it downtown to our first destination: Ematei.  With 88% rating on Urbanspoon, I had high hopes for this place.  Around 8pm, the restaurant was packed.  We waited for a bit and was finally seated.

Short of dying of hunger, we quickly ordered.  Up first was the Tacowasa.  This is raw squid with a touch of salt and wasabi.  Tasted like how it was suppose to taste.

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Ru had ordered the ramen and unfortunately I didn’t get to take a photo before she started eating. The broth was very rich and had this veggie taste in it.  I also tasted a hint of butter, I’m not sure if there was actual butter in the broth or it was something else.  The noodle was a bit more al dente than we liked.  You could taste that the noodle was from a package and in fact we it tasted a bit like plastic.  The pork was over cooked and not fatty enough to make it soft and juice.  Overall verdict, not worth it.

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Then we ordered a grilled black cod.  The fish tasted very sweet and it was very smooth.  Normally I would say fish does have that sweet fresh taste to it, but this sweetness is way too sweet.  It almost felt like it was marinated in a sugary sauce.  It tasted yummy, but I question if it was from the sugar.

We were still hungry, but decided that it was really time to go as food was not that great.

Where: Ematei
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Tacosawa, Ramen, Black Cod
Verdict: Overrated.  Will not be back.

Ematei Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Unsatisfied, we decided that we should hit up a restaurant with higher rating.  Richmond Station was on our list for a while and since neither of us have been we decided to head over.  At around 10pm, the dining room was packed.  We tried to get a table for sit down but was told that it would be a 20 min wait.  We decided to hang out at the standing bar and have a drink.  One look at the wine list and it was unimpressive.  The selection was so small, that I probably had a bigger selection of wine at home.

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Upon the waitress’ recommendation we went with the 2011 Roussanne.  The wine was too dry without food.  It had average balance with hints of lemon, honeysuckle and floral.  Not really my glass of wine.

After being sick of waiting, we decided to order an appetizer to see how the food is here and if it was worth continuing to wait.  We debated between the smoked trout rillettes and the corn and scallop pakoras.  I love scallops but I find that it is rarely done right, so I always stay away from it.  But since Richmond Station received a lot of raves and praises on Urbanspoon, I decided to give it a shot.

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And here it is.  The sauce is spiced yogurt.  One bite into it and I could taste zucchini, a bit of chilli, coriander, chutney and corn.  But where’s the scallop?  I don’t think I need to go on to say how disappointed I was with the pankoras.  The scallop was in small tiny pieces, over cooked, and all the other ingredients over powered the taste.  Fail.  We were so disappointed, we got the bill and left.

Where: Richmond Station
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Corn and Scallop Pakoras
Verdict: Overrated.  Will not be back.
Richmond Station on Urbanspoon

At this point, Ru and I were thinking what is going on?  What a horrible night and such epic fail.  We thought that we should hit up one more place to round the night out.  No more disappointments.  We waved down a taxi and headed to Darwin.  We were missing the wine there and was craving the avocado shrimp.  Ru and I were here a few weeks ago for the first time and was really impressed.  We know they recently launched a bar menu on pilot and thought we’d give that a go.

When we arrived the place was still lively.  We took up our favourite table by the french windows.  Perfect for a beautiful night.

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We ordered the avocado shrimp, and was as impressed as the first time we had it.  Very delicious.  We also wanted to give the shrimp taco a try.  The taste we very fresh and unique.  I’m not sure if shrimp taco is always with deep fried shrimp, it tasted good but it might taste better if it was grilled instead.  Healthier, in my opinion.

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At the compliment of the owner, we got a nice treat.  Yucca fries.  It was my first time having yucca fries and it has this starchy, crispy texture.  It went well with the sauce which was a bit spicy and creamy.  I think this would go very well with beer.

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Then we had ratoutille wrapped in phyllo pastry, which was also a compliment of the owner.  At this point we were super full already, but thought we’d give it a taste too.  It tasted like a samosa. The concept is very unique.

After being disappointing by 2 restaurants we were finally happy with our food and hung around Darwin for a while.

Where: Darwin
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Avocado Shrimp, Shrimp Taco, Samosa, Yucca Fries
Verdict: Great food and wine.

Darwin Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon