joeyeats

in appreciation of fooding

Quick Grubs – Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant, Chinese Traditional Buns, Gold Stone Noodle Restaurant 金石 (Toronto)

Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant – 869 Bloor St W., Toronto, ON

The first time I tried Ethiopian food was in Calgary called Marathon Ethiopian Restaurant in their very own Kensington (yes their Kensington is pretty much hipster like ours haha!). I’m a huge fan of trying new foods, and let me tell you if you haven’t tried it, YOU SHOULD! When I had a craving for it, I searched around for an Ethiopian restaurant and I found one on Bloor St. close to Dufferin.

Ethiopian cuisine is typically served with Injera, a staple that is sort of like crêpe, but has a sour taste since it is fermented first. It is made from a gluten-free grain called Teff. Since it is not only gluten-free and fermented, it should be very easily digested. If you are a fan of sourdough breads (as I am), you would probably enjoy injera as much as I do. The food you order are typically stewed meats, lentils and vegetables which would be served on injera. Some are mild and some are spicy with Ethiopia’s classic spice called Berbere (chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek according to Wikipedia). I don’t know much about Ethiopian culture, but from what I understand one should be eating with their hands, using the injera to pick up the stewed foods. Lalibela does just that. You will not be provided with any utensils unless requested.

Special Veggie Platter w/ Injera

Taste – Green
I’ve never tried their meat dishes yet since I was still not eating meat the first time I went. The second time I went I just felt like eating their special veggie platter. With me coming back for the same thing, that really says something. Their cabbage (which I believe is tumeric-based) and the spinach (?) are milder, while the lentils are more on the spicy side. I personally am not a huge fan of the spinach, but the other three I really enjoy. But of course what I love most is the injera bread.

Atmosphere – Green
Very calming and peaceful to me. I can seriously enjoy my food here. The first time I went around dinner time was more busy, but still very enjoyable.

Service – Green
The waitresses here are really friendly. They are attentive and always smiling (at least the 2 times I went). One time for dinner they roasted something (I think coffee beans?) and was wafting it around the restaurant table to table. I guess it’s their way to help us stimulate the tastebuds to taste their food better. However, the first time I came here I asked for the special veggie platter but they gave me the full one and charged me for the full one. I inquired to the waitress and she was apologetic and gave it to me for the special price. I am very impressed by that. The second time I came for lunch it took a while for me to waved down my waitress, but I guess since it wasn’t so busy she was inside doing something. As well, when I asked for extra injera, she did not tell me it costs extra and just appeared on my bill. It’s just $1 and injera is definitely worth it, but I think it is better to let customers know when something costs extra. Other than that, I think the service is good.

Price – Green
I say it is reasonable. The special veggie platter was $6.99-7.99 or something like that. Everything else was about $10-15, more or less depending on what you are having. Oh and by the way $1 for extra injera :P! Just a heads up!

Overall – Green, it’s a GO!!
Even with some minor issues it won’t stop me from coming back since I’m liking Ethiopian food so far. Perhaps I will try their meat stews or even fish dishes next time! If you are bored of eating the same stuff over and over and want to try something new, I recommend Ethiopian! And Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant is a great place to start!

Recommendations: Veggie platter, Injera (go figure!)

Lalibela Ethiopian on Urbanspoon

Chinese Traditional Buns – 536 Dundas St W., Toronto, ON

Ah yes, Chinese Traditional Buns. This is hands down one of my most favourite restaurants (possibly my MOST favourite!) in all of Chinatown in downtown Toronto. Hidden neat the corner of Dundas and Spadina, it is quite easy to miss. This place specializes in Northern Chinese style dishes such as handmade steamed stuffed buns, dumplings and even ramen noodles. There is lots of variety (as like many Asian restaurants), so I really believe anyone can find a quick favourite!

Taste – Green
I happen to really like their food here. Every time I come I’m bound to get some kind of steamed stuff buns or their dumplings! If you are getting any noodle dishes, I HIGHLY recommend paying an extra $1 to get their handmade noodles. It’s not uniform in its shape (some parts can be a bit thinner or wider), but that is what makes it fun and enjoyable to eat! Awesome chewy texture. Not to mention they also have unlimited housemade soy milk free of charge (its near the pop fridge in this giant warm canister-thermos)!

Atmosphere – Green
By my standards this place is fine. It’s no five-star restaurant that’s for sure, but it is as authentic of a Chinese restaurant as it gets! You can see the women preparing food along your table, and they really just mind their own business and speak as loud as they want. It is what it is!

Service – Green
They can speak and understand enough English to run the restaurant. The older workers there I find are more attentive than the younger ones. The last time I went the older woman even poured tea for us (which was totally unnecessary)! The younger ones are usually just there to do their job (and they do it just fine), but the older workers are more likely to ask how your food is.

Price – Green
Very affordable for those on a budget. You can probably get more than one thing too if you wanted too so you can try more of the various foods they offer.

Overall – Green, it’s a GO!!
This place just rocks my socks everyone.

Recommendations: Dumplings, Steamed Stuffed Buns, Chinese bun stuff with meat, all noodle dishes, their Ramen

Chinese Traditional Buns on Urbanspoon

Gold Stone Noodle Restaurant 金石 – 266 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON

I can’t count how many times I passed this place, but just this week was the first time I ate here (from what I recall at least). Let me tell you, this place can get quite packed! I believe this place is a local favourite.

Pork Liver and Kidney Congee with Chinese Donut

Taste – Green and Red
I had congee (which is like a rice gruel that is an iconic staple dish) here with their chinese donut (yao teiu). My mother says they make their own chinese donut and is fresh to order. They even cut it up into bite size pieces for you. I look around and it seems almost every table orders them. It was not dense like most places (perhaps from re-deep-frying premade ones), it is actually quite light and not drenched in oil. I really like that they put fresh ginger in the congee. I really enjoyed it. My parents ordered some e-fu noodle dish with beef as a lunch special. I could already tell just by reading it on the menu that it wouldn’t be good, but my mom ordered it anyway. Result? It was quite salty. We all agreed. No good.

Atmosphere – Green?
It’s like a cafeteria in a small restaurant! I personally don’t mind it too much, but don’t be surprised if you have to be seated with strangers at the same table! But it is very bright since the restaurant is all glass window.

Service – Green
Quick and prompt. Workers quickly get your order and the food is out not long after. Great place to eat if you want your food fast that is better than cafeteria food (except the beef e-fu noodles!).

Price – Green
Good grub at cheap prices for most things. Can’t go wrong with here if you don’t want to spend too much!

Overall – Green, it’s a GO!!
This place gets it done, quick and cheap. I think the food here can be hit or miss, but I can’t judge too much since I’ve only been here once. I’ll definitely come back to try their other dishes!

Recommendations: Chinese Donut, Congee

Goldstone Noodle on Urbanspoon

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2 thoughts on “Quick Grubs – Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant, Chinese Traditional Buns, Gold Stone Noodle Restaurant 金石 (Toronto)

  1. Le Gourmand on said:

    Sick blog!

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