in appreciation of fooding

Quick Grubs – Jang Su Chon, Uncle Betty’s Diner, Pho Xe Lua Vietnamese Cuisine 火車頭 (Toronto)

This is my first series of Quick Grubs, places that are not so fancy but suitable for just plain old days where you want to eat something without breaking your budget. I’m going to be reviewing a few places I’ve been to and give recommendations if I’ve been there quite a few times. To make it simple, I’ll rate categories by a traffic light system (green, yellow, red).

Jang Su Chon – 6 Andrew St., Toronto, ON

I’ve been to this small korean restaurants quite a few times. I discovered it while exploring the Kensington Market. They got pretty much the standard stuff. Gam Ja Tang (pork bone soup), Soon Tofu, Bi Bim Bap (mixed rice bowl), Korean Pancake, the list goes on.

Taste – Green
I’m no expert in korean food, but I think it’s good enough for me to keep coming back with my family. Sometimes my parents go without me, and that says something.

Atmosphere – Green
It’s a clean restaurant that for some reason reminds me of Asia. They don’t seem to have AC and bust out good old fans. IT will be hot during humid days, especially when people are barbequing and eating hot stuff, but it didn’t stop me from ordering hot soup!

Service – Yellow
Generally the people working there are extremely friendly and cater to your needs promptly, but if asked. I have to say the workers there are busy bodies, constantly doing something or another. Often they are so busy it takes a while for them to bring you tea and your side dishes. I couldn’t quite figure out why they are always moving back and forth with such a pace all the time. Maybe they are short on staff. But other than that, they are very courteous.

Price – Green
Budget friendly, I don’t think there’s anything that’s too expensive. I think their prices are very reasonable. More side dishes can be requested without complain and free of charge.

Overall – Green, It’s a GO!

This is my go to Korean restaurant whenever I am in the Chinatown area in downtown Toronto. I would suggest coming here if anyone was in the area and wanted Korean food. I’ve been to quite a few Korean restaurants around there and I’m pretty happy I discovered this hidden gem! The only thing I wish they also had was Ja Jang Myun (Black bean paste noodles) which is also one of my favourite Korean dishes.

Recommendations: Gam Ja Tang, Bi Bim Bap, Soon Tofu + Grilled Makarel

Jang Su Chon on Urbanspoon

Uncle Betty’s Diner 2590 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON

I discovered this diner when I met up with my friend Julie walking up Yonge street in midtown Toronto. This diner was featured on You Gotta Eat Here so I figured why not?

Chili Cheese Fries

Taste – Yellow
I had two things here. Their Chili Cheese Fries w/ Lime Sour Cream and their house made donut. Starting with the fries, it was meh. It’s just fries with a plop of seasoned grounded meat and grated cheese for $11. Nothing exciting, pretty flat. I was hoping the ‘lime sour cream’ would give it some magic at an extra cost, but the sour cream was nothing special. I was mislead thinking they did something special with the sour cream by calling it lime sour cream. If they did add lime to it, it certainly didn’t make a difference. It’s dishes like this that make me want to be a vegetarian again. Their housemade donut reminded me and my friend of Tiny Tom’s donuts that you get at fairs like The EX. It’s better than Tim Horton’s donuts (BLEH!) so it’s good.

Atmosphere – Green
Definitely family friendly. It has it’s charm and cute. It’s somewhere you can sit for longer than just simply eating there if you want somewhere to eat and chat…..except…..

Service – Yellow
…we both felt like we wanted to be gotten rid of. The waiter/waitress were EXTREMELY prompt on taking our dishes away. The moment we finished off the last fry and piece of donut the plate was pretty much taken right away. It almost felt like they were watching us finish our dish.  Our waitress also gave us the bill and we didn’t even ask for it yet! I don’t know whether they wanted us to go really bad or they were scared we would run off without paying… it made us feel pretty uncomfortable. It’s not like we stayed there around closing time either.

Price – Yellow
Being in the area it is, I guess I shouldn’t complain about the price. I’ve been to one eatery in midtown (here), so I shouldn’t be so quick to judge the pries of all the places to eat. I have to say though I wouldn’t suggest coming here if you just want to grab something simply to eat for a reasonable price. I mean there are some things that are reasonably priced perhaps… but I think you get can better food for cheaper elsewhere.

Overall – Yellow – Consider before proceeding…

For it’s price I don’t think it’s worth it since the food wasn’t spectacular. I wasn’t pleased by the feeling of being rushed to leave. I’m not even sure why John Catucci (host of You Gotta Eat Here) suggested this place. I’ve been to a few places he suggested in Calgary and he didn’t go wrong, so I’m not saying his judgement is wrong, but I don’t know what happened here. If you want to try this place please do and let me know if I am right or wrong.

Uncle Betty's on Urbanspoon

Pho Xe Lua Vietnamese Cuisine 火車頭 254 Spadina Ave. (at Cameron St.), Toronto, ON

This Vietnamese restaurant has a special place in my heart. I’ve had food here since I was a little girl and remains as one of my most favourite Vietnamese restaurants I’ve ever been to.

Taste – Yellow for noodle soup dishes, Green for everything else!
I love their rice dishes and their vermicelli bowls. My favourite is the jumbo shrimp on rice. They made a shrimp paste sauce that goes exceptionally well with it. However, I am not a fan of their rice noodle bowls, and the pho just doesn’t seem right to me. They use flat and think noodles but I think pho noodles should be thinner than what they give. Their noodles often seems mushy too. Mostly a textural mistake in my opinion. 

Atmosphere – Green
It’s your typical Vietnamese restaurant atmosphere. Great place to eat and enjoy your time being there.

Service – Yellow
Don’t expect to be greeted in and waiters/waitresses going above and beyond. They are just there to get the job done. I personally don’t have a problem with this since I’m use to this kind of service in simply Asian restaurants, so I’m okay with that. It may not fly well with people who aren’t use to this though.

Price – Green
Good price and budget friendly. The Jumbo Shrimp on rice is one of the more pricey dishes, but I still get it at times since it tastes so amazing and I get nostalgic eating it!

Overall – Green – It’s a Go (except the rice noodle dishes imo)

Whether you want something to eat with your family or you and your friends are hungry from a night of clubbing, I suggest coming here! Take caution with their rice noodle dishes, but since they are still around I guess most people don’t mind it.

Recommendations: Jumbo Shrimp Rice, anything Vermicelli, Avocado Shake

Pho Xe Lua on Urbanspoon


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