Location: 484 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Wonton noodle soup is one of those dishes that’s basically always delicious. I’ve certainly had bowls that are better than others, but I think it’s just fundamentally appealing. It’s kinda like pizza; it’s hard to mess up, and even when it’s bad, it’s good.
And the bowl at House of Gourmet is quite good. It’s not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s a solid bowl of noodle soup.
I was clued into this place thanks to this article, which specifically called out the wonton brisket noodle soup as being the thing to order here. The addition of fatty, tender, flavourful beef suits the bowl quite well.
Everything else is just as it should be; the soup has a savoury punch, the noodles are nice and firm, and the chunky wontons are quite satisfying.
And of course, you’ve gotta add some chili oil to the bowl. Unlike the stuff I recently had at Ming’s Noodle Cafe, which was crammed with flavour but surprisingly low on spice, a heaping spoonful is all you need to give the bowl a nice kick.
Location: 421 Dundas Street West, Toronto
The dish I ordered at Origination Noodle House turned out to be basically the exact same one I had at Dagu Rice Noodle. I probably should have realized that it was the same dish, but it didn’t occur to me until I actually started eating.
It was fine. I wasn’t crazy about it at Dagu Rice Noodle, and I was similarly unmoved by its charms here.
The presentation was interesting. It’s basically a bowl of noodle soup that features thick rice noodles along with various meats and veggies in a basic (and bubbling hot) broth. But at Origination, it comes completely deconstructed.
First, they bring you a plate with all of the various meats and vegetables, then they bring a bowl of noodles, and finally, a bubbling hot bowl of broth. Everything gets dumped into the broth, and you’re good to go.
I think the version at Dagu Rice Noodle was slightly better, if only because the meat (and the tender pork in particular) was more satisfying. It was otherwise very similar: chewy rice noodles, veggies of various textures that all taste about the same, and a simple broth that practically demands a very liberal application of chili oil.
Like at Dagu, I didn’t dislike eating it, but I can’t say I’m in any particular rush to have it again.
Location: 235 Spadina Avenue, Toronto
The dessert pizza at Big Trouble Pizza — called the Butter Jam Jam — is quite odd. It features raspberry jam, butter cream, bocconcini cheese, mozzarella cheese, balsamic reduction, and lemon zest.
It sounds kinda absurd, and… yeah, it’s absurd. I was hoping it would be one of those things that sounds weird but is actually great; no such luck.
It’s not bad, though. It’s generally tasty enough — all of the components are good — but the flavours/textures never quite cohere in any meaningful way. It’s a little too salty for something that’s supposed to be a dessert, and nothing about it particularly pops.
It tastes like something you might whip up in a moment of bizarre inspiration (perhaps under the influence of a certain substance that was just legalized) and then, once you actually try it, never make again.
Still, I didn’t dislike eating it, I guess. And the crust was actually quite good, with a light exterior crispiness, and a pleasantly chewy interior. It definitely makes me want to go back and try one of the traditional pizzas.