Quality Noodle Soup at Big Beef Bowl

Big Beef BowlLocation: 8362 Kennedy Road, Unionville
Website: None

Big Beef Bowl is another place that serves fresh, chewy noodles, which means I’m pretty much going to love it by default.  I’m very easy to please when it comes to a big bowl of delicious noodles.

Big Beef Bowl

I got the braised beef brisket noodles, which comes with your choice from six types of noodles: round or flat, with three thicknesses each.  I got the round noodles in a medium thickness.  And they were great — they might have been ever-so-slightly too soft, but they were otherwise hearty and chewy and satisfying.

Big Beef Bowl

The soup itself wasn’t anything too special, but it got the job done.  It was a bit spicy by default, but was improved immeasurably by a few hearty spoonfuls of the chili oil they’ve got on the table.  You always have to be careful with that particular condiment, because depending on the place, its spiciness ranges from a moderate tingle to volcano hot.   The one at Big Beef Bowl isn’t particularly spicy, but it has a satisfying toasty flavour that really improves the soup.

There were also several chunks of fatty, immensely tender beef brisket.  I could have eaten a whole pile of these.

Satisfying Noodle Soup at GB Hand-Pulled Noodles

GB Hand-Pulled NoodlesLocation: 66 Edward Street, Toronto
Website: None

I’ve mentioned before that chewy hand-pulled noodles are basically the best thing ever.  That continues to be true.  That’ll be true forever.  Hundreds of years from now, when the robots complete their bloody uprising and have wiped out the human race, it’ll continue to be true.  Even robots will enjoy hand-pulled noodles.  Because they’re the best.

And if you’re craving hand-pulled noodles and don’t feel like venturing out into the ‘burbs, you could certainly do worse than GB Hand-Pulled Noodles.

GB Hand-Pulled Noodles

They have a few things on the menu, though the main attraction here is the noodle soup.  You can choose your noodle thickness from seven (!) different options, which range from “super thin” to “extremely wide.”  I went with narrow thick, which is right in the middle.

The soup itself is fine, though it is a bit one-note salty (no one around me finished their broth, nor did I).  The prodigious amount of tasty chili oil that they serve it with certainly helps, but it’s clear that the soup is more of a vehicle for the noodles than something anyone would particularly enjoy on its own.

GB Hand-Pulled Noodles

Aside from the noodles, the other highlight is the thinly-sliced beef, which is tender and flavourful.  The beef at noodle joints like this tends to be hit-and-miss, so I appreciated the level of quality here.

But of course, the reason you’re here is those noodles, which get expertly pulled in full view of the dining room.

GB Hand-Pulled Noodles

The narrow thick noodles that I picked basically look like a particularly weighty spaghetti.  They were chewy, toothsome, and outstanding.  Even by the standards of hand-pulled noodles, these were particularly firm and substantial; I was on the fence about them at first, but they quickly won me over.

Decent Fried Chicken at Love Chix

Love ChixLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttp://www.lovechix.ca/

I got nervous when, after I ordered my chicken sandwich from Love Chix, they opened a drawer filled with pre-cooked chicken pieces and then dunked one in the fryer to reheat it.

Thankfully, it certainly could have been worse, but the chicken was dry and overcooked, and it’s easy enough to see why.  This might have been less of an issue if they started with dark meat, which has a bit more leeway during the cooking process before it dries out.  But it was white meat, and “moist” was not a word in its vocabulary.

Love Chix

The sandwich was otherwise quite tasty.  It’s tossed in a honey hot sauce and topped with buttermilk ranch, coleslaw, and arugula.  The honey flavour was quite pronounced, but there was enough of a spicy kick and a vinegary bite to balance out the sweetness.  The creamy ranch and the peppery arugula helped to round things out.  It was actually quite tasty.

And while the crunch factor wasn’t quite as pronounced as it could have been, it was certainly satisfying.

I just wish the meat itself weren’t so dry.  I certainly understand why they serve their chicken this way; people might get impatient to wait the almost ten minutes it would take to fry a piece of chicken from scratch.  But I wish they’d give you a choice.

Super Deluxe Hot Dogs at Kung Fu Dawg

Kung Fu DawgLocation: 19 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttp://kungfudawg.com/

Remember when street vendor hot dogs were everywhere in the city?  There was a time when you couldn’t walk more than a block or two without running into one.  I’m not sure exactly why they mostly went away, though I’m assuming it has something to do with the explosion of cheap eats around the city over the last decade or so, not to mention the general foodie-ification of the GTA.

But there are still a handful of old school vendors around the city — or if you’re looking for something made with a bit more care, there’s Kung Fu Dawg on Ossington.

They actually make their own hot dogs and put them in a natural casing, which gives you a snappier bite than a traditional dog.  The pickles and many of the condiments are homemade as well, so clearly, this is something a bit more special than your typical street meat.

Kung Fu Dawg

I ordered the namesake Kung Fu Dawg, which is piled high with fennel slaw, pickles, onions, jalapenos, corn relish, spicy mayo, crispy onions, chili, and cheese.

There’s no easy way to eat this.  I tried to pick it up out of the cardboard box it’s served in, but it was so big and unwieldy I couldn’t get a grip on it.  Eventually, I had to just embrace the mess and dive in.

It’s really good, and an absolute cornucopia of tastes and textures.  It’s pretty much got all the flavours: it’s salty, savoury, sweet, vinegary, and a little bit spicy.  It’s crispy, it’s crunchy, it’s meaty — it’s everything at once.

Kung Fu Dawg

I liked it a lot, but I think there might have been a little bit too much going on.  They make their own hot dogs, but there’s so much stuff piled on top of it that you can barely taste it. It may as well have been Oscar Mayer.

Of course, the whole thing is super delicious, so it’s hard to complain too much — but next time, I think I’ll order something a bit more plain so I can see what the actual hot dog tastes like.

Oh, and I also tried the fries; like the hot dog, they were way above average.

Average Meatball Sandwich at Little DaiLo

Little DaiLoLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttps://chefs-hall.squarespace.com/

Little DaiLo in the Assembly Chef’s Hall currently has a garlic sambal meatball sandwich on their menu.  I just tried it; it was a meatball sandwich.  The End.

I should write a few more words, I suppose.  But there’s not all that much to say about it — despite the presence of napa slaw and garlic sambal, it’s a super run-of-the-mill meatball sandwich.  It’s perfectly tasty, but there isn’t anything about it that stands out.

Well, that’s not strictly true: though it doesn’t add all that much flavour, the sambal has a pleasant kick that makes the sandwich a bit more fiery than the norm.

Little DaiLo

The other thing that should set it apart is the napa slaw, but aside from a mild crunch, you can’t even tell it’s there.

Other than that, the beef meatballs and the sauce were standard-issue (though the meatballs in a meatball sandwich can sometimes be a bit mushy and these had a nice texture, so I appreciated that).  The sandwich is ostensibly Asian-inspired, but it tastes like what you’ll find at any number of Italian sandwich joints around town.  It’s good, but nothing about it stands out.

My only real issue here is with the bread.  It was cold and clammy.  I wish it had been even lightly toasted (or at least warmed up somehow), but it was otherwise fine.