A Different Noodle Experience at Dagu Rice Noodle

Dagu Rice NoodleLocation: 505 Highway 7, Thornhill
Websitehttp://daguricenoodle.ca/

There are a couple of things that make Dagu Rice Noodle stand out from the typical bowl of Chinese noodle soup that you’ll find in the city.

The first is right there in the name: they use rice noodles, which are quite different than the standard noodles made with regular flour.  They’re a bit softer, with a slightly gummy, chewy texture.  I think standard noodles are a bit more satisfying, but there’s definitely nothing wrong with what they’re serving here.

Dagu Rice Noodle

The other thing that sets it apart?  It comes in a Korean-style super-hot stone bowl; it’s a bubbling inferno.  Honestly, this kind of baffles me.  I’ll admit that I generally don’t like my food to be piping hot (if it’s so hot that you’re at risk of burning yourself, then it’s too hot.  No thanks), so I guess I’m not the target audience here.  But I just don’t understand what the benefit is to serving any food so hot you can’t safely eat it.

Dagu Rice Noodle

I suppose I should mention what the soup actually was.  I ordered their signature noodle soup, which comes with braised pork, various sausagey meats, as well as a bunch of vegetables.

The super tender pork was probably the highlight.  It was very similar to what you’ll find in a bowl of Korean pork bone soup, and it was full of meaty fall-off-the-bone goodness.

Dagu Rice Noodle

Everything else was fine.  The broth was kinda one-note salty, but was immeasurably improved with the chili oil they’ve got on the table.  The whole thing was enjoyable enough, but it’s probably not something I’d get again.

Reliably Great Smoked Meat at Centre Street Deli

Centre Street DeliLocation: 1136 Centre Street, Thornhill
Websitehttp://www.centrestreetdeli.com/

Ah, Centre Street Deli.  Other delis have come and gone over the years, but Centre Street has always been around, quietly and consistently pumping out some of the best smoked meat in the city.

A couple of years ago, some of the employees got together and bought the place out.  I was afraid the quality might take a hit, but nope — still delicious.

Centre Street Deli

They have a couple of types of smoked meat: mild smoked meat, and old fashioned.  One has a bit more spicing than the other, and I don’t know why but I can never remember which is which.  I have to ask every time.  I just ate this and I’ve already forgotten again.  I think the old fashioned is the more aggressively spiced one, and the most popular.

The platter is a great deal — a generous sandwich, a heaping mound of fries, coleslaw, and a pickle for $16.50.  Hard to go wrong there, especially when the food is this good.

Centre Street Deli

I got the old fashioned (I think?), and it was quite tasty, as usual.  It was, however, a bit too lean, and the meat was slightly tougher than it should have been.

I’m starting to think that I should be ordering my smoked meat sandwiches fatty instead of medium.  Ordering your sandwich fatty feels weirdly indulgent, but hey: I like what I like.  I think I need to own it.

Chocolate Buffalo from Bagel Nash

Bagel NashLocation: 7355 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill
Websitehttp://bagelnash.ca/

They sell something called Chocolate Buffalo at Bagel Nash, a bakery in Thornhill.  I really don’t have a whole lot to say about it, but here’s a few points:

  1. I hadn’t even heard of a Buffalo pastry up until this point.
  2. It was bad.
  3. No, like really bad.

Bagel Nash

  1. Like, I tried it, I had a few other people try it, and then I threw it in the garbage.  That bad.
  2. It was incredibly dry (it was possibly one of the driest pastries I’ve ever had), and it didn’t taste nearly as deliciously chocolatey as it looked.  It was mostly just sour, oddly.  It tasted a bit like an enormous rugelach — but then I’ve never had a rugelach that bad.
  3. I have no idea if it’s an acquired taste or if it was just terrible, and I don’t particularly care to find out.  I can’t imagine that I’ll ever try a Buffalo again.

A Misguided Brunch at Ramona’s Kitchen

Ramona's KitchenLocation: 7355 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill
Websitehttp://www.ramonaskitchen.ca/

I should note a couple of things up front: Ramona’s Kitchen is popular.  I showed up with a group of four at around 11:30 on a Saturday, and the place was absolutely packed, with a full restaurant and a bunch of people waiting around for tables.  It took a solid half hour to sit down.  So people obviously like the place.

And everyone I was with really liked the food.  A lot.

Ramona's Kitchen

That being said?  I ordered the breakfast poutine, and it was kind of shocking how bad it was.

The dish consists of hash browns (which they call “tri-coloured potatoes” for the three types of potatoes they use), hollandaise sauce, cheese curds, and a poached egg.

The individual components were all decent — the potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the hollandaise was rich and creamy, and the poached egg had a perfectly runny yolk.

Ramona's Kitchen

But the whole thing was just off.

It was served in a tall, narrow bucket, which I guess is a fun presentation, but really awkward to eat out of.

And while most of the components were good, the curds were a bit too salty and tasted stale (fresh curds should squeak when you bite into them; these did not).  And though the potatoes were hot and fresh, the hollandaise was only warm, which didn’t provide enough heat to get the curds even vaguely melty.

Ramona's Kitchen

Also (I sure have a lot of complaints about these cheese curds, don’t I?), the majority of the pieces were tiny little curd fragments, and since they were cold and unmelted, the whole thing was unappealingly cottage-cheese-esque.

The hollandaise was quite good, though, as were the potatoes, so you’d think that alone would be enough to make this delicious.  I mean, crispy potatoes?  Delicious.  Hollandaise?  Also delicious.  But if there was ever a case of “too much of a good thing,” this is clearly it.  The entire bucket was absolutely swimming in heavy, creamy hollandaise, and it’s just overkill.  It’s like hollandaise pudding with potatoes.  It’s off-putting.

Ramona's Kitchen

That’s not to mention that, by the bottom of the bucket, the hollandaise had started to congeal, making it even thicker and richer, with a gluey, mayonnaise-like consistency.

But again: I think this is a good restaurant?  Just don’t order the breakfast poutine unless you really, really like hollandaise (and I do!  But not as much as I thought, apparently).