The Keys to My Heart: Beautiful Summer Days and Fresh & Flaky Fish n’ Chips at King’s Table in the Beaches

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It feels like eons since I last talked about my favourite foods and where to get them!  I guess it makes sense though because favourites are difficult to narrow down and it takes time to try out different variations of the same dish.  I may have nailed down my favourite spicy salmon sushi rolls and my favourite cookie dessert, but I have a long way to go before I figure out my be-all and end-all for every other food category!  Not to mention there’s always a chance that your favourite now may not be your favourite years later.  There’s always the possibility that your current faves will get replaced by even more amazing eats in the future, but for the time being, I have a gut feeling that the handful of favourites I’ve selected are here to stay on my list.   

Fish n’ chips is a treat to me.  It’s that one guilty pleasure, comfort food type of indulgence that I go for once a year.  And I love it.  I would take fish n’ chips over a burger any day.  And lucky for me, I’ve found my holy grail fish n’ chips!  One food category down, a gazillion more to go 😀  King’s Table, located on Queen St. East in the Beaches, is by far my favourite place to go for fresh, flaky, buttery fish n’ chips.  I went here for the first time last summer and I instantly knew this place was a keeper in my book.

There are so many things I love about King’s Table.  I love that it’s a beautiful, intimate place (with a romantic-looking little patio out back!) that evokes that light, breezy feeling of summer happiness and comfort.  Whenever I think of fish n’ chips, I think, “Mmm, yummy.  Greasy spoons!”  We’re talking fish n’ chips here, not rainbow trout or lobster or other seafood delicacies.  We’re talking your good old fashioned fish n’ chips with plenty of haddock, halibut, and cod with starchy, potato-y, delicious fries.  When I think of fish n’ chips, I envision tiny diner style places with a lot of take-out and paper bag sacks.  Although King’s Table could be considered a neighbourhood diner, it has that inviting atmosphere that draws you in to sit and stay and have a good meal.  I love the rich yellow colour of the walls and napkins, the red curtains by the front window, the cute fish memorabilia hanging (and painted!) on the walls, and the peacefulness inside the restaurant.  When I eat here I feel relaxed, like I can take my time to enjoy my meal without being rushed.  It’s a lovely fish n’ chips diner that has amazing food to boot.

Prices for meals depend on the type of fish and their sizes.  Halibut is the more expensive option while haddock and cod are the lesser expensive ones.  If you order a meal like mine (one piece of 4oz. haddock with chips), it’ll run you $8.65.  I’m more than satisfied with this, but if you have a heartier appetite, your meal will probably run closer to $12-$15.  They have fish n’ chips meals, fish n’ chips with salad meals (which are the meals that are closer to the $12-$15 range), and fish only meals.  As well, they have large portions of panfried fish and salmon fillet meals (around 70z. and 8oz.) that are more expensive if you feel like you want to splurge.   

King’s Table fills that fish n’ chips love of mine with some amazing haddock and chips.  I plan on trying other dishes from their menu (such as their shrimp, their clam chowder, their mushrooms with garlic and chive sauce, and maybe even a dessert), but I have to tell you, I’d be a happy camper for life if I came back here and ate nothing else but the haddock and chips I love so much.  And that’s saying a lot coming from me, Little Miss I-always-want-to-order-and-try-something-different-each-time-I-go-out-to-eat!  The haddock is buttery, flaky, crispy, crunchy, and everything you could want in a piece of battered fish.  It’s not greasy or oil-laden in the least.

And their fries!  I know fries aren’t the star of the show but if you’re eating fish n’ chips, I think it’s necessary for the “chips” part of the meal to own it.  To me, even though you’re paying the bulk of your meal toward the fish, it ruins the meal if the fries are nasty.  Their fries are soft without being soggy and I dunk them (as well as my crispy, flaky haddock) in their seafood tartar sauce and it is heaven.  I know a lot of people like to eat their food “naked”, but I am not one of them.  I adore sauce.  So much so that I took my boyfriend’s sauce and ate that too.  He doesn’t use sauce so I offered my eating services to prevent waste.  And no one likes to see awesome sauce go to waste, right? 😉

*****

King’s Table is located at 2248 Queen St. East between Beech and Willow Ave. in the Beaches neighbourhood.  They are open for business from 12pm-10pm and I am pretty sure these hours are for every day of the week, but I will double check to make sure.  King’s Table also offers take-out.

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Fit For a King and Queen…Or Maybe Just a Brother and Sister – Rolls, Rolls, and More Rolls at The Sushi Shop

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Oh sushi, how I’ve missed you.  Well, blogging about you anyway because I actually ate some last week!  These pictures were taken on a very special day during the first week of March.  If you’ve been reading and following my blog, I know you’re probably thinking that sushi is very commonplace in my foodie world and EVERY sushi adventure is awesome for me.  And that’s true, but this meal was different because I enjoyed it with my mum and my brother during my brother’s spring break. 

Let it be known that my younger brother and I, as close as we are, are very different in personality.  He’s four and a half years my junior, he’s one of my best friends in life, and we couldn’t be more different.  I am the chatty, bubbly, independent artsy fartsy one who loves going out.  He is the shy, quiet homebody who loves the comfort of home.  He looooves it when we go out as a family, but unlike me, he would never venture out on his own for the sake of it.  I, on the other hand, will arbitrarily pick a subway station off the map, get off, and walk around without knowing what the heck is around the area.  So when I told him that I wanted to take him out for a day on the town during his spring break, he was mega excited. 

I took him and my mum to my favourite sushi place, The Sushi Shop, and we had ourselves a maki roll par-tay!  I recommended some of my favourites (the salmon with green onion as well as the smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese Vancouver rolls that I love so dearly!) and ordered some I hadn’t yet pigged out on (the spicy tuna, tempura, and avocado 911 rolls, and the Ebik maki with shrimp, tempura, avocado, and cucumber rolled in red masago).  I loved it, they loved it, and we “mmmed” our way through a whole platter of amazing sushi rolls.

This was a fun day, just for us.  My dad isn’t into sushi rolls, so it worked out quite nicely.  No guilt for going without him on our part!  It’s something that we don’t get to do as often as we’d like.  Our lives are hectic and we’re constantly pulled into different directions.  My dad is work, my brother and I are both at school and have mountains of work to attend to, I’m not always home for dinner, and my mum runs the household and has a gazillion things on her never-ending to-do list.  I know how hard-working my brother is and I know how he doesn’t get to do a lot of “fun” things during the school year, so it was important to me to make sure he had one super fun day during his week off.  Call it sisterly love.  We love sushi and my mum and brother love going downtown with me, so it was win-win for everyone.

Even though my brother is 21, he is still very much a baby brother to me.  He came home with the biggest smile on his face and with so much excitement and happiness from our day out.  We got some fresh air, we walked around till our feet were going to fall off, and I introduced parts of the city to my mum and brother they were completely unaware of.  I was so happy that they had enjoyed the day.  And my mum pulled me aside at the end of the night and said, “You made your brother so happy.  He said today was one of the best days ever.  I’m so proud of you”.  I smiled and nodded, blinking back a few tears.  Just doing what any good sister would do.  Fill the tummy and fill the heart ❤

*****

The Sushi Shop is located at the intersection of Yonge and Carlton St. (3 Carlton St.), with 2 other take-out locations serving the downtown core, one being in the GO train station concourse and the other near Maple Leaf Square at 25 York St (closed Saturday and Sunday).  According to Google map, there is also a location on Bloor St. E at 175 Bloor St.E (Saturday and Sunday closed as well).    

I Love Cream Cheese and Sashimi – Crunchy, Sweet n’ Sour Moscow Rolls and Little Red Tea Cups at Ginza Sushi

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I’m so excited to finally share my new scrapbook layouts with you all!  I had a huge backlog of pictures that was taking me forever to get through and even though I still have hundreds to organize, I’m making progress! 😀  I never like to rush through a layout and I take a lot of time and care to draw out layout sketches, figure and write out which pictures I want to scrap and in what sizes, the whole nine yards.  And it’s so exciting to get to a new batch of photos even if the photos themselves aren’t the newest; it’s the inspiration and freshness that makes it fun. 

So this is what I would refer to as my personal love letter to cream cheese.  Oh how I love this stuff.  I eat it on bread, with potato chips, mixed in a little pasta sauce, in sushi…I will even eat it by itself on a spoon.  Tis how much I love it.  It’s any wonder I’m not fat.  So imagine my joy several years ago when I discovered sushi concoctions like Philadelphia rolls with smoked salmon, or Philly rolls with avocado and sashimi.  Cream cheese IN sushi!  It’s like the food angels fluttered down to Earth and bestowed these delightful morsels of heaven just for me.  And you can bet that I’m keeping track of all my favourite maki rolls that include cream cheese and where to get them.  A girl’s gotta be organized when it comes to this stuff!  One of my personal favourites so far?  The Moscow rolls from Ginza.

The first time I went to Ginza was a year and a half ago and I loved it from the get-go.  I actually fell in love with it even before I stepped foot in the restaurant!  I don’t know about you, but I’ve become a bit spoiled having the internet at my fingertips and I look up restaurant menus online like crazy when I know I’m going to a place, providing they have a website.  I study the menu with the intensity I probably should have allocated to studying for exams in school, ha. 

Even before the eating experience has started, you can gauge how you feel about a place from their menu.  For one thing, you know the prices.  If it’s unaffordable, you don’t go – it’s that’s simple.  Second, if you’re indecisive like me, it’s makes your life a hell of a lot easier!  You can go into a place at least with an idea of what you want instead of taking eons to decide after you’re seated and everyone is giving you the death stare to hurry the hell up because they’re starving.  And sushi menus are always so much fun to go through! 😀  Since being introduced to cream cheese in sushi, anything of the sort jumps out at me and like a little blinky light, “Moscow Roll” was my little sushi beacon.

 

The rolls are just amazing.  They come in a set of 5 large rolls and are coated in crispy breading for some awesome crunch.  The Moscow Roll contains salmon, tuna, hamachi (yellowtail or Japanese amberjack), tangy cream cheese, and plenty of green scallions sprinkled over top.  And the sauce!  It’s a fusion of sweet chili sauce and sushi mayo drizzled all over and as you can tell from the photos, it’s like an artistic sushi painting! 😀  The taste is wonderfully complex.  You have the texture from the crispy breading, the soft buttery texture of the salmon and fish, and the richness of the cream cheese completely mellows and balances the spiciness of the sauce.  The cream cheese totally knocks it out and it’s just a yummy, messy dish of sushi happiness!

You can tell that I am one happy foodie 😀  Ginza is lovely and not just for the food but also for the atmosphere.  I’ve only been to the Yorkville location on Bay St., but to me, it is the epitome of modern meets fresh meets clean.  It’s peaceful and it’s fresh and vibrant.  And I am especially in love with the little red tea cups!  It gets my heart racing when the utensils and accessories are bright colours and I cannot tell you how much I want to take these cups home with me because they are so pretty oh my goodness.  *laughs*  I’m a tea accessory geek!

Ginza currently serves 4 locations in Toronto and the GTA, with the newest one located in Maple on Major Mackenzie Dr.W and Dufferin St.  That location actually works out okay for me considering I live in Markham, but for those who live in the 416, there’s no need to fret because there are 2 other locations you can gorge on sushi at: Finch Ave. E between Leslie and Bayview in North York, as well as Bay St. and Yorkville which is the one I’ve been to. 

Prices vary depending on the type of food you’re ordering but I’d say a meal would normally average around $6-$10 on the lower end and $12-$15 on the higher end if you’re ordering sushi combinations and such.  Let it be known that Ginza is not exclusive to sushi alone, but also serves Thai and Japanese dishes.  Outside of sushi, you can order tempura, soba noodles (which I’ve tried as well), rice, meat cutlet combos with noodles or rice, and a number of different soups and appetizers.  The quality of food is superb and I really enjoy the selection.  So the next time I go, I’m totally going to try out some other maki rolls and report back!  Oh, and hug and squish my beloved red tea cup ❤

*****

Ginza is located at the following 4 locations:

  1. 7330 Yonge St. (at the intersection of Clark Ave. and Yonge St. in Thornhill)
  2. 652 Finch Ave. East (located between Leslie St. and Bayview Ave. in North York)
  3. 1255 Bay St. (north of Bloor St. W just off of Yorkville Ave.)
  4. 9960 Dufferin St. (right at the intersection of Major Mackenzie Dr. W. in Maple)  

Ginza also offers a 10% student discount at certain locations, so call ahead and ask if you want to take advantage.

Scrapbooking materials used: white and gray cardstock (Recollections); red alphabet stickers (Recollections); patterned journalling cards (Anna Griffin, Darcy collection); sushi menu sticker (Jolee’s). 

I Heart Sushi Shop: The Smoky Salmon & Avocado Hand Roll and Cream Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato Rolls

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When I eat at sushi places, it’s kind of like playing a mental game of Where’s Waldo.  I’ll scan the menu, mentally discard the options that I don’t care for (those who clearly don’t look like Waldo), take mental notes of the ones I might be interested in and remind myself to go back to them to reconsider (the areas that are really busy and confusing that need greater attention a bit later if I don’t find Waldo after the first go-around), and the kinds that make me squeal with excitement and convince me via words and/or pictures that I NEED to try this.  Cue the sushi radar alarm: Ding-ding-ding, meep-meep-meep, Waldo has been spotted!  No further searching necessary 😀  That is certainly what happened my first time eating at Sushi Shop; my sushi radar was on overload!  So many rolls that encompassed my two sushi weaknesses all rolled into one: salmon and cream cheese!  I love trying different things at sushi places, but those are the two things I can never resist.

I love cream cheese so much, and I’m also a sucker for things like pesto and sundried-tomato, so the Akanasu rolls (a set of 6) with creamy, tangy light cream cheese, sundried-tomato, and sesame seeds, were a total no-brainer for me.  It’s like this sushi bar and I were meant to be!  And all the Sumomaki rolls (sets of 5 large rolls) are also offered as hand roll varieties so I salivated a la Homer Simpson style at the description of the Smoky: fresh salmon sashimi, thick slices of avocado, orange masago (fish roe), spicy light mayo and sauce, and a huge truckload dumping of crunchy tempura, all wrapped up in sushi rice and seaweed.  Hand rolls are fun because 1) who doesn’t like food you can eat with your hands?? and 2) it’s like a sushi taco or burrito, woohoo!  Every mouthful is pure deliciousness.

Oh gosh, this meal had “Deb” written all over it ❤  Salmon and avocado are pretty basic staples in a lot of sushi and of course, freshness always plays a role in how good it is (frozen salmon?  no, thanks.  Lukewarm salmon?  I’ll pass on that too, ew) but what really makes this fantastic (besides the freshness of those two things) is the crunchy tempura and spicy sauce.  It is texture like you wouldn’t believe.  You have the smoothness of the salmon, the buttery meltiness of the avocado, and then the crunch from the tempura that just explodes and melts in your mouth.  Imagine the crunchiness of amazing onion rings.  It’s like that only in my opinion, even ten times better than that!  And don’t even get me started on how lip smackin’ my cream cheese and sundried tomato rolls were!  Sushi Shop is my absolute favourite and I’ll be hard pressed to find one that rivals the quality, freshness, and uniqueness that it offers.  But that’s fine by me.  Mental games of Where’s Waldo sushi-style are amusing 😀

*****

The Sushi Shop is located at the intersection of Yonge and Carlton St. (3 Carlton St.), with 2 other take-out locations serving the downtown core, one being in the GO train station concourse and the other near Maple Leaf Square at 25 York St (closed Saturday and Sunday).  According to Google map, there is also a location on Bloor St. E at 175 Bloor St.E (Saturday and Sunday closed as well).

Scrapbook materials used: purple, bubblegum pink, pale pink, and emerald green cardstock (Recollections); white paper; patterned alphabet stickers (K&Company); silver alphabet stickers (Sticko); magenta, pink, and purple adhesive gems; flower paper punch; medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success); black Sharpie felt tip marker.