Tag Archives: lunch

Fuji Sushi – Another option for AYCE

For the longest time, if we wanted to have all you can eat Japanese food, we had one option and one option only. Sakura at Frontenac Mall. This is no longer the case, thanks to the (relatively) new Fuji Sushi, which has opened up in Cora’s old location in Clocktower Plaza. For under $14, you can fill yourself up with fish and other good things for lunch.

I’ll be honest – my first impression of Fuji was not good. We arrive on a Sunday before 12:00 and waited around for their 12 noon opening. By 12:03, the lights were still off and we were wondering whether to pack up and leave. At 12:05, a car pulls in, and the entire wait staff spills out to “welcome” us in. And by welcome, I meant they silently unlocked the door, went inside, and ignored the fact that we were sitting right by the entrance. Minus 10 points.

We were still in shock from the strange series of events that just occured, but we entered nonetheless and were seated at a booth. Most of the food was not ready yet, our waiter informed us, because they just opened. Okay…Needless to say, we were not impressed.

All that aside, the food is decent and the selection on the menu is not bad for the price. We ordered items from all over the menu – hand rolls, teriyaki, maki, special rolls, tempura – and they came to us fairly quickly once the kitchen was fired up. Definitely better quality than Sakura (we probably will never go there again…) Below are a few shots we took on our first visit. One item that we really did enjoy (that we didn’t snap a picture of) was the mixed vegetables dish. Really good, clean, teppanyaki-ed vegetables. Plus I love zucchini :)

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Green tea ice cream with deep fried banana (I am a sucker for deep fried banana)
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We forgot to take a picture before devouring these…Spicy salmon (average) and salmon hand roll (good fish:rice ratio)
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Tempura with slightly strange batter
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Special rolls. The one with mango in it was not bad, but otherwise this cannot compare to Jina.
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Again some decent sushi.

So, for those of you craving AYCE in Kingston, please drive the extra few kilometres to Fuji instead of settling with Sakura. It’s at 841 Norwest Road, right by the mall. I promise you will get better food.

And for the record, Jina will forever be our first pick for sushi in Kingston.

Fuji Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Summer weather and a patio

Whenever possible, we like to eat local. Especially in the west end, we stay away from chain restaurants. Today, however, we made the decision to break from that guideline.

It is hot today. Like high teens hot. A perfect day for patio dining. There aren’t many options in the west end for post church lunch options, and we flirted with the idea of eating at Windmills, but in the end we decided on Jack Astor’s. We have resisted eating there since it opened, because of the effect chains have on local eateries, but no one can argue it has the best patio in the city. Situated adjacent to Market Square, it afforded us a beautiful view of City Hall and the Sunday antiques market.

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We had fairly low hopes for the food, but my Smoky Jack’s burger was actually quite good. Better than Kelvin’s deluxe bacon cheeseburger. And the cranberry fizz lemonade I had (the actual name on the menu escapes me) was not bad either, though a bit too sour.

All in all, it was a good time with a spectacular view. I can’t say we will be here often but we will probably make the trek down (or up) again before the end of the summer.

Hidden Gems

One of the really neat things we love about living in Kingston are all hidden gems like the little restaurants and bakeries that have informally cemented themselves as practically institutions in the city. Fardella’s Classic bakery is one of those places. I remember going there when I was younger and getting cheesecakes and quiches for special occasions. They’ve recently relaunched themselves as a internet cafe/breakfast/lunch place to go along with their bakery and so Catherine and I decided to give it a try. It’s a really cute and intimate spot with vintage decor all over the place. The sandwiches were really delicious but the highlight were definitely the baked goods, which I clearly forgot to take a picture of!

Montreal Stop Two – La Banquise (poutines for all!)

No visit to Montreal is complete without a visit to La Banquise. This eatery is located in another hip area of Montreal (but honestly, what part of Montreal isn’t hip?), and it almost jumps out at you in an odd sort of way. The restaurant is seemingly housed in a very large building, and upon entering, you are most likely going to encounter some sort of line up.

atmosphere

Unlike our visit to Schwartz’s, we had to wait for around 10 minutes to get a table. The tables are colourful, the atmosphere is vibrant, and the collection of people is eclectic. Young families, students, and friends alike all gather at La Banquise for one thing: poutine. Sure you might hear orders for burgers or even salads (whaaaat??) But let’s be real, were here for the poutine.

what we ordered

On their delightfully yellow menu you’ll find an enormous variety of poutines. We made our way through three different ones: the classic, rachel, and one frighteningly named the t-rex (yeah, the carnivorous prehistoric predator). In general, the fries are a little sweet, and the curds have an awesome rubberiness to them.

C’s fave was the Classic ($ 5.80). Despite not really having an affinity for poutine, she loved it for the back to basics look and taste. Nothing like some good fries, curds, and gravy.

The Rachel ($ 6.95) was our veggie option, and the others really liked it. It was the classic, but with mushrooms, onions, and green peppers on it as well. You still don’t feel particularly healthy eating it, but the flavour is good.

Last but not least, this was the T-rex ($ 8.55). Despite being so meat-heavy, it was not too salty! Loaded with a smorgasbord of meat, including pepperoni, ground beef, bacon, and sausage, this came in at a close second for C.

overall

3.5 (out of 5) for food

3.0 (out of 5) for atmosphere

The portions are really large here (and we only got the regular), and we warn that you will most likely have trouble finishing a whole one on your own if you mean for it to be a snack. However, this was a great place for a Montreal favourite, and it really brought us back to our memories of heart poutine at the chalet after a whole day of tiring skiing. Check it out for yourself at 994, Rachel Est, Montréal (http://www.restolabanquise.com).

C and K

Resto la Banquise on Urbanspoon

Windmills – Casual Fine Dining

Today, after a busy morning at church, K and I decided to head to Windmills for some lunch. Though we’ve been here before, we haven’t visited in quite a while. Interesting side note: Windmills was the first restaurant I ate in when I arrived in Kingston after I got my acceptance to Queen’s. I was in town with my family for SOAR, and we decided to come here for a quick bite.

atmosphere

Despite being close to 2 pm, the place was still bustling. Windmills has a very lively atmosphere in general. It’s a nice place for lunch or brunch, but we haven’t been for dinner because it always seems uncharacteristically expensive for what you’re really getting. For those of you who need (or just enjoy) alternative eating options, Windmills is a very accommodating place. There are vegetarian and gluten-free options. In fact, back in September when K and I decided to try out a holistic diet stint, we definitely contemplated stopping in for some gluten-free pasta.

The restaurant itself is somewhat awkwardly arranged, with bankettes, regular tables, booths, bar stools, and a whole assortment of seating options. It is also nice that they put up local art, which they do change every so often. I asked K if he thought anyone actually bought the art, and he said he would if he had $350 lying around. Unfortunately, we do not, so the pieces continue to hang artistically on the walls.

Also, for those of you who are interested, Windmills has a different deal every day. K and I aren’t really the wine-drinking types, so many of these deals don’t have much of a draw for us, but it’s worth a look!

what we ordered

In the past, we’ve given their breakfasts a try. They are generally quite tasty, though a little pricy for what you’re getting. The burgers also are not bad. Today, K got the Curried Chicken Wrap (9.95) and I opted for the Cajun Chicken Wrap (9.75). Both come with either a soup, salad, or fries. A solid deal for a filling meal.

This is the Cajun Chicken Wrap. The soup of the day was a cream soup with potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and some other veggies. It was nice and hot, with lots in it, but it fell flat in flavour. The wrap, on the other hand, was quite flavourful. However, as someone who eats her wraps by biting one side, then the other, I found it awkward to alternate between wet and dry sides of the wrap. I would definitely recommend trying to get a whole bite of the wrap to lessen the strange oscillation in texture.

This is K’s Curried Chicken Wrap. The flavour was good, but it lacked a bit of chicken. The fruit in the wrap (particularly the grapes and the apples) added a nice crispness to the wrap, which K really liked. I tried a bit of it, but my bias still leaned towards the delicious curried chicken wrap at Aquaterra. The two really are not comparable. The fries were alright, and we appreciated that they retained their potato-y goodness despite being fried.

overall

3 (out of 5) for food

3.5 (out of 5) for atmosphere

Windmills isn’t somewhere we would go regularly, but it isn’t all that bad either. We gave the joint a 3 for food, taking into consideration what we know of the place from our visits in the past. Try it out for yourselves when you get a chance. Windmills is located at the corner of Montreal and Princess (184 Princess Street).

Windmills Cafe on Urbanspoon

Harper’s Burger Bar – Hipster Meat Patties For All!!

Pokes and prods aside, I’ve been here twice: once with C a few days removed from opening day and another time with my parents for lunch. On our first visit the place was jam packed, the service was prompt and courteous, and the food was delicious. On my second visit the place was less packed, the service was horrible, and the food, after two trips, was forgettable.

Harper’s is one of the newer additions to the burger and fries scene that has taken downtown Kingston by storm. It’s located a little ways down Princess Street right beside the Sleepless Goat on Princess and Wellington St. It’s owned by the same people who own Le Chien Noir and Atomica’s near the Brock Street Commons but I have to say that I’m still undecided on how I feel about it. I still appreciate their desire to stick to local ingredients and to offer Kingston a higher quality burger, but their flip-floppy restaurant experience is lost on me. Anyways. Enough about my ambivalence and more about the review!

atmosphere
I think this, like our Geneva Crepe Cafe adventure, was a pre-fellowship dinner and we decided to go check it out on a whim (we hadn’t realized that it had opened already). When we entered the place was packed with people and we were lucky to get a seat so quickly. We sat in the middle of the restaurant which gave us kind of a nice view of everyone else eating, but I kind of wished we had gotten a booth. Oh well. As I looked around I noticed the demographic of the patrons, mostly young university students who look the part of the eco-movement. What was nice, though, was also seeing locals out and offering their patronage to Harper’s. I do honestly hope that this place becomes a fixture in downtown Kingston.

The space itself is intimate and dimly lit. I’m feeling mixed about the televisions around the room because while I really like watching Top Chef while I’m eating I feel like it cheapens the place a little bit. I really did like the exposed brick interior and the general decor the restaurant though.

Some cool things that they offer at Harper’s are a kid’s menu, a lunch special, spiked milkshakes, and blue plate dinners (hip diner versions of: fried chicken, salmon filet, and strip steak. Oh how I wish they would do a meatloaf). Harper’s is trying to play the part of trendy diner and after looking through their menu I’m mildly convinced. One thing to highlight is the lunch special which takes place daily between 11.30am-4.30pm, which includes their classic burger, a side of fries, and a fountain drink for $10. Not bad.

what we ordered

(our bad on the pictures…it was REALLY dim in there haha)

C tried one of their shakes (I have never understood her affinity to drinking things like shakes or smoothies while eating…) with her meal. She ordered their chocolate shake ($5 – made from Kawartha Lakes ice cream). It was crazy light (even I drank some!!) and didn’t have as strong as a chocolate flavour as I thought, which was really pleasant.

C ordered their Classic Burger with a side of onion rings, but added cheese and bacon onto her patty ($9.50). The onion rings were so forgettable. I can’t emphasize to you enough how forgettable they were. They were your run of the mill onion rings that you could have gotten from Harvey’s. We were both expecting some kind of fancy thick cut onion rings with panko batter or something. To be entirely honest I like A&W rings waaaaay more than the ones at Harper’s. The burger itself wasn’t bad, it was thick and relatively juicy, although C found it a bit too salty.

I ordered the sliders with a side of their Yukon Gold fries ($12.50 for your choice of three miniature versions of their signature burgers with your choice of side). Now, I’m really big on burgers and I couldn’t decide which veritable taste sensation I wanted to isolate a burger to so I opted for the sliders. I ended up getting: easy (Ontario cheddar, bacon, soya glazed mushrooms, HBB sauce), umami (brie, balsamic candied onions, tamari glazed mushrooms, white truffle aioli), and deluxe (Monterey Jack, avocado, local bacon, roasted garlic-rosemary aioli). I liked a lot about these lil guys. The sliders were a good size, nice variety of ingredients to taste different, and cooked well.

My only complaint was with the presentation of their lettuce, onions, tomato, and pickles. Come on. With all of the thought that went into the ingredient combinations of the burgers, you can’t think of a better way to present it than slicing them together and tossing it on the basket?

overall

3 (out of 5) for food

3.5 (out of 5) for atmosphere

If you had asked me my thoughts after my first visit to Harper’s I would have raved to you about the service and food. But after my second visit I would tone down my zealousness towards it and tell you that it’s totally worth a try with an open mind.

I will probably go back when they (hopefully) switch up their burger menu a little bit or to try their blue plate dinners. Other than that I will be taking my (and C’s probably haha) burger patronage to Five Guy’s Burger and Fries over and over again.

K

Harper's Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

AquaTerra – We LOVE regional ingredients!!

AquaTerra…how you have evaded our patronage, I will never know. This is by far one of the better restaurants in Kingston, in all categories of comparison (service, food quality, worth), and for some ridiculously strange reason C and I had never been there together. C is an AquaTerra regular due to her affiliation with TORF and has had several items on the menu before. I, on the other hand, am an  AquaTerra virgin…NO MORE! And spoiler alert to the evaluation at the end, it won’t be the last time I go either haha.

atmosphere

AquaTerra is just inside the main lobby of the Radisson on Ontario St. and I guess for the past few years C has been trying to find a faster way into the hotel other than the main entrance but has yet to find one. So, we entered through the main entrance like normal people. Upon entering the restaurant you’ll get an almost lounge-y feel to to it, which isn’t a bad thing…I really felt like the atmosphere would’ve been more suited to a nighttime event rather than our casual lunch.

Also upon arrival the excellent service begins. The hostess and our server were almost borderline impossibly kind, which made our dining experience all the more enjoyable. You could tell our server’s passion was in serving fine food, which was so cool to see.

During the week AquaTerra offers a prix fixe menu for $15. This includes a soup or salad, a main, and a dessert with coffee or tea. For the quality of the food and the portion sizing, I would say that the $15 for a lunch is well worth it. On Sundays they offer a brunch buffet but I’ve heard mixed reviews about it. C and I had the prix fixe.

what we had

C ordered one of their refresher mock-tails, she found it a little too heavy on the spritzer with the mango flavour being dulled and the pineapple flavour being too much. Well, I liked it and I guess that’s why I drank most of it. $4.

This was their complimentary rosemary, chive, and red pepper butter to go with the bread basket. I’m not really sure if it’s a staple at AquaTerra or if they change these butters every week, but regardless it was tasty. The red pepper flavour comes through the most but it was definitely an upgrade over your standard butter. We LOVED that they used Pan Chancho bread.

We both got the soup of the day as our first course. This was a cauliflower based soup with chorizo blended in. The soup itself was seasoned wonderfully, although we wished that the chorizo flavour would’ve came out just a tad more. It was thick, creamy, and definitely an awesome starter.I highly recommend it if they ever serve it as a soup of the day again.

This was my curried chicken wrap (grilled chicken, sauteed peppers, onions, sweet curry mayo). It reminded me a lot of a chicken wrap that I had when C and I visited Mackenzie King Estates in Gatineau Park, except the chicken in the Aquaterra version was more juicy and tender. The curry flavour came out beautifully in this wrap and the fries were fresh and absolutely delicious. I wish there were more fries on the plate haha. The only thing that I would add to this plate would be some kind of aioli to go with the fries. Really solid dish though.

C got the AquaTerra burger (Kenview farms black angus burger, sauteed onions, maple dijon mustard). C added cheese for an extra dollar and other than that you would think that it’s your everyday kind of burger. But not all your everyday kind of burgers can taste like a smorgasbord of flavours in your mouth like this one was. The burger was juicy and chock full of flavour, cooked to absolute perfection (right at that point where the meat is cooked through, but there is this massive moisture retention going on).

Okay so by this point we’re actually surprisingly full. Almost to the point of satiation. But we must persist! Dessert awaits!

I got their warm chocolate bread pudding (served with caramel creme anglaise and pralines). I’ve had bad experiences with yucky bread pudding in the past so I’m not sure why I ordered this. I thought I would be way too full to eat anything more, let alone something that had the word bread in it,and the chocolate aspect of it sounded way too rich for me (for those of you that know me, you know that I really don’t like chocolate). I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The bread pudding was warm and light, and by light I mean as light as a bread pudding can be. The chocolate flavour was relatively subtle contrary to its appearances (I mean look at that picture…it looks like it was left soaking in a chocolate fountain for twenty minutes). I didn’t end up finishing it because I was way too full, but it was definitely a good way to end of a meal.

C was even more full than I was so she got the ice cream. Their ice cream comes from a regional creamery called Slickers near Picton, ON. This particular day’s ice cream was made from local Concorde grapes. Our taste palettes were definitely not prepared for this one. When you usually think of grape you think of a clear, crisp flavour in some kind of juice medium. This was a very vivid grape flavour in a cream medium, so the creaminess really threw us off. It was really tasty and we really liked that they use regional ice cream. C and I will definitely be taking a trip to Prince Edward County to try more of Slickers ice cream. Oh, one more thing. Look at that portion sizing. THREE SCOOPS?! Too much for us, man.

overall

4.5 (out of 5) for food

4 (out of 5) for atmosphere

Eating at AquaTerra for their prix fixe was such a nice treat for C and I. We loved our server and the regional ingredients that were used. The presentation of the food was tasteful and the food itself was tasty (see what I did there? haha). Will we be back? Definitely. We need to go there at night and try their dinnertime menu and atmosphere. I wish we could have scored them higher for atmosphere but it was just too odd during the day time.

One more story. Our lovely server forgot to charge us for C’s refresher mocktail and instead of running back to the computer to print out a new receipt with the correct charge on it (which we would have been more than happy to pay), she waived it off and said it was her mistake so that was on her. Classy move. In exchange for a $4 dollar mocktail the restaurant will get our probable undying support and loyalty through our eating adventures.

Go check out AquaTerra near Ontario and Johnson (1 Johnson St.) inside the Radisson.

K

Aqua Terra on Urbanspoon

 

Curry Original – We LOVE yogurt mint sauce!!

So…Curry Original downtown has become sort of a staple in our diet. Despite having been in Kingston for over 4 years, I had only come here once in the first four years of living here. However, this all changed when K and I started a holistic diet a few weeks back. Because of its rather stringent list of acceptable foods, we found ourselves at Curry Original many times, as it was one of the few places we could eat without breaking any of the rules. Since then, we have made many trips to this little place down on King Street, which is hidden from view of the main street by the much larger, much more imposing Lone Star Texas Grill.

atmosphere

As you enter, you venture down this awkward hallway where the bathrooms are. Do not be deceived – keep going through the second set of doors and you’ll be greeted by one of the owners (we love family-owned and operated restaurants!!). The restaurant itself is a pretty large space, but it is a bit too dimly lit. It also has a random back patio area that offers an almost completely obstructed view (which makes us wonder if it ever gets any use). There is always Indian music playing in the background, and rarely is it bustling at lunchtime.

what we ordered

No matter what you order, they always give you papadum, which is this thin, deep fried wafer made of lentils. It pretty much melts in your mouth and is very tasty. Unfortunately…K and I ate it all before we realized we should have taken a picture of it (sorry, we’re still new to this).

Today, like most days, we opted for the always-great lunch combo. For under $10, you get a mulligatawny soup (a hot chicken stock soup with lentils and veggies), salad (it’s really nothing special, but it lends itself to a more balanced lunch), and a main dish.

K decided to get the chicken tikka which is chicken breast cooked inside the tandoor oven and then doused in a rich tomato and yogurt sauce that is rich and sweet (K says: it is SO YUMMY :D).

I went for the Chicken Tandoori (which is only offered on the lunch combo menu on Fridays). The chicken is super tender and juicy because they cook it in the tandoor, and it comes with this fantastic yogurt mint sauce (SOOO GOOD). We have been trying to figure out what it’s made of so we can recreate it…but no such luck as of now. K says that the palao rice with this combo is a little bit dry, but this would change if they just had some chicken jus on the rice.

Last but not least, we ordered some naan bread! On our holistic diet, we weren’t allowed to eat this, so we pounced on it once it came. In his zeal, K forgot to take a picture before he ripped it apart. Below is a photo of our reconstructed naan bread =) It was a little bit burnt, but still a good side dish. The bread itself was very large, and the top was very soft.

overall

4 (out of 5) for food

3.5 (out of 5) for atmosphere

We like Curry Original a lot, and will definitely be coming here again. We’ve been so many times for the lunch combo (the value is just too hard to beat), so perhaps it will be good to come for dinner one time. If we do, we’ll make sure to amend this post! A side note: we much prefer the downtown site to the uptown one (they don’t even give you yogurt mint sauce for the chicken tandoori!!).

C

Curry Original - Downtown on Urbanspoon