Did you have a long weekend this month? I know my friends in the United States celebrated memorial day yesterday, and we enjoyed the Victoria Day long weekend a couple of weeks ago here in Canada. I don’t usually do much on a long weekend (aside from sleeping and cleaning), but I actually had plans for once!
My friend Mandy and I bought tickets to see The Lion King musical, and we also wanted to check out Nutella’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. I think the Harbourfront area is one of the nicest places in Toronto. The water is just beautiful during the summer, and there are lots of places to relax and eat there too.
It wasn’t difficult to find the event, as the kids there were screaming “Nutella Stories Dot Com!!” every few minutes (I think they were able to win some free swag if they were really loud). There was a really great turnout at the event, and many people lined up to get samples of crepes and sandwiches made with the popular chocolate hazelnut spread.
While we were there, Mandy and I had the chance to chat with Olympian Joannie Rochette. This was exciting for me, because I remember watching her win the bronze medal at the 2010 winter Olympics. On TV. I didn’t actually go to the 2010 Olympics…
Joannie was so easy to talk to. We chatted about what I do as a food blogger (“your job is so difficult!”, she joked) and why she is obsessed with Nutella. She likes to eat Nutella on toast, topped with exactly nine banana slices. This breakfast ritual is so important to her that she actually travels with her own jar of Nutella.
“That way I can just order toast and bananas at the hotel and make my breakfast,” she said.
Nutella has a neat promotion going on right now, which you might want to check out. You can enter to win a trip to Italy at NutellaStories.com.
After leaving the Nutella event, I headed to a local food vendor because I was ready for a snack. Unfortunately, that did not go very well… I asked the vendor if they had the lobster rolls (which I ate there last year) and was informed that it was too early in the season for those. Fair enough. Did he have fries?
“No, we’re an organic food stand, we don’t sell stuff likes fries,” the vendor told me.
Ok, first of all, they were selling BBQ chicken sandwiches and I think burgers too, so are fries really so drastically different? Secondly, fries can be organic. They are just fried potatoes for goodness sakes! Anyhow, I let it go for the moment and asked what was in their chicken sandwich.
“Oh it’s barbecued chicken. All of our chicken is barbecued. We can put the chicken on top of salad for you, women like that.”
(Mandy is going to laugh when she reads this. YES I’M STILL MAD!!)
I know not everyone will understand why that comment got my blood boiling. I know some people will think he was just trying to make a suggestion. But I HATE when people try to convince me that women don’t want to eat carbs. I’m a woman, I know lots of other women, and we all eat carbs. If I wanted a salad, I would have asked for one!!
Needless to say we did not eat there. Instead we went to Starbucks where I settled for a tall caramel macchiato and one of their overpriced Marshmallow Dream Bars (a.k.a. a Rice Crispy Square).
We had a lot of time to kill before the show so we went window shopping, and discussed our dinner options. I was stressing out over dinner because I wanted to make sure that we had time to walk from the restaurant to the Princess of Wales Theatre. Nothing is worse than showing up to the theatre late (trust me, you don’t want to be that person).
We eventually ended up making reservations at Momofuku Noodle Bar. Did you know that Momofuku means Lucky Peach? Anyhow, almost every review I have read about Momofuku says that you can’t make reservations, but you actually can request a time right on their website. The whole booking process took me about 2 minutes on my cellphone.
I was beyond excited for dinner, especially since I had just heard David Chang speak at the Terroir Symposium. David said that if people are talking in his restaurants, then the food is not good enough. He wants your eating experience to be so good that you are reduced to silence. I thought that was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever heard, to be honest, but I kind of understand what he meant now.
We arrived at the restaurant exactly at 5:00PM, and struggled to find the door. I’m going to say that it was because we were distracted by the giant metal tree in front of the Shangri-La Hotel, and not because we’re unobservant. Let’s go with that!
Once we made our way inside we were immediately seated right in front of the open kitchen (YAY!). My only complaint is that the flipping bar stools were about 4 ft. high and weighed like 50 lbs (I exaggerate, obviously) and I had trouble climbing up to my seat. Yes, climbing. I’m a tiny person!!
Even though it was fairly cold out, Mandy and I both ordered slushies to go with our dinner. She had the Seven Spice Sour Slushi (sake, togarashi, yuzu, lime), and I had the Cherry Slushi (sake, cherry, anise, lime). She thought hers was ok, but I absolutely loved mine! I don’t think that flavour combination would taste as good warm, the cold definitely kept things muted, but it was a refreshing sweet and tart drink.
We ordered the Marinated Cucumber dish from the snack menu, which was a mixture of cucumber, white mushroom, sesame seeds, and black vinegar. I thought there was Daikon radish in there too, but I could be wrong. This dish was light and clean-tasting, and it helped us ease into our main courses. I can’t eat this again though, I just realized recently that I have problems digesting cucumbers (seriously, is there anything I’m not sensitive to?).
Mandy ordered the Momofuku Ramen, which had pork belly and shoulder, as well as fish cakes, nori and an egg. Mandy enjoyed eating it, but thought the broth could have been better. I tasted it, and was happy that I didn’t order that dish
I went with the Smoked Chicken Ramen, with crispy chicken skin, miso and menma. This usually comes with an egg as well, but I asked them to leave it out because I can’t eat whole eggs anymore (another food sensitivity).
I really enjoyed eating this dish! The broth was a bit creamy, and had a strong miso flavour. The chicken was moist, slightly smoky, and was browned nicely. The bamboo shoots were surprisingly tasty – much better than the canned ones I add to my stir-fries at home. I liked the mushrooms too, but they were kind of sour… as if they had vinegar on them. This was a huge portion with lots of noodles (there are more under the broth there), and I couldn’t finish the whole thing even though I wanted to.
We ate our ramen in silence for about 10 minutes before we realized what we were doing. I guess David was right! We were so focused on the flavours that we forgot to talk. That, and I was trying to figure out how to get the noodles and the broth onto the spoon and into my mouth. It’s more difficult than you might think.
We also ordered the Roasted Rice Cakes from the Etc. menu, largely because I had seen a review of these on the Petite Pear Style blog and they looked delicious. I was not disappointed! These chewy little bites were savoury and a little bit spicy.
My only complaint about our meal was that the savoury dishes all came out at the same time. It was difficult to eat everything while it was still warm, and dishes like the ramen and rice cakes were best eaten warm.
We had to try the Crack Pie for dessert. This slice was insanely rich, sticky and decadent and yet, I want to eat it again. Right now. I’ve been dreaming about that gooey butter filling on a toasted oat crust. In fact, I’m seriously considering buying the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook* just so I can make this at home.
We also ordered Cornflake-Marshmallow-Chocolate-Chip cookies to go, so we could eat them after the show. They were exactly how I’ve seen Milk Bar cookies described in other reviews: TOO SWEET. I would not buy that cookie again, but I think Mandy enjoyed it more than I did.
We were in and out of Momofuku Noodle Bar in less than two hours, which was awesome. That gave us lots of time to
walk waddle to the theatre. I haven’t been that full in a long time!
By the way, we thoroughly enjoyed The Lion King and I would recommend that you check it out if you get the chance. There were some really cool puppets in that show, lots of circus-like theatrics, and the performers were extremely talented. If you loved the movie as a kid, you’ll love the musical as an adult. I wanted to sing the whole way home!