Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jo Moon Ting, God forbid we talk chinese food...

Jo Moon Ting or that thing in Ottawa...... ;-)

Walked down to the Italian Ferrari drive-by & festival on Preston and had lunch at May’s Garden… hadn’t been there for a long time (2 years). Probably the only authentic northern style chinese place in Ottawa… Still full of chinese people. Finally walked past this Jo Moon Ting restaurant and realized that this was the place Ashley was talking about!

This is the old Pacific Village....which I considered the best Viet place in Ottawa. Ate there at least once a week for about ten to twelve years. Sometimes, up to five times a week! When they closed, they didn’t even let me know…. Don’t know about those viets….Before that it was a Caribbean restaurant. And since then it has been through many transformations. At one time (2004) it was the only place in Ottawa and also probably Toronto, where you could get chinese suckling pig!!! The chef/cook has since returned to Toronto. Don't know the full story, but I have found a place in Toronto where it can be eaten without being pre-ordered. (The Spanish also have suckling pig, cochinillo; one of Hemingway’s favourites…and the Portuguese have Leitau……geographically controlled to Coimbra, … so much for breaking racial barriers….). The last permutation was a Viet place that was not too bad, forget the name.

Must say I have not tried it, but if the wonton noodles is better than Cafe Orient.... I would be very surprised if they don’t get a hugh following. Cafe Orient is known to be the best place for wonton noodles in Ottawa... And aside for the price points, I think it's as good as anything anywhere else in the world. HongKong included....

The prices sound good though. Just to compare, I had wonton noodles in Toronto for $3.95.

Their specialty is Congee though… the Jo is congee… moon ting is a quiet corner…

2007 06 16.

The Mysteries of the Pho Bo Ga and the Pho Bo Ga La's

New Pho Bo Ga La with the blue sign and the brown wood Buddha is on the north side of Somerset…. is in fact the PBGLa than MingD is talking about. There is also one on the south side of the street further west of Bronson with a blue sign… this is the ‘old’ PBGLa…and it’s been around a long time and I have never been too impressed by it. It has also gone through many reincarnations thru the last 20 years and I found the food wanting.

The New PBGLa is the one I went to try Bun Bo below and is the one I was not too impressed with their rice dishes…… talk about too many viet places…..

Didn't know there was a 'new' PBGLa. (761-763 Somerset W?)

Must be a dynasty like the PBG1, 2 3 and Springroll House.

PBG1 had the greatest soup, but has deteriorated recently. Springroll has a great pork chop on rice, but the soup's ok. Seems they may have lost the PBG1 soup secret to someone else. Since I know the original owner, must ask what happened. Unless someone else knows?

The soup at 'original' PBGLa was ok, but restaurant & things seem to be saying that the soup is 'better' here.

After Pacific Village and then PBG1, I'd have to go backwards in memory and think that the Golden Turtle place has the best soup stock after this. I have been to quite a few viet soup places since then though.

2007 06 16.

Prime 360

Have to say that it had the best rib steak I have ever had in Ottawa, nicely marbled; or for that matter anywhere else, including Alberta, where I think they have the best T-bones in the world.

My friend had a nice sirloin as well, but she had dessert! Mistake, it translated to a muffin with cream sauce, thin sauce at that as well… I think I read somewhere, ‘don’t go for the dessert, but their steaks are great…’. I liked them better than Hy’s etc…. for value though, Nate’s had a decent rib steak and a whole lot cheaper….

As if they cared anyways, lots of clientele on a week night… mostly business suits.

Would I go back…if on a business expense and eating steak only... in fact only the rib steak…?

200 06 14.

Have been on and this is a site to check out. So is

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cambodian & Vietnamese

Vietnamese .... still trying.....

Was at the recommended Bun Bo Hue place on Somerset, Pho Bo Ga La to try out their Bun Bo ($10 for a bowl of medium, including tax/tip, for lunch). Somehow, I thought the write ups by MinhD were about a pork noodle soup, but this was beef. At least the ‘covering’ was beef tendons. The noodles were the best part…au dent. Great… (Au dent is in any language, the way to do noodles….) The soup was ok and the stuff on top is pretty well reproducible at home. (Family in Toronto have said that the viet soups, the secret, are better in Ottawa than Toronto. Must be project 2000….). Would I have it again there….no, but I tried it.

Are there any recommendations for beef stew with noodles? Forget the name in Vietnamese. I will try Pho Bo Ga La for that as well, but have not been able to find anything of the calibre of Pacific Village’s… now gone…mother retired; so have not been able to find it anywhere. Have tried a number of places on Somerset, but none really authentic… well I have never been to Vietnam, but from the viets I have spoken with, include the original owner of Mekong, Pacific Village’s was the best.

When Pac Village folded, I turned to New Mee Fong (at it’s new location, the old one on Somerset being too small….story there as well). Was a regular there for the longest time, enjoying their rice dishes, especially the one with steak. Until they raised the prices sometime late last year and early this year. Their noodle soup is average, but with the price increase…’next gen’ running it now, I think it’s overpriced. Mostly local civil servants going there for lunch... as with PhoBoGaLa… Always crowded and uneven service…. But then who eats viet food for service….? It’s like a Chinese greasy spoon…

Does anyone have a place that has really good Vietnamese rice dishes?


Phnom Penh

There are two of these, one in Mechanicsville (noodle house) and the other in Kanata...big difference...different owners as well...., the one in Kanata is suppose to suck big time……

I have never been to the one in Kanata; there is also one that closed on Carling near Woodroffe with the same name...

But I have been to the one downtown many times....Somerset in Mechanicsville. It was pretty good. I have never had Cambodian food before and the owners are chui chow chinese, but the dishes are quite different from the viets. I would say I found their stuff interesting, but don't go back regularly.

Very limited menu though.... family run, sisters and mother in the kitchen type of place.

I had warned them of the confusion when I was more regular, but they just shrugged...

2007 06 11.

Whalesbone Oyster House

I have not been since Vardy joined either, but have to agree with the Citizen food critic, Anne Desbrisay, on this place. They are way too expensive for the decor.

Did notice earlier this year that they were renovating the restaurant though. Still, it's an awfully small place. And if they put in plusher seats and bring in Vardy, does that mean that they are going to be even more expensive!? I think they would price themselves out of the market then.

And the service was no hell the last couple of times I have been there, back in 2005/6.

They were originally themed after the Rodney Oyster House in Toronto, which was significantly more impressive. The variety of oysters there was significant. I think I counted 60 the last time I went back in the late ‘90s. Whalebone should not call itself an oyster house at all. It’s more of a bistro restaurant that wants to sell oysters. Trying to compete with Big Daddy’s on Elgin, which was more interesting than Whalebone, for oysters.

I have always thought that the chef makes or breaks a restaurant, so it would be interesting, consider Vardy's nomadic nature, whether he really makes a difference.

I still haven’t been to Par-Fyum either…. Slipping…

2007 06 11.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bella's Bistro in Westboro

Went to West-fest this past weekend and decided to try Bella's. Besides being the name of an old girlfriend, I have always heard good things about it.

Because it was last minute they did not have room in the restaurant, but did on their tiny patio. So we opted to partake.

Their Patio Menu is quite limited and I presume different from their white linen-ed interior, but I did not expect quality of food to suffer.

We had BBQ shrimps with rice and veggies and seafood ravioli. I am not a big ravioli fan, expecting something quite extraordinary for the $20 pre-tax/tip price point....outdoors on a plastic chair. Because of lobster, crab and other things named in the menu for the ravioli, my expectations might have been high. It ended up being pretty much something I could have picked up at the Loblaw’s and cooked up myself at home. Couldn’t taste any lobster and the crab came out of a can. I would rate that as awful.... If I can do better at home, it's not the place to be for me.

The shrimps were nice enough, but only three and the veggies was a sprig of rosemary! What would one expect for $10 pre tax… maybe a little bit more veggies would be nice?

We have pics, and we shared!

A table next to ours had a pasta with mussels… and well, it didn’t look very good, but I didn’t ask them what they thought.

To top it, one of the waiters either was just slow or having a bad day; nasty, and even made a mistake on the bill. (Total bill including tax was $60 for two, so not cheap, but not very expensive... we had some wine, but no dessert or appetizers, just one entrĂ©e each…small at that. I left hungry.)

With the plethora of Italian places in Ottawa... and I can think of a few that are actually pretty good, how can a place like that survive? Looks like there were a lot of locals out for their Sat night dinner, mostly older... Island Park types....

2007 06 10.