Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

did we find destiny in toronto?

Who would have thought that there’s a neighborhood in the suburbs of Toronto with tea houses, lounges, restaurants, pool halls, etc that are open 24 hours a day! That is the thriving Asian community of Markham about 25 km north of downtown. Nestled amongst several eclectic restaurants, was destiny!

We landed at Toronto's Pearson Int’l Airport at 11:30pm. By the time we grabbed the rental and headed onto the highway towards Markham it was pushing 1:00am. As we exited towards the hotel, there was a group of restaurants with plenty of cars still parked in the lot. Quite literary we stumbled upon destiny. The interior is nothing short of a stylish lounge you’d find in LA’s K-town – two story windows, silk drapes, dark woods, white countertops, glass chandeliers, stainless steel, long communal tables at one end and secluded booths on the other end. There were Asian hip-hop tunes blaring in the background and a wall of Asian sports, fashion, and entertainment magazines for reading. At 1:00am the place was about ½ full and this was a Thursday! Patrons were young affluent folks in late teens and early twenties.

The menu was packed full of typical Asian fare, but to our surprise there were a dozen pages of fresh fruit concoctions (smoothes, shakes, juices, pearl and teas). We went straight to the vegetarian selections and ordered the spring rolls, stir-fry thin noodles w/ seitan, kiwi juice, and watermelon juice w/ tapioca. The total bill came to CAD $26, which at circa 0.96 exchange rate is about USD $27, a reasonable price for the amount of food. Within about 10 mins the order was ready and we head to our hotel situated across the street.

The spring rolls were filled with cabbage, carrots, celery, and garlic. The eight finger portions were served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. I enjoyed the subtle flavor combinations of the veggies and crispy rice paper exterior – totally hit the spot (like eating fries at In-in-out on the way home from a late night). Sheila was not so thrilled; felt that the rolls didn’t really stand out from what you could typical find at any Asian restaurant. Prognosis – a great order after hitting the club with a bunch of friends.

The thin noodles were served with seitan, celery and green pepper strips. I tasted hints of soy sauce, garlic, and ginger; but it was inconsistent within bites. The portion size was plenty for us to share. Overall the dish was dry and lacked the kick we’ve come to expected from noodles and neither of us had remember to ask for side of hot sauce (which may have solved both issues). I also was disappointed by the meager amounts of veggies and seitan – which meant that after picking though it, we were left with ½ of plate of plain noodles. Bottom line, would order a gravy noodle dish with extra veggies!

The juices were the best part of this meal. Combing through the menu was confusing, no idea which of the 20+ fruits to select. After a few mins of deliberating I decided on watermelon with tapioca pearls and Sheila went for the kiwi juice. Both were made with fresh cut fruit thrown into a blender on order without any sugar or additives. Also, there was no filtering done which meant we could taste the pulp. The tapioca pearls were soft, chewy, and had a smooth consistency. They were on par with our favorite Bay Area bubble tea house, Fantasia. After a while both juices ended up settling and we were left with some residual pulp, but that didn’t diminish from our refreshing drinks!

Overall destiny was a great find for our post midnight craving. I wish we had an opportunity to feel the vibe of dining in. Having our meal as take out 30 mins later certainly led to this mediocre review, but don’t let that stop you from trying this place. We’d probably give it another try if visiting in Toronto.

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