Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sumo Ramen in Montreal

In the middle of my road trip in Canada, I decided to stay in Montreal for a few days. One of the most fascinating things about going to a big cities such as Montreal is what there Chinatown looked like. Unfortunately Montreal's Chinatown was quite disappointing compared to cities such as New York City and Philadelphia.

1. It was only a couple blocks.
2. Believe it or not, there were only a few Chinese restaurants I saw. Most of them were Vietnamese.

Despite my disappointment, I found a unique looking restaurant called Sumo Ramen and I decided to check it out. With the name, you'll obviously know it's primarily a ramen restaurant, but you can also get your soups with udon as well.

Since it was just after 11:00 AM, the place wasn't exactly bustling yet, but more people came when noon time arrived. As far as the atmosphere goes, it's pretty relaxing and comfortable with the orange walls being a good complement to every party of the restaurant. The music is too trendy, but didn't change my views of the restaurant of course. I thought they kind of over did it, putting the pictures of there food on the wall since it's all on the menu anyways.

For the appetizer, I ordered the skewered squid balls. Anything in ball form, I must eat just like how Anthony Bourdain has to eat anything in tube form. They were succulent, not rubbery. They were also fried but fortunately not deep friend. The waiter told me that they combined the fish paste and the squid to make the balls. It was so good, that I'm going to make my own some time.

For the main course, I decided to order the Shrimp Dumpling Udon. I know I should have gotten it with the homemade ramen, but I hadn't had udon on in awhile and had a craving for it. The soup also had bean sprouts, sliced agaric, green onions, hard boiled, egg and seaweed. The soup base was soya, which is brown colored. The soup was very good. The dumplings held the shrimp well, and of course tasty. The other ingredients complemented the soup very well, and it was nice to have seaweed in there since I don't eat it too often. The soup was salty, but it had the right amount of it for me.

Overall, I would recommend Sumo Ramen. Even though Chinatown as a whole was a disappointment, at least the food was excellent and at the end of the day, that's all you can really ask for. I think someone in Pittsburgh needs to open up a ramen restaurant :).

Sumo Ramen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Audubon North in Buffalo New York

As some of you guys know, I recently completed a road trip to Canada and back. I wanted to do this because I hadn't had a long vacation in a long time, and I hadn't been in Canada in almost 20 years and wanted to check it out. I know some of you think that Canada is a lot like the U.S., and it many ways it's true. But in a lot of ways it is different. Since this is a food blog, we won't talk about this for the most part. However, I did go to quite a few restaurants during my trip, and I'll be reviewing a few them. We will start out with Audubon North in Buffalo New York.

My first night of my road trip, I stopped at Buffalo, New York and stayed with my couchsurfing hosts. Couchsurfing essentially means you stay at a host's house at the city you are at for traveling. If you guys want to learn more, go to the couchsurfing website(Couchsurfing). It's not for everyone, but at least you'll have a pretty good idea of what it is all about. Anyways back to the food. My hosts took me to a dive bar called Audubon North near where they live. If I had to describe the place, it's the epitome of what pretty much what a dive bar is. One of the first things I noticed is that they use an old school jukebox where one song costs 25 cents. I can't even remember the last time I payed a quarter to play a song on the jukebox in Pittsburgh. Second I noticed that there were baby shower decorations on the ceiling fan near our table. I guess the people that work there aren't in a rush to remove those decorations. Thirdly, some random girl at the bar asked my hosts and I this question, "When someone says unit, what is the first thing that comes to mind?". I told her the answer(No need to say what it is since this is a g-rated site), and she was happy that I said that because it was the answer she was expecting. So all-in-all, when you come to this bar expect an unique experience that you will never forget.

Finally we can now talk about the food. My hosts recommended me the chicken fingers, which are homemade. So I ordered the 2 chicken fingers, and 2 pierogies meal. The chicken fingers were breaded with hot sauce being poured on it liberally. This was definitely one of the better chicken fingers I've had. The fingers were crispy and the meat was juicy, not dry. The hot sauce surely made the fingers even better. You could definitely feel the heat in your mouth. The pierogies on the other hand were a mixed bag. I thought the skin was cooked perfectly, however the potatoes inside were chunky about 70 percent mashed, and 30 percent chunky. The chunkiness of the potatoes did not work well with the skin, and it really brought the meal down considerably. I'm hoping the kitchen just had an off night.

Overall I enjoyed the unique atmosphere and the food for the most part. I would recommend people visiting Buffalo to come here for the experience and the chicken. It may not be as famous as Duff's or the Anchor Bar, but it's a place worth visiting.

Audubon North on Urbanspoon
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