Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meatless Monday, Week 4

There were only two occasions when I wanted to consume meat, and neither time did the desire arrive when I was actually eating my meatless meal, which I think is a huge step.

Breakfast: Banana and peach. (I realize this may not qualify as breakfast to some, but I'm not exactly an early riser.)

Lunch: Leftover fusili pasta with red&orange peppers and frozen peas that I made for Sunday night dinner. Are you starting to see a theme here with peppers, peas and pasta? It seems to be what's always available in my house. I'm not sure why my dad is obsessed with buying peppers, but they are always there, newly bought, without fail, every week. I've also taken to adding butter and 35% cream to everything. Butter and cream makes life better in every way.

Meat "craving" No.1: Kenzo Ramen noodles thanks to @chantalbraganza's post yesterday. I was meeting Irene later that day for dinner and a TIFF movie. I had already decided on Jules Bistro at Queen and Spadina, but thought of changing it to Kenzo at Dundas and Bay. (We rushed The Invention of Lying by Ricky Gervais -- of The Office and Extras TV shows fame -- at the Elgin theatre at Queen and Yonge.) Then I realized, a vegetarian ramen would not fulfill my desire to recreate my Momofuku Noodle Bar experience. So stuck to Jules. Later, I would find out vegetarian ramen -- even bad vegetarian ramen -- would have beat Jules without a blink.

Meat "craving" No. 2: Jules Happy Hour special is steak frites for $12.95. I contemplated breaking my Meatless Monday vow for a total of five seconds. French bistro vegetarian food was tempting enough to sate my craving. Again, how wrong I was.

Dinner: Jules Vegetarian Sandwich of ratatouille and dijon; plus vegetarian French onion soup ($12.95 all together). An incredibly small portion for 13 bucks. Food was fine but seriously I felt jipped. Plus, I wasn't keen on the service. I get really annoyed by servers who are sweet from the onset, and slowly become more stiff and curt, and are outright rude by the end of it just because I'm not ordering an expensive meal. At one point, I also thought the streak frites may have been better value but probably not. It probably would have been a cracker-size and cracker-thickness piece of flank with possibly 10 frites for accompaniment.

Dessert: Small coffee and chocolate chip cookie at Le Gourmand. Thank gawd for that monster cookie. It filled me right up and gave me the fuel I needed for a two-hour TIFF rush-line wait.

P.S. The Invention of Lying was so much better than I anticipated. Not sure if I would recommend watching it in theatres but it's definitely an unusual (in a good way) storyline.

***Update: Apparently all of Kenzo's broths are pork-based. There are no vegetarian options, which seems very un-Japanese to me.***


yasmin said...

I hate not getting good value or quality at restaurants. and rude service is unacceptable.
FYI the broth at kenzo always has pork in it, even the miso ramen according to them. I guess they make one broth and just add flavours to create the diff ramens which is not authentic. heard it's still good though.

Heather Li said...

I thought the broth may always contain pork, which is another reason why I hesitated going there.

I don't know much about authentic ramen, but I'd think the Japanese would have a suitable vegetarian equivalent...

Bedford09S said...

Watched their kitchen as they made the meals Yasmin, and you're totally right. Probably not what you'd get at a ramen stop in Japan, but easily the best ramen deal in the city for what it is. Also, like a lot of Japanese restaurants in the area, Kenzo is Korean-owned, which may explain the pork prevalence in their menu (which is fairly small to start with). Though that's definitely not a demerit to the food!

Though the prevalence of meat in an offering doesn't necessarily make something "un-Japanese". I'd actually argue the opposite. Fish pervades deep into the cuisine, to the point where a large number of packaged food products you'd think were meatless are actually made with bonito, or some other kind of fish powder.

Heather Li said...

@Bedford09S I knew my un-Japanese comment would get me into trouble. But seeing how I'm not a strict vegetarian (in fact, I'm not vegetarian at all... only on Mondays, and that's for environmental reasons, lol), I don't consider fish a meat product, so I'd be cool with drinking a fish broth on Monday -- lobster bisque, yes! -- but not a pork-based, or beef-based broth.

The Meatless Monday deal is new. I'm still trying to get a handle on my *rules* for it, and I'm excited to see how it'll develop over time.

Anyway, thanks for the comment!

Chantal Braganza said...

Oh shit, Heather, that's me, Chantal. I forgot to log out of my google account!!

Heather Li said...

LOL. ^^Nice one Chantal. I was wondering what the hell was going on.