REVIEW: Roy Thai

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 1 comments

Roy Thai Restaurant
636 Talbot Street East
Leamington, Ontario, Canada 

Phone: +1(519)326-7349

Storefront with Owners Leo & Nipada

Type of Restaurant: Thai 
Attire: Casual
Prices: E- $8 M- $11 D- $5
Payment Options:
Visa, Mastercard, Debit/Eftpos

Hours: Monday: Closed
              Tuesday - Thursday: Lunch 11pm - 3pm Dinner 4pm - 9pm
               Friday: Lunch 11pm - 3pm Dinner 4pm - 10:30pm
               Saturday Lunch 11pm - 3pm Dinner 4pm - 9pm
               Sunday 12pm - 9pm

Reservations? Walk-ins welcomed
Handicap Accessible? Yes 
Vegetarian Friendly? Yes
Vegan Friendly? No



                       Quality of Food: 3.5/5
                        Service: 3/5
                        Originality: 4/5
                        Atmosphere: 3/5

My friend Nancy has been Blackberry Messaging me while I've been on Pelee Island. She insisted when I come home to Leamington, we must go out for lunch at Roy Thai. 

Roy Thai is a restaurant which has appeared in the heart of the town only a couple years ago. Between my ferry departure time and her work schedule, only lunch really worked. Nancy sent me the menu via email the night before and I replied with my selection of Tom Yum Soup with tofu and vegetables substituted in for the meat, as well as a staple for Thai Cuisine -- Pad Thai with Prawns.

I met Nancy at Roy Thai the next day around 12:30pm, the restaurant seemingly empty for what I would have expected to be a Friday lunch-rush. Food was already on our table, and looked incredibly delicious. I dove right in.

Galangal: Spicer than Ginger
The Tom Yum Soup was really good, you can tell the broth is made onsite, using fresh ingredients, an incredibly authentic. How authentic? While eating the soup, I thought I saw a piece of chicken floating around in the broth. I decided to take a bite to confirm my initial guess. Definitely WASN'T chicken. It had a similar texture and taste to ginger, only much spicier with a slight tangy flavour. I had to ask. Turns out it is an ingredient used in Thai cuisine called galangal.

A Similar Looking Pad Thai
My second dish was the Pad Thai. It is a stir-fried rice noodle dish with Thai tamarind sauce, bean sprouts, garnished with roasted peanuts and lime. It wasn't the best I have had (Cookie in Melbourne, Australia has my favourite version) but it was definitely still enjoyable. I reckon it could have used a bit more tamarind, just to give it more of that tangy flavour I enjoy.

Nancy ordered (as she always does) the Pad Kee Mao. Or as she likes to call it... the #22. The dish is a a stir-fried dish with garlic, white/green onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, thai basil with rice noodles and oyster sauce. Mushrooms got donated to my pad thai plate (she isn't a fan of mushrooms) but other than that she seemed to really enjoy it as well. For her returning more than once and ordering the same dish, she must REALLY enjoy it ;)

Overall, this is no fancy Thai Restaurant, but definitely somewhere where you can enjoy a nice, quick bite to eat. The food is cheap, the service is friendly, and probably most important of all the food is authentic and delicious. Let's put it this way, the food was so good that I didn't even get a chance to snap pictures of how good it looked on the plate :)


Veg Out Restaurant

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 0 comments

Veg Out Restaurant
646 Richmond Street
London, Ontario, Canada

Phone: +1(519)850-8688

Type of Restaurant: Vegan 
Attire: Casual
Prices: E- $8 M- $11 D- $5
Payment Options:
Visa, Mastercard, Debit/Eftpos

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:00pm
              Friday & Saturday 11:30am-11:00pm
              Sunday 11:30 - 4:00pm
              Mondays CLOSED

Reservations? Walk-ins welcomed
Handicap Accessible? Yes 
Vegetarian Friendly? YES
Vegan Friendly? YES




                       Quality of Food: 3.5/5
                        Service: 4/5
                        Originality: 4/5
                        Atmosphere: 4/5

It's been a week, but with lack of internet on Pelee Island I haven't been able to post this review. After our trip to London, to check out Fire Roasted Coffee, my friend Josh suggested we check out this vegan restaurant near the University of Western Ontario. 

Veg Out is nestled in amongst the businesses and houses on Richmond Street, in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. Its close proximity to the university, makes it a very student friendly venue. Highly affordable, and targeted to the health conscious.

"Spicy" Tempeh Wings
Adam, lead the pack by ordering the the Tempeh Wings. Essentially, small strips of tempeh (deep-fried fermented soybeans), topped in a delicious "spicy" sauce (not all that spicy in my opinion, but Steph was blown away).

Rawsagna with Coleslaw
Since being home, my healthy habits have been put on the side burner. I decided to go with the Rawsagna. Having read Brendan Brazier's Thrive Diet, I have tried to consider a raw food vegan diet. The extra energy sounds enticing, getting rid of some of my favourite foods... not so enticing. The Rawzagna was really colourful, with vegtables layered to resemble a lasagna. Carrots cut to resemble curls of cheese, lettuce serving as pasta sheets. To be honest, I wouldn't have ordered it if I would have know it would have essentially been a salad. Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious salad but I've never been a salad as a main-meal type of guy.

Chick-Pea-Nut Sandwich with Caesar Salad
Adam and Steph both went with a Chick-Pea-Nut sandwich. A chickpea, green pea, peanut butter patty topped with caramelized onions, avocado, tomato, pickles, sprouts, and Siracha* mayo. (*now that is what you call spicy Steph). The portions were huge, and looked incredibly delicious (and healthy).

Shitake Poutine
The best dish ordered had to go to Josh. He went with the Shitake Poutine, which to be honest sounds dull and boring. But let me tell you, that shitake gravy was amazing. It wasn't your typical gravy, but rather like a puree. I wish I knew what was in so I could recreate it. This was also my first time trying Daiya "fake" cheese. I have tried other brands of soy cheese, and honestly have been met with some amazing as well as some equally nasty stuff. The Daiya cheese definitely falls into the amazing category. Tasty and melts so well.

With less than $13 spent on food each, we were all too full to even consider desert.  Though the dessert counter was more than attractive.

Overall, a great change of pace for the average meat-heavy North American diet or just something healthy, tasty, and affordable for the rest of us ;) I'd highly recommend you check it out.


COFFEE REVIEW: Fire Roasted Coffee Company's Peaberries

Sunday, May 15, 2011 0 comments

Fire Roasted Coffee Company
900 King Street 
Western Fair Grounds Confederation Building 2nd Floor

London, Ontario Canada N5Y 5P8
Phone: +1(519) 438-5225
Payment Options:

Mon - Fri:9:00 am-5:00 pm
Sat:8:00 am-3:00 pm

I've been wanting to visit The Fire Roasted Coffee Company for a while now. I was overseas, when I seen a Facebook event the London Green Party was holding at this roastery. It sounded right down my lane... fair trade, organic, and best of all freshly roasted coffee from all over the world. It doesn't get much better than that. Having been back home for just over 2 months now, I've been trying to find a good opportunity to visit. Reading their website one day, I noticed they were hosting a peaberry coffee tasting event. Having fallen in love with the Indian Monsooned Peaberry at the roastery I worked at in Melbourne, Australia. I knew this was the perfect chance. I sent out a call to all my coffee lovin' Essex County friends and Adam, Josh, and Steph joined me for this experience.
Haitian Bleu Dried Coffee Cherries

We were introduced to our coffee tasting guide who was extremely knowledgeable and seemed to really enjoy his job. He started off explaining how coffee beans were produced.  

Coffee beans are 
Papua New Guinea Roasted Coffee Beans
Papua New Guinea Unroasted
Coffee Beans
essentially the seed found within the cherry of the coffee tree. With fair-trade coffee, typically, the coffee cherries are picked on the farm. They are then allowed to ferment, making the cherry skin easy to remove from the coffee bean itself. The beans are then carefully sorted, and allowed to dry out before being shipped to roasters around the world. We were shown an extremely rare way to receive coffee from a farm. They had received a Haitian Bleu coffee sample from a farm in Haiti. They received a plastic ziploc bag, filled with dried coffee cherries, holding the beans inside. Discussion moved to what a fresh coffee cherry looks like. Someone asked what the cherry itself tasted like. I, of course, volunteered to try it out. I've always seen coffee cherries in photographs, and had always wondered how they tasted. Verdict: grassy, with a very slight sweetness.

Papua New Guinea Unroasted Peaberries
Papua New Guinea Roasted Peaberries
Normally, coffee beans are usually flat on one side and rounded on the other. A regular coffee bean grows together with its other half in one coffee cherry pod, resulting in its distinctive shape. Sometimes though, only one seed is fertilized and grows to fill the entire coffee cherry pod. This results in what is known as a peaberry coffee bean. 
The shape of the peaberry coffee beans, being small, round, and shaped like peas, is the origin for its name. Peaberry coffee beans are considered the holy grail of coffee beans. The pea-shaped coffee beans make up only 3-5% of any coffee bean crop. The peaberries are picked by hand from amongst the "normal" coffee beans ensuring only the finest beans are chosen. The coffee brewed from peaberry coffee beans reflects this selective process. It is far richer and smoother in flavour with a much more intense aroma.
The coffees on offer included: Kenyan, Cameroon, Tanzanian, Jamaican Blue, and Papua New Guinea and included both the peaberries and its regular coffee bean counterpart. My favourite of the coffees on offer was the Papua New Guinea peaberry. It was a dark roast, and had a really complex earthy flavour to it.  Adam enjoyed the Cameroon Peaberry. Josh's favourite was the Jamaican Blue Peaberry. Steph steers away from caffeine and went with a Swiss Water decaf from Sumatra.

Stay in touch with Fire Roasted Coffee Company's website for more information on their wide assortment of single-origin and blends of coffees as well as future coffee tasting events.