The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Toronto: Day 3, Part 1

Kat's hand is so white
Kat reaches for the meeeaat

"Oh my god, I love meat."

I'm sure that at some point during our lunch, Kat, Anne Marie and I all uttered this sentence in between mouthfuls of thinly sliced marinated beef and rice.

Korean Grill House

Since neither Kat nor I had any idea where to eat, Anne Marie took us to Korean Grill House on Queen Street. I figure it's pretty popular since there are four other locations in Toronto, popularity that I assume is based on the provision of endless meat. The draw for us was their all-you-can-eat lunch special for about $10. You could find cheaper food elsewhere, but for all the raw meat (beef, chicken, pork, white fish and squid) you can cook, probably not.


Actually it's not just the raw meat that is continually replenished; you can keep the banchan a-coming if you want. Then again, you're better off saving your stomach space for the onslaught of meat.

Trays of meat, holy crap

After the banchan, rice and soup come the trays of meat. Many trays of meat, if you have three people in your group. I'll admit that it looks kind of nasty, as though we were being served fresh organs soaking in their own blood and surrounding fat stores (oh jebus, how the mouth waters), but it transforms into awesomeness after being subjected to direct heat. (Alex, you can deny this, but you might understand if you could just taste the beeeeeef.)

Full spread, man

Anyone can grill Korean style, no matter how lacking your culinary prowess may be. Place your meats on the center grilling pit...

so many meats...of grilling
So much meat

...And fire those babies until they turn from pink/red to brown/white/charred/whatever the color of tasty death is.

Mm, carbon!

After an extended period of meat grill-age, the once shiny and silver grill develops a crusty black coating of carbon. Eh...yeah. You don't want your meat to taste like carbon. It's almost like a built-in timer to tell you when to stop eating, lest you want everything to taste like burning. We ended up going past this mark though; Kat asked for a few more trays of chicken and beef after I had decided that my stomach was near the gagging point. I don't really blame her considering how tasty it all was. However, you won't like it much if you're opposed to the slightly sweet and spicy marinade that most of the meat is soaked in.

Silver Snail
Silver Snail

We stopped into Silver Snail, a huge comic book + collectible figurines + other related stuff store. Anne Marie picked up a Tek Jensen comic book that was full of all kinds of strange humor and wrongness. Good stuff.

[HERE IS WHERE I RAMBLE ABOUT COMICS I LIKE: I don't read superhero-type comics (not that there's anything wrong with them; I just never felt the need to get into them), but I like the non-superhero types of comics. I used to read Bone when I was younger and I developed a fondness for Chris Ware in high school (SO DEPRESSING HE IS, which was perfect for me at the time). Derek Kirk Kim and Jason Shiga are also quite awesome, but my favorite comic book artist is Jhonen Vasquez (the creator of Invader Zim; surely you know it), primarily for his amazingly disturbed creations of Squee, Filler Bunny and Happy Noodle Boy. If you've read any of his stuff you know it's all so very messed up, beyond stupid, WTF-inducing and excessively gross, but man DOES HE BRING JOYS OF HAPPINESS TO MY EYES OR WUT?]

So those were most of my reading recommendations in one neat paragraph.

Yay, subway!

I guess it's easier for the Toronto subways to work more smoothly than the NYC subways since it's a smaller system, but barring Rome every other metro system in major cities that I've been on has felt cleaner and more efficient than NYC's. I do like the convenience of NYC subways (when they work and trains don't suddenly switch tracks for some ungodly reason), just not so much feeling like I'm standing in a fetid sewer while waiting for the next train to come and—if I'm waiting at a local stop—watching multiple express trains insultingly whiz by, making me feel like an abandoned, raggedy orphan being overlooked by potential guardians.

But maybe I'm too picky. It's not that bad.

What is this...token?

I also prefer carrying a Metrocard as opposed to a wallet full of tiny dime-sized tokens. TOKENS. I remember using tokens in NYC; it actually wasn't very long ago, I suppose sometime during high school. But the tokens had nowhere else to go besides my wallet and it kinda sucks to have them mix in with all the other coins that I could buy stuff with. (If my complaining bothers you, I can stop. Yeah.)

subwaaaay subway station
Car and station

But then there's that cleanliness thing. Toronto is quite clean. The cars also feel roomier an have more maps on display. Yeah, it's easier to display a map when the whole system consists of four lines, but I wish NYC subways had more line maps instead of advertisements shouting, "Todo por una Bud Light" at me. I kind of relied on those in Paris (I think you could always see a map no matter where you sat in the car); otherwise I would've been kinda screwed.

Enough complaining. In conclusion, I LIKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

Honest Ed's

We headed up to the Bathurst station to visit Honest Ed's. I was interested in visiting this store created by philanthropist Ed Mirvish ever since I heard about its belly of lots and lots of stuff at low, low prices. If the ginormous sign was any indication, the inside was bound to be kind of...scary.

too big

Indeed, it was somewhat overwhelming. Who needs windows when you can have mirrors that make you feel like you're trapped in a shimmering field of neverending kitchenware?


So much stuff.

it goes on..foreevaaarr?

More stuff.


Manatee wanted to climb into a pot. I SAID NO.

fooood sectionnnn

They have food in the lower level. Like JAM, as it says so in giant block letters on the column.

as am I

We semi-fled when we spotted an exit. Oh, fresh air, you've rarely tasted so sweet.

kim bob and dumplings?!
Damn, those are my favorites

We walked westward through Koreatown. If I were hungrier (my stomach kind of died after the meat gorging thing) I would've totally gone for some kim bob and dumplings. I would LIVE in this store if given the choice. Two of my favorite foods in one spot? WHY OH WHY MUST YOU TAUNT ME?


We killed some time in a Korean supermarket called P.A.T. while waiting to be joined by Renée for an afternoon of walking and eating.

wut iz it?
Mysterious blue bottles!...ew

You may wonder what's wrong with me for being most intrigued by unlabeled bottles filled with an unidentifiable frozen blue substance out of all the things that could've possibly piqued my interest in the supermarket. Well, there's plenty wrong with me; this is the least of it. While I probably wouldn't go for a frozen light blue treat in an American supermarket, everything's up for grabs in an Asian supermarket. Not just Asian, but any foreign supermarket is pretty much open to my stomach. Why do I let down all nutritional guards in the face of foreign food, which may arguably be under looser regulations than American food?

Cos....cos I'm curious. And I'm not dead yet. OOH, FOREIGN STUFF, SO EXOTIC! [wiggles fingers in the air]

Yeah, okay.

I don't look as horrified as I felt.

Unfortunately, this was made of wrong. Or it was made for elementary schoolers. Who else would want baby blue slush that tastes like BUBBLE GUM? Yes, bubble guuuum. Or some other sugary substance that has a more distinct taste than that of pure sugar. Bubble gum is one of those favors that I think should only be restricted to the candy itself. I once had bubble gum flavored ice cream (or cotton candy...something pink and sugar that mysteriously translated into a light blue substance in frozen form). It was gross.

I washed away the taste of the blue goop with black sesame flavored soy milk. The same exact black sesame favored soy milk that I drank in Paris last fall. Maybe some day I will drink it in Korea. Then the circle would be complete.

[This entry is far too long. It shall be the following entry.]


Korean Grill House
214 Queen Street West, Toronto

Silver Snail
367 Queen Street West, Toronto

Honest Ed's
581 Bloor Street West, Toronto

P.A.T. Central Market
675 Bloor St. West, Toronto


katie / August 29, 2007 9:01 AM

Woo-hoo! First person to comment!

It's great reading about the city I go to school at!!! Glad you were amused by Honest Ed's - he's a legend =).

Never been to Korean Grill House before; can't wait to check it out!

Why do I write everything with an exclamation mark?! Alright I will stop babbling. Look forward to reading more =)!!!

mike / August 29, 2007 9:20 AM

Daaaaang all you can grill for $10? That's absurdly cheap! Does Canada just have a totally different meat industry or something but around here a single order of anything is at least $13, $20 if you want kalbi. The state of korean food in NJ and NYC makes me depressed.

BankBank / August 29, 2007 10:05 AM

Manatee wanted to climb into a pot. I SAID NO.

I did an internal-LOL at work when I read this. The captions really get to me sometimes.

michelle / August 29, 2007 10:27 AM

wow, i've been lurkingly reading your blog for awhile and was surprised to see toronto stuff here (since that's where i'm from)!
toronto actually only has 3 subway lines: university/spadina, bloor/danforth, and sheppard... and in all honesty i would trade all the cleanliness of our subways for the convenience of the sheer number of routes in NYC. travelling by public transit here can be quite the struggle.

cybele / August 29, 2007 11:54 AM

I thought for sure those blue ice things were cold packs. Of course if you don't eat them they'd work pretty well at keeping the rest of your groceries cold on a long drive home.

Bonnie / August 29, 2007 12:49 PM

You can ask Korean grill places for a new grill when your meat starts tasting too much like carbon for your tastes =)

Christina / August 29, 2007 1:43 PM

Fresh organs soaking in their own blood? That is the best description EVER!

I want black sesame-flavored soy milk. I really dooooo. Sorry, I just really like me soy milk.

roboppy / August 29, 2007 3:45 PM

Katie: Exclamation points are pretty awesome! EVERYTHING SOUNDS SO MUCH MORE EXCITING!!!


Mike: I've never had Korean BBQ in NY/NJ, I think. The high price does kinda scare me. But...uh, god knows if the meat at KGH is as good as the stuff at those pricier places. I dunno what I'm missing; I'm fine with KGH. ;D

BankBank: It's funnier if you hear me say it, I think. Which is what I could say about most of the random weird spurts I have on this site. YEY!! (I'm so not making a podcast though, ha ha.)

Michelle: Ooh yeah, I just noticed that the other thing is...not a subway. The blue one? (This is how I refer to subways, haha.) So there are only three lines. Ooh...yeah, I guess that is kind of limiting. I thought the streetcars were kinda neat, although I couldn't figure out what to take or where they went. (I rode one for a few blocks.)

cybele: That's all it's good for. Saad.

Bonnie: Oh, I didn't think of that. Well...when it gets to that point of carbon build-up, it's probably a good time to stop. ;D

Christina: I'm not a big soy milk fan, but I LOVE black sesame anything.

Karen / August 29, 2007 10:41 PM

i'm back. i just wanted to say that i am a gargantuan fan of Johnen Vasquez, i own Invader Zim on DVD, have a couple shirts with characters, shoelaces, and the JTHM Director's cut book. I'm currently looking for the Devi spin-off, the name of which i am unable to recall at this moment in time.

blame the blue frozen goo.

i know it sounds sad, but this whole comment is true. i'm that much of a geek.

k. / August 29, 2007 11:38 PM

Long-time lurker, first time commenter. I'm so glad you've visited T.O. and the desolation of but one of our suburbias. (My friend goes to Sheridan for animation too.)

Love Korean Grill House. The quality of meat is very questionable, but it's plentiful, cheap, and somehow oddly addictive. It's like the Chinese-run McD's of "Korean" BBQ.

Love Silver Snail, the bastion of geekiness, where one can indulge in comics, manga, and toys to one's heart's content

The Scarborough RT is kinda like a subway, except not b/c it runs above ground for the most part.

When I was in NYC, I really liked how many routes there were, but since I barely understood what and when would be express and what wouldn't and would switch tracks. In a way, I like how we have the main routes complemented with loads of buses, but I'd almost prefer the multitude of lines as confusing as they are. And your photos make the TTC look cool and fresh, as dilapidated and run-down as it actually is.

Amy / August 30, 2007 12:52 AM

The reason Korean BBQ are so cheap in Toronto (and surrounding suburbs), around 9-10 years ago, it was all the rage with the chinese community. There was crap load of competition which drove prices way down and led most to be "All you can eat". Most were chinese run (actually that is true of MANY Thai, Sushi restaurants in Toronto).
Being a family of Chinese Canadian carnivores, we tried a great many out. My parents judged a good one if they had salmon, I judge one on their ventilation system. Never wear anything that can't be machine wash to a Korean BBQ unless it was due for a trip to the dry cleaner anyways.
My favorite in NYC is Don's Bogam, not all you can eat, but enough meat to satisfy even me! And their banchan is sooo good.
You were at Bathurst station and wasn't tempted by the smell of the bakery? Ahh man, the hot apple turnovers and Jamaican patties .... drool. I am flying back to T.O. for a visit on Saturday..must eat Jamaican patties (someone explain to me why I can't find them on the west coast!!!)

B / August 30, 2007 4:33 AM

I LOVE toronto's koreatown, and their prices are almost as cheap as korea!
I've been to that grill house though, it wasn't quite as authentic as I would like, and I've seen them take leftover bunchen from one table and serve it to another. ewwww.


roboppy / August 30, 2007 11:42 AM

Sara: When Invader Zim first aired I think I watched the pilot episode....A GAJILLION TIMES. So good. Sadly I never watched all the episodes, but I bought the DVD so I should...uh, do something about that.

twobrain: Have..fuuns?

Karen: Damn, you beat me in fandom-ness. I have that JTHM book too! I started getting into Jhonen through JTHM but it's not my fave comic....too dark and likely to make me feel vomitous. (Of course, I still like it!) But man, make the main character a helpless bunny and I'm all over that.

K: Thanks for delurking!

It took me a long time to understand the NYC subways, considering how understanding them in London and Paris was kind of instantaneous. Since I don't go into the outer boroughs much, I forget which trains are express or whatnot or...yeah. As for run down, the Chambers Street stop in lower Manhattan reminds me of an abandoned gas station restroom, or something like that. YAY!!!

Amy: Thanks for the explanation! Mm...meat...delicious...

I didn't smell anything out of the Bathurst station! :( Maybe my nose was clogged. Kat and I were sniffly all week. We seem to get sick around each other.

B: We definitely didn't leave any leftover banchan for anyone else, at least. HA HA.

whitney / September 1, 2007 12:47 PM

I went to that korean grill house for new years three years ago, and got wasted on pitchers of craptacular margaritas. After a food poisoning stint at another korean grill house (its a chain), I cannot eat there, but it is a fun expirence, with great value to boot.

I just read your last post and the food looks waaay too good! I am still on the wisdom teeth diet (soup, puddding, yogurt, ice cream, mashed potatoes). I cannot wait to eat a sandwich!

Its also interesting how huge toronto can be (not as big as new york of course). I havent gone to half of the places you have, although throughout my years here I have been in the neighbourhood or passed by.Its been a good year since Ive been to greek or korea town...maybe a day trip is in line.


Annie Newman / September 3, 2007 7:27 PM

Robyn!!!!! Suppose that blue stuff was anti-freeze??? You have to be more careful!

But I do like the idea that you're still carrying the manatee around with you. Pretty soon this blog will be written from the manatee's point of view. Just don't invent a LOL-manatee language for it.

roboppy / September 3, 2007 11:55 PM

Whitney: Food poisoning would definitely...uh, put a damper on the experience. :[ I'm surprised we didn't get sick from all that meat and cross contamination, haha.

I hope your teeth feel better soon! I recall eating lots of apple sauce. Euh. Yum. At least I lost weight.

Annie: Well the dude in the shop assured me it was edible even though HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE FLAVOR WAS, ugh. -__- That thing needs a label.

...Whoa wait, I totally SHOULD make lol-manatee language! Heehee!

Aurelia / June 30, 2013 9:30 PM

I'm totally necro-commenting since I've been going consecutively through your amazing entries through the years to stare at fooood, but I believe those mysterious frozen blue bottles are Ramune Powercaps! Even though they taste nothing like Ramune, they're super popular amongst my Korean friends. :3 They do look sketch without labels though!

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