Nov 22, 2009

The Burger Showdown

Johnny's Hamburgers Vs. Johnny Rockets

Johnny's: Victoria Park & Sheppard

Johnny Rockets: Yonge & Dundas building

Johnny's: $2.95-3.50 a burger.

Johnny Rockets: $6.95-$9.00 a burger.

Johnny's: The patty on this burger was decently sized and had a good burger to bun ratio.

Johnny Rockets: Whoever told you size doesn't matter obviously lied to you. The beef patty was 1.3x thicker than Johnny's patty, and they're quite generous with the toppings. This is expected since you're paying a premium for this burger.

Johnny's: Their charcoal broiled burger was good, but it wasn't the best burger I've had. The patty was moist, but they could have let it sit on the grill for a bit longer.

Johnny Rockets: The patty was dry, crumbly, overcooked and drenched in BBQ sauce. The excessive amounts BBQ sauce made the burger overly salty and less enjoyable.

Seating Area
Johnny's: A weathered picnic bench outside with seagulls and pigeons circling the premise. There's a probable chance that a bird may defecate on your head, so I suggest you eat your burgers in your car or at home.

Johnny Rockets: '50's diner styled interior with jukeboxes, booths, Coca Cola emblems as decor, etc.

Johnny's: The staff is grouchy and the older man at the cash register is akin to the soup nazi in Seinfeld. He never smiles or laughs, not even when he's trying to make a joke (or maybe he wasn't trying to joke around with me). I guess I should cut them some slack. I know I'd be a bit temperamental too if i had to wear a pumpkin orange uniform with a silly white hat every day.

Johnny Rockets: The staff drawing a smiley face with ketchup on my plate doesn't make up for the bad burger. They probably did this because they saw the sadness in my eyes after I took my first bite!

Johnny's wins hands down in terms of taste and price. Johnny Rocket's burgers were very dry and an overall big disappointment. I've had better burgers at friend's BBQ than at Johnny Rockets.

Johnny's Hamburgers:

Johnny Rockets:

Nov 19, 2009

The xx

I can’t quite pinpoint what it is I like about this song (the intro, beat, or wispy vocals?), but I’m currently hooked. It’s a minimalistic song with male & female vocal interplay that exudes such sensuality. A lot of my friends think I have the worst taste in music, but I’d like to believe it’s quite the opposite haha. There's nothing wrong with having an obscure taste in music, right?

Nov 14, 2009


After going to Niji (refer to my last post) with my original “UTSC group”, I felt nostalgic. I realized I miss university. It was a great experience because I learned a lot (past exams are key, professors are lazy), suffered a lot (finishing things last minute is stressful), and last but not least, I met my UTSC friends. Remember those obnoxious kids who talked and laughed incessantly during class, well that was us! We never paid attention in class, yet somehow we still managed to do just fine. Here are a few things we like to reminisce about when we're together:

1. The Great Wall of Abs

Close your eyes and imagine a stereotypical male Asian nerd. Now, place that face onto an extremely ripped body. Not Georges St. Pierre ripped, but possibly 2/3 there. This buff nerd at our school use to post pictures of him flexing with captions saying “It’s Pummel Time!” and “Great Wall of China” (in reference to his rock hard abs haha). His profile also said “Gangsta Rapper, Womanizer….” He was every bit serious….I kid you not!

2. The Gold Digger

Now I ain't sayin' she a gold digger, but I ain't messin' wit no nose picker

During Tax class, it was boring and dreadful, so naturally we never paid attention. One day, we saw this girl picking her nose in class. After 30 seconds of going at it, she still was not satisfied nor was she close to finishing. She prepared to dig for more gold by wetting a tissue and placing it carefully over her finger. She then proceeded to jam it up her nose and seemed genuinely surprised that her finger went right through the wet tissue when she took it out. Surprise, surprise! Ever since that time, she became our entertainment for Tax class. This girl also exhibits other unhygienic behavior such as cutting her nails in class, and had hair that looks like it was drenched in Crisco.

3. The Flamboyant Professor

Marky Mark over here can show my Professor how a real man does a crotch grab! Actually, Michael Jackson wins by landslide with his added gyration and the intense passion in his face. I chose this instead because how can anyone say no to Mark Wahlbert in his prime?!

We had this slightly flamboyant Professor. It really didn’t matter what his sexual orientation was, but we had an ongoing theory that he had a massive crush on one of our guy friends. Before every class, the Prof would try to strike up a conversation with him about some random irrelevant topics (i.e. T&T supermarket). Once, my guy friend suggested he should make the exam easier. The Prof responded by gently placing his arm on my friend’s shoulder and saying “anything for you”. I told him to “take one for the team”. I was quite hopeful until he told me to “f*ck off” haha.

This professor also liked to adjust his package in class A LOT. He thought he was so slick by hiding behind the laptop when repositioning his manhood. For such an intelligent and educated man, you’d think he’d realize students sitting on the side had a perfect view of his genital readjustments. I use to tease the same friend by saying “I bet he has a hard on because of you” and of course he’d utter a string of hostile phrases while we all laughed at him. Good times! Also, we didn’t rule out other culprits (i.e. crabs).

Those are only a few of the many fond memories we had during our university years. I miss university. I miss waking up no earlier than 12pm. I miss being able to hide behind my “student” status. No more excuses or shirking my responsibilities. This new found independence and utter control of my life is scary.

Nov 8, 2009


Niji is a Japanese restaurant located at the corner of Ellesmere and Midland. They have good food and serve enormous portions. It’s a nice small place for Japanese food that isn't too pricey. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night, be prepared to wait in line. This place is always packed on the weekends.

We had five people and decided to order the “Love Boat” and “Family Boat” since we had three big eaters in the group (including myself). I may be small, but I'm positive I can out eat all of the (skinny) guys I know haha. My stomach knows no bounds, especially when it comes to sweets. Okay, back to the sushi. Here is what the Love Boat and Family Boat consists of:

Love Boat ($29.95):

2 soups, 2 salads, tempura, Bulgogi, 6pcs. Sushi, 9pcs Sashimi and 12 pcs Maki, ice cream

Family Boat ($49.95):

4 soup, 4 salads, Tempura, Bulgogi, Yaki dumplings, 16pcs Sushi, 12 pcs Sashimi, and 24 pcs Maki, ice cream

We also got miscellaneous free side dishes such as jap chae, seaweed salad etc.

We finished off with a choice of either green tea or red bean ice cream. I prefer green tea ice cream because it seems to me that red bean ice cream is just red bean sprinkled in some vanilla ice cream.

We got more food than we could eat. We ended up finishing almost everything except the 2nd Bulgogi. They provided us with excellent service and offered to move us to a more private area since we were ordering so much. I generally prefer this over all you can eat Japanese buffets. Although you get a wider selection at buffets, I feel the quality is often compromised.

Nov 1, 2009


Mercatto is located in the MaRs building downtown and is a family owned restaurant that specializes in Italian food. Mercatto recently revamped their menu and are likely still trying to gauge the reception of their new dishes. They have good service and took the initiative to explain in detail any menu items. When I opened the menu, the first thing that caught my eye was the Gnocchi with Rabbit. I was instantly intrigued because I’ve always wondered what those furry things would taste like.

After I ordered the Gnocchi with rabbit ($17), the person across from me commented on how he could never eat rabbit because “I always see them in my backyard and they are so cute”. I thought “man up…meat is meat. Chinese people eat anything and everything” (I’m jk, in case he does somehow come across this entry). After the second bite, my guilty conscience was kicking in. I kept imaging this cute itty bitty little thing while I was chewing shreds of rabbit meat. The rabbit I imagined looked something like this:

Doesn't it remind you of Pancakes from the O.C.?

This is how I should have imagined the rabbit. This is way more suitable for dinner. It's less cute and fattened up nicely. Okay, let’s be realistic here, there’s no way a rabbit can grow that to that size. The only explanation is that the farmer put this baby on some serious ‘roids.

Speaking of rabbits, this big ball of mess is an Angora rabbit. It’s mainly bred for its soft and silky wool. Is it weird that I find it cute? It looks like it's rocking a full on fro or just a gigantic fur ball.

The verdict: rabbit tastes like chicken. I know that sounds a bit cliché (even the word cliché is a bit cliché) because everyone compares the taste of unconventional meats to chicken, but it’s true. It also leaves a distinctive aftertaste that I don’t quite like.

My Gnocchi wasn’t that great, I felt it was a bit too dry. The rabbit was heavily seasoned and salty, which prevented me from fully tasting the natural flavors of the meat.

The other dish I tried is the “Maialina pizza” with tomato, mozzarella, Italian sausages, pancetta and soppressata ($14). It was a delicious thin crust pizza, but very oily. I guess that’s a given since I am eating pizza after all.

I also tried a slice of the Prosciutto pizza with arugula, mozzarella and grana padano cheese. They covered the pizza with an abundance of prosciutto and arugula. I really like this pizza because the saltiness and flavors of the prosciutto was balanced out by the zesty bitterness of the arugula.

Overall, Mercatto’s dishes are reasonably priced and the pizzas are good, but I was disappointed with my Gnocchi dish. I wouldn’t mind coming back, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again.