My friend Alisse is visiting from DC, so on Wednesday night Marina and I met her for dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar. The Momofuku restaurants in New York City are world-renowned, and the first non-NYC outposts opened in Toronto’s Shangri-La hotel last September.

The Noodle Bar is the cheapest and most student-friendly option, located on the main floor:

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There are two more restaurants and a bar upstairs, as well as the freshly-opened Milk Bar that sells famously unique sweet treats (including “cereal milk”..!).

To start, the three of us ordered the corn with black garlic/parmesan/ranch and two pork buns to share:

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These were definitely a unique take on pork buns. I was expecting the kind of pork buns you get at a dim sum restaurant, and ultimately I would have preferred those. We barely got through one bun between the three of us – I would have preferred a more moist cut of pork, like the kind that comes in a dim sum pork bun, rather than the fatty cut of pork belly.

imageThe corn was good, but I prefer the dressed-up corn that I’ve had at Mexican restaurants like Playa Cabana: slathered in queso fresco, chili and lime. The one thing that confused us most was the “black garlic” – it didn’t taste like anything and we started to wonder if it was squid ink. Ha.

I was impressed, however, with the speed of service. We received the pork buns almost immediately after ordering, and our main courses hardly two minutes later. As per its name, the Noodle Bar’s specialty is ramen noodles, so we each ordered a different noodle dish for our mains: Alisse the ginger scallion noodles (with shiiitake mushrooms, cucumber and cabbage), Marina the dan dan mein (noodles with spicy pork, dry scallops and peanuts) and myself the Momofuku ramen:

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^ Ramen noodles with pork belly & shoulder, two fish cakes, a poached egg, cabbage, scallions and nori seaweed.

I loved my ramen. The mix of flavours was amazing, especially after mixing in the egg yolk and the mystery red sauce in the middle. I stole bites from Alisse and Marina’s bowls as well, and each dish tasted so different, but equally delicious. I was impressed.

We couldn’t leave without a trip to Milk Bar upstairs. We grabbed a basket to stock up on treats in the little shop:

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I had to try the two most-famous treats: a slice of crack pie and a compost cookie. Marina also picked up a blueberry & cream cookie and b-day truffles, which we shared. These were essentially balls of slightly undercooked cake batter with rainbow sprinkles, aka deliciousness.

Marina and I carried the rest of our treats to nearby David Pecaut Square—beside Roy Thomson Hall—where we watched a screening of Sleepless in Seattle courtesy of TIFF in the Park. I’d never done anything like it before and it was such a cool experience. The park was packed with people sitting on blankets spread on the ground, quietly watching the movie. I was worried that the screen might be hard to see from the back or that the audio wouldn’t be loud enough, but neither was an issue. Also, it was my first time seeing the movie and I loved it. This view of the city skyline didn’t hurt either:

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While watching, I ate my piece of crack pie (so named for its addictive qualities). The closest thing I can compare it to is a giant butter tart – without raisins or pecans – and with oats mixed in. More deliciousness.

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I couldn’t handle eating my compost cookie after all that food, so I saved it for last night. The name doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is apt. Compost cookies contain the following: graham cracker crust, rolled oats, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, potato chips, mini pretzels, and coffee grounds.

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The cookie was still soft when I unwrapped it – brownie points (lol) to Milk Bar. I hate crunchy cookies and will warm them up in the microwave until they are gooey and/or falling apart.

I was most skeptical about the coffee grounds and potato chips, but the cookie just tasted lightly coffee-flavoured, and every once in a while I got a bite with a little extra crunch. There is definitely a great mix of textures and flavours in this cookie: soft and crunchy, sweet and salty.

Stay tuned – I plan to make my own compost cookies sometime in the future, and will post the recipe!

Stay curious,

Caj

P.S. TIFF in the Park is on every Wednesday night until the end of August, playing classic romance movies such as Casablanca, The Notebook, and Roman Holiday. Check it out!

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