Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cheetal Indian-Chinese Restaurant - Chicken Vindaloo

Today I had a craving for some Indian food and hit up a local restaurant called Cheetal Indian-Chinese Restaurant (271 Old Kingston Road). I've ordered many things from their Indian menu which have been great (I'll have to do a complete writeup later). The restaurant itself is a bit of a hole in the wall and the dining room isn't attractive, so I always take out. One word of warning, they offer Chinese dishes but they are not good, stick with the Indian menu.

I love their chicken vindaloo, which I order every time I go. It's described as boneless chicken cooked in a hot tangy sauce with potatoes, red chilies and vinegar. It lives up to it's name as it greets you with a spicy bite right off the bat, it's also cooked with ginger and onion and is extremely flavourful. I had the lunch special ($4.99) which comes with either rice or naan (I had them both which bumped the price to $6.25).

My only gripe about this dish is that it's oily, and I wish it was cooked using a little less as I don't think there needs to be this much in it. The overall score would be higher if it wasn't so oily, because the flavour is so, so good.

The rice was average but the naan was very tasty. I do like the combination of the sauce from the vindaloo combined with the rice, so it's a tough call to choose between the two...

It's tough to make this dish look sexy, but in the end it's all about flavour, right?

Update as of September 12, 2010:

Unfortunately Cheetal has closed their present location to concentrate on catering for the time being. I went in to order dinner the other day and the restaurant had changed to a Chinese food place, I was crestfallen.

A quick call later, I found that they are looking for a new place and are trying to open for November. We'll see how it goes... I have not found another Indian restaurant that can match Cheetal in terms of flavours and value.

Update as of March 29, 2011:

Cheetal has reopened in Niagara Falls Canada and is located at 5983 Clark Avenue. If you're in the area give 'em a shot. If they're anything like they used to be you're in for a treat! I've never really found much good food around the falls, hopefully these guys will change that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sinatra's Italian Sandwiches - Meatball Sandwich

I had a meatball sandwich from Sinatra's Italian Sandwiches (944 Simcoe Street N) in Oshawa the other day. I've been a few times before but had never tried anything except the veal sandwiches which are very good.

The meatball sandwich ($6.25) as their other sandwiches are served on crusty kaiser rolls. They add their home made sauce to the sandwiches as well, it's a nice sauce but it's a little too acidic and lacks balance and much flavour other than slightly raw, canned tomato. It needs something to knock down the acidity and at the very least a little more garlic. I find they add too much sauce, making the bun soggy. I'll have to ask to go light on the sauce next time.

The meatballs were huge but compressed when I ate the sandwich, I'm assuming they are loosely formed before cooking. They have a high moisture content which probably helps them crumble. The spicing was very nice, but I thought it could have used a tiny bit more salt. This was easily remedied by a couple of dashes from the nearest salt shaker. I guess it's better to under salt than over salt.....

Montreal Fries - Steamies and Poutine

I've been to Montreal Fries (36 Simcoe Street North) in Oshawa a few times in the past for Montreal style steamies and poutine. I had a craving today and decided to pick up one of their combos: 2 steamies, a regular poutine and a pop for $8.50.

I got the dogs done 'all dressed' which comes with cabbage, relish and mustard. It's a unique combo that works well together. The cabbage seemes to have a bit of a tang and is accentuated by the vinegar in the mustard. The relish adds a bit of sweetness.

The poutine is not made with gravy but instead uses poutine sauce which is a bit thinner and has a little more zip than regular gravy. The size of the portion is very generous and it's teeming with melted cheese.

Other than being a little difficult to get to because of one way roads in the area, and the lack of real parking, it's a nice little takeout shop. The owner, Wes always seems to have a smile on his face which is a nice touch as well.

Pizza Pals Pub & Pizza - Panzerotti

I had a craving for a panzerotti and after reading favourable reviews of a place in Ajax, I decided to try it out. It's called Pizza Pals Pub and Pizza (46 Church Street South) a name that to me conjured up a fun little pub. It really isn't. It's more of a pool hall/bar with a pizza oven than anything else. I even rubbed shoulders with a couple of workmen having a liquid lunch as I was waiting for my order.

I got a panzerotti with pepperoni, hot sausage, and hot peppers and a Diet Coke which was just under $12. It was made by a friendly woman who was running the whole show (aka doling out beer and slices to a few people who I assumed were regulars).

First off I'll say the thing was huge, I can pack away the food but had to leave almost 1/2 the crust. The crust was very nice, crisp and tasty (I had it fried, not baked). The fillings were fairly average. The pepperoni was fine but the sausage looked like and had the texture of Polish sausage. The hot peppers were somewhat bitter. The sauce was nice and tangy.

I will return to try a pizza, but the panzerotti I had, although enormous didn't have the flavour I was after. The dough and sauce were excellent, the fillings were average at best. If they switched to crumbled hot sausage I would be so much happier.