Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Great Chow

It didn't take long after moving here for me to look for some good Chinese food for dinner.  It's cheap, delicious and I crave it all the time after a long days work.  The town I moved from had a heavy Asian population and thus a large amount of delicious Asian food.  Specifically I looked around for some dim sum and was heartbroken to find none whatsoever at the time.  I soon realized that there were lots of Cambodian, Thai, Japanese and Korean foods however Chinese wasn't quite as popular.  I tried lots of places and was, for the most part, a bit disappointed at the same quality of foods.  I was especially sad at the amount of places that had a "spicy" dish that ended up being just covered in Sriracha sauce.  
Well it has taken me a while of trying to find a decent place and I can happily say I have found somewhere that has satisfied my need for Chinese!  

At the corner of Princess and MacDonnell st. there stands a restaurant that used to be a Ho-Lee-Chow (by the font and colour scheme you can drive by it and swear it was still a ho-lee-chow).  But don't be fooled, it's not just a spin-off or a part of the chain, it is a standalone restaurant.  As a side note I always love when restaurants have the pictures of the chef/owner on their ads and you can actually see them in person.  

It's not huge on the inside but it has just recently added a few more chairs and tables if you're looking to sit inside. It is very clean and simple on the inside, with a newly renovated front counter and a very old dot matrix printer still printing out the receipts.  

This is the 192 Combination plate, $6.95 from 11am-4pm or $9.95 4pm-close (a lunch deal until 4pm, wow!).  It includes Szechuan beef, chicken fried rice, and an egg roll, perfect plate size for one.  The Szechuan beef is a garlicky, gingery, spicy beef stir fry with onions, green peppers, carrots and peanuts.  What I love about this dish especially is that it often comes with actual pieces red chili peppers, very delicious!  The fried rice is as delicious as fried rice usually is and the egg roll is quite good too (though i often request the spring roll at additional charge anyways).  Overall it's a very filling and delicious dish, I can't count how many times i've ordered it now.

Shown here is the 196 Combination plate, General Tso's chicken, chicken fried rice and an egg roll (substituted for spring roll here).  I only ate a piece of the chicken since it wasn't my meal however it was quite delicious, there was also some vegetables that came with it but they had been eaten previously to this picture.  

The staff are always friendly here and I must say the fastest when it comes to delivery.  Though i'm only down the road from here i've gotten my food in 15-20 mins since ordering every time.  And when I decide to go pick-up food I enjoy the open concept kitchen that can be clearly seen from over the counter.  It always puts me at ease to watch as people are making dumplings, chopping fresh vegetables and frying rice.  I'd like to emphasize again not to think this is just another run of the mill chain restaurant, it's really great quality and always delicious.   
The only small gripe I have is with the amount of food, though it was cheap I often only get a few pieces of beef.

Overall i'd score Great Chow 


This is my favourite place to order food and it's been consistent each and every time.  

Did I miss an amazing dish that I should review?  Drop me an email and let me know!


Friday, 26 July 2013

Jack Astor's

After many delayed openings the Jack Astor's in Kingston was finally open to show off its one-of-a-kind rooftop patio for this summer.  I just recently had the privilege of trying it out and for the most part have a positive response to it.  The bar is cool, the view is nice and the misting machine they have to cool you off on a hot day is really quite interesting.  The only gripes I had were with the bugs (although really that happens with any outdoor venue so i can't hold that against them), and the silly potted plants they threw up there to "green" it up a bit, but again that's just personal preference.  The inside of the restaurant is as upbeat as any other Jack Astor's i've been to, equipped with monstrous mirrors, many tv screens and some brown paper covering the tables for you to doodle on.  But let's get down to the food.

Chicken Fingers (without fries)

My trustworthy meal that i so often order is of course the chicken fingers and fries.  The menus years back used to claim that they were "fresh never frozen" which was what originally attracted me to them.  They don't say that anymore however a coworker of mine who used to work on the line there claimed that they breaded them to order so i'll trust that they're still legit.  The fries are a bit underwhelming for me but the chicken is satisfying enough that it doesn't bother me much.  I paid about $13 or so which is a little pricey for chicken fingers but compared to the other menu items i'd say they're reasonably priced.

Spaghetti and Meatball

Complete with it's own little Italian flag the Spaghetti and Meatball looked like a solid choice.  I had a few bites of this and found it to be pretty good but nothing special really.  The sauce was pretty fresh tasting and although I enjoyed the hot chili flakes that had been added, my boyfriend did not and almost sent it back for being too spicy.  Just a head up incase anyone else out there orders it without a taste for spicy food.  The official name for this was something like "Really big meatball" which I thought was a quirky title for Spaghetti and Meatballs, but it turns out these noodles weren't spaghetti at all, they were Bucatini.  If you don't know what those are just think about the Kraft Dinner noodles in long strands and you've got the idea.  I'm sure they were used for the benefit of holding more sauce or just adding to the originality of the dish but to me I found it a little unusual.  It was around the same price range of the Chicken Fingers which i found a bit steep but again, affordable compared to many of the other menu items that would bring you well up to $20+. 

The desserts in general i've found to be a bit lacking, I had a few sundaes and maybe a cake at one point but nothing really that I was just dying to have again.  I'd say go for the 99 cent brownie for its value especially if you don't know how much room you have left for dessert. 

Other items not pictured are the nachos with added beef and honey BBQ wings.  Both of which were solid appetizers for what they were, I can't comment on the price since I received these appetizers for free.

On the note a good tip for students is to sign up for the Jack Astor's newsletter.  Every so often you receive an email for a free appetizer if you come in on a certain night.  The only restriction is that you don't order the 2lbs of wings.  I was surprised that there wasn't even a minimum purchase needed, and that they were kind enough to read the email off my smartphone when the coupon said to print it out.  


3.5 / 5

I love the chicken fingers but that was about the only thing I really loved.  The food is good for what it is but the prices deter me from trying  other things there.  Though the ambiance is nice and the servers are attentive i'm only going to judge based on the food.  A close 4/5 but not quite there.  

Did I miss an amazing dish that would've brought it up to a higher score?  Should I retry a dish that has been improved?  Drop me an email and let me know!



I've been in Kingston for what has almost been 4 years now to the date.  As a student I, like many other busy individuals, find myself in constant need of a good restaurant or take-out joint when I am exhausted from school, work, or both.  
Coming to this town for the first time I was surprised to see the sheer number of restaurants concentrated in the central Kingston area.  Not knowing where to start I searched the internet for reliable food blogs to recommend a few places.  I maybe found two or three of them but I was saddened to see that one is no longer in posting for Kingston and that others didn't quite seem to share my same opinions about certain places.
And thus after my few years of exploring the food scene I will now share some of my insight into eating on the town (or rather city) of Kingston.


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Food reviews from the beautiful Limestone City! Contact me at