Monday, October 22, 2012

Foodie and New Anime

Monday October 22, 11:15 p.m.

It was another alternate Sunday, so it was once again time for The Anime King and I to get together for a day of noshing and anime. So, more new restaurants to look at...The King just seems to have an inexhaustible supply of places that he knows....probably even more than his knowledge of anime.

We hit a place nearby his home called Congee Wong on Finch. Probably a direct rival to Congee Queen, it was good to know that the restaurant was already open just beyond 10:30 a.m.

First up was a fried rice dish that looked a lot whiter than what I was used to in similar dishes. But it had that flavor of oil and smokiness with the only source of meat some shredded cooked scallops. The shreds of egg white further lent to its brightness. The flavor contrasted nicely with the very fluffy nature of the rice....another thing that rather distinguished this version of fried rice.

The second dish was a huge pile of chili radish cake cubes sauteed with vegetables. Man, with the rice, the cubes filled me up to the brim...almost to clogging point. Also very delicious but not particularly super spicy despite the addition of chili.

A couple of trips for coffee, and several hours' worth of anime later, we were both still feeling fairly stuffed, so we opted not to have too much food for dinner. We ended up going to a place up in Markham called Taipei Station. It was the first time for the both of us. The restaurant was apparently celebrating its 1st anniversary in business, and although we were the only ones in the place at first, by dessert, it was almost full. Interesting interior....with the upholstered booths, Taipei Station reminded me more of an open karaoke bar.

Kinda like at a karaoke bar, the food was more limited to smaller dishes. The King and I shared some Beef Cubes and Rice at first. Both the rice and the beef were quite spicy with soy and garlic. I was certainly glad that I also ordered a tall glass of Strawberry-Mango Milk.

The Popcorn Chicken was a plate of smaller chunks of chicken nuggets. The taste and texture of the chicken inside was not that much different from anything similar I've tasted, but the outer coating was something else. Pretty darn spicy there...maybe the cooks were using sansho since my tongue was starting to go numb. I really would've loved to have had rice with it, but apparently that's only available with this chicken up to 2:30 p.m. only.

The dessert was Mango Shaved Ice, a fairly large mountain of very thinly shaved feathers. It was very refreshing, especially after having two very spicy dishes. Because the fronds were so thin, they immediately burst apart once they hit our numb tongues.

Not too bad in terms of price. With tax and tip, I paid only $12.

Now, the! A lot of new stuff. Apparently, the late-night anime follows the same scheduling as TV dramas in Japan. Each program gets about 13 episodes before it wraps up. That was true with "Joshiraku" and the original season of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya".
Well, "Joshiraku"is now part of history (although the King and I are hoping that a second run will be not be too far off in the future). We looked at 3 new shows that are just 3 weeks into their initial runs.

One was "Chuu-ni Byo demo Koi ga Shitai"(Even If I Have Grade 8 Syndrome, I Wanna Fall In Love). It's another one of those high school rom-coms with a hapless freshman who wants a fresh new start in his late adolescence after going through a phase of goofy eccentricity (the titular Grade 8 Syndrome) a couple of years previously. However, he and his family end up living under an apartment with two sisters, one of whom is very much in thrall to the syndrome, and for some reason, seems to have an attachment to him.

The show is made by Kyoto Animation, the same company that took care of "Haruhi Suzumiya", so there are some fairly obvious similarities between the two in terms of characters and plot. The clash between the two main characters propel a lot of the humour, and there were a few laugh-out-loud moments.

The second one was apparently derived from the Ixion computer game, but the anime version has an extra subtitle, that of "Dimension Transfer" which was created out of the blue from the Japanese abbreviation of DT which really stands for "unlaid guy". There are dollops of crotch humour, and even one more hidden-meaning abbreviation for one of the bad guys, with the initials of ED which stand for "erectile dysfunction". A game otaku ends up entering the game world and reluctantly hitching up with a group consisting of a bratty princess, a pretty transvestite and a hulky warrior.

The third anime was "Kamisama Hajimemashita"(Kamisama Kiss). This reminded me of a mix between "I Dream of Jeannie" and a screwball comedy in which a high school student ends up homeless due to her father running away but with the aid of a mystery man ends up not only becoming a reluctant priestess of a spooky temple but getting hooked up with a handsome but self-absorbed fox spirit. All of the three were fun to watch but I think this one has the best theme songs by Hanae.

So it looks like it'll be students and comedy going into Xmas.