Sherman's Food Adventures: Noodlemania (presented by Vanfoodster)

Noodlemania (presented by Vanfoodster)

After sharing 4 slices of pizza at nearby Nat's New York Pizzeria, Emily and I arrived early at Platform 7 to lineup for Noodlemania registration.  This was to be a tour of 5 places sampling a carb-heavy array of noodles spread around town.  Yes, downing some carbs before a carb-fest wasn't exactly the best thing to do, but hey, we like to eat and as I'm beginning to find out, Emily can outdo me in that regard!  Mijune, you'd better watch out, there are some worthy challengers around!

At Platform 7, we were given a choice of beverage and I had an Espresso.  It was rich and flavourful with a noted bitterness and bite.  We also had a choice of cookie and we decided to get one of each including the Salted Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Cranberry Chocolate Chip.  We found them rather dry, but the cranberry one was thicker and chewier.  I didn't like the peanut butter as it was dry and not very flavourful.  After that, we made the quick jaunt over to Linh for a bowl of Northern Pho served with pickled peppers and garlic.  The broth was rich and flavourful with a noticeable meatiness.  Spiked with enough green onion to cover the top, there was a certain herbal aromaticness.  The pieces of shank were tender featuring soft tendon portions.

After that, we made the decision to head into Downtown, specifically to Che-Licious and their platter consisting of Southern Pho and Pork Salad Roll.  Made without the aid of MSG, the broth was still meaty and impactful.  The flavours were clean and I found the star anise finish in check unlike my initial impressions last year.  Noodles were chewy and the meats were sliced thin being tender.  We actually didn't dig into the rolls, but I've had them before.  However, according to Emily, the pork was over-salted.  Over at Grotto, we were served a plate consisting of Squash Ravioli with sage and brown butter & Housemade Gnocchi on a smoked chicken and mushroom ragout.  Firmly al dente with smooth and sweet squash, the ravioli was on point and nicely seasoned by the brown butter.  I though the gnocchi was a bit aggressively seared, but still good.  It wasn't particularly flavourful on its own, yet the ragout was very nice with Earthy notes that overshadowed the smoked chicken.

After an eternal wait at U & I Thai, we were presented with Spaghetti Kee Mao and Guay Tieow Tom Kha Gai.  Frankly the spaghetti was not very good since it was far from al dente and completely devoid of flavour.  Furthermore, it wasn't even remotely warm.  The soup noodles were way better being aromatic and coconutty (although the noodles were mush).  A wedge of lime would've helped liven things up.  Our last stop was at Bubble Waffle House where we were given the choice between Beef Noodle Soup (in fish broth) and Laksa.  The noodles were excellent with an appealing chewiness while the broth was very fishy (in a good way).  The Laksa was surprisingly decent for a non-Malay restaurant with a coconutty spiciness.  At this point, I was full, but not bursting.  Maybe Emily's appetite is rubbing off on me?

*All food was complimentary*

The Good:
- Diverse selection
- Enough food

The Bad:
- Extreme distances between some spots
- Specific to this event, the wait and U & I Thai was 45 minutes and even longer for the food