Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Toronto: Oddseoul (+ #kagoagh)

my soul slides away
:Ossington:

Scroll down if you don't care what I did last weekend. Frown.


Kagoagh Lodge | Fish + Feast
Step outside, 'cause summertime's in bloom...it is you know. So before we get to the meat of this post (quite literally)...I'm going to tell you about my weekend getaway. Get away I did, to a land far from the city, void of concrete, smog, traffic, cyclists, cell towers and the internet. There is a growing need and desire to get unplugged. It's so rare these days that I didn't even realize the last time I was disconnected from the world. As difficult as it is for us to stop and let the clutter fall as it may, we all should. Take a moment and just be.

That's what I did last weekend when I spent four FABULOUS days on Hecate Cove in Quatsino. Quawha? Let me geographically orient you here and here and you can learn more here.

It looks far doesn't it? In fact, it's a 2 hour ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. Then a 4.5 hour drive to Port Hardy, then another 20 minute drive to Coal Harbour. Then you're placed in the warm and capable hands of your wonderful hosts - the lovely owners of Kagoagh Fishing Lodge and Resort. They'll put you and your belongings (and bring just what you need but what you can't live without) on their boat. A 25 minute scenic ride through the sound and you arrive. It's a trek, but it's easy when you're in good company (I had the sister and the always entertaining merry trio - Chloe's ma and pa + sweet Chloe). It's a small adventure to reach great pleasure. 

I could be seen as being semi-biased as I know Kagoagh's power couple, so in the interest of transparency, I just told you so. That being said, on the spectrum of female generalizations, I'm more in the b*tch pile which basically means I'm rarely swayed to do or say anything I genuinely don't care to.

Kagoagh (pronounced KO, as in knock out) is exactly as described, a secluded (remote retreat), ocean access (infinite waters), fishing (serious fishing, fun fishing, crab catching, whale watching) property located on Hecate Cove. 

I didn't go fishing, but I can tell you that those that did had an experience of a lifetime in the open waters that is Quatsino Sound and the Pacific Ocean. I don't think you realize how vast a resource our coastal city/island sits on; I got a glimpse of it with the fish they brought back - ling cod, salmon, rock fish, and the crab. One of the best things about Kagoagh? It's always fresh and local. They prepare meals sea to table straight from the depths of the oceans to my lips. It's classy cuisine with family warmth. Simply delicious.

The lodge is the perfect balance of rustic and refined. It's a grand building against a backdrop of nature's golden elements and sounds. It's a new resort, and they're still revamping and expanding. The rooms are outfitted with large beds and private three piece bathrooms. It has the feel of a modern hotel room with it's wood floors and dark finishes, but step outside and you see nothing but acres of forest and endless water. When's the last time you got up close with nature but still had a hot shower and a toilet with three-ply? Yes, toilet paper was a highlight, although no more so than those moments when I walked on the deck, glass of champagne in hand, and heard nothing - the antithesis of uncomfortable silence, peaceful serenity. I could get really poetic and tell you about the breathtaking night sky and brilliant stars, but then I'd run out of steam to tell you about Oddseoul, which I'm about to get to.

I highly recommend Kagoagh for those who appreciate anything unadulterated. It was the perfect Vancouver Island destination. Amazing feasts, majestic surroundings, and an inspiring couple who do what they do best - cater, comfort, and care. Sometimes we don't need to go down south to unwind, sometimes someone's backyard is the perfection we seek. Check out Kagoagh's playground. It's open to everyone - families, friends, lovers, children, babies, moms-to-be, singles, gay, straight, short or tall. At Kagoagh, just be.

***


I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about Oddseoul. Okay, maybe they do. Toronto Life said it best when they described the owners, the Han brothers, as having captured "Ossington's Korean past and hipster present...".


Anytime I eat something amazing, I have an emotional reaction which stays with me. I call it JOY. 


Oddseoul was pure joy. 
Brace yourself because it's about to get real yummy.

My chef buddy and I caught up over some drinks, drank some more with his likeminded peeps, and then we all got hungry and headed to Ossington. Oddseoul is sexy. How so? It just is. It's a long, dark but inviting restaurant cranking out awesome music. There's a bar upfront and semi-cramped high-top seating, but that's just cause they want y'all to get real close. And they're serving food into the wee hours. A culinary delight compared to usual late night dirrrtyy eats like street meat, Burrito Boys, Choochootrain or Rol San. Only the truest Torontonians will grin at the last two. So we piled in and feasted:



Saba - my least favourite of the night. Still delicious but Hapa's saba still takes the win.
Deep fried prawns. Yum! Crispy, tart, and sweet.
The special.
It's a hot dog. Course it's MORE than a hot dog.
Geem/Keem (aka nori aka dried laver aka seaweed), green onions, hickory sticks and some sort of sauce.
This thing was RIDICULOUSLY good. RIDICULOUS.
HIGHLIGHT of my Toronto trip.
Meet The Loosey. She's only $5.
I would describe this as a Korean mother's take on a Big Mac.
Toasted sesame bread (perfectly toasted, nice crunch and good chew)
Beef patty with those familiar amazing korean-bbq flavours, some sort of sauce, ketchup, pickles and...a FRIED egg.
LOVED IT. Ate it. Didn't want to share it. I want one now. Help me?
Now I realize I said "some sort of sauce" twice, but that's because I don't know what it was. If they come back and tell me it's just mayo, I may as well pack it in and go home. Whatever it was, it was delicious. They may have been the same, they may not have been. I was in no frame of mind to tell, and like I said, it was dark. I could barely see my friends. But their smiles showed through. That is what I call JOY.

Oddseoul on Urbanspoon

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