I know! But I realized I’m only up at UofT/downtown Toronto on the weekdays usually, so I decided I’d upload a restaurant I went to today. As such, my friends and I hit up the Markville Mall location of Pickle Barrel. And wow, I think I just realized today that I’ve been spelling pickle as pickel for the past 20 years… FML
PS – Do excuse the terrible photo quality here. My camera’s not good at dealing with dimness.
Name: Pickle Barrel
Location: Markville Shopping Center, 5000 HW 7, Markham
Price: ~$15-20 for a drink and and pasta
Despite going after prime serving hours for dinner, service was still somewhat slow and inattentive. Still, there were some highlights. For example, an establishment always gets bonus points in my book when they have a black pepper grinder. The standard pepper shaker contains pre-ground peppercorns, which normally lack the flavor and oils that freshly cracked peppercorns have.
Also, Pickle Barrel offers $3.99 ‘Killer Shakes’, which is a 35oz mug of either banana, chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry milkshake. I opted for the Strawberry, and after an abnormally long wait time, my server returned, cheerfully passing me what she called a ‘kill shake.’
In any case, as we were quite hungry, we all decided we’d get pasta dishes. Pasta dishes at Pickle Barrel are quite huge and fairly cheap, and they also come with a side caesar/garden salad. All three of us had caesar salads.
As my friend so aptly described this basic salad, the croutons were light and fluffy, and not soggy like the offerings of some other restaurants. And unlike some establishments, where there will ALWAYS be that ONE leaf that has WAY TOO MUCH SAUCE, the dressing on this salad was spread about quite evenly. Here, my kinesiology friend offers some advice: for all those quick eaters out there, chewing your food at least 10+ times is much better for your stomach and digestion, and will aid in the prevention of stomach problems down the line into the future. THE MORE YOU KNOW!!!
After another long wait where I completed my 35oz kill shake, our entrees finally arrived: I had the Grilled Chicken Angel hair pasta, and my two other friends had the Blackened Atlantic Salmon Penne and the Italian Sausage Penne.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a good angel hair pasta. I actually wanted to order the sausage penne, but my friend ordered it first so I had to pick something else really fast. I appreciated the julienned slices of zucchini and carrot. As a whole though this dish was fairly mediocre, and it was the first time in a long time where I was unable to finish my food (though this could partly be attributed to my Kill shake…) Moving on…
My friend here complained that there was too much sauce, and that it was somewhat overpowering — very rich and creamy. For him, the highlight was the salmon, which he said was flaky, but not dry. For him, it was perfectly cooked and the pasta was done just right, and he’d rather have too much sauce than too little. NEXT!
All in all, according to my friend, this dish was fairly good. Slightly salty because of the sausages, but once again, the pasta was cooked right and the tomato sauce was more than serviceable. (Here, one with an astute eye might notice that the bread in this picture is the same bread I used in the picture for my dish. 😀 )
Verdict: This restaurant has a really diverse menu and I really think I should try more than just their pastas. While the service seems a little shoddy, in general, the food is pretty good. And they have MASSIVE MILKSHAKES FOR $3.99! If anything, going to a location just for some drinks and appetizers might be nice.
Cheers! Oh… and a final highlight of this place.