Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Free burger from @RedRobinBurgers Royalty

Red Robin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato All this week, Red Robin Royalty members got a promotion every day -- Tuesday was a free Tavern Burger (your choice from their Tavern Burger lineup, comes with bottomless fries as usual) with $10 purchase.
Didn't want to overeat, so I dragged my burger buddy along!

For our purchase, their limited time Bee's Knees Finest Chicken caught my eye and of course I had to try a burger made with Belgian Waffles!

The Bee's Knees ($14.69, served with bottomless steak fries) all-natural, crispy, tempura-fried chicken breast glazed in Angry Orchard® honey, spicy jalapeño relish, citrus-marinated tomatoes and onions with shredded romaine on a Belgian waffle bun
  • Smallish looking burger but stacked tall -- watch out as it may be tricky to actually pick up and eat.
  • Generously thick chicken breast was nicely done, came hot and meat was moist.
  • Jalapeno is actually spicy-hot but doesn't linger on the tongue, so take a chance on it. If you don't like it, you probably just remove the slice of waffle on which it is spread.
  • Interesting complex flavour with sweet waffle, hot relish, citrusy vinaigrette, and savory meat all together. If you're looking for something interesting I recommend you give this a try.
2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - The Bee's Knees

2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - The Bee's Knees

2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - The Bee's Knees

2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - The Bee's Knees

Fiery Ghost Tavern Double (normally $10.49, served with bottomless steak fries) Fiery Ghost® pepper sauce, pepper-jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, fried jalapeño coins, and fresh jalapeño
  • Looked nothing like the ad copy (of course) and on par with McDonald's burger construction, which is pretty sad.
  • Almost sent it back as a wrong order because I couldn't find any "jalapeno coins" initially. But we looked hard and eventually found one, smushed up and barely recognizable.
  • Came lukewarm, cheese already hardened, gumming the two thin burgers together.
  • Sad to look at, but strangely tasty thanks to the burger patties.
2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - Fiery Ghost Tavern Double

2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - Fiery Ghost Tavern Double

2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - Fiery Ghost Tavern Double

2017-Apr-25 Red Robin - Fiery Ghost Tavern Double

We walked in well after any sort of dinner rush maybe around 8pm. Service was prompt, kitchen was pretty fast, staff friendly and patient. No attempt to upsell us or push us into more orders.

Thanks to the special promotion, these two burger with endless fries option was just under $16, which is a pretty decent deal no matter what they look like.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sous Vide - A juicier steak done better

Not using a grill for delicious steak? Atrocity!

Unless you've heard of sous vide -- and if you watched the movie Burnt, you'd have had it slapped in your face as the modern way of cooking meat in a scene of overt product placement. News: Searing meat to cook it is primitive.

Not too sure what sous vide is? I came across a great article on sous vide that doesn't just tell you why you might want to try it but handholds you if you want to get started. Check it out at Sous Vide Wizard!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cheese Bread at Strange Fellows

Strange Fellows Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato After Kishimoto my dining buddy and I went for a walk and detoured here aftetr -- no lie -- seeing one of the Strange Fellows Brewery cars. My friend was thinking of a beer, and voila! the car appears and we figured it might be going to a brewery nearby.

I'm not a drinker, so take that into account when I review the strange eats here. They offer a Caramelized Cheese Bread that's really more cheese than bread. The veggie one has token veggie (one shrivelled stick of asparagus you can't even taste).

My friend and her beer agree the saltiness helps with the beer.
For me, this was two parts -- cheese cracker and token bread.
Cheese part was salty salty salty.
Bread was a sort of croissant? Puff pasty? Anyway, really light and flaky. Don't try to tear chunks off. Trim the cheese around it then pick it up and eat it. Sweet chili sauce here made it edible.

For $5.25 this is more of a pricey novelty and to have some cheese crackers. Don't buy a couple hoping it'll add up to a burger.

Nice space, friendly staff, eye-straining menu behind the counter on the wall.

Small art gallery inside at the back!

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery

2017-Apr-21 Strange Fellows Brewery - cheese bread, on the bottom

Kishimoto

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Been a long time since I went to Kishimoto on Commercial, long enough to have forgotten what I had there. There's still a perpetual lineup so try to get there shortly before opening if possible.

Sauteed Mushrooms (daily special; $11) hon-shimeji, king oyster, maitake, shiitake, and crimini sauteed in tamari butter
  • First bites strangely delicious. When it was down to the tiny bits, butteriness was of course faint. Maybe try to eat this in large bites using a spoon instead of having to finish with boring small bits on the plate.
2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - sauteed mushrooms

Mamenoki Roll ($10.95) edamame, carrot, asparagus, cornflakes, wrapped in avocado
  • I was intrigued by this because of the cornflakes, which I'd hoped would give a good crunch. Sadly, it barely registered.
  • Overall quite bland tasting. for once I used some soy on a sushi roll.
2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - mamenoki roll, dynamite roll (right)

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - mamenoki roll

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - mamenoki roll

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - mamenoki roll

Salmon Oshisushi ($13.95) wild salmon, jalapeno, creamy sauce, cracked black pepper, torch seared
  • Watch out for that jalapeno slice on top because it packs an explosion of heat. Thankfully it won't linger on the tongue too long. The sushi bite is tasty enough without the jalapeno or just a bit of it.
  • Definitely a smokiness bordering on burnt thanks to the searing on top.
2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - salmon oshisushi

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - salmon oshisushi

Tempura Ice Cream (daily special; $8) homemade matcha ice cream deep fried, white chocolate sauce and caramel sauce
  • One big scoop of ice cream, thankfully not still frozen hard, which can sometimes be the case with deep fried ice cream.
  • Cake-like batter around the ice cream.
  • Overall not much different from just having a scoop of ice cream with maybe a bit of cake on the side. Big scoop, but at $8 pretty pricey unless you are already okay with buying $6 scoops at boutique ice cream shops.
2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - tempura ice cream

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - tempura ice cream

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - tempura ice cream

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - tempura ice cream

Gluten free soy sauce!

Despite being packed right away when they opened, staff were calm and unrushed. Also felt like the kitchen also delivered the food quite promptly.

2017-Apr-21 Kishimoto - gluten free soya sauce

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Poor Man's Flatbread

What do do when you need a snack?
I ran out of pasta sauce so I subbed ketchup. Recommend you use much less than I did if you want to taste your cheese more.
Chili flakes optional for some buzz.

2017-Mar-10 poor man's flatbread

2017-Mar-12 poor man's flatbread

2017-Mar-12 poor man's flatbread

2017-Mar-12 poor man's flatbread

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ten Ten Tapas Bobby Bacchus Night

Ten Ten Tapas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Gave Ten Ten Tapas a try on one of their music nights. Sunday it was the personable crooner Bobby Bacchus singing familiar favourites. Ten Ten Tapas has no shortage of events, not just keeping evening wine and music alive but intriguing painting classes as well as singles' events (for gays too!).

Bobby Bacchus Sunday started a bit later at 7pm, and shortly after 7pm the room was basically full. Being a cold, rainy day, the patio was of course closed and the restaurant dining floor being smallish felt even smaller with the tight table spacing.
Spacing for each diner was thankfully NOT tight though, and with the evening dark and dim interior lighting, you are likely to not really notice.

The smaller room also means that for live music night, if you are probably going to be a boisterous social group, you really ought to reconsider. They can kind of seat you in the back, but no matter where you are, the noise of 6+ people is gonna carry. It's not really fair to people who are actually there for the live entertainment.
And their rigorous reservation policy really does help to ensure a full house as, if you make a reservation through OpenTable, it'll ask for your credit card and after a cutoff period a few days before the dinner date, you will be charged $25 per person who doesn't show up.
No, they are probably not gonna kick your party out, and they can compensate somewhat by turning up the music (which could just make your table start speaking even louder to compensate) but still, be aware and considerate if you can, maybe even choose somewhere else.

Full house also seemed to mean slow kitchen. I guess if you're focussed on Bobby Bacchus and there for his full set, pacing things out actually isn't so bad (if you even notice at all). If you powered through your meal then you're stuck with the possible awkwardness of justifying your existence when you've really had enough to drink and don't want to order more, while still wanting to stay to listen.

On to the food!

In Vancouver, tapas is pretty much synonymous with small plates that feed like an appetizer and cost like a main. No point complaining about price for portion and the price is no secret on the website.

A LOT of gluten free choices. Really handy.

For my orders, I went with something I could hopefully have a point of comparison with: truffle fries and fried cauliflower. I wanted to stay flexible for my budget depending on how those starters went.

Tea ($3.25)
  • A step up from places that don't even take the tea bag out for you and just give you the satchel.
  • I thought it was a bit odd they didn't put the bag into the pot to steep right away, but instead in the cup; but that's probably just me.
  • Careful with this pot -- tip too far to pour out the last of the water and the lid is likely to (as it did in my case) fall off right into your cup.
2017-Mar-12 - Ten Ten Tapas

Truffle Fries (GF, $9.10) hand-cut Kennebec potatoes, chopped rosemary, truffle oil & Grana Padano with lemon mayo
  • Under "Shared Plates" so the portion is meant for sharing, though looks like not for more than two persons.
  • Where's my truffle? OK it's not quite so bad but I think it was kind of concentrated in the middle and you might not get even a whiff on some fries. Sadly, that happened to me, but not to the person next to me.
  • Price for portion... My experience at Joe Fortes has still been the best of all truffle fries I have had anywhere in Vancouver.
  • If they were hand cut, then honestly I expected much fewer very small lengths, that presentation-wise gave the impression of scraps. Even McDonald's recognizes the impression that long fries gives. Don't serve me scraps.
  • I don't expect the fries to be piping hot, but still... can they be hot when they hit the table? That gives the impression that they are fresh and weren't sitting around getting cold till a server got to them.
  • Other than that, the coating of rosemary and parmesan on the fries looked really quite even and thorough.
2017-Mar-12 - Ten Ten Tapas

KFC… Krispy Fried Cauliflower (GF, $9.10) French beans, toasted almond, chili flakes, Grana Padano & fresh citrus
  • Under "Shared Plates" so the portion is meant for sharing, though looks like not for more than two persons.
  • Strangely didn't come across as crispy or even crunchy.
  • Liked it more as a salad, to be honest. The chili buzz (pretty much very, very, mild heat only) and citrus made this light on the tongue.
  • The smaller ingredients like toasted almond are totally wasted unless you work on it by cutting up the cauliflower into a manageable bite and then scooping up some of the bits to go along. Can't really do much with the beans except eat each strand/pod, and thankfully they are nicely seasoned all on their own.
  • As far as this being a "crispy" fried cauliflower dish... if that's what you're looking for give it a pass. BUT if you want a decent small salad without the usual leafy greens, it's a notch above average.
2017-Mar-12 Ten Ten Tapas - krispy fried cauliflower

2017-Mar-12 Ten Ten Tapas - krispy fried cauliflower

Antipasto Platter (GF option; single $18.10 double $29.10) selection of artisan meats & cheeses, with grainy mustard, fruit compote, pickles & dark rye toasts
  • If you go to a tapas place and this is what you order, you need to eat out more. I mean, c'mon you can get this anywhere.
  • Gluten-free bread available.
  • For $18? Nope. Pictured below is a "single" order for $18.10.
2017-Mar-12 Ten Ten Tapas - antipasto platter

Calamari (GF, $12.10) pan-seared with pomodoro sauce, capers, chili & parsley
  • Not my order and I wasn't fast enough to get a photo before they dove in. I would have been more interested if I realized from the start what they ordered. Thought they ordered a soup...
  • The "calamari" Share Plate looks more like a stew, so know this before you order since "calamari" as an appetizer or share plate is typically synonymous with a plate of fried calamari in a Greek restaurant.
  • Icky about double dipping utensils? Make sure you get a sharing spoon.
  • I passed on tasting it so this is just a head's up that what you're gonna get might not be what you're thinking of.
2017-Mar-12 Ten Ten Tapas - calamari (after someone dug in and took some)

Dessert Trio ($12.10) three mini versions of our popular desserts; fruit tart, chiffon cake, & dark chocolate marquise
  • The desserts sold separately are:
    • seasonal fruit tart ($9.10) sweet vanilla tart with lemon curd; glaze seasonal fruit & baby herbs
    • dark chocolate marquise (GF, $10.10) for serious chocoholics, with white chocolate gelato, praline brittle, & lemon balm
    • chiffon cake ($10.10) with caramel corn & grapefruit sorbet
  • Price for portion works out to approximately $4 per sample--depending on how much you like each dessert it's not so bad.
  • Of the three, I the chiffon cake comes off as probably the least interesting, followed by the fruit tart which is helped immensely by making sure you have some of the lemon curd with each bite.
  • The firm crust on the tart means you are probably best picking it up and doing it in two bites rather than risk the whole thing falling apart trying to cut it.
  • The chocolate marquise is the best of the lot. The chocolate portion is made interesting and more tasty with some saltiness.
  • Move quickly on this! Gelato and sorbet start melting right away and it's just gonna be a mess on your plate.
  • You might want to ask for an extra spoon to help you scoop together the gelato and sorbet instead of chasing it around the plate with one spoon or using your finger.
2017-Mar-12 Ten Ten Tapas - dessert trio

Amuse bouche. Complimentary. Can't remember what it was (didn't want to conspicuously take notes -- sorry. Bad enough I was documenting the whole meal in pictures while trying to stay undercover as a blogger).

2017-Mar-12 Ten Ten Tapas - amuse bouche

Overall the items I tried were passable, which means sub-par for the label "tapas" and for the price they command--So don't order what I did. Try something else.

That said, as a live music venue... When the singer is just a few meters from you, is careful to make eye contact and work the whole room whether his audience is near or far, and walks about at intermission to socialize... Ten Ten Tapas turns its small space into the advantage of intimate and interactive and embraces you with a cozy ambiance.

2017-Mar-12 - Ten Ten Tapas

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Salsa & Agave

Salsa And Agave Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Been meaning to come here, finally dropped in on a whim for lunch. Lunch specials are decently priced! You can get a good meal for around $10.

TIP: You want it spicy? Tell them up front and they'll help by bringing you decently spicy chilies/sauces.

Azteca Soup & 2 Rolled Tacos (Taquitos) - $9.50
  • I let the server pick my tacos and she came up with beef tongue, and spicy pork with pineapple.
    • Beef tongue very mild in flavour and not helped enough with the lime and onion provided.
    • "Spicy" pork was delicious but not hot-spicy if you are worried about that.
  • Overall the tacos were OK but flavour-wise not as good as, for example, Gringo. That said I only tried two types of tacos here.
  • Azteca Soup is a tortilla soup (strips of tortilla inside!), chipotle pepper (but it's nowhere close to spicy-hot), diced avocado, cheese, and house sour cream.
    • I like things spicy so I put in the provided chili sauce, and it was great!
    • Not too sure I like the diced avocado, and "diced" is maybe misleading since it was chunks about a half inch long/wide.
Overall price for portion is good, and food is tasty enough to warrant more than a passing mark. And for once, when I ask a server for recommendations they didn't balk or get all nervous. I told her I trusted her, would eat anything, and had no allergies; and off she went confidently. Service seemed attentive and friendly!

2017-Feb-2 - Salsa & Agave - lunch special - soup and two tacos ($9.50)

Milanesa con Chilaquiles Verdes ($15.50) breaded beef sirloin served with green tomatillo chilaquiles, rice, and beans
  • My friend's order. I didn't try it. At $15.50 price for portion is passable.
2017-Feb-2 - Salsa & Agave - Milanesa con chilaquiles verdes

2017-Feb-2 - Salsa & Agave - free amuse bouche

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse

Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Had a great-value-deal last year at Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse for Dine Out Vancouver 2016 so I wanted to repeat this year. Same as before, price for portion is ace. Depending on what you order for Dine Out Vancouver at Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse (and your personal preferences) it's 2- to 4-star food. At just $20 (plus $1 GST total $21 before tip) it's got to be one of the best bang-for-your-buck Dine Outs available.

Appetizer Choices
  • Bacon & Potato Soup; applewood smoked bacon, yukon gold potato, spiced croutons, chive crème fraiche
    • I didn't get to try much of this but it's a very thick "soup" that's got good smoky bacon flavour. Yup, it's tasty!
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Bacon & Potato Soup

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Bacon & Potato Soup
  • Golden & Red Beet Salad; mesclun artisan greens, mandarin orange, goat cheese, pistachio, garden herb vinaigrette
    • Fresh and refreshing and also tasty.
    • If you ask for vinaigrette on the side they apparently give you a very generous amount of it.
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Golden & Red Beet Salad

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Golden & Red Beet Salad
  • Braised Lamb Burger Slider; red wine braised lamb, gruyere, coleslaw, carrot, tomato, arugula, crispy onion, dijon mustard, truffle scented fries with parmesan
    • Didn't get to try more than a truffle fry but that was really decently done at least. Enough truffle flavour/aroma without overdoing it.
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Braised Lamb Burger Slider

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Braised Lamb Burger Slider

Entree Choices
  • New York Steak; charbroiled AAA certified angus steak, roasted garlic yukon gold mashed potato, hand-picked seasonal vegetables, red wine jus
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - New York Steak
  • Poached Steelhead; clam & tomato infused rice pilaf, hand-picked seasonal vegetables, pernod sabayon
    • BE CAREFUL. The key word here is "pernod", which if you don't know, means an anise-flavoured liqueur. If you don't like anise (think licorish), better not order this. The sauce on top of your fish is sweet and anise-flavoured and can kill this dish for you if you don't like it or don't like too much of it.
      • TIP: Try asking for the sauce on the side.
    • Fish said to be sous vide (detailed article on sous vide). What I tried was tender and moist but the people who ordered it said it was a bit dry, possibly closer to the thickest part of it.
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Poached Steelhead

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Poached Steelhead
  • Portobello Mushroom; sundried tomato crusted cream cheese & artichoke stuffed portobello, house-made linguine, hand-picked seasonal vegetables, walnut, black truffle olive oil
    • The veggie option and I found this very tasty.
    • Too bad the actual mushroom portion was small, but it was at least tasty and they gave you some truffled spaghetti to make it a filling meal overall.
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Portobello Mushroom

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Portobello Mushroom

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Portobello Mushroom (cross section)

Dessert Choices
  • Black & White; callebaut dark & white chocolate mousse, ginger cookie, caramelized banana, toasted almond, strawberry coulis
    • The one cookie I saw was so hard it had to be picked up.
    • Mousse apparently used bittersweet chocolate. Got to try just a bit of this.
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Black & White
  • Apple Confection; apple compote, raisin, honey & almond granola, honeycomb candy, vanilla gelato
    • My dessert pick. Nothing special but as desserts go, safely simple and tasty.
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Apple Confection

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Apple Confection
  • Belgian Waffle
    • Not listed on the Dine Out Vancouver website but this was what appeared to be a fresh waffle topped with strawberry.
    • Generous with the sauce, maybe too generous for some if you don't like it too sweet
Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Waffle

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse - Waffle

Easy going friendly staff not pushy at all about selling drinks. Also, for a cold night it was a really nice touch for them to serve your choice of typical cold water or HOT WATER.

It's a bit out of the way and the walk from the main road up to the Clubhouse is not lit, but the parking lot is expansive and very well lit. For an out-of-the-way place it was booked solid with some larger parties by 7pm so if you can sneak in earlier it might help with reservations.

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse