Friday, January 20, 2017

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku

Torafuku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato My very first Dine Out Vancouver 2017 and my first experience of Torafuku as well. They open 5.30pm and are pretty much packed shortly after. People turned away at the door for not having a reservation, but it's Friday and the first day of Dine Out, so who knows?

Everything on their dine out menu sounded really interesting, plus they have veggie options, so it's hard to go wrong picking this place.
$30 per person, and best to go in pairs since you choose 3 plates TO SHARE and your own dessert (from 2 choices). That works out to three plates weighing in at maybe $16 each. For what you get though that's OK value. Wouldn't say it's a great deal cost-wise but it's delicious.

We also got a free kale salad. Did everyone get one? Will everyone get a random daily special freebie? Hard to say, but if so, maybe it's a sneaky dining experience factored into the cost AND you get 4 plates instead of 3 making it a better deal. Hmm.

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 Menu
($30 per person, minimum 2, odd numbers can be accommodated)

Choose ONE to SHARE:
  • Kickass Rice 3.0: Torched pork belly, furikake, cucumber, avocado, red shiso, miso mayo, Torafuku spicy sauce.
  • Eat Yo Veggies: Enoki mushrooms, baby arugula, cucumber, avocado, mango, toasted quinoa, chimi. 
  • DY-NO-MITE: Prawn tempura, avocado, cucumber, steelhead, mango, togo aioli.
Choose ONE to SHARE:
  • Calamari 2.0: Crispy squid, brussel sprouts, local mushrooms, compresed apples, nero aioli, angry tiger sauce.
  • Rye So Messy Chicken Wings: Rye and Korean chili marinate, mango glaze, ramen crumble, kfc sauce.
  • Crack Salad 2.0: Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, black bean balsamic vinegar, crispy chick peas, toasted almonds.
Choose ONE to SHARE:
  • FOB (Fresh off the Boat): Laksa prepared ‘fuku’ style with Crab, Scallops, Prawns, clams, salmon, market veggies, flakey Puff pastry.
  • The Crying Tiger: Beef hanger steak (cooked Med Rare), crispy rice salad with coriander, lemongrass, gem tomatoes, chilies, pickled cucumber ,crying tiger vinaigrette
  • Fetty Wap: House made fettuccine, roasted sunchokes, maitake mushrooms, truffle butter, local kale, ricotta, toasted almonds. 
Choose ONE per person:
  • Milk & Cookie: Vanilla panna cotta, yuzu gelée, raspberry coulis, almond and black sesame shortbread.
  • Magic Stick: Chocolate ganache, hazelnut feuilletine, matcha crumble, condensed milk ice cream.
2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - flavoured popcorn while you wait for your meal

2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - free kale salad

2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - DY-NO-MITE

DY-NO-MITE
  • One long roll to share.
  • Pretty tasty except strangely the mango was quite flavourless -- so mildly sweet that I could barely taste it except when I peeled it off my piece of sushi. Possibly a fluke occurrence, or they didn't want it to overpower the rest of the roll (which I wouldn't be in favour of). Either way, eat this sushi slowly and mindfully for best results.
2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - Crack Salad 2.0

Crack Salad 2.0
  • Pretty interesting with a lot of ingredients. Not very light / fresh looking but pretty tasty.
  • Don't just pick up the big veggie chunks -- get the spoon and dig around for the smaller bits.
2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat
  • Would probably have been tastier if it had been served hot.
  • Only one "crab" -- that is, one claw. Don't hog it people -- remember your dining partner, 'eh?
  • Very mild as far as spiciness goes.
  • Get that spoon and don't be shy about lifting that plate to get at the coconutty sauce because it's tasty!
2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - Milk & Cookie (top), Magic Stick (bottom)

Milk & Cookie
  • Not really getting the idea of this dessert. Flavours maybe too subtle for me.
  • Yuzu jelly on top lacking sharp citrus tang that would have helped make it a refreshing addition to the dessert, so if you're looking for an uplifting flavour note to end your meal, neither dessert's going to do it.
  • The rest of it was kind of "meh" for me. Maybe lacking in sweetness / citrus? Personal preference.
Magic Stick
  • Sweet but not overly so, which I really liked. No sugar burn, no heavy feeling from too much chocolate.
  • That milk ice cream melts fast so get started right away if you want it paired with your chocolate.
Overall, really interesting plates and all three mains tried were tasty. Desserts were okay.

2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - menu

2017-Jan-20 Dine Out Vancouver 2017 - Torafuku - menu



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Specialty Food Expo 2017 - SpiceWorks

Despite headlining as the "Specialty Food Expo 2017", it's really still the Gluten Free Expo. Turns out, exhibitors who registered under the more-inclusive-sounding Specialty Food area got relegated to the "black hole" of a SMALL section warded off with ominous warnings of "may contain gluten".

One such exhibitor is SpiceWorks, even though ALL their products are gluten free. So if you are celiac and went to the show, you may have missed them.

The concept is basically "easy curry". They used coconut milk in the preparation of the Butter Chicken mix for the Expo and it was delicious.

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Spice Works

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Spice Works

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Spice Works

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Oh! Naturals

I got the chance to go to the Specialty Food Expo 2017 (a.k.a. Gluten Free expo) for free on the Sunday thanks to Yelp, and Oh! Naturals was one of the products that really caught my attention -- so much that I bought two packs of their sweet potato stick/chips on the spot for my mom.

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Oh! Naturals



2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Oh! Naturals

Things that I really like about them:
  • Really crunchy!
  • Not oily.
  • Not a salt-based snack. The predominant taste is sweet from the sweet potato, not a salty flavoring powder.
  • Interestingly, the sweetness makes me NOT want to just sit down and keep eating, unlike salt-flavouring-based chips. Just a few sticks and I'm happy, making it a great appetizer for parties for example, In fact, too much in one sitting and I'd get that sugar crash / weariness, like you get from eating too much chocolate in one go.
Other attributes:
  • No preservatives
  • Non GMO
  • Gluten Free
  • Nut Free
  • Vegan
2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 -

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Wize Monkey

One of the interesting things the Specialty Food Expo 2017 did was have a contest for a selected number of new companies. Attendees then vote for the one they like best and that company wins a prize. This obviously helps them get attention at the Expo but also gets people moving around to look for the stall, which also gets them moving around in general.

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - voting form

My pick was Wize Monkey. Not because I'm some kind of tea connoisseur and these teas are the bomb -- I really can't tell and tea is tea and I honestly just go to Superstore and buy what's cheap to flavour my boiled tap water. But what I like about Wize Monkey is that it's a simple concept that can have a profound positive social impact.

Coffee is a seasonally harvested product. So why not do something in the off season by making a product from the coffee leaves? With any luck this idea will catch on and the price will go down to less than coffee.

Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Wize Monkey

Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Wize Monkey

Monday, January 16, 2017

Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

Thanks to Yelp!, I got a free ticket to the Specialty Food Expo 2017, which was really the Gluten-Free food show, presumably rebranded to be more inclusive. The actual may-not-be-gluten-free section was just a small fraction of the floor.

One of the more interesting and unique products was Beiju, a sort of flatbread. Preparation is extremely simple and open to a lot of creativity.
The experience of the flatbread is very not-like-bread. The sample I got was very grainy and chewy, so depending on your filling you may want to cut it into more easily manageable pieces.

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

To prepare, simply pour some of the flour mix into a hot pan. The heat will cause it to stick together into a flatbread. During this time you can add various things like seeds and spices.

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 -

Once it becomes a single mass you can flip it to heat both sides, as well as add other things like smearing butter on it or drizzling maple syrup. Or do nothing to it and have an empty wrap ready to go for other fillings.

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

2015-Jan-15 Specialty Food Expo 2017 - Beiju

















Sunday, January 15, 2017

Can't buy Mach 3 Razors at @realcdnss Real Canadian SuperStore

I dropped by the Metrotown Superstore today to TRY to buy Mach 3 razor cartridges. Turns out the cases were PADLOCKED (why?).
I looked around and found an attendant in the area, who said she didn't work that that particular department, and pointed me to another attendant even further away.
That second attendant also apparently didn't work in the department but at least came over to verify the issue and then said she'd call for someone to unlock the case. I told her I'd stay in the aisle with the cartridges.
Shortly after, she dropped by and assured me someone was on the way. That's when I secretly started the timer on my cellphone. I gave them 5 minutes, and when no one came, I left the store. Not gonna wait any more, PLUS stand in the usual interminable lineups to pay for it.

Strangely, SOME of the cases were not padlocked while others were. Hmm.

2017-Jan-15 Metrotown Superstore - products padlocked, cannot access

Friday, January 13, 2017

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

We had tried their Texas Toast and when Furlani Cheddar Biscuits came on buy-2 sale at SuperStore my mom was curious to try it, especially as we'd only recently tried the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix. Obviously these are meant to be a reasonable facsimile.

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Here is how the biscuits look like straight out of the frozen package. Notice the worrisome thick coating of butter on top.

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

After following the baking instructions,
  • They still looked undercooked but were not.
  • Quite tender so handle carefully if you want them plated nicely.
  • Tender, almost spongy interior!
  • NO buttery mess oozing all over despite the thick coat of butter on top. Apparently absorbed into the biscuit?
  • Tasted like butter. Don't count on any flavour from cheddar or herbs despite seeing evidence of both.
Depending on how much you bought it for, it works out to maybe 40 cents per biscuit. For 50 cents you can get a big bagel from Superstore so you aren't buying this to fill you up. Could make for a quick way to get nice, presentable biscuits to go with soup for guests though. Baking time is certainly very low at around 10 minutes.

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Furlani Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Pilsbury Pizza Bites

My mom saw this cute item on sale and decided to try it. We'd tried Pizza Pops before, and this turned out basically to be a snack version, minus meat.
  • The interior is enough sauce that if you bake it long enough it could ooze out, but is unlikely to do so.
  • Bite sized but watch out of hot sauce contents fresh out of the oven.
  • Texture wise it is slightly chewy skin. You can bake it more till it toasts at the edges for slight crunch but you're more likely to burn it if you try to go for a fully crunchy package.
  • Inside it's sauce and cheese.Tastes like supermarket prefab pasta sauce.
Easy appetizer to serve as finger food at parties and that's pretty much the only thing I can recommend this for. Price is right too for what you get if you need bulk party food.

20170113_115004

20170113_114912

20170113_115143

20170113_115023

20170113_115036

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sausage Roll Flowers

My mom whipped these up this morning. Super-simple.
  • Puff pastry, of course, stuffed into the mini-muffin tins.
  • The "meat" is whatever sausage roll meat you want. She used very little meat (because we're reducing our meat intake) and mixed in some turkey stuffing mix.
  • A bit of cheddar inside to melt.
  • Capped with a bit of puff pastry for fun.
The rounded bottom meant they didn't all sit up nicely so grouping them was necessary to make them all sunny side up for this picture.

sausage roll flowers