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Showing posts from August, 2012

Don't order these at Khai Thai Cuisine

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It was the second Tuesday in as many weeks in which my works-downtown-friend and I failed to locate Guanaco Food Truck to use my VanEats GuanaCombo Dining Passes . Last week they had moved from their usual Seymour and Georgia (probably because of all the construction there) and we ended up at Finest At Sea . Yesterday, they weren't even downtown at all, and we ended up going to Khai Thai Cuisine because it was nearby and my friend was on the clock as she had a strict lunch hour. One of the nice things about this restaurant is the interior. Looks sort of lousy on the outside, especially now that it is right next door to the shiny new-ish Dunn's Famous . However, inside it's bright yet cosy, and the table spacing isn't too packed. We were in at just around Noon, which turned out to be about fifteen minutes before a lunch rush that saw the place packed. As mentioned, we were on the clock, but the restaurant said a quick lunch was no problem, and in fact we were out a

Desserts for Sharing at Steamworks Brewing Compay

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After a disappointing dinner at House x Guest , I guess we were raring to salvage the evening with a decent dessert. It was already around 9:15pm and strangely, we couldn't think of a good place to go that was in reasonable walking distance. Miku Restaurant was tossed around, but the hours were 5pm to 10pm on Saturdays. Thierry was another option and they close at midnight, but it was estimated that they would be too busy to fit our party. Finally we decided to swing by Steamworks on the recommendation of one of our party, and if that didn't work out, we could always continue on to Miku, depending on the hour. We sort-of nominated a leader for the dessert portion of our dinner outing and after she previewed the dessert menu, decided we could give it a shot. Overall, the sharing desserts were good in a simple way. Good vanilla ice cream comes with everything. At the same time, the core of the dessert looks pretty, but is actually sort of plain. There's nothing really &q

Honey Toast Box Virgins at Pearl Drops Teahouse

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Pearl Drops Teahouse sits at one end of Burnaby's East Hastings busy stretch of stores and a heck of a lot of eateries. By around 7pm, the immediate area around it is a ghost town, so on the up side you won't have to compete too much for parking. On the down side, you sort of have to know about this place for it to show up on your radar. Its neighbours are all closed by that time, and the nearest other place for drinks is the liquor store across the street (I suppose if you desperately need alcohol, you could buy something there to spike your bubble tea here). I admit that I haven't gone to many bubble tea houses, so I can't really do a proper review here about their menu except to say whether I liked it or not. (Sorry David! <-- Yup, I am personally acquainted with the General Manager, but obviously this review isn't really going to help Pearl Drops Teahouse all that much.) The short of it is, if you're used to Starbucks prices though, you basically ge

Oily and Burnt at House x Guest

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This past Saturday I brought a small group down to House x Guest in Gastown. I'd never heard of it until I online-searched for "Vancouver restaurant with house music". Still haven't found something like that, but I did stumble over House x Guest . The menu sounded interesting, and the decor sounded intriguing, so off we went. The decor is curious to look at if you've never been, plus they have an outdoor space beneath their big open windows (which are closed in the late evening by actually installing the windows into place). Highlights include belongs-in-a-Gothic-movie candleholders with the solidified melted remains of past candles melted all over; and a wall of small antelope (?) heads. (Look for the mutant horns!) The food menu changes now and then, so your experience may vary. There is only one (1) dessert -- short, fat,  churros with dips. The fruit component of their drinks uses Oasis Fruit Juice . A tasting menu is available for groups. Popcorn ($

100% Wild Fish at Finest at Sea

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Maybe because I was too focussed on the menu on Thursday, but it wasn't readily apparent to me when I dropped by the Finest At Sea food cart that they catch their own fish. The food cart is an offshoot of Finest At Sea Ocean Products Ltd. , which touts their product as "100% wild, and caught by our own fishermen through sustainable fishing practices". They have canned fish, and if you want fresh fish they have two locations locally and one in Victoria . My friend and I tried the naan-wraps ($5.50 each, tax included). There were two kinds: One with curried halibut and basically a coleslaw on top. The other a rendition of tuna in mayo, with some sort of salad that included a marinated seaweed. Maybe they ran out of actual naan, or they didn't toast it enough, but the "naan" we got looked suspiciously like pita bread. Not a big deal, though. The assembly is pretty simple: Fish on the bottom, salad on the top, and fold the naan around it. They do wrap it q

$1 cake at Breka Bakery and Cafe

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Breka Bakery  is interesting in many ways, and depending on what you are used to, it can be a refreshing change. For starters, it's a 24-hour  café. Not special on its own, but add that everything is made by hand on site, and with no additives and preservatives. Now compare it with other places that typically either do their baking in the morning and ease off by afternoon because they'd otherwise end up with overstock at night; or cafés that ship in factory mass-produced stuff in the morning. At Breka, you are likely to get reasonably fresh bread and made-same-day cakes whenever you drop by. When I was there at 8pm last Friday, they had a good selection of cakes, and each portion was fairly large at reasonable prices, typically under $4 if not under $3. There was just one selection of "day old" cake, going for a mere $1 per slice. If you're a Starbucks person, compare this with a single small $2 whoopie pie . If you've been in downtown Vancouver coffee sh

Superb Tapas at Establishment

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I had such an excellent meal at Establishment Lounge that I wanted to go back to try more -- and this time, bring some friends. While I like many places, it's rare when I actually try to mobilize people to go. There's a combination of putting your reputation and credibility on the line, and hoping that things will go well at the dinner. The excellent food and service at Establishment Lounge did not disappoint. If you're bringing a group down to Establishment, you should know that they can do a 6-8+ course tasting menu that roughly works out to $5 per course, all individually plated for everyone. It's a great way to sample the many very interesting artistically and expertly put together menu options. The tricky part of this is that everyone must have the same thing, and you must confirm about a week in advance, after which you will be charged for the number of seats you asked for. No shows or late cancellations are your responsibility. It's a stiff requirement i

Pirate Pak Day at White Spot

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Wednesday night was probably the one time I've ever seen lineups outside a White Spot so long that people were waiting outside. And it was 8pm! I'd never heard of it before, but apparently there is an annual Pirate Pak Day for grown-ups (you must be over 10 to buy it, otherwise it's the kiddie menu for you) and people love it. Pirate Pak Day comes with your very own paper pirate ship, of course. It didn't seem like many people took them home, so I hope they weren't re-using those... Anyway, each Pak includes: One drink. On the webpage it says soft drink, but I was allowed to pick a fruit drink instead. A tiny, sad "creamy" coleslaw that was only slightly chilled, bordering on lukewarm. "Endless" signature fries that were thicker (almost 1 cm thick) than fries you get at just about everywhere else. They were hot and presumably freshly done, but seemed pale and  slightly undercooked near the middle. You could substitute (for about $1 mor

A Too Mild Medium at Sutra Modern Indian

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It's really hard for an Indian restaurant to mess up North Indian food (i.e., curries), so for an Indian restaurant to stand out for me, something must be exceptional. At worst, it usually turns out "okay" or just "nothing to write home about". And with Indian food typically being cheap, large-portioned, comfort food, a place like Sutra -- a downtown location charging Yaletown prices for Indian food -- has a tough job to start with. Late last year I visited the restaurant when it was just a few weeks old. Now almost a year later, I decided to try it again. Looking back, the main plusses of the restaurant were the hosts and the ambiance. Food was good or at worst passable. For a downtown location, you can expect part of what you pay to be ambiance, so $50 for two persons was all right. The price is still okay at Sutra (for a downtown restaurant), but this past Saturday, my dining companions and I had a remarkably strange experience at Sutra which one hopes w

Sloppy Chicken Sandwich at La Brasserie Street Food Cart

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The tiny VegFest 2012 on Granville this past Saturday featured a very long lineup under a roasting sun for Loving Hut Express . I didn't want to wait (yes, the lineup was *that* long) so instead I wandered off and finally decided to try La Brasserie's street food cart . There's something about the food cart which has always dulled my interest in it. I can't really put my finger on why. Maybe it's just the colour and design of the cart, or the fact that they have just the one item -- an $8 pulled chicken sandwich. There's lots to like about this sandwich. Except for the accidental large chunk of dry chicken breast, you get hot chicken slathered in tasty gravy. And you get a lot of it, plus a lot of crispy onions. The chef tries to squash it down so it doesn't spill all over the place, and it comes in a waterproof paper pouch. Remember to grab napkins because you'll need them. Their recommendation is to skip the mustard, and I can vouch that it's