Sunday, June 28, 2015

Joey Restaurant (Brentwood)

Click to add a blog post for JOEY on Zomato After a filling 2 PM afternoon tea at Soffee Café, I was actually not hungry at 8pm when I met up with a couple of friends at Joey near Brentwood Mall.

The location is slightly tricky to find but you can enter through the mall entrance on Rosser Avenue, opposite the grocery store.
Inside, it's really quite dim. Even closer to 10 PM when it started to get dark out, lighting was skimpy at the upstairs patio. Otherwise the place is extensive and first impressions give it nice decor but the dim light makes it hard to get a proper look.

Korean Fried Cauliflower ($10) sweet & spicy korean chili miso, sesame seed
  • When I saw "fried cauliflower" I immediately thought of Nuba's Najib's Special and Jamjar's Makali. What I got was nothing close.
  • Was the cauliflower fried? Maybe, as it was softer than raw cauliflower, but it didn't have the same slightly-chewy softness and browned taste as deep-fried cauliflower. So don't have your hopes up for another version of the Lebanese-restaurant appetizer.
  • Tasted like sweet sauce: The chili miso sauce dominated everything, and that is expected since cauliflower doesn't have a particularly strong flavour and this appetizer doesn't have the deep-fried flavour of the Lebanese version.
  • Sauce really rather sweet, though masked by the spiciness. You'll really taste it when you are down to crumbs of cauliflower swimming in the stuff, so save a couple of bigger pieces for last, to scoop up the sauce -- or simply let the remainder go.
  • As appetizers go, price is okay for portion (about 2 cups of cauliflower?). But I feel it is really too sweet to be tasty and you are basically tasting just the sauce.
Orange Juice ($4.50)
  • I asked if fresh-squeezed juice were available and they said yes, squeeze from actual fruit.
  • I watched them pour this out of a non-descript bottle. It had the same muddy look like Tropicana. I can only assume that the juice was pre-squeezed.
  • Doesn't taste much better than Tropicana so this is not recommended if you demand fresh orange juice squeezed from an orange. Sure doesn't taste like a fresh orange.
Service was good considering our server said they were short-staffed. Noteworthy was how the server automatically divided the cost of one of our party's appetizers by three, probably because she saw that we were all sharing it. Turned out the person who ordered it wanted to pay for the appetizer in full. This one time it "backfired" (probably more fair to say it was unnecessary), but points for the server paying attention to what was going on at our table.

Fresh and refreshing high tea at Soffee Café

Click to add a blog post for Soffee Cafe on Zomato Soffee Café has a lot going for it that makes it such an ace place:
  • Location: Being away from heavy pedestrian traffic is actually a plus here. It's not so far from Granville and Broadway to be in an obscure location (not like BETA5, for instance). But it's on a quiet street that helps with the have-a-quiet-afternoon-tea ambiance, which is harder to do if you are, say, Neverland, right on busy West Broadway. The chances of, for example, nosy pedestrians staring at your food are about zilch. Plus they can have small tables on the sidewalk for outdoor dining.
  • Décor: Clean space that is gorgeously appointed. Even on your way to the romantically lit washroom (yeah -- go into the washroom and you'll know what I mean) there are beautiful paintings to give it an almost home-like feel. Plus comfy couches for slightly larger parties. Also a really nice touch with the golden plates.
  • Seating: Not that much seating, so you can't get the crowded feeling that you might get at some already popular afternoon tea places struggling to keep up with demand.
  • Food: Ace of course. And literally "mom's cooking" -- front of house Andy's mother is slaving in the back producing the fresh food.
They have cleverly distinguished themselves from other afternoon tea places in various subtle ways, not just in the composition of their afternoon tea sets. Gluten-free demi-tea set available.

VERY keen on not wasting food so if you ask them to prepare a certain number of tea sets, you will be nudged to honour that order. If in doubt, quote conservatively and allow your party more dining time: They can whip up another set if you give them approximately a half hour.

Ham & Cheese French Toast ($11.75) rosemary ham & swiss served with organic greens
  • As soon as I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to have it because, "how can French toast possibly cost $11.75). Turns out, this is actually an OK deal.
  • You get a fairly large ham-and-cheese sandwich, with a goodly amount of cheese. No skimping here.
  • Decently sized salad!
  • Look carefully for "Soffee" scribbled on your plate in sweet sauce.
  • This is a lightly filling meal for $11.75, making the price not bad if you consider net portion alone.
Afternoon Tea / High Tea ($39 full set)
  • No macaron! They are doing their own thing here rather than following the crowd.
  • Starts with fresh seafood and refreshing citrus!
    • Shrimp ceviche.
    • Scallop with refreshing citrus slices (lemon and orange)
    • Slab of lobster (volume about 1 Bic cigarette lighter) served similarly as the scallop
  • The rest of the tea set is all small bites -- even the scone, which is smaller than a ping pong ball.
  • Weakest item was probably a small yellow muffin -- dry and boring.
  • Nice items include a not-too-tart lemon tart, small chocolate tart, and mini crème brûlée.
  • Overall there was a strong sense of the items being freshly prepared and very well made.
They have been open for only just 5 months, so go now before price creeps up when demand increases. (The ham and cheese toast used to be $10.75 about a month ago and is now already $1 more.)

The small dining room means there is just the one server running both the take-out counter and the dining room. Service is attentive but larger parties (4+) should expect that preparing everyone's tea and plating everyone orders can take longer with just one person plus one chef in the back.

Ambiance + food + fair value + service = top marks.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jamjar Folk Lebanese Food

Click to add a blog post for Jamjar on Zomato It's really hard not to compare Jamjar to Nuba -- they even have a Makali appetizer which is similar to Nuba's Najib's Special except way sharper with lemon.

Speaking of which, it felt like most dishes had lemon. Sometimes a lot of lemon. Like Makanik (skinny lamb sausages) that were hot tubbing in some juice. If you got too much juice on your sausage, they tasted like lemon. It was that lemony.

Lots of vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten free options. However, there is only one vegan main; everything else has meat. And putting together a dinner with appetizers can be really pricey.

Decor and cutlery is an odd combination of weird (uncomfortable chairs that swing out) and homey (orange-coloured ceramic plates that look rustic). Interesting items to look at on the walls, and water poured from what look like some kind of olive oil pourer.

Taste of Lebanon ($38) hummus, baba ghanouj, mohamara, spinach dip; fattoush salad, makali, falafel (2), batata harra; choice of main
  • The most filling part of this is the rice you get with your main course. The small portions of appetizers plus provided flatbread can really add up, the Taste of Lebanon is actually pretty good for two people as advertised.
  • For the main, we chose Lamb Kafta (3 burgers of ground lamb, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, parsley, choice of rice).
    • Not sure I would have gone with the lamb if I knew it would be burgers. It is actually in the name: "kafta" refers to meatball / meatloaf.
    • Very filling from the rice but otherwise pretty average.
  • The "three courses" refers to the appetizers coming in two sets (the dips, and a plate of the rest) before the main (your third course).
  • The "cauliflower" is the same as about a half portion of the makali appetizer.
  • Spinach Dip -- Looks like pond scum but tastes okay.
  • Falafel -- Really decent! Creamy on the inside, very crispy on the outside. Ping pong ball sized.
  • Batata Harra (cubed potatoes tossed in garlic and cilantro) -- Fried potato is fried potato.
  • Price breaks down to about $20 to try out eight appetizers. If we assume the appetizers are half portions of a full appetizer order, this is $2.50 per half appetizer, which is a decent deal considering appetizers are normally around $8.
Hummus trio ($9.50)
  • Special of the day featuring the original hummus and two others with special flavours.
  • Could barely make out any difference between the flavours, to be honest. You will have to really concentrate on your food here.
  • Combined with the flatbread you get, there is the real possibility of this working out to a light meal all on its own and definitely a good vegan/gluten-free dining option without having to resort to ordering a main.
Makdous ($4) pickled eggplant stuffed with chili and walnuts
  • Sharp sour flavour. Swimming in olive oil (?).
  • Portion is maybe 1 cup's worth of small eggplants.
  • Interesting to try, but definitely pair this with something else milder. Best to get this to share with 3 people so each person just gets one bite of this appetizer.
Makali ($8.50) deep fried cauliflower, pomegranate molasses
  • Where's my pomegranate molasses? Maybe it's tossed in, but the flavour didn't make it out past what tasted like an overwhelming amount of lemon. Sometimes you can barely taste any deep fried goodness here.
  • Portion is maybe 2 cups (?).
Chocolate Indulgence ($8) peppery 70% dark chocolate and vanilla (?) ice cream with fresh mint
  • Three sticks (portion like a KitKat bar, but heavier) of dark chocolate studded with something (fruit? nuts?) and with a strong peppery flavour.
  • Generous amount of smooth white ice cream.
  • On its own, the pepper may be off-putting, so try a bit first. I recommend pairing with not to much of the ice cream, and definitely try to get a little bit of mint with the ice cream.
  • Decently portioned dessert at $8 and good to share with 3 persons -- 1 stick per person.
  • Could use sharing plates if you are sharing. Pick up a whole stick, scoop ice cream onto it. Watch for dripping (hence the sharing plates).
? ($?) Pancake with jam and cottage cheese
  • If you see this on the dessert menu, skip. It's boring -- mostly you just taste the jam.
We went on a weeknight at 8:30 PM. Place was still packed! Looked like just three servers on the floor and clearly overwhelmed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cheap lunch at Days Thai

Click to add a blog post for Days Thai on Zomato Days Thai Restaurant is totally nothing special to look at inside or out but taste and portion is really decent for the price: Under $10 lunches after tax and tip.
Apparently there are two cooks: The owner and another cook. My friend who took me there today recommended that when it's not the owner cooking, the food is better. (?)
Fresh basil leaves from live plants in their drinks fridge.

We went in for lunch and it was actually quite busy with the lunch rush and take-out orders. Many lunch specials come with coconut milk steamed rice, and vegetarian spring roll. (The proper kind of older style fat spring roll about 1 inch thick, not the skinny and thick-skinned-thin-filling ones that I'm starting to see at various places, such as Malay Family and Saigon Fare).

L31 Green Curry ($7.95) Green curry cooked with coconut milk, bell pepper, eggplants, sweet basil. Your choice of chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or mixed vegetables.
  • Very roughly chopped vegetables (read: large chunks).
  • Rice very nicely done. This is actually noteworthy after so many places that have given me rather sticky rice.
  • One large bowl of rice, one slightly smaller bowl of curry soup, topped with about a bowl worth of mixed vegetables (I opted for the veggie option today).
  • Filling for your money, but if you demand to see a plate with an even higher dish-to-rice ratio, then try the other dishes, such as L40.
L40 Chicken with Basil Leaves ($7.95) Chicken with basil leaves, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper and garlic chili sauce
  • Rated at 2-chili spicy on the menu, same as the Green Curry, but it seemed much spicier (or I happened to get a chunk of chili with the sample my friend shared).
  • Substitution was allowed -- my friend got her chicken swapped with beef at no extra charge.
  • A good amount of thinly sliced beef and mushrooms!
Overall, this is like mom's cooking food, at a great price. Anywhere in Vancouver you'd probably have to pay $12.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jagerhof has the market cornered?

Click to add a blog post for Jagerhof Restaurant on Zomato Jägerhof Looks really narrow out front but it's quite spacious inside. Also looks like a hunting lodge with no shortage of stuffed and mounted animals, so if you have vegan friends you don't like, definitely try tricking them into going in for a scream.

Price for what you get is pretty tough to judge here but probably the main thing that lets them get away with charging over $20 for modestly sided mains is the fact that when you are tasked to think of Germanic restaurants, your mind will probably go blank. That and their being in North Vancouver.
If neither of these are good reasons for you, then you will likely be wondering why they are priced like Yaletown restaurants when they are not in Yaletown. And no, it's not the quality of the food (heck, even many Yaletown restaurants don't have the food quality to warrant the prices they demand).

Just about everything comes with a fluffy pile of arugula with what appeared to be fresh parmesan (i.e., the flakes, not the powdered stuff you can get from Superstore). This makes your order look bigger than it is.

Pictures courtesy of A. and B. who probably would prefer to be anonymous.

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof artisan bread

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof swiss rösti

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof jägerhof platter

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof pork tenderloin

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof eggplant ravioli

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof vienna apfelstrudel

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof palatschinken

2015-Jun-17 Jagerhof blackforest cake
Artisan Bread Basket ($4) Artisan selection of organic stoneground breads, pumpernickel and rye bread with butter and sea salt.
  • We were asked if we wanted bread. We thought it was the complimentary bread that comes before your meal. Not that many restaurants do it any more, but the old school ones like Bishop's and Joe Fortes and probably every posh steakhouse in town that has $20+ entrees.
  • No price was discussed but it magically appeared on the bill. When she first asked if we wanted bread, she asked a second time to confirm we wanted it, but still did not mention any price. I thought this was odd at the time, but didn't realize how right my hunch was until I saw it on the bill. I count this as a sneaky cheat. That is like a patron having to confirm that water will be free. FAIL.
  • There is a reason why I did NOT order the "artisan bread basket" because I did NOT want really dry pumpernickel and boring rye bread and I definitely wouldn't have paid to have it inflicted on me.
  • We didn't finish this. Probably because it was really dry pumpernickel and boring rye bread.
Swiss Rösti ($15) Crispy, grated potato pancake complimented with Nanuk smoked steelhead trout, baby arugula, spiced sour cream.
  • You are probably paying for the thin slices of trout (about three ping pong balls worth) because there's just a single potato pancake.
  • The potato pancake sort of tastes like Pringles potato chips.
Jägerhof Platter ($24) Slow smoked pork chop, bratwurst and small schnitzel served with our special
sauerkraut, pan fried potatoes and mushroom sauce.
  • Slow smoked pork chop tastes like the ham you can buy at Superstore, except it is tougher and drier.
  • Bratwurst is a really tender sausage. You can get it seperately for $5. This was the only really decent thing.
  • Mushroom sauce was actually really decent -- very thick, and with slices of mushroom. Would have been even tastier if it didn't have flavour notes of having been burnt.
  • "Special sauerkraut" is marinated in white wine and vinegar. Slightly fermented, if you like your sauerkraut that way. Watch out if you don't.
Pork Tenderloin ($22) Wrapped in bacon, stuffed with sundried plums and apples, seasonal vegetables, red wine demi glace.
  • Four ping-pong ball sized pieces, plus asparagus, about a cup of red cabbage, and about a cup of pan fried potatoes.
  • Could not locate any sundried plums or apples, stuffed in the meat or otherwise. When I asked the waitress after, she said she thought it was in the demi-glace. Sorry -- FAIL.
  • Portion looked small for $22.
Eggplant Ravioli ($18) Eggplant stuffed with camembert, breaded with panko, served with baby arugula and spicy tomato sauce.
  • The token vegetarian option in this stronghold of meatiness.
  • Three pieces of "ravioli", which is basically a "sandwich" made of slices of eggplant.
  • Each "sandwich" is so thin you would be forgiven if you failed to locate anything significant in between. Instead of "stuffed with camembert", read the menu as "smeared with camembert".
  • Each eggplant sandwich is maybe 2 inches in diameter and maybe a quarter inch thick. That works out to $6 a piece.
Vienna Apfelstrudel ($8) Served warm with a vanilla cream sauce.
  • Pretty decent and portion is also pretty decent. The safest, culturally appropriate choice for this Germanic restaurant.
  • Where's my vanilla cream sauce?
Palatschinken stuffed with apricot marmalade ($7)
  • Basically, this is crepe with jam. Pay $1 more and get the brownie instead (see below).
Blackforest Cake ($8) Flourless, dense chocolate cake topped with drunken cherries and vanilla sauce.
  • Portion is about one hockey puck, except it's roughly cubic.
  • As brownies go, it's really decent -- super-chocolatey and delicious.
  • You're getting a brownie. If you're thinking of a classic Blackforest Cake like what you see in Superstore, it's nothing like it.
  • Token pitted cherries soaked in something. Red wine, maybe.
  • Sits in disgusting looking soup. I dare you to drink it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Joe Fortes Thai BBQ Chicken Blue Plate Special

Click to add a blog post for Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House on Zomato
I heard about the Joe Fortes lunch menu "Blue Plate Special" on a Yelp Review of the Day and invited a few friends to try it at 11 AM -- basically right when the restaurant opens.

Maybe because there was no dress code clearly / prominently indicated on the website, our party came dressed in a variety of casual outfits, including one person in just a T-shirt with a UFO logo and additional handwriting in ink (which he later explained to us as being from his orientation at the University of Waterloo). There was a case for his being under-dressed, but he was not intercepted at the door. (I am assuming here that he had not intentionally come under-dressed).
A latecomer to our table just had shorts and a tank top for the summer heat, and he was detained by the hostess at the front door and not allowed to enter the dining area because of their "dress code". It had been explained to him the bare arms had been the problem, though this may have been a judgement call by the restaurant instead of a hard and fast rule.
Why the other person in our party had not been detained was not clear as his level of dress was perhaps lower (what with the handwriting on the T-shirt). In any case, it was fortunate the restaurant had a contingency plan in place: They gave my tank-topped friend a black Joe Fortes T-shirt to wear while he was in the restaurant.

We had come to try the $9.95 Blue Plate Special, so in addition to some appetizers everyone ordered the Thai BBQ Chicken, which is the special on Tuesdays. It arrived with about a cupful of mixed seasonal greens diced into small cubes; and a small bowl's worth of plain white rice, which sat in the sweet sauce from the Thai Chicken and was thereby flavoured. The chicken portion was two pieces of thigh, bone-in, and each slightly smaller than a deck of playing cards; everyone got the same cut of chicken. The green rub was very clearly evident. The grilling was perfect, with the dark meat still tender and very juicy. Price for portion was actually not bad especially considering the venue, but I felt the plating made the chicken portion look small and disappointing.

I also asked for an order of Crab and Corn Fritters to share, and it was probably no an accident that there was exactly one fritter per person in the basket -- something I had not explicitly asked for, but which was certainly a welcome convenience for sharing. This point of attentive initiative, plus a courteous and pleasant waitress, in addition to prompt bussing and water being diligently topped up (even after we had all paid and were just lingering to chat a while) all added up to excellent service.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Vegan Pudding & Co. at the Shipyards Night Market

Click to add a blog post for Vegan Pudding & Co. on Zomato You may remember my post on Soft Peaks and how to properly evaluate what you get for the price you pay.
Vegan Pudding & Co. is going to be another of those posts.

If you are not vegan, there is not much reason to go. Price for portion is absolutely atrocious. Yeah, it's organic. But you get how much? A half cup for $4 after tax?
(And by the way, thanks ever so much for using plastic containers that remind me of urine sample containers at BC Biomedical Laboratories).


If you are vegan, beggars can't be choosers. Does Vegan Pudding & Co. have a tasty product? Yes.
Can you get more donut at Cartems Donuterie for your money. Yes. But you wanted dessert and you insisted on what omnivores can have but you cannot. So cough up $4. At least you won't be disappointed.

I got to try Vanilla (weak flavour), Strawberry (decently clear flavour but watery), and Matcha (interesting flavour! -- try this).

TIP: If you see their foldable cardboard spoons, ask for those instead of a plastic spoon. Much friendlier environmentally, and cost-wise to the vendor.

Gypsy Burrito from Gypsy Trunk Gourmet Fare

It's always nice to find lowest-common-denominator food that is tasty. In this case, vegan with gluten-free option food from Gypsy Trunk Gourmet Fare, which I tried at the Shipyards Night Market. They are pretty much the only clearly vegan cart around. For dessert, go into the big warehouse behind the live band and check to see if Vegan Pudding & Co. is there.

The Gypsy Burrito ($12) tortilla (whole grain or rice), Field Roast grain sausage (apple sage, italian, or chipotle), black beans, fresh cooked brown rice, grilled red onion, guacamole, cilantro, Daiya mozzarella, Frank's Hot Sauce, and either dried cranberries or tomatoes
  • Your choice of sausage. With the apple sage, to keep the sweet theme, they ask if you want to sub your tomatoes with dried cranberries.
    • I recommend you ask for this instead of boring tomato, for all your sausage options. Cranberries gives the whole thing an interesting light sweetness that juxtaposes the otherwise savoury item.
  • The wrap is big. Maybe 2 inches in diameter and maybe 8 inches long. Packed dense with rice.
  • I went with the apple sage for the sausage. I didn't find any sausage till 2/3rds of the way through, when I discovered some crumbly khaki coloured thing which I assume was remnants of the sausage.
    • No question the big wrap is filling. The mix of ingredients makes just this content pretty tasty. But for $12 I am expecting more value than that, so it was disappointing to not get any presence of sausage most of the way through. Even after I found it, there was too much rice for the sausage to really do anything.
The other burritos are $10 and you get either black beans or sausage; the rest is the same. For $12, you are getting both black beans and sausage. Since the sausage had no contribution, stick with the regular $10 burritos and ask for cranberries instead of tomato.

At $10, their burritos compete very favourably against gourmet burgers weighing in at $12+ with no sides. Definitely more filling for your money from simply having more filling inside their wraps.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Malay Family at the Shipyards Night Market

Tried two appetizers from the Malay Family food cart at the Shipyards Night Market. Before I go into my review, it bears reminding that every restaurant (and food cart) probably has gems and duds. And yes, sometimes you get two duds in a row. That does not mean the whole establishment needs to be slammed with 1/5 stars on Yelp or what not. It just means someone (like me) has saved you from ordering the wrong thing.

Spring Rolls (5 for $6.30)
  • These were almost as narrow as an El Monterey Taquito, and shorter. The result is a fairly thick layer of spring roll skin (over 2 mm?) and therefore only a narrow amount of vegetarian filling. Basically all you taste is cabbage.
  • The provided sauce is sweet and barely has any spicy kick to it. Nevertheless you will want some so as to have some flavour other than cabbage.
  • Nicely fried -- not oily on the outside.
Curry Puffs (5 for $6.30)
  • A bit smallish. Maybe two = 1 cup in volume.
  • Vegetarian potato curry filling was really decent. No sauce needed.
  • Skin a bit thicker than my mom makes, but OK.
  • Nicely fried -- not oily on the outside.
  • Price for portion is okay.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Uneven tacos at Yaggers

Click to add a blog post for Yagger's on ZomatoSome places have daily food specials, so if there's something you are interested in, or if you feel the regular prices there are daunting, you can try going on a particular day. Yagger's Downtown has a special every day, and on Wednesdays it is Pulled Pork Tacos at $2.29 each with purchase of a drink.

Thanks to my friend B, I got the picture below. I don't normally take pictures. We sneakily took this picture when the server was away. This was one of the very rare times I wanted a picture because it was just so funny at the time that the taco on the left appeared to had much less filling than the ones in the middle and on the right. What probably happened is they all had approximately the same amount of meat underneath the slaw.

2015-Jun-10 Yaggers pulled pork tacos

Pulled Pork Tacos (3 for $10.99) smoked pulled pork, bbq sauce & buttermilk slaw on flour tortillas
  • Tasty for all the wrong reasons: You taste the salty-covered-by-sweetness bbq sauce, and that's about it. Might as well have skipped the slaw.
  • Price is OK and comparable to La Tacqueria and other locations. Here you just get the one flavour, and stronger/saltier than the more authentic tacquerias.
  • Wet: Pulled pork is basically drowned in sauce, so watch out when tipping your taco as leaking is all but guaranteed.
  • The shell is big so the filling looks small, but the amount of filling is actually OK compared to tacquerias that use the smaller, thicker, shell.
    • The big shell actually helps you not make a mess since you can pinch together and fold over the top, making a wrap, thereby limiting spills to either end.
    • If you pinch closer to one end, you can make the end further from you narrower, further making it unlikely the fillings will toothpaste out the far end when you bite.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ripoff from Kaohsiung - Ching-Huang Mango

Over the last few days (June 5-9) at select grocers, "The Best of Kaohsiung" have been offering samples of their special fruits touted to have superior taste. I tried some deeply orange-fleshed mangoes there, and to be honest, they didn't taste too special.
Still, I decided to give it a go. There weren't many of the fruits left at IGA Market Place in Burnaby but I found a decent-looking mango and bought it.

It weighted almost 750 grams or 1.5 pounds. It cost $9.99.

$9.99 for a mango.

But wit! The bill said "You saved $5.00", so actually it should have normally cost $14.99. For one mango. That about $10 per pound.

The good:
  • It tastes decent. Like a mango.
  • The seed is very flat. So, their verbal claim at the store that the seed is maybe 10% of the total mass is true, at least for this one mango I bought.
  • There is no significant fibre from the seed throughout the pulp.
The bad:
  • It tastes just like a mango. Nothing special. Nothing to make we go "wow" or that I was happy to pay $9.99 for a mango when I could have paid $6.88 for NINE (9) pounds of Mexican mangoes at Superstore.
Want your mangoes substantially sweeter? Don't buy the sweet ones, not sour ones. Then cheat and add honey or sugar -- Instead of paying 13x more by buying imports from Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The question I'm left with is, "Should I buy anything else from IGA?"

Best of Kaohsiung
Ching-Huang Mango weight
Ching-Huang Mango inside
Ching-Huang Mango bill

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Java Jack's at the River Rock Casino

Click to add a blog post for Java Jack's Coffeehouse - River Rock Casino Resort on Zomato Java Jacks's offers so-so prices on food and drinks, but quality is also so-so. If you compare them to Starbucks or Waves and the like, then they are doing comparably with food, but failing on the drinks.

Chocolate Passion Fruit cake ($3.45?)
  • This is the chocolate dome in one of their picture slides on the website.
  • It is gorgeous, complete with silvery sprinkles, a delicate chocolate swirl, and a shiny chocolate "pearl" on top.
  • There is only a small amount of cake inside. The rest is chocolate cream, a goodly sized lump of passion fruit jam, and of course the chocolate dome.
  • It is way too annoying to eat. Everything is so sticky, especially the chocolate dome. Trying to move your plastic knife after you cut into it will immediately mangle it as well as get a quantity of sticky chocolate on the plastic. Don't even try to get a slice with all the flavours together.
  • The difficulty with eating it destroyed the pleasure I had in this.
Roccacino ($3.99? for 12oz)
  • Their version of an iced mocha, I guess.
  • Tasted watery.
  • Bits of ice kept jamming the straw.
  • Only one person out of the two at the counter knew how to properly make it. And shortly after we got our orders, I think she went on break. What would have happened if we had come in after she left on her break?

Count your lemons at the Richmond Night Market

There are several lemonade stands at the Richmond Night Market featuring freshly squeezed lemons. Before you buy, try to watch someone else ordering.

From one stall I got a $6.25 "jumbo" lemonade with lime flavour, and this is how they made it:
  • Squirts of green lime flavour
  • About half of the plastic cup was filled with ice
  • It was mostly filled with water
  • Then shaken to mix all the flavours
  • Then topped up with water.
You can taste the lemonade, but also that it was a bit too watered down.

Friday, June 5, 2015

More Fusion Wrap roti at the Richmond Night Market

At the official Richmond Night Market (near the River Rock Casino, but you can't do park-and-ride from the casino), stall F92 is More Fusion Wrap.

The basic idea is a wrap, but with a thicker shell using what looks like a green onion pancake, though with more fluffiness like roti prata. As a night market stall, they are under pressure to have a fast turnaround time, so the one I got wasn't properly cooked through, with some parts still gummy on the inside -- so you may want to ask them to please cook it carefully.
The thick wrap helps to make this more of a filling food item than most stalls at the Night Market, so if you want to only have just one thing to eat there, I recommend giving this food stall some consideration not just for portion but for interestingness.

The amount of filling you get is not really impressive, but my Kimchi and Beef with Cheese wrap was really tasty. The kimchi was weak but the beef was very moist and tasty and nicely done.

Rolls are $7, +$1 if you want cheese. I would skip the cheese, though you might want to seriously consider it if you are possibly getting the Ham wrap.

At $7 to $8, it is pricey compared to a big wrap from, say, Einstein Wrap House, but the combination of using the fluffy roti as a shell as well as the tastiness of the ingredients makes up for it.

Thai One is Thai High at the Richmond Night Market

Click to add a blog post for Thai One Asian Fusion on Zomato At the Richmond Night Market (the official one with the cartoony ducks, near the River Rock Casino)Thai One Asian Fusion is booth F19, calling themselves "Thai High", with a small selection of their menu.

Moon Prawn Cake ($6)
  • They use the restaurant picture, which is sort of misleading. The actual size of  the "cake" is about six inches in diameter and maybe a bit more than a quarter inch thick.
  • Very thin pancakes (like business card paper thin) of some sort sandwiches prawns together.
  • You get a lot of prawns. Little bit of filler just to paste the prawns together. No cheating here.
  • Because there's so much prawn, there's a nice sweetness to it that I definitely recommend you not use the sweet sauce that comes with it first.
  • For $6, this is just an appetizer portion.
  • Plain, but tasty. Get this if you really like prawns. Otherwise you might feel "cheated" by its plainness.
Crispy Spicy Chicken ($6)
  • When it just comes out hot and fresh, the skin is very crispy -- sometimes too crispy to pierce with a toothpick!
  • Generous with the watery, flavourful sauce.
  • Nice, moist, chicken.
Thai One / Thai High serves up really tasty appetizer portions at the Richmond Night Market for a pretty decent price.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cookie and Lemonade at Tractor

Click to add a blog post for Tractor on Zomato We were Looking for a nice, quiet, place downtown to have a late evening meeting, and boy is it tricky. If the eateries nearby Burrard Skytrain Station weren't noisy with the buzz of conversation, they were noisy with music. There's a 24/7 Tim Hortons where Bread Garden (and later BG Cafe) used to be and honestly that was a pretty decent choice except some of us wanted "real food". So we wandered into Tractor.

It's about 7:30 pm on a Tuesday evening, and it's pretty much dead. Which means you've got the whole place to yourself -- hurrah! And for the next two hours, we have our peace and quiet and privacy for a little writers' meeting.

The place itself is bright and white -- which means if it isn't clean, you'll spot it right away. Since we were the only ones there, they were kind enough to turn down the music a bit for our meeting. The high ceiling gives this place a suddenly-bigger-than-I-thought experience despite what you might think from the doorway as a pedestrian walking by.

For just a snack, I opted for their housemade lemonade and a gluten-free cookie. (It's 7.30pm and the place is dead quiet -- did I dare opt for food that was prepared for the long-gone dinner rush? Would it have been fair to rate them based on that?)

Blueberry Mint Lemonade ($3)
  • One of three options.
  • For $3 you get what looks like a Starbucks venti-sized glass basically filled to the brim with chilled lemonade. No cheating with ice as a filler either.
  • Not too sharp like a lemonade. Not minty enough (for my taste, anyway) to qualify for the word "mint" in the name.
Gluten-Free Cookie ($2.50)
  • Had so many adjectives I honestly can't remember them all except chocolate and pistachio.
  • Wow was this a decent cookie. Size is OK for a "gourmet cookie".
  • Chocolate and pistachio both came through. And they'd better because the thing looked dense with nuts.
  • Felt a bit fudgy-chewy. Not much of a cookie-crumb mess here. Can I give bonus points for that?
    • If you want a firmer cookie, throw it in the fridge. Still not much of a crumbly mess but it will be firmer and have good crunch.
  • Each pack has two thin cookies, adding up to a single thick cookie.
  • Gluten-free. So no flour? Look at it closely and you'll realize it's more like a chocolate bar dense with nuts, rather than a cookie.
It's "cafeteria style" so you buy at the counter and someone cleans up after you leave. In between, there's no table service. If you don't need to be waited on hand and foot, this is actually good for downtown because you get to sit down and not have to tip. (Is that cheating?)