Showing posts from June, 2015

Joey Restaurant (Brentwood)

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

Fresh and refreshing high tea at Soffee Café

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

Jamjar Folk Lebanese Food

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 ; choi

Cheap lunch at Days Thai

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

Jagerhof has the market cornered?

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

Joe Fortes Thai BBQ Chicken Blue Plate Special

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 b

Vegan Pudding & Co. at the Shipyards Night Market

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). BUT... 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 fo

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 i

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

Uneven tacos at Yaggers

Some 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. 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 skippe

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 w

Java Jack's at the River Rock Casino

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 1

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: JUST ONE LEMON 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.

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, +

Thai One is Thai High at the Richmond Night Market

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

Cookie and Lemonade at Tractor

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