September 2014 ~ Eating With Kirby

Mosaic Bar and Grille- Italian Chef Tasting Menu

The barely cooked runny yolk is meant to be popped and enjoyed along with the risotto...and enjoy I did. The golden lava coated every kernel of rice with its warm embrace and made the risotto that much more comforting.

Adorabelle Tea Room- Catching Up With the Girls

This is an Onion, Chive, and Bacon Savoury Cupcake. Even the icing was savoury! It was super delicious and was really innovative. Overall, the ambiance was great (loved the fake sky ceiling!), food was well thought out and executed, and the service was attentive.

Forage- Pretty Decent Food.

All six of us ordered their Award Winning Seafood Chowder with soft poached quail egg and crispy pork rind. While the soup was smokey, full of flavour, it was too thick and tasted a bit more like sauce than soup. The quail egg added a certain richness to the soup too which was nice.

Jethro's Fine Grub- That's Some Tasty Grub.

Overall, Jethro’s is an awesome breakfast and lunch diner serving up good eats with a twist. I most definitely will return for some alligator nuggets or pancakes!

Teppan Kitchen and Mambo Cafe (Aberdeen Food Court)- Crazy Sauce.

They serve this to you with a little sleeve around the plate to catch any splattering oil that radiates from the oven hot iron plate. If you are noob (hehe) at this Teppan Rice business, you can read the "How To Cook" instructions on the sleeve.

Basho Cafe - Quaint, Cozy, Delicious

You get the real deal here when it comes to their Matcha Latte. Served in a traditional Japanese bowl the way its suppose to be (not cup), its not only fragrant but it has incredibly depth. Be forewarn, this latte isn't sweet. There is no additional pre-sweetened sugary stuff here.

22 September 2014

Gyoza Bar and Ramen - New Kid On The Block

There's a new ramen joint on the block! I know, I know...most of you are probably thinking, could Gyoza Bar + Ramen, the sister restaurant of Miku and Minami, BE any more hyped up?! 

Regardless of its hype, I wanted to see for myself how great this place is. Also, I wanted to see if it could stand up against my high expectations knowing how amazeballs Miku and Minami is.

Meta Knight and I arrived at 1:30pm and there were a couple of groups waiting outside the door. Long waits already and it has only been open for a week? Only in Vancouver...

We ended up getting seats at the booth right near the front window but inside they have more spacious tables and an open kitchen.

Like many other ramen joints, their menu is simplistic with only a few ramen choices. They also have quite a few varieties of gyozas, though their most popular one is the Teppan Gyoza which is served in a cast iron pan. More on that later.

Meta Knight went with the Awase Triple Miso ($14) which came with broccolini, corn, bamboo shoots, half an egg, chicken cha siu, boy choy, in a 'vintage miso broth'. What does 'vintage miso' even mean? Anyone know?

He thought the broth was amazing and beyond flavourful. Everything else was just mediocre including the veggies, egg, and chicken. Nothing was bad per se, just nothing stood out besides the broth.

Though the ramen may look small in these pictures, it's actually quite filling because their bowl dips down significantly like an inverted top hat. It's a unique design, and I heard it was created by a local Vancity artist which is nice.

My Pork Tonkotsu Broth ($13.50) was also incredibly flavourful and aromatic. Probably one of the best Tonkotsu broths I've ever had! My only problem with it was the lack of toppings (I only got char siu, bamboo shoots, and a few pieces of kale). For thirteen bucks I feel like the ramen should be a bit more special than this.

First off, I applaud Gyoza Bar for making their ramen noodles in-house because that's really showing your commitment to this beloved noodle dish. However, both of us thought the noodles were a tad thick (kind of like Shanghai noodles) and chewy. It didn't have a good slurp factor so you had to use your teeth to bite it off every time.

 Last but not least is their wildly popular, Fraser Valley Pork Teppan Gyozas (7pcs/$8). I was disappointed at the presentation because it looked like they were just plopped on the cast iron haphazardly. However, it was served with an emami garlic soy sauce and spicy rayu and those were da bomb. All in all, an okay gyoza dish that certainly did not knock my socks off.

Final thoughts: Gyoza Bar is still relatively new so I will cut them some slack. They still need to sort out some kinks and I appreciate the server asking us for honest feedback on the ramen when he took away our plates. Their aromatic broths are a for sure win. They just need to go through each dish execution with a fine tooth comb to hit the spot on all cylinders.

Service Rating: 4/5
Food Rating: 3/5
Price: $$-$$$

Overall Rating: 3/5

Happy Eating!

20130909-ramen-hacks-new-burger-03-610px.jpg <-- ramen burger anyone?

Gyoza Bar + Ramen on Urbanspoon

17 September 2014

Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant - Sushi Sandwich?!

I always eat in the tiny strip mall on Cook Road (across Richmond Center) but I never had the urge to try the Japanese restaurant called Torarenbo. 

The exterior looks unappealing but surprisingly, it looked very different on the inside.

The decor reminds me of other Japanese houses in Richmond like Seto and Ichiro. It was completely different than what I expected going in (thanks Meta Knight for the recommendation :D).

I read online that people found their menus expensive. I went during lunch time and I actually found their prices pretty reasonable for the lunch sets.

Standard miso soup.

I liked how they left the teapot at our table. Makes for easy self-refills considering how tiny the tea cups are.

Meta Knight got the Sushi Combo ($11.95) which consists of udon, fresh fruit, green salad, tempura, nigri sushi, and miso soup.

The fish was fresh, though nothing particularly outstanding. Overall, Meta Knight enjoyed his set and thought it was a great value.

I got the Sushi Sandwich Combo ($9.75) because when have you ever come across sushi sandwiches?!

The set also included miso soup, udon, fresh fruit, and this fried squid/taro fried cake (I think).

The sushi sandwich was totally interesting and up my alley in unique foods that taste good. The 'filling' of the sandwich tasted like egg salad except made with cooked salmon. Combined with the crunchy tobiko on top, this was a winner for me.

I honestly had no idea what this was made of but it was executed well and left no feeling of grease.

Surprisingly, I really liked Torarenbo even though I was SUPER skeptical about it before going in. I say give it a try for lunch if you're around the Richmond Center area and want to sit down from some good Japanese eats.

Service Rating: 3.5/5
Food Rating: 3.5/5
Price: $-$$

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Happy Eating!

Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant 虎連坊 on Urbanspoon

11 September 2014

Tasting Plates YVR: West End Edition

It's another edition of Tasting Plates YVR! This time, its a foodie tour in the West End, all around downtown Vancouver. 

Curtis (foodobyte) was kind enough to bring me along as media and boy did we have a great time. It took us a full 2.5 hours to get through all eight restaurants.

We started our journey at the registration point: Marquis Wine Cellars. The two wines from Domaine de la Provenquiere were absolutely delicious. Both under $20 and not dry at all, that's my kind of wine.

Morocco West is located near Ebisu on Robson and has been a place I've always overlooked when around the Robson area. After this tour, I might just give this restaurant a try one night.

Here they served us Hummus, Zaalouk (eggplant), Chermoula Prawn, and Merguez Sausage Samosa.

The sausage samosa was out of this world and I would easily get this over and over again.

I've wanted to visit the Pappa Roti on Robson ever since I tried it in Seoul, Korea. They specialize in coffee buns with a crisp caramel topping that's unlike any other... the 'father of all buns' if you will.

I was kind of disappointed that they gave us only half a bun each because it was so good I wanted more! It came with two toppings (labeneh cream cheese and coconut jam) and a sample drink (Kara Ginger Milk Tea). The cream cheese was smooth, savoury and sweet all at the same time. I was in absolute heaven. Does anyone know where to purchase this type of cream cheese?

The bun, though deflated a little, was incredibly buttery yet airy. I understand why they sell one item and pretty much one item only. It's delicious. However, one normal roti bun costs $3.50 which seems a bit overpriced.

Pizza Fabrika has a really neat vibe to it. They serve 12" pizzas made with a sourdough crust and San Marzano tomatoes for their sauce.

We tried their Vegetarian and Chorizo, both equally saucy with fresh ingredients you can taste. They brought out the Margherita which also looked mighty tasty but they didn't give it to us. :( All in all, the pizza was good but I don't know if I'd purposely come back  again to have it.

Spaghe-Tei is a spaghetti joint with a Japanese fusion twist. Their menu includes items like Mentaiko, Barayaki, and Yakiniku, all unlike your typical spaghetti fare at say, Anton's.

I was pleasantly surprised by both the Mentaiko and Barayaki, as they were flavourful without needing to be saucy. They all soaked up an incredible amount of flavour in the cooking process and tasted true to it's name. The Barayaki tasted like a Sukiyaki hot pot pasta while the Mentaiko had a strong fishy roe taste (my favourite).

Honestly, Buck Stop was a disappointment for me. Not only did we have to wait in line to get in, none of the items they presented were any good.

Their Autumn Slaw on the left was missing salt and some sort of acid to balance the flavours out. The Corn bread in the middle was as hard as a rock, and the housemade smoked sausage on the right was grainy and too spicy.

Milestones on Denman is new and the location is fantastic as it sits right on Beach Ave overlooking English Bay.

The halibut was served out of a heating tray so it was not flaky or tender to the touch. Overall though, it was a nice dish.

My favourite was the Roasted Poblano Soup. It was spicy but not in the way where it just hits you in the face. It slowly builds and after four spoonfuls you realize you're sweating through your pores. That's the nice kind of spicy. :)

In a very unassuming location on Nicola street lies this cute little pop up shop called West End General Store.

The environment is totally hipster and they sell items that one would normally label quirky and eccentric.

For the Tasting Plates tour, Oollo Tea sampled their two cold brewed teas, Milky Oolong Gold and Red Jade Black.

Claire from Livia Sweets purposely collaborated with Oollo Teas and created some Oolong Macarons. They were absolutely marvelous. At this time she only has her macarons sold at a few places but she's definitely looking to expand.

All in all it was a great edition of Tasting Plates YVR and I'd recommend it for anyone wanting to sample a whole bunch of restaurants in a short period of time. I definitely wish some restaurants provided bigger portions though because some bites were so small, I could barely comprehend the flavour. At the end of the entire tour, neither Curtis or I were that full which really says a lot about the portion size considering we went to eight different restaurants.

Happy Eating!

Spaghetei すぱげっ亭 on Urbanspoon Pizza Fabrika on Urbanspoon Buckstop on Urbanspoon Morocco West on Urbanspoon PappaRoti on Urbanspoon Milestones Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon