July 2015 ~ 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.

28 July 2015

Boba Guys (San Francisco) - Horchata Boba and Thai Milk Tea

One of the districts Rae and I wanted to visit while in San Fran was the Mission District. It's an area decorated with murals and street art, delicious authentic Mexican taquerias, and hipster apothecary and taxidermy shops.

On our way I noticed a lot of people passing us were drinking bubble tea. They all seemed to have bought it from the same place, so I searched up the bubble tea place closest to where we were walking. Turns out, the ridiculously famous bubble tea shop called Boba Guys was right around the corner!

Unlike a lot of bubble tea places where you can choose from 50 different flavours and customize everything and anything, they have a set menu in place with only a few topping/milk/sweetness options. The Horchata Boba and Thai Tea TOTALLY caught my eye. 

The Horchata Boba (left) was a tad sweet for Rae's liking. I'd suggest getting it with 50% sweetness if you want the drink to be more refreshing than rich. On the other hand, I absolutely loved the Thai Tea (right). It was my first time trying authentic Thai Milk Tea and I am now a fan.

I hear it's really hard to make Thai tea because it includes ingredients like Ceylon tea, star anise, condensed milk, tamarind seed, and orange blossom water. It's something I'll never attempt to try at home so I wish Boba Guys would make its way to Vancouver because I promise I'll keep coming back for more!

Service Rating: 3/5
Food Rating: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4/5

Happy Eating!

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                  Thai Tea made me like...

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23 July 2015

HRD Coffee Shop (San Francisco) - Kimchi Burritos and Katsu Po' Boys

When Rae and I were touring San Francisco, we made it a point to hit up the ever famous HRD Coffee Shop in the SOMA district. Luckily, it was only a few blocks from the Airbnb we were staying at so we didn't have to bus. This place is located in a pretty unassuming neighbourhood with absolutely no flashy signage. It's definitely a hole in the wall alright.

HRD Coffee Shop was featured on Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives a while ago and right after it aired, this little family owned restaurant exploded with lunch hour line-ups down the block. 

We came right when they opened (10am) to avoid the lineups. Their menu is eccentric and is a combination of Mexican, Korean, Japanese, and American cuisine. You can get anything from Breaded Oyster Burritos to Japanese Curry Hamburg on rice.

We got two things to share which was a bad mistake. We could have easily shared one meal and be completely satisfied. Nevertheless, the food coma route was what we chose so we stuck with it and left nothing behind. This is the Kimchi Burrito with Spicy Pork ($9.95) and it's stuffed with spicy rice, kimchi marinated pork, cucumbers, kiwi (it weirdly worked!!), and daikon. This was absolutely delicious and I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

This is the Crispy Chicken Curry Platter ($11.25) with brown rice, wasabi apple coleslaw, and kimchi croquette. I've never had so many interesting flavours and textures on one plate before. I was especially surprised by the wasabi apple coleslaw. That thing was friggin delicious! Also, any place that serves brown rice over white rice is great in my books. ;)

Service Rating: 4/5
Food Rating: 3.5/5
Price: $$

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Happy Eating!

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             My friend and I when we saw HRD

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12 July 2015

Icepik Shavery - So Refreshing During the Summer

Icepik Shavery is another shaved ice restaurant on Kingsway, similar to Icy Bar. I came here on two occasions to try out their frozen treats since the weather has been getting really nice here. 

On my first visit, I came with Diana, Amy, and Curtis. We all tried to get different combos so we could try a bit of everything. On my second visit, I came with Meta Knight after a run and OH MY GOD it was amazing.

Meta Knight and I shared a Large Emperor's Pik ($6.85) which consists of matcha shaved ice, diced mango, grass jelly, rice cakes, and coconut jelly. This combination is fantastic and tastes even better with condensed milk (you can grab the bottle from the counter).

This is also the Emperor's Pik but in regular size.

The Fresh Pik'd Fruit ($5.85) is the fruitiest combination of all with mangoes, strawberries, housemade rice cakes, and mango jelly, all on top of mango shaved ice.

This one is called Penguin Pik ($5.85), probably because it's completely black and white. This one has black sesame shaved ice, rice cakes, oreo crumble, grass jelly, and pearls. It looks delicious but Curtis thought the sesame shaved ice was really bland.

I think the toppings on this ice pik combo is really good, but next time I might try this with a different flavour of shaved ice. Perhaps green tea or 'original' yogurt flavour.

The matcha shaved ice flavour is my favourite so I definitely would recommend that!

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

Overall Rating: 3/5

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             the weather is too hot to handle... :D
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4 July 2015

Hakkasan Bistro Cafe - MUST GET THE SOUP!

You know... sometimes I forget how much of a food crazed nerd I am until I hang around similar, like minded people and we ALL talk about one thing. Food. T'was the story of this Chinese Bites dinner at Hakkasan Bistro Cafe. Myself, along with almost 16 other food bloggers in the Vancouver area had the privilege of trying out this mom and pop restaurant and their specialty items.

Hakkasan is located in the most obscure place imaginable. It's literally at the end of No. 5 Road near River Road where all the industrial companies are. They've been open since 2007 and have just recently gone through a major renovation with dining room area.

When I first walked in, I marveled at their interior design. Such unexpected contemporary furniture from a little mom and pop shop on No. 5 Road!

We started off with the Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks ($20). It was very well executed and tasted kind of like BBQ Char Siu except with pork cheeks instead. The honey flavour was more prominent and the meat definitely had more 'snap' to it than regular pork.

This, ladies and gentlemen, would be the single greatest reason why I would bring my whole family back to try this restaurant. This is called Chef's Signature Whole Coconut Pork and Snow Fungus Soup ($22/coconut)

Even though this is not cheap by any means, the price is a direct reflection of the quality you'll get in the soup. It's hard to explain the flavour of the broth, but trust me, they were so complex it was like a friggin party in your mouth. You can also scrape and eat all the young coconut meat as well which were filled with chicken-y goodness.

This is another one of Hakkasan's Specialty dishes. The Steamed Specialty Odorless Lobster ($22/ half a lobster) is made with 'odorless' garlic which is less pungent and makes your breath less stinky. Even though this is cool, I actually really like pungent, over-the-top smelling garlic in my food, so I wish it wasn't odorless. It would've been nice to have the option of going with regular garlic! :D

It was served over a huge bed of unflavoured jasmine rice which was good but not flavourful enough to bring the lobster to the next level. 

The Ancient Style Salt Baked Chicken ($55) needs to be reserved in advance and is made with a technique I don't often see in restaurants. 

The chicken is marinated in over ten different herbs and spices, then wrapped and cooked in a traditional clay pot filled with coarse salt.

The salt keeps the chicken moist and juicy, while instilling a type of umami flavour that is impossible to replicate with any other type of cooking style (let's say, just rubbing the chicken with salt prior to cooking).

The chicken was OH MY GOD delicious and oh so tender. I got a breast piece and the white meat was so soft it tasted like dark meat. If I come back for a celebratory dinner, I am so ordering this again.

Another reservation only item, the Braised Pork Hock ($40) was tender and melted like butter in your mouth.

The Mui Choy Stirfry was not bad and filled our veggie quota for the night. I honestly didn't eat much of this because...why waste stomach space on veggies when there's so much meat in front of you!

As one of my favourite dishes of the night, the Steamed Egg with Pork and Duck Yolk ($18) is certainly something I'll order again. It goes great with rice and the addition of duck yolk/ground pork was a nice touch.

I'm personally not a fan of fried fish coated in sauce so I didn't really enjoy the Stir Fried Pickled Cabbage and Fish ($19).

For dessert we had the Steamed Milk Egg White Custard. It looks plain but it was done really really well. It was actually quite similar to the steamed milk custard served at the famous Australian Dairy Company in Hong Kong (post here).

All in all, I thought the food was fantastic and some dishes were truly one of a kind. I am super grateful to have been able to taste test Hakkasan's specialty dishes and I'll certainly bring my family back for more noms!

Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites to attend this media event for Hakkasan Bistro. My meal was comped but the opinions are all my own and unbiased.

Service Rating: N/A (we were here for a media event)
Food Rating: 4.5/5
Price: $$-$$$$

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Happy Eating!

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                      that chicken coconut soup was like...

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