October 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.

29 October 2015

Cafe Mai Mai - My Favourite Pho Restaurant. NO MSG!

Often many people ask me what my favourite food in the world is. It's a really hard question to answer, but when I answer I think of the one food item I cannot live without. It's also the one food item I think about whenever I come back from a long vacation eating food from another culture. For me, it's noodle soup. It can be ramen, pho, chicken noodle soup, or fish ball seaweed soup. Any type of noodle in any type of broth is my absolute FAVOURITE type of food. <3

My friend Queen B recommended a restaurant called Cafe Mai Mai not too far from my home and she said their pho is spectacular. She also said they use absolutely no MSG and that once you taste the broth, you will understand.

Since my first visit, I've been back maybe 7 times and I bring absolutely everyone I know to my now favourite pho restaurant. This is the #2 Small ($7.95) and it contains rare beef slices (which gets cooked in the hot broth), tendon, tripe, and beef balls. You'll notice the broth is a bit darker in colour than the traditional ones we're used to eating. It's darker because the owners need to use more beef meat and bones in their broth to make up for the lack of MSG. What you'll get is a richer, more flavourful, yet cleaner broth.

Your typical bean sprouts, basil leaf, and green pepper.

I can't explain how delicious the broth is (just like Queen B), you literally have to taste it for yourself to understand what I'm talking about.

Cafe Mai Mai also has a stamp card so if you eat 9 bowls, you get the 10th one free. What I love is that you also have the option of donating you 10th bowl back to them so they can donate the proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society. I absolutely adore that idea and I think more local businesses should also adapt that. What an incredible way to promote giving back.

While I've tried their Vietnamese Coffee multiple times, I'm not a coffee connoisseur so I can't say whether this place has the best coffee or not.

For an amateur coffee drinker like myself, it tastes mighty delicious to me!

I also love eating the pho with their homemade chili sauce so I ended up buying one jar to take home for eight dollars. It's legit chili oil guys. So goooood.

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

Overall Rating: 5/5

Happy Eating!

In Japan, you must slurp your ramen.
                 Kirby eating noodles. How fitting!

Cafe Mai-Mai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

12 October 2015

Sawasdee Thai Restaurant - My Favourite Thai Restaurant in Vancouver

I feel like I'm getting to a point in my life where birthdays are just birthdays, and sharing a nice meal or experience with a close group of friends is all I need to feel celebrated. :) Anyone else feel the same? Anyway, that's exactly what I did to celebrate my birthday. My friends and I went to Sawasdee Thai, a restaurant I've been dying to go to for years but never had a chance to.
I've read about this Cho Muang ($9.95) on other blogs and totally got influenced to get it. I mean.. look at that detail on these little flower dumplings! To our delight, the meat filling inside these beautiful dumplings were actually really delicious and incredibly flavourful.

The Pad See Ew ($12.95) very much reminds me of the Cantonese dish, "Gone Chao Ow Hao" which also consists of stir fried flat rice noodles, egg and beef. However, there was something different about this which made it distinguish-ably 'Thai'. I don't know what that flavour is, but it made the dish mighty delicious.

These kinds of stir fried noodle dishes are easy victims of being overly oily, but this definitely was not the case. Two thumbs up.

We needed one more meat dish so I chose the Pad Ped Gai ($12.95) with bell pepper, bamboo shoot, and basil leaves in a chili sauce. The dish wasn't actually very spicy which was great for me and my sensitive palate. :P I'm a huge fan of bamboo shoots too so I was excited to see huge pieces in there along with the peppers.

Meta Knight mega raved about the Pad Thai with Tamarind Sauce ($11.95) last time he came so I just absolutely had to try it. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from it because I've NEVER once in my life, had good Pad Thai, so I almost thought I just didn't like the dish in general. Nope. This was dang good. The noodles were perfectly chewy, it wasn't too dry nor wet, and the prawns were large and plump. Needless to say, I've been converted. But I'm definitely only getting Pad Thai here from now on.

Something that's not pictured here is the Coconut Rice ($2.95). We ordered a bowl of that and it went beautifully with this Roasted Duck Curry ($13.95). This was a red coconut milk curry with fresh pineapple, bell pepper, tomato, basil leaves, and bamboo shoots. This is a MUST ORDER CURRY!! So friggin good.

Last but not least is the Pad Spinach ($8.95) which looks to be only sauteed spinach in a garlic sauce. Bleh right? Nope. This was amazing too... And we inhaled this as fast as any of the other meat dishes.

I rarely give restaurants a full 5/5 rating because it has to mean everything was PERFECT. Sawasdee Thai definitely deserve a 5/5 in my book because my experience WAS actually perfect. From the attentive service and the constant filling of water, to the bang-on dishes that made our entire table laugh and smile with joy, this is the place to be if you want excellent yet affordable Thai food in Vancouver.

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

Overall Rating: 5/5

Happy Eating!

friends animated GIF
                  When a restaurant is THAT good :D

Sawasdee Thai Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

9 October 2015

Taste of Yaletown (Preview) - Available October 15 - 29th

For those who love the concept of Dine Out Vancouver but can't wait till next January to try your favourite restaurants and get your prix fixe menu, you've gotta try "Taste of Yaletown"! It's very similar in that it's a two-week dining event showcasing dishes from 27 restaurants in the Yaletown neighbourhood. The menu combinations are offered at set prices of $25, $35, $45.

Annette O'Shea, Executive Director of the Yaletown BIA says "Yaletown is home to some of the city's best chefs, many of whom view Taste of Yaletown as a time to showcase their creativity. We're excited by some of the new restaurants in the area this year and are looking forward to seeing what the chefs are going to serve up this year for their exclusive Tatse of Yaletown menus."

I attended their media event and previewed Taste of Yaletown menus from two of the 27 participating restaurants. First up was The Parlour. The Parlour is an interesting place to be because you see business people coming here for a business lunch as well as cool hipsters drinking beers near the lounge area in the back.

They offer the $45 menu in which you can choose any two appetizers (excluding the cheese and meat board) and one pizza. These Ahi Lettuce Wraps ($15) had tuna, avocado, citrus ginger soy, mint, spicy ponzu aioli, and crispy shallots. These are also gluten free! :D

The Classic Bruschetta ($10) on thick white toast. Pretty standard.

Apparently this is their signature appetizer. I really enjoyed this Salmon Tartare ($15), but I mean, who wouldn't? It has perfect combination of steelhead salmon, seaweed, bonito, sesame seeds, ponzu, macadamia nuts, and micro cilantro. Anything that resembles poke is a tick in my book.

Stacked Short Ribs ($15)

These Meatball Minis ($11) were the bomb! It had Brioche, reggiano, tomato sauce, sambal, caramelized onion, and roasted garlic aioli. The head chef Matthew said they don't have a freezer or fryer so everything is as fresh as it gets. It was apparent with this ridiculously fresh and tasty meatball slider.

The signature Yaletown ($20) resembles the typical west coast palate. Albacore tuna, red onion, avocado, green onion, cilantro, and spicy aioli. I never thought about putting raw tuna on pizza so this was actually pretty eye opening for me.

I was the odd duckling in the group because I really loved their Standard ($20) Gluten Free pizza. The texture of the crust was nowhere as crispy as the regular wheat variety, but it was chewy, hearty, and totally up my alley.

This is a play on a pear, walnut, blue cheese salad. It's called Hamilton Street ($20).

The next tasting was next door at the Hamilton Street Grill. For T of Y, they are offering a $35 menu.

I believe this was the Chef's Creation Vegetarian Soup consisting of carrot and ginger. Everyone at the table thought this was unbelievable. Give me a big bowl of this with some (gluten free) bread and that can be my dinner.

The Red Onion and Blue Cheese Salad was refreshing but definitely not a huge standout.

As an appetizer, I love the fact that they have a Butternut Squash Risotto on the menu. It's a fabulous opportunity for people to try it out without choosing it as a main. I don't know about you but I always tend to gravitate towards the meatier protein mains versus vegetarian mains when eating a prix fixe menu.

Now this was a showstopper. It's the Icelandic Cod Saltimboca which is a pan seared and proscuitto wrapped black cod. Similar to a filet mignon, the proscuitto added a really nice smokiness to the fish.

The Angus Beef New York Steak was served with their Brandy peppercream sauce, and MY GOD it was delicious. They left the full peppercorns on the steak and it was just friggin amazing. Must get dish in my opinion.

This is a half portion of the Flourless Chocolate Cake with raspberry coulis.

Personally, this Taste of Yaletown event is great for someone like me because there are a lot of fantastic restaurants in Yaletown that I've never tried before. My hope is that I find a gem during these prix fixe menus and end up loving a restaurant I otherwise would've never known about. Time to check out their menus!

Happy Eating!

excited animated GIF
                                   I'm so excited!!

The Parlour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8 October 2015

Bistro Verde (Nordstrom) - Salads, Salads, Salads!

Since Nordstrom's opening a few weeks ago, their in-house restaurant, Bistro Verde has been packed with one to two hour waits during lunch hours (unless you make a reservation).  It may seem like a long time to wait, but if you have the entire Nordstrom to roam around, it's not actually that bad. :P

Bistro Verde is perched on the third floor of the giant fashion retailer and has a very rustic, wooden yet modern and contemporary design.

Their menu selection includes sandwiches, pastas, tapas, fish, and tons of delicious salad choices. You don't see too many restaurants with a huge selection of entree salads so it was awesome to see some really delicious looking options here. One thing I did notice was that every dish on the menu also came with calorie details. I personally love the knowledge, but I feel like a lot of people might not want to know how many calories are in their chocolate cake. :P

The interior is very spacious and open due to the floor to ceiling windows.

I can't remember what this soup was called but it was the Soup Du Jour (Soup of the Day). It looked like a tomato based minestrone.

The appy that really blew me away was the Ahi Tuna Poke ($14.95/ 280 cal)! It's definitely on the pricier side, but it's well worth it. The tuna was well marinated and exploded with the undeniable umami flavour.

Though I didn't expect much from the Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos ($10.95/ 620 cal) - I mean - when have you ever been BLOWN AWAY by tacos? I still found it really really tasty.

I don't know why but the Sauteed Chicken and Angel Hair Pasta ($19.95/ 960 cal) called my name. It consists of baby spinach, oyster mushrooms, super tender chicken breast, and roasted garlic tomato sauce with rosemary beurre blanc. The pasta was on the soft side but I didn't mind too much. My favourite part was the ridiculously tender chicken breast. Honestly if I could make it that well at home, I'd never have to eat out again.

Now this was a showstopper. Meta Knight ordered this and I couldn't stop eyeing it the entire time. And I mean.. the ENTIRE TIME. This Ginger Crusted Ahi Tuna Salad ($19.95/ 490 cal) with its blistered green beans, red pepper, seasoned wontons, candied ginger, soy glaze. and spicy thai basil vinaigrette is definitely a must get salad here at Bistro Verde.

Continuing on the salad trend, here is the Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad ($19.25/ 570 cal) with wild shrimp, petite tomatoes, grilled corn, pepitas, jack cheese, tortilla crisps, and cilantro lime vinaigrette.

You can see there is a trend of entree salads here. :P I didn't get to try this Herb Roasted Salmon Nicoise ($19.95/ 800 cal) but I will absolutely get this next time. I had a little taste of the 'smashed potato' and it was friggin delicious.

Last but not least is the Roasted Chicken and Avocado Salad ($16.25/ 1040 cal). It has rustic croutons, petite tomatoes, pickled french beans, radish, and roasted tomato dressing.

All in all, Bistro Verde is a solid choice for lunch and exceeded all my expectations. I went one week in and the place was bustling with hip Vancouverites, cocktails being served at noon, and automated blinds coming down the windows when it detects direct sunlight. This IS the place to feel like a million bucks so if I want to treat myself in the future, I'll buy myself something small at Nordstrom and complete it with some dranks and tapas at Bistro Verde.

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

Overall Rating: 4/5

Happy Eating!

friends animated GIF
                        growing up to me means

Bistro Verde at Nordstrom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato