Monday, August 12, 2013

Cruisin' California...with my hefty appetite in tow!

Hello, bonjour, ni hao, aloha everyone! It sure has been a while (7 months to be exact) since my last post.  Don't worry, I haven't reduced myself to subsiding on scraps and other generally foodie non-approved grub.  I have been continuing to satisfy my palate in each and every way...I just haven't made the time to document it

I recently made a trip to the land of Hollywood, In'and'Out burgers and all things amongst the glitz and glam.  I have been to Los Angeles numerous times but have only recently been able to venture out of the suburbs to scope out the culinary side of L.A.  With my ever-so-necessary food spreadsheet in one hand and some much-needed dining companions in the other...I was off to the City of Angels!

In chronological order, here are the culinary highlights of the trip (CLICK on each collage to ENLARGE):

Baco Mercat: beef tongue flatbread sandwiches, veal sweetbreads
Factory Tea Bar: condensed milk brick toast
Soot Bull Jeep: korean bbq (best shortribs and squid ever!!)
Urth Caffe (typo!☹): bavarian fruit tart and banana cream pie...sinfully delicious
Savoy Kitchen: curry beef brisket on rice, hainanese chicken...happiness on 2 plates

Monterey Palace: abalone and the best roasted pig suckling ever...(for my Grandpa's 100th birthday no less!)
Mama Lu's: some crispy crispy wish-I-could-have-one-more-bite beef pancake roll...
Milk: mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, array of red velvet based goodies and a blue velvet cake (you heard me!)
Green Zone: organic hainanese chicken 
Lobster Me (Vegas): the original "Maine" style lobster roll, lobster mac & cheese

Bacchanal Buffet: plate #1 :)
Earl of Sandwich: "Full Montague"
Porto's: still dreamin of those cheese rolls...
Disneyland: Dole Whip pineapple soft-serve ice cream and turkey leg
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa: grilled pork salad rolls, bun bo hue (lemongrass noodles in spicy broth)
In-N-Out Burger: 2 words: animal style...
Euro Pane Bakery: i love open-faced egg salad sandwiches!

tacos from an illegal taco
Boiling Crab: prawns in 'the whole shebang' sauce!
Bottega Louie: fancy macarons, tasty too!
Beijing Pie House: beijing style pan fried lamb pies
Yogurtland: cheesecake = best froyo topping
Seoul Sausage Company: korean corn bread, fried chicken, galbi poutine, rice ball, homemade sausages
Blockhead's Shavery Co.: black sesame shaved ice, condensed milk, oreo, rice balls...drool
Zelo: fresh corn, balsamic marinated red onions, smoked mozarella...on a cornmeal crust!!
Half and Half: the best 'boba' ever - so good I had 4 cups the whole trip - half pudding, half milk (and a whole lotta amazing!)

Welps, that just about wraps up my Cali gastro-adventures in a nut shell...(in 36 pictures no less).  From korean to beijing cuisine, the culinary diversity that L.A has to offer is endless.  Until next time...!

Bäco Mercat on UrbanspoonSavoy Kitchen on UrbanspoonFactory Tea Bar on Urbanspoon

Soot Bull Jeep on UrbanspoonUrth Caffé on Urbanspoon Monterey Palace on Urbanspoon

Mama's Lu Dumpling House on Urbanspoon Milk on Urbanspoon Green Zone on Urbanspoon  

Lobster Me on Urbanspoon Bacchanal on Urbanspoon Earl of Sandwich on Urbanspoon Porto's Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa on Urbanspoon  Euro Pane Bakery on Urbanspoon Boiling Crab on Urbanspoon Bottega Louie on Urbanspoon Beijing Pie House on Urbanspoon Seoul Sausage Company on Urbanspoon Blockheads Shavery Co on Urbanspoon Zelo on Urbanspoon Half & Half Tea House on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 3, 2012

You say 'macaroon', I say 'macaron'

oh, say, little discs
of sweet almond meringue bliss

...just a few of the more aesthetically 'unique' macarons I've discovered to date:

macarons clad in Vancouver Canuck hues
heart-shaped macs...♥
Rudolph's heart is as sweet as chocolate ganache..who woulda thunk? ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

You had me at...Alaskan King Crab!

 It came. I saw. We conquered.

Oh, spring. While images of butterflies a fluttering, chicks a chirping and bunnies a hopping are usually envisioned upon hearing about the arrival of this much beloved season, there's one very prominent thing that comes to my mind: Alaskan King Crab! Yes, I'm talking about the king of all crabs -that tasty, succulent crustacean that's highly sought after by diners and restaurant patrons alike during this time of the year.

On this night, the family was herded and called upon to congregate at Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant for the annual king crab feast.  I, along with my brothers, sisters, nephews and parents in tow, was ready to gorge the living legs out of those sea monsters! ...(And gorged, we did!)

First up were the steamed crab legs topped with raw minced garlic and green onion.  The meat was incredibly soft, tender and juicy.  And although I wished that the garlic had been more browned (and perhaps even fried), I still very much enjoyed picking the flesh out of these babies!

Next to arrive were the joints which were deep fried and doused in aged soy sauce, minced garlic, and onions.  I thoroughly enjoyed the hefty and meaty knuckles.  They were very flavorful and although, we hadn't ordered any white rice to go with it, it would've complemented and balanced the flavours perfectly.

Finally, the last king crab preparation was the incredible visually-pleasing (and equally as indulgent) Baked Alaskan King Crab Fried Rice.  Baked in the crab's shell (known as a carapace) and topped to its capacity, the fried rice was prepared in a Portugese style cream sauce.  The red bits you see scattered throughout is the carapace meat - which itself was a bit tasteless - but definitely served as a nice touch to the last Alaskan crab course!

Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant 嘉好海鮮美食之家 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All Hail the Caesar!

Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bing" 
Gonna drink my Caesar all day
Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang
"Gonna drink my Caesar all day

[my adaptation of Mortimer's bedtime song 
from a Robert Munsch classic]

For those who know me personally, you are probably aware that I have increasingly become quite the avid Caesar guzzler.  Yes, I'm talking about that uniquely spicy, wonderfully savoury and dangerously addictive cocktail.  Though a blatant rejector of Caesars at first ("Yuck! Clamato juice? Puke!"), I have developed a relationship where I just can't live without it.  Similar to the onset of your typical romantic comedy (where initial absolute disgust, between characters of differing personalities, turns into 'accidental' romance over time), I can vow that my love for Caesars will never subside

It is here, where I would like to dedicate my absolute affinity for this wondrous cocktail.  Visualize as I take you on a whirlwind tour on my magic carpet of Caesar adventures throughout Vancouver. I've had my fair share of Caesars in and around town, but these are more of the 'memorable' ones.  For me, a great Caesar has the right proportion of Clamato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and tabasco sauce.  It must also have an adequate amount of garnish (extra is always better) and just the right amount of ice.  

The Caesars below are based on a 5-star rating system (*****):

suspected secret amazing ingredient: pickle juice!
Rating: ****
"Neo Caesar" with kimchi!
Rating: ***
The Mill Marine Bistro
quail eggs and bacon, anyone?
Rating: ***½
♪ ...these boots are made for sippin'... 
Local Public Eatery
Rating: ***
The Sin Bin
'Make Your Own Caesar'
(as you can see, I went all out ;))
Rating: ***½
Cactus Club
what an aesthetically savoury line-up of garnish!
Rating: ****
Rodney's Oyster House 
hellooo, horseradish!
Rating: ***½
 'Rustic Caesars' with basil
Rating: **** 
The Keg 
(with request of extra beans :))
Rating: ***
Pink Peppercorn
(why hello you tasty buttered garlic prawn twinsies, you!)
Rating: ****

(garnished with steak rub spices, could've used more of a bit of everything!)
Rating: **½ 

(not enough worchestershire sauce, but still satisfying with the prawn and all ;))
Rating: ***

(love these chic tall slim glasses...and wish I asked for an extra prawn!)
Rating: **** 

chez moi :) 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dine Out Vancouver 2012

When Dine Out Vancouver (DoV) was first launched about a decade ago, I was thrilled.  Three-course dinners at a number of notable restaurants with $15, $25, and $35 prices? Sign me up! 

Unfortunately, in the recent years, DoV has been mostly a disappointment.  I guess with greater hype come greater expectations...and greater chances of a letdown.  First of all, prices have gone up.  Secondly, albeit the number of participating restaurants has surged in the past few years, I find that the overall, the course selection for DoV isn't all that impressive.  Thirdly, there's always the doubt of whether the quality of the food served during DOV is reflective of the quality you would receive had you dined at the same establishment on a 'regular' day.  I guess it's up to each individual to be the judge of that, but for me personally, the DoV fan in me has increasingly waned over time.

One place that is almost always consistently satisfying is none other than the beloved steakhouse, the Keg.  It is also almost the only place that I recommend for DoV.  The DoV value is awesome. Plus, you get free bread and comfortable seats - definitely a win-win situation in my books!

DoV stop #1: The Keg, Burnaby

my go-to drink...with extra beans to boot :D

Baked Garlic Shrimp
10 oz. Prime Rib with Keg Fries
Billy Miner Pie

 Keg Steakhouse & Bar on Urbanspoon

DoV stop #2: Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Radiccio salad with goat cheese, candied pecans, bacon lardons

Braised Lamb Stew

Nanaimo Bar Brulee
Our DoV experience was Oakwood was alright.  Portions were good and I enjoyed the appetizer and dessert.  The stew was overly salty though.  We had also ordered mussels and the burger off their regular menu.  I really enjoyed my super moist and juicy burger but the mussels were a little underwhelming with the broth being once again, overly salty.  I've also had brunch here and really liked it.  Overall, Oakwood is a great culinary establishment that's committed to serve fresh homemade food made from locally sourced ingredients.  I will return!

 The Oakwood Canadian Bistro on Urbanspoon