Saturday, December 12, 2009

Les Faux Bourgeois

More like: Les Genuine Bourgeois...(ain't no "Faux" here!)


btw: Scoe is back! :) .. watch out for metaphors galore...


Food

Yeahhhhhhhhh….what a restaurant! This restaurant was going down my throat like water running down a fountain, just running smooth to my stomach sound …mmmm.

We started off with some Rosé wine, which was nice, dry, and not too sweet! Smooth! In the appy department, we opted for the Escargots de Bourgogne in garlic butter sauce, which was something to die for - the snails were ready to set sail on the crispy toasted French bread slices, waving up and down in my mouth. So juicy! After, we dipped the extra bread in the garlic butter sauce. Simply phenomenal! Our 3 entrees consisted of the: Canard (Duck) Confit, Beef Tenderloin, as well as the Seared Scallops. The duck confit was crispy, tender, and juicy...while the beans and sprouts elegantly complemented the sauce it came with! Next entrée was the Beef Tenderloin, which was perfect. OMG, “perfect” is right!!!! Funny thing was: the server asked me how I liked my steak, I replied with: “Rare... but how rare is rare here?”. He then said, “The French only know one type of rare, that’s blue rare!” It was simply perfect because that is exactly how I love my steak- rare! Man, was it ever flawless – with a nice, charcoal rare taste, it raced to my mouth like a race car. Layed flat like a piano, while the tenderloin played my keys like Beethoven! Last entrée was the Seared Scallops with Almond and Butternut Squash Risotto and Amaretto Sage Cream (not listed on the menu, but rather, one of the daily specials).  It was so tender and juicy, I just surfed it, it was not overcooked…but just plump and perfect!

Although we were near full, J still had room for dessert. As a result, we both ordered an Espresso (with 2 shots of Kailua :) ) each, along with a Crème Brulee. The Crème Brulee was fabulous – nice creamy custard, while the Espresso was topped off nicely with swirls of whipped cream goodness. Always a nice addition...we couldn't ask for a better way to end the meal!

Service

Since it was a small restaurant and we sat in the middle (where the waiters were trampling back and forth), every time a waiter bumped me, they apologized. The service was great! So polite and nice.

Ambience

Very happening, nice upbeat beats playing in the background, something Wiz Khalifa and Elzhi could spit venom to. Loved it, very dark, with edgy paintings! It was simply, straight phenomenal.

Value

Very good and affordable, hence the 3 entrees! Portion sizes were excellent as well.

Overall: 9.5/10

(although J begs to differ – she gives it half a point less, but still an impressive 9/10)

Yay: Affordable and phenomenal French cuisine. ‘Nuff said!

Nay: Reservations may be hard to come by (ensure at least a 2-week-in-advance reso!)





Posted by: Scoe

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Society Restaurant & Lounge

So...sigh...ity

(btw, the tagline was supposed to be a "play on words" with the name of the resto - "Society", lol)


Location: Vancouver (Yaletown)


As the latest newcomer to the Glowbal Group family, I must say that Society has done a pretty solid job in the marketing department.  For the past few weeks, I've come across numerous reviews about it (most were positive) and recently, it has given me an even better reason to pay it a visit.  For the month of November, they were offering lunch entrees & appies at half price (!) and complimentary "junk food platters" during dinner time.  Luckily, I was able to take advantage of this amazing offer on the very last eligible day.

Food:


Society brands itself as offering upscale comfort food ...otherwise known as, "comfort food with a twist" (think Lobster Sheperd's Pie and Mac'n'Cheese Balls).  We opted for the latter as one of our appies, in addition to the Smoked Salmon.  The mac'n'cheese balls were essentially, little round spheres of nicely-packed macaroni and cheese (with a touch of jalapeno!), coated with batter, and deep fried. They were tasty, with my only complaint about them being a bit too greasy.  (Side note: Cheesecake Factory (in the U.S) has a lovelier version of this...or so I've heard (and believe!)  The subsequent smoked salmon appy was a nice balance to our meal (after the indulgement of the previously-mentioned calorie-laden mac'n' cheese balls).  There were 3 generous pieces of smoked salmon with accompanying toasted mini bagels, capers and cream cheese.


For my entree, I had the Loaded Prime Rib Burger - with bacon, sun-dried tomato aioli, caramelized onions and a side (green) salad.  The salad was nothing special, although I liked the fact that it wasn't overly-drenched in dressing.  The burger was juicy - beef was perfectly cooked (about medium-rare), with ample toppings and sauce.  It was enjoyable but I would've likely savoured it a lot more had it not been for...

(...the service!)

** I also sampled the Lobster Gnocchi (delish!) as well as the Italian Pizza (nice, crispy crust, ample toppings, a bit too greasy)

Service:
Service was shockingly atrocious (I could be overstating it, but read on and you'll see why).  Perhaps I had been expecting a lot more given: how bustling the place was, how much press it had received and just overall, the recent spurt in the popularity of the place.  But I should have known that, as with most of the other Glowbal-chained restos, emphasis is usually placed on ambience (and food)...and less so on service. 

There were several whammies that occured during our entire meal. I won't go into detail but basically, our server really seemed like he didn't want to be there (even admitted to us that it was his "Friday" (we came in on the Monday), forgotten our drink refills, mixed up my drink, forgotten or didn't even bother to include the (untouched) garlic bread into my dining companion's to-go leftovers and was basically m.i.a half the time.

Value:

As mentioned above, we had our appies & entrees at 50% of the cost.  At regular price, value doesn't seem too bad (although had I paid regular price, I would have a different perception of the value and worth)

Ambience:

Pretty.  I had made reservations prior to arriving and was thankful to have been given a booth. 

Overall: 7.5/10

Yay: Come for what they excel at: offering home-style food..."with a twist". Here you'll find lobster with your gnocchi, truffles in your mac'n'cheese...and so on and so forth.

Nay: The service. Don't expect spectacular....and location (it's in Yaletown)

Interesting Fact: It's situated in the ex-Coast location, and also a sibling (precisely, a baby!) restaurant to Trattoria, Italian Kitchen, Glowbal and Sanafir.



Posted by: J

Monday, November 23, 2009

Red Chicken

Beware of the red chicken...

Location: Vancouver (Downtown)

Food:

On this night, it was only my sole dining companion and I and as a result, we only opted for 2 dishes. 


One being the ever-popular buldak (heavily-seasoned spicy chicken) and the other, a heaping and generous plate of jap chae.  I had read several reviews that the name, Red Chicken, had originated from their specialty, buldak (which was literally, red chicken). I was well aware that if you happen to have a heavy palate for all-things-spicy, this was a must-try.  I, personally like spicy, but not too spicy.  Regardless, I was curious to see what the hype was all about. 

** I must note that the photo to the top is of the side dishes you would usually be given, prior to the arrival of your entrees and appies.  Pictured above from (top left) and going clockwise are: kimchi, scoop of potato salad, several pieces of cooked broccoli (with korean sweet spicy sauce drizzled atop) and lastly, marinated bean sprouts.  Different korean restaurants may choose to serve diff. types of items in the side dishes.

...Now back to the buldak.  It's interesting and equally as important to note that they give you plastic gloves in preparation for the buldak, lol.  As well, funny thing was that we were only provided with 1 set of gloves (between 2 people). (Had they expected to us to use only one hand (each) to eat the chicken? ...I suppose?!)

When the buldak arrived, I could already sense the scorching level of spice just by merely looking at it.  The dish was comprised of drumsticks and thighs, which I liked.  The spiciness didn't really kick in 'til a few seconds later...but when it did... BOY, it was heavily-SPICED, alright! It was soooo spicy that the thought of asking for a glass of milk crossed my mind for a split second - until I realize that this was a korean restaurant.  (Scoe has mentioned that milk can act as a huge spice-reliever and 'tis true!). The buldak was nicely marinated and I really liked the fact that it wasn't deep fried either (but rather, baked). I've had similar spicy chicken at other korean establishments, but it was however, deep-fried. 

As mentioned above, the jap chae arrived as a generous amount of nicely stir-fried and well-seasoned clear noodles, accompanied with nicely-thinned slices of mushrooms, onions, carrots and beef amongst other ingredients.

Service:

Our server was friendly and approachable.  Each table was also given a lil' buzzer for quicker service, although we didn't make use of it.

Value:

At about $15 for 6-7 pieces of chicken and $15 for a plate of jap chae (albeit huge)...I would say it's a little more pricier than what you would normally expect.

Ambience:

Restaurant was jam-packed on a Friday night.  It's also quite clean in there (probably because they've only been opened for about a year, give or take a couple of months.)

Overall: 7.6/10

Yay: If you're a daredevil of spicy foods, then the buldak is definitely a must-try. 

Nay:  It's in downtown, where parking can be infamously scarce. No korean bbq here either (at least I don't think there is!)




Posted by: J

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rainflower Seafood Restaurant

Chinese food at its finest...

Location: Richmond

Food:



I've never really been too "wow-ed!" by Chinese cuisine, partly because I am Chinese and have been exposed to it ever since I was little.  It usually tastes good, but not over-the-top mindblowing. Every restaurant tastes practically the same to me, more or less. Of course you're gonna have the extremes - either really bad ones or really good ones.  But generally, as ignorant as I sound, I feel that most are very similar, taste-wise.


Rainflower proved to be one of the most fine-tasting Chinese restaurants I've ever visited.  We came for a special celebration and thus, opted for the "Deluxe Banquet Dinner for 10".  The set menu was as follows: Assorted Hot & Cold Cuts Appetizer Platter (one of my faves), Fresh Fruit Salad with Shrimp Meatballs, Sauteed Scallops with Fresy Lily Bulbs, Shark Fin Soup, Lobster & Crab in Garlic Butter Sauce, Two Kinds of Mushroom with Greens in Oyster Sauce, Chef's Specialty Empress Chicken, Steamed Fresh Fish, Golden Seafood Fried Rice, Braised Yee-Fu Noodle in Abalone Sauce, and Dessert.  The Cold Cuts appy was comprised of: Jellyfish, Bbq pig's neck's meat, Hokkigai, and Beef Shank. Great combination.  The Shrimp meatballs were hands down, my favourite of the night.  It wasn't your typical deep fried prawn ball, but rather, an almond-encrusted deep fried prawn ball. Brilliant!  Everything else was very good, as well, including the succulent, moist crispy chicken.

Service:

Prompt and friendly. Great sense of humour from some of the servers...lol

Value:

Chinese food always offers good value, in comparison to other cuisines.  A scores in both quality and quanitity areas.  $388 for dinner for 10. About $40/person - which is about the price of an entree in a fine dining, west coast contemporary restaurant.  I would say this is a great value!

Ambience:

Super spacious restaurant, decor is very unique and different - huge, gold-trimmed chairs at the front, Versace-like looking dinner plates. You'll have to see it for yourself!

Overall: 8.5/10

Yay: Fine chinese cuisine. Fine decor.  They also offer quite unique-tasting dim sum dishes as well.

Nay: Compared to other Chinese restaurants of similar kind, prices may be a little high.


Posted by: J


Guu Original

Guu is ggguuuuuuu-reat!!!...

Location: Vancouver (Downtown)

Food:


Guu is one of my top 5 restaurants (only been to the ones on Robson & Thurlow) and I've have never had a disappointing experience there. Ever. It is definitely my favourite of all izakayas.


We had the Grilled Beef Tongue, Kimchi Fried Rice, Seared Salmon Carpaccio, Baked Oysters and Fresh Squid Tofu Salad with Spicy Cod Roe and Wasabi Mayonnaise Sauce.  The salad was a bit drenched (with the dressing), but it tasted ok.  Everything else was superb - esp. the Kimchi Fried Rice (my favourite!) Although a bit too oily, their fried rice is probably the best I've ever had.  My dining companion also had an additional mini appy known as Oden - assorted ingredients in a light, soy-flavoured broth. This time, she only opted for a deep fried fish cake (in the broth).

Drinks: Had the Cherry Brossum (Cherry Blossum - the "r" sound does not exist in the Japanese language). It was refreshing and comprised of Peach Snapps, strawberry (puree?) and a carbonated beverage known as Ramune.

Service:

Prompt and polite. Very welcoming.

Value:

Good and best value of all izakayas.

Ambience:

Super high on the noise factor - almost seems like there's a party in there every night.  You'll be greeted as you enter and leave, and have chefs/servers constantly shouting out orders - all in all, a super fun place to be for kicks, laughter, and food!

Overall: 9/10

Yay: Excellent Japanese tapas, hip hop happenin' place, polite and welcoming service

Nay: It's small and quite cramped, wait could take a while, not ideal for groups larger than 4+, perhaps not ideal for a romantic dinner/date

** Interesting Fact: They have 3 other locations as well!



Posted by: J






Monday, November 16, 2009

Cascade Room

Chill at Cascade ...

Location: Vancouver (Main Street)

Food:

I was blown away by the Mushroom Pizza on my first visit and felt compelled to order it again.  I've tried all sorts of pizzas from various chains and restaurants and I must say that Cascades' pies rank high on my list.  The (thin) crust was just the right amount of crispiness and definitely did not taste like cardboard (as many thin crust pizzas do).  It came loaded with mushrooms, edam and goat cheese, and fresh spinach ...on a pesto base - it was phenomenal, to say the least.  They are also known for their Polenta Fries - which I think are just ok. I also sampled the Calamari and they tasted fabolous. May order it next time!

Service:

Prompt and the server allowed for separate bills (even though we had a group of 20+). You know that's always a good thing!

Value:

Food prices were reasonable although drink prices are a little high ($9 for a cocktail).

Ambience:

Hip hip happenin'!

Overall: 7.7/10

Yay: Always a good choice for drinks (and grub!) if you're in and around Main Street. Above average lounge/bar fare is a bonus.

Nay: Always bustlin' with customers whenever I'm there. Could be a bit of a wait come peak periods.

** Interesting Fact: Habit Lounge next door is their sibling restaurant!



Posted by: J

Pattaya

Typical Thai ....

Location: New Westminster

Food:

We started off with the long-awaited Prawn & Crab Rolls.  These were mentioned as one of the 101 Things to Taste (Before You Die) in the relatively recent issue of Vancouver Magazine.  These babies weren't your typical spring rolls filled with prawn and crab...but also cream cheese. They were a delight and unarguably, the best item of the night.  We also ordered the Som Tum (papaya salad) as a starter (good) as well as the Tom Kai Gai (hot & sour soup with chicken).  The soup was average at best.

Entrees of the night included: The Gang Ped (red curry chicken) and the Pad Cashew Nuts -which was essentially, Cashew Chicken.  In accordance with how the Tom Kai Gai tasted, they were once again, average at best.

Drinks included a Mai Tai, Pina Colada and a pitcher of Sangria. Decent.

Service:

Ok -not the greatest. Had to remind the server for our drinks and she was absent at times when needed.  Only one server was working that night.

Value:

On par with the prices you would see at other Thai restaurants. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Ambience:

Small, cozy restaurant with Thai melodies playing in the background.

Overall: 6.8/10

Yay: Go for the Prawn & Crab (and cream cheese!) Spring Rolls.

Nay: Service is slow - only one server for the whole restaurant on a Saturday night.  Average Thai fare - nothing special.


Posted by: J

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brunch a la Galerie (CLOSED)

brunch and art? i'll take it...!

Location: Vancouver (Kitsilano)

Food:


I opted for the Chorizo Pamplona Benny this time around (I had the Eggs Florentine Benny the 1st time).  It was described as natural chorizo salami, steamed poach eggs, with housemade basil pesto (a nice change to the typical Hollandaise sauce). It was splendid. The chorizo salami was nice and mildly spicy.  The sides included were: fresh fruit, roasted potatoes, and greens.

Service:

Our server was kind, genuine and serene.  No complaints there.

Value:

$13 (pretty sure) for the benny - pretty much standard brunch pricing.

Ambience:

Pleasant and peaceful. 

Overall: 8/10

Definitely a great go-to brunch joint if you're in (or even, out of) the area.  The Brioche French Toast is a stand-out, as well.

Yay: Great place for weekend brunch - the art is a bonus.  It doesn't get very busy either (even during peak brunch times.)

Nay: They didn't have KETCHUP this (2nd) visit!...How could you serve potatoes and not have ketchup? As well, if it does happen to get busy, waiting periods may be lengthy. Not the ideal place for large groups.



Posted by: J

Monday, October 26, 2009

Teahouse Restaurant

Stanley Park's own culinary gem...

Location: Vancouver (Downtown)

Food:

My first dining experience here was pleasant, but not over-the-top mindblowing.  It was about a year ago when it was still known as Sequoia Grill.  I recall that the service was good, appies were great, but our main entrees were a bit of a disappointment (overcooked steak, medicore fish).  In addition, there was a big of a mix-up with our bill.  All in all, we felt it was a good, but not great experience.


On this day, I had come for a birthday celebration and upon arriving, I was told that they had just (very) recently changed chefs and menus.  I didn't quite know what to expect (as it could go either way), but was still fairly excited, nonetheless.  We started off with the Beef Carpaccio, Veal Cheek Tortellini, as well as the Salt Spring Island Mussels.  All were very good.  The carpaccio was typical melt-in-your-mouth goodness and the quail eggs added quite the nice touch.  The tortellini was good - although there were only 3 pieces.  The mussels were great - big, plump and juicy.  I must also mention that their bread was also very good and went very well when dipped in the mussel broth.  'Twas a great start.

For my entree, I enjoyed a nice, cooked-to-perfection, succulent piece of  Rib Eye steak.  The wild mushrooms and fingerling potatoes accomodated the steak very well, and overall, it was very pleasurable.  I had also sampled the Short Rib Pappardelle, Qualicum Bay Scallops (with Mushroom Risotto), and the Cassoulet.  All were quite tasty, as well.

Cocktails were nicely executed as well.

Service:

Good

Value:

Good - Portions of entrees were very generous

Ambience:

Fabolous - nice setting if you're looking for somewhere pleasant, calm with nice scenery

Overall: 7.5/10

Yay: Ideal for romantic dinner dates, I believe weddings are often held here as well

Nay: This is a possiblity that you could get lost here in Stanley Park and hence, miss the restaurant (well, we did! lol...)

** Interesting Note: Not only did Teahouse recently undergo a name change (from Sequoia Grill to now, "Teahouse"), they also now have a new chef in addition to a new menu!




Posted by: J

Mazuya Sushi

Maaad for Mazuya...

Location: Vancouver (Kitsilano)

Food:

This is one of our regular hole-in-the-wall sushi joints that offer, you guessed it, special rolls :)

We first started off with a Sashimi Salad.  This was perhaps the biggest let-down of the night as it came with only a handful of greens (you would expect at least 3 handfuls!) and a few pieces of sashimi.  At $7.95, we felt this wasn't worth it at all, and immediately made a mental note not to order it again.  We also had an order of Spicy Tuna and Spicy Sashimi to start.  Saucy, fresh and soothing to the palate, there were no complaints there.


The specialty rolls that we opted on this day were the: Mazuya Roll (unagi, avocado, cucumber, seaweed salad), Temptation Roll (mango, avocado, yam tempura, coconut shaving), Burrard Roll (prawn tempura, avocado, cucumber and spicy tuna) and Mango Roll (real crab meat, avocado, mango).  All were outstanding as usual, and filled with ample, fresh and tasty ingredients.



Service:

Friendly, although this seems to be a mom & pop operated joint.  Our food arrived in a timely manner, but, then again we were the only ones there at the time.  If you're expecting to come with a larger group, be prepared to wait a big longer for your food.

Value: 

At about $8-$10 (on average) for each special roll, I can't say it's too much of a steal, but it is on par with the price of other special rolls, that you would find elsewhere.

Ambience:

It's a little hole-in-the-wall, so don't expect much.  They do, however, offer cute, colourful pieces of paper as a means for customers to express their thoughts and opinions - you can list your favourite item, offer suggestions and even draw a cute picture of yourself! You can then clip them onto the string that's mounted to the mall.

Overall: 8/10

Yay: A wonderful little sushi joint that offers creative, innovative sushi rolls.  It doesn't seem to be too busy (during the times that we've gone), making it a great go-to spot if you're definitely wanting alone time and away from a noisy ambience.

Nay: You won't find "authentic" fare here and as stated above, it is probably not ideal for large groups.




Posted by: J

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe

Not just any ol' chocolate cafe...

Location: Vancouver (Downtown)

Food:







We first started with a nice, hot cup of Chocolate Chai. Prior to coming upon that decision, we had sampled their signature hot chocolate - the 1528 - and wasn't too fond of it. It was rich, and thick, but not too sweet (in fact, I think it could've been a lot sweeter.) It literally tasted like drinking a piece of melted milk chocolate bar (minus the sweetness factor.) I don't know how sweet the Spanish like their chocolate but we choose to stray away from the overly thick hot chocolate and thus, ended up with the Chocolate Chai. It was a good choice - nice and relatively lighter. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, it paired well with the sweets.




After minutes of indecisiveness, we finally decided on the Crema Cantalan, as well as the Churritos Con Chocolate.

The Creme Cantalan (Spanish creme brulee) was solid, although a lil' too eggy for my liking. The Churritos Con Chocolate came with 4 pieces of decently-sized churros, with a cup of chocolate fondue (which was essentially the 1528 that I had sampled earlier). The churros were excellent - fresh and tasty, although I wish the chocolate fondue was just a tad sweeter! I don't usually have a crazy sweet tooth, but mind you, even my dining companion thought it lacked the sweetness factor - big time.


Service:

Friendly, although it took (at least) a good 15 mins. for the creme brulee to arrive (which was already made to order, no idea why it took so long) and another 5 more mins. for the churros...(although this was more understandable since they were made fresh to order.)

Value:

It was about $15 for the three items - which isn't too bad. Not worthy of any praise or complaints, given the quality of their products and the location of the place.


Ambience:

The pleasant-sounding, soft, Spanish tunes in the background suits the ambience of the cafe well. They also offer free Wi-fi service.

Overall: 7.5/10

Yay: A great deviant from the usual dessert locales people often frequent, e.g, True Confections, Death by Chocolate, Cheesecake Etc. Dulcinea also offers an extensive array of varied desserts - chocolate cheesecake brulee, apple and cinnamon bread pudding, sugar cookies...even a cheesecake wrapped in fried tortilla!

Nay: I don't know if it's in the culture, but I think they have to make their chocolate just a tad sweeter. I know, it sounds silly, but the chocolate here just lacks the sweetness factor that you would minimally expect!



** Interesting note: Dulcinea is pronounced as "Dool-See-Nay-Ah" meaning something-along-the-lines of "sweetness" in Spanish


Posted by: J

Akari Japanese Restaurant

Location: Coquitlam

Food:

We started off with a Spinach Gomae. It held its own, however, it did not have the same great peanut-y texture as many other Japanese restaurants such as Kiku (Burnaby). Next came the Spicy Tuna Sashimi. This was great – although not “to die for” (as I’ve read from other reviews.) However it was easily the best dish of the night - loaded with a tasty dressing and sprinkled with sesame seeds – this was definitely a knight in shining armour since it saved this restaurant’s review (you will see why as you continue reading). It is also important to note that most sashimi dishes from other restaurants do not include a salad, whereas this restaurant did. In fact, it came atop a nice spinach salad. (You can’t go wrong with extra greens!)
Next in line was the Marinated Beef Salad. Now let me tell you, there was definitely no hurry for this dish to budge the line. The beef was the best part of this dish as it was nicely marinated and tender. The salad was mediocre. What kind of restaurant uses iceberg lettuce for a salad? There is absolutely no elegance in using iceberg lettuce. The dressing for this salad had a slight zing to it and almost tantalized my taste buds… almost! The Salmon Sashimi was fresh, which is always a plus!
Then came the rolls. These rolls were the biggest rolls I’ve ever seen in my life. They were HUGE! I guess this Korean-run, Japanese restaurant had watched too many Godzilla movies and decided to make their rolls specific for Godzilla himself. (Please see J’s p.o.v below for our thoughts on Godzilla type-sized rolls!) If you like gigantic rolls, then this is your place. If you are like me and prefer bite-size rolls then this is not a place for you. The first roll we had was the Green Field Roll. This was basically a California roll with cream cheese, topped with kiwi and showered with yogurt sauce. Sounds appealing but there was so much cream cheese that I had to remove some. The Pizza Roll was the best since it was bite-sized, very tasty, and baked like a pizza! It came dressed in mozzarella cheese with little cubelets of red pepper. This was the best roll and along with the spicy tuna sashimi, it may have saved this restaurant from a verbal massacre. The Butterfly Roll we had was just too big. Overall, the flavours were there , but they were just too big for my liking. Had the rolls been smaller, I’m sure the rolls would’ve been dynamite!

Service:
Nice and efficient!

Value:
$10 - $20 price range. The rolls are relatively cheap considering their ginormous size (but that’s only if you prefer huge rolls.)

Ambience:
Awesome! Authentic-like even though it is Korean-run. I love the Japanese atmosphere. From the private rooms to the fountain with the bridge (see picture), it was a nice ambience indeed. Plus, it was clean!

Overall: 7.5/10
All in all, this is a very solid Japanese restaurant. Due to my low tolerance level for gigantic sushi rolls, 7.5/10 would’ve been way too high of a rating if it weren’t for my 2 knights in shining armour ie., the Spicy Tuna Sashimi & Pizza Roll. Thank you to my knights :)


Posted by: Scoe


*J's perspective: I agree with the 7.5 rating Scoe gave to Akari. Akari was pretty much overall, a solid restaurant taking all things into consideration - food, service, ambience, etc...EXCEPT for certain rolls that were just too darn big (and unappetizing!) We are avid "special rolls" (atypical sushi rolls) hunters and have tried lots of different special rolls at various Jap. restaurants. We love the fusion between ingredients-that-you-would-never-think-of inserted into a maki roll (e.g cream cheese, kiwi, mango, papaya) or even different types of sauces drizzled on (black sesame sauce, chili mayo), but there are certain ones that just go overboard with the size and amount of ingredients they put in! (e.g the Butterfly Roll here at Akari.)

51 Things to Taste Before You Die ...

"Poor, darling fellow - he died of food. He was killed by the dinner table." - Diana Reeland

With Vancouver Magazine's recent publication of their (2nd annual) 101 Things to Taste (Before Your Die) issue, as well as West Ender's Favourite Things to Eat & Drink in BC issue, I felt that it was only necessary that I, too, compose a "things-you-ABSOLUTELY-must-taste-before-you die" list.
There are about 10 things on my list that you must, must, MUST try (e.g Phnom Penh's butter beef, Chambar's Mussels Congolaise) and the rest that are just one degree less of being a "must, must try!"


*** Have a read/skim for yourself...and let us know how many you've tried. I'd be amazed if anybody has tried 30+ out of the 51 mentioned...:)


(in no particular order)




1. Tomoya’s Flying Dragon Roll
2. Chambar’s Mussels Congolaise - (see photo to right)
        (for Scoe, it's the Mussels Vin Blanc)
3. Cru’s Cellar Door Caesar
4. Panago’s Steak Mushroom Melt
5. Medina Café’s Fricasse
6. Sanafir’s Naan with Humous
7. Fuel’s Fraser Valley Free Run Lamb
8. Japadog’s Teriymayo
9. Thomas Haas’ Double Baked Almond Croissant
10. Cupcakes’ Kookoo Cupcake
11. Market’s Soy-Glazed Shortribs
12. Mahek’s Butter Chicken
13. Guu on Thurlow’s Kimchi Fried Rice
14. Makoto’s Paradise Roll (see photo to right)
15. Le Crocodile’s Roasted Fraser Valley Duck served with Pan-Seared Foie Gras
16. Go Fish’s (Halibut) Fish & Chips
17. Fraiche’s Dungeness Crab Cake
18. Kingo's Miso Black Cod
19. Grounds for Coffee's Cinnamon Bun (with extra cream cheese icing!)
20. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Caramel Apples (the almond-crazy-coated one!)
21. Kiku’s “Winter Rolls” – rolls with baked chop scallop
22. Phnom Penh’s Deep Fried Chicken Wings
23. Phnom Penh’s Beef Filet On Rice With Egg
24. Phnom Penh’s Butter Beef
25. Sushi Town’s Alaska Roll
26. Sushi Town’s Spicy Tuna Sashimi
27. Kadoya’s Spicy Tuna Sashimi
28. Little Nest's Carrot Cake
29. Tenku’s Bukudanyaki Chili Mayo Takoyaki
30. Greedy Pig’s Pulled Pork Sandwich
31. Habit’s Sweet Carrot & Brie Perogies
32. Secret Garden’s High Tea (esp. their scones w/ devonshire cream & jelly) - (see photo to right)
33. Vij’s Lamb Popsicles
34. Purdy's Ice Cream Bar (white chocolate as coating, almonds as topping)
35. Crystal Mall’s Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup
36. Tomoya’s Volcano Salad
37. Cactus Club’s Bandura Salad
38. Cactus Club’s (specifically, Rob Feenie’s) Butternut Squash Ravioli
39. Chada Thai’s Red Curry
40. Juicy Lucy’s Tuna Melt (open-faced, topped with with sliced tomatoes and melted cheddar cheese)
41. Greedy Pig’s Arugula & Bison Salad
42. Bacchus’s Lobster Rolls
43. Joey Tomatoes’ Ahi Tuna Tacos
44. Joey Tomatoes’ Baked Apple Pie with maple walnut ice cream
45. Crave’s Organic Beef Burger (with blue cheese!)
46. Crave’s Popcorn Shrimp
47. Fraiche’s Scallop Carpaccio
48. Le Crocodile’s Roasted Rack of Lamb (see pic to right)
49. Pearl Castle’s Condensed Milk Thick Toast (with Almonds)
50. Dragonball’s Honey Green Tea Slush (with extra honey) 1/2 half pearls, 1/2 coconut jelly
51. Fuel’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

** My apologies if I've suddenly got you salivating, unknowingly, on your keyboard...hahaha...but damn, looking back .... this list truly reinforces the fact (yes, a fact!) that Vancouver, without a doubt, offers some of the finest cuisine in the world (...and am I ever thankful for that!)



Posted by: J

Pumpkin Fever

on the hunt for all sorts of pumpkin goodness...

I don’t know when this sudden infatuation came about...but I suddenly had the urge to go on a “pumpkin hunt” for all things pumpkin – pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin gelato, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin scones, and of course pumpkin pie. I didn’t quite get around to sampling everything but needless to say, the list of things I’ve tried were sufficient to relieve my fever…(ha, ha – lol!)


Pumpkin Gelato from Pane e Formaggio

Rich in pumpkin flavour…with little specks of what-seems-to-be eensy weensy pieces of graham cracker throughout the gelato….mmm


Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

A seasonal fall favourite…full of richy, spicey pumpkin flavour capped off with dusts of cinnamon and swirls of whipped cream...I would’ve eeeeasily downed a venti!


Pumpkin Cupcake aka “The Great Pumpkin” from Cupcakes

Although I usually ADORE cupcakes from cupcakes (because of their generous amount of frosting/icing/cream and their moistness level), this one was a bit of a downer. It tasted more like a muffin, largely because it just wasn’t as moist as other Cupcakes’ originals…though, the pumpkin buttercream was good

Pumpkin Cream Puff from Beard Papa's

Just like any ol' (delicious) Beard Papa cream puff, this was filled with pumpkin-flavoured cream. The pumpkin factor was sure there - although, a lil' too much for me? Kinda tasted like squash...but a good deviant from the original vanilla flavour one.

Pumpkin Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen


This was a bit of a disappointment as I thought that it could've contained a lot more pumpkin flavour, in addition to having chunks of pumpkin pie batter instead of pumpkin cookie (after all, it IS called the "pumpkin pie blizzard!"