Monday, April 18, 2011

Guu Garden

a Guuuuuu'd lunch (box)!


Kobe beef burger bento
As the latest newcomer added to the ever-so-loved Guu chain of restaurants in Metro Vancouver, Guu Garden certainly did not disappoint.  Recently, I have read that they now offer very reasonable priced lunch specials including rice burger bento boxes priced at $10 each!

On this day, I opted for the Kobe Beef Rice Burger Bento while my dining companion went for the equally-as-sound-appealing Tuna Cutlet Rice Burger Bento.  Each bento box consisted of the following:

- shrimp and avocado Salad (lightly dressed in a light creamy, tangy, vinagarette dressing with a mild wasabi kick, spring greens) * i enjoyed this 'side' the most

-tempura green beans (green beans in a lightly coated tempura batter and deep fried) *could've been crispier and better accompanied with a side of mayo (doesn't come with it, I asked for it)

-miso soup (with pieces of tofu puff and seaweed) *second favourite side

Tuna Cutlet with tartar sauce bento
-sweet radish (white radish marinated in a semi-sweet soy sauce) *it was ok, a good palate cleanser perhaps? lol

As for the main events...*drum roll please* the rice burgers were superb! They were both excellent and very filling! The Kobe beef was perfectly seasoned and cooked, topped with fine, shredded pieces of cabbage and teriyaki sauce.  The tuna cutlet was nicely battered and crispy, though a littttle bit dry.  Both rice buns were nicely executed and pan fried (?)

We also ordered a half order of their Salmon Oshi Sushi - 3 pieces of 'box' pressed sushi (very similar to the sushi they serve at Miku - can anybody say 'yum'?). The pieces here were a tad bigger but were equally as delicious.  The salmon was immaculately seared and seasoned, topped with a fine load of ponzu-sauced strands of daikon and topped with a thin wedge of lime. 

Strawberry Season ($5.50) - consisted of Cassis and strawberry puree. The ratio of each constituent was perfect and it served as a real nice refresher for a mid-day beverage :)

Happiness in a glass...


Polite and friendly - though it may be hard to convey your food/drink requests as there is a language barrier with most of the staff here


$10 for lunch box bentos - 2 thumbs up!


This location is definitely a lot more spacious than the Thurlow and Robson locations.  And as we all know, 'lunch time Guu' is a lot more different than 'dinnertime Guu' on the noise spectrum. 

Overall: 8.1/10

Yay: Great lunch specials, bigger dining space, salmon oshi sushi

Nay: Downtown - parking

Guu Garden on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

La Grotta del Formaggio

fresh, hearty, and easy on the pockets...what more can you ask for?


I call this "the J special"
La Grotta del Formaggio is definitely unique in the sense that not only do they offer ginormous sized made-to-order Italian type sandwiches but I particularly love the fact that you can pick your own bread, meats, cheese, veggies, and sauces, as well. My usual go-to sandwich is a concoction of half a Focaccia with edam cheese, hot salami, hot capicollo and loaded with all the veggies.  I generally like an easy amount of regular mayo and regular mustard (though I should switch up the sauces from time to time (basil pesto mayo, anybody?).  I also like how they add in balsamic vinegar and olive oil prior to loading up the veggie, meats, sauce, etc. for it gives your sandwich just that tangy taste that zings things up! Also love the assortment of veggies they offer (including roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, green olives) Lastly, I prefer it untoasted (though I should really try having it pressed and grilled for once)


Speedy and friendly


$6.50 for half a focaccia; $11.50 for a whole - easily the best value of all sandwiches (next to the cost of a Vietnamese sub (banh mi), of course ;) )


A grab and go Italian deli sort of a place, not much ambience nor is it expected

Overall: 8.5/10

Yay:  Come here for cheap, fresh, hearty, made-to-order monstrous sized sandwiches as well as other Italian deli pick-me-ups and other goodies (raincoast crackers, anybody?) Also a great place for those who like to "choose your own adventure" (and by adventure, I mean the sandwich-ingredient-selection process analogous to the kind of adventure one was out to seek in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from way back. Anybody remember that? Lol!)

Nay: It can be a bit of a wait come peak lunch hour times. They also lack some sort of a structured ordering system (no number tabs or anything) though I have never had a problem with this for there are a quite a few number of ladies working the deli counter! :)

La Grotta Del Formaggio on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pigging out in PORTLAND :8)

Hi all!

To sum it up, the gastronomical adventures that we embarked upon in Portland were beyond spectacular.  And by spectacular, I mean the fact that til this day, I still dream of those wings from Pok Pok's.  Unfortunately, time and stomach constraints prevented us from trying more but a trip back to Portland this summer is definitely in the works!  I feel an immediate need to sample more of the food carts, especially the more popular ones, since Portland is practically a food cart haven. As well, if some of the joints listed below seem somewhat familiar to you, that's because they are! This trip was particularly Food Network-driven (specificially, Triple D's aka Diners, Drive-ins and Dives driven).  To say that the overzealous disposition that Guy Fieri exhibits is an understatement.  The dude can make anything look and taste good, lol!

Please fasten up your seatbelts as I take you on a (though, short but) whirlwind tour of just a fraction of Portland's culinary gems!

These should seriously be renamed as "THE wings"

Pok Pok:

-Southeast Asian cuisine
-Arguably the #1 "must-eat" spot in Portland
-No resos accepted - sibling resto-lounge located across the street where you are welcomed to have a drink while waiting for a table at Pok Pok's
-Absolutely cannot miss: Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings - named one of the Top 10 Restaurant Dishes in America by Food & Wine Magazine in 2007 as well as the excellently-crafted cocktails

Overall: 9/10

Pork Belly Cubano

Bunk Sandwiches:

-Gourmet sandwiches
-Favourites: Pork Belly Cubano, Roast Beef
-very limited seating
-very busy during lunch hours though the line moves pretty fast!
-Overall: 7.8/10

Masu Sushi:

-modern setting in a very spacious room equipped with a bar housed in the centre
-Japanese fusion incl. innovative sushi rolls
Favourites: Mount St. Helen's roll, Japanista roll
-Overall: 7.9/10

Mount St. Helen roll

Voodoo Doughnuts:

-almost-guaranteed line-ups (we waited approx. 20 mins)
-the doughnuts themselves aren't the best in taste per se, but seriously, where else can you find Captain Crunch, Fruit Loops, bacon, etc. on a donut with names like ODB and other provocatively similar monikers...
-yes, there is a lot of hype about this place, that's why you need to come and see if it is worth all the hype! lol
-Overall: 7.6/10

Blue Plate Lunch Counter:

-Favourites: Northwest Sliders (Triple D-approved), Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Tomato Soup, House Sodas!!!
-I would call this place a definite gastro-diner (not your typical run-down, average-tasting diner)
-Overall: 7.8/10

Devoured and demolished! lol


Food Carts:

Aybla Grill:
-Mediterranean & Greek fare
-had a chicken gyro (didnt remember many specifics of it but remembered it tasted really good!!!)
-Overall: 7.8/10
Enchilada with beans & rice

Tito's Burritos:
-Enchilada Combo Plate (with rice and beans): less than $6
-authentic & delicious!!!
-AWESOME value!!!!!
-Overall: 8/10

The Dump Truck:

Mr. Ma's Special: pork, ginger, scallions
8 for $6 (not bad! I think we ended up getting 9)

-Delicious, homemade, generously-filled dumplings (more like potstickers!)
-Limited selection of dumplings
-Innovative ingredients: Bacon double cheese (yes! you read it right!), Portabellos, rice noodles and ginger
-Nice selection of accompanying sauces (always a 'plus' in my books!)
-Overall: 8.5/10


Posted by: J