Thursday, October 13, 2011

Return of the Pumpkin Hunt!

'Tis the season to bid farewell to the long, warm days of summer while welcoming the crisp and cool arrival of autumn. I feel extremely blessed to be able to live in one of the most greatest cities in the world - where seasonal change is so beautifully apparent in many parts of Vancouver.  To the foodie, specifically, the arrival of fall conjures up images and wonderful tastes of freshly pressed apple cider, warm pumpkin pie, and a bowl of hearty, homemade butternut squash tickle your Autumn taste buds :)

As you may recall, my first pumpkin hunt was quite successful where all sorts of pumpkin-based gems were tried, tested and true (oy, effective marketing car slogans does wonders).  From gelato to lattes to creampuffs - this seasonal squash did not disappoint at all! I enjoyed it so much that I decided to venture out again, with my pumpkin spectacles and all, in hopes of finding what other pumpkin goodies may await me...alas, here were some of my findings. 

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake, Trees Organic Coffee:
 -light and pillowy soft interior of the cheesecake
-nice thin graham-cracker crust
-top cinnamon layer
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake (left)
Pumpkin Cheesecake, Max's Deli Bakery:
-a little dense but still quite good
-not overly sweet

 Pumpkin Creme Brulee, Suika
-mini size ($3), seasonal feature
-perfect amount of sweetness
-less custard-y in texture, more pumpkin puree based, but still very smooth

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake, Sweet Obsessions
-best of the pumpkin cheesecakes tried so far
-the girl at the store described it along the lines of a "pumpkie pie coated in cheesecake"
-smooth and not too dense with a perfect balance of spices
-absolutely loved the nutty exterior coating!

added a touch of whipped cream for pleasure purposes :)
Pumpkin Spice Loaf, East Village Bakery
-incredibly moist 
-topped with icing sugar drizzles & walnuts

Pumpkin Spice Donut, Tim Horton's
-seasonal item
-a little too doughy, would've preferred a more cake donut texture

Pumpkin Braided Bread, Hyggelig
-topped with a brown sugar glazed
-tasted really fresh and soft but we all agreed that it was lacking the pumpkin flavour

Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cactus Club
-topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream (cheese?) and drizzled with sticky toffee sauce
-served incredibly warm and infused with nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin
-it was to die for and an excellent conclusion to the dinner

Pumpkin Macaron, French Made Baking
-named "Le Cendrillon" (Cinderella in French)
-filling: made with a white chocolate ganache mixed with an organic pumpkin puree made from scratch
-size was more bite size and smaller to the macarons from Thierry
-crunchy and delicate on the outside (though I found it a taaad too sweet) but a perfectly smooth tasting interior

the pumpkin ones were the only 2 that cracked, out of the 6 :(
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin and Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks
-thoughts on the Pumpkin Spice Latte can be found on my first Pumpkin Hunt post 
-the muffin was good enough albeit a little plastic-y tasting, lol
          -I didn't expect the muffin to be very fresh tasting, though boasting with pumpkin flavour
          - the cream cheese was rather boring, could've been enhanced but not quite sure

Pumpkin bread, nine bunnies baking company
-incredibly moist and not too sweet
-served with mascarpone cream and blueberries

 Pumpkin Pie Gelato, Bella Gelateria
-pumpkin pie was peeled, cooked, spice - all made from scratch and turned into gelato by the owner and gelato-enthusiast himself, James (he even holds a Masters in gelato making and attended Gelato university - take that!)
-amazingly refreshing gelato with perfect texture and taste

Pumpkin Ale Sorbetto, Bella Gelateria
-made from Granville Island Brewing Co.'s Pumpkin Ale (see below)
-unbelievable flavour - tasted just like it!

Kobacha (Japanese pumpkin) Waffle Sando, Miura
-kobacha custard cream with cranberry compote (seasonal Thanksgiving feature)
-the custard cream was good though I thought it could've been a little more sweet and thick
-I get the wanting-to-mix-two-seasonal ingredients here (pumpkin + cranberry) but together, it doesn't complement each other as much
-still tasty regardless - the kobacha custard cream would've paired well with something less tangy (though I don't know what? Any suggestions?)

Roasted Pumpkin Benny, Aphrodite's Organic Cafe
-with Goat Chevre & Goat Feta, served with home fries and garden greens
-eggs were nicely poached though the benny itself tasted a little bland
-skimpy potato portion, def. could've used a little more taters

Pumpkin and Pulled Pork taco, Off the Taco Wagon (food truck)
-seasonal feature
-pulled pork was nice and tender, adequately sauced and I thought it paired well with the roasted chunks of pumpkin

Phoenix roll, Kadoya 
-pumpkin tempura, salmon, imitation shark fin
-though the combination of these ingredients may sound seemingly bizarre, it wasn't so bad!
       - i enjoyed the sweetness of the pumpkin (it was most likely the Japanese kobacha pumpkin that was used) topped with the raw salmon and sweet and silky strands of the imitation shark fin 

 Smoothie, Aphrodite's Organic Cafe
-made with frozen berries, ginger, mint, OJ, pumpkin seed protein powder
-perfect consistency and thickness of how a smoothie should be 
-perfect proportions of ingredients and a great start to the morning!

 Pumpkin Ale, Granville Island Brewing Company
-brewed  with real pumpkin puree and a blend of various spices
-light aroma and taste
-some say it tastes just like pumpkin pie but I actually think the pumpkin taste is very minimal

Welps! That wraps up "Pumpkin Hunt pt. II"! All in all, a successful `Pumpkin Hunt`, I must say! I think I`m all pumpkin-ed out now and rightfully so! Lol...would`ve liked to try the Pumpkin Donut from Lee`s donuts (at Granville Island), as suggested by the food blogger: Greedy Guts.  Also was meaning to try the Pumpkin Spice Donuts, from Joeys, with the Dulce Leche Caramel Sauce pairing but one can only consume so many pumpkin things...until next Fall, it is!

Thinking of going on a 'Gingerbread' or 'Peppermint Hunt' for the upcoming holiday season...what do you all think? Any other festive ingredients that I should consider?

Saturday, October 1, 2011


suh-weeeet ka - my new fave izakaya...right behind Guu :)


Tuna takaki - Gently and perfectly seared.  I quite enjoyed the accompaniment of the homemade chili oil as it definitely boosted the dish's pizzazz factor!

Sashimi 'Shake' salad - This was initially brought to the table in a glass canister, then shaken vigorously for a few seconds by the server, and served on a plate.  I like the unique 'shake' aspect of the salad for it really ensures that it has been thoroughly dressed. Served with the fresh sashimi of the day, this is a guaranteed starter to any Suika meal!

Negitoro Battera - I love press (box) sushi. Love the regular circular pieces of sushi too but there's just something about the rectangular shape of sushi that makes is just a little more visually..and well, in taste as well (of course).  The tuna belly was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Kakuni Bibimbap - Stewed pork belly, sweet dried shrimp, scallions on rice served in a hot hot hot (!) stone bowl and mixed well upon arrival by server. Most def. one of the favourites of the night. Really enjoyed the tender adequate pieces of pork belly and the fiery smokiness from the concoction altogether. Yum!

Tako Karaage - the last dish that was ordered and also meant to be a 'filler' item.  The meaning of 'tako' totally bypassed me as I had pictured, and expected, ika (squid) karaage.  Tako (octopus) is a lot more chewier in texture and imo, less favourable.  Still, the batter was enjoyable but we could've done without it.

 (Mini) Pumpkin Creme Brulee - A seasonal feature (and one of the reasons for my return visit here! Stay tuned for an upcoming Return of the Pumpkin Hunt post!).  Most creme brulees are usually custard-y in texture. This was a little less so, perhaps due to the the freshness of the pumpkin? Still all-around solid. It wasn't too sweet and a great ending to our fabulous meal!


Another reason why I praise Suika so much is for their wonderful alcoholic (and non-alcoholic creations). Their Fresh Ginger Ale is exxxcellent! So thirst quenching with just the perfect proportions of club soda and fresh ginger and what other ingredients it may be comprised of.  Their Suika Soda (vodka, fresh watermelon puree, calpico, soda, lime) was also very satisfying.  Reason number 2 for my visit here was to try their Neo Caesar - a twist on the original Caesar cocktail but with kimchi! Definitely a hit.  Hope to see it on their permanent menu!


Nice, genuine service but service was a little hard to flag down as it was super busy


Our bill was a little over $70 for the 2 of us which actually isn't too bad for an izakaya! Prices are a little more affordable than their sibling restaurant, Kingyo, which I liked.


Quite the 'happenin' place-to-be (think typical izakaya ambience) with wooden chairs, tables, pillars all around, an open kitchen, a spacious bar, a party room in the back (I heard it's quite the show when a birthday takes place here).  They've got quite a nicely-equipped washroom too with mouthwash, tooth picks, and other handy washroom necessities!

Overall: 8.5/10

Yay: Come here for great Japanese 'bar style' (izakaya) offerings - food and drinks - and a definite grand ol' time!

Nay: Be sure to make resos, especially towards the end of the week - highly recommended!

**Interesting fact'Suika' means 'watermelon' in Japanese. Also, Suika is a sibling restaurant to the popular Kingyo, located in Downtown Vancouver (although I prefer Suika more) 

Suika on Urbanspoon