Thursday, 20 August 2015

Golden Garden Vietnamese Cuisine

Went to Golden Garden for dinner tonight. We just happened to be in the neighbourhood around dinner time. I've been here a few times for lunch. It's an interesting little establishment.

It's one of the nicer looking Vietnamese noodle places in town. Fairly clean both in design and physically. Down those stairs you'll find the Chinese Opera Association (or something like that). The members gather there to listen to Chinese Opera. Sometimes you might hear it upstairs, but usually, the background music in the restaurant drown out the opera music.

No sticky plates here.

We both ordered the Bun Bo Hue, a spicy broth usually served with pork hock. Unfotunately, there were no hocks in our noodles. The broth also wasn't seasoned enough and definitely not spicy enough. We also thought that, in comparison to Pho Tan (Main & 30th), there wasn't enough meat while being more expensive.

I don't know why I ordered the Bun Bo Hue, to be honest. I think I was craving Pho, but it didn't even end up being served with Pho (face palm). What I should have ordered was their Vietnamese Sandwiches.

If you've ever been to Au Petite Cafe for their Vietnamese Subs and was amazed by how delicious they are, Golden Garden has comparable sandwiches / subs. They don't serve those fake thin sausage meat in their subs, but use actual meat. I like their Chicken one the most, my mom prefers their Pork Meatballs.

I definitely recommend trying out their subs and will try to remember to go back for their subs and not their Pho next time.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Cafe Salade de Fruits

Went to this community centre restaurant with some family tonight. When we arrived at 6pm, there were already quite a number of tables on the patio and most of the tables inside were reserved. Luckily, we also made reservations and were seated promptly.

One of us were a little late, but the server didn't really check up on us and we had to flag her down to order. Even then, she took a while. I don't think anything is computerized at all so everything you order would be written down on checks and probably written down again for the cooks.

I ordered the duck pate (Rillette de Canard) to start. It tasted nice and came with a side salad. Unfortunately, the pate was a little dry and lacking in fat. It tasted like bits of duck were packed together like a burger patty and not really creamed together like pate usually is. The salad was overly drenched in vinaigrette and was too acidic for my taste. Luckily, we had unlimited bread to go with the dish.

I ordered the frog legs (Cuisses de grenouilles) as my main dish. That butter sauce was like liquid gold, but too bad our "unlimited" bread wasn't refilled so I couldn't really enjoy it. The frogs were sautéed nicely: the meat was perfectly cooked and well seasoned. Although by the end, it was a little overwhelming and I couldn't get the garlic taste / smell off my mouth.

I also ate half of one of my cousin's rack of lamb (Carre d'agneau). It was cooked to a perfect medium rare and well seasoned. I didn't use any gravy that was served with it, but I was not lacking in seasoning at all. The lamb meat was tender and easy to tear off the bone. It came with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The vegetables might have been a little overlooked by the heat of being next to the mashed potatoes, but still nice to have with the meat.

My other cousin ordered the halibut (Fletan), and that was very well done. The halibut was tender but still had texture. The mushroom clam sauce was refreshing once you added that squeeze of lemon to it.

Another cousin ordered the mussels with fries (Moules et frites). Those fries were like a meal on its own. I'm glad it came with mayo and not ketchup. Also, despite what the English menu says, it's a choice between fries OR salad; it does not come with fries AND salad.

The mussels themselves were the star of the dinner. The server brought out a place mat for my cousin, then this big pot. Then she lifted the lid off the pot and all you got was this delicious lemon-y aroma. The mussels themselves were small, but they were so soft and creamy and the broth was very flavourful. Again, I wish they refilled the bread so that I could dip it in the broth.

Overall it was a good experience. I wasn't blown away but it's a solid restaurant with fresh ingredients. It's a little tight, cash only, but I'd recommend a try. I probably won't be returning though: I'd rather have French food from my French cooking classes.

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Ryu Sushi

Went to Ryu because we saw it online when we were looking at patio places on Main Street.

Decor is pretty typical- functional enough. 

We ordered tuna and salmon sashimi, tako sashimi, yam tempura roll, and the assorted aburi nigiri.

The tuna and salmon were okay. Nothing spectacular, not frozen, but not melt in your mouth either. They were sliced unevenly- knife skills need some practice.

The aburi sushi were okay. They were soaked in sauce so it caused the rice to fall apart. They didn't tell us what we got, but I suspect I can list them. The mackerel was overly sour, they must have really soaked them in vinegar to get rid of the fishy taste. On the bright side, it doesn't leave the fishy taste in my mouth like it normally does. The Saba was also soaked in sauce. I thought there was too much pepper, but you can at least taste the fish. The tuna taste was completely overpowered by the char taste. The salmon was the best of the bunch. Best balance of fish taste and char, but none of them blew us away.

Lastly, the yam tempura either didn't have enough batter, or it was soggy from sitting too long. Either way, there was no crunch. The tako was also not treated well. The skin was still very visible and the texture was mushy and chewy.

We came because it we thought it would be cheap based on the online menu from Zomato, but they've recently changed their menu. They don't offer half portions and they no longer serve ikura nigiri, which is the only reason I wanted to come. The online menu showed a price of $1.75 for each piece. I will gladly pay the $2.50 from Kimura if only to have tasty, well treated sashimi.

Won't return nor recommend.

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Friday, 7 August 2015

Zipang Provisions

We had dinner at Zipang Provisions on Main and 14th last weekend.

We ordered salmon and tuna sashimi, tako sashimi, Philadelphia roll, yam tempura roll, ikura nigiri, unagi nigiri, and chopped scallop nigiri.

The sashimi were ok. It didn't melt in your mouth, but it was decent and well presented. 

The tako was good, a bit of a crunch and not too rubbery or chewy. 

There was too much cream cheese in the Philadelphia roll, even for me, and I love my cream cheese, and the nigiri were decent, but definitely not as impressive as the ones from Kimura.

The yam tempura had no crunch, it was on the soggy side. 

On the plus side the wasabi was really good - very spicy. 

Overall it's a decent enough place, but it's a little on the pricey side. Better sushi can be had for cheaper at other places around the city. 


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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Kitchen

Went to the Kitchen for a work lunch today - excuse the blurry pics, I had to take them quickly before everyone started digging in.

The decor was nice - clean and simple.

We started with some Tweegum Mandu. They were very hot, but decent enough. By itself, it was a little bland, but the sauce helped give it some good flavour.

Then we ordered the Dolsot Bibimbap. It came with some hot sauce, but we didn't mix it in as some of us cannot stand spice. The stone was hot, creating some nice burnt rice we scraped off at the end. It was a good balance of veggies, meat and rice. I kind of wish the egg was just cracked on top like they do in Korea instead of fried and placed on top, but I guess we have health and food safety standards in Vancouver.

I also ordered the Soondooboo Jigae because I really missed it. We had it with seafood because I thought we had too much meat already. It came sizzling hot so I think some of the liquid evaporated - there wasn't enough soup to go around. It had lots of tofu in it though and tasted just fine. I think it could do with a little more salt though.

We also ordered the LA Galbi, which was very flavourful, very sweet. There was a good ratio of veggie to beef.

Last, we have the Dak Bulgogi. I think the flavours of this and the LA Galbi were the same except we had chicken instead. The meat was cooked perfectly and tender.

Generally a good meal. Price-wise, a little more than other Korean Restaurants, but I guess that's what you have to pay in the Point Grey neighbourhood.

Service was quick and friendly, tea was free and delicious. Lots of free neighbourhood parking. I probably won't return, but would recommend it if someone was looking for Korean food in the neighbourhood.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Grand Noodle Emporium

Had lunch at the nest today and decided to try out the Grand Noodle Emporium. For food court food, I "guess" you could say it's okay. Anywhere else and this place should be out of business.

We had the Crispy BBQ Duck Spring Rolls to start. They were okay. We wish the daikon was cut thinner and included inside the spring roll, as he spring roll was quite bland without it - like it was missing something. The reason the daikon and carrots would have helped was because they were soaked in vinegar and helped cut the richness of the sauce and the fattiness of the duck.

We also had the Hunan Pork because we heard the person in front of us say it was "really good". It was a disappointment. The pork was probably frozen as we had notes that were cold and bites that were hot. It tastes a bit like domburi with the egg and all, but lacking all the seasoning of a domburi. At least adding hot sauce and soy sauce seems to help.

Overall, did not enjoy waiting in line and in anticipation only to be disappointed. Mediocre food. At least sushi seems a better deal. Won't return.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Went to Kalvin's again (like the 3rd time in two weeks). This time, Kalvin invited us for an "omakase" (chef's choice) style dinner. $300 for ten people, we had:

Buddha jumping wall soup, with more dried scallops to make it more flavourful.

Pork leg with Bok Choy. Nice balance of textures between the melt-in-your-mouth fatty skin and the semi tough meat.

Sirloin and broccoli. Lots of garlic as you can see. So flavourful and tender.

Fried pancake. Always my favourite. Fried dry yet still moist, flavourful and full of textures.

Salt and pepper tofu. A little normal, but still good.

Seafood curry. Odd, but tasty. Wish it were spicier.

Poor person's stew / soup. Boiled for 3 hours, it was so flavourful and warm.

Sea bass, always good. Cooked to perfection, with delicious Chinese mushroom to go with it.

Pea tips.

Egg yolk fried crab.

The owner is so talented. He's had this restaurant for almost 25 years. Deserves a break, so much fun to be around. If you ever get to be friends with him, don't forget to bring him a bottle of glenfiddich.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Burdock & Co

Went to Burdock & Co for dinner with some friends. On my way there, I had a happy hour pint at Cascade and was told that Burdock has some really good food. Expectations were high. Was not disappointed at all.

The decor was what I would call "Rustic Chic" (learned that from HGTV). The stools looked like they would be uncomfortable, but was surprisingly comfortable for the entirety of the dinner.

This is a tapas style place - which usually means small plates, and they recommend two plates per person. Luckily, all of us normally eat half a plate so we ordered four dishes to share. We started with the Char-Grilled Morel Mushrooms, Pickled Cherries, Goat Camembert Cheese. I personally loved the dish. The mushrooms were flavourful and moist, and the goat camembert cheese was not overpowering at all. My companions, not so much - they thought the mushrooms looked weird and didn't like the texture.

I ordered the special of the night: seared duck breast with balsamic glaze. The duck was seared to a perfect medium. The flavour was subtle, but the balsamic glaze was strong. All in all, a solid dish.

My friend ordered the Spicy Tomato Glazed Bison Ribs - which I had wanted to order at first, before I heard the special. The meat fell off the bones, but was still a little tough - maybe that's just Bison meat for you. The flavours were great though.

My other friend ordered the Caramelized Pork and Fennel Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta. I think Pappardelle is my favourite kind of pasta. This was cooked perfectly al dente and was perfectly soaked in all the glorious grease of the pork . The pork was very flavourful, and very liberally added to the dish.

Service was great, we were told we only had a two hour seating period, but was never rushed. Constantly had our water pitcher refilled. Was well attended. I think I will recommend and maybe return.

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