eatwith.ROBINLEUNG.com http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com Eating Tri-Cities and beyond. Fri, 24 Jul 2015 00:36:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 #Gatropost100 Party http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/23/gatropost100-party/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/23/gatropost100-party/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 00:36:06 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2654 Gastropost was celebrating their 100th mission last night and they invited fellow gastroposters to a sumptuous party...

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#Gastropost100 Party

Gastropost was celebrating their 100th mission last night and they invited fellow gastroposters to a sumptuous party at YEW Seafood  & Bar at the Four Seasons Vancouver hotel. The space was small, hence, it was packed with people of all walks. (Mostly foodies all in one room.) The service was phenomenal and so was the vibe.

The one of many things that I like about foodies being in one room is NOT that they’ll eat all the food (which does happen, eventually) but that the camera gets to eat first and nobody will hurry you up. So here goes some of the bites that was served up tonight by Ned Bell’s kitchen at YEW.

Albacore Tuna

This is Albacore Tuna smoked with sea salt and a lime soy sesame. Couldn’t really taste the smoked flavour but the tuna was tasty.

Heirloom Tomato (*Gluten Free)

The Heirloom Tomato is a Gazpacho recipe, served cold.

Humpack Shrimp Spoon (*GF)

A tasty spoon indeed. Using Ocean Wise spoons (or reusing), served a humpack shrimp with lemon aioli. The spoons were re-used from the Ocean Wise challenge + as a treat we got to keep the spoon!

Green Garbanzo Bean Relish (*GF)

At first, I thought I was eating guac on a spoon. But then I read the menu, green garbanzo bean relish? As soon as I read “Green Bean”, I gulped. But after tasting it, not bad! Served with shaved Parmesan cheese and Cashew nuts.

Kennebec Fries and Truffle Aioli

Piping hot chips!

I don’t know how these were done (I mean, the fries, yes…) but the chips? These were really good! The iron plate was hot and the chips were hot. That’s probably why I had a sore throat this morning. But what the heck, these were amazing cause you know it can’t be done at home.

Seared Scallop (*GF)

These were hard to come by. But luckily I was able to get a shot of this before everyone dug their arms and hands for this. It’s a beautifully seared scallop with Vanilla bean dressing. The taste wasn’t as I had hoped, it just didn’t have that fresh seafood taste to it (for some reason).

Dungeness Crab Tacos

I leave the best to last. These were the best thing I had all evening. These Dungeness crab tacos were the bomb (w/ red miso, honey and radish). I couldn’t help but forked up a spoonful of the guac underneath. The tacos were crispy and the Dungeness crab complimented the taco very well, light and stringy.

YEW’s Ice Tea

I skipped the non-alcoholic drinks right from the start (sorry, not sorry)! But these were Ginger Mango peach and Berry tea.

Fresita Sparkling Wine

I was handed a glass. Sure, why not? It was a bit too sweet for my taste but after all it’s a sparkling wine. What can I say, right?

#Saminhand

Alright, beer! Perfect match with the food tonight. Thanks to Samuel Adams for providing their Boston Lager, Rebel IPA and Summer Ale for tonight’s event. I had the lager. Let’s just say one was enough. Wish I could’ve tried a few more but then I had to drive so one was good.

Mini BC Blueberry Tart

Last but not least, ending the night with soft served ice-cream. It was melting by the time it came out. Quite messy to eat but it’s blueberry season so this was a great treat to end the night.

Gastropost 100

That wraps it up! Thanks again, Gastropost for a fun evening! Here’s to the next 100!

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Gyo-O http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/20/gyo-o/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/20/gyo-o/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 20:27:59 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2645 I realized through my years of blogging, I’ve missed a lot of great places in Vancouver that...

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I realized through my years of blogging, I’ve missed a lot of great places in Vancouver that I have not had time to blog about. Yet, these are some of the greatest food I’ve had around town. So in the next little while, I’m going to revisit those places I’ve missed and write about these great places which I CAN’T BELIEVE I DIDN’T SHARE with the community.

Here goes! Gyo-O, part of the Kingyo group of restaurants in Vancouver and Richmond. Gyo-O is not your typical sushi joint. In fact, they don’t serve sushi. It’s all ramen, donburi, udon and the likes. But they are really good at it! This is one of our favourites in Richmond. We came on several occasions, so here’s just a “eat-dump” of what we had…

Spicy Tuna & Salmon Bukkake Cold Udon with Egg – $8.75

I love their poached egg here! It’s poached perfectly with a super runny egg yolk, the egg white is on the semi-clear texture and you can just see whites forming. This is a dipping udon noodles mixed with their special dressing instead of a soup base. Served with tuna and salmon. It wasn’t too spicy and was made perfect for the hot summer weather.

Tuna Mayo Don – $10

Exactly what it says, it’s a Japanese hot rice bowl with tuna and mayo. Of course the poached egg cannot be missed.

Salmon Carpaccio – $6.50

Aside from Donburi’s and noodles, they also have a selection of sashimi and side dishes you can choose to complement with your meal.

Assorted Sashimi Plate

Despite they do not have sushi, they have a selection of fresh sashimi on the menu.

Seafood Ramen Salad

Another great summer selection is their seafood salad ramen with chopped assorted sashimi and salad with sesame sauce on cold ramen. I never expected ramen and salad to go together, but surprisingly it does go very well. Mix it well with the sauce and you have a salad ramen!

Negi-Toro Don

Don’t underestimate the size of the donburi’s. It seems small but once you mix together everything, it’s actually pretty filling. The negitoro don was also worth a try. It’s like having a huge negitoro sushi.

Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)

Chicken Karaage with OnTama Don

 

 

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Port Moody First Annual RibFest! http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/11/port-moody-first-annual-ribfest/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/11/port-moody-first-annual-ribfest/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 09:12:40 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2648 It’s finally here! Port Moody’s first annual rib fest. I’ve seen banners and posters for weeks around...

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It’s finally here! Port Moody’s first annual rib fest. I’ve seen banners and posters for weeks around the city advertising for this event and thought it’d never come. I came on the first evening and it was packed with people, music and the smell of barbecue! Thankfully it’s a cooler weekend than the ones we’ve had before. It was good to enjoy a breeze.

#PoMoRibFest

Okay, so this is happening July 10th to 12th from 11AM – 9PM daily at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, BC. For those travelling by car, there is very limited parking. Test your luck to find a parking spot, but your best bet would be the baseball field down the street where it’s turned into a parking lot for the special event.

Community Event

Three days of delicious BBQ cooked by 5 of North America’s finest Ribbers, free live music from various bands (depending on when you go), enjoy craft brews from BC local micro breweries and family entertainment.

#1. Prairie Smoke & Spice

Well the name says it all, Prairie Smoke & Spice is from Regina, Saskatchewan. Prairie’s is Canada’s biggest winning BBQ team (more than any team in the country). The line was slow when we arrived before 7:30pm. Yet, we waited around 40 minutes before getting food!

Rob Reinhardt

This is our head chef at Prairie Smoke & Spice. Compared to other ribbers which had BBQ chicken and BBQ beef ribs, Rob only chose to do BBQ pork ribs (which I think is all you need, just do one thing good and one thing right). Their meats are hand trimmed, seasoned with their signature spice rubs and smoked to tender perfection.

Full Rack @ Prairie ($24)

The prices for racks are pretty much standard across all the ribbers. $24 for a full rack, $14 for a half rack, and $9 for 1/3 rack. Oh and don’t think forget to add BBQ sauce on the ribs when you grab it, just smother it all over. My brother and I shared a full rack. The sauce at Prairie’s was pretty good, a hint of spice and a hint of sweetness. The sauce was not overpowering at all, rather it complimented the meat very well. I also found that the ribs at Prairie were just slightly seared over the grill rather than roasting it under heavy fire (which some places had liked burnt ribs).

Gator BBQ

Gator BBQ

Gator BBQ’s been around since 1983 and have been touring Canada and the US.

Beef Brisket Sandwich ($10)

We tried their beef brisket sandwich. Maybe I’m greedy, but I was expecting a little bit more meat on a “sandwich”. The meat was fairly juicy but it seemed like it needed more meat to satisfy my $10 sandwich (or should I say “hot dog”).

Boss Hog’s

You can’t miss this one. They have the most “#1″ signs. Boss Hog’s originally form London, Ontario. This place also has it all, ranging from beef ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and pork ribs they have it.

Misty Mountain

Misty Mountain

One of the newer ones from Hinton, Alberta. But were their lines long.

Smoke & Bones

Smoke & Bones

Last but not least, Smoke & Bones. Like Prairie, their fire is low and slow. And that’s their way of cooking over wood fires and coals. This one’s got to be the most local of all from North Vancouver, BC.

Lineups!!!

Whatever the weather may be, be prepared to lineup! If the weather stays put, it’s going to be packed this weekend. But with the live music booming in the background and great company, time will just fly.

 

 

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Pepper Lunch (Canada Edition) http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/10/pepper-lunch-canada-edition/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/10/pepper-lunch-canada-edition/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 21:18:45 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2641 Location: 150-5951 Number 3 Road, Richmond (Central Richmond) Phone: 604.285.5933 | Web: http://www.pepperlunchcanada.com/ It’s been a long time...

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Location: 150-5951 Number 3 Road, Richmond (Central Richmond)

Phone: 604.285.5933 | Web: http://www.pepperlunchcanada.com/

It’s been a long time waiting for Pepper Lunch to arrive in Canada. For those who have not been to Asia, this is a fast food concept where you are the chef. You pick the ingredients and it comes to you with a sizzling hot iron plate and all you do is just mix it well so it’ll cook itself. According to “Pepper Lunch Canada”, the iron plate will heat up to 260 degrees celsius in 70 seconds and remain hot at approximately 80 degrees for more than 20 minutes.” Enough time for you to consume your meal.

Beef Curry Pepper Rice

Beef Curry Pepper Rice

I tried their beef curry pepper rice. This is basically their original beef pepper rice but with curry on top. You could really taste the pepper and the curry flavour comes out. The steak will be cooked to well-done in just a few minutes. Be real careful, the plate is hot and so is the food. I found the rice to be harder and chewier than normal rice (this was the only downside). Otherwise, it wasn’t bad. But I still thought the one I had in Asia tasted better. At Pepper Lunch, they also serve Chicken, Salmon and other seafood dishes aside from beef.

If you haven’t tried this sizzling plate, give it a try! Ordering style is order & pay first and they bring it to your table when it’s ready.

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Kessel & March (Brunch Edition) http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/07/kessel-march-brunch-edition/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/07/kessel-march-brunch-edition/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 22:02:44 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2603 Location: 109-1701 Powell Street, Vancouver (Grandview area/Powell & Commercial) Phone: 604-874-1196 Hints:  Street Parking Brunch on weekends Dinner (Wed-Sat...

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Location: 109-1701 Powell Street, Vancouver (Grandview area/Powell & Commercial)

Phone: 604-874-1196

Hints: 

  • Street Parking
  • Brunch on weekends
  • Dinner (Wed-Sat nights)
  • Closed Mon/Tues
  • Reservations allowed

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My fiancée and I have a thing or two in common, that is we both like having brunch (her more than me) and sleeping in on weekends. I’m not sure how I came across Kessel & March but it’s not one of those popular brunch places in Vancouver. And for good reasons. It’s not central enough. But being the adventurous me, I decided to try out this place. To my surprise, this place takes reservations even for brunch. That’s a PLUS 1! So being the foodie that doesn’t like waiting, I reserved a table for 2.

Surprise! Surprise! There was no wait when we arrived. So we were seated right away. I wished I could’ve showed you what the restaurant looks like inside, but for some reason I’ve lost all the photos I’ve taken on my trusty camera and now only with a couple of shots I’ve taken with my phone.

Whole Wheat Toast

Presentation is key. The toast came each with our brunch set. Their toasts are freshly made, however, I found it to be a bit too hard. (Crunchy in fact.) After about 2 pieces, my jaw said it was enough.

Meat Skillet ($14.50)

My fiancée ordered a meat skillet. It came with 2 baked eggs, ham, a breakfast sausage, potatoes, baked beans, half a tomato, mushroom and toast. I haven’t had baked beans in awhile, as simple as this dish was, it was good.

Fisherman’s Eggs ($12.50)

I had the Fisherman’s Eggs. I thought the portions would be small but surprisingly this was quite generous. It came with 2 poached eggs, clams, fish (plentiful) and in a saffron broth with toast. The saffron broth didn’t look too appetizing in the yellowish colour but it tasted flavourful.

I looked over the next table that were having crepes (drool). I already know what I’m getting next time. If you haven’t tried brunch here, this is definitely a recommend. Also looking to try their dinner menu sometime.

Happy Brunching! :)

 

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Hakkasan Bistro Cafe http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/03/hakkasan-bistro-cafe/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/03/hakkasan-bistro-cafe/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:00:35 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2626 #EWRL Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites for a tasting in some of Hakkasan Bistro’s Signature items! Opinions are my own....

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#EWRL Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites for a tasting in some of Hakkasan Bistro’s Signature items! Opinions are my own.

Hakkasan Bistro is a family-run restaurant in the outskirts of Richmond, BC. It’s very close to the International Summer Night Market, which is also out of Central Richmond. However, many good restaurants are hidden in the middle of nowhere. Isn’t there a saying, “if it’s good, people will come to you!”? Well, Hakkasan is one of those restaurants. They’re in the middle of an industrial area, I guess that’s a good thing there’s little competition. They have been in the location since 2007. But little did I remembered about the restaurant since they’ve had a makeover in 2013.

Bistro & Café

They are now a Bistro & a Café, offering the “grab & go” concept for those in a hurry for quick lunches or dinner. At the same time, offering their authentic, modern and trendy Chinese cuisine unlike anything in Richmond. Thanks to ChineseBites, a community of us came together and enjoyed a tasty dining experience at Hakkasan!

Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks – $20 (*Signature*)

We did not delay and started with one of Chef’s signature dish, Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks (Jowls). This is one of the best part of the pig, it’s marbled and tender. Marinated with the Chef’s special glaze. It was like Chinese Barbeque pork but every bite of it was juicy and tender. This item must be ordered in advanced.

Whole Coconut Pork & Snow Fungus Soup – $22 (*Signature*)

Think about 20 of these coming out at once! It was quite a scene. This is a must-try! A lightly roasted young coconut filled with tender pieces of pork, snow fungus and broth double boiled for over three hours! The essence of the coconut meat was infused into the soup, the coconut was no longer white inside.

The Coconut meat

The Young Coconut was so tender that I was able to scrape the trimmings right off. It came with a small dish of chilli soy sauce for dipping. Perfect combo! A great way to start the meal. However, we all thought this would make a great soup on a cooler day. (It was 30 degrees out!) This must be ordered a day in advanced as well.

Steamed Specialty Garlic Lobster w/ Jasmine Rice – $22/serving (*Signature*)

Drool! It’s not the lobster that is to be raved about but how they made it. The secret is in their odourless garlic. That’s right! It tasted like garlic but without the garlicky breath afterwards. How they did it? We don’t know and it was a secret indeed. Everyone had half a lobster and underneath it was a bed of jasmine rice which soaked in all the wonderful flavours of the lobster. It was A-MAZING! Really loved the rice, for someone that doesn’t eat rice too often I had to have an extra bowl just because of it.

Anicent Style Hakka Salt Baked Chicken – $55 (*Signature*)

Guess what this is?! Well, I guess I’ve already given it away. But just looking at the dish unwrapped was exciting. The chicken is marinated with a blend of ten different flavourful Chinese herbs and spices. Then, it gets wrapped in parchment paper, placed in a clay pot with piping hot coarse salt and then baked to perfection! Sounds easy, right? Of course it does, this ancient and rustic slow-baking technique ensures the chicken is moist and enhances the flavours of the chicken.

Ancient Style Salt Baked Chicken

Props to @Foodology for allowing me to get this great shot by stopping the excessive light coming in.

Ancient Style Hakka Baked Chicken

Thoughts? The breast just didn’t have as enough taste as the outer parts of the chicken. I had a wing and it was flavourful! So depending on which part you get, this dish didn’t jump out to me other than the presentation. Must be ordered a day in advanced.

Braised Pork Hock – $40 (*Signature*)

The braised pork hock was another highlight of the night. It was tender and full of flavours. It is glazed in Chef’s signature sweet braise sauce and served with a bed of greens. Must be ordered a day in advanced.

Steamed Mini Flour Rolls

I’m not sure if it was made to compliment but having the mini flour rolls with the pork hock was excellent! I found the pork hock flavours to be too strong by itself and hence, the flour rolls were just great with it! The best part of the dish is that it did not feel greasy (fatty) at all.

Mui Choy Stir fry Seasonal Greens

By now, I was pretty full. But must finish! The mui choy is a delicacy for Hakka people I suppose. It’s basically a preserved vegetable that is on the sweet side. Never thought about this combo before, but it actually tasted good.

Hakka Homestyle Steamed Egg, Pork with Duck Yolk – $18

I could’ve had just this and a bowl of rice and I’d be satisfied. Steamed egg is a very homestyle dish. The steamed egg was silky and smooth. Treasured underneath is bite-sizes of minced pork and topped with crumbled duck yolk.

Stir fry Fish with Pickled Cabbage – $19

I’m not a huge fan of pickled vegetables. But this was refreshing under the heat, though we were luckily air-conditioned. The fish wasn’t fishy and the pickled vegetables wasn’t overpowering.

Steamed Milk Egg White Custard

To end it off, we had a steamed milk egg white custard. A light way to end dinner. Perfection! There we go, all 10 courses!

Complimentary Red/White

Almost forgot! We each had a glass of red or white wine. Looking at the menu, I chose white over red. And was glad I did. One of the sweeter whites I’ve had, and one of their favourites at Hakkasan.

This restaurant has changed a lot since my last visit (a long, long time ag0). It was a smaller restaurant back then and with only set menus. But now, it’s grown bigger with more offerings but no sacrifice in the quality they serve. I’d totally recommend checking out Hakkasan’s signature dishes if you can fork out a little extra for quality & specialty. (UPDATE: For those who don’t want to break the bank, they also offer custom tasting menu to your budget and preference.) Service was top-notch. We were well taken care of all evening (aka my glass was never empty). Everyone spoke very good English, so no worries if you don’t know Chinese. Atmosphere was well like a cafe, you would not even feel you were inside a Chinese restaurant. After all, they did say they were contemporary Chinese.

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Nagano (revived!) http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/02/nagano-revived/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/07/02/nagano-revived/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:34:28 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2621 Nagano has been in the Tri-Cities area for a long time. Until recent, they were affected by...

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Nagano has been in the Tri-Cities area for a long time. Until recent, they were affected by a fire that had crumbled down their building. But that was only temporary, they are back again! A couple of us visited for lunch on a Sunday afternoon after church.

Lunch Special

I was sad to find that their lunch menu was not in effect on Sunday’s. Even with their specials, Nagano is not your typical cheap Sushi joint. Over the years, they have built a customer base that keeps them running. Anyways, we ordered several things on their regular menu to share.

The featured image was their seafood salad, dressing was on the side. The salad was refreshing and had a variety of sashimi slices. Their dressing was quite different as it was a bit spicy.

Ten Don – $9.99

Assorted tempura with a large bowl of rice with sauce. The tempura was crispy on the out and tender inside.

House Roll -$6.99

Their House Roll is filled with Tuna, Salmon, Crab meat, and deep fried prawns.

Scallop & Tobiko Roll – $5.99

My favourite roll of all times, chopped scallop! The chopped scallop here did not disappoint. It was served 6 pieces here.

Negitoro Roll – $3.99

Also known as, smashed tuna with green onions roll. The fattier the tuna, the faster it will melt in your mouth. I would rate this as half fat because it didn’t quite melt in my mouth.

Beef Yaki Soba – $9.99

One of the better yaki soba’s I’ve had in Vancouver. For those who are not familiar with the term “Yaki Soba”, it’s a Japanese thick egg noodle. This served in a savoury sweet & sour sauce. The noodles were cooked to a perfect tenderness. You can pick from chicken/beef/veggies. This was delicious!

Overall, it’s great to have Nagano back as another Sushi restaurant in the Tri-Cities area. Food was great. However, be prepared to pay a little extra for what’s in Coquitlam. Service is probably the thing they’ve got to work on. The place is widely spread out. We were in one of the rooms down the hall and it’s merely impossible to waive down a server for any types of service. That being said, if you want privacy, this place has it all!

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The Flying Pig (Happy Hour Edition) http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/06/23/the-flying-pig-happy-hour-edition/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/06/23/the-flying-pig-happy-hour-edition/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 00:21:52 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2616 Sunny days call for Happy Hour. The Flying Pig has been on the wish list for awhile...

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The Flying Pig

Sunny days call for Happy Hour. The Flying Pig has been on the wish list for awhile but haven’t really made it here till now. We chose the Gastown location over their other locations for convenience sakes and also because there was a Beer festival in Yaletown. We met up with our friends A&J on a Saturday afternoon. Surprisingly, it wasn’t packed. Our friends arrived earlier but it seemed the waiter couldn’t make up his mind on seating them until the whole party arrived. But in the end, they scored a table before we arrived.

$5 Beer

I believe they had two beers on their appy hour menu along with a bunch of other drinks that can be ordered from their wine & beverage menu. Most of them are reasonably priced. Their appies are also reasonably priced at $6 each.

Beet & Bresaola Salad

We ordered organic beets salad with Bresaola. A great summer dish as the beets creates a very refreshing taste.

Beef Short Rib Croquette

The short rib croquette came breaded and deep fried. It came with a spicy dipping sauce. Not a very exciting dish as I have hoped.

Steamed Clams

Although the clams were small in size but very well prepared. Prepared with white wine & herbs and topped with frites.

Andrew’s Pulled Pork Poutine ($7.5)

Not on their appy hour menu but they rave themselves for this side! It’s made with organice pemberton valley potatoes, pulled pork, melted cheese and gravy. Nothing beats melted cheese.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($6)

Also on their sides menu, these were brussels sprouts fried with lemon, parmesan and capers. It was very flavourful and right balance of saltiness this time. “A” mentioned last time it was very salty probably because of too much capers. You have been warned.

Crispy Salmon Cakes

I think these were my favourite tonight. Salmon was juicy and meaty inside, outside was crispy. It topped with a house made tartar sauce and greens. I was surprised to find 3 salmon cakes instead of 2. Very generous!

Overall, I liked the atmosphere at The Flying Pig. It was vibrant yet comfortable enough to carry a conversation. The appy hour menu items were priced fairly along with the portions. There’s a good variety of different genres of meat to satisfy the crowd. Though I’d like to see more seafood, perhaps that’s why the fiancée and I like Rodney’s so much. The service was friendly and laid back.

Hints:

  • Cheaper parking just before Gastown and walk down
  • ‘Appy Hour everyday 4-6PM
  • Order sides as well! (Get the poutine!)

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VanVan Izakaya http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/06/19/vanvan-izakaya/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/06/19/vanvan-izakaya/#comments Sat, 20 Jun 2015 03:42:24 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2607 EWRL Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites to try out the menu at VanVan Izakaya. Opinions are my own. Location: 1333...

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EWRL Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites to try out the menu at VanVan Izakaya. Opinions are my own.

Location: 1333 Robson Street, Vancouver

Phone: 604 568 2998

Hours:
(Lunch) 
11:30AM – 3PM
(Dinner) 5:30PM – 12AM (except for Sunday, 10:30PM)

Hints: 

  • Street parking
  • Alcohol offerings
  • Japanese Tapas

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VanVan Izakaya

Surprisingly this was the first time I’ve heard of VanVan Izakaya. They are located on 1333 Robson St. I can’t recall, for the life of me, what this was before VanVan. But anyhow, it’s an Izakaya place now. For those who have not heard of Izakaya in Vancouver, then I am not sure which turtle shell you’ve been hiding under. Izakaya’s are popular in Japan, especially for the working class to just enjoy a drink and some tapa-like dishes after work.

A group of foodies and influencers were invited by Chinese Bites to try out their dinner menu. Yes, no lunch menu allowed which meant no sushi or rolls. It’s rather interesting that they would have sushi and rolls on their lunch menu but not their dinner menu.

Anyhow, I arrived a bit late (not fun driving to downtown during rush hour), so I forfeited my first round of ordering. Despite that, I really enjoyed the company with those sharing the same passion as me, FOOD!!

Eel w/ Teriyaki sauce ($10.8)

I love eel! Presentation is 5/5. Despite, we took our roundtable of snapping shots at the dish, it was still hot. A recommended dish, although quite pricy.

Japanese old style Omelette ($8.8)

Thought it’d be rice inside, but surprisingly it was mostly veggies (cabbage)! Smothered with mayo and teriyaki sauce. A very tasteful dish.

Seared beef w/ garlic dressing ($9.8)

Beef Carpaccio ($9.8)

We ordered two very similar yet very different dishes. I would have to give thumbs up to the first beef dish. I really liked the garlic taste to the seared beef. I’m not sure what to make of the Beef Carpaccio. It was dressed in mayo, balsamic and (Parmesan?) cheese. I think the mayo was a bit of an overkill.

Battered Prawns w/ Garlic Chilli Mayo ($8.8)

I had high hopes on the ebi mayo but it was a bit of a disappointment. The batter was a bit too thick, making the batter nothing but grease. Not recommended.

Grilled Pork Jowl with Japanese Citrus sauce ($8.8)

This dish came sizzling hot on the table! One of the best dishes of the evening. The pork jowl was seasoned well and the citrus got rid of the oily and fatty taste.

Marinated Saba ($7.8)

Atlantic Salmon, Scallop, Albacore Tuna ($8.8 each)

We basically ordered all of the sashimi on their menu (which isn’t a whole lot). Too bad they ran out of Octopus that day. Remember it’s an izakaya not a sushi place. It was great they had a few selections of fresh sashimi. The scallops were my personal favourite!

Russian Roulette Octopus Balls ($6.8)

This was a little fun in the food, Russian Roulette. They are basically Takoyaki balls but one of them were super spicy! Good thing there was only 5 and we had 6 people. Guess I was the lucky one who missed out.

Seared marinated mackerel w/ ginger dressing ($7.2)

Chicken Thigh Karaage ($6.8)

I give kudos to this dish because of its attention for detail. It did not just come with just like any other karaage, the dish was drizzled with lemon zest. The chicken was also full of juice.

Marinated Jellyfish ($4.8)

The marinated jellyfish reminded me of a similar appetizer at authentic Cantonese cuisine, except this had more of a kick and more flavours.

Grilled Ocean smelt w/ chilli mayo ($4.8)

Another one of my all time favourites, but not everyone’s favourite. The one I love about smelt is that they usually have many egg roe’s in them. It was a delicacy.

Raw octopus w/ wasabi ($3.8)

Bite-sized octopus in a wasabi dressing. You just wrap it in a bed of seaweed and partake.

Grilled Beef Short Ribs ($9.8)

I think it’s safe to say that anything on a grilled plate here is served really hot! The beef short ribs were seasoned well and with the teriyaki sauce on the side just made the finishing touch.

Avocado Salad ($6.8)

Originally, I ordered the raw tuna salad but for some reason it came to be just the avocado salad. The salad was well dressed with a citrus dressing.

Chicken Gristle Karaage ($4.8)

Chicken gristle or more commonly known as the cartilage is chewy and crunchy. This is the perfect compliment for beer.

Deep Fried Eggplant w/ miso sauce ($6.8)

This was a rather interesting dish. It would’ve made more sense if it was grilled but this is a deep fried version of it. This was a bit bland for my taste, even the eggplant’s meat was a bit bland.

Curry Poutine ($6.8)

VanVan definitely makes their Izakaya a Canadian one with the addition of poutine on their menu. This is not your typical Canadian poutine with cheese curds and hot gravy. It’s a “Japanese” version of it with curry sauce (and I know exactly which one they used) with melted Mozzarella cheese and of course, fries. I think I prefer sticking with my traditional poutine.

Deep Fried Cauliflower ($6.5)

Cauliflower itself is already crunchy but deep frying it gave it a whole different world of taste. It was really good, everyone at the table concurred. It came with a tartar sauce dip.

Rice cake wrapped strawberry ($4.8)

Green Tea Soy Milk Pudding ($4.8)

Black Sesame Ice Cream ($4.0)

Out of the three desserts we had, I liked the black sesame ice-cream the most! It was churned to ultra smoothness and the addition of red bean with the ice-cream was surprisingly a great compliment. I think I will try that more often. The Green Tea Soy Milk Pudding is exactly what the name is, it’s very green tea and almost in the texture of milk, nothing like a pudding I’d expect. But it tasted very green tea and soy. The rice cake strawberry was also fairly good, chewy like a mochi. The strawberry and red bean paste was the perfect match, just the right amount of sweet.

Overall, some items were better than others at VanVan. I would recommend their grilled hot plate items over anything and the desserts were good. They have beer specials weekly, so be sure to ask for their beers special.

 

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Asia Kitchen Restaurant – Dim Sum Edition http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/06/11/asia-kitchen-restaurant-dim-sum-edition/ http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/2015/06/11/asia-kitchen-restaurant-dim-sum-edition/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 03:00:36 +0000 http://www.eatwith.robinleung.com/?p=2578 Reviews Food Ambiance Service Overall Location: Schoolhouse Square, 112-100 Schoolhouse Street, Coquitlam Phone: 604 526 1336 Hours: 9AM – 10PM...

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Reviews
  • Food
  • Ambiance
  • Service
Overall

Location: Schoolhouse Square, 112-100 Schoolhouse Street, Coquitlam

Phone: 604 526 1336

Hours: 9AM – 10PM (7 Days a week)

Hints: 

  • Chinese Dim Sum
  • Authentic Cantonese Dinner (no longer serves buffet)

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I know what you are thinking, the name! It could not be more generic. But hey, sometimes it’s more about the name. Asia Kitchen used to be called China Kitchen and it was owned by a friend’s family I knew. After that, it became Asia Kitchen. I didn’t find out about the place till my parents came home one day and said they had some pretty decent dim sum. So I decided to go try it out.

Asia Kitchen is not an upscale Chinese restaurant. But its presentation doesn’t disappoint for a good value Chinese meal either.

Chicken on Rice ($2.99)

This was their signature selling dish. For only $2.99, you get a bed of rice and smothered with steamed chicken. It was delicious. I came back on several occasions, but each time there was inconsistent amount of sauce. Decent for $2.99.

Steamed Baby Cuttlefish in Curry Sauce ($4.10)

These are my favourite at dim sum places and rarely any dim sum places makes it good these days. I was surprised that Asia Kitchen was on the dot! It was juicy and not over-steamed. This is a must if you like cuttlefish.

Steamed Meat Dumpling Chiu Chow Style ($3.90)

These weren’t bad either. It’s got a thicker shell compared to other dumpling and semi-translucent. The inside is filled with assorted minced pork and other vegetables. It’s quite saucy, but the most important is the outer layer.

Steamed Beef Tendons and Tripes in Special Sauce ($3.90)

I usually am a fan of the tendons and not the tripes. This place has it mixed so it satisfies both parties. The tendons are usually quite tender but it should melt in your mouth after a few bites. The tripes on the other hand are more chewy. This dish was okay, it didn’t wow me.

Deep Fried Prawn Spring Rolls ($4.50)

The spring rolls were stuffed with minced prawns and came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. I could tell they fry their spring rolls as you order them because it was came piping hot and it juicy on the inside but still remains the crisp on the out. Thumbs up for this one!

Steamed Pork Dumpling (Xiu Mai – $4.50)

Everyone’s favourite! I’m not a major fan of this dim sum dish overall. So it is what it is.

Steamed Rice Flour Rolls with Fish Paste ($4.50)

One of my favourite rich flour rolls at Dim Sum. It’s a fish paste that is deep fried and then rolled in steamy rice flour roll. It’s not easy to make because you need to roll it when it’s really hot! I know because I saw mom making this when I was young.

The Damage

Overall, I was pleased how well the dishes tasted. They could work on the presentation a bit more but for the price paid, it was decent. We also got some discounts cause my parents were VIP’s here. The dim sum here is made when ordered, so you will have hot food every time. I presume like all dim sum places, it gets pretty busy here on the weekends. But if you come on a weekday, it’s nice and calm. (I think you also get 10% discount if seated before 11am.) So there you have it, one more dim sum option in the Tri-Cities area.

 

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