Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jang Mo Jib - okay food, nice restaurant


Jang Mo Jib

5075 Kingsway, Burnaby (Map)

Jang Mo Jib (Burnaby) on Urbanspoon

Food: 3
Service: 3
Price: Fair + ( a bit on the expensive side)

Nowadays, there are tons of Korean restaurants, but there are very few that opened more than one at a time. Jang Mo Jib is one of these original restaurants, that now has at least 3 locations (Downtown, Richmond, and Burnaby). I guess they must be doing something right, to be able to expand so fast.
I use to frequent their downtown location, but ever since they started to charge for refill of the side dishes, I haven't been back since. Anyways, R's relative was in town, and we just so happen to be in the area, so it's time to check out what's new. The side dishes hasn't changed much, it's still the standard kimchi, seaweed, diakon and potato.
Because our guest was vegetarian, thus the first dish we ordered was their dry noodle (~$8.95) which had no meat. This noodle require the addition of the hot sauce, because it was essentially tasteless without. The noodle was similar to spaghetti, but much more chewy. Although the vegetables were fresh, but it was just too bland for my taste.
I love jap chae (stir fried potato noodle), but usually this is fried with beef. So we asked if we can just have one without beef, they agreed. However when it was served, they brought us one with beef, but they quickly corrected this. The noodle is good as I remembered, the noodle was soft, and full of flavor. Even without the beef, it was still very good. Although I find the price of $18 on the high side, but it is quite a big portion.

Service here was not bad, but when they are busy, it hard to catch the server's attention. The food was generally good, but not too impressive either. The one thing that I do like is that the restaurant is spacious, yet cozy. So in the end, I would recommend this place if you have a large party, but if it's just dinner for two, there are better choices out there.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!!


Just wanna wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Here are a few Christmas Trees that I saw. Anyways, just a update, I will be back on Dec. 28th, and I bought some really nice/unique souvenirs, so you will see a post for some giveaway soon.Christmas Tree decorated with gingerbread animals :)
Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe - Chocolate Lava Cake


Christmas is literally right around the corner, so that means leave the guilt at the door and it's time to indulge. So here is the original recipe for chocolate lava cake by Jean-Georges that I found online. Just in case you didn't know, Jean-Georges is apparently the inventor of this cake. Apparently he made a mistake in the recipe for a chocolate cake, thus ended up with chocolate lava cake.So it's pretty simple right. Anyways here is the end result.
It's not the prettiest cake, but it certainly taste delicious. It was rich and gooey in the center, and slightly crispy on the outside.
This is actually not my first attempt at this cake. This picture was from a previous trial, and to be honest, I think it turn out better last time. Here are just a few pointer that I think would help with the end result.
1. Chill the mixture a bit before baking (you may need to increase the bake time by a minute or 2)
2. After removing it from the oven, wait a few minute before turning it over onto the plate, this will ensure the cake fall out easier.
3. Really make sure you grease the ramekin well.
4. Use good chocolate, it's so worth it.

Anyways, have fun trying this out and Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cafe D'Lite - the best Hainan Chicken


Cafe D'Lite

3144 W Broadway, Vancouver (Map)

Mamalee Malaysian Delight on Urbanspoon

Food: 4.5
Service: 3.5
Price: Fair

This is actually one of my favorite restaurants, because they serve the 'best' Hainan chicken in my opinion. Back during the university years, I frequent this place often, but now that I living in Surrey, I rarely get a chance for a re-visit. So when R had a visitor over, I gladly joined them for a day trip down to UBC, and of course some quality Hainan chicken.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Lonsdale Quay - food court find


The Soup Meister

123 Carrie Cates Ct, North Vancouver

The Soup Meister on Urbanspoon

Food: 3.5

Price: Fair +

The current weather present the perfect opportunity to indulge in some hot soup. As I was walking around Lonsdale Quay, I noticed these huge bowls of soup that a lot of people were eating and they certainly looked delicious. Upon further investigation, there seems to be a new food stall (at least new to me) called The Soup Meister.
Meister in the German means master, so I am guessing they must be really good at making soup, and maybe the owners are from Germany. Anyways, it was lunch time, so there was a bit of a line up. Here you will first have to choose the size of you bowl (medium, large, and Xlarge), and pay for it before you get your soup. I can't recall how much the medium was, but my large was $5.95 and the Xlarge was around $7.85.
They had quite a few choices, I had a hard time deciding between the cream of tomato basil or the Boston clam chowder. As you can see, I went with the latter. The soup was just the right consistency with a creamy rich taste. It was also loaded with quality ingredients, such as clam, potato and celery. The served the soup with a side of wholewheat bun, and some real butter, none of that whipped stuff.

Overall, the quality of the soup definitely shined through, and the taste was delicious. Although not exactly cheap, but it was certainly a filling portion. In a nut shell, I do recommend.

George's Souvlaki

123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver

George's Souvlaki (Lonsdale Quay) on Urbanspoon

Food: 3
Price: Expensive

Since it's a food court, C had a hard time deciding what she wanted to eat. In the end she settled for Greek food from George's Souvlaki. They had a wide variety of food, anywhere from cold salad to hot soulvaki plates.
C ended up purchasing the cabbage roll ($5.95) and a side of grilled eggplant with roasted vegetables (~$3.50). The cabbage roll was average, the whole thing felt a bit dry. However the grilled eggplant with the roasted vegetables was excellent. The vegetables was soft without being mushy.

Although the food was not bad in general, but the prices here can be quite high. As you can see these two items plus tax is almost $10, and that doesn't even include a drink. So I would say the chance of me coming back is not high, consider you can get a huge roast lamb dinner for the same price at Stephos.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Helm - complimentary grand opening party


The Helm

1180 Howe Street, Vancouver

The Helm on Urbanspoon

Food: 4
Serivce: 4
Price: Fair

I was invited by Julia Watts of Gala Events to attend the grand opening of new restaurant called The Helm on last Friday. The restaurant is very much a causal but hip social dining lounge that focus tapas style dishes. Chef Toby Nemeth's idea is to create dishes that uses local food and all made from scratch. I personally think this is a great idea, who better to support than the locals.The restaurant is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of crazy downtown area, but yet still very much accessible. The decor here is along the line of modern chic with purple being the central theme color. Because on their opening day, The Food Network’s The Opener with host David Adjey was being filmed on site, thus the restaurant was rather brightly lite, usually it would be much more intimate. Upon arrival, we were given a complimentary glass of champagne with a raspberry preserve on the bottom. Later, R ordered a Heart of Darkness - Champagne and Chilled Guinness ($9). Because the drink is not mixed, I could only detect the champagne initially, it is only towards the end, I get the taste of the Guinness.
The food served on the opening night is exactly what's printed on the menu. This was a excellent idea, as this is a exact representation maybe minimal difference in plating. The Crostinis with Almond Pate ($4) was good, and the value is excellent. The almond pate smooth, but not as rich as other pate. I much preferred this one, as it wasn't overly creamy.
After a few appetizer, we decided to sit down with Kevin (604foodtography) for a proper meal. R picked the first dish: The Turkey Confit Gravy with Huckleberries & Savoury Bread Pudding ($12). The turkey was slow cooked and extremely soft. R mentioned that the bread pudding was much like a quiche. Although the overall taste of the dish worked, but we all found the broth to be too salty
This would be Smoked Albacore Tuna with Fennel and Shiso ($13). The tuna had a nice smoked flavor. Shiso is a type of Japanese basil, but to me it didn't really have any flavor.
I was drawn toward the Smoked Sloping Hills Pork Shoulder with Housemade Peanut-Chili Sauce ($12). The pork was tender and the peanut chili sauce was mild, but totally worked by not overpowering the pork.
Kevin picked the Moroccan Lamb Stew w/ Minty Yogurt & Couscous ($14). This was another slow cooked dish with tender/soft lamb with great flavor. The one thing I did like was that there wasn't any detectable gaminess at all.
I love risotto, so when notice that there is a 'risotto' dish on the menu, we had to order it. Unfortunately the BC Wild Mushroom “Risotto” with Orzo & Breadcrumbs ($12) did not work for me. The 'risotto' was actually pasta, thus it lacked that creaminess/stickness of regular risotto. The Pemberton Potatoes with Pimenton Aioli ($5) was really good, I especially like the aioli.For the dessert, we got the Wildflower Honey Pot de Creme with Sour Cherries & Walnuts ($7). This was very much like a custard except much more fluid.For the second dessert, we ordered the Nostrala Cheesecake w/ Blackberry Puree ($7). Now this was a definitely a star. I asked the waiter was is Nostrala, apparently it's a locally made fresh artisan cheese from Kootenay BC. The cheesecake was sweet, creamy and slightly nutty. The texture was not your typical NY style, it was rather airy and light. I would totally recommend this.

The one interesting fact that I did learn from Julia was that owners (total 4 of them) are all 26 and under, I must say I am impressed, they are all quite ambitious. Also the service that night was superb, as all the waiters/waitresses were very attentive. Overall, I think their food do really show the best of BC. However, also because of this, that means their menu is seasonal, but it's probably a good thing, as it will always keep the menu interesting.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipe - Apple Pie with Pillsbury Crust


The seasonal fruit for fall is apples, so it no surprise that Pillsbury decided to do a pie crust promotion at this time. Well technically, the promotion was about 2 month ago, and it was the same as the Healthy Choice one, where you just had to like their facebook page to receive a free coupon.

You know what they says, when life hands you apples, you make apple pie :). So that's exactly what I did. After searching around for a good recipes, I decided to use the one from Allrecipes with a slightly variation.
I don't like overly sweet desserts, so I cut down the white sugar to about 1/4 cup. This recipes does not call for any cinnamon or nutmeg, but you can added as you like. Since my mom is not a fan of cinnamon, so this recipe was perfect for me. The pie crust was easy to use, you just had to take it out and unroll, it's that simple. The pie came out nicely. The one thing that I did want to do was a lattice top. Unfortunately I made a big mistake by freezing the pie crust, thus when I unrolled it by force, some part was cracking/breaking, so I had to settle for the cover top crust with a heart vent hole. Although it's not the prettiest looking pie, but everyone who had a piece loved it. The Pillsbury pie crust was quite good, because it was indeed extra flaky as the box stated, without being oily. One little piece of advice for anyone who never made pie before, make sure it cools down before serving, so that the bottom crust won't be soggy. You can always reheated in the microwave. In the end, I do recommend the Pillsbury pie crust, and of course this recipes, because both turn out very delicious.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Food Carts - finally tried a couple


Re-Up BBQ Foodcart

700 Hornby Street, Vancouver

Re-Up BBQ Foodcart on Urbanspoon

Food: 3.5
Price: Fair + (meaning slightly expensive)

I must be the only food blogger that hasn't tried any food cart that has been dominating the streets of Vancouver. Although I am well aware of all the ones that has sprung up in the past half a year, but I just never made an effort to actually visit one. Awhile back, Goodnews had a charity deal from Re-Up BBQ that listed their Pull Pork sandwich for only $1, so I just had to get it consider original price is $6.75.
The original Re-Up BBQ cart is located beside Vancouver Art Gallery, and apparently they are doing so well that they opened up a seconded one on the corner of Broadway and Granville, except this one is literally a cart only. Their menu is simple, you have a choice between the Pull Pork Sandwich or Ribs (6 for $12), and of course some simple drinks.
The Pull Pork Sandwich was assembled fresh right before our eyes. They really do pile on the meat, as you can see it's close to an inch thick. It is topped off with some coleslaw and BBQ sauce
I have to say, this was one good sandwich. The meat was juicy and the coleslaw was fresh. However I do think the meat lack a little in flavor, because all I got was the tangy BBQ sauce. On he other hand, it was good BBQ sauce, so I didn't mind it at all.

In general, I find the original price of $6.75 not very street friendly, but I do think it's delicious. So I think I may have it once in awhile, just not all the time.

Fresh Local Wild

795 Granville Street, Vancouver

Fresh Local Wild on Urbanspoon

Food: 3
Price: Expensive (consider it's street food)

You know sometime when you are looking for something, you can never find it, and when you are not looking for it, it's right there. Well, it was one of those days, because completely by chance we walked by another food cart called Fresh Local Wild.
This food cart serves local seafood, but look at that price, it is definitely not street friendly. In fact I would consider it quite expensive.
Since R and I was already really full from the Pull Pork sandwich (it was huge). So we decided to share a mushroom poutine ($5). The portion was good, so the price was fair for this item. The fries to me seems a bit too crispy, but R loved it. The gravy wasn't exactly gravy, it was more like cream of mushroom sauce. Although I liked the sauce, but I find it lacked that meaty richness usually found in poutine.

In a nut shell, I thought it was average, but R liked it. As you can see personal preference plays a big roll. Now, I know their main items are actually seafood which I didn't try, so I will just say I won't be back for the fries, but maybe I will be back to try their seafood if I feel like 'splurging' on street food. LOL
Just on a side note, I went back to Bella Gelateria on that day as well, and I must say I am impressed how fast they come up with new flavors. The left is a pomegranate sorbet, and the right is a cucumber/lime/cilantro sorbet. I was genuinely surprised that the cucumber one actually taste really good, it was refreshing without being very strong, consider it had cilantro (which I hate) in it. Anyways, they will have lots of new Christmas flavors coming soon which I can't wait to check out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crystal Food Court - 2 relatively new stalls


99 BBQ House

2131 - 4500 Kingsway

99 BBQ House (Crystal Mall) on Urbanspoon

Food: 3
Price: cheap

You are bound to find some great food at the food court simply base on mathematics probability (I sound so geeky). My favorite 2 food courts has be are the one at Aberdeen (post here, here, here and here) and of course Crystal Mall. The reason is that they have almost no fast food chains, but many unique stalls that offer quality food.99 BBQ house is a relatively new stall at Crystall Mall. This chain is widely seen in China, but I am not sure if this is their first branch here in Vancouver, or it's simply the same name. Anyways, they offer a wide range of BBQ skewers from $1.25-$2.50.
The first one I chose was the grilled eggplant ($1.25). This one took a long time, because they were apparently having some problems with the grill that day. I think due to this problem, the egg plant was not done properly, because it still retained a lot of water, and lacked the grilled texture.
Despite the major fail with the eggplant, my other grilled items were good. The lamb and pork skewers were both tender and flavorful. The chive was also very good, I was surprised that they offered such a big portion (the picture may not look it) for only $1.25.

Overall, their BBQ skewers were good (of course minus the eggplant). However there is a issue though, all the skewers were pretty much uni-flavor (slightly spicy, salty, with a dash of cumin). The good news was that I liked the flavor, but everyone has different preference. So I would suggest trying one skewer first, before purchasing a bunch.

Xiang Yuan Qiao Cross Bridge Rice Noodle

2128 - 4500 Kingsway

Xiang Yuan Qiao Bridge Rice Noodle (Crystal Mall) on Urbanspoon

Food: 4
Price: Fair

Another relatively new food stall is this Yunnan rice noodle stall. Now, I actually been to Yunan province and have had the original version, but that was at least 18 years ago, so really I don't remember much. The one thing that I do remember is that it wasn't served this way. In the original way, the noodle and the soup come in separate bowls. You are then suppose to dip the noodle in the hot soup, and then take it out and eat it. This is also the reason it's called cross bridge, because you drag the noodle from one bowl to the next and then back in the bowl, so the noodle acts like a bridge.
Anyways, here they serve it all together in a hot stone pot. I ordered the pork belly noodle soup for $6.75. All noodle soup includes bean sprout, one quail egg, wood ear, and leafy greens.
At first I was expecting thick pieces of pork belly, but here they used the thinly sliced type. I guess this way the meat would easily absorb the rich flavors from the soup. I really loved the soup, although it may seem oily, but it wasn't, it was just pure richness (I am guessing they used pork bone broth). The noodle was like spaghetti except made with rice.

Overall, I thought the price was slightly high for food court food, but the portion was really big, so it was worth it. Although the food was great, but the service was not. The girl who took my order was rather rude, anytime I would ask her a question (2x), she would roll her eyes. Anyways, I can't really expect too much at the food court, so in the end I will come back for more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recipe - Truffle Risotto


Even since I started this new blog site, I haven't blogged about any recipes. The few that I have talked about can be found here. Anyways, it's finally time to start this new chapter. So today I will be sharing the first recipe with many more to come.

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by Ogourmet, a online food store that sells a wide variety of gourmet food, to do a review for one of their product.Because this fits in perfectly with my recipe plans, so I accepted. After much browsing, I have decided on the Black Summer Truffle Spread from Italy.
Ogroumet is a Canadian company that is based in Montreal Quebec. They currently carry over 1000 kinds of gourmet food products from all over the world. They also have a lowest price guarantee that states if you find any Canadian retailer with a lower price, they will refund you difference +10% in the form of a cheque. Anyways, the product arrived really fast (3 days after I ordered). The box was huge, and the item was nicely packaged, so there was no way it could be damaged. But on the other hand, I thought it was a waste to use such a big box for such a small product (see picture below).Tentazioni Summer Truffle Cream is made in Italy with 70% black summer truffle. This little jar contained 45g worth of product, and carries the price tag of $31.50. It also had a attached pamphlet that listed its ingredients and nutritional information in several languages.
I brought this cream to share with a chef and some friends. The room was totally divided. We had half of people who absolutely loved the rich taste and the fragrant smell, and we had the other half wondering 'what the heck is so good with this stuff, it smelled like soy sauce and didn't taste all that great either'. But we all agreed on one thing, it tasted so much better in a recipe. So without further ado.. here is Chef D.Pan's Truffle Risotto recipe.
For the plating, the chef chose to do it 2 different ways: For the 1st plating, the chef layered the mushroom on the bottom and just placed the risotto on top. This way the flavor of the truffle cream wouldn't be comprised by the mushroom.In the 2nd plating, he mixed the mushroom in with the risotto and just served as is.

To be honest, I thought both ways were equally delicious, and I could barely tell the difference. The truffle cream really did enhance the flavor of the risotto, as it smelled heavenly and tasted really great. If you like risotto, definitely give this recipe a try, the end result is totally worth it.

Disclaimer: the product in this post was sent to me compliments of Ogourmet