Suika

I had been to this restaurant twice and everytime I love it even more. A sister restaurant of Ginyo. When I first saw it and the line up waiting outside of it, I thought hey what is the hype?! 😛 So I paid a visit about two months ago and again this month. This is a Japanese ‘Snackbar’ (which really means izakaya – go wiki izakaya to get a full understand why this is the most favourite and popular place to go in Japan) With awesome decor and excellent service.

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Like many Japanese Izakaya, you order tons of tapas to share among your table with drinks. My friends aren’t the drinking type, so we ordered lots of food and Suika soda. (Suika means watermelon in Japanese, therefore it is a watermelon soda.) It actually tasted pretty good, I am sure they have an alcohol mixed version of this if you are into drinking. 🙂

Since there are too many food that I have ordered (I can’t remember names for all of them.) I’ll talk about five items that I liked the most during this visit that I would recommend.

Corn Karaage – Deep fried corn bits combined into one tasty piece of heaven.

Oh my, I saw a recommendation of this on Urbanspoon and no doubt it should be. It was so yummy! Lightly fried with butter and batter on these sweet little juicy corn bits. I love every bite of it. This is a must order – will go so well with Asahi. 😛

I am so sorry but I cannot remember what the name of this is. I think it’s a daily special? But let me describe it to you and hopefully the friendly staff can help you with it. It is almost like a salad with some spring mix but sashimi bits with this sweet and sour sauce that taste a bit balsamic vinegar. With fresh green onion with tobikos. You simply put some of those on the baked baguette they serve with, trust me this is yummy and very refreshing – helps open up your appetite.

The lotus root pizza is on the daily special menu. I never thought of eating the lotus root this way. 😛 But it is good! Because if you really think about it, most pizzas are soft without any crunchy or chewy items on top. The lotus root would give you that crunch for sure. I loved the texture and the flavour. So have a bite while it’s there. 🙂

Sashimi ‘Shake’ Salad is recommended by our server. Reason why it’s called ‘Shake’ Salad is because they literally shake it in front of you. The salad with sashimi is put into a jar with the salad dressing. They shake it around in the jar in front of you and pour it into the bowl to serve. Taste like any good sashimi salad but you see the presentation matters too. 😉

I am not a 100% sure that this is the sushi party – but it is one of the sushi combo dish. (There are only a few I believe.) I had to try out their sushi bar (otherwise it really misses the point of going to a Japanese restaurant :P) Their fish are fresh and good pressure on the rice. This one I have ordered are generally heavier flavoured sushi – which works really well with all the heavy flavoured items they serve. (Generally in Japan if you eat sushi you eat from most flavourless to the most flavourful, so you can truly taste the true taste of each kind of sushi.)

In general I really enjoyed this place, their quality of food is as good as Ginyo. I like how it is not in Downtown and easier for me to reach to. Great place for groups!

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Urban Tea Merchant

About an year ago I visited Urban Tea Merchant for high tea service. This year I brought my mom to enjoy high tea service for her birthday. We went really early (10:30am), not your typical high tea time. Since it was a holiday they also offer their brunch menu as well as other all day dining and high tea menus.

You will notice this place if you go to Downtown often, you can see it on Alberni or West Georgia (connects to both sides). Since I went with my family, we had to order some savouries to satisfy the gentlemen’s appetites.

This is “sweet france” duck confit salad warm, shredded duck confit, fresh orange segments and watercress, tossed in Sweet France Tea vinaigrette served over a crispy crepe. This salad is very tasty, the duck worked well with the tea vinaigrette also with the crispy crepe adding texture to the salad. The sweet oranges balances out the light bitterness of the watercress.

For my dad, I ordered him smoked salmon with wasabi mayo & ponzu jelly 16 seasonal greens with 1837 Black Tea vinaigrette. He especially liked the wasabi mayo, this is a moderate though the salmon is really fresh and salad was good. But I have to say there is really nothing special about this. But you really like salmon you will enjoy this.

My mom and I shared the Westcoast Tea Set. Which includes tea-infused macaron, chevron strawberry, chocolate truffle & fresh exotic fruit open-faced smoked salmon & wasabi aioli with in-house ponzu jelly, miso-maple glazed sable fish wrapped in butter lettuce, Lapsang Souchong tea-infused chicken salad cone, boursin cheese mousse with crisp endive & candied walnut edible spring flowers.

    

Since there are so many items, I will talk about two that stood out to me.

The sable fish wrapped in lettuce is actually very good. The sable fish was nice and tender with a flavourful miso. Since miso is a stronger sauce, it worked great with lettuce which gave it a fresh taste. I really enjoyed this one. 🙂

I liked the candied walnut with cheese mousse. Yummy fresh endive with cheese mousse (something like cream cheese) and crunchy walnut. :9 I think I can easily eat a couple of these!

Along side we ordered ‘The Little Gourmet” tea set includes tea-infused macaron, chevron strawberry, petit fours, fresh fruit and fresh baked chocolate chips scone with crème & strawberry jam. Tiger Hill Tea-infused egg salad finger sandwich, cucumber, watercress & cracked black pepper tea sandwich, petit tea-infused chicken salad cone, chocolate & jelly tea sandwich.

The chicken salad cone is yummy, loves the idea of putting the salad into a mini waffle cones. 🙂

Overall I liked all the food I was enjoying, but that exotic fruit (pink) in the set were something we just couldn’t have. It was such a funny sour flavour with the wrong texture, almost made me felt like I was eating something that is about to go bad. But who knows, maybe someone else would enjoy that.

Mont Blanc (white tea) served in a cute little pot. Very nice fragrant tea without any strong flavours.

I had their signature 1837 black tea. (A unique blend of black tea with notes of fruits and flowers from the Bermuda triangle which leaves a lingering aftertaste of ripe berries, anise, and caramel. A timeless classic.) I had it last time and I had it again. Because it is such a nice tea with cream or milk. I even bought some home with me. 🙂

The other two teas we had were Alfonso and Happy Birthday. Alfonso is black with mango, if you like fruit flavoured tea this is a good one to try. Happy Birthday tastes something like a vanilla rooibos.

We felt a little rushed at the end when we got the bill. (We didn’t ask for the bill.) I am not sure if it is because there is another table coming after us, but we weren’t aware there are seating time limit. But overall the service was good and time was spent to explain to us when we had questions.

The Urban Tea Merchant on Urbanspoon

Zen on Yew

So I saw the giant line up and wonder what is the hype all about. Searched it on Urbanspoon and everyone seems to be giving it a pretty good review. We were early so the line up wasn’t too giant. We waited for a bit.

As we got seated, I noticed how small and cramp the place is. Our seats had no settings on them. We waited a bit before we got our menus.

So I ordered a London Fog – wasn’t on the menu but I have asked them to make it for me. Was alright considering it is not a regular menu item. But a little too sweet.

When we got our food, we still didn’t get our settings. So I had to ask the waitress for them. (And she seemed to forgot…) So I asked another one and I finally got them. (Was so hungry with food on the table but no culinary to dig in!)

I can’t really remember what we ordered but I think this one is called Lumberjack Breakfast? Not sure. But anyways, it was served with French toast, smoked ham, two eggs and hash-browns.  The French toast was yummy, very fluffy and soft. Other things are decent.

Then for myself I got a spinach Benedict breakfast. I saw reviews and people say this is AMAZING! But I was disappointed. What is SOOO amazing about this? It was good, but not amazing. The sauce was very filling, is the spinach frensh? They almost feel like frozen spinach. Overall this benedict was good, but not super amazing. 😛

But try the french toast! 🙂
Cafe Zen on Yew on Urbanspoon

Boteco Brasil

I have never had Brazilian food before, this is my first time! As I saw the entrance, I thought: “Oh this restaurant is made from a house.” There is an open yard at the front and the restaurant is downstairs. As I entered, everything feels very rustic. No air condition but there’s an old fan swinging. (I wonder if restaurants look like this in Brazil?) But I saw drums and music instruments on the side, they must have live music!

Anyways, so not knowing anything about Brazilian food I looked through the menu and picked the features of the restaurant.

We ordered a Brazilian soft drink to share – Guarana. (That’s one expensive pop.) It tastes like grape pop. Not bad, but don’t know about the price.

To start we ordered the Mandioca Frita – cassava fries. The texture and taste of this fries is great! I loved the spice on top and the small hint of sweet from the original plant. I really enjoyed this, but stuffed me up very quickly.

For our mains I got Fejioada.Fejioada is black beans broth with pork served with rice. The waitress was really nice and tried to explain to me how people usually eat the dish. Mixing the flour, black beans onto the rice was a great suggestion. Everything taste very yummy on the plate. The black bean broth was very strong and smelled great!

My friend got a dish with chicken and sauce similar to a curry butter chicken sauce. (Similar but not exactly the same.) It is really hard to describe the flavour. It was served with deep fried garlic(?) bits? Those are very good on top of the chicken.

But I liked my black bean pork better. 😛 I wonder when do they have live music?

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Thomas Haas – W 4th

Famous for their wide selection of chocolate with all kinds of flavour and their chocolate desserts – being a chocolate lover I must give this a try.

Crispy Chocolate Orange – seasonal special changed from the crispy chocolate raspberry. Dark Manjari chocolate mousse with bits of orange peels and crispy hazelnut wafer. The orange peels were a little bit bitter but taste right with the sweet sweet chocolate.

Hazelnut Praline – Hazelnut mousseline with layers of vanilla cake, crispy wafers, hazelnut dacquoise, thin dark chocolate ganache and hint of rum. If you like hazelnut you will love this! I always like their mousse cakes are layered with cripsy wafers, gave great texture to the soft light mousse cake. The hazelnut is so strong and smooth! (My mouth is watering just thinking about it again.)
I had their dessert a few times and they never disappoint me. If you are really into chocolate you should give their chocolate collection a try. You won’t regret it. 🙂

Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Acme Cafe

I visited this cafe sometime last summer, so after an year I finally revisited. 😛 We ordered the strawberry milkshake with two shots of espresso. Espresso is espresso, the taste is always so overwhelming. The milkshake just tasted like a coffee shake. 😛

For my breakfast, I picked a daily special omelet with chicken and black beans. Their was this spice that I cannot recall the name of, but gave this omelet a kick.

Chicken Club multi-grain or white bread, chicken, bacon, aged cheddar, tomato, arugula, sun-dried tomato mayo and grainy mustard. This is one big sandwich even though it looks small, lots of ingredients layered into the sandwich. Stuffs you up quickly!

Baked Egg Scramble with free-range eggs, mushroom, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato, shredded redskin potato and toast. This was for my mom and she doesn’t eat goat cheese, so we substitute it with cheddar cheese. This was actually very very good, I think it’s the sun dried tomato. But so juicy and delicious. :9

Meat Loaf Omelet – another daily special of the day. My brother had this and he said it was bitter. I took a bite, it was a little bitter but we are just not quite sure where the bitterness coming from. Maybe a spice?

Daily Special – Tomatoe Curry Lamb Sausage with sunny side up eggs. I don’t eat lamb so I didn’t actually try this. But I tried the sauce. 😛 Was good! It’s basically curry made from tomatoe but it adds this light sour to the creamy sauce. 🙂

I didn’t order pie last time I was there because I was too early. (they make their pies fresh daily, so if you want pie go around noon when most pies are ready) So I chose from three that were ready – lemon meringue pie. I always like lemon meringue because it’s so sour at the bottom and so sweet on top without the cream. This is a very traditional pie with lots of sour at the bottom, you need the egg white meringue on top to balance it out. If you are not into sour, I wouldn’t recommend this.

Acme Cafe on Urbanspoon

La Boulangerie

I saw this place so many times and they were always closed! (Fine I always pass by it in the evening. :P) So finally on a beautiful sunny day I see it open, so I popped in to have a slice of their pastries. 🙂

I picked the white chocolate mousse cake (there wasn’t much to choose from that day). To my surprise it wasn’t too sweet, most bakery I’ve been to (except the Asian ones) are generally really sweet. This one was really light and fluffy.  I would love to revisit and try out different items. 🙂

La Boulangerie on Urbanspoon

Kibune Sushi

I just couldn’t help but notice this restaurant as I go down Yew St., this restaurant looks really Japanese. Much like something I saw when I was in Osaka, the family run hot spring motels. So after a nice hour sitting on the beach, we headed there for an early dinner (around 5:00pm).

Upon entrance, I realize how small the place is, but everything inside reminds me of a true Japanese restaurant in Japan. It was quite since it was a little bit before dinner time. We picked our own seats. 🙂

Although it is a hot day, we ordered something that people usually don’t order on a hot day.

Yosenabe (? I hope I spelt it properly), it is a kind of hot pot dish that serves in a pot with soup and ingredients inside. We have ordered the seafood one, the soup base tastes similar to a udon soup base with seafood, oden, crystal noodle, shitaki mushroom and cabbage. The ingredients are very fresh, I really enjoyed the sweetness from the seafood and vegetables in the soup. This dish will take about 15 mins to be ready.

House-made gyoza – spicy. I can taste that it is housemade, very delicate and cook when order. (Another 15 mins wait dish.) But I don’t taste the spicy. Maybe we were given regular, not sure. Aside from that, this is a very good gyoza.

Ocean maki – hamachi, tobiko, avocado and cucumber. Moderate, but you can tell the sushi chef has good skills (no loose rice, everything lightly rolled together). Hamachi is very fresh.

Special Sashimi Roll – Salmon, tuna, mackerel, tamago and nori rolled in thinly sliced white radish. This sure is special, it is so interesting and delicious. If you tried something like rainbow roll before this is similar… but all items rolled into one. So many different types of fresh sashimi without the rice. You get quite stuffed from this roll since it’s lots of fish, but the thin radish totally gave it a nice crunch. :9

I enjoyed all the food there and the service we were getting. As our dinner approach an end the restaurant is only one table away from being packed. This sure is a hidden neighbourhood gem that I will revisit for sure!

Kibune Sushi on Urbanspoon

Richmond Night Market

Every year summer night market is a must attend event. This year the new Richmond night market by River Rock Casino brings up more hype and live to the city of Richmond. There are always tons of food stands that is impossible to try all. So I picked a few ‘easy’ ones.

First off I went to Daikichi Bakudanyaki for something that would fill my stomach. I got the wasabi. Bakudanyaki is pretty much a giant takoyaki – inside it has squid, quail egg, cabbage, green onion, red ginger and corn. To get the true essence of this bakudanyaki you need to tear and stir it while it’s hot. Then mixed with sauce and mayo and dried fish flakes on top, it is truly a yummy satisfying treat. If you have had Tenku (food cart in Richmond on Charles Street) before, this is from the same creator! So quality is still good. 🙂

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Next off my friend got the Fresh Squeezed Lemonade. I had a sip of the original flavour and surprised me that it wasn’t overly sour or sweet. Very refreshing. They have jumbo size for $6.00 but that size is good enough for the whole night market round.

While my friends lined up for egg waffles from Egg Puff (20mins wait), I went to get there skewers from It’s All About Grill – garlic chicken, bacon sausage, spicy pork. I tried this place last year at the old summer night market and it was good. I have to say I was pretty disappointed this year. Half of the chicken was burnt and tried, couldn’t really taste the garlic. Bacon sausage was so salty and oily. The pork, yes it’s pork but not spicy.

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Finally got the egg waffles. My friends for strawberry and chocolate. I liked the strawberry, it was a really nice fragrant aroma – similar to a strawberry cracker. It surprised me a little bit.  🙂 Also good that they were soggy (I hate soggy egg waffles. 😦 ) But I think being a traditional Asian girl, I like the traditional egg flavoured. 😛

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Then my friends came with a banana chocolate spring roll. It was so hot (first bite :p). It was actually not bad, wasn’t overily oily. A little on the sweet side.

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I got thirsty so I went for Mangoo for a Mango papaya slush. It was nice and slushy feeling, though I really wish it taste less of the canned mango paste. I thought it was going to be fresh mango…

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At one of the many aisle corners, there was this tenpanyaki squid. Very spicy but actually pretty good. Wasn’t dried out, good chewiness to the squid. But once again I must warn, it is very spicy. Buy a drink if you are going to eat this.

Last we hit I Tofu stand for some fresh soymilk. Yes it was fresh not from a store container. One of those store grinded soy milk. I liked it! I think next time I go there, I’ll get a large one for the night. 🙂

Too much food need to go few more times to try it all.

PS: Sorry for the quality of photos, I was using phone camera. 😛

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