Monday, April 13, 2015

Blossom Teas

Blossom Teas is situated in a residential area in North Burnaby, next to Mountain Shadow Pub. Most people only know of Blossom Teas if they live in North Burnaby or by word of mouth. The bubble tea establishment offers an extensive menu from real fruit smoothies, ice cream and yogurt shakes, ice shave, coffee and tea lattes to dessert.

The atmosphere at Blossom Teas is very homey and non-rushed (although the place was not busy when we arrived). There is a fair amount of tables, a sofa, and even a couple of Japanese dart machines. The only reason I chose to visit Blossom Teas is because they offer shaved frozen yogurt! I am not a fan of shaved ice at all because shaved milk/snow ice is way better. Way. Better!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Francesco's Ristorante Italia

A friend from Seattle was spending a week in Vancouver for his birthday and since he was staying at the Sutton Place, it made sense to have lunch at Francesco's Ristorante Italia. Francesco's is one of Vancouver's oldest restaurants, focusing on Sicilian cuisine with West Coast influences. The restaurant is located on Burrard Street and their patio is always full during the summer.

The atmosphere is bright and inviting with plenty of natural lighting, but the restaurant is dim and romantic during dinner services. The restaurant is a fairly good size too and there are plenty of tables which are nicely spaced out and not cramped one bit. Moreover, there are a couple of dining areas that can accommodate larger groups and special celebrations.

Since we arrived for lunch, the service is pretty casual. None of the staff ask how the food is, we arrange the dishes on the table ourselves and wave down a server to remove a finished plate, when the restaurant had less than three tables… For those who are regulars however, are welcomed like royalty and provided with impeccable service. Did I care? Na, it was not my birthday LOL and we were here for lunch instead of dinner. Plus, it saves me gratuities since we left only a 15% tip.

Friday, April 3, 2015

La Casita : Gastown Location

After rescheduling a few many times with FoodinYVR and asking her for restaurant suggestions only to decline them all… I settled on La Casita. La Casita is located in Gastown on the corner of Abott and Cardova, and appears to be a very busy restaurant. I say very busy because on a Thursday late afternoon, we were the first to arrive at the empty restaurant but within thirty minutes, La Casita was packed! The restaurant had a full house by 5:00pm.

La Casita is a Mexican cuisine restaurant that offers a very extensive menu, from ceviche to tostadas, taquitos, fajitas, enchiladas, flautas, tacos, quesadillas, chimichangas and burritos. But how is the quality of food? With regards to the interior, La Casita is a very large restaurant and the seating arrangements are not too cramped. There are also plenty of staff and our server was friendly.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dae Bak Bon Ga

Dae Bak Bon Ga has been around for ten years, a whole decade. The restaurant is huge and occupies the second floor of Robson Plaza, serving traditional Korean food, offering all you can eat barbecue, and providing karaoke rooms. Dae Bak's AYCE Korean barbecue is different than other restaurants too because they serve meat in unique marinades such as curry or matcha.

After having lunch at Damso and being disappointed that the restaurant no longer serves bossam, I had major cravings for Korean style steamed pork belly and had to try Dae Bak on the following day! Every time I pass Dae Bak, I find the prices fairly high for their all you can eat menu. I personally only enjoy galbi (not LA cut ribs) and pork belly when having Korean barbecue, but Dae Bak only offers galbi on their priciest AYCE menu which is $45.00/person (actually, it may even only include LA cut ribs).

$45.00 is pricey in my opinion because a whole strip and a half of galbi is good enough for me and usually it costs $30.00 for an order at most Korean restaurants, which includes a couple of strips. Other than Dae Bak's all you can eat menu, their lunch specials catch my attention too. $13.00 for a plate of bossam? Yes please! The bossam looks really well seasoned, tender and fatty in the photo too.

During the lunch rush on a weekday, the restaurant was not very busy so there was only one server at the front. She was really friendly, but it was hard to find her because for some reason we were seated in a hidden corner. The seating arrangements at the restaurant are pretty private depending on where you sit because there are plenty of divider walls. But towards the middle end of the restaurant, it is all open space.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Boathouse Restaurant : English Bay Location

The Boathouse Restaurant is one of Vancouver's own chains and there are seven waterfront locations (English Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Kitsilano, White Rock, Richmond, New Westminster and Port Moody). I remember coming to The Boathouse quite often with my family when I was in elementary school, but it sort of stopped when I started attending high school. Our Family liked The Keg more and Cactcus Club or Joey were the preferred choices in my teen years. Then I guess after a few mediocre visits to The Boathouse in my university years, I started disliking the restaurant chain. But recently, a friend mentioned he went on a date to The Boathouse and the food was decent so I started questioning why I disliked the chain to begin with.

Arriving for a late lunch but before Happy Hours on a Friday, we waited at the front for around five minutes and none of the staff or hostess were on site. I further peaked into the bar area and did not see any of the staff, but there was one seated table. As we continued waiting, my guest sneezed twice and super loud which echoed. I was thinking FML how embarrassing, but the hostess was still no where to be seen! So after waiting, I was pretty pissed because The Boathouse is a chain restaurant and most restaurant chains take pride in providing well above average service. Restaurants in Downtown Vancouver usually provide better than usual service to cater to the business clientele too.

So the last straw was when the telephone started ringing, the hostess was still no where to be seen and I decided to leave the restaurant. We scanned the area and Cactus Club or Milestones across the street from The Boathouse would have been a better choice and both restaurants looked fairly busy. However, I decided to give The Boathouse another chance because I made reservations through OpenTable and already had my mind set on visiting (for a few days too lol). When we re-entered the restaurant, the hostess was on the phone and greeted us when she ended her telephone call.

The hostess led us up the staircase to the dining room, dropped off the menus and walked away. As I sat at the window seat, I could not help but think that Cactus Club across the street has a full house because their service is pretty top notch.

The large dining room has spacious seating arrangements, but the interior is outdated and not the cleanest. The table was not clean and the cutlery were literally filthy. Who is the dishwasher? When our server arrived after a while, I asked if she could change my cutlery and she did not seem to understand why. Well trained staff would also ask my guest if his cutlery needed to be changed as well, but he used his white napkin and the glass of water provided to clean them. On top of that, I wanted to order a drink but as soon as I touched the drink menu, there was literally a cloud of dust. What the hell?

View from our window seat.
From looking for the unenthusiastic hostess to the poor first impression from our server, the service did not start off good. But as we started ordering and asking a few questions, our server opened up a bit to us. It was a bit awkward because when we inquired about the ingredients in the Whiskey Crab Soup, our server responded "uhh... crab". Umm okay. Our server was not rude or unfriendly at all, she just seemed a bit  lazy. It is like she knew the answers, but it took her a while to provide more useful responses. I like how she warned us the Crispy Fish Tacos are already considered a meal and going for the Ahi Tuna Tacos would be a better choice as an appetizer though when we asked for a recommendation.


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