Monday, December 29, 2014

Redbud Restaurant 紫荊閣餐廳

For three consecutive days, we headed to Richmond for an errand only to end up forgetting because we focused on eating! This was irritating because the both of us reminded ourselves to "not forget" before eating. Fortunately after three trips to Richmond though, we finally got the errand done before dinner. So as we circled around Richmond looking for a place to eat, we agreed to pass on live seafood along with bubble tea restaurants and settled for a Hong Kong Style Cafe.

Only since the beginning of the year, it was impossible for me to set foot in a HK style cafe, but now I no longer mind because some of the restaurants offer steak. There are also only two HK style cafes in Richmond that serve above average food to us which are La Amigo along with Kingspark Steak House. However when circling around, BF noticed Redbud twice and kept yapping about the restaurant so I decided to give it a go. Plus, some of the photos that were uploaded from someone related to the restaurant did not look bad.

Redbud appears to be a new HK style cafe and a higher end one, offering dishes such as rack of lamb, steak and lobster. The restaurant is fairly spacious and there are booth seating arrangements along the walls and tables in the centre. On our visit, there was an older waitress along with a younger one and both were friendly. The younger waitress was very attentive and polite too.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant 釣魚台海鮮酒家

On a rainy afternoon, our original lunch date was supposed to be at Bacchus but the valet man was nowhere to be seen. You see, I really hate the rain. I love snow more than the rain and am surprised that many people are the opposite. I mean, I may be fine with the rain if I am wearing wellington boots along with a trench coat and carrying a huge umbrella. But if it is the last minute kind of rain and I am already dressed, I hate the idea of changing just because of the rain! So after waiting a few minutes, we decided to head to Aberdeen Centre because of their underground parking lot and also to try Fisherman's Terrace. Going to Floata would have been more practical, but I figured Fisherman's Terrace may be better.

Fisherman's Terrace is considered a "fine dining" Chinese restaurant because of the higher prices, cleanliness, supposedly above average service and atmosphere. The restaurant is somewhat long and narrow and the seating arrangements look fairly tight. We did not arrive on a full house too.

SMALL $3.85 || MEDIUM $4.95 || LARGE $5.55 || SPECIAL $5.95 || TEA $1.00

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Top Gun J&C Restaurant 名堂公館 : Dinner

When I used to hear the words "Top Gun restaurant" which refers to a chain of restaurants in Vancouver, I always cringed. The reason is because back in my elementary years, there was a Top Gun Sushi restaurant in New Westminster. It was an All You Can Eat Japanese restaurant and the quality was not good, as in on par with Sui Sha Ya. Then there is Top Gun in Crystal Mall which is a Chinese AYCE hot pot restaurant, but serves dim sum during the day. I remember going to Top Gun Hot Pot throughout high school but the restaurant did not compare to any of the ones in Richmond and the prices were higher. Also, my parents never took me to try the dim sum there before so I always assumed the restaurant was nothing special.

But years later, I discovered Kingsway Sushi and Richmond Sushi which are also affiliated with the Top Gun Group. It was not until last year when I discovered both restaurants too, thanks to BF for knowing the food is not bad. We actually argued about trying those restaurants before because I was ignorant and believed all AYCE Japanese restaurants were like Fish On Rice, Kawawa and Sui Sha Ya! But turns out Kingsway Sushi and Richmond Sushi serves very fresh sashimi, as fresh as it can get. So with that being said, we purchased a membership card last year for $20.00 (which is only $10.00 now, lame!) and decided to make use of it at other Top Gun restaurants.

My expectations regarding Top Gun J&C were similar to the other restaurants in the group, negative at first and not very high. However, Top Gun J&C is actually considered a fine dining restaurant and I had no clue. The interior surprised me and looks fairly "fancy". There are white linens, chopstick covers, gold seat covers, cloth napkins, and spacious seating arrangements. In addition, the staff were attentive, courteous, friendly and professional. There were only three seated tables on a weekend visit throughout our duration however, but the service was consistent and did not disappear (which happens a lot at other "fine dining" restaurants for us).

Also when ordering, our waiter was very informative when we inquired about the menu. BF asked a lot of questions because some of the prices seemed off (as in too cheap) and the waiter treated us like it was our first visit at Chinese restaurant. He was really courteous and genuinely wanted to help us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Richmond Sushi (Revisit)

How can someone who is very picky about Japanese cuisine have Richmond Sushi as one of their favourite restaurants? Well, as surprising as it may sound… I get better sashimi from Richmond Sushi which is an All You Can Eat restaurant than at some Japanese run businesses! The reason is because since Richmond Sushi is constantly busy, there is never sashimi laying around and sitting there.

Richmond Sushi is a part of the Top Gun Group and there is another Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, Kingsway Sushi. Despite that both restaurants are affiliated, I find the quality regarding the sashimi a touch better at Richmond Sushi. The presentation usually looks nicer and the cooked items are more consistent too.

The restaurant is very large and spacious, with plenty of booth seating arrangements at the back of the restaurant and a couple of rooms suitable for large parties. I am pretty much here on a weekly basis and ironically the time I decide to blog about a revisit, we were seated near the front of the restaurant lol but meh. As for the service, the staff uses a PDA so the food comes out fast. This is great for those who are really hungry and the food is always served hot. If anything is ever luke warm, blame it on the front of the house staff!

ADULT $25.95 || CHILD (5-9) $12.95
DELUXE $34.95 || CHILD (5-9) $15.95
LATE NIGHT $14.95 || CHILD (5-9) $9.95

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

La Belle Patate

A while back, I had mad cravings for a poutine and decided to try La Belle Patate after a run on the seawall. The idea of having a poutine afterwards actually motivated me and I finished about ten minutes earlier too! Le Belle Patate is known for their poutines and offers 26 choices, which is great for the adventurous along with the indecisive. As for myself, my hair stylist calls me "vanilla" along with Plain Jane so of course I stuck with a traditional poutine.

Other than poutines, the restaurant offers "authentic Quebecois cuisine" which includes smoked meat sandwiches and steamies. So obviously I had to order the smoked meat sandwich! As for the seating arrangements, there are half booth seats along the wall, stools by the window for those who like to people watch, and around five tables in the whole restaurant.

The poutines are served in an aluminum container however, so eating on the go is fairly comfortable and not bad because the food stays warm.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shining Garden 麥田餐廳 (5th/6th/7th/8th visits)

Sometimes I get embarrassed over posting about revisits and it is more embarrassing when I am practically the only one blogging about that restaurant! In this case, Shining Garden is the restaurant that I keep blogging about. But hey in my defence, I consider my blog as a diary and probably use it more than anyone else as a food guide. The restaurant is a family operated business and my go-to (obviously) Chinese restaurant, including higher end restaurants. The reason is because the food is always consistent and considering the picky person that I am, Shining Garden is one restaurant where I do not hesitant to try new dishes.

After quite a few visits, I finally told the owner that we really enjoy the food at Shining Garden. I further mentioned that we try a lot of Chinese restaurants and sometimes the first or second visits are good but when we go back, the third time is not as good! The owner's wife actually finished my sentence and I was thinking whoa, how did she know the third visit may not be good?

Friday, December 19, 2014

ManCakes Bakery

My sister was surprised to hear from me and more ecstatic when she found out I would be visiting her at work. But little does she know, the only reason is because I wanted her to come with me to ManCakes LOL. I do like visiting her at work occasionally though because the building reminds me of the show Suits, but their Harvey Specter is already married and has a family. Back to the cupcakes… there are a few cupcake speciality stores in Vancouver, where the most known business is Cupcakes by Heather and Lori.

Personally I am not a fan of Cupcakes by Heather and Lori because considering the "premium" prices being charged, their quality and lack of consistency is not worth it in my opinion. There are also plenty of bakeries that offer cupcakes but the only other specialty cupcake store I know of is Cassia Cupcakery on Commercial Drive.

As for ManCakes however, I consider their cupcakes "gourmet". From the quality and consistency to the fun and innovate flavours, ManCakes does not offer basic cupcakes such as yellow, carrot cake or chocolate topped with a variety of buttercream icings. Instead, ManCakes provides a variety of basic bases with the addition of a filling and then the buttercream icing. The filling is what makes a big difference for me because I can easily bake cupcakes at home, but how often will I bother making a filling if I am short on time? Let alone unique fillings such as theirs!

With regards to the name ManCakes, the story behind the business is that three gentleman friends united to make boring and overly sweet cupcakes fun, unique and better. The store is small but spacious, and there are comfortable seating arrangements along with a few stool seats facing the window for people watching. ManCakes is also known for their DeathWish coffee, which is 200% stronger than any other on the market. I do not drink coffee but probably should have tried it, just for the heck of it on my three visits.

$3.75 || 2 FOR $6.95 || 6 FOR $19.75 || 12 MINI TOOL BOX $19.75

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Motomachi Shokudo 元町食堂

Located a few doors from Kintaro and sister to the restaurant, is Motomachi Shokudo. Motomachi Shokudo focuses on "healthier" ramen by using organic ingredients (chicken, egg and vegetables) and even offers bamboo charcoal which is known to absorb toxins from the body. Our first choice was actually Kintaro but the restaurant was temporarily closed for a few days.

When we walked in, the restaurant was not busy and fortunately there was no line up! There was also no greeting from the kitchen or the front of the house staff, which is odd for a ramen joint. Motomachi Shokudo has a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere, and the restaurant is not cramped compared to other ramen joints. There are three small tables, one communal, and even hooks along the concrete wall to hang purses.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nine Dishes 九道

All You Can Eat? Nine Dishes? What kind of restaurant or buffet is this? These are some of the thoughts that run through my mind whenever I pass by the restaurant. When we entered, we were pointed towards a seat and a sheet of paper along with a pen were plopped on the table. We assumed the obvious and wrote down our order before proceeding to the counter, where we handed the sheet in. After the first dish arrived, we waited a while and noticed other tables with drinks, so we assumed we were supposed to order drinks at the counter and brought them back to our table.

Nine Dishes is one restaurant where service is truly non-existent, but at least the gentleman did not look miserable. He was not friendly either, just indifferent. As for the interior, the restaurant is really cold! I wanted to keep my jacket on but because it is a runway piece, I did not want it touching the table so placed it on a chair while hesitating at the same time because the furniture is not the cleanest. The cold temperature made sense throughout dinner however because every table ordered a Szechuan hot pot.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Temaki Sushi

Temaki Sushi is a Chinese and Vietnamese operated Japanese cuisine restaurant, but I had high expectations walking in. You see, I was trying to find a follower on my Instagram and stumbled upon @temakisushii. His cute garnishes of carrot pagodas drew my attention and I could not believe the restaurant is located in Vancouver! I have not seen many chefs in Vancouver make cute garnishes including at higher end Japanese restaurants, so I decided that Temaki Sushi warranted a visit.

We were at the front for a bit and despite some of the waitstaff staring at us, we were not helped until later. The first question a waiter asked was, "do you have reservations?". Upon hearing this, I squealed in my head and believed that Temaki Sushi could be one of the best Japanese restaurants and perhaps a busy one which requires reservations all the time. The restaurant has a few suitable seating arrangements for larger parties and the dining area is not too cramped.

After seating, the menus and tea were impatiently placed on the table but the service warmed up after we started ordering. There were around five waitstaff at the front and during busier times, everyone made their way around refilling drinks. The staff were also friendly.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dallas Pizza & Souvlaki

Saying there is a lack of Greek cuisine restaurants on my blog is an understatement because by "lack of", there is currently only one. In addition, the only "one" happens to be Dallas Pizza & Souvlaki! Throughout my SFU years, I spent quite a fair time trying to find the best donair joints along with Greek restaurants serving up roast lamb. This was harder than it sounds and I soon discovered that the higher the price, the heavier the fall.

Formerly known as "Dallas 2 For 1 Pizza & Souvlaki", the family run business moved a couple of units down to a larger retail space. The interior is nicely renovated and looks less like a typical fast food joint. But more importantly, the interior is very clean too.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sushi Itshoni

One restaurant I avoid in Burquitlam is Sushi Itshoni. I remember coming here a few years ago and the poor quality food along with the unfriendly staff, did not make a good experience. Moreover, I remember seeing the staff reusing the shredded daikon garnishes which I find appalling. I even made sure to pour soy sauce over the daikon so at least the garnishes on my table would not be reused!

So why the revisit? A friend of mine wanted to try something new in the area and it was not her first time asking. She has asked me at least ten times to come here over the last year and I was thinking fine, hope you learn your lesson...

When we arrived, the atmosphere was a lot more welcoming compared to my first visit a few years back. The restaurant has a very simple interior and does not look cluttered. There are a few booth seats along with tables in the centre, and the seating arrangements are not cramped. Furthermore, the owners and staff are friendly.

Sushi Itshoni is a Korean restaurant that offers both Korean as well as Japanese cuisine. I was hesitant on ordering sashimi due to my negative former experience and that the prices are higher. For example, even the "basic" nigiri such as salmon ($2.90) and tuna ($2.90) are higher priced.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bernard Noir

Bernard Noir is a fairly new chocolate boutique, located in Downtown Vancouver. The boutique offers three of the ten most popular chocolates in Europe which include French brands Michel Cluizel and Richart, along with German brand Lauestein. Moreover, Bernard Noir carries their own chocolate made by a certified chocolatier. 

Asides from chocolate, Bernard Noir offers housemade pastries and dessert by Chef Yutta. The selection changes daily from a variety of croissants, scones and brownies, along with Belgian waffles to cakes and cupcakes. In addition, the boutique offers gourmet baguette sandwiches.

I was invited to sample some goodies and met the owners behind Bernard Noir. Bernard handles the business aspect while his wife Chef Yutta, does the baking. The owners are a strong believer in "fat makes you fat" and only use real ingredients for their pastries such as butter, cane or coconut palm sugar. Furthermore, the owners also believe in using less fat because "fat makes you fat".

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill : Downtown Location

After having what was supposedly dinner at Simba's Grill, we were still hungry and headed literally next door to Zakkushi Charcoal Grill. The izakaya uses Binchotan which is a Japanese charcoal that produces no flame or smoke (although I have seen photos of flames from Zakkushi?), making it comfortable for those who only go to barbecue restaurants on "laundry" or "wash hair at night" days… like me.

Similar to most izakayas, Zakkushi is not very big. The restaurant is long and narrow but surprisingly the seating arrangements are not cramped. Menus are provided on every table and kept there, which is great for those who like to order a bit and add additional orders later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Simba's Grill

Occasionally or more like shamelessly three to sometimes every day of the week, I spend a couple of hours looking for a restaurant to go to for dinner. I start with searching restaurants based on convenience and change the location if none of the eateries interest me. Sometimes I get those "good" days where I find a couple of places and think, "I HAVE to go there" while other times it is more like, "hmm looks okay" and settle. With that said, Simba's Grill has been on my list of interest for quite some time because I always notice the restaurant when passing by. So when I finally decided to look up some comments on Urbanspoon and Yelp, Simba's Grill seemed like a must visit to me.

Okay, honest to truth, I was obsessed for the whole day about going to Simba's Grill and had bad cravings to come here. Since there are not many photos of the dishes online, I even resorted to searching through Instagram and looking for their geotag just to find more photos! From what I remember reading, the owner is very friendly and welcoming especially towards first time visitors. I am big on supporting family businesses but at the same, only those who I believe deserve to be successful. By "deserve", all I really mean is for the owners to show they care about their clientele. To further simply put it, owners that do not act miserable.

When we walked in on a raining evening with dripping umbrellas, a friendly waitress provided us with a seat by the door when the restaurant was not busy. We asked if it was possible for a different seat, one not so close to the door, and she was happy to oblige. The waitress gave us the option of seating anywhere and we asked if a four person table is okay because we tend to order a lot. This is when the owner stood up from his seat, pointed towards a table in a corner and said, "no!". There is no exaggeration with the exclamation mark. At this time, BF wanted to leave because of the rudeness from the owner but I begged him to stay because I literally spent like three hours looking for photos online and I really wanted to dine here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tacofino White Lightning

My friend's first food truck choice was Mogu but after waiting thirty minutes, the truck never showed! We found out a few days later that Mogu stopped their services around the middle of November which explains why. So, our second choice was based on convenience when we headed to Tacofino's White Lightning Truck. Actually Tacofino was our third choice because Mr.Shawarma's food truck did not open yet.

The both of us have tried the Albacore Tuna Taco before from Tacofino's Orange Cantina Food Truck and Tacofino Commissary which we really like, but had no idea the White Lightning Truck does not offer them!  As for the selection, the food truck offers a couple of tacos, a variety of burritos, and a chocolate diablo cookie. The prices range from $5.00-$11.00 with the higher items being burritos.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Xu's Wonton House 白玉蘭麵家 (2nd visit)

My favourite place for Shanghainese soup dumplings (xiao long bao) is located in Crystal Mall, at Xu's Wonton House. The food stall is also apparently known for a few other dishes, with one including their rice cake which I have never tried. Actually, the only item I have tried here is the XLB! As for the service, man… the staff ain't friendly. However, I decided to speak in Chinese this time and wow… what a big difference it makes! The owner's wife was super friendly and even asked how many plates I needed. FML even the cashier was friendly when I said "thank you" in Chinese as I returned the steamer.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Maji Restaurant 麻吉台式熱炒

After waiting an hour and a half for Maji to open and suffering the consequences of grabbing a snack at R&H House in Lansdowne, we finally arrived! The Taiwanese tapas restaurant is located on Alexandra Road in Richmond and their hours run from 5:30pm-12:00am (open later on weekends). Maji has been on my list for a while because I have been wanting to try something different such as a restaurant that does not offer live seafood. Moreover, a restaurant that offers reasonable prices which is hard to find in Richmond when HK Style Cafes and Bubble Tea restaurants are excluded.

However, I was hesitant on trying Maji because being Taiwanese, I am more selective towards the cuisine. Okay, fine, I am very selective towards any cuisine… I really do not know why. When looking from the outside of the building, the restaurant does not even look that big so we were surprised upon entering. Furthermore, the interior looks fairly nice. The seating arrangements are not tight either and even the washroom was very clean.

Friday, December 5, 2014

R&H Chinese Food 正点

Being in Richmond around 4:00pm and hungry is the worst situation for me to be in. The reason is because my only dining destinations would be either the food courts, HK style cafes or Bubble Tea restaurants. And if I decide to have a snack at any of those places, it is hard for me to just have a "snack" because I want to eat everything in sight ASAP and therefore ruin my appetite for dinner.

So after sitting in the car with a friend for thirty minutes and pondering over if we should wait another hour for a restaurant to open, we decided to walk around Lansdowne. The both of us agreed that if we decided to go to the food court (which we knew was going to happen), we would limit ourselves to only smoothies and two dishes.

The only food stall that caught our attention was R&H Chinese Food. The food stall appears to be a family run business with the father handling the cash, mother making the goodies, and the sons running the kitchen. When we approached the counter, my friend wanted to leave and just go to Earl's for an early dinner. She is really big on service like myself, and the owner was very miserable and indifferent. I never understand when business owners are not friendly because it is their own business.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Baguette & Co : Davie Street Location

A few weeks ago, Baguette & Co kept popping up on my Instagram feed so I figured I must have been missing out. There are currently four locations (Davie Street, Kitsilano, Main Street and Marine Drive) and the patisserie offers fresh pastries as well as dessert. The cafe also offers mini sized pastries ($1.25/each or 3/$2.95) and dessert ($1.50/each or 3/$4.00) which provide an opportunity to sample a bit of everything before deciding on a whole size purchase.

I came here on two separate occasions because my first visit was nothing special so I wanted to give Baguette & Co another try. There are around five tables in the cafe and the seating arrangements are not too tight. A self serve station is also set up where cocoa, honey, cutlery and water is available.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Zhao's Soup House 趙記湯館 (2nd visit)


I was given the option to have dinner at three restaurants in Richmond which included Nu Shanghainese Bistro, Top Gun J&C or Zhao's Soup House. My first choice was Top Gun J&C but the restaurant is closed on Mondays! Following my first choice was Nu Shanghainese Bistro. However, I am saving the restaurant for an "emergency" early dinner between 4:00-5:00pm because most restaurants do not open until 5:30pm. So, I guess Zhao's Soup House it was. I was hesitant on revisiting Zhao's Soup House because from what I remember, only the peking duck tasted great. But considering the nice atmosphere along with a very friendly owner and an ongoing 15% promotion, I did not mind trying the restaurant again.

As we browsed through the menu, I forgot how pricey the dishes are. Even the live seafood is expensive, where lobster costs $28.80/lb and crab $19.00/lb which are fine dining prices. Moreover, the atmosphere is different. There are no more cloth napkins or hot towels provided upon seating and the restaurant does not offer candles with orders of tea/hot water anymore. I still like enjoy the cosmetics though.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kintaro Ramen 金太郞

Kintaro has been my go-to ramen restaurant ever since I was in high school. The ramen shop offers a rich, medium or light broth and a choice of fatty or lean barbecue meat. In addition, asides from the basic ramen choices such as shoyu, shio and miso, Kintaro offers a spicy garlic, vegetable, and cheese ramen as well. Tsukemen is also available but only during the months of summer.

Like other ramen restaurants, Kintaro has plenty of bar seats, one communal table and a few tables for two. Long line ups are usually expected too but on my countless visits, I have only had to line up once which was a short fifteen minute wait!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gold Penny 品味食館

Every time when I mention something is dirty at a Chinese restaurant such as the floor, chairs or tableware, BF anyways says, "Penny's Restaurant is still one of the worst." Honestly, I do not even remember Penny's being "that" dirty, probably because I was hungry or did not pay attention to the atmosphere. So, my man has been wanting to visit Gold Penny for quite some time because it is the new restaurant that took over the former Penny. And according to his mother, the one who only visits higher end Chinese restaurants and has very high standards, the food is not bad here.

When I heard the news, I was very sceptical and thinking he was joking. I mean, why the heck was she even in this area? She lives really far from here! Anyways, so fine, whatever, after weeks of him talking about Gold Penny, I caved. After we walked in, I could not stop laughing in my head. The interior looks the same and nothing has changed, except the owners.

BF tried saying the chairs have changed… but really? Hello, I have a blog. And yes, I actually pulled out my blog post and showed him the photo of the same chairs. Then he started defending himself by saying at least there is live seafood… but turns out there was none! So the joke is on him because he always has to order live seafood at a Chinese restaurant.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hanok Korean Restaurant 韓屋 : Burnaby Location

There are plenty of Korean restaurants in Burquitlam, hence why the city is also known as "Korea Town". Some of the better restaurants in the area would be Toe Dam Korean for gamjatang and barbecue, Wang Ga Ma that specializes in soup, and Chom Chom Fusion which serves jokbal, albap and fried chicken. Cheers Chicken and Noodle would also be on the list for serving one of the best fried chicken, but unfortunately the restaurant recently closed.

Hanok is located in Burquitlam as well and in the same plaza along with Yan's Garden. I have always tried to avoid Hanok in Burquitlam because the restaurant does not offer barbecue and also because I was not impressed with the location in Richmond. As for the interior, the restaurant is not that big but the seating arrangements are comfortable. Our waitress was also friendly which is rare at a Korean restaurant!


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