Sunday, August 31, 2014

Qoola Frozen Yogurt Bar : Oakridge location

Qoola is a Canadian frozen yogurt franchise and there are over ten locations in B.C. The frozen yogurt stands are usually located in shopping centres and are completely self serve.

Consumers select their choice(s) of frozen yogurt along with toppings and have control of the portion. This year, Qoola launched an organic selection and the flavours on my visit includes banana split, blood orange passionfruit, green tea, peach lychee, vanilla, lemon, original and blackberry. Asides from frozen yogurt, Qoola offers smoothies, "Q2GO" take home froyo or sorbet, and waffles.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sushi Town : Coqutilam

The original Sushi Town restaurant is located in North Burnaby along Hastings street, and the small franchise has expanded to Coquitlam as well as North Vancouver. Back in my high school years, Sushi Town in Burnaby was the go-to place for large portions at a cheap cost. Also, I have never complained about the quality.

As for the location in Coquitlam, I have been here on three occasions. On the first visit, I took my parents here and bragged about how the portions are huge. However, my father was very unpleased because the sashimi did not taste fresh and the table setting was dirty, he is even pickier than me… We left the restaurant with only a few grabs from each dish and the car ride home was silent because he hates having low quality food. Many years later, I did not want to revisit because of the bad memory with my father LOL… but BF wanted to try this place out. The second visit was very similar to the first, but the ending was more "I told you so" and me gloating.

Fast forward to a couple of more years later, there was a third visit. This time, I needed an excuse to go to Coquitlam's T&T because after spending the whole day going to Richmond (Osaka and T&T), Downtown, 1st Avenue and Burnaby's T&T… NONE of them had ice cream mochi. WTF? I was desperate and really needed them, so we had to go to Coquitlam.

Sometime within the last few years, Sushi Town has renovated. The interior is nice and looks like Cactus Club, compared to the former cafeteria layout. We waited at the front for a while and noticed a sign to put your name down but despite doing so, the waitress seated the couple who arrived after us. Furthermore after seating them, she was about to seat another group of people who arrived after them! Fortunately, the group mentioned we were ahead of them.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Chong Lum Hin Seafood 新東寶小館

Sometimes trying new restaurants and ending up with mediocre food can get discouraging, especially if it happens for more than a couple of consecutive days within the week! Having said that, there are quite a few Chinese restaurants in South Burnaby as well as New Westminster, but not many good ones that serve live seafood. Au Wing Kee is not the cleanest restaurant (similar to the Sing Kee level), Lui's Chinese as well as New Lakeview are average at best, and Lee Garden is great. But there is only one good restaurant?

Chong Lum Hin is located in New Westminster and according to a couple of BFs' clients, the dim sum is not bad. However, dinner? No one seems to have tried and there is not much information online. So after picking up some things from Metrotown, we decided to drop by.

Walking in, I was skeptical and assumed that Chong Lum Hin serves North Americanized Chinese food. There was a large table occupied by a Chinese family, and two tables with non-Asians. Plus, considering the area. As for the interior, there is nothing special and the restaurant looks old. I even remember a decade ago, the former restaurant was a Chinese buffet? We were given the option to seat anywhere by our friendly waitress and of course, went straight for a four person table.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Costco Food Court : Brighton Location

Ever since I was a child, I always look forward to Costco's food court. There is nothing better than having fast food and loading up the cart with boxes and boxes of junk food as well as ice cream and popsicles, what kid would not be happy? Although I guess after growing up, the boxes of junk food become "healthier" crackers as well as cookies and the cart is filled with more fruit. However, the boxes of ice cream and popsicles remain the same!

During busier times it is a struggle finding a seat, but who really needs to sit when grabbing a quick bite? I even remember years ago when Costco never had half the amount of seats they do now!

There is a self serve station where all the napkins, plastic cutlery and garnishes for the hot dogs are. The selection includes mustard, ketchup, relish, onions and pickled jalapeño rings as well as pickles. Although I think Costco no longer carries jalapeño rings and pickles anymore though, since I never saw any a few recent visits.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Park Here Seafood Restaurant 百喜海鮮酒家

Park Here Seafood is a Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant that offers a few Vietnamese influenced Chinese dishes. Also, the restaurant replaced the former Kam Wah Loong but most of the items on the menu along with the interior are the same. However, the owners are a lot friendlier and more welcoming!

The restaurant does not look too cramped and there are comfortable seating arrangements, although I am a bit surprised that they chose not to touch up the interior. After ordering, the owner asked if we wanted to move to a larger table because the amount of food we ordered was too much for a table for two. This is very appreciated because honestly, I hate juggling dishes around and eating uncomfortably at a restaurant. Or even worse, the awkwardness of a dish hanging half off the table! If it falls, who is at fault?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Papa John's : Burquitlam location

If it was not for Papa John's being one of the few pizza restaurants in the Lougheed Mall area, I would not even know about them! Papa John's is a franchise and their slogan is, "Better Pizza. Better Ingredients". Furthermore, if comparing Papa John's to Domino's and Pizza Hut, I believe the last two are more popular.

My friend and I ordered from Papa John's twice and on both occasions, the delivery drivers were friendly and arrived within the time stated. On the second visit, the pizza actually arrived fifteen minutes before the estimated time of arrival. As for the delivery charge, it is $3.00 which we could have saved, had we walked literally across the street lol!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Curry King Cafe 咖哩皇餐廳

After finishing up with some groceries at T&T and needing dinner ASAP in the area, we settled on Curry King. Curry King seems to be one of those places where many people drive by and think the restaurant is probably "meh", or at least for me it was. The restaurant is located on Kingsway Street in Burnaby and is in the same strip along with Bubble World, Waves as well as Hot Luck.

When we walked in, the interior surprised me. The restaurant is bigger as well as cleaner than I thought, and does not look run down. In addition, there was a nice fried rice aroma and the restaurant has AC. Another thing that surprised me was the waitress. She looked miserable, pointed towards which seat we should take, and tossed the menus.

Curry King has a large menu which includes a variety of congee, soup, laksa, ramen, udon, build your own noodles, curry, and the typical HK style cafe selections such as baked dishes and hot plates.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Le Petit Saigon

Being indecisive about where to have a late lunch, my friend and I settled for something quick, Vietnamese. Le Petit Saigon is located along Hastings street in Vancouver, and is one of the cleaner Vietnamese restaurants. There are no sticky tables and the chopsticks are individually covered in sleeves (although I still wipe them down with tea lol…). Furthermore, the restaurant is not cramped or too small, and the seating arrangements are spacious.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carver's Steakhouse

Going to a steakhouse in Richmond may not be the first thing that comes to mind, considering the amount of Asian restaurants available in the city. As for the steakhouses in Richmond, there are only three which includes Carver's, Chop Steakhouse and the good ol' reliable Keg.

As for myself, I have made it a goal to try every steakhouse in BC and because there are not many, it can be easily done. Also, conveniently, Social Shopper was offering a voucher for $45.00 which includes a three course dinner; one appetizer, two entrees and a dessert to share. Who can pass on a great offer considering the visit was bound to happen anyway?!

After circling the parking lot for ten minutes looking for a spot, we called the restaurant and asked where else we could park. Turns out, the manager mentioned we could park anywhere and if we get a ticket, the restaurant would reimburse us! So we ended up parking in the staff section. 

Walking in, we waited at the front for a while and a friendly server came over to seat us. At the end of dinner, one of the staff mentioned there was a last minute large party so the service was a bit slow. However, we felt the service was great and everyone was friendly. As for the interior, there is a black and red scheme rather than the traditional white linen tablecloth, and every table has a floating candle along with a red napkin.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tarts Bakery

There are plenty of popular bakeries that offer cake, tarts, pies, macarons etc. However, Tarts Bakery specializes in only tarts. The bakery is located on West Broadway in Vancouver and is founded by two sisters who share the passion of baking.

Walking in on a weekday afternoon, the store was empty and the owner sat by the counter. As I approached the display of tarts, she immediately stood up but did not say a word. So to break the silence, I mentioned I was browsing in case I was keeping her from something. However, my weak attempt to break the silence did not work because she did not say a word to me and I felt even more awkward. Perhaps I should have asked her about the tarts...

Tarts Bakery offers mini tartlets which is a great way to sample all the flavours and runs from $1.75 to $1.85, or 3 for $4.95. As for the regular sized tarts, the prices range from $4.98 to $5.95. In addition, soup, salad, cold drinks and hot drinks such as tea, coffee, along with hot chocolate are available.

I went for the raspberry macaroon as well as the lemon tart, which is when the owner broke the silence and asked if I wanted to select a third because one tart costs $1.75. At the time, I was not sure how much I was saving but decided why not? So rather than going for the chocolate mousse for a variety, I played it safe and chose something I would like, the butter pecan.

After selecting the tarts, she asked if I wanted a drink and without wanting to feel awkward that I rarely drink tea or coffee and my preferred choice of bottled water was not available, I ordered soup. As I noticed her grabbing the soup from a take out container and grabbing a box for the tarts, I mentioned the meal would be for here and proceeded to the counter.

This where my OCD kicks in. For a business to declare themselves as two sisters who share the passion of starting a business and creating a product because the quality or selection was not what either of them craved for, I expected an inviting atmosphere and a cute dainty interior (the shop is cute though). But instead, I walk into an unenthusiastic owner and the sink as well as the preparation area was filled with dirty plates. I even felt guilty for being the cause of her having to wash the dishes because I ordered my meal for here rather than to go.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Modern City Chinese Restaurant 新上海酒家

A friend of mine is not a picky eater and loves to follow the hype regarding restaurants. She enjoys the atmosphere more than the food, is always one of the first to follow the newest food trend in Vancouver, and declares a dish as great because it is from a certain restaurant. Furthermore, her expectations are not very high and if something sucks, the food must be bad. Having said all of that, I was a bit hesitant when BF suggested to try Modern City because my friend did not like it one bit. Honestly, she only dislikes a restaurant once in a blue moon. Well,  around every half year is more realistic.

After finally finding an optical retail store that carries Victoria Beckham and the style/color I actually want, I was happy enough to not care where dinner would be and the choice was Modern City. Modern City is located in Kerrisdale and is the only Shanghainese restaurant in the area. However, there are a few Chinese restaurants in the area and our choice was actually between Chongqing or here.

Modern City is a clean restaurant and the interior is a well lit. There are booth seating arrangements along one side of the restaurant, and a good amount of tables which are not cramped. As for the food, there is a mix of Cantonese style cuisine, Szechuan as well as Shanghai, and live seafood is available.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bubble World 大頭仔 : New Westminster location

Bubble World is a Canadian franchise restaurant with ten locations in B.C, but only five of the restaurants serve food while the rest sell drinks. As for the Bubble World in New Westminster, the restaurant is located within seconds from Douglas College and I remember making a visit years ago, but the food was not very good. At that time, I concluded this location caters to students and declared the restaurant as probably being the worst out of the whole franchise.

So why the revisit? A friend of mine moved in to her new condo in New West and it was based on convenience. Plus, perhaps the food has improved and she could also find out if the restaurant could be her go-to for late night snacks.

The interior looks modern as well as clean, and nice for any Asian fast food restaurant. Also, there is a good amount of booth seats and comfortable as well as spacious seating arrangements. When we walked in, the staff was friendly and there was Taiwanese pop music playing in the background. If anything, because the restaurant has two sides, it may be hard to get service for those seated on the side without the counter (like us, which we thought was fine).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

North Garden (3rd/4th/5th/6th visit)


Having said my story of Lougheed Wonton Restaurant, here is another of North Garden. North Garden is located in Burquitlam and is one of the only two Chinese restaurants in the area (the other being Yan's Garden). The restaurant is a family run business as well as the sister to Lougheed Wonton, and the staff often switches between both restaurants.

The interior is large and there is a high ceiling which provides better air circulation. In addition, there are plenty of booth seating arrangements (which are kind of wearing down) along with tables suitable for larger parties such as more than eight. As for the food, well… some items are not so good. I used to hate coming here because asides from the mediocre food at best, the staff always looks miserable! Geezus. However, there is one lady who is always extremely friendly on every single visit. Furthermore, after revisiting many times, I finally picked out a few dishes that are actually good. 

So, considering the lack of Chinese restaurants in the area along with a few dishes that taste great and an extremely friendly waitress, North Garden works for me. There is no more sulking whenever I hear North Garden… if I am in the area.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lougheed Wonton Restaurant (3rd, 4th and last visit)


This is my story of Lougheed Wonton Restaurant.

On my first visit, I never expected to return because the restaurant looks old and not very clean. As for the food, there were a couple of good dishes while most were mediocre. However, based on convenience, there is always someone who wants to come here rather than travelling far. But hello? I am supposed to drive far to have dinner here?! Although I will take partial blame because when Coquitlam Centre has something I really want and when I cannot wait a few days for a store transfer, I am in the area and agree to stop by for dinner.

As for the service, the first few visits were great. The staff was friendly, always remembered my face and there was only one issue; it is hard to get service when the restaurant is packed (like most restaurants). However, after more visits passed and despite being a regular, the staff started to neglect us and it was impossible to get plate changes … not sure why. Perhaps because the staff knows I am a regular and will always be around, so they chose to focus on other tables?

Anyways, the restaurant has plenty of seats and none of the seating arrangements are cramped. However, Lougheed Wonton Restaurant can be considered a "dirty" and older Chinese restaurant.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lui's Chinese Restaurant 添記美食館

I never go out of my way to try any restaurant along the Edmonds strip because honest to truth, none of the restaurants are very appealing to me. However, there was a plan to try Lhy Thai which is located in the area, until the restaurant closed at 8:00pm! This was a problem because I have tried many restaurants in South Burnaby and there are no more places that I want to try, except for a new hot pot joint that I was not in the mood for. So, we decided to try a random restaurant and hoped for the best. Plus, the exterior did not look too shabby or old, compared to the many restaurants in the area.

Lui's Chinese is a small mom n' pop operated restaurant and the staff was very inviting as well as friendly. Usually the friendliness is expected at small family businesses, but my last experience was the opposite (Poco Ocean). On a weeknight, the restaurant was packed and as many tables were finishing up, the staff provided a couple of thick slices of watermelon per person rather than the generic dessert soup or a fortune cookie! I was actually quite looking forward to the watermelon.

As for the interior, the restaurant is small and there are only a few tables along with a couple of larger ones for parties of more than eight. However, the seating arrangements are not cramped and although the restaurant may appear to look run down, the interior is clean (not the table setting though…), comfortable, simple as well as casual, and Lui's is a family style joint. Furthermore, the restaurant is also well ventilated with three ceiling fans and the AC running.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ki Sushi

A few years ago, there was a Chinese dim sum restaurant called Dragon Palace. I remember the dim sum was not that bad and enjoyed their steamed barbecue pork buns. However, I guess the owners decided to close up the Chinese restaurant and expanded their Japanese restaurant which was next door to Dragon Palace, Ki Sushi.

There are quite a few Japanese restaurants in New Westminster but when looking through some photos online, not many seem above average. In addition, when looking for dinner after 9:00pm and without many choices asides from pubs or Boston Pizza, Ki Sushi it was. At first, I was kicking as well as screaming and tried my hardest to avoid come here because from what I remember, the food is pricey and not that great. But like I mentioned, there were not many options. 

Also, Ki Sushi is Chinese owned as well as operated and from my experiences, most Korean and Japanese run sushi restaurants are a lot better.

The interior is spacious and clean, with plenty of seating arrangements. When we walked in, a waiter seated us and brought over the menus. After a while, he came back to grab us drinks. Furthermore shortly after five minutes, another waiter asked if we needed drinks. So far, I thought the service was good. The staff was polite and more than one waiter came by to make sure we had drinks on the table.

After settling down, the sushi chefs were cleaning up the bar and we frantically looked for someone to take our order. I hate the idea of ordering sushi when the chefs are cleaning up because I do not want my food to taste soapy or have dirty water (based on experiences!). Fortunately though, a small section at the sushi bar had not been cleaned yet and our food was prepared from there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pho Don

Pho Don is one of the newer Vietnamese restaurants to open along Hastings Street in Vancouver. The restaurant is very large and the interior looks modern. In addition, there are plenty of spacious seating arrangements and the restaurant is squeaky clean.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ramen Koika

Driving along Davie Street for a 9:00pm dinner, none of the restaurants really interest me. Sushi? Um… well, after trying the whole "visiting new restaurants" kind of thing, I discovered that some restaurants do not always serve fresh toro sashimi (Sushi Bella, Hi Dozo, Ginza Sushi and Sushi UOmo). How have I gotten away with 20 years of always having fresh toro sashimi until a few months ago, when the experience has happened more than a few times! Anyways, with sushi out of the question along with Greek (yeah, like I will risk having dry roast lamb…), donairs and Montreal cuisine, I guess ramen it was!

Ramen Koika is the newest addition to join the West End and the chefs have travelled to Chiba, Tokyo and Osaka to master ramen. Okay, they may have mastered the noodles but not the broth. The restaurant offers both chicken as well as pork soup bases, and the prices are cheaper than most ramen joints.

Walking in, Ramen Koika is the most spacious ramen joint that I have been to. There are plenty of bar seats available and a few tables at the back. The interior is spacious as well as comfortable and if anything, there was no loud welcoming from the kitchen along with the waitresses like at almost every ramen joint.

Since we arrived during last call, the both of us went for a bowl of ramen and passed on a side of donburi. I hate the feeling of keeping the staff behind just to clear our table! As we were waiting for the food, I could not help but notice a waitress using her hand to grab seaweed for the ramens. Asides from my personal OCD issues, it is basically just sanitary principles. Front of the house staff should not be touching food with their hands, considering they wipe down tables and deal with cash.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sushi UOmo (2nd visit)


After my first visit to Sushi UOmo, I declared the restaurant as probably the best choice for Japanese on Hastings street! The food as well as the service was great and having said that, I have been wanting to revisit for quite a while and finally found time to. Plus, I was craving for red tuna and uni!

Walking in, the sushi chefs along with the front of the house staff were friendly and greeted us. The interior is clean as well as simple, and the seating arrangements are not cramped. In addition, there are also a couple of televisions.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The One Spot Soup House 湯.com (2nd visit)


The One Spot Soup House (湯.com) specializes in herbal soup along with clay pot rice, and closed their restaurant to move to a larger one a few doors down on Victoria Drive.

The restaurant is a lot larger than their previous location and there are plenty of seats as well suitable tables for parties of ten (only a couple). Furthermore, asides from the larger restaurant, 湯.com has expanded their menu as well. There are more options of clay pot rice and the new additions of congee as well as Hong Kong style noodle rolls. We wanted go for their geoduck and sea cucumber with chicken congee, but the restaurant did not offer any at the time. Perhaps later on in the future?


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