Friday, October 31, 2014

Chef Tony 頤東大酒樓

There are a couple of things that I am not embarrassed of to admit such as having an appetite of a man, and occasionally being cheap. You see, I used to go for dim sum frequently but am not really a "huge" fan. So when the bill comes to $80.00 for two people because BF always decides to order too much food, it eventually got me. Why are we spending so much on dim sum when neither of us find it special? And as a result, we agreed to only go for dim sum with our families or spend no more than $60.00 together.

The plan kind of backfired however because our schedules never matched with our families' and neither of us have had dim sum for literally a whole year! So eventually we started craving for dim sum which is rare, because usually one of us wants only a specific dish rather than an actual whole dim sum meal. Anyhow, Chef Tony was my choice of restaurant for dim sum.

From what I have heard, Chef Tony offers a fusion twist on dim sum and the prices are not cheap. I honestly did not have any expectations and expected average food. As for the interior, it can be considered a modern Chinese style. There are lighted pillars, plenty of chandeliers and a large screen which showcases the menu. Furthermore, there is a row of VIP rooms which looks very Asian. In Asia, most of the VIP rooms are laid out in a row but in Canada the layout might resemble a karaoke joint.

Also judging by the prices, Chef Tony may be considered one of the higher end Chinese restaurants. However, the atmosphere is not quite there. The seating arrangements are cramped and the dining room is very crowded, not fancy at all. Diners should feel comfortable. In addition, the decor does not look "high end".

SMALL $4.00 || MEDIUM $4.80 || LARGE $5.75 || SPECIAL $6.95.
TEA $2.00

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Fish Counter

Located on Main Street in Vancouver is a business that focuses on sustainable seafood, The Fish Counter. The shop has a fish market along with a kitchen that offers fresh and made to order food, and C'est la vie a Maggi and I came for the food. When we walked up to the front doors, we did not know which door to go through and chose the one that leads to the restaurant side. As we entered, there were open cupboards blocking the entrance and a cashier staring at us without saying a word, so I felt guilty because I thought we walked through the wrong door.

Fortunately, Maggi confirmed if we could enter and the cashier responded with a "yes" before walking to close the cupboards, so I did not feel bad. After looking around, we noticed the menu posted on the wall and proceeded to the cashier.

The atmosphere was a bit awkward and not inviting because the cashier was not friendly, but we did not mind since The Fish Counter can be considered a fast food joint. As for the interior, it looks fairly nice and the shop is well ventilated. The fish market side of the shop does not have an overwhelming smell too.

The menu is posted on the unfinished wooden walls and looks very playful. There are cute ocean creatures and an easy to read but playful font. As for the selection of food, The Fish Counter offers fish n' chips, sandwiches, tacos, soup and one kind of salad. We arrived during a slow period so the seating arrangements were not an issue, but the seats are quite limited. There is only one table and a bar, along with a couple of benches.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lucky Star Chinese Restaurant 辣子紅南北私房菜

Lucky Star is located in North Burnaby and the restaurant serves Cantonese style Chinese cuisine as well as Szechuan. The interior of the restaurant looks better than the exterior and there are comfortable seating arrangements. In addition, there are a few chandeliers, a large television screen, and all the furnishings appear to be custom made and imported from China. The seats are fairly comfortable too because of the padding.

As for the food, the restaurant offers a variety of dishes and the menu is not limited at all. There are choices from dim sum, soup, congee, prawns, chicken, duck, beef, lamb, scallops, pork, sizzling hot pots, chow mein, handmade noodles and rice. But the thing is, there are more than only a few choices under each category! For example, the restaurant has five kinds of scallop dishes. Lucky Star also has a few frog dishes, but we passed because I am way too picky when it comes to that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hiro Sushi

You know how stubborn some people can be? Well, I can sometimes be one of them when it comes to food. When meeting a friend for a late lunch, neither of us had anywhere in mind because we thought the other person already chose a restaurant. So as half an hour passed driving along Hastings Street and both of us tight on a schedule, my friend practically forced Hiro Sushi on me (she really did). Sushi Hiro is a Chinese owned and operated Japanese cuisine restaurant that replaced the former No.1 Chinese Restaurant (which had one of the best cream and butter sauce live seafood, along with the friendliest owners!).

Hiro Sushi has completely renovated, but the owners decided to keep the mural paintings of Italy which were originally from an Italian restaurant before the Chinese cuisine one. As for the seating arrangements, there are booth seats along the wall, tables in the centre and seats by the sushi bar. After seating, my former negative thought of "this restaurant is not going to be good" disappeared as I noticed the restaurant offers a daily special! The special includes uni and red tuna, which I admit to being biased by assuming only "better" Japanese restaurants offer. Unfortunately the restaurant did not have any though.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Boston Pizza : West Broadway location

Boston Pizza is one of my favourite chain restaurants and I only come here for the cactus cut potatoes, wings, and pizza. I love BPs twice baked wings because most of the time they are juicy and flavourful! Honestly, BP is my favourite place for wings.

Like every BP location, the restaurant is large and spacious. There is a bar/lounge area along with the dining room and plenty of large television screens. We arrived after midnight so the restaurant was not busy, but our waitress was friendly and attentive. At most BP locations, the service is non existent whenever the restaurant is slow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Legend House

Legend House is a fairly new Northern China cuisine restaurant in Coquitlam. The restaurant makes their own dumplings along with hand stretched noodles, and offers a variety of Szechuan dishes.

Walking in, there is an open window kitchen concept and the interior is very nice. The restaurant has a rustic modern interior; unfinished wooden floors along the walls, bricks, a high ceiling and nice chandeliers. In addition, the restaurant is fairly big!

There are comfortable booth seating arrangements and plenty of tables. Asides from being one of the larger Chinese restaurants in Coquitlam, Legend House is definitely one of the better looking ones. As for the staff, everyone was friendly. Our waitress double checked our order on her tablet and a few other waitresses came by to see if we needed more drinks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chubby Lamb Hot Pot 河豚火鍋 (Under new ownership)

"What do you want to eat? Hot pot? Is it worth the drive and $80.00?", lmfao this is how the conversation started when deciding on a place for dinner. A big reason for visiting Chubby Lamb Hotpot in Richmond is because the restaurant serves the best Chinese chicken and herbal soup base! The broth is consistent, tastes rich, and the owner always encourages us to have a couple of bowls each before starting on the hot pot!

However, the restaurant is now under a new ownership and management. Chubby Lamb has been closed for a couple of months and I assumed the restaurant was being renovated, but the biggest sign of a new ownership was the staff. The staff is different from the last few previous years and there are polaroid photos of the new team by the counter. The fish bowl sitting on the counter is another sign as well!

Walking in, the restaurant was empty but the room filled up fast. Both the waiter and waitress at the front of the house were friendly and inviting, especially the waitress. The waitress appears to be related to the owner and is a very hard worker. She is also extremely polite and even says "Hello, welcome" as well as "Please, right this way" in Chinese, which is actually a first for me out of 150+ Chinese restaurants I have blogged about. Furthermore, she followed up with every table and made sure to say goodbye to everyone.

As for the interior, Chubby Lamb is one of the smaller hot pot restaurants so reservations are recommended. There are only a couple of seating arrangements for parties of more than six and less than twelve tables. After ordering, every table is provided with soy, peanut and satay sauce, and extra condiments are $0.75.

ADULT $22.50 || CHILD (5-11) $14.90 || AGE (3-4) $5.00
BROTH $7.00 - $12.00 || UNLIMITED POP $1.50.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Belgium Place


Belgium Place is one of the newer cafes that serves authentic liege waffles; the ones with pearl crystals throughout the dough which caramelizes the exterior and results in a nice golden color. Walking in, one of the cashiers was having lunch and he immediately got up to greet us and take our order. We were very pleased with his friendliness along with his patience as we browsed through the four screen television menu.

The cafe is very spacious and there is a fair amount of seating arrangements along with a few patio seats. I like the spaciousness because during busier times, both the ordering and picking up line ups would not be cramped. There is nothing worse than bumping and nudging the next person beside you when in a long line up!

Other than waffles, Belgium Place offers croissants, quiches, panini and baguette sandwiches. About the waffles though, there are sweet as well as savoury choices and everything is housemade. There is also a choice of almond, chocolate, as well as chocolate and almond waffles for those who want to skip on the plain ones.

As for the accompaniments, there are fruit compotes which include apple, apricot, blueberry and strawberry. On top of that, gelato (vanilla or chocolate), sauce (chocolate, caramel, maple syrup) and caramelized nuts (almond or walnuts) are also available as toppings.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kaya Japanese Restaurant (2nd visit)


Generally I choose not to blog about restaurants when I have a meal with my family or a group of friends. The reason is because I am spending time with good company rather than for the purpose of eating. Plus, considering the amount of food I order with just BF… imagine how much dishes there are with more people! Another reason is also because I tend to visit my regular restaurants with family and friends rather than trying somewhere new.

However, Kaya Japanese is an exception. My family and BF travelled forty five minutes just to come here because my first experience was great; food and service wise. Our waitress followed up with our dishes a few times and always asked if we needed more drinks. Most importantly, the food was good too! I practically raved about the restaurant on my first blog post. Although unfortunately, the staff from my first visit was not here this time around and our experience was a negative one.

Walking to the front doors, I noticed a sign on the right door. There is a sign that mentions which door to open now… so no more getting yelled at by the staff as a welcoming! After seating, my father did not bring his reading glasses and asked the waitress what the meaning of a Chinese character on the cup was. Surprisingly her response was, "Why? Why are you asking me?" in a rude tone of voice. She could have easily mentioned that she cannot read Chinese instead, or fake her customer service skills and talk in a "happier" tone of voice, like she is shy and was curious to know why he asked.

Furthermore when the waitress brought over the table setting later on, she did not even bother serving the plates and side bowls to us. She just plopped them on the table and walked away. Not much service so far…

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Family

I did not really plan on posting about an experience of Happy Family Restaurant because it was a small take out order, but decided to do so to make my man happy. Plus, we recently stopped at a red light literally in front of the restaurant and it seemed like it was meant to be - to take a photo of the restaurant's exterior!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dinesty Dumpling House : Robson location

Whenever I have a negative experience at a chain or franchise business, I tend to avoid any of the other restaurants (ABC Country, Banana Leaf, Sushi Bella, Swiss Chalet…). This is somewhat unfair because every chain and franchise business is operated differently so one location may be horrible while another is great. In this case, the franchise is Dinesty Dumpling House. I have visited the location in Richmond before and the food was horrible along with the service. Not only was there no service, but the staff was also rude!

However, BF has been wanting to try Dinesty at the Downtown location for months. He is also the same person who had dinner with me at the Richmond location and vowed never to return! I guess in the end, I did not mind trying the Downtown location just because I was in a good mood. Plus, I was not really hungry since we went to Rodney's earlier. Picking up a pair of stilettos that finally arrived after a couple of weeks of waiting did not hurt either, hehe.

Walking in, the manager immediately stormed past us and closed the front door while yelling in chinese, "who didn't close the door?!". She then made eye contact with us after slamming the door so I asked for a table for two. Although there must have been a miscommunication on her end because she waved us away like we were pan handlers and rolled her eyes… umm? After standing there for a while, a waitress approached us but did not say a word so we asked if the restaurant was still open. With a response of yes, we asked her for a table for two.

At this point, it seemed like deja vu with the Richmond location (rushed atmosphere and unfriendly staff) and I sort of wanted to leave but we already seated. The waitress was neutral though and there were no dirty looks or a negative attitude. Also because we arrived fifteen minutes before the last call, we only ordered a few items to sample and decided to revisit if the food tasted good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rodney's Oyster House Gastown : Low Tide

The last time I came to Rodney's Oyster House was most likely back in high school and a second location has opened since then, in Gastown. An out of town guest actually reminded me to revisit the restaurant after many years, but our schedules did not match so I went without him! BF and I arrived during happy hours, which Rodney's calls "Low Tide" and people can order off the dinner menu too.

When entering the restaurant, there is a set of stairs to walk up before arriving at the bar and dining room. We waited at the front for only a couple of minutes and there was no greeting while the manager and another waiter looked for a table to seat us. I like how the staff was actually looking for a table to seat us rather than asking if we had reservations and when hearing the answer no, acting like having no reservations troubles them (which has happened at restaurants that are not even busy!).

There are two levels of dining area in the restaurant and the lower level has a few tables along with bar seats, and an open kitchen. The atmosphere at Rodney's is very upbeat, non-rushed and casual. Although maybe a bit too casual… as the manager sits on the counter by the preparation area and bar seats. As for the upper level, there are more tables and the seating arrangements are not cramped.

After settling down and looking at the menu, we waited a while for someone to take our order. At the time, there were four waiters at the front and only two seated tables in the restaurant. The service was not an issue later on though because one of the waiters stayed upstairs. He also checked up on us a couple of times and was the friendliest waiter of them all. There are quite a few negative comments regarding the service at Rodney's especially during the Low Tide, but the none of the staff was rude (although we did visit the restaurant during a slow period).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Globe @ YVR, Afternoon Tea at Fairmont (2nd visit)

The marketing coordinator from YVR Fairmont contacted me through Instagram to inquire about my previous afternoon tea experience. Furthermore, my response to a fellow IGer was very vague as I only mentioned Hotel Vancouver provides better service and would only revisit YVR Fairmont if I had a voucher. After responding to the marketing coordinator, she forwarded my e-mail to the Outlets Captain who invited me and a guest to another afternoon tea experience because the restaurant was planning to launch a new menu.

The invitation from the upper management is very appreciated because keep in mind my first experience was a voucher based visit, and my comments were quite vague on IG. In addition, the comments on my previous blog post were taken into consideration; i.e I mentioned the place mats are not very sanitary because the staff does not sanitize them and merely brushes off the crumbs. And on my revisit, I noticed the place mats were gone! The shiny glass table tops that are now properly wiped down not only look nicer, but is more sanitary.

TEA MENU $42.00 || JUNIOR TEA $18.00

Monday, October 6, 2014

MaThai Hotpot Restaurant 泰麻鮮火鍋

MaThai is the newest Chinese hot pot restaurant to open along Alexandra Road in Richmond, and replaces the former AYCE restaurant Cattle Hot Pot. Being a big fan of hot pot restaurants and continuing to find regular ones for myself to frequently visit, MaThai has been on my list for a while. In addition, the director of MaThai invited me to try their restaurant. I received a coupon via e-mail, which was to be presented after my meal so I could blog about a true dining experience as a regular guest.

The interior looks similar to the former hot pot restaurant but the staff is noticeably different, as in they are friendly! The waitress was also attentive and continuously added additional broth to the pot without us having to request. This is worth mentioning because at many hot pot restaurants it is hard to wave someone down and I usually wait until there is almost no more soup base before making an effort to find the staff. Asides from the service, the restaurant is also fairly clean. Usually I wipe down the table setting with tea but did not need to this time.

ADULT $19.95 || CHILD (4-11) $14.99
BROTH $7.50 - $11.00 || POP $1.50

Friday, October 3, 2014

Yougo Chicken (2nd visit)

Needing a snack and already at Aberdeen Centre, my first and immediate choice was Yougo Chicken. The food stall serves plenty of Taiwanese snacks and I go for my favourites, which are the deep fried goodies.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Frappe Bliss


Frappe Bliss is one of the very few (as in perhaps less than five) dessert shops in Vancouver that offers shaved milk rather than ice shave. Shaved milk originated from Taiwan and has a very light, fluffy and feathery texture. There are plenty of flavours such as mango, matcha, milk, strawberry and peanut, compared to a generic "snow cone" which is just plain ice.

The thing is, the service here is disgusting. On a rainy day with no customers, we walked up to a miserable looking owner who did not even bother saying "hello" or acknowledging us. I am always more understanding if a business is busy and the staff is tired out, but when there is not one single person in line? And it is the owners? If it was not for our craving, we would have walked away. On top of that, the presentation is sloppy, the ingredients are not fresh and she even tossed the bill along with the stamp card at us. Who does that? When is there ever a need to toss something? Oh yeah, the price ain't cheap.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Double Double Restaurant 老油條大牌檔

Not feeling live seafood, Taiwanese food or HK style cafes, my options for Chinese food in Richmond were fairly limited. Our original dinner destination was Chef Tony but I wanted something very simple and to get home soon, so Double Double it was. From what I have heard, a friend mentioned the food is "okay" for those in the area but his wife dislikes the restaurant because she finds it dirty. Another incident occurred months ago when after finishing dinner at Bushuair, I shared an elevator with a couple that mentioned the food is mediocre and did not recommend the restaurant. Meh, so we walked in with expectations of average food.

Double Double claims to be the most popular restaurant in Vancouver for Chinese donuts and I was surprised that no one mentioned that! The restaurant is larger than what I expected and there are booth seating arrangements as well as tables for larger parties in the middle. In addition, the restaurant is not really dirty asides from the table setting that should have been clean. Every bowl and spoon had dried food residue stuck on and even the napkins had dried up tea, it was weird.

Walking in, a waitress waved us to take a seat on the side and we waited literally fifteen minutes for the menu. The wait time was a bit ridiculous because there were five waitresses at the front, but I assume the staff already thought someone brought over the menus. As more time passed, our drinks were forgotten but a waitress was friendly when she reminded herself in Cantonese, "Oh no! I forgot the drinks" twenty minutes later.


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