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!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Just Juice

Just Juice is located in Downtown Vancouver and offers cold pressed juice. The cold pressed juicing process is better than using "generic" juicers because there is no heat produced during the juicing process. Furthermore, cold press juicers can extract more liquid from the fruit/vegetable and the consistency is a touch thicker because there is more pulp. Some of my friends hate pulp and have to use a strainer after, but I personally love it.

Just Juice offers a variety of drinks, from classic juices to smoothies and health shots. The juice shop also offers a few healthy snacks such as trail mix, banana bread and chia pudding.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dunn's Famous

BF, let's be open minded - with smoked meat, Montreal smoked meat. Our favourite and go to place for Montreal smoked meat sandwiches is Estrella's in Langley. And that is it. We have no back up plan in case Estrella's closes or a runner up if we are too lazy to go to Langley, and that scares me. So we decided to try Dunn's Famous. When I saw some photos online, the smoked meat did not look good and I gave the restaurant the benefit of doubt, thinking perhaps some people ordered the lean meat which make the sandwiches look dry.

We decided to have a quick snack on a game night and the restaurant was not busy. There are comfortable booth seating arrangements, comfortably spaced out tables and bar seats, along with large televisions. I do not do the bar or pub scene but this is what one would look like to me, a more luxurious one I guess.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sushi Giwa

Formerly know as Domenico's Italian along Hastings Street in North Burnaby, is now a newly renovated Korean operated Japanese restaurant. Does North Burnaby need another Japanese restaurant? Well, yes and no. Despite that there are plenty of Japanese restaurants (good, average and bad) in the area, how many are worth revisiting that is not based on convenience?

When we pulled up to the front, I loved the balloon arch along with the balloon flowers! This is definitely something different compared to the usual bouquets of flower that are left outside during restaurant grand openings. As for the interior, there are booth seating arrangements along the walls and the restaurant does not look cramped. In addition, there are a couple of faux trees. From what I remember, the Sushi Mori franchise restaurants were the first to have faux trees.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rainflower Restaurant 粵之醉海鮮酒家

Rainflower Restaurant is located right next to Yao Han in Richmond. We have considered coming here a few times before but because I never knew of anyone who has been to the restaurant or heard much about it, I always assumed it was nothing special. I even thought perhaps the restaurant was a typical "ghetto" Chinese restaurant, like South Ocean Seafood. But since we were in the area after a trip to Osaka Supermarket, we decided to make a visit. Okay, fine, after shopping I did not want to go to Rainflower because of the aforementioned reasons. However, BF called to inquire about the seafood prices and when I heard the lobster was only $1.00… obviously I agreed LOL.

After we walked in, I was amazed! The interior looks amazing and I really like the Victorian style design. The seating arrangements are also comfortable as well as spacious, and I am a sucker for double plates and cloth napkins at a Chinese restaurant. In addition, there is a huge chandelier hanging in the middle of the restaurant.

The soft and bouncy cushioned chairs are very comfortable and Rainflower offers a few private rooms. Every table is also set with a white mini vase of faux flowers. I pretty much like everything about the interior including the empty restaurant. And classical as well as piano music was playing the background.

After seating, the service was very professional too. A waiter came by to remove the chopstick covers and a captain recommended a set menu for two. Personally, I do not like set menus because sometimes only $10.00-$15.00 dollars are being saved and I do not like the selection of dishes or usually the live seafood (if included) is smaller.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

La Terrazza

La Terrazza is one of the true "fine dining" experiences I have had in Vancouver. From the atmosphere to the service, I truly believed I was dining at a fine dining establishment. The Italian restaurant is located in Yaletown and is known for their very extensive wine menu, which is thicker than a magazine! BF has been here a few times before, but never with me. Honest to truth, I always thought the restaurant was similar to the Glowbal Group restaurants; a "fine dining" restaurant with a loud atmosphere, but boy was I wrong.

La Terrazza has such a romantic atmosphere and is definitely one restaurant where I would want to dress up for and take photos. When we walked, the friendly bartender/host led us to our table which happened to be right in front of a cozy fireplace. We also had a whole view of the restaurant and I like that the interior is different than many restaurants in Vancouver.

BF thought it was suspicious that I suggested to go to La Terrazza because he has been asking to take me for years, and the reason I chose the restaurant is because there was a Travelzoo voucher! The voucher costed $79.00 for one appetizer, two entrees and a dessert.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Suhang Restaurant 蘇杭人家 : Eight Treasure Duck 八寶鴨

For a whole week, I had huge cravings for Eight Treasure Duck (ba bao ya)! But my parents did not want to make it. Personally, I have never tried making an Eight Treasure Duck before, mainly because I do not want to do waste ingredients if I am not 100% ready since it is a tricky dish to properly execute. So, this brings me to Suhang in Richmond.

Suhang is located in Richmond and may be considered a "higher end" Shanghainese restaurant, due to their higher prices compared to majority of other the restaurants. Furthermore, there is a modern atmosphere and the restaurant is fairly clean. The seating arrangements are a bit cramped however. As for the service, the staff was only friendly towards larger parties of more than six. This was a bit weird because when we ordered the Eight Treasure Duck over the phone three hours prior to our visit, the gentleman was friendly but in person… not so much.

Another odd thing is... when we inquired about the price of lobster over the phone, we were quoted $48.80 for a 2 1/2lb which equals to a reasonable $19.20/lb. However, despite ordering the lobster at the restaurant, the waiter came back from the kitchen and mentioned the prices have changed and is now $60.00 for a 2lb lobster. $30.00/lb? In three hours? Wow, that is very expensive. For the same price, I can easily try Chef Tony's (which I have been wanting to!)! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Long's Noodle House 小龍記麵家

Long's Noodle House is a small family operated restaurant along Main Street, specializing in Shanghainese cuisine. Reservations are recommended regardless of the day of week and because the restaurant is always busy, being turned down should be no surprise. 

We arrived on a Friday evening with no reservations and were fortunate enough to not have to wait. There are a couple of large tables in the restaurant and for those in small groups, may have to share tables. Fortunately in our case though, we were offered a seat at the back of the restaurant which seats four people! This was perfect for us because we tend to order a lot of food.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Having already celebrated my birthday over the weekend, I did not want to go out for dinner on the actual date because it landed on a weeknight. Another reason is because I have learned my lesson to only dine out at certain non-Asian restaurants on the weekends, when the head chefs are there! At the last minute however, I was really craving for The Keg. The birthday gods were clearly not on my side though because The Keg in North Vancouver has been closed for a while and we did not want to travel far, so decided on Carmelo's.

Carmelo's is located in West Vancouver, offering classic and traditional Italian cuisine along with a mix of West Coast. The restaurant has been on my wish list for a few months now and way before Amici, but we chose to visit the latter first because I knew that restaurant would be good (and it is!). Since Carmelo's is fairly small, reservations are recommended regardless of the day of week. We happened to visit on a Monday and discovered the restaurant offers a $10.00 promotion on certain pastas, so this was definitely a bonus for us.

Carmelo's is a casual white tablecloth restaurant with dim lighting and there is a candle on certain tables. There are two sides of seating arrangements in the restaurant and a few window seats for those who like to people watch. When we walked in, I was surprised to see an actual "reserved sign" on a window seat table only to discover it was not ours lol!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Private Home Chinese Cuisine 一點心意 (2nd visit)


Do car sales associates make too much money these days? We had plans to purchase two company cars from Honda and visited a couple of dealerships on the same day (Richmond Honda and Kingsway Honda), but none of the sales associates even acknowledged us! After leaving fairly puzzled, we decided to check out OpenRoad Honda in Burnaby the following day.

The Burnaby location was very convenient for us too because I have been wanting to revisit Private Home for quite some time. And from what I can remember, I declared the xiao long bao and pan fried dumplings as a must order! I also remember the menu being fairly limited and mentioned I would only revisit for lunch rather than dinner.

On a weekday afternoon, the restaurant was empty and the service was non-existent. There are two sides of seating arrangements in the restaurant and all the waitstaff were on the opposite side of us. This made ordering and getting the bill very difficult, despite waving like a crazy person.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar : Dunsmuir Street Location

After circling around West Point Grey and Kitsilano, we decided to head Downtown to find a restaurant for dinner. As another hour passed of circling around, we decided to play it safe (and boring) and chose The Keg. Actually, the Downtown Keg locations may not really be "safe" as in the restaurants are consistent because I never had a good experience at the Alberni Street location! On at least three occasions at The Keg on Alberni, the staff were not friendly and the food was subpar. At a Chain restaurant? Beats me…

We decided to try the location on Dunsmuir Street because neither of us have been here before and I was pretty excited to try the new menu. When we walked in, the both of us were surprised at how large the restaurant is because The Keg does not even look that big from outside of the building. The lounge is located on the first floor and the dining room is up a spiral staircase.

Similar to the other locations, The Keg's interior has a casual atmosphere. The seating arrangements are not too cramped (if you get a booth seat) and The Keg can always accommodate large parties.

Monday, November 10, 2014

S&W Pepper House 西南風

Unintentionally spending an unproductive day from grabbing a breakfast snack at Mancakes (which was good), then going for mediocre dim sum in Richmond at Red Star but having to rush back to Vancouver, followed by a scare of Xu's Wonton House permanently closing which resulted in us trying North Meixi for a couple of unpleasant dim sum dishes, to walking around Crystal Mall afterwards because we needed to kill time before eating dinner. After all this, I just wanted to go home! I hate unproductive days and it was pretty much having to come back to Vancouver that caused the hiccup in our plans, sigh.

The good news is, killing time by walking around Crystal Mall was not so bad because it was worth it in the end to have dinner at S&W Pepper House. We did not even have to circle around for parking this time too! S&W Pepper House offers authentic Szechuan cuisine and the restaurant uses dried chilli peppers as well as Szechuan peppercorns, therefore no BS chilli oil and soy sauce only!

Walking in, the restaurant looks very simple and there is no decor, however the place is fairly clean. There is a nice chilli oil and dried chilli pepper aroma, but in a good way and not "greasy" whatsoever. As for the seating arrangements, there is one table suitable for large parties and booth seating arrangements along the wall. The owner and staff were also friendly and inviting!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Northern Meixi 山東拉麵

An Instagram friend mentioned that Xu's Wonton House was "gone" and confirmed with "Yeah it's gone now!", but I did not believe her. How could Xu's be out of business? So after finishing an errand in Vancouver and still hungry because we did not eat much of the unappealing dim sum at Red Star, we rushed to Crystal Mall. When we arrived, turns out the food stall was only closed for the day! Geezus, was she trying to give me a heart attack?

Since we still needed a small snack to prevent spoiling our appetite for dinner, we decided to try a food stall that sells dim sum along with freshly made noodles. Well, actually BF wanted to try this place and I was more like… the food will not be good. I swear, some people really have a sixth sense regarding food. As he was ordering, he asked the owner if the xiao long bao tastes juicy and I thought that was a stupid question. Not because XLBs should always taste juicy and he was asking an obvious question, but more on the grounds that I find it rude to ask in case the buns are not juicy. However, the owner responded, "Yes! Of course! Juicy!" and he saw my eyes light up. I even accentually blurted out, "Wow! Good!" because I was shocked and believed him.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Red Star 鴻星海鮮酒家 : Richmond Location

Being too fussy about where to have lunch, we crossed the Lions Gate Bridge to look for a restaurant Downtown. After circling around, I decided it was best to grab a snack at Mancakes to ease our stomachs while deliberating. I was leaning towards a non-Asian restaurant but it seemed like BF wanted dim sum. Turning down his suggestions and saying, "let's have pasta or steak instead for dinner" to every restaurant he suggested did not help either, whoops.

His original choice was Red Star in Marpole, but I honestly find their dim sum only average and suggested trying the location in Richmond! Ever since I had dim sum at Chef Tony, honest to truth I thought to myself, perhaps I actually like dim sum… but good dim sum. How is it possible that I could care less about the typical Kirin, Sun Sui Wah and Red Star?

We arrived on a weekday and shockingly, the restaurant was not busy! Going to any restaurant for dim sum regardless of the day of the week, will always be busy (with the exception of weekends when it is chaotic). Red Star in Richmond is located on the second floor of the Presidential Plaza, where I have torturous memories of. I remember having to frequently come her for hours as a child because my mother would always be looking at SOMETHING in this darn plaza, and my sister and I were always so bored. The mini arcade never helped either.

Walking in, the cashier/hostess was friendly and there were plenty of staff on the floor, perhaps around seven? The restaurant was very cold and we were not sure why the AC was cranked so high considering there was a miserable storm outside. We also waited around ten minutes for tea which is a bit odd because usually the staff are fairly prompt about that, plus it is a "fine dining" Chinese restaurant that was not busy.

As for the atmosphere, there are a few chandeliers, a high ceiling and comfortable padded chairs. The seating arrangements are not cramped too, but Red Star in Marpole looks more modern.

SMALL $3.95 || MEDIUM $4.75 || LARGE $5.75 || SPECIALS $6.95

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lily Mae's Comfort Café

Lily Mae's Comfort Cafe is located in Gastown and the interior looks very cute, resembling a french bistro with a homestyle atmosphere. The comfort cafe has been on my list since the beginning of the year, but my interest to visit has been delayed since there are some negative comments regarding the service. However, Lily Mae's was still my first choice when looking for a cute breakfast date with a friend. My friend actually suggested going to Cafe Medina's new location for an Instagram worthy photo, but I gave her a dirty look because she agrees that the food is only average.

When I walked in to meet my friend, our server provided us with menus within minutes. I was a bit sad she did not say hello to me or one word in fact, considering the restaurant appears to be a family operated business. In addition, as she poured water in our drinking glasses, I could not help but notice the red pigment at the bottom of the jug inside. She also spilled some water on the table which was left alone, so my first thoughts were that the little things are overlooked here.

My friend mentioned she was greeted and offered any table in the restaurant upon arriving however, and the server was friendly throughout our breakfast.

Every table is set up with white cloth napkins, cutlery, water glasses and a mini vase. We seated near the window and of course me being OCD, took a look at the window sill and was very pleased to not see one speck of dust! Doing the "finger swipe" is actually more accurate… lol. Dining at "historic" or old places are not really my thing, but I certainly do not mind clean restaurants such as Lily Mae's. I could not help but think back to how the The Pie Shoppe looked too, which I visited the day before here. Both restaurants have a homey atmosphere but one looks clean.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Pie Shoppe & Panoramic Coffee

As C'est la vie a Maggi and I were about to go our separate ways after a short food date, I shamelessly mentioned that we have to make another stop because I was not satisfied. I needed to kill a craving for something delicious in order for my stomach to feel full, so we searched the available eateries in Chinatown. And as it turns out, The Pie Shoppe has been on my wish list without me even knowing!

The Pie Shoppe is run by two ladies, who I presume are sisters because of an overheard phone call of one saying, "I love you too, mom!" as the other lady was about to end the call. The small shop serves housemade and fresh pies daily, with a focus on locally sourced and seasonal fruit. The pies are also made on site!

When we walked in, we headed straight towards the pie display. There are no tags in the display because the selection can change daily so a chalkboard menu is conveniently located high up and at the back of the shop. Our our visit, the selection included Caramel Apple, Chocolate Pecan, Rashberry Rubarb and Blueberry Apple Crumble. The prices range from $5.00-$7.00 per slice and $20.00-$30.00 as a whole.

After getting our pies, we grabbed the only table that was available. I will admit, I was a bit uneasy having the pie here rather than to go because the interior does not look very clean. Maggi calls this the "grungy" atmosphere however, and is supposedly sort of popular nowadays… But to me, the decor resembles a thrift store. There are stained stools and the atmosphere is not my cup of tea. I even felt uncomfortable with the idea of sitting on the stools too and preferred a seat on the short wooden coffee table, which I confirmed if I could sit on just in case it broke LOL.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

South Ocean Seafood 南海漁村海鮮酒家

The last time I had live seafood was a bit over a week ago and my cravings were really bad, so a trip to Richmond was called for. My original destination was Chef Tony, but $32.00/lb for lobster is very steep considering there would only be the two of us. This is where South Ocean comes in, we called a few restaurants while circling Richmond and the restaurant offered the cheapest price. A mere $11.95/lb for crab and lobster!

Walking in, the restaurant looks outdated and old. There are chipped plates, partially ripped tablecloths, one of the chairs at our table is taped with masking tape, and the table setting is dirty. Furthermore, there were seven waitstaff at the front of the restaurant and it was impossible to order? There were only three large tables at time of our visit too! 

In addition, the old looking and stained yellow as well as browning pages from the menu did not help either. In essence, I had no expectations and expected the worst. But hey, $11.95/lb for live seafood? It is worth trying. As for the photo of the interior, I snapped it as we were leaving and the restaurant looks way better than it is! The interior resembles Pelican Seafood Restaurant because of the lighting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sushi Yoi

Finding a really good Japanese restaurant in North Burnaby is a bit harder than it looks, despite the plentiful supply of sushi restaurants in the area! Do not get me wrong, there are a few average restaurants that occasionally serves fresh (not the freshest) sashimi… but I need consistency. Revisiting a restaurant only to discover that the quality of food is not the same compared to a former visit (Sushi UOmo) is a big pet peeve of mine, and I am fairly selective towards Japanese cuisine. Why else would I revisit if it was not for the former positive experience, right?

So as I was looking through some Japanese restaurants in North Burnaby, Sushi Yoi caught my attention. No, the restaurant is fortunately not related to "Yo Sushi" In North Burnaby! The Chinese owned and operated restaurant is located near the Madison Centre, and is one of the newer restaurants in the area. What lured me in is a photo of their hamachi sashimi, which was uploaded on Urbanspoon from someone related to the restaurant. The photo shows hamachi at its best and with their reasonable prices, I declared the restaurant as a must visit.

I was really excited about trying Sushi Yoi too because asides from the aforementioned photo, the last sushi restaurant I went to a couple of days before was Sushi Hiro *cringe*. The interior of restaurant looks clean, modern and relaxing. The sushi bar is located at the back of the restaurant, there are booth seats along the walls, and the seating arrangements are not too tight. On our visit, the restaurant was not busy and the food arrived very fast, within minutes. This is always disappointing because I do not like too much food on the table at once, but it is understandable.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crackle Crème

Crackle Creme is a one man operated dessert shop that is located in Chinatown, serving creme brûlée and waffles. I only know of Crackle Creme because a few months ago, photos from the dessert shop were popping up on my Instagram feed almost every day! I was more interested in trying their waffles than the creme brûlée though. So after finishing up at The Fish Counter with C'est la vie a Maggi, we decided to make a dessert stop and headed to Crackle Creme.

The interior of Crackle Creme looks clean, tidy as well as simple, and the space is properly maximized. There are seating arrangements along the walls and a few seats outside of the shop. During our visit in the middle of the afternoon, the shop was not busy so fortunately we had no issues grabbing a seat. If the shop is full however, Crackle Creme offers creme brûlée to go in disposable tin cups.

On our visit, the flavours of creme brûlée included Bailey's, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Cream of Earl Grey, Salted Caramel, Black Sesame, Pandan Coconut and Durian. In addition, there was some sort of event(?) that the shop created more flavours for which included Spiced Pumpkin Pie, Matcha Green Tea, Ferrero Rocher, Honey Lavender, Lemon Basil, Guinness Espresso, Maple Topped with Walnuts, Bourbon Butter and Chai Tea. Basically, there is a large variety of flavours available! 


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