9.29.2012

Birthdays & Cake @ Sweet Revenge Patisserie

After dinner at 8 1/2 Restaurant, we had to get some cake.  Although it's always good to have cake after dinner, it was a must this evening as it was Camille's birthday.  Since Sweet Revenge was nearby, it seemed like a good choice.  It's funny because the last time I came here was just a bit over a year ago, right before Camille left for her year long exchange.


After a long wait for a table for five, we finally crammed together at the larger table, split with another group of five.  Compared to last time, the wait seemed much longer, and they even had a velvet rope outside their door.


After much indecision, I opted for the white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry topping ($7.50).  I was initially a bit hesitant to order this, since I was a bit scared that the white chocolate would be overly sweet.  However, it turned out it only had a subtle hint of chocolate to it.  It was creamy and enjoyable.

The old-fashioned chocolate cake ($6) was a standard layered cake, while the chocolate mousse cake ($7) was quite smooth and delicious.


The apple pie ($7) arrived cold, despite being asked to be served warm.  After a long wait, they finally reheated it.

The room (the cafe really is just a room) became eerily quiet as we sang for the birthday girl.  Everyone clapped for us afterwards, and it was cute.  The place is definitely too dark to take decent pictures though, as you can see from above.

More: Good Eat - Yum | Photo: Camille Wong 

4160 Main St   
Vancouver, BC
(604) 879-7933
Sweet Revenge Patisserie on Urbanspoon

9.27.2012

Birthdays & Perogies @ eight½ Restaurant Lounge

Since we wanted to relive our summer of Main Street once Camille was back, we shopped a bit around the area and made our way to eight ½ restaurant lounge for dinner.  Also since it was her birthday, we wanted to go somewhere that was somewhat hip. 


True enough, they played a lot of tunes that I was familiar with, including Beirut.  Located in this quaint house on E 8th, I initially thought that it was going to be somewhere in between 7th and 8th.  Perhaps it's a reference to the Italian movie.


Since the eight 1/2 steak ($18½) seemed a bit overwhelming at 10 ounces, Dorothy and I shared this along with another dish.  The sauteed mushrooms were beautifully sauteed, and I was glad they were so generous with them.  We were underwhelmed by the mashed potatoes, which were indeed garlicky, but very dry.


The flatiron steak was cooked as we had ordered -- medium rare.  All in all, not a top cut of steak, but there were no discernible blobs of fat nor gristle.  It did the job and satisfied my required daily intake of meat.


We also shared the potato and cheddar mini perogies ($11½), with Peruvian chorizo, and caramelized onions topped with sour cream and chipotle sauce.  I thought the perogies, although miniature and cute, were fairly standard.  They didn't seem to be as fresh as those from Holy Perogy, but they were nonetheless tasty.  I enjoyed the caramelized onions, as well as the chorizo, which was quite good.


Overall, I had a positive experience at eight½, since the food is quite well-priced.  However, one of our friends who had ordered the westcoast spaghettini had mild food poisoning and threw up a few times after the meal, which was sad to hear.

eight ½ Restaurant Lounge
151 E 8th Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 568-2703
eight 1/2 Restaurant Lounge on Urbanspoon

9.26.2012

ChineseBites #5: Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant 金殿皇朝海鮮料理

It's been a while since the last ChineseBites dinner (which was conveniently at the same time as one of my final exam).  That also meant I hadn't seen a table of Asians shamelessly take pictures of food for a while (prime example below.) We made our way to Burnaby's Grand Dynasty, which is a part of Grand Villa Casino


We made our way out to Burnaby to Grand Dynasty, which is a part of Grand Villa Casino.  Along with Sherman and Grace, new to ChineseBites were Dave and Ann of MePlusFood.

To start the evening, we each had a prawn topped with either egg yolk sauce or house spicy sauce.  I preferred the salted duck yolk, and it reminded me of a saucier and better version of the dungeness crab we had at Ken's Chinese Restaurant two dinners ago.  The house spicy sauce prawn was not that spicy, but both prawns were fairly large and pan fried just right.

Next up was the boiled live lobster in superior broth.  The servers first showed us the lobster sashimi that was going to be cooked in a clay pot at the serving table next to us.


While the lobster was fresh, I didn't find it entirely special.  Then again, I like prawn more then shrimp.  The broth was rich in flavour, especially with the Chinese chives and bean sprouts.


We were then served a whole chicken served in a clay pot, which looked really beautiful since it was perfectly golden brown.


Surprise! It was stuffed with sea cucumbers. Although it did indeed sound more impressive than the usual glutinous rice, it was merely alright.  The piece of sea cucumber I had was not as soft as I would have liked.  Although I do appreciate the restaurant for going out of its ways to stuff a chicken with this, I prefer the traditional oyster sauce method more.

The live jumbo ling cod fish hot pot was decent.  Although a tad dangerous with all the hidden bones, the fish was fresh.  The sautéed green vegetables with wild mushroom (right) was overly salty, but the wintermelon and squash it was served with cleansed my palate a bit.

The deep fried crispy chicken with sticky rice looked very nice and looked like a lot of work had to be done to make this.  I didn't really enjoy the exterior layer of skin since it was a bit too dense for my liking, but the rice was good.  The live lobster and seafood with crispy rice in soup (right) was made using the remaining broth from the lobster. I liked the soup, but I was disappointed in the fizz the crispy rice produced when dropped in the soup, since the onomatopoeia the manager used was much more exciting.  It kind of felt like eating rice krispies in soup.


We ended dinner with shredded coconut creamy tarts which were delectable and not overly sweet.

All in all, this ChineseBites dinner was not bad but not impressive either.  I don't think they did anything wrong, as the dishes were all decent, but there weren't any dishes that blew us away.

More: ChineseBites / Grace Cheung / KueC / MePlusFood

More ChineseBites.com's Signature Dishes Tour:

Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant 金殿皇朝海鮮料理
4331 Dominion St   
Burnaby, BC
(604) 432-6002
Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant 金殿皇朝海鮮料理 on Urbanspoon

9.24.2012

Squid & Pork Hock @ Richmond Night Market

As if my last visit at the Richmond Night Market was not enough (even though we had visited eight food stands in one evening), I went back a few more times.  This time, we went diversified and tried some different stands. Although it feels like summer is almost ending, the Richmond Night Market runs on until October 8, 2012.

QQ Egg Puff


QQ Egg Puff offers bubble waffles in a variety of flavours.  Strange that they didn't have little cartoons for the more expensive $4.50 ones. We were intrigued by the cheese flavoured bubble waffle, but they had already sold out of this flavour.


The chocolate bubble waffle ($4) had a very subtle hint of chocolate.  These were pretty standard; they turned out well, but they weren't as amazing as the ones from Sweet Bubble.  The interior was not as soft and chewy and the exterior wasn't as crispy.

Korean Food

The japchae ($3, medium) from Korean Food was pretty good and fragrant from sesame oil.  It wasn't dry, and there were quite a few pieces of shiitake mushroom.  Even though it was the smallest size, it ended up to be quite a bit of food.

Mango Yummy

Mango Yummy is easily one of my favourite stands in the Richmond Night Market.  Every time I come here, I end up getting their fresh mango sago and pomelo dessert ($5), which has yet to fail me.  It's a rather large cup filled with a generous amount of mango and coconut milk. I think it's a better deal than the bubble tea offered at the night market.

Cherry Icy Bar


As much as I love Cherry Icy Bar, the thought that I could get this outside of the night market at their permanent location in Parker Place's food court makes me opt for Mango Yummy instead.  In comparison, it seems this one has more mango chunks but less coconut milk.  It's also a tad more expensive.

The Squid Co.

I've heard good things about the squid at the night market and set out to get it.  Problem was, there were at least four different stands selling grilled squid.  I settled on this one since it seemed to have the longest line.  That's the Asian way of determining if something's good (and not always the best way, mind you).


The small cup of signature style squid ($6) was alright.  After everyone had a few pieces, it was still over three-quarters full.  I finished another quarter by myself before reluctantly throwing it away.  It was just way too much squid to be enjoyable.

Original Oktoberfest Style


Something I had to come back for was the roasted pork hock ($12) from Original Oktoberfest.  Of course, somehow, we ended up eating dinner prior to this, so I didn't really think we would be able to order it. 


Fortunately for us, some hungry friends came along, and I was able to sample a few pieces.  There was so much meat! The meat was tender fo the most part, except for some tendon-y bits.  The skin, although slightly crunchy, was a bit thick, but that was expected.  There's actually a big bone piece in there as well.

The Famous Popcorn Chicken & Fried Tofu

Vincent bought this fried tofu thinking it was stinky tofu.  Actually, the smell was coming from two stands down.  The tofu seemed nicely fried, but he was disappointed nonetheless.

Chef James Xin Jiang Man BBQ 

Migrating from the Summer Night Market, Chef James Xin Jiang Man's BBQ is still quite popular.  I enjoyed the heavily seasoned skewers which had a strong Northern Chinese influence.


Since I missed it last time around, here is a photo of the famous cherry blossom trees from the night market.  Also, a pic of this dog with puppy eyes yearning for food.

More / Photo: Rick Chung

Richmond Night Market
8351 River Rd
Richmond, BC
(604) 244-8448
Richmond Night Market on Urbanspoon

9.22.2012

Nigiri Sushi & Sashimi @ Ichiro Japanese

Although I have been to Takeya countless times, I've never made it out to Ichiro Japanese restaurant, which is touted as the more traditional and fancier older sister.  Yes, although I live in Richmond, Steveston feels quite out of way for me. On this sunny summer afternoon, we grabbed a quick lunch here before buying some seafood on the harbour.


We shared two sets, with the first being the assorted sushi ($16.95).  Interesting, their menu online has seven pieces of nigiri sushi, but there's only five here in this photo... I didn't even notice. Perhaps they forgot to update their menu online. The nigiri sushi was overall good, though not mind blowing, nor life changing.  The sushi rice had a good amount of vinegar to it that brought out the sweetness of the seafood.  As for the top row, I have to say, I outgrew the california roll a while ago, but this was decent.


The assorted sashimi with tuna, salmon, yellow tail ($16.50) seemed to be quite fresh also.  I especially liked the yellow tail, as it had a nice sweetness to it which went well with the soy sauce and wasabi.

All in all, the meal at Ichiro was one that was quite standard and traditional.  The lunch we had didn't have any frills, but it was simple yet delicious.

Ichiro Japanese
12011 2nd Ave
Richmond, BC
(604) 277-1150
Ichiro Japanese on Urbanspoon