Saturday, April 30, 2011

La Brasserie Street


 I was super ecstatic when I read La Brasserie's twitter that they were coming out with a food truck.  Stationed right in front of Vancouver City Centre Canada line station, the food cart receives a lot of traffic and is usually sold out before 5 pm.  After weeks of waiting, I finally made my way downtown early one Friday afternoon and saw that there was no line up at La Brasserie street.  Even though I was on my way to lunch, I didn't hesitate on having a pre-lunch snack.  The menu is simple with only one sandwich on the list; Brass chicken sandwich with beer brine rotisserie chicken, gravy, crispy onions, and buttermilk buns $6.25.  There are also beverages and butter tarts available as well.  As I walked down Robson street, I wasted no time eating the chicken sandwich at the same time.  The buttermilk bun was soft, with big meaty pieces of chicken drenched in savoury gravy.  It was juicy, tender, and tasty, as Ross from Friends calls it the "moist maker".  The crispy onions added fragrant and texture to the sandwich and when I ate it, I felt like everything is going to be alright.  It was like everyday is Thanksgiving day.  Brass chicken sandwich made a great afternoon snack.  As for a meal, I might have to get at least 2 or more.  Highly recommended.

La Brasserie Street on Urbanspoon

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

After years and years of trying to visit Famoso, I finally dropped in for a takeout one Friday night at the one of the most raved about pizzeria in town.  For weeks, I had been craving pizza day in and day out and, finally, I was looking for some satisfaction.   After looking through the menu, I picked Margherita pizza ($12.50) -- mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil with anchovies.  Don't ask me why out of all the options, I picked the most boring pizza on the menu -__-''... At the time, I just really wanted anchovies and basil. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Enjoying spring with bukkake udon

 
After a long cold winter, spring has slowly made its weird here.  Still feeling a bit under the weather, my food craving lately became quite complex.  I wanted something comforting, but I wanted to steer clear of the winter-theme selections.  It's time for something new, fresh, different.   

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Thai New Years!

 

DIY: Mentaiko Kimchi Yaki Udon recipe

The search is over....

After much izakaya hopping, I soon realized how difficult it was to find a good mentaiko kimchi yaki udon, a creamy and spicy stir fry with fish roe.  With Zakkushi cutting it out of the menu (I don't know why they would do such a thing, it was the best item on the menu), and my rare visits to Guu on Therlow, I knew I needed a way to get my fix for the delicious kimchi yaki udon.  If you have any insight of where else to get the kimchi udon made so perfect, please don't hold out on the info.  One hungry evening, P decided to freestyle up her own recipe and it turned out really descent!  It actually turned out quite descent and tasting like the restaurants and, therefore, I'd like to share the recipe with my readers! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nuba (Hastings)


I had been noticing and curious about Nuba, a lebanese restaurant located in the basement of a building across from Meat & Bread.  After looking it up on Urbanspoon it turns out Nuba has quite a reputation and I was determined to taste the food.  During lunch hour, I gathered my 2 classmates who are also food lovers, Johana and Sung, along with my usual parter in crime, MaynaMerh, and her co worker and set out to Nuba to try their offerings.  We got to the restaurant rather late and only had about half an hour left for lunch.  The restaurant has a warm, relaxing ambience that would be nice to sit, chill, enjoy the food and socialize.  However, since we were on a time constraint, we decided to get our food to go instead.  All four of us were pretty much clueless on what to order and it took us awhile to read the menu  and asked the staff for recommendation.  Sung, Johana and I all went for the pita wraps which turned out to be pretty massive, I could say.  The cashier recommended that their falafels are popular and I was easily persuaded while Merhna followed her friend's recommendation and got Najib's special.

13 years later at Silver Dragon

The last time I visited Silver Dragon in Calgary was over a decade ago.  The restaurant was pretty much a go to dim sum restaurant every time we took a trip down to Calgary.  Each visit had been pleasant and I talked to a few people who are acquainted with the restaurant often referred to as "the place upstairs".   My recent trip to Calgary landed us with the question of where to go for dim sum this time.  Due to time constraint and limited knowledge of the city, it was a coin toss between Silver Dragon and Forbidden City.  Between the 2 restaurants, they both have decent ratings on Urbanspoon which made it even tougher to choose.  In the end, we stuck with what we know and revisited Silver Dragon in Chinatown once again.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thai Basil


 If you have read my previous post on Thai Flavours, I mentioned that I'm usually a skeptic when it comes to Thai restaurants in North America.  Many that I have come across supported my view that they are over-priced and not authentic. Thai Flavours in Edmonton, fortunately, was the first exception I came across.  Last week, Kim invited me to try out one of several Thai restaurants in town.  The choices were Khunnai Chang, Talay Thai, and Thai Basil.   I chose Thai Basil mainly for its downtown location.  Menu wise, they were all fairly similar.  This time, I brought another Thai friend, Aum, along with Johana (my new partner in food crime) to help judge the authenticity if this place is as for real as they say.  Once we walked in, I was surprised at how the small the place was.  As modest as a restaurant can be, Thai Basil only has no more than 5 tables inside and mainly focuses on take-outs.  The price range is fairly inexpensive and the menu offers a wide range of well-known Thai dishes. I saw several of my favourites on the list and couldn't wait to give them a try.  I browsed around the restaurant and noticed the portraits of the King and Queen of Thailand.  Another clue that they could be for real!  I started ordering in Thai, asking questions about the menu and if their flavours stay true to the motherland.  Our server reassured me.  I wonder if she went back to the kitchen and tell the cooks to spice up the flavours since we are also "for real".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vancouver's 1st Annual Foodie Feast

Last week I attended the 1st annual Foodie Feast, a charitable event for the food bank, hosted by Bella Gelateria, Sherman from Sherman's Food Adventures, and Mijune of Follow Me Foodie.  Not only was the event for a good cause, but it was also a fun, exciting event for foodies in Vancouver as well.  Since I am still new to the city, this was a great experience to not only feast, but also meet other food bloggers.  After long exchanges of e-mails since last December, I finally met Kim Ho of I'm Only Here For the Food.  Kim introduced me to other bloggers and we had interesting conversations about food and blogging.  He also taught me a few photography tips! I'm actually really upset that he's retiring :(
Anyways here are a few hi-lights of the event.  The restaurant that stood out the most out of all that night was La Belle Auberge.  Their kalamansi explosion kept me coming back to them all night.  The seared duck breast was also to die for, by far the best dish that night.  It was hard to believe that they seared those breasts on a hot pot stove for 200 people waiting in line. My sister and her boyfriend liked it so much they visited the restaurant in Ladner later that week without inviting me. Other honourable mentions include delicious parisian macarons by Kitchening with Carly, and trying out Buaffalo wing cupcake (with hot sauce!) from Mancakes Bakery was probably the bravest thing I've done this month.

Super packed
Tostada Carnitas from El Barrio
5 spice duck confit with potato cake and taro chips and chocolate macaroons from One Planet Catering
Seafood ceviche with Yuzu jelly on chip, Ahi tuna and avocado on plantain chip from Hapa Izakaya 
My favourite! Kalamansi Explosion!
Duck breast and Panko crusted duck confit from La Belle Auberge
Pear cocktail with dry ice from EBO
Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit and Flagship "Buffalo Wing" cupcakes from Mancakes Bakery

For (better) photos, more details, and recaps on the Foodie Feast, check out Follow Me Foodie, and I'm Only Here for the Food!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Everday is Taco Day at La Taqueria


My next lunch escapade landed my fellow classmates and I at La Taqueria Pinche taco shop on West Hastings, just a block away from Meat & Bread! The modest taco shop presented themselves as being the 'real deal' with an eye catching portrait of the Virgin Mary gloriously painted at the front wall.  You can't miss it.  The shop was fairly small and narrow, and during lunch time, you might feel a bit claustrophobic being inside.  We were greeted with a long line up at the door, but I usually take it as a welcoming sign that this is where it's at.  As I checked out the menu on the board written in chalk, I found it hard to choose out of the vast variety of tacos.  I saw the sizes of the tacos flying out, they weren't too large.  I decided to go with what the majority was getting, 4 tacos for $9.50.  But if you don't feel so hungry and just want a light snack, you can also get one or 2 for $2.50 each.


While Johana wasn't quite sure what kind of tacos she wanted, the guys at La Taqueria set them up for her, including the daily special which was the free range braised lamb for that day.  As for me, I went straight for de lengua (braised beef tongue).  I'm not sure why that was the first item that attracted me when I seldom eat beef tongue. The other ones I picked were pescadeo (I had to have fish taco!), carnitas (pork confit), and the daily special.  I considered that an exciting platter! lol  The service was assembly line, fairly quick and efficient.  I like the concept of La Taqueria; simple, and to the point.  Our wait time in total was about 15  minutes, while our time to finish the tacos only took us no more than 5 minutes....  We were hungry students!


After we picked up the goods, we headed straight for the sauce stand.  I LOVE sauces, and there was so much variety with jalapenos and pickles.. I tried hard not to go overboard with the salsa verde and ruin the flavours of the tacos.  Since it was way too crowded inside the shop, I couldn't stand being inside any longer. So, we stepped out and enjoyed our meal right at the front of the store to enjoy one of the few sunny days in Vancouver. Though each taco is quite small, they were double wrapped with 2 tortillas.  Initially, I wonder why they needed 2.  Johanna mentioned that's how they make them in Latin America, and as I was eating a taco and it started disintegrating, I got that the second tortilla was supposed to hold everything together once the first layer gets too soggy.  Apart from its function, the second layer definitely helped fill us up.  Anyways, aside from the function and composition of the tortillas, the tacos tasted great!
De Lengua (not the best picture after the sauces) Y_Y
My absolute favourite was de lengua.  It may not be the most popular choice, but after comparing against the other 3 that I had, the beef tongue was the most tasty. It was tender, savoury, and very flavourful.  Actually, one of the tastiest tacos I've tried in a while I should say.

Pescado
My second favourite was the pescado which the fish was slightly charred.  The texture was quite nice and flaky, not hard or mushy.   The carnitas and braised lamb were good also.  The garnishing made them more refreshing, but I still prefer the other 2, nonetheless.  Would I pay $10 again for those tacos? Absolutely, especially if half of them are lengua. 

Braised lamb
Carnitas
As people walked passed the shop, they would see 2 girls outside stuffing their faces with tacos and hearing "Mmmmmm......So good" or "Oh my god.....unreal....".   The rest of my classmates nodded head in affirmation as we headed back.  It seems this will also be one of our regular lunch spots in the area.

La Taqueria Taco Shop on Urbanspoon