Thursday, January 27, 2011

Big lights will inspire you

My First Dine Out Vancouver 2011!

I love Dine Out Vancouver.  It's only 2 weeks out of the year, and usually falls in January/February - with the exception of last year due to the Olympics.  If you've never been - it's over 1 week left so get on it!

My first place to check out was Aqua Riva with my mom, who is a Celiac, so we opted for Aqua Riva as they had an exciting Gluten Free menu.  It always sucks going out to a restaurant and the only thing you can eat is salad without the dressing.  Thankfully Aqua Riva had a great menu to offer, and only for $28.

They started off with some complementary bread, butter and brushcetta.  I tried one of the focaccia pieces with the bruschetta, and it was warm, fresh and moist.

For our appetizers my mom ordered the gluten free option - Baby Green Salad with Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon and Grilled White and Green Asparagus and Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette.  This was a pretty nice size salad for an appetizer, and I knew they weren't going to skimp on the portions!  It was also nice that they had a tasty salad dressing that was gluten free.

I ordered for my appetizer the Sesame Crusted Scallops with Spinach and Cous Cous Salad and Orange Sesame Vinaigrette.  This was so deelish.  The scallops were cooked perfectly, and I loved the vinaigrette paired with the cous cous.

For our mains my mom had the gluten free option - Ginger Potato Crusted Wild Salmon with Grilled Asparagus Risotto, Corn and Black Bean Salsa and Basil Butter Sauce (minus the potato crust).

I also had the Ginger Potato Crusted Wild Salmon with Grilled Asparagus Risotto, Corn and Black Bean Salsa and Basil Butter Sauce, but with the crust.  Loved this!  Loved how healthy this was, and the salmon was cooked perfectly.  Everything tasted fresh and flavorful, and I was extremely impressed with how well the basil sauce paired with the risotto.  I would totally order this off their regular menu.

For dessert my mom had the Lime Sorbet, as the desserts included were not gluten free.  Still 3 big scoops of tasty sorbet after a filling meal is the way to go.

I had the Banana Chocolate Mousse Cake for dessert.  This was so rich yet moist, and I really loved the apricot puree.  It was really intense, so just the slightest amount added the perfect flavor.

All in all, the 3 course meal at Aqua Riva was totally worth the bang, and a great way to start DOV.  I will totally recommend this place to others!

And to top it off, a beautiful stroll around the ports to walk off the meal after.

Jay Z ft Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We can all get by if we unify

My First Peruvian Food Experience!

My friend Jeff brought me to one of his fave spots after work on friday, El Inka Latin Deli.  He swears by this place, so I knew I would like it.  Normally I stalk the restaurant website before hand, but since El Inka doesn't have one, I had to check out what other local food bloggers had to say.  The majority of them loved the food, or at least certain dishes, so I knew I was going to like this.  Plus I had never tried authentic Peruvian food before so I was pretty excited.

It's located just off Boundary on Sunset in a total hole in the wall area that you would never drive through on purpose.  We started off with a pitcher of Chica Morada - a purple corn drink for $5.50 for a full pitcher.  It was sooo good!  It was sweet, and unlike anything I had ever tried.  I kept thinking how awesome it would be to make sangria out of it.

Jeff and I decided we would order several dishes to share, which ended up to be a whole lot of leftovers!

We started with the Empanadas Chilenas for $4 which was a Chicken Chilean Pie with eggs, onions and olives served with their authentic hot sauce.  I loved this hot sauce, it wasn't your traditional Vinegared "franks".

For The empanadas the chicken was similar to pulled chicken.  The pastry was alright, in some sections I found it to be really firm and chewy, but for the most part this was really tasty.

Next up was the Ceviche Pescado $12 which was Marinated white fish cooked in lemon juice, served with onions, corn and sweet potato.  This was deelish and I think my favorite of the night.  I didn't really care if the corn was previously frozen as the Ceviche was that good.  It had the perfect amount of lemon and spice, and the red onion and celery was a perfect addition to the fish.

We also tried the Jalea Mixta for $16.99 which was deep fried cassava roots, white fish, squid, octopus, and shrimp topped with onion and tomato.  This was the first time I had ever tried fried octopus before.  All of the items were lightly fried and the seafood didn't get dry at all.  It may look like a lot of onion and tomato, but underneath it all there was a mountain of seafood, and the onion, tomato and lime accompanied it perfectly.

We also ordered the Tamal for $4.50 which was cornmeal dough filled with chicken, egg and olives, wrapped and boiled in a banana leaf.  I prefered this over the Empanada as this was super moist, in fact so moist that it came apart super easilly.  It didn't have as much of a filling as the Empanada, but I don't think it needed it.  It also had a zest of lemon which went perfect.

Jeff ordered the Bandeja Paisa for $16.99 which was red beans cooked with sweet plantains and served with ground beef, rice, avocado, fried egg, deep fried sweet plantains, homemade chorizo, and chicharron (deep fried pork skin).  I tried one of the deep fried plantains and it was so good!  This totally looked like one of those hangover breakfast plates that you would eat at dinner when craving breakfast.

Capleton ft. Method Man - Wings of the Morning

Feels like... the surreal life

Yaggers = Fave new spot for Organic Free Run Chicken Wings

For $6.50 you get 1 lb of Organic Free Run Chicken Wings, which in my opinion is totally worth the extra $3 you would pay from a pub.

We ordered 1lb of Jerk, 1lb of Baha Spice, and 1lb (half Tandoori rub, and half Jagger glazed).  Hands down the winner was Baha Spice, but then we both love our hot wings.  The Jerk didn't really taste like most Jerk marinades, so I'm not sure which one they use.  It really wasn't even spicy and tasted more like a BBQ actually.

The Jagger glazed ones still tasted like Jagger (as mentioned in my last Yaggers post), and I was thinking the Tandoori ones would actually be in a Tandoori marinade, not dry rub.  I must say that Yaggers is my new fave spot for wings, both times I have tried them they have been super moist, big, and not overly deppfried like in some spot, and they offer unique flavors.  Next on my list to try is the Wasabi-Sesame!

Gnarles Barkley - Who Cares

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's not really wrong, It's not really right

Monday Thai <3

Happy Monday everyone.  Just a quick Thai food post from a new lunch spot.  My friend Jeff and I hit up Chez Meme Bistro for lunch last week (which I still need to post), and during our trip we grabbed a few menus from some surrounding restaurants on Hastings, including Tom Yum Thai.  Come monday, my girlfriend Julia and I were craving thai, and normally I would hit up Thai Cafe with coworkers, as it was the only thai spot I was aware of - but since finding out about Tom Yum we opted to check out something new.  We ordered 3 of the lunch specials to share, all of which were $8.59 each.  The dishes Julia and I ordered were the Chicken Green Curry, Chicken Pad Prig Khing (ginger, green beans, lime leaves and chlli paste), and Tofu Pad Thai.

For a comparison to Thai Cafe, I think the portions are about the same.  I've only tried the Papaya Chicken Salad and the Chicken Green Curry at Thai Cafe, and I think the Green Curry at Thai Cafe is a bit better.  However, I enjoyed the spring rolls better at Tom Yum, and I was also really fond of the Pad Prig Khing.  The Pad Thai was alright, nothing too special and the noodles really clumped together, and nothing was too special about the salad, but for $8.59 it's a pretty solid meal.  Out of the 3 I tried I would recommend the Pad Prig Khing.  I will come back, as they have 11 lunch specials including soups, and everyone knows I love myself Thai soup!

Tegan and Sara - All You Got

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is there more to life than love and being together

Friday Night in my favorite Gastropub!  $2 Oysters, Cheese, Organic Red Wine & $3 Beer :)

I love Relish for so many reasons.
A) It's right downtown
B) Everyday they have a different $3 Beer, and other drink specials
C) They have $1 Oysters 3-6, and $2 any other time
D) They have a cheese plate
E) They have a DJ that plays fun music and many more reasons...

This has always been a fun spot to go to, so I ended up at Relish for a late friday night dinner with a friend.  Of course I had to start with some Effingham Oysters.  They also gave me 4 housemade sauces to go along with the fresh Horseradish and lemon.  I opted for the cocktail and hot sauce.

I was also craving some wings. so I got their Chipotle rubbed wings with Bleu Cheese for $10.  These have always been good, and when sitting at a bar watching sports highlights drinking beer, sometimes wings just feel like they belong.

Since I was also drinking Organic Red Caberet Sauvignon, I felt the need for some cheese.  I ordered their 5 meats & cheeses for $18.  I ordered their Oka (Quebec), Goat's Cheese Brie (B.C.), Huntsman (England) and also their B.C. Sockeye Salmon Gravlax, & Chrorizo Iberico from Spain.  The dish also came with some fab prunes and toast.

Always a good time at Relish :)

Tegan and Sara - You Went Away

This Rythym Really Fits Like A Snug Glove

My fave sushi spot!

Well I usually go to the same spots, but Sushi Cali is one of my fave's.  When my buddy Derek wanted to go out for dinner somewhere local and I found out he had never been here before, I knew this was where we were dining for the night!

I love dining with Derek as I get to try things I normally wouldn't order, and I think I would try pretty much anything as long as it didn't have 4 legs at 1 point in it's life.  We ended up ordering 2 Tobiko & Quail Egg $1.60 each, and 2 Tamago $1.00 each.  We also ordered the Ikamaru Yaki (Grilled Squid with Special Sauce) for $7.50 and the Spicy Tuna Spring Roll for $6.95. 

So how many people have ever got Hot Sauce and Tobiko in their eye?  Well that happened to me with the Spicy Tuna Spring Roll.  As you can see the rolls are quite big, and when I bit into one of the end pieces, the green onion tossed Tobiko and Hot Sauce right into my eye!!!  Talk about painful!  I had to run into the ladies room and wash out my eye, and actually remove Tobiko from my eye.  I don't think that has ever happened to anyone!   I'm glad that it was just Derek I dined with, and not with a bunch of people I hardly know or even a work dinner!

For the Ikamaru the special sauce was just hot sauce and mayo with green onions, which we found too heavy for the light squid.  We opted for some Ponzu instead which made it taste so much lighter, and the tentacles were so tasty!  I normally would not have ordered this, which is why I love dining with Derek as I get to try so many fab and fun dishes!

Meet Derek, one of my best guy buddies.  We always have so much fun whenever we are together!

A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It

Monday, January 3, 2011

But it's only me to me and I walk alone

The Seawall and Thai Food = 2 of my loves

Jacket: Della Spiga
Shirt: bluheaven
Jeans: Almost Famous
Shoes: Elephant Keds
Glasses: Neon Punk
Necklace & Earings: Gifted

Sunday was the perfect day for a seawall stroll.  Normally I do the Stanley Park/ Second Beach part - but for a change I did the False Creek / Yaletown stroll.  Actually my intention along with enjoying the sun was to finally check out the AYCE from Chilli House Thai Bistro.  I hadn't really had an appetite since friday with the passing of my Grandpa, hence the lack of a new years celebration post.  I actually went to bed way before New Years, as I was emotionally drained, and just wanted the day to end.

Finally I was ready to get out of the house, and I sure was hungry so it was the perfect excuse to eat a lot of Thai Food.  I don't usually frequent AYCE places, unless I'm paying around $50 or more.  For Chilli House Thai Bistro, they have AYCE with about 30 dishes to choose from for $16 /person.  I think that's one of the best deals in the city for that price, as you get fresh food and the quality is great.  All dishes come in small portions, which is great so I could try lots of different things.

We ordered a bunch of dishes to try, including the Yellow Curry Chicken which was bloneless chicken, yellow curry paste, coconut milk, carrot & potato.  Loved this dish!  I actually have never tried this dish at a thai resto before, as usually I stick with green or red curries, but anything with yellow curry, chicken and potatoes has never let me down.

I was curious about the Thai Calamari (Pla Muk Tod) so I had to try it.  I was thinking it would be similar to the chinese squids and peppery salts, but it actually came out looking like onion rings with the sweet thai chilli sauce.  These were alright, not my favorite type of squid, but at least the batter wasn't greasy.

Next was the Chilli Pepper Fried Rice with chicken, diced vegetables and egg.  This dish was pretty fab, nice and simple and the rice was cooked perfect.  We ended up mixing this dish with the curries.

I ordered the Chicken Satay marinated in thai herbs and coconut milk served in a thai peanut sauce.  Loved This!!  The chicken was cooked perfect and came off the skewer easilly, and the peanut sauce was great - I even put one of my chicken wings in the peanut sauce :)

Next up were the chicken wings.  I had never had Thai wings before, which tasted like plain deep fried wings.  The sauce was ok, but I think I prefered the Chicken Satay and Curry Chicken over these - just because I like my wings marinated with heat.  They were still good though.

My friend ordered the BBQ Shortribs marinated, grilled and served with a spicy dipping sauce.  He thought these were alright, but not his favorite beef ribs. 

I ordered the Por Pia Tod (vegetarian spring roll) as I had only ever tried them at Thai Cafe, and was curious how they would compare.  These were great, and less greasy than most chinese spring rolls.

I ordered the Pad Bai Grapua, boneless chicken sauteed with Thai chilli, onions and fresh basil.  Loved this dish, I would totally come here and just eat this, perfect heat for me and basil and chillies go so good together!

My friend had the Green Curry with Beef with eggplant, bell peppers, peas, basil leaves and coconut milk.  He said this was one of his favorites of the night and mixed perfectly with his fried rice.

The only prawn dish on the menu was the Tom Yum Goong, hot and sour spicy soup with prawns.  Actually this only had one prawn, but it was perfect.  If I wasn't so keen on trying a variety of everything I could eat until I was full, I would of ordered a few portions of this and just keep having soup all night.

All in all, the AYCE Chilli House Uran Thai Bistro is totally worth the $16, and I can't wait to come back again, especially in the summer when I can sit on their heated patio on the seawall.

If you want to view their AYCE menu you can find it here

Green Day - Bloulevard of Broken Dreams

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Don't talk what you don't know about

Happy New Years!!

The last day of 2010 started off with an amazing sunrise!  I love a beautiful sky so I had to take a snapshot of it on my way to work.  Although I worked on the 31st, I only worked 4 hours as we closed at noon, and I had the previous monday and tuesday off so it was a short week.

When I got off work, my coworker Jeff and I headed over to North Van to Kingston 11 Cafe.  Jeff had been raving about this restaurant as long as I've known him, and has sworn it's the best place for authentic caribbean cuisine.

We got there and the main man Prince was running it all, just like how Rehanah's Roti is run.  We had to wait a bit as he was just setting up, but it was worth the wait.  Prince brought us out a cup of Jerk Turkey soup while we waited which was amazing.  He used his left over Christmas jerk turkey with an apple stuffing, and pureed it into an awesome soup!

He didn't have his full menu in effect, but I was able to order the Jerk Chicken/ Chicken Stew combo with Salad and Rice & Peas for $15.00.  Jeff also ordered a combo, but he had the Jerk Chicken & Jerk Pork combo.  We washed ot down with a few Ginger Beer soda's and ordered some take out.  This place was definitely worth the hype.  I will totally come back here again, and it really is one of the best spots for some caribbean food in the Vancouver area.

Jerk Chicken/ Chicken Stew Combo

Jerk Chicken/ Jerk Pork Combo

Admiral Tibet - Chatty Chatty Mouth People

And a trip to the moon Took me away

Sushi, Sushi and Yaggers.

I've been craving sushi so much lately, so wednesday I checked out Kita sushi for the first time.  It's right by Gilmore and Henning, so it can easy become a local spot for me during lunch breaks.  I really wasn't craving anything, but I wanted something I don't usually order from my other go-to sushi spots.  I ordered the Gomae $3.50, Tuna Tataki Roll $5.95, and the Haru Roll $4.50.

The Gomae was my first dish, and I loved the peanut sauce on spinach.  Great presentation too.

Then I recieved the Tuna Tataki roll - Tuna, Avocado topped with Green Onion, spicy sauce & fun-shu sauce.  I was confused by this dish.  It was served in a to-go container, compared to the others on plates, so it must have been prepared allready.  Despite the fact that it may have been earlier prepared, this was super tasty.... although, I think it was herring on top on the roll.  I never asked, but a dane who loves herring, sure knows when they taste it!

The next roll I tried was the Haru roll, which was Rice wrap, Salmon, Carrot, Cucumber, Avocado, Leaf lettuce, Mango, Red Pepper and Tobiko.  I asked for a side of spicy sauce which happened to be a spicy peanut sauce.  Not a bad combo at all, and reminded me of the vietnamese salad rolls.  They were really giving with the protions in this roll for sure, and I think this was my fave dish I tried from Kita.  A must have that I will deff order again!

Thursday lunch came and one of my BFF's Derek wanted to take me out for some sushi at Miki.  Usually I only order delivery from them, since they are the only japanese spot that delivers to my house.  I decided we should try some items we have never tried and let him order them.

We ordered 6 Fresh Oysters $5.95 with Ponzu sauce, no idea what type of Oysters, but they were cold, fresh and small and gave me a buzz.

We ordered the Asari Sakamushi, fresh clams cooked in japanese sake for $5.95.  These were alright, not the best clams, but the broth was pretty flavorful.

We ordered 4 Tobiko with Quail Egg, $1.49 each.  I tried one of these, and it was my first time having one.  It was better than I thought, but not something I will eat everyday.

We ordered the Wild Salmon Sashimi $8.50.  I love salmon sashimi, and this was fresh and had the delicate - melt in your mouth appeal.

My favorite had to be the Ponzu Tuna Sashimi for $5.95.  The Ponzu matched well and the Tuna tasted fresh.

Later that night my brother and I hit up Yaggers downtown.  Since he hasn't lived in Vancouver for 4 years, I thought we should both hit up a pub that was downtown and had good drinks.  Thursday nights are Martini nights, $6.03 for 2 oz martinis so I started off with a Speedy Gonzalez - Sauza Blanco, Absolut, Bols Mango, Grapefruit and Apple Juice.  Loved this!  My brother was drinking the Granville Island Winter Beers.  For my 2nd Martini I had the Vote For Pedro - Sauza Gold, Bols Mango, Sour Raspberry and Apple Juice.  After a few drinks, we ordered some appetizers.  Bryan ordered the Lager Battered Onion Rings with cracked pepper and chipotle ketchup for $6.  I didn't try these, but they looked really good.  I ordered their Organic Free Range Chicken Wings for $9.50.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to try the Baha Spice, or Jagermeister Glazed, so the waitress suggested I split it and try both.  I loved both!  I was surprised that I could actually taste the jagger on the wings, and the Baha Spice ones had the perfect heat.  The presentation was nice for bar food too :)  I will come back here for fun food and serious drinks again for sure.

Lynard Skynard -  The Needle and the Spoon