Saturday, April 30, 2011

It takes acquired minds to taste it

Friday = Dinner at El Inka

My coworker Jeff and I decided to hit up El Inka after work on friday to get our peruvian food fix.  We had also visited Brentwood earlier that day to listen to some amazing music from these 2 guys who play flutes from Chile and Ecuador.  I also bought some awsome hand crafted accessories from them, and listened to them play flutes as tall as their body.  El Inka seemed like the perfect fix to top off our latin day.

We ordered a bunch of dishes, all of which were different ones than our last visit.  We ordered the Patacon for $4.99 which was 2 fried plantains.  They came in a pancake like form served with a homemade salsa.  These were amazing and the salsa was so fantastic.  I have never tasted a salsa like this one at a restaurant before.

We also order the Yuquitas $3.50 which is fried cassava, served with their house made hot sauce.  These were like eating fries, but really good, sweeter fries.

Jeff also ordered a side of sweet plantains.  These were so amazing.  I think I'm hooked on plantains.

Jeff ordered the Arroz Con Pollo for $11 which is chicken, white rice, cilatro, peas, red pepper, carrots and onion salsa.  I tried this dish and the rice was very flavorful, and even the onion salsa had a perfect light balance.

Jeff also ordered the Aji de Gallina for $10 which was potatoes, tasty sauce, lettuce, egg and olive.  I love how they call it tasty sauce, as it actually was really tasty.  I tried this dish and it was really good.  The sauce felt like a cheese gravy with shredded chicken.  I have no idea what the sauce was, but it was really good.

I ordered the Ajiaco for $11 which was traditional Bogotanian soup made with 3 kinds of potatoes, chicken and corn on the cob served with rice, avocado and arepa.  I had never had peruvian soup before so I didn't know what to expect, but this was really fantastic.  It was a thicker cream, and it could be poured over rice, or you could dip the arepa bread into the soup.  It was a very mild soup and reminded me of a creamy chicken soup that mom would cook from scratch when you had a cold.

Paramore - Born For This

Captivate me all the while

Thursday Date Night at Ouisi Bistro!

Last thursday I had a pretty wonderful dinner :)  Probably because my date was so fine and I couldnt stop staring at how handsome and muscular he was, but the food was really good too.  I had only been to Ouisi once before, and since I had an earlier appointment at a Salon a few blocks away, I figured this would be a great spot for a dinner date.  The Canucks game was on, (which they won), and after the game some live jazz like blues was played.

My date had never had New Orleans food before, so I was glad to introduce something new.  He ended up ordering the Granville Dinner for $18 - 2 pepper crusted chicken breasts served under fresh spinach, roasted garlic & melted brie with red beans and green rice.

I went with the Chicken & Duck Sausage Gumbo $16 which was a traditional New Orleans dark roux stew.  I also got to pick 2 sides, and since I loved their beet chutney so much last time, I went with that one again along with cajun potato salad.  Both sides were great, and even the stew although it was very rich and I couldn't finish.  Still it was great to have duck stew! 

Buju Banton - What Ya Gonna Do

but the wrong, yes, we don't need that here tonight

Wednesday Night at Milestones

Normally Milestones is always packed on wednesday nights with their date night menu, but on this wednesday my mom and I were actually taking advantage of their buy one get one free night.  We arrived pretty early, and the place packed!  The waitress went around and gave everyone mini belinis while waiting.  I love belinis.  Belinis are the perfect summer drink.  My mom ordered a Blakberrytini $8.49 cranberry juice, orange juice and blackberry puree & gin.  She loved this drink and said it was quite refreshing too.

When it came to our mains I went with the Seafood Pan Roast from their seasonal menu for $22.99.  This had seared scallops, rainbow trout, grilled tiger shrimp and steamed mussels in a cajun tomato sauce served over fresh bok choy and jasmine rice.  This dish was really good and I loved the fresh bok choy, and something I wouldn't expect from Milestones.  My only complaint was that they served a mussel that wasn't open, and the kitchen should know better than that.

My mom ordered their Top Sirloin dish for $20.99 simply grilled with garlic butter brush, coarse salt and black pepper with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies.  She loved the food, although she asked for her steak medium, and it was almost rare.  I cant wait to go back to Milestones on a wednesday and check out their date night menu.  You share an appetizer, each have a main, and share a dessert for $25 each.

Third World - Spiritual Revolution

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sadie dry your tears, I will be the one

Easter in Gibsons with my Grandma and Mom!

Hope everyone had an amazing Easter weekend!  I had a fantastic one.  Thursday actually started off with a wonderful stroll down Coal Harbor & along the Seawall checking out the city lights, the stars and even an otter!  It was actually pretty amazing.  The tide was in pretty close, so the otter was actually able to climb onto the seawall and grab whatever it was looking for.  We saw the otter come up and down a set of stairs connecting the seawall to the ocean twice, and swim along the seawall where we walked.  It was such a beautiful moment.  It was also a wonderful stroll as it was pretty empty as everyone in Vancouver seemed to be elsewhere watching the Canucks get massacred.

Come friday I was Gibsons bound to see my amazing grandma!  It was the first Easter since my grandpa passed, and I didn't want my grandma to be alone so I hit up Gibsons to spend some quality time with her, and also my aunt Heather and cousin Erin!  It was such a gorgeous day for my trip, and I got to see a bald eagle.  Actually I got to see 3 bald eagles during my trip, a seal, and even a dear ran in front of Erins car on our way to Chaster Beach.  Thankfully we didn't hit it!

After catching up with my grandma and Heather and doing some shopping, we headed over to Sechelt for my grandmas favorite buffet.  Normally I'm not a buffet fan, but my grandma loves this place and has ordered catering from them on several occasions. 

My grandma got to have her favorite pork on a stick, my Aunt got to have her sweet and sour pork, where I was more about their spicy prawns and calamari.

Along the way home we stopped at a childhood favorite spot, Davis Bay.  This is where we saw the seal!  I speant many days on this beach since I can remember, and I always feel blessed when I get to visit it.

After a filling dinner, and a wonderful visit to Davis Bay, my grandma and I spent the evening going through her box of cards and drawings that my brother & I had made for them over the years.  I can't even begin to describe how much fun it was to see some of the drawings and cards we had made.  It's amazing to see how you interpret life over the years.

The following day my cousin Erin stopped by and we hit up Chaster Creek (where we saw a deer).  This place is another one of my favorite child hood spots.  It brings back so many memories sailing boats we made, swinging on rope swings, snorkelling, playing in our orange innertubes, playing can't touch the ground by jumping from log to log, picking blackberries and wild apples, skateboarding along the side of road, and eating pizza on the beach with orange soda.  After Chaster, Erin & I hit up Starbucks and then Molly's Lane for some Vintage shopping.  So much fun!

After heading back to my grandmas, my mom joined us shortly after.  We ended up checking out Gramma's Pub.  Our last visit to Gramma's Pub the food was excellent.  This visit the food was also up to par, even if the service wasn't.  Our waitress we saw having a cigarette before delivering our food :( and we were also seated on the patio where a party of about 10 people were so drunk and foul, that they were knocking drinks over and even fell out of their chairs and knocked over tables.  Sadly the staff seemed to ignore it.  Thankfully, the manager Mark is making it up to us personally on our next visit, with a wonderful dining experience and meals on the house :)

I ordered the Soft Shell Fish Tacos $13.95 with house battered fresh halibut, house slaw, roast cashews, sliced mango with a lime coconut dipping sauce and side salad.  This dish was amazing.  I was so full, and surprised at the generous portion for only $13.95, especially with the huge amount of Halibut!  Everything on this dish was fresh and tasty.

Mark had adavised us that they have lots of Gluten Free dishes, but our waitress and kitchen staff didn't seem to know what dishes were Gluten free, and Mark wasn't working that day.  My mom ended up ordering the BC Salmon Spinach Salad for $13.95 with Grilled BC salmon, bacon, shaved eggs, mushrooms, tomato and a honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  She really enjoyed this dish, and it had a piece of Salmon!

My grandma ended up going for the Salisbury Steak $11.95 with a flame broiled ground chuck patty, topped with grilled onions and asparagus served with mashed potatos and gravy.  My grandma really enjoyed this dish and it was cooked well done the way she liked it.

After a filling late lunch/early dinner we strolled along the marina where we used to go fishing.

After a wonderful 2 days in Gibsons, I headed back to Vancouver.  Can't wait for my next trip to Gibsons!

The Black Keys - Strange Times

I love to live so pleasantly

Wednesday night = $5 Vegetarian dinner that's really good!

My friend Lorraine had been talking about Saravana Bhavan for quite a while, and the daily specials they offered, so last wednesday I finally checked it out with her for the $5 Southern Thali wednesday deal.  It's a vegetarian deal that comes with papadum, puris, basmati rice, raita, yogurt, payasam, lentil curry, potato masala, chana masala, lime pickles, long bean & lentil mustard seed salad, spinach & lentil curry & rasam, kulambu, & sambar.  This was a huge dish for $5 and a great deal, especially for those wanting a vegetarian meal with lots of flavorful options.  I would totally come back to try more of their weekday specials!

The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Greetings, girl, and welcome to my world

Saturday - Monks Brunch, Seawall, & Sushi with the Girls.

My mom and I met up for our usual brunch at Monk McQueens and Seawall stroll on saturday.  Normally we do this on sunday, but since my mom was busy sunday morning with the Sun Run, we went for a saturday meet up.  Monk McQueens has a new brunch menu :)  I loved their menu before, but I was glad they had new dishes I could try!  We recieved our free round of their amazing mimosa's and also ordered some tea.

There were so many wonderful things to order but I decided on getting the Jamaican Appleton Banana French Toast $12 with plantain chips and fresh fruit.  This was so good!  It was like eating banana bread french toast - something I have never had.  I rarely eat french toast to begin with, but banana bread french toast is so much better than regular french toast!  I also loved the fruit.  I love how they cut the fruit up in smaller pieces now and you get more fruit than before.

My mom went with the Smoked Salmon Scramble for $16 which was a smoked salmon scrambled eggs with creme fraiche, hashbrowns and fresh fruit.  It was also supposed to come with a croissant, but my mom skipped that.  She loved this and said the smoked salmon was amazing!

After a filling breakfast we walked over the cambie bridge and did the false creek seawall side.  We came across a playpark that was empty so we decided to take a moment and enjoy the swings.  Swinging is so much fun!

After our lovely day enjoying the sun, I headed home to get ready to meet up with my gfs Denise and Aileen for our date at California Sushi with their kids Dione and Justin.  Denise had never been to California Sushi before, so I was excited for her to finally try it.  I was still pretty full from my Monks brunch, so I skipped the more filling dishes and ordered the Tuna Gomae $4.50 and the Spicy Agadashi Tofu $3.95.

The Tuna Gomae - spinach salad, chunks of tuna & seasame paste was huge and really filling.  I really enjoyed the tuna with my spinach, and the sesame paste tasted really good with my tuna as normally I just get my tuna spicy from here.

The Spicy Agadashi Tofu was also really good and filling.  On my last visit, my moms friend Marianne ordered this dish, and it looked so good I was determined to get it on my next visit.  I'm glad I did, as I love the spicy sauce from California Sushi.

Denise went with the Crunch Cali roll $3.95 (deep fried california roll with special sauce) and also the Dynamite roll $3.95 (lettuce, cucumber, avocado, masago, prawn tempura & mayo.  It was cute watching Dione eat as she only ate the outside of the roll with the rice and seaweed and did not eat the inside. 

Aileen ordered the Ebi Sunomono $3.25.

She also ordered the Chicken Katsu roll $3.95 for Justin (chicken cutlet, lettuce, cucmber), and she had the Bill's Roll $3.95 - smoked salmon, cucumber, lettuce, mayo & deep fried yam and also the Chopped Scallop Roll for $3.95.  Unlike Dione, Justin only ate the inside of the roll and skipped the rice.

I love going to California Sushi and can't wait for my next visit and I can try more dishes I haven't tried there.  Next time I want to try their Tuna Tataki.

De La Soul - Eye Know

Erase and rewind cause I've been changing my mind

Friday night = game night.  And by game, I don't mean hockey..

Friday was such a fun day.  At work I was busy getting ready for a baby shower/potluck we were having at noon for one of my coworkers.  After work Jeff and I headed out to Kingston Cafe for some amazing Jamaican food.  I had no idea what to order & I saw Ocean Perch on the menu which I hadn't seen last time.  I decided to go with that for $12 which came with rice & peas & salad.  Mike gave me a massive piece of Perch.  Even Jeff was suprised how big it was.  I managed to finish my salad and maybe 1/4 of the fish and rice, and got the rest to go.  It was soo good as usual.  Last time I came the owner Prince was doing the cooking, but Mike sure knows how to cook too, even if he does think that some fish have 4 legs.  He's also pretty nice to look at :)

Jeff ended up getting the Jerk Chicken & Oxtail combo for $15.  I tried a bit of his jerk chicken, and it was great, just like the last time I had tried it.  Prince & his daughter stopped by, and after chatting it up with them we headed out to face the horrible traffic.

After I finally got home, Diana & I decided to head out to Vancouver to get our game on.  After several encounters with drunken guys trying to talk to us on our way to downtown, we finally decided we should start our night at Sanafir.  We both decided on getting the Vanilla drink for $7.50 from their Aromatic cocktail list which I think is the best drink I have had in a long time.  It was made with banff ice vodka, mango, guava, vanilla, and something else over ice.  This was amazing!  I am so going to get this drink again, and need to learn how to make it!

Diana was hungry so I recommended we order 2 mezze dishes at $7.50 each as I wasn't hungry.  We ordered the Tandoori Prawn Skewer Tandoori Prawn Skewer -grilled tandoori spiced prawns, chickpea, arugula salad and also the Quinoa Salad - roasted root vegetables, roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette.  I never thought I'd say this but I was actually let down by both of the dishes :(

I think they had a different chef working, as when I was in on tuesday it was so much better.  I noticed that the prawns had their heads on, which I hadn't seen the last 2 times I had ordered this - and also the portion was remarkably smaller.  Although the picture of the quinoa salad is sort of blurry (I hate taking photos in a dim light), it was quite different then my last visit.  I noticed that they used spinach instead of arugula, but I found the root vegetables to be very mushy.  I think if I'm going to eat at Sanafir I'm going to make sure I come on the nights when the chef that prepared my previous meals is working!

After Sanafir we headed over to Speak Easy to check out the boys, since Deuce Bungalows Spanish Cantina was closed, but nothing stood out for us.  Plus everyone seemed way to drunk there.  After each having a Sex on Wreck Beach drink we headed out to Steamworks but stopped to check out some people having a jam session on Granville.

Diana was still hungry so she ordered some Yam fries $5.99 with balsamic glaze and pesto mayo.  She actually said they were the best yam fries she ate in a long time.

I didn't feel like drinking anymore, so I ordered the Garlic fries for $4.99 with fresh chopped garlic.  I think we ate about 10 fries each, and got the rest to go.  Although neither of us found any hot guys that night, it was still a fun girls night for sure.  Especially at Sanafir with their yummy vanilla cocktails :)

The Cardigans - Erase & Rewind

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cause Love don't start a fight, Sorry don't make it right

Thursday after work = gossip with my gf :)

What a crazy week this has been for me.. I don't get too into my personal life on my blog, but I know some will be reading that will know what's up..

Anyways one of my girlfriends Diana called to meet up after work to eat and catch up on our crazy lives and it was exactly what I needed after having such a messed up week.  We met at Broadway/Commercial and since she is vegetarian and it was raining outside I figured we could go grab some comforting indian food.  I forgot how horrible the ambiance in Corner Tandoori is.  Thankfully they have really good food for cheap and lots of vegetarian dishes.

So we sit down and Diana is like wow this place is depressing.  It is pretty true - not a date place for sure.  I think the funniest thing was when our waitress came and we asked her what vegetarian dishes were on special, she replied everything is special.  I re-asked her, but what is on special today?  She then said everything... I don't think she got it.  She didn't even ask if we wanted anything to drink.

Anyways we ended up talking about our crazy weeks - and the only other diners were old religious men, and I think we offended them with our conversation.. too bad I really didn't care.

At least our food came pretty quick.  I ordered the Saag Aloo for $6.95 which was curried spinach with potatoes and Naan.  The Naan was fresh, light and flakey and the Saag Aloo was really good and tasty.

Diana went with the Chana Saag for $6.95 which was curried spinach with chickpeas and Naan.  She also really enjoyed this.  We were only able to eat half each.. too bad the waitress didn't realize we wanted our food to go.. I would of thought they'd be in a hurry to get us out of there!  Next time we dine it will be at a place with finer men for sure :)

Tanya Stephens - Reminiscing