Have a fantastic Christmas and holiday season!
I hope you all had a lovely holiday this year surrounded by those you love.
Tags: avocado, Brioche, Chorizo, Gastown, Sandwiches
A few weeks ago, I was invited to go a movie premier to see Did You Hear About the Morgans? with Mijune and Kim. Once Kim caught wind of the Finch’s gourmet sandwich train, in which I *ahem* recommended many times to many people, Kim was totally sold on it and wanted us to have it before this so-so rom-com movie.
Epic fail!!! The baguettes at Finch’s was sold out! AAH! Oh well, Kim thought of a “Plan B” and surprised us with sandwiches from Brioche instead. YAY!
Brioche is a restaurant/company/bakery located in Gastown which has a front and back entrance. I’ve only been there for brunch and found that the food was quite decent. Brioche is an Italian/Westcoast company that focuses on fresh ingredients and quality meats and cheeses. They even bake their breads daily.
Before we headed to watch the movie, we literally stuffed our faces at the food court.
The first sandwich that we had was the Chorizo Premium Panini: Chorizo sausage, lettuce, tomato, avocado & Boccocini.
This sandwich was quite flavorful. There was a nice spicy kick from the generous amount of chorizo, the freshness of the tomato and lettuce, the smooth mellowness of the Bocconcini and the slight creaminess of the mashed avocado. As you can see in the picture, the sandwich looks a bit oily (orangey-yellowish oil). This is due to the fact that the chorizo was pan-fried for a bit to release the flavors before it was assembled in the sandwich. The only thing that I would like more of in the sandwich would be the avocado. The creaminess of the avocado would make this sandwich more balanced.
The next sandwich we had was the Ham, Portobello & Brie Panini.
This sandwich was a delicious Mediterranean inspired sandwich. Like the first sandwich, this sandwich had a generous helping of meat, in this case, black forest ham. This sandwich had a nice tang from the marinated mushrooms (although it wasn’t that much), a gentle saltiness from the ham and a soft creaminess from the melted brie.
The last sandwich we tried was the Prosciutto, Bocconcini & Tomato Panini.
The sandwich was Caprese salad inspired with the exception that no basil and balsamic vinegar was present and the only additions are the lettuce and the generous amount of prosciutto. The sandwich tasted one-dimensional savoury, more like a ham and cheese and tomato sandwich. It felt like it was missing something. I would have liked it much more if they added basil, balsamic vinegar and used fresh mozzarella instead. I thought that the bread was a bit thick and it would have been better if they used focaccia bread for this sandwich.
Overall, Brioche does really great sandwiches, brunch and baked goods. I totally recommend the Chorizo premium panini.
*Photos courtesy of imonlyhereforthefood.com
Brioche: Urban Baking & Catering
401 West Cordova Street
Tags: chicken, chilli, pho, shallot, Vancouver, Vietnamese
On December 8th, Ben from Chowtimes tried out a restaurant in a humble neighborhood where it had an honorable mention of being the most authentic tasting pho on this side of Vancouver. One of the things that Ben has heard was that this restaurant serves horse meat pho. At that time when Ben wanted to ask if they sell this exotic pho, he was intimidated by the bossy owner lady. After I commented his post, I was given the mission of asking if they sell horse meat.
With a mission on my mind and a few reasons to go, I decided to check it out. On that day, I had a cold (kinda recovering) and I had to visit the dentist. I felt lazy that day and didn’t have time to make brunch so I decided to trek down there.
Lam Hoa Quan is located on Victoria Drive between East 34th and 35th. Basically the sign that you see here is the same writing and color as the awning.
As I entered into the restaurant, I was promptly seated by the window near the door. I was given the menu and some tea to start. Even though it was an hour before noon, the restaurant had quite a number of customers eating there. There were 2 servers there, one male and one female (possible boss lady?). Since I knew what I wanted to order, I waited patiently for the male server. Once I made eye contact with the male server, I made my order and asked if they sell horse meat pho. The male server was nice enough to explain to me that they used to sell horse meat pho about a year ago. Since it was not such a popular item, the restaurant decided to eliminate it from the menu. After saying that, he enthusiastically told me that they have goat on the menu.
Now you have it Ben, they don’t serve horse meat, but they do serve goat.
Before my pho came, a dish of bean sprouts, shallots, lime wedge, hot pepper slices, and basil arrived at the table. I was quite amazed at the condiments that I was given. Usually at other pho places, they only give the bean sprouts, lime wedge, Thai Basil and/or the hot pepper.
Another condiment that arrived at the table is the pepper salt. This is used for the chicken in the pho. What you do is squeeze the lime into the pepper salt and then mix it all together and then dip the chicken into it for extra flavoring.
And now, time for the pho!
What I ordered was the Pho Ga Dac Biet (House Special Chicken Noodles). It’s perfect for such a cold day and such a fitting remedy for the cold that I have been trying to fend off. The Pho Ga was quite flavorful. The broth tasted like the chicken had aromatics added to it and was then simmered on low heat to create such a savory broth. As for the chicken, it was perfectly cooked and was firm. Same thing goes for the noodles. I ate the noodles with a combination of the condiments of shallot, red chili, cilantro with a bit of soup. Let’s just say that this combination is very delicious!
Overall, Lam Hoa Quan offers authentic tasting pho without the addition of MSG. I totally recommend the Pho Ga Dat Biet as it has a delightful full-bodied flavor soup and the chicken was cooked perfectly.
Lam Hoa Quan
5073 Victoria Drive
Service: (Didn’t get the boss lady. HAHA!)
Value: The Pho Ga Dat Biet costs $7. Slightly expensive than most places and this is the large size. Overall, totally worth it.
Ambience: Medium-sized cozy Vietnamese restaurant with TVs.
Tags: beans, chicken, Chinese, Coquitlam, dinner, fish, pork
That’s exactly what Sherman, Kim, Jenny (My Secret Eden), Ricky and I did on a chilly autumn evening. I’ve never heard of this place before but from what I heard, it serves pretty good Chinese food on the other side of town. So…is it as good as the Chinese food I eat at home?
Normally when I choose a cuisine, Chinese would be at the bottom of my list. Why is that, you might ask? The reason is that I grew up on really good Chinese food cooked at home by my mom. The only time anyone would find me at a Chinese restaurant would either be because (1) I’m having dim sum (2) it’s a high end Chinese restaurant, (3) formal engagements, or (4) it has a type of specialty dish that I am very interested in trying.
Poco Ocean is a family run Chinese restaurant located near Coquitlam Centre. I have heard that the chef was a chef at the governor house for two of the Governors of Hong Kong or was the personal chef to the Governor of Macau. I’m not really sure if any of the rumors are true but the chef was sure a humble person and did come out to take some pictures.
Once you step into the restaurant, you get a clear view of the Chinese menu on the wall, however, English menus are available. Below said signage is an advertisement for chicken wings (more on that later). The walls of the restaurant are hung with caricature drawings of the chef and his signature dishes.
So now… on to the food!!! Since the majority of us can’t read the Chinese characters, Jenny was given the responsibility to order the dishes for us.
We were first served the complimentary pork bone soup with soybean. The soup was good as the umami-ness (or sweetness) was present. To get that kind of “sweetness”, the pork bone soup has to be simmered in low heat.
The first dish that came out was the honey garlic chicken wings. These wings were juicy and the unbattered skin was crispy. It had the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness with hints of garlic.
The second dish is braised pork hock with siu choy and shitake mushrooms. The braised pork hock was very good. The pork was fall-off-the-bone delicious and the sauce had a slight hint of sweetness to it. You know what the best part is? The skin! Everyone at the table agreed and took a portion each.
This dish was everyone’s favorite of the evening, 3 cup chicken. This dish was sweet, salty and fragrant from the sesame oil and Thai Basil. The chicken was juicy and cooked to perfection.
The next dish that arrived was fried tofu with scallop, which arrived on a hot plate. (Whoo~ Look at the steam!) This dish was really good but the major disappointment was the scallops. As I picked up a scallop with my chopsticks, Sherman, exclaimed that the scallops were “Seng! (in Cantonese, it means not so fresh seafood or fishy smell). When he said it, I dropped the scallop onto myself and didn’t bother to eat it. HAHA thanks dude! :p Anyway, the tofu was delicious. The tofu maintained slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Even though this was a dish with sauce, the tofu didn’t end up being soggy.
Since we ordered so much protein, it was time for us to have some veggies. We decided to get long green beans with mushroom. The green beans were tasty but it wasn’t anything special. The beans were oil blanched and cooked to the point that it starting blistering. The beans weren’t mushy and still retained a bit of texture to it.
The last dish we ordered was fish with tofu hot pot. I can’t recall kind of fish it is, but it had an interesting texture. In the sauce, it had cilantro and dried orange peel. It was an odd combination. As for the fish, the first thing that came to mind was jiggly-wiggly. If you were to pick up the fish with the chopstick it wiggle it around, the fish retained it’s shape. The fish was soft and meaty and had an adequate amount of batter surrounding it. The taste of this dish was ok, as it was nothing special and a bit weird since most of us occasionally taste the dried orange peel taste, which isn’t quite an appealing taste.
Overall, the food at Poco Ocean is quite good. I would say the food are almost on par with what my mom makes at home but WAY less oily. The food blogger dinner was a success and I certainly enjoyed the dinner with the other food bloggers.
*Photo credit to Kim Ho from imonlyhereforthefood.com!
2755 Lougheed Hwy
Port Coquitlam, BC
Value: Expensive Chinese food considering it’s not all seafood. But it’s still good.
Ambience: Family style Chinese restaurant with tables placed close that you might need to squeeze your butt through.
Tags: hot dog, japadog, oroshi, terimayo, ubc
Yeah you heard right! Japa Dog was at UBC! What a pleasant surprise on a cold but sunny day at UBC!
Not knowing that Japa Dog was at UBC, I decided to get something light to eat for lunch so I ordered a chopped scallop sushi and a miso soup from the Honor Roll. After finishing my so-called “light lunch” I decided to stroll towards the bookstore to look for some gifts. As I walked down the stairs of the Student Union Building towards the grassy knoll I saw a crowd of students and an oh-so-familiar looking cart:
Let’s just say that I was ecstatic! Part of me kind of regretted eating the sushi lunch and was thinking of whether to get the Japa Dog or not. In the end, I thought to myself “oh what the hell” and decided to get a Japa Dog. So which one did I get? I’ve tried the Oroshi, Misomayo, and the Okonomi. Which one did I end up choosing? Terimayo! The one that Japa Dog is well known for.
So what is all the hype for these street meat? Simply put, Japa Dogs are hot dogs with a Japanese flair to it. These hot dogs are flavored with Japanese sauces and toppings and kinda feels like a mini izakaya in your mouth. Well it was for me, the first time I tried the Oroshi.
What is Terimayo? It’s a 100% beef hot dog topped with fried onions, smothered in teriyaki sauce, drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise and sprinkled with roasted seaweed.
So how was the Terimayo? To be honest, it was good, but not as good as my other favorite Japadog, Oroshi. The only downside was that the teriyaki sauce was a bit too salty for my liking as it overpowered the overall taste of the hotdog. I could only taste tiny hints of the creamy Japanese mayo and the sweetness of the grilled onions. I could definitely taste the roasted seaweed as it was slightly salty and crunchy and kind of flying off my hot dog.
I definitely recommend trying out Japa Dog as it is not your regular street dog. It has very interesting toppings that you won’t normally use such as benito flakes, wasabi mayo and daikon radish. Currently Japa Dog has a few stands in downtown (2 on Burrard and one on West Pender) and eventually will be opening a store near Robson and Seymour.
Value: A bit pricier than what I get in downtown, but the extra dollar was towards a charity.
Ambience: What ambience? You eat wherever you find seating.