Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Couple of Miscellaneous Vancouver Meals

There is one chain restaurant that without fail pleases me every time I go there: White Spot. Call me crazy, but I love White Spot! And when there is one in my vicinity (none here in the Kootenays) I make a huge effort to go to one for a meal because I just love their food. It's comfort food at it's best. They make great breakfasts, they make great burgers, they make great milkshakes, they make the best coleslaw ever, and they're just a comfortable place to go for a casual, yummy meal.

I ate at White Spot three whole times in the 8 days I was a the coast. Terrible, I know, but also awesome! I didn't take pix of all my meals there, but here is the BC Chicken Burger, which is one of my perennial faves.

Now onto something a bit more refined but just as casual and yummy. I had a visit with a blog friend on the Saturday morning I was at the coast - the day with the best weather on the trip, BTW - and we headed into the city from Maple Ridge to Granville Island. I adore Granville Island! It's a quintessential Vancouver experience and I try to get there every trip. We only had a short time for lunch, but luckily there are lots of quick places to choose from at their food fair. I knew I was going for waffles at Miura shortly with my brother and also that he and I would be having dinner, so I went for something small and light: a bagel with cream cheese & lox. Yum!

And this was our view from outside the market, where we sat in the sun to munch:

Incidentally, I was there during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and one of the fancy bakeries in the market was selling all kinds of these, which looked great:

Very cute, but I didn't buy one. That Saturday was one awesome day of food for sure!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dinner at The Cactus Club

I went out to the Cactus Club with my friends Shihtzustaff and her partner, Deb, who hosted me during my stay. It was their treat and I was happy to go there because I'd eaten at the CC a few times before and really enjoyed it. The CC, from where I stand, is fairly chi-chi, but when you get there you realize that it's probably one of the places the real wannabe chi-chi people go to pretend they're chi-chi, while the true chi-chi in Vancouver go to places like this.

In any case, the CC does great food, and one of their selling points is that they have a bunch of signature dishes on their menu created by big-name celebrity Chef Rob Feenie, who owned the now-closed Lumière. Deb kept raving and raving about the Hunter Chicken (for a description, go here) and vowed to order this, even though she is a vegetarian. After agonizing over an appy, I ordered the Tuna Tataki, which I'm not sure is a Rob Feenie dish, but it looked good and it was light, and indeed, when it came, it was very tasty. I had never had Tuna Tataki before, and this was a great first time experience.

As for my main course, it was a tough call. The Hunter Chicken, which not only did Deb order, but Shihtzustaff did as well, was very appealing. But I was in the mood for lighter fare, and went against the crowd and didn't order a Rob Feenie dish; I instead ordered the wonton soup. I added shrimp and Cajun chicken to it. My was shaping up to have a very Asian theme to it, as I had just come off my Momo sushi experience in Gastown a few hours earlier.

The wonton soup was amazing. Lots of veggies, the broth was excellent, and the wontons were tasty. The only downfall of the dish was the Cajun spiced chicken; it didn't really go with the Asian flavours so I wouldn't do that again. But it was a lovely bowl of soup, and quite filling, so I was pretty happy.

Dessert was a very tempting affair. Although I was pretty full, the CC dessert menu was gorgeous. I caved and ordered this chocolate thingy - the name escapes me and I'm not sure if it's a Rob Feenie dish, either - and boy was it good. And it was a nice light dessert, too. A great ending to a great meal.

The Cactus Club is a busy place, so if you plan on going and trying it out (which if you find yourself down at the West Coast, I encourage you to do) make a reservation or go at a non-peak time. But it'll be worth it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


My brother & SIL live in downtown Vancouver, right at Robson & Seymour, and there are like a zillion options for eating out right within a block's radius. It's ridiculous. When I went to visit Jem last Saturday, after our Miura Waffle experience, we decided a couple of hours later that it was time for dinner. Since Jem was very under the weather, he was in the mood for soup, and he recommended a pho joint near Robson & Richards - a mere two minute walk from his place.

Alas, I did not get the name of this pho place! But as soon as I entered it - it was tiny and had two chairs available at a small window front counter for people to eat at, so it's definitely a take-out place - I was overwhelmed by the smell of broths containing star anise. It made my tummy grumble. There was a small menu that included four types of pho, a few Vietnamese subs, and some salad roll type things. My brother opted for one of the beef phos and I had the chicken one. They were all $6.45. I also ordered a Vietnamese salad roll for $2.75.

This is not environmentally friendly take-out, as you can see. You get with the pho three containers: one for the noodles & meat, one for the broth, one for sauce, and then you get a plastic baggie with bean sprouts and fresh basil. You mix all this up at home.

Plus, I of course had a container for my salad rolls. Mother Nature is no doubt justifiably upset.

Guilt aside, the meal was great. The salad rolls were OK (I've had better other places). The noodles were a rice stick, there was plenty of chicken, the addition of the bean sprouts and basil was great. But I had some surprises in store for me. As I was eating the soup, I came across two small eggs. I am assuming by their size that they are quail's eggs. I was not expecting that. I also was not expecting a few large chunks of pale sausage of unknown origin. It tasted OK, but I was a little leary at first. I doubted it was a pork sausage but I also doubted it was a poultry sausage. In the end, it was a mystery. It tasted fine, though.

The sauce that came with the pho was not to my liking. It was actually a brown sauce with a large squirt of a red spicy sauce, so I just skipped that part of it. All in all, excellent meal at an excellent price. I just wish there was a more environmentally friendly way of doing this particular kind of take-out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some Vancouver Sushi

During my trip to the coast in March, which was 5 days long, I didn't get any sushi. None. It was very disappointing indeed. During this most recent trip last week, I made sure I got some sushi in. Sushi is ridiculously cheap and easy to come by at the coast. It's everywhere and it's good and it's very economical. Here in this one horse town, I can get a sushi roll at LOGS for about $7 - $8. At the specialty grocery stores at the coast, like T&T Supermarket, which is Chinese, H Mart, which is Korean, and Fujiya, which is Japanese, there is excellent supermarket sushi (and bento boxes and other roll-ish foods) in copious amounts and for super cheap prices. It's like heaven. Seriously.

The first sushi I had was at a place in Gastown called Momo Sushi. I had just had a busy afternoon of shopping and visiting with blog pal Scout of Harper Valley, and after we parted I had some time to kill before my ride went to take me back to Shihtzustaff's place, where I was staying. So, I saw this Momo place along Water Street and looked at their menu. To my shock, I could get a duo of sushi rolls - Dynamite and California - for $7.25! I was in! I got a seat, ordered, and was soon in sushi bliss.

It was absolutely wonderful sushi, and beautifully presented. I couldn't believe how much sushi I got for $7.25! I was blown away when the waitress brought me my board full of sushi.

I highly recommend this place if you're in the Gastown area and in need of a sushi fix!

I used to shop at T&T Supermarket when I lived in Coquitlam when I was in culinary school and it was always such a cool experience. It's like no other grocery store I've been in. There are so many live fish available for purchase that you practically feel like you're at the Vancouver aquarium (no, you don't eat the fish at the Vancouver Aquarium, but you get what I'm saying). T&T has pretty good grocery store sushi, so I got myself a spicy shrimp roll as I was in the store looking for some cooking ingredients I can't find here. This was just OK; not terribly fresh, but tasty enough and it was good enough considering it cost like $4.

Fujiya is where I hit the jackpot with awesome grocery store sushi. In fact, I also got a bento box for good measure. This is a spider roll, made with deep fried soft shell crab. With an exotic ingredient like that, I was super stoked about the pricetag:

$4.95! That is unheard of in these parts! And it was really tasty and fresh, and the crab had a bit of a kick to it in the batter. Awesome!

I also got a bento box for frakking $5!

This was a bit odd, I have to say. The shrimp were great, the rice was great, the green sesame salady thing (top left) was great, but the potato salad (bottom right) was brutal and contained frozen peas & carrots (ew!) and the other seafood items were weird. They included two fake scallops. I have never heard of a fake scallop, but it was much like fake crab meat only scallop-shaped and not pink. There was one deep fried shrimp, which was fine, and then there was a small piece of other fish I couldn't identify. This was accompanied by tartar sauce. Next time, I'd go for something else because this was nothing to write home about and the combinations were really strange.

Believe it or not, that was all the sushi I had. I could have had more, but there are so many foodie options down there it's just too much!

My Miura Waffle Bar Experience

Sometimes there are things you just HAVE to do. You see them, you drool, you get a tingly sensation, and you just KNOW that THIS IS FOR YOU. Such was the case when my friend Jodi told me about an eatery in Vancouver she saw on a food blog, and knowing that I was making a trip to the coast in the imminent future, she strongly recommended I try it so when she and I get together for the first time in person in October, I could wholeheartedly throw my own recommendation behind it and we could go there together. This eatery is the Miura Waffle Bar on Davie St. right in downtown Vancouver.

The post Jodi initially saw this place on is here. When I looked at this myself, I just about died! It looked fan-freaking-tastic, and a visit to the Miura site further convinced me that this was a MUST for my trip to Van, which I just came back from on Tuesday. I immediately alerted my brother & SIL, who live right downtown Vancouver, to the place, only to have my SIL alert me that they'd been already and they thought it was totally awesome.

I got the chance to go to Miura last Saturday, a spectacular day in which I met a friend for a small lunch and a browse around Granville Island Market, and then after taking the Aquabus over False Creek, I met my brother Jem outside his film school campus on Hornby St. Miura was on our way back to his place, so we stopped in. He was very ill and not interested in a waffle, but he did order a flavoured milk, as that is Miura's other specialty.

As soon as I saw the Miura site well before my trip, I knew what I was going to order: the Tiramisu Waffle Sando. It was a tough call given the other stuff on their menu, but I just knew the tiramisu option was for me, because tiramisu is one of my all-time favourite desserts.

For $4.49 you can't go far wrong. And so this is what I ordered. It was prepared for me in a short period of time and came to me in a little basket.

It was a little basket of pure orgasmic heavenly blissful sinful amazingness.

It was a freaking religious experience. I mean, check it:

Look at that oozy goodness! I mean LOOK AT IT. It's beyond words...It defies description! It was unspeakably unspeakable!

I almost wanted to order another right away, but I had to resist knowing that we were going to have dinner out in the not too distant future.

Holy crap, if you live in Van or are thinking of going there, I highly recommend you check this joint out! Jodi and I are definitely going there during our get-together in October!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Magazine Monday #81: Peanut butter, chocolate chip, and bacon cookies

I have to admit, until today, I hadn't ventured into the whole chocolate-bacon flavour combination craze. But as is common with me, strange cravings come upon me suddenly, and I get to thinking about recipes I've come across that didn't appeal to me at first glance but all of a sudden seem like something I just have to have right now. This recipe was one of those times.

Thank God - and my mom! - for Food Network Magazine! In the most recent issue, they had a recipe for peanut butter, chocolate chip, and bacon cookies, and so I made them this afternoon when a craving inserted itself into my brain.

The recipe is here.

Usually not a fan of savoury items paired with chocolate, these cookies were awesome! In fact, I think they could have used more bacon than what the recipe called for. I didn't put the chilli powder in the dough because I thought that was going a bit too far and seemed a bit too weird, but the bacon paired with the peanut butter and chocolate was just great. The cinnamon was a perfect little hint of spice. My dad came over and I fed him some, and he thought they were the oddest combination of ingredients out there - and he couldn't taste the bacon. So next time, more bacon! Also, I had to add a few tbsp of milk to the dough as mine was too dry to form into balls.

Other than that, a totally keeper recipe!


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