Monday, December 14, 2009

Patisserie Lebeau (Vancouver, BC)

Remember how I was on the hunt for a good waffle a while ago? That search led me to Damien's Belgian Waffles in Richmond. For waffles closer to town, however, Patisserie Lebeau offers both sweet and savoury waffles, as well as waffle-wiches!! (How else was I going to drag M out to try sweet waffles, not once, but twice, since Patisserie Lebeau is closed on Sundays??)

Situated near Granville Island and just a few doors down from a great cookbook store, Barbara Jo's Books, Patisserie Lebeau makes loads of sweet Liege waffles, waffles with savoury add ins mixed into the batter, and waffle-wiches with goodies stuffed inside a pair of waffles.

With all the options, M chose a savoury (of course!) chicken and brie wafflewich. The crisp waffle was a nice, sturdy package holding in a beautifully melted brie with poached chicken filling. There was a nice contrast between the oozy cheese and the crunchy waffle. By the way, M found his wafflewich much too tempting and took a bite out of it before I could get my camera out and take a photo. Oy.

As I'm the sweeter one in the couple, I opted for a peach and custard wafflewich. It wasn't too sweet, which was nice, and again, the crisp yet tender waffle held its own against the soft silky filling.

We also had a ham and cheese waffle, where the ingredients were cooked into the waffle batter - while it was nice, our top pick would have been the brie and chicken. We ordered another chicken and brie wafflewich after taking photos and demolished it shortly after!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to try their authentic Belgian waffles, but I have to leave options to try next time!

If Patisserie Lebeau is still too far for you to visit, you can purchase their Belgium waffles frozen in your local Capers, Stong's, Whole Foods, Nesters, or IGA. They are also available at The Gourmet Warehouse (on Hastings at Clark), on The Drive at Drive Organics, or Meinhardt's on South Granville.

Patisserie Lebeau
1728 West 2nd Ave
Vancouver BC
P: 604-731-3528

Patisserie Lebeau on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bentei Sushi (Burnaby, BC)

Being that the last while has been stressful and that we've been pressed for time, we have been eating our fair share of take out.

Actually, on the occasion that we consumed the three following dishes, we'd just found out that MB had been in an accident and had returned from the hospital. Initially, we'd had reservations at a Thai restaurant, but found out on our way there that MB was at Royal Columbia. We immediately changed our course and made our way to RCH - by the time we spent some time visiting with the family and MBs M, we were starving. As my father would say, between the stress and the hunger, we "didn't feel human".

Instead of Thai, we opted for a homey Japanese meal. Bentei Sushi, tucked away in a small strip mall off of Lougheed Highway would have to do the trick.

If homey was what we wanted, we knew we'd order a katsudon. Breaded pork cutlet with sauteed onion topped steamed rice. An egg was cooked over top of the pork, and the sauteed onion provided a savoury-sweet sauce to mix in with the rice. I still maintain that the katsudon at Vanya is my hands-down favourite (hence us referring to Vanya as the "pork chop rice place").

By chance, we also ordered a chicken teriyaki, which came with a helping of yakisoba, and salad. At $6.45, it was good value and in terms of comfort food, it hit the spot as well.

We also ordered a dynamite roll. At $4 a roll, it was good value as well.

On a separate occasion, I had a dynamite combo to myself. I also added on one piece of inari since the combo was only $8.80. The fish was fresh, and having hotate (scallop) sushi included in a combo was great! I love scallops, so I've already already aded Bentei Sushi to my phone book for a quick meal on busy workdays.

In short, I think I've found my favourite little sushi spot. Its proximity to home and quality make it a good take out restaurant for busy times.

Bentei Sushi
5901 Broadway
Burnaby BC
P: 604-291-0080

Bentei Sushi (North Burnaby) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Elite Bakery, and an Apology.

First off, I'd like to apologize for being MIA as of late. A close friend was in a car accident a couple weeks ago, and was in a drug-induced coma for a week. It was a trying time, but all his family and friends pulled together, comforted each other, and sent a lot of prayers and positive thoughts his way. He just got out of the hospital a couple days ago and is recovering at home.

I took so many photos of food in my absence that I exceeded my 4 gig SD card, so I *do* have some posts for this next while! I'm aiming to post all of the 2009 eats within I hope we're snowed in for a little bit, because there is a fair share of things to write about! ;)

Elite bakery is situated in South Burnaby on Rumble Street, just east of Royal Oak Avenue. On the outside, it looks dingey and old school, but apparently they do catering and do wholesale pastries and other baked goods for other food establishments!

After a harrowing commute from Richmond back home, I spied Elite bakery out of the corner of my eye, and decided to pay them a visit. It was a nice treat and from the moment you walk in the door, you're tempted by the wafts of sweet pastry and buttery goodness. I picked up three items: copenhagens, a mocha boat, and a Kranse Kage.

First up was the copenhagen. I devoured one on my way home happily, as it was made from two layers of puff pastry sandwiched together by an almond paste / butter mixture. The puff pastry was shatteringly crisp, while the almond paste / butter mixture was rich and decadant. Although I bought two and ate one on the way home, I wished that I'd paced myself, as I totally spoiled my appetite. It was very delicious, however, and if the crispness of the pastry was any indication of their other products, I'm sure that I now have to make another stop soon to pick up one of their magnificent looking apple strudels, or their Kringle!

The Kranse Kage is a pastry filled with an almond-meal mixture and drizzled with icing. Do not let its' appearance fool you, the Kranse Kage was actually the least sweet of the three items I picked up that day. There was a strong almond extract flavour, and although I am not a huge fan of almond extract, it would make a nice snack - not too sweet, good chewy texture, and if anything, as a former co-worker used to say, "Nuts are good for you, it contains nuts, so it cancels all the bad stuff out." heehee! Somethings just stick in your memory.

The mocha boat was a tart shell filled with a "light" coffee buttercream and a small strip of fruit (berry?) jelly and coated with chocolate. I say "light" buttercream as it is full-fat buttercream - silky, creamy, and rich, but light on the coffee flavour. It was my second favourite. I could only have a small portion at a time though, as I could almost feel my arteries harden a little. On the plus side, it reminded me of one of the pastries at Notte's Bon Ton. I'm sure I'll visit Elite Bakery again in the near future as I am not too fond of driving all the way out to the west side for a European pastry craving!

Elite Bakery
5238 Rumble Street
Burnaby BC
P: (604) 437-4121

Elite Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Damien's Belgian Waffles (Steveston, Richmond, BC)

I've been craving a great waffle - and no, not the stale, freezer-burned "Eggo" waffles of my childhood, a waffle that is fluffy and warm, crisp yet chewy. After a brief "googling", I discovered several options and embarked on my journey.

First up, Damien's Belgian Waffles set in picturesque Steveston Village in Richmond. Yes, it is *extremely* out of the way, but on the afternoon that I visited Damien's Belgian Waffles, I *extremely* needed to be removed from the workweek. (It was just that kind of day week. Don't make me get into the details.)

In the recent downpour (read: Pineapple express) that the Vancouver area has been having, it was a real relief to have a dry, slightly sunny patch in the afternoon. I stopped by Steveston Village and found Damien's in a small strip mall. It is located near a cake decorating store, so for you pastry chefs out there, it might be worth a stop to pick up some supplies and a treat as well!

Damien's offers single waffles to eat in or to go ($2.25 - $2.50) as well as some waffle treats with ice cream, chocolate, whipped cream and/or fruits (~$5). There is also a selection of tea and coffee to go with your waffle treat. For those wanting to enjoy the waffles at home, there are packs of waffles to go (singles or mini waffles!). The waffles are made from wholesome ingredients and utilizes honey or maple syrup as a sweetener instead of refined sugar. Okay, so they use imported Belgium pearl sugar as well, but that is a necessity of the recipe, so why fight tradition. :)

The waffles come in a variety of flavours such as original, matcha, maple, and cinnamon. The vanilla flavour also comes dipped with a milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate.

I tried their Melba Magic creation, which consists of a vanilla (original) waffle warmed slightly, with ice cream, whipped cream, raspberries, and a white chocolate garnish on top, as well as their ginger raja tea, which was freshly brewed in a tea press (nice touch!). The waffle held up nicely to the ice cream and the sweetness of both the waffle and ice cream was paired nicely with the tart raspberries. What I didn't like were the disposable plates and cutlery. Not only are they not environmentally friendly, but it's tacky and impractical. Trying to saw through a waffle with a plastic knife is not fun. :( Flavour is there, the experience is not.

Waffles for a late lunch (I got there at around two-thirty in the afternoon!)? Why not! It was relaxed and laid back in sunny Steveston. :)

I bought a matcha and milk-chocolate dipped waffle to go. They're packaged in small leopard- print paper bags - it was like a little present!

Damien (I am assuming...) instructed me to warm them in the toaster or toaster oven on a low to medium toaster setting. I found my waffles warmed to my liking, slightly crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside. On the odd occasion, there was a slight crunch from the pearl sugar that was cooked into the batter. Nice!

While the matcha flavour left a slight bitterness on the tongue, the milk chocolate was a simply sweet (and selfish! :) breakfast the next morning.

It was a nice reprieve from work - I'm glad of that. If you don't want to make the trek out to Steveston Village to visit Damien's Belgian Waffles, try catching them this weekend at the craft show at Nikkie Place in Burnaby, or Steveston Buddhist Temple. There's also some winter and craft markets that they'll be participating in, check out their event calendar for details.

I felt much more relaxed after Damien's. Let's hope they stay around for a little while!

Damien's Belgian Waffles

#2 - 3891 Chatham Street
Richmond BC
P: 604-304-2884

Damien's Belgian Waffles on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eatwell Vietnam Noodle Soup

We were in Coquitlam looking for a quick eat - I am not really familiar with Coquitlam, and M is even worse (there was that one time that he was picking up a car from Coquitlam and was going to meet me in Burnaby...I got home from *Maple Ridge* and found out that he had gone east along Lougheed instead of west - and was *finally* on the Mary Hill Bypass driving to Burnaby. omg!).

So it was no surprise how we ended up at Eatwell Vietnam Noodle Soup Restaurant when we were looking for Hopewell Chinese Kitchen. was in the same area. (As in, either area could be described as being "close to Coquitlam Center Mall"...)

On a side note, when we pulled up to Eatwell, we commented on how they may be affiliated with Hopewell (does anyone know?). Anyways, it could just be the direct translation of their Chinese name, "Mei Mei".

We actually ate here on Halloween. Why do I remember this? We saw Captain Sparrow on the way in! :) Apparently, the guy dressed up (convincingly!) as Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean had just finished lunch at Eatwell...and a pair of groupie teenagers were asking him if they could take his photo. haha!

Let's start with Ms meal - grilled lemongrass chicken and pork atop rice noodle. At $6.50, he was pleasantly surprised with his meal. The pork and chicken were juicy and tender. He didn't share much. The portion was meatier than other Vietnamese restaurants. Although there were less char marks from the pan fry / grilling, and subsequently less flavour, it was an economical lunch choice.

I ordered the same as everyone else, beef noodle soup! At the time we dined at Eatwell, there was a separate menu with three tantalizing options: 1) a large noodle soup (your choice) with your choice of spring roll or bubble tea for $7.95, 2) a small noodle soup (vous choisez!) with your choice of spring roll or bubble tea, $6.95, or a student special (available Monday through Friday) for something ridiculous like $5.50 or something.

Of course, being on the bubble tea binge that I was on for the week, I ordered a "small" beef steak and tripe noodle soup. I have to say, the portion was extremely generous for the price. The soup didn't have enough salt, but that was remedied easily enough with a light sprinkling of salt. I liked that there was the option of steak and tripe, instead of steak, tendon, and tripe. I always feel so wasteful when I order a "#5" noodle anywhere in Vancouver and have to leave behind the tendon because I'm simply not such a big fan of it. So Eatwell gets a thumbs up from me on that point!

The bubble tea? I ordered a mango milk tea. It was made from a powder and it was just average. It made me wish that I'd ordered the spring roll to go with my meal instead, because I could smell them wafting through the restaurant.

Eatwell is a small place run by Chinese and it has a nice family atmosphere (as opposed to a seedier, neon-light atmosphere). They also offer other options like curry rice, banh mi, and "specialty" dishes like pork trotter noodle soup, or seafood soup.

Nice find for the Tricities!

Eatwell Vietnam Noodle Soup

#315 - 1196 Lansdowne Drive
Coquitlam BC
P: 604-945-8276

Eatwell Vietnam Noodle Soup on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 16, 2009

Health Hazard Alert: Listeria monocytongenes in Smoked Salmon Products

Just an FYI for those in the Vancouver area. CFIA posted an alert for L. monocytogenes in smoked salmon products (thus far, the products recalled include a smoked salmon cheese log and a salmon nugget, sold at supermarket locations in Vancouver and Burnaby.

Updates may be found at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kim Ga Nae (Richmond, BC)

We first read about Kim Ga Nae when My Secret Eden recommended it in a post back in September. Upon referencing it on Urbanspoon and seeing Sherman's post on it, I had made a mental note of it to try if we were in the area.

The turn in temperature made me wish for some bi bim bap, and subsequently, brought us to Kim Ga Nae.

Kim Ga Nae offers Korean all you can eat as well as a la carte options - we opted for all you can eat, as two people eating a la carte could get quite pricey.

It took us a while to be seated as only one waitress was working the lunch shift. As with other BBQ Korean restaurants, the dining area was quite literally ice cold when we started - these places depend on the heat of the barbeque units to generate heat, I guess. :)

The banchan came first - a selection of five dishes which were just okay.

We ordered a rice cake to sample, japchae, and beef bone soup. The rice cake was not something we would order again - it tasted good, but was just too heavy for our liking. As always japchae (even cold japchae, as Kim Ga Naes' was served) was devoured quickly, but the beef bone soup - as My Secret Eden found of the soft tofu soup, was bland.

The meats! I neglected to take photos of the meat, but we would definitely come back for all the meat. For all you can eat, the chicken, pork and beef were of decent quality, and marinated long enough to be tenderized before a quick grill.

As for my bi bim bap?

Well lets say this. I *love* bi bim bap, and the bi bim bap at Kim Ga Nae was no exception. I like that it came in a smaller, cuter portion, but still had all the toppings of a regular bi bim bap / stone bowl rice. If I were running a 10k or half marathon tomorrow, I'd go to Kim Ga Nae to fill up on carbs... haha!

We also ordered a seafood pancake and a gyoza, and we'd order them again. Actually, we were split on the seafood pancake - apparently M got the the pieces with huge chunks of squid and shrimp, whereas I got the more "pancake-y" pieces. Oh well, it is hard to proportion a "big portion" dish to smaller "tapas" style portions, I suppose. At only $12.95 for a lunch-time all you can eat, I am not complaining!

Upon exiting Kim Ga Nae, we saw that their a la carte menu was quite reasonable as well. Perhaps we'll try them with friends or family soon.

Kim Ga Nae

4260 No. 3 Road
Richmond BC
P: 604-273-4747

Kim Ga Nae on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bamboo Grove (Richmond, BC)

What's in a name? Well, the name of the restaurant featured in this restaurant is Bamboo Grove, but my family knows it more as "the lamb chop place". In fact, I only learnt of its' English name because M was commenting (harping? haha!) that we should only call a restaurant by its' name, instead of "that crab place" or "that pork chop rice place" or "the place beside the big vase" place.

...Yes, we actually make up pet names for the restaurants we visit frequently. :)

View Larger Map

As for the Chinese name of the restaurant? Still don't know it.

Bamboo Grove is situated near Richmond Center Mall. There is street parking, as well as parking in the back. When the restaurant parking lot is full, we usually park in adjacent parking lots.

On the occasion that these photos were taken, we had just had a filling dim sum at Kirin (post to come soon!). Just *looking* at the food at Bamboo Grove that night was making us full!

One of the first appetizers was live garlic steamed scallops. The chefs had shucked the live scallops, seasoned with wine, garlic, and green onions, and topped the scallops with rice vermicelli. They were served on the half shell and the scallops were HUGE! I took a picture with a teacup for comparison. It was like eating a scallop steak! The rice vermicelli was a nice touch, as it soaked up all the scallop juices and kept the otherwise exposed scallop surface moist.

The next dish is a family favourite - we order it nearly every time visit Bamboo Grove and we have yet to tire of it. Huge tiger shrimp and Japanese eggplant are sauteed in a mixture of spicy pork. It is really just so good. Even the dedicated carnivores in the family will scoop up some eggplant, on account of it tasting so meaty. The shrimp are a perfect size for this dish, as it takes on meaty characteristics as well.

Also ordered was a crab and lobster in cream sauce atop noodles, and sugar peas sauteed with cod. Everyone always fights for their noodles...and yes, we notice if people around the table have taken an extra large portion (ahem, remember that time J took two wings?? Remember??).

One item we didn't order (but we usually order!) this visit was the lamb chop. It is marinated, seasoned, and roasted just *so* to provide a non-gamey, succulent, tender morsel of meat on the end of a frenched and foil-wrapped bone. One of my relatives can *not* eat lamb for its gamey flavours, but will make a willing exception at Bamboo Grove.

As usual, my father got his vote with a braised fish hot pot. He likes the flavours in this dish, and goes through all the trouble of removing every shred of fish meat from the bones. As for me, I am too lazy and just love the mushrooms - they have all the flavour of the dish without all the work.

The vegetable was a romaine. Simplistic, but really just a nice reprieve from all the rich dishes before.

For dessert? Individual coconut jellies with a touch of evaporated milk on top. Afterall, I'm sure there are coconut trees that grow near the Bamboo Grove, right?

If you plan on dining at Bamboo Grove, it's a good idea to make reservations. And make the reservations early! "Second round" diners typically have to wait a while before they're seated.

Bamboo Grove Restaurant
6920 No. 3 Road
Richmond BC
P: 604-278-9585

Bamboo Grove on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recipe: Banana Choco-Chip Cake

I was having dinner with family last night, and apparently it came up that when my aunt sees ripe, black bananas, she thinks of me. I suppose I should feel flattered that she was thinking of me. :)

This recipe has been in my repertoire for a while. I made it in high school after my aunt found me the recipe to satisfy her cravings. I've tweaked it a little for my liking as the original recipe was a little sweet, and it is a really yummy snack cake. The sour cream, bananas, extra baking powder and baking soda make for a light, moist cake, but the chocolate chips and cream also add some beautiful richness. Mmmm. As I'm writing this, the smell of rich dairy notes, chocolate, and a hint of cinnamon are wafting through my place.

3 c all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder

1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
4 ripe bananas

1 c sour cream

1/3 c brown or yellow sugar (brown sugar yields a more flavorful cake, but use what you have on hand)
1 t cinnamon

1 c chocolate chips (you could experiment and try dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or white chocolate...mmm.)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until uniform. Mix in vanilla and bananas until combined. (If they are a little on the un-ripe side, I mash the bananas in a separate bowl first. If they're competely ripe and syrupy, I just add them directly to the mix - I love the texture it gives to the final product!)

Alternately add the flour and sour cream to the mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half the batter into a greased 9 x 13" pan. Smooth top.

Sprinkle with half the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Repeat layers.

Bake at 350ºF for 45-50 minutes.

Since the cake has sour cream and bananas as moisteners, it keeps well! Store, wrapped, for up to a week (it rarely lasts that long). Yay to my big yee yee and her love of black bananas. I believe she was one of the first people to buy me a cookbook. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Perhaps it puts the "Fun" in "Fun Treat"?

It's that time of year again - Halloween tricks and treats. I've been craving sugar for the past week or so, and this weekend, I took advantage of some sales and scooped up some treats for kiddies that I know and that will be trick or treating. Of course, I have my little stash too.

Above - not so big now are ya, Mr. Big??!

I canNOT believe how small these candy packets have gotten! I mean, I am all about variety, but doesn't the amount of waste somehow factor in there? I figure that, for the 50-pack "fun sized" treats that I bought, it is almost definitely, by weight, packaging (cardboard box + packaging film). And that is what the consumer gets, too - imagine the master cartons they come in (to protect the pretty box the the consumer sees and ultimately buys), the pallet film (for further protection and transporation) and the pallets and any additional "padding" around the corners of the pallets?!?

It made me feel guilty as I nibbled on a one-bite Wunderbar. :(

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Long Table Series at Irish Heather Pub (Gastown, Vancouver, BC)

It was a cold, stark, wet Tuesday night as Yum-O-Rama and other food bloggers descended upon Irish Heather Pub in Gastown for the Cornish Game Hen meal in the Long Table Series. The event was organized by Kim, of I'm Only Here For the Food!, and in attendance were the bloggers behind Sherman's Food Adventures, 604Foodtography, Secret Eden, Food and Tell, and Five Loaves.

At the extended Long Table Series (it started and was only supposed to run in the summer), guests are seated at one looooong communal table and served one meal - the night we visited, it was roast Cornish Game Hen with long-laboured gravy, house cut chips, and a simple slaw.

The night was sponsored by Steam Whistle beer - how else would you get a meal and a beer for only $12? The beer supplied was a pilsner - nice, light, and while M would call it "sweet", I would simply say that it didn't have the typical "hoppy" flavour of other light beers. We think the Steam Whistle Beer paired nicely with the meal of the night, although it would also taste great alongside a creamy pot pie, white fish, or a spicy Thai or Malaysian meal.

It was a very professional affair - we were greeted at the door and asked to wait in the back holding area, then ushered from there in one big group to the long table. After the chef gave a beautiful description of the making of the meal, our plates were brought to us banquet style.

I never noticed how I enjoyed hearing about how the food was made. A *long* time ago, when I attended one of Fairmonts' apprentice appreciation dinners, the slight wait while the chef described the making of each course and the reasoning behind the dish components was well worth it as the narrative made each dish more enjoyable. I *still* remember the sablefish liver pate, cured sablefish, and anise pudding course from one Fairmont team that just blew me away. So - chef at Irish Heather, you increased my Cornish Game Hen enjoyment by +5 points! (Sorry, too much Mafia Wars as of late.)

Needless to say, I enjoyed my meal. The previous time I had Cornish Game Hen, it was stuffed with truffle and other ingredients, and was done too dry. That was not the case at Irish Heather, where the meat was juicy and tender. The house cut chips were a nice accompaniment - crispy, not too starchy, and perfect for dunking into their gorgeous gravy. May I add - several diners around us (and us included!) asked for more gravy, just for dunking. The coleslaw was not creamy, but not acidic either. The slaw was slightly marinated in a light dressing and made for the perfect side. This was the perfect comfort-food meal!

Irish Heather

208 Carrall St [map]
Vancouver BC
P: (604) 688-9779
To make reservations for the Long Table Series, please visit the Long Table Series Blog
Irish Heather on Urbanspoon

Other bloggers take:

Kim - I'm Only Here For the Food!
Sherman - Sherman's Food Adventures
Kevin - 604Foodtography
Jenny - Secret Eden
Jonathan - Food and Tell
Joyce & Frank - Foodie Adventures
Danny - Five Loaves
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