Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good Eat Restaurant (Richmond, BC)

It is HOTTTT this week Vancouverites! It is so hot that the subject of many a tweet, email to M, and anyone who will listen knows that I am: fused to my office chair, my phone and desk at work will emanate heat in the afternoon, the fan in the office will blow out WARM air, the apartment feels like a sauna, and the patio deck could serve as a food warmer some days!

We are crazy busy at work right now, having a couple new projects, but when my parents offered to take me out to dim sum, I accepted their rescue mission after a small hesitation - sure it would make for an even busier afternoon, but the productivity would surely be up if I had an hour out of the ~40ยบC heat??

It was a "new" place - Good Eat Restaurant on Leslie Road in Richmond. The building use to house the "Loong Wah" Restaurant from waaaay back when; the owners of Loong Wah still own the building and rent it out to Good Eat. I remember I used to go to Loong Wah as a child and the lady (somewhat of a family friend) would tell us stories about how Gino Odjick (of Canucks 94 playoff fame!) would come in with his family for grub. The owner speculated (in Asian superstitious-style) that because Oodjick was such a scrapper on the ice, his infant daughter had a birthmark on her face. Does the daughter have sucha birthmark? Who knows. It made for interesting convo though!

The slip of paper for ordering was all in Chinese, but there were a handful of items that had a "thumbs up" next to them - and thumbs up mean the same thing in any language, right? :) One such dish was the cold chicken & jellyfish salad with pickled vegetables.

The parental units agreed that it was a good deal - $3.50 for the order, and that the chicken had more flavour than Koon Bo in Vancouver. However, Koon Bo still remains my favourite - I would have liked a stronger tasting vinaigrette and crispier, thinner noodles. I do agree that it was a good deal, especially for Richmond and if you had a smaller appetite!

Dad made the executive decision to get the deep fried prawn cake atop tofu. Both me and Mom stared longingly at the deep fried prawn cake atop wedges of Japanese egg plant at the tables nearby. As much as I love tofu (and they had used a silky-soft tofu that was perfect!), the eggplant looked that much better. Dad waved us off and told us that we should come without him and order the eggplant version. Meh - all men are the same!

Good Eat also does a bean curd "chicken roll", otherwise known as the "flower mushroom cotton chicken" / *fa goo meen fa gei*. What is special about this cotton chicken is that Good Eat prepares it with silkie chicken (black skinned) instead of the traditional chicken. The result is a more flavourful, meaty dish.

Every other table around us had ordered the "shrimp tubes" / *ha tong* - think of a long skinny spring roll with an entire prawn in it. That's my kind of spring roll! They were crispy, hot, and much appreciated!

Finally came the most anticipated dish, the sharkfin dumpling. What made it special? Two things: It was only $2.50! and the fact that the individual tureens holding the dumpling and soup were about six inches in diameter. Those are big puppies! Where other dim sum places offer the same dish at double the price or more, Good Eat Restaurant brands this dish with another "thumbs up" symbol beside it on the ordering slip. There were huge chunks of shitake mushroom in the soup, as well as a chunk of "fa gau" / sea cucumber. The soup was decent, and the dumpling was yummy!

Good Eat Restaurant only accepts cash - not too big of a problem considering they have good value, and different deals; for example, 10% off the bill at certain times, and 20% off all station items (excluding dim sum). They also have a variety of different noodles for only $9.98!

Good Eat Restaurant

8111 Leslie Road [map]

Richmond BC

Phone: 604-249-0084

Good Eat Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: Milwaukee Market Creamery (Yaletown, Vancouver, BC)

Hot weather = frozen treats!

I've been wanting to try Milwaukee Market Creamery for a while, but different things always came up. Family dinners, friends in town, M doesn't like dessert...

Finally there was an afternoon that was suitably hot and I was jonesing for a sweet treat, and I didn't have to be anywhere in a hurry. And there was the perfect parking spot right in front!

Milwaukee Market Creamery offers a number of frozen custards, as well as cakes, burgers, and bevereages for the savoury-inclined.

The special the day I visited was the Tiramisu, a purple yam & coconut, and chocolate chips & oreo. I ordered the Tiramisu, but perhaps the cler was a little confused? I got something that was chocolate in flavour (nice chocolate flavour!) with some cookie and brownie / crust pieces in it. It was still yummy and delectably creamy, but not what I was expecting. The custard is supposedly lower in calories than ice cream, which is a nice plus since the portion that they give you is quite substantial. I didn't eat dinner until a couple hours later!

The proprietors are Filipino, and perhaps that explains the "purple yam & coconut" special that was also on that day. I'd be interested in trying that out another time!

Milwaukee Market Creamery

1342 Hornby Street [map]

Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-688-2155

Milwaukee Market Creamery on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 24, 2009

Balkan House (Edmonds, Burnaby, BC)

HVA is in town!

I've know HVA for almost as long as I learnt to speak English - her brother and my brother were friends, and so when we started Kindergarten together (way back when!), we also started ESL together. Being visible minorities in a different world (we were two of the five, I think - there was a Latin boy, an Indian girl, and a Chinese boy to round out the ESL crew. w00t.), we stuck together. Being that our brothers were also friends helped. Then there was the fact that we were also at the beginning of the Kindergarten roster - it ensured that we sat together on the huge square carpet as well as for classroom activities!

We went through junior high and graduated high school together, then for one reason or another (her mother doesn't have many "favourite" memories of me - I wonder why? lol), we drifted apart.

About two years ago, thanks to the magic of facebook, we got in touch again. At that point, she had just had her first born. Now, that little one is over two years old and HVA is expecting again! Congratulations!

When I was researching something in the Burnaby / New West area that would be suitable for us, Balkan House came up. I remember someone mentioning it at the June Bloggers Dinner - Kim, perhaps? Whoever it was said that it was good value...and being that I just spent a load of (unnecessary) money in Osoyoos on food, booze and wine, I could use value!

Balkan House it was!

The restaurant is set on Edmonds street with a shared parking lot in the back. Aside from the parking lot, there are a couple of side street parking spaces, but it is better to show up later as there are a number of bus stops, businesses, as well as other restaurants around the area, and parking could possibly become hard to find.

I'd read reviews about Balkan House catering to meat-lovers and mostly Serbian customers, but when we went last night, there were at least three tables of "non-Serbians", while the remaining patrons were greeting each other and the waitstaff in (what I perceived to be) Serbian.

The waitress was friendly, but she spoke with an accent, so getting her to explain some of the traditional dishes was a lesson in listening carefully. :) She did answer all our questions, although part of me thinks that if I were to ask her to teach me Serbian, I'd get smacked on the knuckles a lot for getting things wrong. haha!

The waitress started us off with some light bread - the crisp rolls were served with pats of butter and were warm. I guess they wanted to keep the bread light since the meals were so meaty and hearty! HVA and her friend Kris ordered mozza sticks and calamari.

Everyone agreed that the mozza sticks could have had more flavour - they were crispy and chewy, but lacked some spice. The calamari was light and crispy. The sauce accompanying it added a tangy refreshing note.

Each of the entrees were accompanied by salad, rice, and potato. The Greek salad was tasty as always, but I think it could have been fresher. M liked his though!

Next was the star of the show - meat!

As expected, M ordered the Balkan Platter for one - six different meats served with rice and potato! The platter included meat patties (we were guessing veal, pork, and something else?), pork shishkabobs, home made sausage in casing, smoked pork neck, grilled bacon, and cevapcici, a home made sausage. I tried a bit of everything on Ms plate, and I liked the sausage (in casing!) and one of the more flavourful (veal?) meat patties best. I'd order M's dish again.

Kris ordered the Cordon Bleu Veal Schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese. It looked great, but I didn't get a chance to taste any. You could hear them tenderizing and flattening the veal after we'd ordered - that's what I call fresh!

As for me, I ordered the lamb chops. I haven't had lamb in the *longest* time, so it was about time for me to chow down. (M and I had a bad lamb experience over a year ago). Although it wasn't the best cut of lamb, four lamb chops for just under $16 was not a bad call.

We were glad to find Balkan House - it's close to home and excellent on value - all of us had leftovers to take home. I had my leftovers for lunch! We're sure to visit Balkan House some time soon when the carnivore in us is hungry!

Sidenote: it sure felt WIERD having Kris stare at me when I took my first photos. Then HVA explained that I kept a food blog - then joked that I didn't have a good photo of Kris' plate when he attempted to take a bite. I didn't have a great photo, but was more intent on the company rather than a blog post. :) Till next time...

Balkan House

7530 Edmonds Street [map]

Burnaby BC

Phone: 604-524-0404

Balkan House on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 20, 2009

Recipe: Sticky Beef Ribs

As I didn't get to take any new photos of the beef ribs I served at a family get together a couple weeks ago, I'm using the same photos I used for the photo teaser previously!

Me and M are always on the hunt for a good deal - garage sales, store promotions, double duty / uses for things we buy. When we decided that we were going to have each of our families over for dinner, we thought about tasty dishes that each family would like, but wouldn't break the bank.

When we came upon packages of beef ribs at our local supermarket labeled and priced as "beef rib soup bones", our eyes got that special glint. Whereas other supermarkets priced the same item (beef bones!) as "prime rib bones" at over $9 a kilo, our supermarket was pricing them at around $4 for soup bones. For under $5, we could have ourselves a very substantial meal!

Before marinading the ribs it is important to remove the papery "tissue" on the back of the ribs. It's a little tedious, but once you get the hang of it, the results are well worth it! It makes the difference between sifting through sinewy, tough, papery skin, to chomping down on juicy, tender meat with no resistance at all.

To remove the "skin", use a small paring knife to slip under the paper layer behind the ribs. Wiggle the knife around so that you can make a hole large enough to fit a finger or your fingers in. Moving your fingers around, loosen the papery layer and tear it off. Work from rib to rib until the entire piece is complete.

~2.5kg / 5 lbs of beef ribs (about 12-16 ribs)
2 t dried oregano leaves
2 t sweet paprika
1 1/2 t brown sugar
1 t garlic powder
1 t kosher salt
1 t ground black pepper

Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Prepare beef ribs as described above and rub marinade into the meat on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

30 minutes before you are ready to prepare the ribs, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come up to room temperature.

Preheat the grill to high heat. Place ribs onto grill; reduce heat to medium or medium low to create sear marks in ~2 minutes. Sear on both sides; turn the heat elements under the ribs off; leave others on. Close barbeque and allow to cook on indirect medium low heat for 50-60 minutes.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, baste with your favourite barbeque sauce.

Slice into portions and serve!

I multiplied the recipe / rub and made it for Ms family when they came over. They almost finished all the ribs but they left lots of leftovers of everything else!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Phnom Penh (Chinatown, Vancouver, BC)

Two specific trips to Phnom Penh and hordes of food, yet only a handful of blurry photos to show for it? I apologize in advance.

Apparently, due to my parents unyielding taste in food and dining experiences, Phnom Penh has been visited numerous times by my mothers' side of the family and not us. Phnom Penh serves up Cambodian and Vietnamese fare with the eloquence of a well-oiled machine.

The first time I went, it was a girls night out and really - we ate like pigs. Chicken wings, frogs legs, lemongrass pork on rice, oyster pancake, and some sort of beef soup. Initially, we were planning on packing some to go, but being our mothers' daughters, we dutifully finished up what we could. What we left behind were remnants of salad, rice, and some frog legs, since they were a touch bland and dry.

The second time I went with the intention of stringing together a blog entry was with the great big Portuguese family. You see, the site of the now Phnom Penh used to be one of the last great Portuguese restaurants in the lower mainland. The *other* last great Portuguese restaurant closed up a couple years prior, and was located on the current site of Campagnolo on Main. The one at Phnom Penh was owned by the father of the owner of the Portuguese restaurant at the now-Campagnolo. And the "Portuguese family"? They were eight of the grandsons (and son) of those Portuguese owners. So while my cousin I, M and myself sat in on the cousins going down memory lane about the restaurant, we contemplated what to order.

We tried the green papaya and shrimp salad, which was a nice appetizer - it was served with a dried meat on top and the salad was quite refreshing.

After that, the food, like my photos, was a little bit of a blur. There were spring rolls and rice crepes, calamari and chicken wings. They were all very good, but it was a little bit of a frenzy.

I think the part that stuck out the most was when we were first ordering, we ordered double portions of everything - salad, wings, calamari, crepes - you name it. Then, out of the blue, someone down the table says to the waitress, "Oh yeah, and that egg and beef dish on rice? Let's have eight of those!"

There was a slight stunned silence before everyone snapped around and said, "Whaaat?"

We settled for five of "those egg and beef dish on rice" entrees and that was plenty. Admittedly, the egg and beef dish was one of the tastiest things that night, next to the wings and calamari!

The regular fried rice was just ok. I'm not really a huge fried rice fan unless it's nasi goreng. Then it's bring on the shovel... :)

Looking forward to other return trips to Phnom Penh - I have to figure out what I ate that night, right?

Phnom Penh

244 E Georgia St [map]

Vancouver, BC

Phnom Penh on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Victoria Restaurant (Downtown, Vancouver, BC)

Victoria Restaurant is another restaurant our family has been going to for a long period of time. It is in a good location, has free parking (for a certain amount of time) and is wheelchair accessible.

Sherman has already done quite a comprehensive post on Victoria Chinese Restaurant, and I have to agree with a lot of his commentary.

While service is above average and the dining area is large and spacious, Victoria Chinese Restaurant is typically uber-busy for dim sum, but quiet and even more spacious for dinner.

They do a lot of classic Chinese dishes, like a Dong Gua (Winter Melon) soup which is is cooked in the melon itself - steamed! There is also the Peking Duck with your choice of two or three eats - you can choose between soup, crepe wraps, or lettuce wraps.

My familys' trend at Victoria is to order way too much food. On the night that the photos for this post were taken, we actually had to take home the aforementioned winter melon soup amongst other dishes as for some reason, the orders for some dishes were doubled - our fault, not the waiters'. Sheesh. There have also been times where we've had to pack entire dishes home because someone will admittedly *forget* what we've ordered and add on two or three dishes halfway through the meal.

So personally, the thought of Victoria Chinese Restaurant brings up feelings of bloated food-coma and round bellies! :)

Victoria Chinese Restaurant

1088 Melville St [map]

Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-669-8383

Victoria Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 17, 2009

Off to Osoyoos!

I'm off to the sunny heat of Osoyoos for some wine tasting, relaxing by the lake, and just to get away!

I've scheduled some posts to appear while I'm gone. Don't miss me too much! :)

Hopefully I'll have some food-related posts for when I get back. Have a great weekend, and see you on Tuesday / Wednesday!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

City TVs Taste of the City - July 18th!

I went to City TVs Taste of the City last year with MB. It was a great event being that it was free, and that you got to sample so many new restaurants (that you'd otherwise never eat at!).

Unfortunately, I'll be in Osoyoos this weekend with I, R, and M, so Taste of the City will not be reviewed on Yum-O-Rama...unless someone wants to do a guest post for me? :)

Taste of the City is a free event taking place on Saturday, July 18th, 2009, from 12 noon to 8pm.

The following restaurants will be offering eats at $1 to $4 per item:
Aria Restaurant
BC Chefs Association
Big Dawgz
Capones Restaurant
Dona Cata Mexican Foods
Ebo Restaurant
Fortune House Seafood Restaurant
Jamaican Pizza Jerk
Handi Indian Cuisine
Kingston Taphouse & Grille
Maurya Indian Cuisine
The Noodle Box
Saffron Indian Cuisine
Saltlik Restaurant
Toyotomi Japanese Restaurant
Zero One Sushi

The list is impressive - from what I remember last year, Toyotomi had a huge line up and Goldilocks did as well. I'm sure all the new (to Taste of the City) Indian and Japanese restaurants will give them a run for their money though!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ebisu on Broadway (Vancouver, BC)

My family has been enjoying sushi at 601 Broadway for the longest time. We were patrons of Kamei Royale and Kamei Robata in years past, and with its newest reincarnation and slight management tweaking, we still love eating quality sushi at Ebisu on Broadway.

First up, beef tataki, served with slices of sweet cherry tomato, radish, green onion, shiso leaves, radish sprouts, and a light vinagrette. A refreshing start to a huge meal...

Then some dynamite roll (one for each side of the table), spicy gyoza, and chopped scallop sushi. What I love about (now) Ebisu is that their ingredients are always fresh, and there is care taken when preparing each variety of sushi. In addition, they have a number of chefs (hot and cold sides) so the food never tastes rushed; instead, you can taste the food as it was meant to be. :)

Large appetites call for large party platters! We dug in and finished it in no time.

A favourite of mine is the mango paradise roll. You know those sushi places that serve you crunchy fruit on sushi? Well Ebisu is NOT that place - the mango was perfectly ripe and complimented the underlying smoked salmon and California roll quite well! The tobiko added a nice, slightly bitter crunch.

We also ordered the lobster sushi boat, which comes with fresh lobster, tuna and salmon sashimis, and a variety of other sashimis.

A distinguishing dish is their grilled ika / octopus. Come to think of it though, because I almost always go to Ebisu with family, I have *rarely* done the ordering, so I don't exactly know what this dish is called. The octopus comes pre-blanched and with a touch of marinade. There is also a small "grill" to prepare the octopus to your liking. After grilling for a short amount of time per side, the octopus is dipped in the sesame-soy sauce. Yum!

Next we had some uni (they did not have fresh uni that day, so we settled for frozen) sushi and oyster motoyaki. I am a huge fan of uni, so I savoured that little morsel like nobodys business! The oyster motoyaki, however, was surprisingly good, even though I hadn't "ordered" one at the beginning of the meal (you pay a steep price for eating food that you hadn't ordered in my family. heehee!). The motoyaki wasn't too heavy, but still had huge chunks of oyster and complimenting vegetables baked into the half shell.

Dads favourite is the salmon belly and the salmon kama (salmon neck). The salmon is grilled, so the skin gets blistery and crisp, while still keeping the flesh meaty and moist. Typically, the salmon (either one) gets grabbed up once it hits the table. I wasn't even able to get a photo of the salmon belly, it disappeared that fast!

We also ordered a number of tempuras (assorted and yam). Ebisus' tempura always arrives fresh and piping hot. As usual, fried food is always good!

Grandpas' favourite is the unagi-don (grilled eel on rice). It comes with a wonderful sauce and the rice does a great job of soaking it all up. There have been times, dining at Ebisu, that members of the family find only a skimpy piece or two of eel left - all the seaweed and rice is gone. *That's* how good the sauce is. :)

Finally, remember that lobster sashimi boat? After you are done eating all the sashimi, the staff will take it back to the kitchen and prepare a miso soup with the claws and shell. For an extra charge, you may add in noodles - ramen, udon, or soba. We usually opt for ramen, but they had ran out that day. So, we ordered udon. It hit the spot as I'd been craving some udon anyways.

Change your name all you want Ebisu / Kamei / whatever! Just don't change the food!

Ebisu on Broadway

601 West Broadway [map]

Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-876-3388

Ebisu (Kamei Royale) on Urbanspoon
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