Sunday, 23 December 2012

Totoro Cafe: Full of Cats!

Totoro Cafe in December opens at 7:00pm and we were one of two tables in the restaurant at 7:30pm. It does not have great ratings on Urbanspoon and the name of this restaurant has been around for eight years. However, around two months ago Totoro Cafe changed owners so the previous reviews were based on a different management. 

The decor of the restaurant was colourful with cats everywhere. There were tables along the wall and couches for larger groups.

We ordered a Pork Floss and Seaweed Waffle which was pretty soft whereas I enjoy my waffles with a bit more crunch on the outside. All the plates and cups we used had cats on them!

This thick toast does not look as delicious as the waffle but it was! It was hot with a layer of butter and sugar baked on top.

The Chicken Gyoza was evidently bought from the store and not self made so they were just the typical ones you can find in the freezer section.

I really liked the cat mug that contained my hot Ovaltine with Pearls. I appreciated the amount of pearls that the drink came with because I love chewing them on their own.

Below is another photo of the cute cup and teapot that this restaurant is full of! I think Totoro Cafe's decor and cat decorations outshines it's menu items. The food and drinks served here can be found at many bubble tea restaurants but if you appreciate cute decorations then it is worth a visit!

You can't tell in the following photo but coincidentally I was wearing my cat paw earrings when I ate at this cat decor filled restaurant!

Totoro Cafe on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Haroo: Bulgogi soup and rice cake

Catching a glimpse of Santa Claus is always fun around Christmas season, especially because he changes looks wherever you go! That day he was inspecting his elves with Mrs. Claus.

Anyways back to the food at Haroo which is a small Korean restaurant on Alexandra Road. For lunch, it is only open for the short hours of 12:00-2:30pm (closed Tuesdays).

I ordered the L6 lunch set with Bulgogi soup and Korean rice cake. I really liked my meal! The Bulgogi soup and rice cake were both on the sweeter side but you can always add the complimentary spices to enhance the flavour. This restaurant is quite family style but much cleaner than other Korean restaurants I've been to. I appreciated the details from the finely sliced egg pieces (yellow garnish on the rice cake and soup) to the paper thin sliced carrot flower on the salad. To top it off, it came with a yogurt drink that I loved as a child.

Overall, I will definitely be coming back again to try their other menu items!

Haroo on Urbanspoon


Friday, 21 December 2012

Michigan Noodle Restaurant: Spring and Rice Noodle Rolls

It was the cold day before the first real snow fall for Vancouver this winter season so we went to Michigan Noodle Restaurant for some warm comfort food. Michigan is known for their congee but we ordered off their lunch special menu instead.

The vegetarian spring rolls came hot and crispy fresh out of the fryer! I thoroughly enjoyed them on their own without the semi-sweet dipping sauce.

The Beef Brisket & Tendon with Rice Noodle Rolls wasn't as good as the beef brisket I get at Parker Place but still a pretty good dish that will fill you up! The sauce is flavorful with various herbs and soy sauce marinated with the beef brisket.

Michigan Noodle Restaurant 麥之根雲吞麵世家 on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Gyo-O: Garlic Ramen and Salmon Skin

I visited Gyo-O for the first time when it opened a few years ago and have not been back until today! However, I did remember that I had a good experience there so I was eager to try their food again tonight. The restaurant is quite small with two rows of tables on either side so it is not the place to go with a large group.

We ordered an appetizer called BBQ Salmon Skin and I was expecting it to be deep fried and crunchy but it wasn't. Some pieces were slightly crispy but most were not. The salmon skin pieces rested on top of some greens and was drizzled with sweet teriyaki-like sauce. It was pretty tasty but I wouldn't necessarily order it again since I'd want to try something else next time.

BBQ Salmon Skin
The Garlic Ramen with tonkotsu broth (marinated pork bone soup base) was one of the best ramen  soups I've had! It was creamy and full of flavour with every sip. There were a few pieces of squid, shrimp, and clams in the bowl but I would have preferred pork slices. This may even be better than the ramen I tried at Kintaro!

Garlic Ramen
 The Salmon and Tuna Don was honestly nothing special. It was simply what it looks like in the photo: salmon, tuna, and plain rice. I mixed the rice with the teriyaki sauce from the BBQ Salmon Skin to give it more taste but otherwise the whole bowl was very plain. I remember I tried a chicken karaage don here before and the sauce made the whole dish tasty!

Salmon and Tuna Don
Overall, I still really like Gyo-O and I would come back to try the other ramens.

Gyo-O 魚王 on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mink: S'mores and Chocolate Fondue

After my last chocolate fondue experience at Capstone I thought that it would be awhile before I try  fondue again but awhile turned out to be less than a month later. This time I tried the chocolate fondue at Mink which is near the Pan Pacific Vancouver.

The dark chocolate choice was more rich and cocoa flavoured than Capstone's dark chocolate. The strawberries were very sweet and ripe which was a treat in the middle of this fall/winter period. All of the food tasted great dipped in chocolate but the mandarin oranges were my least favourite.

 Mink also offers S'mores complete with graham crackers, marshmellows, chocolate, and a little burner! This is a convenient option for those who aren't going anywhere near a campfire soon but I still prefer the authentic bonfire made S'mores with chocolate pieces instead of fondue chocolate. It seems too much of an outdoors tradition to bring indoors.

Mink Chocolates on Urbanspoon


Dining Terrace: Koryo and Umi

It seems like I'm the last of my friends to visit the Dining Terrace in Richmond Centre. I chose a weekday afternoon to avoid potential crowds but it was still fairly packed. I wanted to try Umi but there was a small line up so I headed straight to Koryo which was free of queues.

The Dining Terrace is ready for the holidays! 

I ordered a Tuesday Special combo with Korean Short Ribs, rice, and two side dishes: zucchini tempura and garlic potatoes. My favourite part of this combo was the garlic potatoes! They were so deeply fried that it took a bit of effort to make the plastic fork penetrate its outer layer. The sauce was sweet, sticky, and garlic-y and left you wanting more.

The ribs were still hot and tasted fairly good although not authentic Korean. Again, it was a bit difficult to cut the ribs with a plastic knife.

As I was leaving the Dining Terrace I saw this gelato place! I wonder what the black gelato in the lower left hand corner is? Black licorice? 

***Updated December 17, 2012***
I went back to the Dining Terrace to try Umi and ordered their Shrimp Tempura Bento Box. It was quite good with vegetable tempura, California and tempura roll, and salad. The batter was crunchy and the sauce was sweet but I would still rather eat Japanese food in a restaurant.

Koryo Korean Barbeque (Richmond Centre) on Urbanspoon

Umi Sushi Express (Richmond Centre) on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

What8ver: Strawberry Toast Box

In the Le Riz post I mentioned that I originally wanted to try out What8ver and a few days later I did! It was a Tuesday night but the small restaurant was almost fully seated. We had to wait about 15 minutes to be seated. Although it was not busy in the restaurant and it was fully staffed with at least four people, the service was slow. 

On recommendation by a friend I tried the Passion Fruit Cream drink which tasted exactly like the one I got at Nikkoffee before it closed down. The white layer is a frothy, sweet cream and the bottom is just tea. I liked it as an alternative to the usual bubble tea.

Finally I have my own infamous toast box photos! When What8ver first opened and these photos were all over my Facebook news feed, I really wanted my own photos.

We ordered the Strawberry Toast Box complete with strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, and butter blended with sugar (yellow swirls).

Taiwan is known for its toast boxes and my Taiwanese friend told me that the ones at What8ver taste even better than the famous one in Taiwan! The inside is filled with nine strips of bread each dusted with a layer of sugar then toasted individually before being assembled back into the box. This is definitely a dessert but it is not as sweet as it might look in photos.

Overall I do recommend trying this out despite the slow service. Just remember to go on a weekday and not during busy hours because we tried to call ahead of time to make reservations and they did not pick up the phone.

What8ver Cafe on Urbanspoon


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Le Riz: Raddish Cake, Laksa, Noodles

We were originally going to eat at What8ver Café but decided to head to another restaurant when we were told that there was a 30 minute wait. Fortunately there were many options to choose from in that mall and we chose Le Riz Asian Fusion Café in the end.

Despite being a Friday night, there weren't many people here so the seating was comfortably spaced out. The fusion menu included items from different types of Asian cuisines to fish and chips. I would say it's closer to a Hong Kong style café with some Western items like fries and calamari.

I ordered the Stir-Fry Raddish Cake which came with plenty of green pea sprouts and tasted slightly spicy. It was a good snack sized meal since I wasn't too hungry.

Raddish Cake

My friends ordered noodle soups, curry beef tendon, and a coconut grass jelly drink. The curry of the beef tendon was pretty spicy and had slices of bamboo and fried tofu in it.

Beef Tendon

Laksa Noodle Soup

Seafood Noodle Soup with Pork

Grass Jelly Drink
Overall, Le Riz is a good restaurant for a quick meal and even for large groups since it is quite spacious compared to other restaurants in the same area.

Le Riz Asian Fusion Cafe 米芝樂 on Urbanspoon


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Capstone: Cheese & Chocolate Fondue

The last Capstone I visited was the Richmond location and tonight I visited the Robson Street location. It was filled with customers when we arrived at 6pm and even with pre-made reservation we had to wait a little while.

We tried two drinks, one was a Blueberry Shaken Iced Tea and the other was a Strawberry Banana Frappe. Both were good but slightly too sweet especially paired with chocolate fondue.

The cheese fondue was swiss cheese and tasted slightly sweet. It may have had some chicken broth in it but I'm not sure. I liked the bread and pretzels best with the cheese.

The chocolate fondue was very rich and filling. We chose almond and peanut pieces for dips. The ice cream flavours were mango, black seasame, and green tea. When I ate at the Richmond location the green tea ice cream was so rich in matcha flavour but this time it was lacking so the black seasame was the best for me tonight. In general the chocolate fondue tasted better than the cheese one.

Capstone Tea & Fondue on Urbanspoon