Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Rhino Cafe: Free food!

*Restaurant closed*

This post is going to include my first and second visit to Rhino Cafe at Lansdowne Mall.

First Visit
I ate at Rhino Cafe within the first week that it opened. I remember finding the cubicle-like seating arrangement strange because they weren't booth seats, just simply black walls put up to block customers from seeing each other. There were several TVs and rhino stencils on the walls which some people might find interesting to look at. With the plastic chairs and bright blue walls I find it a little bit like a kids showroom in IKEA.

Anyways, I only have one picture from the this visit. I had the Unagi Toast which came with some greens on the side. I suppose the dish is Japanese inspired with unagi and cheese baked on toast and then covered in seaweed, mayo, sweet sauce like on takoyakis. It did taste pretty good but this was the only memorable dish from that meal (hence no other pictures). However, I could not find this item on the menu on my second visit so I think they might have removed it.
Unagi Toast
Second visit
I didn't have any intention to return to Rhino Cafe after my first visit since it was a bit pricier than other cafes that serve similar food and there are always so many new ones to try! I returned today for lunch because a friend said their menus have changed.

This is the all Chinese menu but you can request for an English menu. Sorry the shot is not very clear but basically most of the dishes are either rice or noodle based.

Unlike my first visit, this time the restaurant was quite full at noon and we even had to wait for about 5 minutes for a seat. The man in the picture seemed to be the manager to all the employees, he was always talking to different customers making sure they liked their food.

There's a random tree trunk in the middle of the restaurant.

I ordered a lunch combo which included a choice of rice/noodle dish and a hot drink ($7.95). I opted for the Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice and added $1.95 to substitute a Red Bean Ice Drink. This baked rice was actually pretty good, there was lots of sauce so the rice was not dry. The sauce was not spicy and tasted like mild curry with coconut milk. The rice was stir fried slightly with egg and on top were pieces of chicken (thigh meat) and potato. It came hot and there was probably two cups of rice in this bowl so it was very filling!
Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice
 I appreciated this red bean drink because it was not filled up with huge ice cubes that take up a lot of space which is common in other restaurants. Instead it was mostly tender red bean with sugary milk and shaved ice on top.
Red Bean Ice Drink
 This is the seafood and rice noodles in lobster soup ($8.95). There was plenty of rice noodles and a good amount of imitation crab, shell-less shrimp, tofu, fish, scallop, and bok choy. There are no actual lobster pieces but the soup base tasted like lobster. This tasted good and the ingredients used were a good mixture, I especially liked how the shrimp was completely shell-less which makes it much easier to eat.
Seafood & Rice noodles in Lobster soup
Special deal: If you order this noodle soup, they will give you a free coupon for the same noodle soup the next time you dine in. My coupon is valid June 1-30, 2012 so I'm not sure if they will continue this deal for the next month. It's a business strategy but anyhow it is appreciated by customers. There is another noodle soup and steak combo that also has this buy one get one free deal.

 This is the Afternoon Tea Special menu that was not there during my first visit. 

Overall, I will probably be visiting Rhino Cafe again in June to use my coupon and to eat the Stuffed Sticky Rice Chicken Wing I mentioned in my Top Gun J&C post. The new menu is definitely more competitive among the surrounding restaurants than the old menu. Its ratings on Urbanspoon are really poor at 28% likes (as of May 30, 2012) but I think it deserves better because the food is actually pretty good and the value has improved!
Just a quick note that Rhino Cafe is CASH ONLY.

Rhino's Kitchen 新犀牛屋 on Urbanspoon


Monday, 28 May 2012

Ma Dang Goul: Bibimbap Please!

This is my second time eating at Ma Dang Goul. Both times the food tasted good but this time I knew not to order too much since the portions can add up!
The employees are all Korean so communication can be a little difficult at times with the server but overall there isn't a big problem since the menu has pictures for every item. 

 The combo for bulgogi and soup came with rice. The bulgogi was marinated with a LOT of sauce so mostly there is just the sweet sauce taste and barely any beef taste. The kimchi soup came hot with soft tofu, carrots, and kimchi pieces. It tasted good but I prefer the Spicy Tofu Soup I ordered last time which has tofu, cabbage, and shrimp.
Beef Bulgogi and Kimchi Soup combo ($14.95). Bulgogi not pictured.
Most people at the restaurant ordered a stone bowl bibimbap. We ordered the chicken one which is a much better balance between sauce and chicken compared to the bulgogi. There were carrot slices, chicken pieces, cucumber, some seaweed, and an egg. Mixing all the ingredients together is always the fun part about Korean stone bowl! There was a good amount of meat in proportion the rice so after the mixing every bite of rice also had chicken and vegetables. I liked the burnt crusty bits of rice at the bottom of the bowl, they taste like rice chips! I thoroughly enjoyed this bibimbap.
Chicken Bibimbap ($12.95)

Overall, I will be visiting Ma Dang Goul again for my fix of Korean food. However, the restaurant is quite small and had only one server even during the busy dinner time so don't expect to get a lot of service. She was polite but there was too much for her to multitask!

Ma Dang Goul on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Top Gun J&C: Wings time!

With the Top Gun Gold card we got 30% off our morning dim sum which is great since Top Gun J&C is a little bit pricier than other dim sum places.

The traditional dim sum food: siu mai. These came fairly hot and the pork inside still has some texture unlike the ones that are blended into a meatball like consistency.
Siu Mai
 Durian pastry is not found at many dim sum places and definitely not for everyone. Personally I liked it and it came hot as well. The pastry was very buttery and fluffy and the inside durian paste was gooey and slightly sweet. The durian smell was not that strong so it should not offend anyone who can't stand the scent.
Durian Pastry

My favourite dish at Top Gun is this chicken wing! They sell it at Rhino Cafe (Lansdowne) too since it's owned by the same company. The sticky rice is stuffed inside the chicken wing and then fried. There isn't much chicken meat left but the skin is crispy and the rice is filling. It is a harder dish to make so that's probably why I haven't seen many other Chinese restaurants serve it.
Sticky rice stuffed chicken wings
Overall, I will keep coming back for the chicken wings! I also like that this restaurant serves sushi cones when I want a fix of chopped scallop cone.

Top Gun J&C 尖東新派食館 on Urbanspoon


The Pit: Waffle Fries!

The Pit at UBC seems to be famous for its waffle fries. I've had waffle fries elsewhere before and these don't taste especially different. However, they are made hot every time which makes it taste better and the portion is good! I dunk my pieces into lots of ketchup.

I've been told NOT to order the Turkey Burger at the Pit because they're not exactly fresh (been the same stock for the year). Not sure if it's true but my friend seemed serious when she warned me so I will just follow her advise as a precaution.

The Pit Burger Bar on Urbanspoon


Boston Pizza: Perogy pizza

I don't eat at Boston Pizza often because everything is so NOT guilt free but that is the reason why the things taste good! However you have to know what to order. 

My favourite pizza there is the Perogy! The individual size is very filling. The sour cream makes the otherwise dry dough yummier to eat. There is no tomato pizza sauce, instead a sour cream base is used.
Individual size Perogy: cheese, bacon bits, cactus cut potatoes in the base, green onions, dollop of sour cream

For a more carb-free meal (compared to the pizzas) try the steak sandwich (just don't eat the garlic toast). This is a 7 oz. steak with garden greens and I chose a raspberry vinaigrette dressing which is just a little bit sweet.  
Overall, I'd say come here for the pizza (and nachos) not the rice bowl, soup, etc. This is Boston PIZZA so naturally they would make pizzas best!

Boston Pizza (Ackroyd) on Urbanspoon


Chicco: Macaron thoughts

*UPDATE May 27, 2012: I went back to Chicco today because friends wanted to try the parfaits. I still felt full from dinner so I didn't order anything but they did. We sat down and they were about to eat when the employee told me that I have to buy something if I want to sit down because they have limited seats in the place. Chicco is a very small store that can possibly seat 15 people max but there were only 6 guests in the store at that time! I would understand if it was full that I would have to make a purchase in order to have a seat but it was not busy tonight. In the end my friends said lets leave since they were so unaccommodating and I felt bad for having to make them pack their cakes to go. This is inflexible customer service on Chicco's part because this made me feel like in order to stand in the store I MUST make a purchase. Rules for limited seating should be enforced when the place is full, not when there's still so much room. This bad experience will definitely be a limiting factor on if I'll go back or recommend friends. PLUS Bon Crepe about half a block away from Chicco sells parfaits for $6.21 compared to Chicco's $7.10, so I can definitely get my parfaits elsewhere for a better price.  


My friend ordered a Matcha Parfait. She seemed to enjoy it but said there was too much cornflakes at the bottom. 
Matcha Parfait
I bought macarons only.
The green tea macarons ($4.42 with tax) came in 6 pieces (I already ate one in the picture!). The macarons were not great, the pastry part was baked too thoroughly so the pieces were hard and crunchy instead of being slightly chewy in the middle. The green tea icing that held the two sides together only tasted sweet without much green tea taste.

Overall, I might go back to try the parfaits but not the macarons.

Chicco on Urbanspoon


Capstone: Stone frozen ice cream

I went to Capstone (Richmond location) originally wanting to try the All You Can Eat Chocolate Fondue but since I was still feeling full from my last meal I shared the Chocolate Fondue for two ($22.95 menu price) with a friend. Turns out this was PLENTY enough for two people! We couldn't even finish it all.

 Included in the fondue for two: two pots of chocolate, assorted fruits (grapes, apples, pears, bananas, strawberries), pastries (cakes, cookies), six frozen ice cream balls, two fondue dips (almond, nut)

The chocolate was kept warm by a small candle underneath the pot and kept its liquid form throughout the meal. I liked the fruit and the ice cream the best, the pastries were all right. After a few pieces all the food seemed to be too much to be dipped in chocolate as well because the cakes itself were very filling.

The ice cream balls came in flavours like green tea, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. The green tea was my favourite but when I dipped it into my chocolate it fell off the stick and I had the most difficult time getting it out again. The ice cream itself is frozen so when you eat it, it takes a solid bite to consume.

Overall, everything did taste good but I probably will not go again anytime soon since all that chocolate makes you very sick of chocolate (and sweet things)!
Capstone Tea & Fondue (Richmond) on Urbanspoon


Nooch: Less impact on belly pooch

*Restaurant closed*

I visited the Nooch 2 (the one on No. 3 Road) twice this month. Both times it was sunny and the many windows of the restaurant made the white decor even brighter. It is a nice, quiet but bright place to chat with friends and catch up.

Left to right: Tuna Melt, BLT Sandwich, Roast Chicken Panini
I had the Roast Chicken Panini ($8 menu price) which came with a vinaigrette salad and some crunchy chips. This was a delicious panini! The bread was probably buttered and grilled so it was nice and crunchy like a grilled cheese sandwich. There were cubes/strips of chicken with a good amount of cheese to hold it all together. YUM!  
Roast Chicken Panini

 The second time I went, I had the Veggie Panini. I opted for no chips this time so they gave me more salad. The bread was not grilled as nicely as last time (looks less golden brown than the last picture too). I think the mushrooms and veggies were more moist than the chicken so the bread was naturally a bit more soggy and less crunchy. I like the Chicken Panini more.
Veggie Panini ($8): Pesto, Tomato, Mushroom, Onion, Pepper, Spinach, Cheese
Overall, I like eating at Nooch for the reasons it promotes itself: Snack + Chill. Not to mention the food is generally more  healthy than places like bubble tea houses which also promote itself as a place to chill. Since there weren't that many people we could sit as long as we want to talk. The only bad thing about Nooch is their limited opening hours since they're not open for a later evening snack.

Nooch Snack & Chill on Urbanspoon


Friday, 25 May 2012

Curry Kitchen: A curry-less review

I don't go to Parker Place often but when I do I often stop at Connie's Curry Kitchen for a snack. Their prices are inexpensive and their portions are nice. Actually any food vendor at Parker Place is a better deal than at the Aberdeen food court next door.

I didn't get the noodles, just the white radish and beef brisket in beef sauce ($3.50 including tax). Flavourful as usual. I like to get the beef brisket because it takes a long time to cook to get it this tender so it is definitely easier to get my fix here.
Overall, I will continue eating here. On a side note the ladies who work at Curry Kitchen are much more friendly than some of the other vendors in the Parker food court, that is always a plus!
Connie's Curry Kitchen (Parker Place) 咖喱小廚 on Urbanspoon


Sunshine Steveston

Steveston is where Richmondites like to go when the sun is out! Maybe summer is finally here in Vancouver but I don't keep my hopes up too high because the rainy weather will come back again.

Timothy's is a must stop for me every time I go to Steveston, the waffle cone smell just gets my attention every time!

Mixed berry frozen yogurt single cup ($4.00). This yogurt had a LOT of seeds probably from the blackberries so order another fruit if you don't like the feelings of seeds between your teeth.

Fisherman's Wharf

A new find for me this time is the Steveston Bakery but it is definitely not new because it has been around since 1989.

Delicious assortment of baked goods (sweet and savoury), the prices are also lower than other bakeries in Steveston.

 I ordered a Spicy Chicken Pastry Roll and a slice of Mango Cheesecake ($5.10 including tax).

The pastry was reheated so the outside was fluffy and the inside had chunks of chicken, the spice was the type you get from a lot of black pepper. Great afternoon snack.

I love cheesecake so I couldn't wait to try this! It had a graham crust and white pieces of chocolate on the edge.

 The mango taste was like mango jello or pudding with little cheese taste. The texture was great though! It was moist and a little bouncy unlike those cheesecakes that are sold in the fridge of grocery stores. It was a yummy cake but if you're looking for the cheese flavour in this cheesecake then you won't find much.

Overall, it was another relaxing afternoon spent at Steveston. It really is so beautiful there when the sun is out. I'll be sure to check out Steveston Bakery again next time to try something else.

Timothy's Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Steveston Bakery on Urbanspoon