Monday, 16 December 2013

Moxie's (Richmond): Chicken Quesadilla and Nachos

I was at Moxie's Grill and Bar with a party of 20 and their restaurant accommodated us very well. Our water was refilled regularly and dishes were taken away promptly.

I ordered a Chicken Quesadilla which came with some tortilla chips and a choice of soup, salad or fries. I opted for the daily soup which was Chicken Chowder that day. If you've read other posts on my blog you have probably come across quesadillas because whenever I see this or fish tacos on the menu I have a tendency to order it. 

This quesadilla had a good amount of cheese without it falling out of the tortilla and the chicken was quite tender. I enjoyed the generous amount of salsa and sour cream provided and the tortilla chips were still hot when the food arrived. 

The chowder was only mediocre with bits of chicken, corn, and bell pepper in it. It was definitely filling but not especially flavourful or unique.

Chicken quesadilla
The nachos dish was large and came with the usual tortilla chips, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, and cheese. It came very hot and satisfied our hunger quickly. Tortilla was fried in the shape of small cups to hold the sour cream and salsa which were unique accents.

Overall, this Moxie's location is good for hosting large parties. There is a room in the back that is linked to the hotel that can seat probably up to 50 people. The food came hot and quickly and there was no problem with the service.

Moxie's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Mega Sushi: Lunch Bento and Special Rolls

Let's start this post off right with the food. I'll talk more about the service afterwards since there is a few points I want to address.

We went to Mega Sushi for lunch on a weekday afternoon and it was filled but no line up at the door. We made a reservation beforehand anyways since we knew the place was small. There were a few lunch bento options to choose from and we tried three of them. Each bento box came with one bowl of miso soup.

Sushi and sashimi bento
  • Sashimi: 2 pieces salmon, 2 pieces tuna, 2 pieces Arctic clam, 2 pieces octopus
  • California roll
  • Chicken karaage
  • Agedashi tofu
  • Sunomono

The bento boxes were a good size. Sashimi was fresh and there was a full size shrimp in the sunomono instead of those usual small baby shrimps. Both the agedashi tofu and chicken karaage were fried to crispiness and was still hot when it arrived. Just a note that the bento boxes from their website are different than the menu in the restaurant. Perhaps they haven't gotten around to updating it.

Sushi and sashimi bento
Chicken teriyaki bento

  • Chicken teriyaki and rice
  • Sunomono
  • California roll
  • Edamame 

I enjoyed the tender chicken meat in the teriyaki sauce that was flavourful but not overly salty. Edamame beans were boiled and slightly salted which I liked! Some pieces of the California roll were like the typical ones with synthetic crab, other pieces had prawn tempura added.

Chicken teriyaki bento
Mackerel fish bento
  • Grilled mackerel fish and rice
  • 4 pieces of takoyaki
  • Salad
  • Edamame

I thoroughly enjoyed this bento box with the oily (in a good way) mackerel and takoyaki. The fish skin was crispy and retained natural fish oils which made each bite tender and smooth. The takoyaki was well made and were hot without burning your tongue.
Mackerel fish bento
Spider roll
The fried soft shell crab was complemented with imitation crab and cucumber to create a delicious roll! There was crab meat from the soft shell crab in this roll unlike other spider rolls I've tried where they only added the fried crab legs.

Spider roll
Mega roll
The Mega Roll was surprisingly good. The roll was made of seaweed wrapped around salmon, green onion and avocado, then the entire roll was lathered in tempura batter and deep-fried. The salmon was on the verge of being cooked but still retained a raw centre. The fried roll was topped with imitation crab and tobiko with a spicy chipotle-type sauce drizzled over it. Overall a unique roll that I would recommend.

Mega roll
Now onto the service part of this review. I've been to Mega Sushi twice but only ate here once. That is because the first time I came here, it was dinner time on the weekend and we had made a reservation a few days beforehand. When we arrived, the restaurant was packed and the lady owner told us that we were not on the reservations list. We calmly explained that we had called before and talked to one of their employees. Instead of apologizing, in a rude manner she told us that she cannot accommodate us and if we cannot wait for at least 45 minutes we should leave. Of course, we left and it was especially unpleasant since we were celebrating a birthday. We ended up having a nice meal at Moncton Cafe.

After a long time, I decided to give Mega Sushi another try. Arriving at the restaurant with a reservation booked, the lady owner did not even look up when I stood at the door for a good few minutes. Instead the employees behind the sushi bar made a cheerful welcome in Japanese and another employee took me to my seat. Upon seating for ten minutes, I was not given any menus or tea until I requested to have menus so I could (obviously) choose what to eat. 

During the meal, I noticed that the owner was much friendlier to some customers over others. Probably because they were frequent visitors which is normal. I am not sure if this had to do with racism (I hope not) but I noticed that the table next to us were immediately seated with menus, tea, and moist towelletes and they were Caucasians. Other tables were offered the same but not our table. I didn't ask the owner who served them so I cannot be certain why our treatment was different but needless to say it gave me an uneasy feeling.

Interior of Mega Sushi

In general, the food at Mega Sushi is good and that is why they have such a high rating on Urbanspoon but the two times I've been here the service was sub-par, hence this restaurant doesn't have the overall package of good food and fair service.

Mega Sushi on Urbanspoon


Friday, 13 December 2013

L'Opera: Paris Cake and Macaron

I have a pretty big sweet tooth, especially for pastries and cakes so I was excited to finally try L'Opera after reading so many food blog posts about it!

The ambiance here is quiet and sophisticated. I had my order to go so I didn't spend a lot of time looking at the decor but it gave a good first impression. My phone immediately synced to the WiFi there so L'Opera can be an alternative option to coffee shops.

L'Opera from back door of parking area
The packaging was so cute and reminded me of a cross between La Duree and Thierry logo and colour scheme. This is great for gifting this holiday season!

This pretty lavendar macaron is cassis flavoured. The shell wasn't very crunchy and the inside was chewy with a fragrant filling. I would say that macarons here are between the textures of Faubourg and Thierry in terms of chewiness. I liked it.

Cassis macaron, $2
The cake I chose was named Paris and was delicious! There was a strong rum scent and smooth layers of chocolate and cream.

Paris cake, $5.8
Sorry this photo isn't very pretty but I wanted to show you the inside of the cake. The very bottom layer is chocolate sponge cake with a white cream layer on top and then a chocolate mousse layer. The outside is coated in almond flakes. Each bite was creamy, thick and satisfying without clogging your throat. Definitely enjoyed it but for a small piece of cake it sure is filling.

All in all, can't wait to try more of L'Opera goodies. Perhaps a croissant next time?

L'Opera Patisserie on Urbanspoon


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lucky Tao: Dim Sum Edition

We went to Lucky Tao for dim sum just as it opened at 10am. The dim sum is only $2.99 a dish so the place was filled up quickly after 10:30am. In general the food is good for the price but don't expect service. The servers are long time workers and they are fine but the cashier lady (and probably the owner) was very rude. After waiting for my bill, I walked up to the counter to ask for my bill and she straight out ignored me. She was not on a telephone or talking to anyone else but she did not even look up to acknowledge me. That was the least pleasant part of this meal. Now onto the food.

Fried seaweed wrapped salmon and shrimp: This dish is pretty good. There is shrimp and salmon filling inside the seaweed wrap which is fried to crispiness. It comes with a side of mayo for dipping.

Fried seaweed wrapped salmon and shrimp

Fried Chinese New Year Cake: Typically Chinese new year cake are pan-fried in squares so I was surprised to see it come in this format wrapped in spring roll paper. It didn't taste worst than the typical square version but I prefer it without the wrap. I liked that there was a distinct ginger taste to the dish.

Fried Chinese new year cake
Steamed BBQ pork bun: This bun is what you would expect from a typical dim sum place. There was the usual red BBQ pork filling inside a bun.

Steamed BBQ pork bun
Pan-fried taro cake: This was the most underwhelming dish. It was dry and tasteless. It probably doesn't taste that different from eating a cooked taro directly.

Pan-fried taro cake
Overall, the inconsiderate service from the cashier lady will not deter me from eating at Lucky Tao again because the servers are actually quite prompt and the food is priced well.

Lucky Tao
Lucky Tao Chinese Seafood Restaurant 陶陶居 on Urbanspoon


Friday, 22 November 2013

Coppertank Grill: Spicy Perogy Pizza

Coppertank Grill is in a convenient location near bus stops and good for large groups in a relaxed dining setting. We arrived as a group of 20 later in the evening and was seated promptly. Interestingly, the menus between us had discrepancies. My menu did not have the pulled pork poutine while other menus had the yam fries option. So be sure to check with your friend's menu to fully see what food is offered!

Spicy Perogy Pizza: This pizza was great! It came piping hot with a thin crispy crust, layers of thinly sliced potato, topped with cheese, bacon bits, green onion, and a sizable dollop of sour cream. I really enjoyed it because it was different from the conventional pizza and the cold sour cream with the hot pizza made a great combo.

Overall, the prices are reasonable, the food I tried was good, and they have the space to take large groups.

Source: Google Maps
Coppertank Grill on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Din Tai Fung (Bellevue)

After eating Din Tai Fung for the first time in Taiwan this summer at the Taipei 101, I was eager to try the one closer to home in Bellevue. Din Tai Fung started in Taiwan and many friends asked me if it was comparable to which I will have to reply no but that does not mean our meal was not delicious. You just have to try the ones in Taiwan to understand why they're so famous. The service of the Taipei 101 one was top notch because they even kindly mix the sauces for you.

It was a weekday evening but the place was completely full. We waited around 15 minutes until we were seated, during which I observed the chefs making the dumplings. They all fit into a cramped small room but the Taipei 101 location had a large open style kitchen (with windows) where each chef had much more room to make his or her food.

Chefs busy making dumplings
Xiao Long Bao: These steamed dumplings is a must have at Din Tai Fung. These came warm instead of hot but still tasted good. The skin was very thin and the pork was juicy with the soup spilling out.

Xiao Long Bao
Dan Dan noodles: This noodle was comparable to the one I had at the Taipei 101. The noodles sit in a thick peanut sauce and is addicting to eat because it is aromatic scent-wise and taste-wise. The use of sesame oil is probably what makes this bowl of noodles so good. There is only a slight spiciness to it.

Dan Dan noodles
Rice cakes with pork: This was least impressive dish. The rice cakes were stuck together or overcooked. They were over-boiled so there were little craters on the supposedly smooth rice cake surface. The dish was overly oily and only tasted like soy sauce. I wouldn't recommend this.

Rice cake with pork
Overall, the service was friendly but be prepared to wait if you're eating here during peak meal times. Most of the food offered at this out-of-Taiwan Din Tai Fung location was still good but does not deserve the best status of the Taiwan locations that won this restaurant its famous name.

Din Tai Fung (Bellevue)
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 on Urbanspoon


Monday, 18 November 2013

Eagles Buffet at Tulalip Resort Casino

Eagles Buffet is located inside the Tulalip Casino but minors are allowed at the buffet. We went for lunch (USD$12.95 each, click here for price list) and there were many tables seated already but it was not overly crowded in the buffet area.

The price includes one beverage, food, and coffee or tea at the end of your meal. There was a decent assortment of food with an Asian section including Mongolian type grill and more American cuisine like pizza, pasta, and grilled meat. Although assorted, the salad bar was slightly disappointing since the greens did not seem fresh with an aging cast so I avoided the raw vegetables.

On the other hand, the dessert section in the middle of the buffet area is large compared to other buffets. There were cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and more than six types of gelato to choose from. The best part was the option to get your gelato in a waffle bowl!

Dessert: red velvet cupcake, blueberry cheesecake, espresso and chocolate gelato

Savoury: Pasta, scallop potatoes, salmon, pizza, baked chicken
Overall, the price is good for the food provided and service was prompt to collect dirty dishes. Half of the buffet price probably will be eaten in the dessert section, so if you have a sweet tooth you will like Eagles Buffet!

Eagles Buffet
Eagles Buffet on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Coco Hut: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Today's dining adventure took place at Coco Hut. Underneath its name, it says Singapore Restaurant but on Urbanspoon it is labeled under Malaysian cuisine. Let's not get into that debate about whether the dishes came from Malaysia or Singapore and talk about the food!

We went for lunch and there were a few other tables in the small restaurant. We ordered the Hainanese Chicken Rice (rice not photographed). Albeit I haven't had genuine Hainanese Chicken Rice in Malaysia or Singpore before, I thought that this place made it pretty good. The chicken was tender and not overcooked, plus it was completely deboned so every bite was meat.The dipping sauce included the red slightly sour chili sauce and the green onion & ginger sauce. I preferred the latter sauce better. The rice that came with the chicken was mixed with chicken stock and tasted very fragrant.

Hainanese Chicken Rice
The two skewers came as appetizers in a lunch combo with the chicken entree. We chose one pork skewer and one chicken skewer. The chicken skewer was more tender and the pork one was a bit tougher. For me, the highlight was not the skewers themselves but the peanut, lemon grass dipping sauce. I really enjoyed the sauce because it had little bits of ground up peanuts with hints of lemon grass taste.

Pork and Chicken Skewers
We ordered one more appetizer which was the roti. I personally really like roti, pancake, waffle, crepe, etc kind of doughy food because they are great comfort foods for me! This roti came warm and did not feel too oily. The curry dipping sauce complemented the roti well since the roti itself it quite tasteless.

All in all, I had a good lunch here at Coco Hut. It was clean and service was not overly friendly but efficient and brisk. The food came quickly and with the right temperature. One thing to note is that Coco Hut accepts Cash Only!

Interior of Coco Hut
Coco Hut 椰林餐廳 on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Pearl Castle (Surrey): Thick Toast and Fried Mushroom

Long time no blog! I actually haven't been eating out much hence the lack of restaurants to blog about but here's a fiery new post (literally fried).

The Pearl Castle in Surrey is open and looks very similar to the Richmond Centre branch. On a Saturday afternoon the tables were about 70 percent filled. Since it was that awkward time in the late afternoon but close to dinner time, we opted for some snack items.

Milk and almond thick toast: Mmm this was so delicious! The bread was toasted until slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. The topping was sweet and aromatic with the almond slices. Highly recommend and inexpensive, too.

Milk and almond thick toast
Fried abalone mushroom: This is a dish that I have been craving since I last had it at a nightmarket in Taiwan. Abalone mushrooms are bigger and more firm making them the perfect fried snack. The fried outer layer is accompanied by the firm and hot inner mushroom. Pearl Castle makes it quite well.

Fried abalone mushroom
Fried chicken chop: Taiwanese food is famous for their fried chicken (does anyone know why?) and this fried chicken chop was up to par. The meat was juicy, tender, and quite flavourful due to the seasoning.

Fried chicken chop
Mint chocolate bubble tea: This drink is presented nicely but only tastes mediocre. If you like mint chocolate icecream, that is exactly what this tastes like. It is only sweet and lacks chocolate flavour.

Mint chocolate bubble tea
Pudding and avocado milk: This drink is interesting and not like the typically bubble tea drinks you order so I recommend trying it. It is made from a mixture of avocado, milk, and pudding (the sweet jelly yellow kind). The consistency is thick and not oversweet. I didn't get pearls with my drink because I knew it would be too filling.

Pudding and avocado milk
Overall, the food and service at Pearl Castle Surrey were solid albeit I wish the snack menu had more choices than fried ones. Currently there is 10% off if you show them that you liked their Facebook page!

Pearl Castle Café 圓香生活餐飲 (Surrey) on Urbanspoon


Thursday, 19 September 2013

La Notte: Pasta Tuesdays!

La Notte is an easy bus ride from UBC on Dunbar Street and offers pasta Tuesday special! All pasta on the menu is $8.99 each on Tuesdays.

The ambiance of La Notte is nice as it is dimly lit and there is a grand piano in the corner. While waiting for our food, we were given a basket of complimentary focaccia bread with vinegar and olive oil. The bread was so tasty because it was crunchy and tasted great with the olive and vinegar. Or maybe I was just really hungry.

Complimentary bread
Linguine alla Crema: Scallops and baby shrimp in a white wine cream sauce
I ordered this pasta because I was craving for white wine cream sauce. There was probably 1.5 scallops in my pasta and plenty of baby shrimp. The sauce was buttery and in good proportion with the pasta leaving my craving completely satisfied. I only wish that the baby shrimp was replaced with prawns instead because they weren't fresh and were mushy.

Linguine alla Crema
Overall, La Notte is a great place to come, especially on Tuesdays!

La Notte on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Kirin (Richmond): Durian Mochis

Kirin is an award winning Chinese restaurant in Vancouver so everyone has to make reservations when eating here or else you don't get a seat! On a weekend morning, we arrived at Kirin Richmond right when it opened and there was already a crowd waiting at the reception area. The past few times we ate here, the hostess' was not that great but once seated, the staff are quite friendly.

We ate more things than I photographed below but I will just post some of the more noteworthy things.

Shrimp dumplings: Shrimp dumplings are one of those dim sum dishes that are at every Chinese restaurant so you can really compare the good from the bad. The shrimp in the dumplings were large and had the fresh bouncy texture. They were some of the best shrimp dumplings I've had in Vancouver.

Shrimp Dumplings
Steamed Pork Ribs: The steamed pork ribs were actually just normal and what one would expect from any dim sum restaurant.

Pan Fried Radish Cake: The radish cake was yummy with its soft texture in the middle and crunchiness on the outside from being pan fried. There was a small dish of XO sauce which was great paired with the radish cake.

L: Radish Cake; R: Pork Ribs
Durian Mochis: Durians are definitely not everyone's fruit but if you eat it then you will definitely enjoy this dish a lot. Durian or not, this is one of the best desserts I've had at a dim sum place! These delicate mochis have a very thin skin that encompasses a large dollop of durian and whipped cream. Each bite is so soft, fragrant and creamy. Winner.

Durian Mochis
Kirin's Awards
Overall, just remember to make reservations before eating at Kirin! The service (by the hostess) might disappoint but the food certainly won't.

Kirin Seafood Restaurant 麒麟海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon