Friday, 30 August 2013

Cafe Medina: Rosewater Waffle and Savoury Fricassé

We had heard that Cafe Medina fills up quickly so we got there by 9:40am, just 10 minutes after it opened but it was already full and we were 5th on the waiting list. Fortunately the tables turnover fairly fast here so we were seated in 20 minutes.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
There aren't many tables inside this small cafe but the ambiance was quite cozy and warm.

Food time! We got waffles with a topping each: white chocolate rosewater and mixed berry compote. Upon first bite of the white chocolate rosewater dipped waffle piece, I immediately thought of Crabtree and Evelyn's Rosewater lotion. They smell exactly the same! The mixed berry compote was made with fresh berries and not overly sweet which I liked.

Belgian Waffles
Fricassé: 2 fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, balsamic onions, watercress, applewood cheddar, grilled foccacia.

This dish is served all day which explains why it is so savoury because I would love to have this for lunch. The short ribs were so tender and juicy, fried eggs were just right and the potato pieces soaked up all the sauce. The foccacia bread was toasted to a crunch and tasted so good dipped into the sauce. Must try!

Overall, Cafe Medina lived up to its hype and I would come wait in line again just to eat their food.

Cafe Medina on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Soirette: I Love Fleur de Lys Macarons

As a food blogger, some food you eat just makes you so excited to blog about them and Soirette makes one of those foods: macarons. I've found my favourite place to go for macarons! The only downside is that the location is not that convenient (unlike Thierry) since you still have to walk three blocks from the nearest skytrain station.

I thought Soirette was a French dessert place (didn't research online, just heard great reviews from friends) but actually they specialize in macarons and have a few desserts like cakes on the side. I loved how neat and colourful the macarons looked all lined up behind the glass.

Soirette's many macaron flavours!
This is a photo of the macaron flower the five of us made with our macarons. Macarons cost $2 each excluding tax.

Macaron flowers
The macarons I got were Fleur de Lys (pink one) and Early Grey Cassis (blue one). Honestly it was kind of hard to choose which macarons to get because all the flavour names sounded delicious but I chose Fleur de Lys because it reminded me of Fleur from Harry Potter!

I was genuinely surprised by the Fleur de Lys because the floral aroma was so flavourful before, during and after biting. This is probably the first time I would describe a taste as pretty. The macaron was chewy on the inside (just the way I like it!) and slightly crunchy on the outside without being too sweet. YUM.

I got the Earl Grey Cassis because I liked the cassis flavour macaron I tried at Bel Cafe before and it's not a flavour I would typically find in everyday foods. This macaron was aromatic and delicious as well but my favourite is still the Fleur de Lys.

L to R: Fleur de Lys and Earl Grey Cassis
Overall, I cannot wait to try the other Soirette macaron flavours because they have turned me into a semi-macaron addict. Whoops.

Soirette Macarons & Tea on Urbanspoon


Monday, 26 August 2013

Qoola Plus: Exceptional Service!

After the crowds cleared at the Qoola Plus in Richmond Centre, I finally went to visit. I've had plenty of froyo before but this is my first time trying Qoola!

Got to say that I liked the ambiance upon entering. It was roomy, clean and the huge TV behind the cashier counter showed awesome clips from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

I'm not sure if it is just this Qoola location or all of them but I couldn't taste test the froyo myself. The paper cups were not placed on a table for self-serve taste testing. An employee helped me fill the tiny paper cup with the flavour I chose and handed it to me. 

There were definitely lots of good fresh fruits at Qoola which I appreciated and an assortment of other yummy toppings from candy to mochi balls.

All the staff (2 girls when I was there) were very friendly and the service was beyond a froyo place because one of the girls came by to ask how we were enjoying our froyo and then came by again when we were finished to throw our cups away for us. That is essentially restaurant service, no?

Froyo dispensers
Onto the food! I got a mix of strawberry banana, pistachio, and chocolate froyo with two toppings: cheesecake bits and coconut flakes. The texture of the froyo was nice and creamy like soft serve ice cream but the flavours offered (other than pistachio) were not too exciting. The cheesecake bits were good!

#fotd = froyo of the day
Overall, if I'm in Richmond Centre again I would probably come by for a snack. The downside to Qoola is that their point card costs $1 whereas other froyo places offer it for free. Why is that?

Qoola Plus on Urbanspoon


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar: Worth the Hype?

I had pretty high expectations coming to Nero Belgian Waffle Bar from all the hype surrounding this waffle joint. The place smelled pleasant but it is quite small (seats 15 people) so don't come in a large group!

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar
Banella: I got the Brussels waffle which is the crispy version and as the name suggests, the Banella had banana and warmed nutella. The crispy waffle was just the way I like it and the entire dessert was good but lacked the wow factor that I was expecting from Nero that I heard from so many others. I felt like I could get the same taste in a crepe for a much lower price. I actually prefer Damien's Belgian Waffles better (go check them out of you haven't!)

Dame Blanche: Brussels waffle with two huge dollops of whipped cream, one scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate drizzled on top. This waffle was good too but again lacked the "I can eat this everyday" feeling that I read online.

Dame Blanche
Don't get me wrong, Nero does serve good waffles but for the price I think I can find similar tastes elsewhere for a lower price point.

Nero Belgian Waffle Bar on Urbanspoon


Friday, 23 August 2013

UFood Grill: Where Healthy Meets Tasty

On a weekday evening, we were waiting in line at the Famous Warehouse but we didn't have time to wait much longer so we walked across the street to UFood Grill, a newer restaurant on the block.

UFood Grill
UFood Grill promotes itself as a place that serves fast food that is healthy and delicious. They call it "Un-Fast" food. In a bracket behind the prices on the menu it shows the number of calories in the food item for easy reference.

Chicken Curry Masala UBowl: chicken, curry masala sauce, cucumber, cilantro, yogurt, tamarind sauce
I really enjoyed this UBowl with the flavourful sauce, tender chicken and whole grain brown rice. I was surprised that it was presented so nicely on a ceramic dish with metal utensils despite being self-serve fast food. The sauce was a bit spicier than I expected but I don't have a very high spiciness tolerance.

Chicken Curry Masala UBowl
Chicken Tinga UBowl: slow-cooked chicken in adobo, sauce with tinga salsa
This dish was less hot than the curry masala and much spicier. It is served with the same whole grain brown rice and the chicken was like the texture of pulled pork.

Chicken Tinga UBowl
Fresh Blueberry Frozen Yogurt: I really enjoyed this frozen yogurt because it was blended with fresh blueberries as you can tell from the true purple/blue colour of the photo. It tasted so refreshing after the spicy UBowls, not too sweet and so creamy. Definitely will get this again!

Fresh Blueberry Froyo
Overall, UFood Grill was a surprise find and I appreciate a healthy food choice among all the unhealthy ones downtown.

UFood Grill on Urbanspoon


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Faubourg on Hornby: Macarons Galore!

Earlier in August I was disappointed to see that Faubourg on Hornby was still renovating but this time when I went it was sparkly and open! The location is a very convenient walk from the skytrain station(s) nearby.

Faubourg on Horby
The display of goodies behind the new glass casing was so pretty that I wanted to try everything! I would have eaten more if I did not already have lunch.

I haven't tried Faubourg's macarons yet so that was the "light" dessert I chose. They cost $2 each and have a good variety of flavours available. When I was there on the weekend afternoon, the macarons were flying off the shelves!

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Blackberry, Hazelnut Praline, Strawberry Black Pepper, Tahitian Vanilla Bean
From the Faubourg website I couldn't find the Blackberry one so it might be a new flavour. Here is the info about the other flavours:

Hazelnut Praline: All the flavour of a crunchy hazelnut, encased in this smooth, creamy confectionary

Strawberry Black Pepper: Listen to your taste buds and give this unique flavour option a chance

Tahitian Vanilla Bean: A light, vanilla delight made from exotic vanilla bean

My favourite was the blackberry one because it was the most aromatic and unique. Despite its name, the Strawberry Black Pepper had no pepper taste (phew!). Personally I still prefer Thierry's macarons because they are larger in circumference, chewier and less sweet. Some people may like Faubourg's macarons better because they are more fluffy on the inside.

Overall, I am excited for another patisserie location in downtown to get my dose of French baked goods!

Faubourg on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bob's Submarine: $3.50 Breakfast!

Looking for some breakfast other than dim sum in Richmond, we went to Bob's Submarine Sandwiches. I knew that they served lunch but didn't know they were also open for breakfast. A Korean couple runs the store and all the condiments are placed on a table in the middle of the restaurant for self-serve.

Bob's Submarine Sandwiches
All the food below including two teas and a coffee only cost $14! Upon calculation, it seemed that tax and tips were excluded.

Steak, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich ($3.50): Solid sandwich with thin slices of beef and some juicy egg mixed with melted cheese. The beef was a little bit hard to chew but I'd rather that than overly marinated beef that doesn't taste like beef anymore.

Steak, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
Two Eggs Breakfast ($3.50): Bacon, sausage or ham with toast or hashbrown
For this meal, we got scrambled eggs, bacon and hashbrown. The hashbrown was on the cold side but the scrambled egg was pretty good.

Two Eggs Breakfast #1
Two Eggs Breakfast: For this order we got over easy eggs, sausages and hashbrown. The eggs came with the yolk already spilt and the hashbrown was slightly cold like the other breakfast set but it was solid food for the price.

Two Eggs Breakfast #2
Overall, with such inexpensive pricing I want to come again for lunch to try their regular sandwiches! Don't expect superb quality but you get what you pay for and you will be full.

Bob's Submarine Sandwiches on Urbanspoon


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hog Shack: Allan's Mammoth Platter

Parking at Steveston is pretty horrible. On this weekday night I had to drive around for at least 15 minutes before I found free parking. There are plenty of paid parking spots though.

Hog Shack was pretty full even on a weekday which is always a good sign. The following food was shared among 10 people and we all left full!

Hog Shack interior
The Big Share Platter: kalamari, garlic shrimps, shrimp cocktail, order of wings
The kalamari and wings were good because they were freshly fried. I didn't care much for the shrimp cocktail though.

The Big Share Platter
Allan's Mammoth Platter: baby back ribs, St. Louis Side Ribs, Dino Ribs, chicken quarters, smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausages, choice of 6 sides

Sides we chose: coleslaw, yam fries, Spanish rice pilaf, potato wedges, corn bread

The side were all pretty delicious, especially the yam fries and the corn bread. The rice tasted similar to the fried rice at fried chicken fast food chains.

The platter of meat all started to taste similar after awhile due to the barbeque sauce. The gem of this platter were the ribs so if I come here again I would just order back ribs and skip the chicken and sausages!

Allan's Mammoth Platter - meat
Overall it was a good dining experience here and the restaurant seated our big group comfortably.

Hog Shack Cook House on Urbanspoon


Friday, 16 August 2013

Timmy Kitchen: Buy Lobster Get Crab Free

There is a good deal at this Chinese restaurant in Steveston Village. Buy one lobster at $19.99 and get a crab for free cooked in the same way. That sounds like a great deal right? It is and the other dishes at this restaurant are affordable as well. But don't come here expecting great taste or anything special. The meal was mediocre and not particularly good so I don't think I will be returning despite the low price.

Timmy Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Thai Basil: Pad Thai, Pad Gra Prow, Pad See-Ew

Upon recommendation we went to Thai Basil for dinner. If not told, I don't think I would have noticed this restaurant around the corner because it is very small (seats approximately 10-13 people inside). The tables inside were too small for our group of four so we sat outside on the sidewalk which was fine because it was a nice summer evening.

Thai Basil opened a second location on Cornwell, I wonder if that one is bigger? Anywho, onto the food!

Green Curry with Eggplants (choice of chicken, beef, tofu or pork): medium spiced green curry, eggplants, basil
This was a simple but colourful dish with the aromatic coconut milk made green curry and plenty of rice on the side.

Green Curry with Eggplants
Pad Gra Prow: minced meat, chili, garlic, holy basil
I was told that this is a popular dish among Thai teenagers because it is such a quick, easy and tasty meal. The minced pork is actually quite spicy with the peppers mixed in. There is fish oil on the side for more taste.

Pad Gra Pow
Pad See-Ew with beef: rice noodle wok fried with gai lan, sprouts, cabbage, carrots, egg
This dish actually tasted very Chinese-style to me with the rice noodles and gai lan but the sauce is sweeter than the typical Chinese savoury noodles.

Pad See-Ew
Pad Thai: Rice noodle wok fried with sprouts, egg, green onions, tofu, tiger prawns, crushed peanuts, cilantro
This dish was tangy (slightly sour) which made it appealing and not too filling despite all the carbs from the noodles. The tofu soaked up all the sauce and there was plenty of crushed peanuts on the side for the nut lovers.

Pad Thai
Fish cake: deep fried fish cakes mixed with curry paste, lime leaves, green bean, sweet chili sauce
While eating this I honestly couldn't tell which part was fish. The texture was like those pan fried squid cakes at the nightmarket. The fish cakes aren't spicy at all and are a pretty good starter to the meal.

Fish cake
Overall, Thai Basil is a great place for good and affordable Thai food but do not come with too many friends! Two to at most three people would be the perfect number to eat here.

Thai Basil on Urbanspoon


Monday, 12 August 2013

New Asia Deli: Chicken Banh Mi

I've had bad service at New Asia Deli before and I've read many reviews online commenting on the bad service here but when I went today it wasn't bad at all. It was just normal, quick service that one would expect from an Asian restaurant. Plus the price is inexpensive so you can't expect too much.

Between the two of us we ordered the following food:

Chicken Banh Mi: This is only $3.95 and tasted good every time I ate here. There is pickled radish, carrot and cucumber with marinated shredded chicken in a crispy baguette. Yum.

Chicken Banh Mi
Beef Brisket Noodles: I usually order pho when I eat here but this time we tried a different noodle soup. The noodles are the same as pho ones and the beef brisket was quite tender. The soup is more flavourful than pho but left me thirsty after so there was probably MSG in it.

Beef Brisket Noodles
Red Bean Ice Drink: This drink is also $3.95 and pretty refreshing in the summer heat. I requested less ice for mine because I don't like the ice taking up all the space in the drink. It's not the best red bean ice I've had but pretty good. I prefer when they give a scoop of vanilla ice cream :)

Red Bean Ice Drink
Overall for the price and efficiency but spotty service I would come here sparingly when I crave the banh mi.

New Asia Deli Restaurant on Urbanspoon