April 27th, 2013. Spring Break in Vancouver!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

So what to do in Vancouver? Eat as much food as possible! Continuing on our food-cation in Vancouver: a bite in Yaletown at El Azteca Modern Tequila Lounge  :D

 

 

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

Sure, Yaletown can be hit and miss in terms of actual good food and compared to how beautifully gussied up the interior is the service and authenticity of the cuisine can be a disappointment…but you can’t help trying.  Yaletown is like that really popular, pretty girl at the party that you just keep hoping is going to be your future wife, but then she opens her mouth and starts talking…and you realize that she thinks scalloped potatoes are made of scallops and that macaroons are the same as macarons…..

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

Anyways!! I digress.  With a preamble of cocktails, Robert and I started the evening with the Chicharron de Rib Eye; deep fried bites of rib-eye and guacamole served in a martini glass and a side of tortillas.  So, I really wanted to love this, and on paper it all sounded so good!  Not that it wasn’t good…the crunch on the rib-eye was great…but I think I’d have to say that rib-eye should just be left alone…not diced up small and that fried. Really ended up masking the flavor. But hey! It was still pretty yummy…just didn’t need to be made of rib-eye!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

Robert went ahead with the Tacos Camarones of fresh Pacific shrimp, bacon, onion, peppers, and smokey habanero. The shrimp was plump, the flavors all worked together, and of course the true test of a taco is how much finger-lickin’ you do! I’d say this was a decent effort :)

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

I did my usual hemming and hawing over the menu and even picked our server’s brain.  In the end I ended up with the Cochinita Pibil. Pork slow-roasted in banana leaf (supposedly) and then served in a traditional peltre bowl served with a side of beans, pickles, and soft tortillas.

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

Did I enjoy it? YES! The pork came shredded, moist and smothered in a flavorful sauce that was sweet, tangy and had a little kick to it. 2 things I loved about this dinner: 1. It’s interactive. I get to build my own taco and play with ratio of ingredients.  LOVE THAT! 2. I was eating with a close friend whom I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about eating with my hands and having food juices dripping down my wrist. Hahaha!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

I would NEVER order something like fajitas on a first-date situation, so the fact that I can order anything with Robert is a sign of true food-friendship ;D

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fun and playful touch to the end of our meal at El Azteca was the Jacob’s Ladder block toy that our check came in! Holy blast from the past!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

 

Don’t judge my love for Churros. Or donuts. Or anything deep-fried.  With a tagline like “served with white chocolate dipping sauce” there is NO WAY I could resist an order to take out with me. Midnight snack here I come~!!!  Crispy, sugary, cinnamon-y, hot doughy goodness.  Yes, heaven, I’m sure, is full of churros :)

 

In conclusion, El Azteca is warm and inviting and service with cute Latino accents is always a plus, but the food doesn’t stand out, the flavors don’t pop, and for what you pay the portions are pretty meager. Is great for maybe a drink and small bites pre-party, but wouldn’t want to sink my entire night here.

April 27th, 2013. Bubble World on Robson!

bubble world (robson)

bubble world (robson)

 

 

 

 

So, walking back up Robson of course we had to follow up with our regular ritual of bubble tea!  Street Fighter+Bubble Tea = The best!

bubble world (robson)

bubble world (robson)

 

 

 

 

 

This particular location is tiny and doesn’t offer food (no salty peppery chicken nuggets? sad!), but it has a game station that evokes all kinds of childhood nostalgia!

bubble world (robson)

bubble world (robson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, more than 10 years later I still suck, but the boys think I’m cute for trying so hard ;)

Banana Leaf on Robson

January 22, 2015

April 27th, 2013. Banana Leaf Robson

banana leaf robson

banana leaf robson

So I felt like a bright lunch would be a great way to go so I had planned for us to go to the new Banana Leaf that just opened up on Robson.

I ordered the appetizer platter as my lunch and I was pretty pleased! I love love love options and this dish came with the Papaya and Pineapple Salad, Chicken Satay, Spring Rolls, Roti Canai and Calamari.

banana leaf robson

banana leaf robson

Finger food, check. Sauces, check. Flavor, check! The roti canai was stretchy but with a crispy crust, the calamari was a tad dry, but acceptable with a salty and crumbly crispy coating, the spring rolls were deep fried goodness and while the satay could have been punchier with the flavor, it was still not bad! As for the salad, the dressing was bright, sweet, acidic, and overall was fresh!

banana leaf robson

banana leaf robson

 

 

Robert, on the other hand, was very disappointed with his curry dish. Being well traveled and also being from LA he’d know!  He said it was bland and forgettable and he even left a scathing comment card! Yikes!

April 27th, 2013. Spring Break In The City!

the betty (the burrard hotel)

the betty (the burrard hotel)

 

 

 

 

Good morning, Vancouver! It’s spring break!  It’s a typically rainy day, but that’s not going to stop us from making the most of it!

the betty (the burrard hotel)

the betty (the burrard hotel)

 

 

 




Another reason why I love The Burrard Hotel is that it has this incredibly sweet café attached to the lobby that has Blenz coffee and tea, very delicious looking baked goods and treats and is licensed for wine! The white and wood interior and teal and yellow accents make it that much more chic :D

the betty (the burrard hotel)

the betty (the burrard hotel)

 

 

 

 

In keeping with the rest of the hotel even the café offers cheeky little sayings and touches ;)  What’s not to love!  Makes starting the morning even more fun!

 

 

 

*Update (Jan. 22nd, 2015): The Betty has been re-vamped and is now The Container.

Alpha Global Sushi Bar

January 22, 2015

April 26th, 2013. Alpha Global Sushi Bar

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

In Vancouver you definitely have to have sushi!  It’s a must. Like, really. I mean it!

To kick off our spring break I took us to Alpha Global Sushi Bar. Yelp and other food reviews have almost always steered me in the right direction and I’d been hearing about this place for a while. While it’s at a higher price point than many the promise of unique twists and good quality just outside the Yaletown neighborhood had me anticipating a good meal :)

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

 


The space is small, with very limited seating, typical of your more traditional Japanese style joints. It’s cozy.  The interesting thing about Alpha is that you also get a hefty book on Japanese history along with your table and menu. Intellectual!

 

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mojitos are a must on sunny days and when reuniting with a friend! Refreshing, minty, subtly sweet and crisp!  My favorite cocktail :)

 

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ebi Fry seemed to be a fan favorite, so we ordered it. Light, crispy, and super hot on the inside! The cool tartar sauce helped cool down our tongues and added a tangy punch!

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

 

 

We ordered the Spicy Tuna Sashimi with sliced onion, seaweed, green onion with a spicy ginger sauce.  Fresh tuna has a clean, sweet flavor and your teeth sink in the surface and then you get a slightly bouncy give towards the middle.  The spicy ginger sauce was refreshing and paired in a lovely way with the tuna!

 

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar


The famous and namesake Alpha Roll has mango, tobiko, mayo crab, wrapped in albacore tuna, and avocado with a plum wine mustard mayo sauce.  You know me, I love sauce!  This roll was again, quite clean tasting and the sweet and rich sauces just added a decadence to it.  I am usually not a fan of mango, but this roll was nice :)

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

 

For our second roll I went with the Philly Roll.  Sure, it’s one of those “been there, done that” items, but I can’t help my love for cream cheese and smoked salmon ;)  While not being exactly exciting I was happy that they didn’t skimp on the smoked salmon as many places do.

alpha global sushi bar

alpha global sushi bar

 

 

Mind blowing moment: The Mentaiko Udon. Like, MIND. BLOWN. It was essentially udon noodles in a spicy cod roe sauce…..but what made it so amazing was that it was tossed in BUTTER! Like, WHAT???!!! How could something so simple, make something SO AMAZING!! Oh, right, IT’S BUTTER!  Okay, maybe I’m just a little crazy, but this was so so so so awesome. I loved it!!

Despite the fact that it seemed like a solid meal I couldn’t help feeling at the end that I wasn’t quite satisfied. Like, even though we were both full it still left me feeling like I was wanting something more. Hmmmmmm………

April 24th, 2013. Girls’ Night!

milestones langley

milestones langley

A much needed night out with my girls!

A light dinner at Milestones included the Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Garlic plate. Wow!! When you go to Milestones you are really just there for the atmosphere and the company because for the most part you’re going to be let down by the food…..but this was a huge hit with all of us!

milestones langley

milestones langley




The roasted garlic was so sweet and flavorful, the baked brie was creamy and pungent with the black sesame giving a pleasant nuttiness to it and the spiced cranberry relish and fig jam both added a beautiful sweet note to counter the cheese and the garlic.  Super yum!
milestones langley

milestones langley




We also had the Butternut Squash Ravioli, which was pleasant but not special. I mean, Cactus Club Café does this much better. The Roma tomato sauce felt clunky and almost canned, the pesto was just kinda mild, and the pasta seemed slightly thick.



All in all though, we had a fun time catching up and the food was really just a thing for our hands and mouths to be doing as we bonded and just shared life :)

April 20th, 2013. Chilled Minty Sesame Soba Noodles with Soy-Wasbi Dressing

minty sesasme soba noodles

minty sesasme soba noodles

Don was having a potluck and karaoke birthday get-together at his place and of course my immediate thought was “what can I bring on a budget?!”  I also had to factor in the fact that I’d be working all day and would have very limited time to actually cook anything if I wanted to get to his place on time.

I looked in my fridge and staring back at me was this almost whole bunch of mint that I seriously didn’t want to waste. “Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!”, I thought, cold soba!  I’d been having a craving for something like this anyways and Don’s birthday potluck was a perfect excuse to try my hand at something new :)
minty sesasme soba noodles

minty sesasme soba noodles


Although I did end up going out and buying most of my ingredients for this dish it was actually very affordable to procure all I needed.  So I went out and got some grated lemongrass, cucumber, asian white radish, tobiko and wasabi and started developing the dish.

I actually made my own pickeld vegetables! And even bought a mandoline slicer just for this occassion!  I hoped the dish would be a hit just on this fact alone.  Hey, I went out and bought a kitchen appliance just to make this dish. You better all like it!  I made a pickling liquid out of vinegar, salt, sugar and grated lemongrass.  Then I dunked the julienned radish and cucumber and left it in the fridge overnight tasting every few hours to see how much the veg had soaked up the juices.  I wanted it to be crisp, but packing lots of flavor.
minty sesasme soba noodles

minty sesasme soba noodles


After cooking the noodles and putting them in an ice bath I drained them and then coated them with a little sesame oil, salt and pepper.  I then mixed in the pickled veg and mint and even used some of the pickling liquid to keep the noodles nice and moist.

I rolled the noodles into “balls of yarn” slightly smaller than the size of my fist and sprinkled with tobiko for that “POP” and then dusted it with ground sesame seeds.
minty sesasme soba noodles

minty sesasme soba noodles


The dressing I made with soy, wasabi, grated lemongrass and some sugar and took it on the side so guests could add to their preference level of spiciness.

You know what? I impressed myself!  The dish was simply aromatic with a juxtaposition of sweet, savory, minty and tart.  It even had umami making me crave more after my first taste!  Mmmmmm~~~ this was a success in my books and I think everyone at the party enjoyed it as well!  Yay, me!!!!

April 14th, 2013. Baby Aiden & Destin’s 1st Birthday~!

vancouver golf club

vancouver golf club





Flown in from Singapore, Yoonchan Oppa and Yong Eun Unni had brought their little family to Vancouver so that they could celebrate their twins’ 1st birthday with all the family and friends here in Vancouver!

vancouver golf club

vancouver golf club






The Vancouver Golf Club was a really nice venue for them to hold the party and with the help of their friends they even had the whole place decorated with the babies’ photos, party favors, and pots of ballots for the traditional “what occupation will the babies choose” game :)

vancouver golf club

vancouver golf club

The food was buffet style and what a nice spread! Rivaling any nice wedding, the selection was wide and sumptuous and quite tasty as well!  Eunice and I definitely approved of all the delicousness ;)

It was our first time meeting our new twin nephews but with all the activity going on and with so many people there wanting to meet them it was difficult for us to get personal time.  I can say that they are quite the adorable pair and look nothing like Yoon Jai Oppa’s kids!
vancouver golf club

vancouver golf club






All in all we had a really fun time.  Any time getting together with family is a good time ;)

Posted by jenn c.
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Carl’s Jr. in Vancouver

June 5, 2014

April 13th, 2013.  Hello, Carl’s Jr. Vancouver!

carl's jr. vancouver

carl’s jr. vancouver



Hello, Carl’s Jr. has finally landed in Vancouver!  All those tantalizing commercials we get up here at 2am in the morning and can’t hop into the car to get, our friends bragging about how they had Carl’s Jr. instead of McDonalds on their trip to Seattle.  Yeah, you know what?  Now it’s here!
carl's jr. vancouver

carl’s jr. vancouver








Lucky, me, when I mentioned that I’d heard there was one that opened in Vancouver Jeff immediately threw his chip in and was up for a burger run.  Yay, Finnish Carpenter Jeff!
carl's jr. vancouver

carl’s jr. vancouver




We made plans to meet up over the weekend at Carl’s Jr. to eat eat eat!
I wanted to go full on and went for the Western Bacon Thickburger.  Charbroiled burger with bacon, melted American cheese, crispy onion rings and onion rings.  Ahhhhh….so much burger!  And because I wanna, a side of Yam Fries :)
carl's jr. vancouver

carl’s jr. vancouver




I think we could all agree that while the burgers were a handful and we were stuffed beyond anything at the end of it it’s just not the same.  For some odd reason it’s just not the same as when we get it in the States.  The quality seemed off, the burgers seemed sloppy, and the yam fries were dismal.  Thin, dry and overcooked.
carl's jr. vancouver

carl’s jr. vancouver











Oh well, the burgers weren’t super amazing, but at least we had fun!  Better luck next time?
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Casa Del Pane Italian Bakery (Port Moody)

June 4, 2014

April 12th, 2013. Chaiyoung’s Getting Married!

casa del pane bakery

casa del pane bakery




My dear friend Chaiyoung finally met the man of her dreams and is getting married!  She had kept everything very low-key so it came quick and sudden, but after seeing her photos with her fiance and hearing her talk, you can’t help but see how happy she is :)
casa del pane bakery

casa del pane bakery




Only the best for my Chaiyoung Bebe, I got a pretty Black Forest Cake from Case Del Pane, and Italian Bakery in Newport Village in Port Moody. Delicously decadent with big, rich white chocolate shavings and sumptuously juicy cherries in abundance this cake was just as gorgeous to eat as it was to look at :D
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