May 5th, 2013. Happy Cinco de Mayo~~~

Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
Holidays are a wonderful reason to enjoy food, and Mexican holidays are even better because we can get piggy with tacos!!  I actually discovered this super authentic Mexican hole-in-the-wall in New West and was chomping at the bit to try it out.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Taqueria Playa Tropical is on 6th Street with a few other local gems. When I walked in there was a Mexican band playing, the small restaurant was packed full and decorations had been put up here and there to give it a festive feel.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The super friendly server sat me at a fairly spacious table with a menu and I proceeded to inspect the menu for my options.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Obviously I had to order some Guava Juice. I love sweet tropical fruit!!  Guava and Watermelon. My favourite 2 fruit flavours 😉
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The tortilla chips came in this adorable stone mortar which was cool.  Salsa verde and rojo were both pretty legit, too!  I just love condiments ;D
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I ended up ordering a trio of tacos: Camaron, Carne Asada and Carnitas. The Carne Asada and Carnitas are my usual barometers for any given taqueria. I figure any self-respecting taqueria has to be able to deliver on these 2 staples.
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
 
 
First, the Carne Asada. The brightness of the fresh cilantro, tomato and onion were a refreshing foil to the straightforward beef. I appreciated that the beef wasn’t over done, it had enough moisture so that it didn’t get stringy and tough. Good start!
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
Next, the Carnitas! The carnitas was slightly drier than I expected but it had the right amount of heat with the perfect amount of sweet undertone.  And of course the guac was just on point! Just like the toppings on the carne you could tell my just looking at the guacamole that it was fresh. Vibrant color and flavour with the sharp tang of onion and cilantro cooling the heat of the pork. I still enjoyed it 🙂
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
I went out on a limb with the Camaron. I usually don’t order shrimp because it’s so easy to over-cook it, get shrimp that’s not fresh, or too small. I have to say, my choice paid off big time! I think I actually almost liked this taco the most! The shrimp was cooked just right having the right amount of spring, crunch and tenderness. Sweet grilled onion with some garlic, celery and cilantro topped with melted cheese.  This? You should eat this. It’s not aggressive, but it’s this wonderful harmony in your mouth! And of course you can always add a little salsa on it to amp it up 😉  This one was so good!
Taqueria Playa Tropical

Taqueria Playa Tropical

 
 
 
 
I give Taqueria Playa Tropical my seal of approval and would come again. It definitely has moved to the top of my list for Mexican food in Vancouver!

April 28th, 2013. Sunday Lunch at Earl’s

coal harbout

coal harbout

 

 

After a lovely service at Coastal Church downtown Robert & I took advantage of the easy Sunday morning with a walk around Coal Harbour. With a view like this, how can you get tired of downtown?

earl's kitchen & bar (vancouver)

earl’s kitchen & bar (vancouver)

 

 

 

 

We figured the best way to send him back off to beautiful SoCal was to recreate our first final meal with a meal at Earl’s and then Bubble Tea for the drive to the airport. Might as well make more memories on a proven thing!

earl's kitchen & bar (vancouver)

earl’s kitchen & bar (vancouver)

 

 

 

 

 

Robert did not deviate from his original final meal and went with the Sirloin and Mashed Potato accompanied by a Bourbon Mushroom Demi Glace.

earl's kitchen & bar (vancouver)

earl’s kitchen & bar (vancouver)

 

 

 

I went the seasonal route with a juicy Halibut topped with a Warm Tomato Salad complete with a side of Corn and Roasted zucchini topped with Feta and a mini casserole of smashed crispy Garlic Yukon Potatoes with Sour Cream & Chives. Super moist fish, I loved all my sides, and was super satisfied.

Thanks, Earl’s for a delicious Sunday lunch!

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 😀

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.

April 9th, 2013.  Pizza Buffet Pig Out!

pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet

When was the last time you’ve done all you can eat pizza?  That’s right, probably not in a long time 😉  We’d seen this sign come up recently and being the Pizza Hut die-hards that we are it didn’t take any arm twisting on my part to convince Eunice to come with me 😉  Besides, $7.00 for all you can eat?  Best deal in town!

 

pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet






Pizza of our childhood, deliciously crispy soft crust, super hot ooey-gooey satisfaction.  And yeah, even the salad bar, plain as it is, holds a sentimental place in our hearts and our stomaches!
pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet









Howard came along for the ride, but obviously he is not as consummate as me and my sister.  I mean, come on, you are talking to some pizza fanatics 😉

We even ordered a pitcher of Coke.  Because even though neither of us are huge pop drinkers when it comes to Pizza Hut we know that nothing tastes better than  a tall icy cup of Coke ;D
pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet













The obligatory salad.

pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet











We attacked that pizza buffet like nobody’s business!  We actually managed to power through quite a good amount of pizza and by the time we threw in the towel we were extremely happily stuffed and ready to pass the heck out!

pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet









Sure, artisinal pizzas, thin crust this and fresh herbs that are all the rage.  But Pizza Hut is in a league of it’s own.  Unapologetically rich and hearty and the cheese is piled on, it’s just sooooooo good~~~!!

pizza hut lunch buffet

pizza hut lunch buffet









Don’t try to get in the way of us Choi’s and pizza.  It won’t be pretty and we won’t be nice ;D

March 16th, 2013. Fancy Time at Yew @ The Four Seasons 

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

After brunch with Joyce I rendezvoused with Tracy downtown.  It’s been a while since Tracy was downtown with a gal-pal!  We strolled through Holt Renfrew trying on high-end shoes, and browsing the gorgeous and (some not so cute) haute couture bags 😉

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

 

 

 

Tracy was just so happy to be out of the house and having some much deserved me-time that we also stopped in at Yew at the Four Season’s for a snack!

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

 

 

Tracy was intent on getting a cocktail to make the most of the experience, but since I’d be driving us back I opted for a delicious little Cappuccino.  It joyfully came served with an in-house made Biscotti 🙂  Gotta love the extra little touch and detail that I’ve come to expect from Yew ♥

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

For my nibbles I ordered the Organic Local Apple Tart.  Of course this wasn’t just your average apple tart.  No, this was an apple tart made of Cox’s Pippin and Liberty French apples,aged cheddar ice cream and hazelnuts.  Thin shavings of the cheddar and a caramely glaze garnished the slate that the dessert was served on.

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

Rich, buttery pastry encompassed the sweet and tart apples which were not soggy and still retained a hint of that great apple crunch.  I’m not a huge fan of nuts, so the hazelnuts were just nuts to me, but I loved nibbling on the cheese shavings held between my fingers and that ice cream was super creamy and smooth with just a breath of that rich cheesy flavor.

 As always, a very satisfying experience and service, as always, was prompt, pleasant and helpful.  Yew gets a thumbs up every time 😀

March 16th, 2013. Miura Waffle Milk Bar

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

Reunion brunch with Joyce! Since leaving Sylvan I haven’t seen Joyce, but we’ve been able to keep in touch through Facebook and judging by each others’ posts we both love food! What better way to reconnect than over Vancouver’s newest fad….Waffle sandwiches!

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

 

Miura Waffle Milk Bar is a Japanese waffle joint that’s small but clean. Already gaining acclaim by being featured on hit foodie show “You Gotta Eat Here” it’s one of those places considered a hidden gem.

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t just choose between savory or sweet so we went for 1 of each and split them: First the Hoisin Sando! Sweet and savory hoisin ground pork sausage sandwiched in with bright and aromatic cilantro, refreshing and clear cucumber and a mildly tangy carrot and radish pickle. Reminiscent of a bahn mi but slightly milder. I found that the waffle was appropriately crispy and soft at the same time although bordering on that very thin line of being slightly more dense than I prefer. Delicious? Yes!

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, And I also got a Maple Yoggy Milk. Because….I love maple and I what goes better with waffles than milkshake! Not overly sweet with a hint of maple. I would have liked a stronger maple flavor, but it was certainly refreshing and creamy!

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

Next we had the Fruits and Cream Sando! Served between the same waffle with the season’s fresh fruit and cream, today’s fruit was strawberries! Okay, what’s more fitting than tart, sweet, juicy strawberries with a rich and creamy whipped cream against delicious waffle! The hoisin sando had filled us, but the fruits and cream sando put us over the edge 😉

Busy stuffing our mouths I’m surprised we got so much talking done in between! It was wonderful to reconnect and to see how much had happened in our lives since we worked together 🙂 Thanks for suggesting such a fun place, Joyce!

Pearl Hot Pot (Burnaby)

February 14, 2014

March 11th, 2013. Sister Date Day~

pearl hot pot

pearl hot pot

 

 

 

Eunice suggested a sister date of hot pot and a movie.  How could I resist?  What a wonderful idea!  She recommended a place she’s been to in Burnaby called Pearl Hot Pot.

pearl hot pot

pearl hot pot

 

 

 

Usually hot pot is a communal food activity, but in this case they bring out individual pots per person and you can choose your own hot pot type.  There are base “combos” dependant on the protein that include veggies and choice of noodles and each combo comes with a soft drink and dessert, too!

pearl hot pot

pearl hot pot

 

 

Dim sum meets hot pot; you choose off the menu which base hot pot you want and then you have the option of checking off on your menu sheet any additional items your’d like to add on such as vegetable, seafood, or meat items.

pearl hot pot

pearl hot pot

 

 

It is fun to eat as a group out of a big pot, but I felt that the individual is a nice way to go as well especially if you want different things or if you come by yourself.  Also, it comes with a raw egg, which I love!  I’m egg poacher 😉  I like to drop it in gently and swirl the egg whites but keep the yolk intact and give it a slow poach so it cooks through!

pearl hot pot

pearl hot pot

I think the ingredients are not bad (just not great), the fish balls can be kind of a miss as you can see from the gray-ish color it is in the photo….but the meat and seafood are fine, the veggies are firm, and the broth is decently flavored, so I would say that overall it’s okay 😀  As always, hot pot is just super fun to eat and hot soup and dipping things in it is always yummy and interactive!

 

Kishimoto on Commercial Drive

December 24, 2013

March 8th, 2013. Kishimoto on Commercial Drive

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

So, my lunch date suggested that we meet up at Kishimoto on Commercial Drive for lunch.  He claimed that it’s the most solid sushi joint he’s discovered since moving to Vancouver and that he’s becoming a regular there.

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

He also warned me that it’s small and is always extremely full, so it was a good thing I arrived a little early to get us a table!  True to prediction it was packed when I got there and I was actually feeling lucky when I got sat about 15 minutes in!

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

When I saw Chawan Mushi on the menu I got super excited!!  There is nothing more exceptional than a perfect chawan mushi!!  Super silky, soft egg custard steamed so that there’s almost this umami-like broth or consomme, this one had bits of chicken, prawn, mushroom, gingko nuts, and fish cake.

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing mouth feel as you take a spoonful, it was as delicate as a cloud and mind-blowingly simple in taste but complex in the intricacy.  Every singly component was perfectly cooked and was singing in harmony.  LOVE!!

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

Give it up for presentation!  When the rolls came out the plate was decked out with a coconut bowl of dry ice, crispy edible adornments and and edamame and daikon decorations!  Hahaha, whimsical and delightful!

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the plate: A simple Spicy Salmon Maki.  Fresh, uncomplicated and straight forward.

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, the Spicy Cactus Roll. To the naked eye it may just look like a California Roll rolled around in sesame seeds, but it’s actually spicy crab, tempura bits and avocado THEN rolled around in sesame seeds and topped with tobiko 😉  Yum!!

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

Mmmmm~ I love a good Tuna Tataki!  Perfectly seared tuna just melting in your mouth with the freshness and kick of the green onions, rustic flavor of garlic chips and the sweet and salty of the ponzu sauce.  So delicious!

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

I also just really enjoy the fatty richness of Salmon Kama.  Simply a baked salmon cheek with garlic chips and ponzu sauce, it can be very tender, succulent and has loads of flavor!  One of my personal favorites wherever I go 🙂

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

 

To round off the lunch I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Yuzu Sorbet.  The perfect palate cleanser, it was refreshing, light, and a great way to end the meal on a pleasing note 🙂

kishimoto japanese kitchen

kishimoto japanese kitchen

 

 

 

I feel like the constant thread throughout the lunch was simplicity done at such a level of excellence that it transcended into intricacy.  I loved it and would come back again and recommend it to everyone!!

Chili Cheese Hot Dogs!

November 29, 2013

February 26th, 2013. Chili Cheese Hot Dogs!!

 

chili cheese hot dogs

chili cheese hot dogs

 

I had the most ridiculous craving for chili cheese hot dogs.  Like, you don’t even get it, I was salivating just at the thought of it.  Sometimes with cravings I leave it alone to see if it’s a legitimate craving…let me tell you, after a week the craving was even more pronounced!

 

chili cheese hot dogs

chili cheese hot dogs

 

 

 

It was getting to the point where all I could think of was chili cheese hot dogs….. Hey, don’t judge!  I finally went out to get some ingredients to make some at home.  I had a plan and was ready to put it into action!

I actually do most of my grocery shopping at Superstore and I find the President’s Choice products are not only fairly priced, but very tasty!  Chili?  Let’s give it a go!

 

chili cheese hot dogs

chili cheese hot dogs

 

 

 

I made tin foil “boats” for the hot dogs so I could pop them in the oven and then take them out and eat them easily.  Best idea ever, if I say so myself!  No dish to wash later!  I scored the smokies and pan fried them and then popped them into the buns.

 

chili cheese hot dogs

chili cheese hot dogs

 

 

 

 

I then added the shredded cheese into the sides in between the bun and smokies, then smothered with heated up chili.  Sprinkle some more cheese on top!

 

chili cheese hot dogs

chili cheese hot dogs

 

 

 

 

Stuck these babies into the oven and let the cheese melt down.  MmmmmmmMmm!!  Yes, hot and ready to devour.  Success!!!