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 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!!!!

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!

 

April 18th, 2012. Vegas Business Trip Day 5

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

Our final dinner in Vegas?  The Buffet at The Aria.  Can I just say this?  AWESOME BUFFET!!  Not only is it beautiful inside but the quality of food is pretty great and the variety…the variety!!  Full BBQ/grill bar, amazing seafood bar, Indian food, Asian food and a HUGE selection of desserts!

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went straight for the crab legs 😉  Big, meaty, fresh and so good!  The shrimp cocktail was good too!

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I mention the vast selection of desserts?  Oh, they put a smile on my face 😀

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything from comfort foods like pies, crumbles, whoopie pies and big chcolate chip cookies to more refined things like tiramisu and creme brulee.

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

 

 

 

 

They really make dessert fun by adding little twists like deconstructed s’mores, mint chocolate meringue and precious little cakes with gold! 

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sweet tooth was well satisfied ;D

the buffet @ the aria

the buffet @ the aria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would DEFINITELY recommend The Buffet at Aria and would TOTALLY come back for more if I came back to Vegas!

Matoi Sushi

November 6, 2012

February 22nd, 2012. Matoi Sushi

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

Nab and I wanted to try a different sushi place since we always seem to just go to Nagano.  Today I suggested we try Matoi Sushi on the Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam border.

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

My sister had mentioned that she’d been there before and it was quite good and I read a few reviews online.  Seemed like it was worth a visit 🙂

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

Nab started off with a Sake Sampler, which I think came with cold sake, hot sake and soe plum wine.  Nab LOVED the plum wine.  So much that he ordered more later 😉  I personally like plum wine, too.  Nice and sweet and it goes down light 🙂

 

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

Along the lines of trying different stuff was the Kani Sunomono.  Wow….lots of crab   The sunomono
was refreshing, tasted fresh and we loved that the shrimp and crab were good chunks as well as the seaweed being plentiful and good.  the sprinkling of sesame seeds was also a nice touch.

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

Nab thought he might as well splurge and try the day’s Fresh Oysters. They looked awesome! Super fresh, very clean and nice a juicy.

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried one as well.  The soy sauce that came with it was a nice and light accompainment to the delicate oysters.

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

They had Asari Miso Soup on the menu, so I figured I’d give it a try.  Asari Miso is basically mio soup made with clams.  Sure, I’m not a big fan of clams, but treated well it can make the miso quite delicious.  This one was a bit too clammy/fishy for my liking…but if you like clams, this is just the ticket!

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

One thing I really love is Tuna Gomae.  This one was no exception.  Fresh tuna pieces tossed and covered in delicious peanuty sauce!  So so good~!!

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

For rolls we went simple with a Spicy Tuna Roll and the Unaten Roll (prawn tempura & bbq eel).  Both rolls were nice.

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The spiciness didn’t overpower the tuna and the prawn tempura still had a nice crispiness which indicated that it hadn’t just been lying around.

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

Of course a Japanese restaurant’s real test is how well they treat their raw seafood components.  I ordered a couple Sake Nigiri, Toro Nigiri and Amaebi Nigiri.  Glad to say that everything tasted fresh with a nice sweetness that only well handled sushi can have.  It was clean on the palate and had good flavor.  The amaebi was quite good as well!

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

I asked for them to deep fry the Amaebi head.  Crispy, flavorful
deliciousness!!

matoi sushi

matoi sushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How awesome is it that they give you a baggie of Pocky with the bill!  A nice change from from the usual half orange.  Excitement!

So, yeah, I really like Matoi.  It really is a neighborhood gem.  Who knew you could find such a great little sushi place in this part of town?  It’s slightly pricier, but totally worth it, so I would come back to treat myself 🙂

Ding Hao Noodle House

October 10, 2012

January 14th, 2012. Ding Hao Noodle House

ding hao noodle house

ding hao noodle house

 

 

Lunch at Ding Hao Noodle House! Haven’t been back to this place in a while…. so I was interested to see how it would stack up to the memory of food I have from here. Honestly, the memory I had was not phneomenal….So here we go!

ding hao noodle house

ding hao noodle house

 

 



I’m not exactly sure how to categorize this place. Is it a Taiwanese noodle house? The menu and bubble tea make me think it is…but it’s not quite the same as other ones I’ve been to like Bubble World or The Well, so I’m thinking it’s perhaps a variation?

ding hao noodle house

ding hao noodle house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mango Slush
and Lychee Bubble Tea!  Super refreshing and sweet~!

ding hao noodle house

ding hao noodle house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 






I am not a huge fan of the Dumplings.  The dumpling skin is just too thick and has a strange, doughy texture…It really was a “meh” moment.

ding hao noodle house

ding hao noodle house

 

 

 

 



One of the noodle dishes on the table was called Noodles with Homemade Meat Sauce.  One plus is that the noodles were cooked well and the noodle-to-sauce ratio was also good.  But it lacked a little flavor.

ding hao noodle house

ding hao noodle house

 

 



Another item on the table was Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Chicken Nuggets.  Honestly…I these nuggets are really tasty!  Crispy, flavorful and bite-sized=great!  The soup was pretty good, too, but I think I prefer regular noodles to the vermicelli.  They were just too slippery!

 

 

The verdict is:  I will come back.  It’s inexpensive, the nuggets are good, the soup is good and the bubble tea is yummy!

Benkei Ramen

October 9, 2012

January 9th, 2012. Benkei Ramen

benkei ramen

benkei ramen

 

 

 

 

Any day is a great day for Japanese ramen 🙂

benkei ramen

benkei ramen

 

 

 

 

 

 




I was downtown with my boss for a meeting and he wanted to grab  lunch….so we headed to Benkei on Roson for some delicious, soupy goodness.

benkei ramen

benkei ramen

 

 

 

 

 




After much contemplation over a cup of hot tea I made the decision to go with the Shio Ramen.

benkei ramen

benkei ramen

 

 

 




The Shio is a ramen with extremely rich broth that comes from the long boiling of pork.  As per the Benkei website: “Boiling the pork and sapping out the rich taste, this Fukuoka-born ramen contains collagen and calcium – a source for beatiful skin and strong bones.”  Guess I picked the right one!

 

benkei ramen

benkei ramen

 

 

 

 

 


Lip-smacking goodness?  Absolutely!  It’s the ultimate Japanese comfort food with the steaming hot, rich broth, perfectly al dente noodles, super tender chashu, and earthy bamboo shoots.  Love!

January 6th, 2012. Ramen Photo Shoot: Pulmuone Nature is Delicious!

pulmuone photoshoot

pulmuone photoshoot

 

 

 

 

It’s for work, I swear! We took an afternoon at the office to do a photoshoot with the new “healthy” ramen that Pulmuone just came out with.  I brought a bunch of kitchen equipment from home and proceeded to make a big pot of instant ramen 🙂

pulmuone photoshoot

pulmuone photoshoot

 

 

 

 

 

After the shoot, of course we got to eat!  I’d say the ramen is okay and the broth has good depth of flavor.  But the noodles take longer to cook.  I found that the normal 2~3 minutes still had the noodles not quite tender.

pulmuone photoshoot

pulmuone photoshoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not deep fried+all natural ingredients=more healthy for the same delicious!

December 23rd, 2011.  Family Christmas Dinner

family christmas dinner 2011

family christmas dinner 2011

 

 

 

I love that my relatives live in BC and are so close now.  Nothing warms my heart more than getting together with mi familia and sharing a meal, spending time together, laughing together, holding hands, and just loving each other.

family christmas dinner 2011

family christmas dinner 2011

 

 

 

Christmas dinner was shared early this year since we all go to different churches and have commitments all over the place.  Yoon Jai Opp opened up his home for us and we were able to all gather together.  Just wish Eunice could have made it, too…

family christmas dinner 2011

family christmas dinner 2011

 

 

 

 

 

It was an unconventional Christmas spread…but a very typical Choi meal 😉  Galbi grilled by Jai Oppa and Wine from Yoon Keun Oppa’s family with some random cake action going on, too 😉

family christmas dinner 2011

family christmas dinner 2011

 

 

 

Of course it’s no surprise that Grandma’s Naeng Myung made an appearance at the dinner.  Grandma’s North Korean roots are represented in her cooking and food preferences, and this Korean cold noodle dish is always a staple at her home.  At any given time you can find a container of Naeng Myun stock and allthe fixin’s in her fridge 😀

 

Everyone chowed down to all this delicious goodness, our tummies were filled and we were very happy 😀

November 29th, 2011. Leaving Korea…

korean air prestige class

korean air prestige class

 

 

  For breakfast I had the Oxtail Bone Marrow Soup with Noodles.  I wanted somethng warm and comforting.  It came with a side of spicy paste and pickled banchan.

  And though I ordered the Korean meal….I asked for a croissant.  I couldn’t resist 🙂