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!

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 😀

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 😉

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.

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………

March 23rd, 2013. Capstone Tea & Fondue 

 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

  Since we couldn’t sit down for teas and treats at Soirette we headed over to Capstone Tea & Fondue on Robson instead.  Nab just started working here as the manager and I wanted to be supportive of his new job.
 
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

With a clean, white and green color scheme and plenty of efficient seating space for a small cafe. Capstone offers variations of tea and tea lattes to accompany the chocolate and cheese fondues.
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

Since we’re sweet, we went the sweet route with the Chocolate Fondue Sampler 😉  The café states that they offer 56% semi-sweet Blegian dark chocolate for dipping.
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

I was surprised to find out that all their pastries and baked goods are made in house.  Delicious little biscuits, moist cakes, I probably could have just eaten a whole plate of just that!
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

The fruit is your usual fare.  The grapes were slightly difficult to dip because it was so slippery and the skewer kept bouncing off, but I loved the strawberries and pineapple 😀
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also ordered an add-on side of the ice cream truffles and cheesecake truffles!  
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

  The fun part was the different kinds of toppings we could roll our fondue dipped treats in!  Compliments of the house 😀

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

The chocolate had a sort of sheen and coated the items well. We were definitely having fun dipping and noshing on the abundance of goodies!

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worried that the ice cream truffles would melt too quickly, but it didn’t turn out to be a problem 🙂

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

How much fun did we have?  Lots of fun!  The establishment was constantly busy the whole time we were there and the atmosphere was nice and cheerful 🙂  We had  really fun time!

 

 

Soirette Macarons & Tea

April 18, 2014

March 23rd, 2013. Soirette

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

A girls’ day with Anita calls for something special… Soirette!  On the West End at towards the end of Pender before you hit Stanley Park territory, this newish macaron and high tea place is tiny, but perfect for girly girls who love macarons!

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the coming of spring their cute window displays and sweet little décor details inside are just too cute not to take pictures!  Anita was running a little late, which gave me plenty of time to ogle the beautiful and dainty Macarons 🙂

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

All their desserts sweets are crafted in their baking kitchen in their back-of-house and every time the doors swing open you get tiny glimpses of the magic that happens behind the doors.

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tiny establishment is always booked full since there is such limited seating and limited time.  We had to do with just buying some to go.

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

I bought a dozen gorgeous little macarons of varying colors and flavors.  I can definitely say I prefer them to Thierry.  Light cloud of pastel colors imparted with dainty flavors.  I love how creamy and jammy  the centers are.  I was definitely impressed!

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!

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!!