Wednesday, July 20, 2011


So, after over 100 posts on food, I am retiring from this blog. Hubbs and I go out to eat fairly often and it has become a nearly-impossible task to keep these places straight in our minds, much less remember sufficient detail in order to blog about them. And pictures - well, mostly we're too hungry to take 'em and by the time we remember, the food is decimated.

Here's a summarized list of a few of our "regular" favourites (some of which have already appeared on this blog) if you so wish to venture out and give them a try:

DIM SUM: Golden Ocean in Kerrisdale
FORMAL DIM SUM: Sea Harbour in Richmond, Sun Sui Wah in Richmond
CHINESE NOODLES: Legendary Noodle on Denman, Shanghai Chinese Bistro downtown
CHINESE DELIVERY: Szechuan Chongqing on Robson
INFORMAL CHINESE: No. 9 in Richmond
CHINESE BAKERY: New Town Bakery in Richmond or Chinatown

Le Crocodile in downtown Van, Fraiche in North Van

Dream Sushi on Main, Shuraku downtown
SUSHI: Toshi on Main, Ajisai in Kerrisdale
OMAKASE: Octopus Garden in Kits, Sushi Kimura in Van
RAMEN: Benkei Ramen (various locations)
IZAKAYA: Guu** (but this may change since we've yet to try Hapa and a few others)
AYCE JAPANESE: Tomokazu on Broadway, Ninkazu in Richmond

ITALIAN: Quattro on Fourth in Vancouver
PIZZA: Firewood Cafe, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., and Bibo on 4th
PIZZA/CAFE: Sciue downtown! Best pizza actually.
GELATO: Hubbs likes Bella Gelato downtown, and I like Casa Gelato on Venables St.

KOREAN: Jang Mo Jib (various locations), and Hanwoori in Burnaby

FOOD CART/STAND: Roaming Dragon (downtown)

MEXICAN: Don Guacamole's downtown

SEAFOOD: Blue Water Cafe, then Joe Forte's (both downtown, in that order)

STEAKHOUSE/SEAFOOD: Boathouse (various locations)

BAKERY: Richlea in Delta, La Baguette on Granville Island

BURGER: Romer's Burger Bar on 4th, Deluxe Moderne Burger on Broadway, and Vera's Burger Shack (various locations) in that order

DESSERT: True Confections on Broadway, Sweet Obsession on Trafalgar, Beard Papa's

BREAKFAST: Paul's Place Omelettry on Granville

VIET FUSION: Chau on Robson

INDIAN: Vij's, Vij's Rangoli in Van

Happy eating, everyone!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Le Crocodile

Food: * * * * * / 5

Service: * * * * / 5

Best meal in recent memory! This place is pricey but worth it - both quality and quantity are high, and the menu was diverse and full of fabulous French flair. Pictures = 1000 words so here they are:

Our amuse bouche: a delicious, creamy, flaky tart.

Next, Hubbs had the foie gras and scallop. It was ample, to say the least.

I had the bone marrow, since *nobody* serves it so I figured it was once-in-a-lifetime. I should've shared it with Hubbs since it was huge and very very rich, and there was no way I could finish it and still eat my entree.

Then came le Crocodile's signature fries (pommes frites). They were super skinny and short, like Hickory Sticks chips but even skinnier, and super crunchy. Delicious.

Hubbs had a large lobster as his entree. He finished it but I think he was stuffed by the time he was done. He tells me it was really really good.

I, of course, had the duck breast with foie gras. It was perfectly done and tender, and the foie gras was sizeable (though not as huge as Hubbs' appie piece), but the bone marrow had filled me up so much that I had to give half my meal away to Hubbs (which is why he was so stuffed)!.

Then we both got a lovely sorbet (pear with poire liqueur) to cleanse our palettes.

Next came dessert! Hubbs had a tiramisu in a chocolate cup. I don't think it was the best he's had but it was still really good (enough for him to eat all of it up in spite of his fullness).

I tried their dessert tart, which came with a lovely sentiment on the plate :) It was very tasty but I still prefer the apple pie at Joey's by a slight margin.

And, along with the bill, came two little house-made chocolate crocodiles. They were really good too but I was too full to eat even one, and so my dear Hubbs once again had to hoover down my portion. What a sweetie!

Basically, go to le Crocodile to celebrate major events. It will set you back a few hundred (especially with wine) but it's an experience that everyone must have at least a few times in one's lifetime. I was thoroughly impressed and we will definitely be back.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Duffin's Donuts

Food: * * * * 1/2

Service: N/A

Okay, technically I didn't eat here so I can't really comment about the food. We just bought a couple of donuts to go, and the one that sticks in my memory is their delicious glazed donut. It brings me back to the days of my youth, when "Baker Bob" at the local Co-op bakery would whip up the most fluffy and crispy glazed donuts known to man. Duffin's donut comes dangerously close to Baker Bob's, so on that donut alone I think it's a great place to go. That said, don't ask me about tortas or the Chinese food that they also serve; I think it's very very strange that a place can serve food from so many different cultures in one spot. I'll be back..but just for donuts.


Food: * * * 1/2

Service: * * *

This place is busy busy, so service can be inattentive and/or slow as a result. Totally hit-and-miss. The food was pretty tasty but not as good as my favourite, Q4. We shared both the appie and pasta platters, which I thought weren't nearly as filling as they looked to be. Prices were standard for mid-range Italian dining, and the whole restaurant had a total cocktail-lounge-party feel about it that was a bit off-putting for me (though maybe if I was a scantily clad, stiletto-wearing bar star, I might think it was the best place ever). It's probably a good place to go with friends but not so much for a romantic dinner with your Hubbs; the demographic they cater to probably skews younger and trendier.

Moderne Burger

Food: * * * * 1/2

Service: * * * *

It's a burger joint with a '50's diner feel, so good service here is totally different than good service at a 5-star restaurant. However, for what it is the service was great, and our orders came quickly. The burgers were *huge* as were the fries on the side, so we ended up sharing my side rather than ordering fries for both Hubbs & I. Apparently the fries are cut and fried as you order them, so they are fresh. They also don't taste like greasy fries; they sort of taste like potato chips. I'm thinking maybe it's because they are preservative free, like the burgers are. I will be back whenever I next have a mondo burger craving. Prices are reasonable ($10.95 for burger + fries), and one day when my heart is feeling particularly healthy, I might even try one of their thick milkshakes. It's a fun lunch or a cheap dinner date place. Oh - and bring cash. That's what they take.

The Boathouse

Food: * * * *
Service: * * * *

We were here months ago during their Lobster Fest, so details are a bit vague in my mind now. Food was solid and service was attentive and non-intrusive. Prices were not super expensive but still skewed higher due to the seafood/steak specialization. I had the prime rib. It was tasty and not over done. Hubbs had the lobster and he enjoyed it a lot; he thought the portion was very generous. In my mind, it's the place to go if you don't want to spend lots and lots of money (like at le crocodile or C or Blue Water Cafe) but you also want something that's a step up from Joey's. It seemed like it could even be kid-friendly (to a point), and the place was large enough to accommodate families.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

Food: * * * * 1/2

Service: * * *

Best dim sum (upscale) that we've had in the greater Van area, and the place takes reservations too! Fresh har gow with a nice thin skin, great twists on normal dishes (e.g. pork floss on the crispy donut wrapped in a rice roll), and tasty sticky rice pockets. Ask for the English menu though; the default is all-Chinese. Parking is free, though beware the idiots who park in spaces that aren't actually spots, blocking your exit from the parking lot! Decor is much more classy than other dim sum places (dark wood and ivory, with red accents). Service is reasonable though not expedient, so be prepared to wait. Even people with reservations have to wait, so don't go when you're starving. Otherwise, excellent dim sum. We'll definitely be back!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gramercy Grill - DOV 2010

Food: * * * *

Service: * * * *

What a lovely neighbourhood grill! For $28 we couldn't go wrong here; portions were fair (not huge, and the dessert could've been bigger for Hubbs' chocolate thing), food was very tasty (Hubbs *loved* his scallop appie), and on a drizzly rainy Van day, it was a nice place to enjoy a meal. Ambiance is definitely more casual and even arguably kid-friendly, so upscale this is not (even though the dark wood furniture suggests an attempt at business-casual). However, it's definitely several steps up from most family-friendly restaurants, and the food is way better than any chain restaurant willing to entertain people dragging in their little tykes. Good place to hit up if you want a quality meal but don't feel like dressing up fancy and putting on pretenses.

Le Gavroche - DOV 2010

Food: * * * *

Service: * * * *

Inside a quaint little house is a romantic little French restaurant. Food was solid and portions were generous and tasty. My only complaint would be that the potatoes on my entree were a bit cold :S Otherwise, service was attentive and food was hearty in a home-cooked kind of way; do not expect to compare these dishes against the more upscale French dining in the city, which offer greater subtlety and refinement. This is like the B&B of French cuisine in the area, not the 5-star luxury resort hotel of French food. Ambiance was quiet and intimate, though there *was* a raucous table that annoyed me greatly when we were there. Priced at $38 for the DOV menu, I'd say it was worth it. Delicious and I would definitely come back again (but maybe not in a group - it's a good place to go for just the two of ya).

hidden - DOV 2010

Food: * * * * 1/2

Service: * * * *

The former Aria at the Westin Grand got a facelift and is now called hidden lounge. It's small and cozy, the booths and chairs are comfy, and the look is supposed to be somewhat chic for the Sex-and-the-City-loving, cosmo-sipping crowd. DOV dishes were tasty and unique (I think the chef had fun designing the menu) but portions were small on their $18 menu. Guess I shouldn't have expected a full meal deal for that price, but because we got the full meal elsewhere for the same price, I was hoping for more than appie-sized entrees. It is a great place to go for exotic beers; their menu for this is ridiculous and Hubbs had a chocolate beer! Anyway, Hubbs loved it, but I thought it was good but over-priced. Go for a drink and to gossip, but maybe not if you're really hungry.

PS - We had to pay more for the bread, but it was delicious.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mr. Pickwick's Fish and Chips

Food: * * * *

Service: * * * 1/2

The Denman location was busy busy busy on a Friday night. The servers worked hard there, but there was definitely a wait for the piping hot, freshly battered and fried fish. Fish selection was great, and that batter is probably the best fish and chips batter I've had. Hubbs liked dousing his chips in vinegar (yuck, really?). I thought entrees were quite sizeable for the cost. Not sure it would've passed a Ramsay examination but I could ignore the tacky decor and what I saw in the "open kitchen" since the food was satisfactory. It's a casual dine-in sort of place, and one where you might have to wait, but if you're craving fish and chips (or bangers or mushy peas), this is apparently the place for them!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Firewood Cafe

Food: * * * * 1/2

Service: * * * 1/2 (Take-out)

Last minute decision to have pizza for dinner, and we hit up this tiny little place on 14th and Cambie. Impressive giant forno oven in their open kitchen - this was definitely a pizza place. They mostly do delivery/take-out and in-house dining space is very very limited. Pizza was thin-crust, well loaded with toppings, and deliciously flavourful. Our new Van favourite, and as good (if not better) than Ragazzi / Pizza Boys in E-town. Pizzas here aren't cheap, but worth the $ IMHO. Call ahead for take-out. A much better alternative to the boring pizza chains out there. :)