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Posts posted by eatvancouver

  1. Two new 'downs to report: the xiaolongbao-down and the dim sum smackdown

    Any recommendations on where to hit would be much appreciated. 


    My friends and I have been slowly and steadily pitting XLB vs. XLB, dimsum vs. dimsum, etc. vs. etc. (we have "battles" as opposed to smackdown's but the idea is the same) in Vancouver. Unfortunately, we never tend to try many more than 1 or 2 places as official contenders (graduate school is bad for restaurant battling).

    For XLB, I'd suggest trying City Temple of Shanghai restaurant on Main and 22nd-ish. They do a quite serviceable XLB, and is a more manageable size than at The Place (we still like The Place just a tiny bit better though). We tried it before trying The Place (this was back in October). Here's a description I wrote up of what we had:

    City Temple of Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

    We ordered: chicken w/wine sauce, crispy shell prawns shanghai style, xiao long bao, juicy pan fried pork buns, spicy string beans, fried rice cake shanghai style.

    Chicken w/ Wine Sauce. This was really good. It looks like a typical chinese cold chicken, but the flavor was intense with a chinese rice wine. Like sake marinated chicken. Super flavorful, moist and delicious.

    Crispy Shell Prawns Shanghai Style. These were also good. I'm not sure what the sauce is that they use when cooking things "Shanghai Style", something soy based and faintly sweet, it sort of melds flavors together. The prawns were nicely cooked, crispy skin with tender shrimp inside, their flavor was still able to shine through the sauce.

    Xiao Long Bao. These were very good. The trick to XLB is the wrapping. It must be strong enough to hold together when you pick it up with your chopsticks without puncturing and leaking the soup, however, can't be too chewy; the more delicate the better. Its a fine balance that must be achieved, and these handle pretty admirably (just faintly too thick, but better than leaking). The soup and the pork filling were also quite good, but not as overwhelmingly flavorful that I know XLB are capable of. I would have liked a more intense vinegar and more ginger more finely chopped in the dipping dish; something to help bring out the rich pork flavors of the dumpling and soup. Overall though, these XLB outperform those I've had at dimsum in Vancouver thus far.

    Juicy Pan Fried Pork Buns. These are essentially like the pan fried gyoza version XLB. For fried gyoza, I think they are quite good, I mean, they have the soup inside which automatically makes them better. However, in contrast to the XLB, they're all thick-skinned and oilier from the pan frying than XLB... Still, quite tasty.

    Spicy String Beans. These were alright. The fat pieces of green bean packed a lot of natural sweetness, but I felt they lacked the crisp crunch, either from being cooked a tad long or from being a little old. Also, they didn't really pack much spice. Definitely had better elsewhere.

    Fried Rice Cake Shanghai Style. Nice chewy thin-sliced rounds of rice cake, cooked with small strips of pork and chopped napa cabbage in that "Shanghai Style" sauce. Here the flavor melding rendered everything a little bland. I do really like the chewiness of the rice cake pieces though, but a pretty boring dish.

    So, the XLB battle is off to a pretty good start. City Temple of Shanghai Chinese Restaurant has some other dishes that were quite nice and has XLB worth a repeat visit for (I rate the XLB a 7/10 on the international XLB scale*.). Thus, there's definitely still room for others in Vancouver to prove their xiao long bao reign supreme.

    For dimsum, I'm a pretty big fan of Kirin. Red Star on Granville (a couple blocks from The Place) is also quite good, and they have egg tarts (I grew up eating dimsum every week, and as a kid, egg tarts established themselves as a dimsum standard for me). Kirin doesn't have egg tarts.... :sad: but pretty much delicious everything else.

    * I lived in Taipei for almost 2 years. all XLB is scored against Din Tai Feng.

    Nice. This sounds like some kind of tournament style (march madnessesque) 'down. i love the idea.

  2. I think Boulud's tone about this whole takeover has been patronizing, as in look at us big New Yorkers coming in to show you yobs how it's done. I'll clean up that mess… Daniel Boulud: the cleaner!

    If you could provide a quote or something to back this up, that might be helpful. Because I don't think that's an impression that anyone else is getting from the information that is out there.

    I guess what gets me most here is what's looking like a complete disregard for the man's work. Boulud is going to Vancouver because Vancouver is a great food city. Correct me if I'm wrong (and as I’m an outsider I may be), but didn't Rob Feenie have a lot to do with that?

    I don't think what you expect and what's reasonable here are even close to the same thing. The owners and Feenie did not part on the most amicable of terms and for all intents and purposes, this is a new business venture. Both parties have moved on; why should they promote comparisons between their new chef and Rob Feenie? By your logic, every restaurant should pay homage to Feenie because he was one of many who helped shape the culinary landscape. Like most everything you've said, this is preposterous.

  3. Is this really such good news for Vancouver? Bring in the big guy from New York to show us lowly Canadians how it's done.

    If someone chooses to frame it that way (and I'm guessing few do), that would only serve to shed light on the insecurities of the framer. At the end of the day it's just a business decision - this guy is obviously a high profile guy being brought in to replace another high profile guy. Of course, you can read into it whatever you want.

  4. I was talked into going to Vina on Denman , and I learned a lesson , by far the worst vietnamese food in vancouver , tasteless pho  , no basil , no lime , had to ask repeatedly for sprouts , large bowl would be called a small anywhere else  :angry: , in fact I can't really call it vietnamese food  , that would be unfair to the culture and cuisine of Vietnam

    It sounds like the runner up for Georgia Strait's 2006 golden plate in Vietnamese has had a tough couple of years.


  5. If you can make it up to Whistler, Chris Field at the Bearfoot Bistro is one of the top oyster guys in the area. Some of the oysters come from his own farm. Provided he's not slammed, he's always willing to drop some knowledge.

    I'm not sure if the deal is still available, but they used to have a promotion where you could get a dozen oysters for $10 from 3-6pm. That's a steal.

  6. Everyone loves a good old fashioned Pho Down!

    I'm excited to see the article!  How do the places get on the shortlist for a visit?

    I know my criteria weighs heavily on, of course, the soup but also the freshness of the basil. The basil for me is key.  The Cilantro falls just behind that.

    It's true, every once in a while, the world just needs a phodown. A bit of phodown triva for you: I often get flack because the traditional pronunciation of pho (fuh) makes the pun we are going for rather pointless. That's a valid point, of course, but who really pronounces it correctly anyway?

    Anyway, I'm a broth man myself, but we also give points for beef, noodles, condiments (basil weighs in heavily) and general service and atmosphere. The points are broken down into categories so you can pay more attention to what interests you.

    We go to places based on reader recommendation, e-gullet searches, and sometimes just driving around Hastings, Kingsway and Fraser. I am always on the lookout for a hot pho tip, so all of your comments are definitely valuable to me!

  7. 90% of the diners at Rare were City Dine, 40% at Metro. I am surprised. Great nights at both restaurants, but why did 60% go al a carte at Metro. I think the City Dine menu is great at Metro ~ I suspect that a lot of City Dine customers went al a carte. I did sell a lot of local game meat tonight.

    Well isn't Rare more of a prix fixe kind of place anyway? so if you are going to that type of place, might as well get the deal. but metro seems more of an a la carte type of place so it might be less of an option going into it.

  8. Meh, Rare got the same treatment and seems to be doing just fine.

    The only thing that confused me was, "The deer was so tough I thought I was eating shoe leather. With meat this lean, it needs more than a quick grill. "

    I always thought that lean meats needed to be cooked more rare than usual, because they dry out easier.

  9. Marble Slab Creamery - an ice cream place that looks like it escaped from a mall in the suburbs - is open beside St Germain bakery. Line ups every time i've walked by.

    I think i saw a blurb on this on TV once. It kinda looked good, especially on a hot day. I think they take icecream and a bunch of toppings and mix it all together on a chilled marble slab so it stays cold.

    Isn't that just Cold Stone Creamery but with a different name?

    As far as I can tell, nothing except less singing.

  10. Here we go again!  Shall we all debate this concept again?  Is it fair to review a restaurant in the first days of opening?  No?  Or if they are open, they are open, 10% discount or not?

    IMO - If you review a place in the first stages, at least mention that it has just opened and that it may be going through some growing pains.

    I wasn't attempting to start a debate over whether it is right or wrong to review a restaurant in its first week or so, but simply stating that given the precedent, it will almost certainly happen. Right or wrong, it is what it is. Vancouver simply doesn't have, or perhaps it can't support a dominant paper like a Washington Post or NY Times that can afford to allow its reviewer to visit a restaurant 3 or more times, and hold off on a review for a few weeks, while smaller rags dig in.

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