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Posts posted by grayelf

  1. You're going to make out like a bandit with the favourable-to-US-visitors exchange rate! Dynasty is a great choice for dim sum as you can make reservations and it  has air conditioning. On the complete opposite end of the scale, Yummy Mammy is my favourite Chinese resto at the moment. No A/C, bare bones, in an out-of-the-way part of town but excellent if you love spicy. You can make reservations but there is a bit of a language barrier. Chinese can be as you know a bit harder to manage with only two diners but you'll do find if you order carefully. Or you'll have leftovers :-). Good luck and let us know what you come up with.

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  2. Just when I was complaining about a dearth of South American places in Vancouver...

    Mochikas Peruvian Cafe has recently opened at 1696 W. 5th, sharing the same building as an auto spa! I haven't tried it yet, but Sherman of Sherman's Food Adventures did - post here.

    Hey Kentan -- I stumbled across that place in mid-March -- you can check out the ramblings here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/695550?tag=search_results;results_list

  3. Nods to Vancookalex. Although even the carts we do have are not always offering the cheapest thing. I paid $7 for a European weiner at the stand in front of Future Shop on Broadway recently. Granted it had extra toppings (they have two special dog lids now to compete with Japadog) and was very tasty but that's getting out of cheap snack territory. And speaking of expensive (but exotic) snacks, they are developing a new dog that will be a mix of duck and pork, to be called the... wait for it... dork.

  4. That's the one. I actually went by today on my way to work. I got an apple turnover, which was very nice with flaky pastry and apple filling the way I like it, cooked down and not too sweet. I also got a mille feuille (jeesh, I hope I spelled that right, so much for 12 years of French) which was not so successful. It was huge ($4.30) but it was frozen nearly solid! I went back after work (not to whinge but because I had left a book behind) and the fellow who I take it was Fabrice asked what I thought of his wares. I told him about the congele situation and he said that he has to freeze that particular pastry in order to be able to cut it. He takes it out of the freezer at 8:30 each day but sadly it had nowhere near thawed when I got to it around 11:45. He insisted I take an eclair to make up for it. I don't know much about eclairs (not a big chocolate dessert guy) but this one weighed about 250g and was entirely dipped in a thick layer of dark chocolate. Inside it had a large amount of chocolate cream (not whipped cream but the thicker, granular stuff). It was not to my taste but as I said I am not the best judge of such a chocolatey extravaganza. I will stop in again to try other things such as their croissants and maybe one of the tasty-sounding sarnies. The one thing that makes me a bit sad about nearly all French pastry shops here is the lack of savoury pastries. I love savoury pastries...

  5. The Cioppino's example is a little excessive.

    I think the word you're looking for is hyberbolic :wink: and you're right -- I'm always getting in trouble for that. I guess a better way to have put it would be to have said that I would not swap a stand-and-gobble snack from a street vendor for a sit-down experience if that is what I was seeking to begin with. As others have said, eating choices made on the fly could tip in favour of carts at times, but with good legislation and positioning, I still think carts could be a fun addition to our food landscape. Peace.

  6. Thanks for sharing that awesome list Grayelf! Have you been to all of them or is that your to-do list? :wink:

    Mooshmouse I didn't know that Choppers had gone organic - or maybe they always were? When did they move?

    - and good to have you posting again!

    To quote myself (how indulgent!): "Here's my in-progress list of places, most of which I haven't tried yet (and some are unconfirmed re continued availability)" Plenty more snacking to do first hand!

    Also thanks Mooshmouse for reminding me about Choppers. It was on the list then off when it closed. I had heard it reopened but obviously forgot to add it back in. Nice to have reliable recent feedback on it too :smile:

  7. Baguette & Co (though I don't love the generic name) is worth a look after two tries. I particularly like the mini-pastries which are now $1.50 each or $4 for 3 (chocolate royale has gotten serious thumbs up twice from four tasters), and their tiny meringues are crunchy sweet goodness ($1.88 for 50 gram bag). I tried their whole wheat bread ($3.50) and milk bread ($1.50, more like a long bun) yesterday, both worthy, also.

    Hi grayelf - great to see you posting again! I hadn't been posting when you were active before, but I've read some of your previous reviews.

    Wow - the prices at Baguette & Co seem really good. And if their goods are tasty too, that's amazing. You didn't try a croissant though?

    Nice to be back! Both times I went the main mission was 'erts as we call them in the family. The breads were a bit of an add on. But now that you mention it I think this Sunday would be a good day for croissants. There is another newish French bakery I was reading about elsewhere, Sucre something, on Arbutus that also sounds promising. It is sooo nice to have choices for good French patisserie in Kits.

  8. I'm happy to see the greater diversity in Richmond but it doesn't do a heck of a lot for me in Kits. It seems to me street food is not really destination dining -- you grab something if you are in the area, or it's on your way to work etc. I find it hard to believe that any kind of street carts are going to compete seriously with most bricks and mortar establishments. I am not on my way to, say, Cioppino's for a sit-down dinner and suddenly decide to ditch my reso and get takoyaki off a cart -- just sayin'. Seems like with some judicious reorganization of licenses and pragmatic easing of bizarre limitations (no cheese on hot dogs during the Olympics, say what??) this would be doable without hurting existing restos.

  9. I've read postive comments about Giovane in the new Fairmont: Giovane. Anyone here been there?

    I've been meaning to try Giovane but haven't had the chance yet. Vancouverslop liked their desserts - link here.

    Another spot that's just opened is called Baguette & Co, at 3273 W Broadway, a few blocks west of MacDonald. Here's the Georgia Straight's blurb:

    "Owners Laurence Gatinel and Bernard Ho—she’s Parisian, he’s Lyonnaise—laboured nine long months before popping open the doors to pretty bakery Baguette & Co (3273 West Broadway) on April 1. French through and through (the baker is from Montpellier, the pastry chef, Ardèche), Baguette & Co delivers perfectly crusted baguettes ($2.50), irresistible mini pastries and financiers ($1), buttery palmiers ($2), and a showcase stocked with tempting berry tarts and cream-filled cakes ($1.75 to $5.75)."

    Timetochow.com provides some dessert porn photos gives it a thumbs-up. And none other than author William Gibson likes their croissants!

    Baguette & Co (though I don't love the generic name) is worth a look after two tries. I particularly like the mini-pastries which are now $1.50 each or $4 for 3 (chocolate royale has gotten serious thumbs up twice from four tasters), and their tiny meringues are crunchy sweet goodness ($1.88 for 50 gram bag). I tried their whole wheat bread ($3.50) and milk bread ($1.50, more like a long bun) yesterday, both worthy, also.

  10. I'm looking forward to trying Acme's too, though it's Sunday am opening time of 10 am is too late for me -- we're talking diner brekkys here not brunch, right?

    Anyone know the exact status of Save On Meats right now?

    Here's my in-progress list of places, most of which I haven't tried yet (and some are unconfirmed re continued availability), that I've been working on from various sources. I've added the ones I didn't have on my original document from posts above, so thanks for that. Names have been removed to protect the innocent :biggrin: :

    Diner breakfast and/or burgers

    Hamburger Marys, Davie & Bute, Vancouver

    Teresas Cafe, Denman, Vancouver

    The Grove Inn, Denman, Vancouver

    Ovaltine Cafe. (604) 685-7021 251 Hastings St E btwn Main and Gore breakfast all day till 8:30

    Grade 'A' Cafe at 1173 Granville at Davie is a fave. Looks more than a bit sketchy, and some of the clientèle might have shared a cell or psyc ward with you in the past, but it's well-run (the boss lady takes no shit from anyone, not even large crazy people), the food is as cheap as it gets, and it's not full of the trendy scum that fill the Templeton up on the next block. Breakfast until about 7pm every day except holidays.

    Smile Restaurant, 424 W Pender. It's huge and actually pretty clean and usually empty and lacks the edginess of the Grade A, but has the same Chinese-and-Canadian food theme, breakfast served all day, and the pancakes are good. Not sure how late they're open.

    Tacos Mexico Rico A little known fact is breakfast is now served: eggs scrambled with onions peppers and tomatoes, fresh cream and beans with a side of tortillas 9:30-11:30. $6.50 Dollar more for coffee. 309 West Pender at Hamilton (604) 688-7426

    Red Onion, 41st & Kerrisdale, Vancouver

    Arts Place, 41st & Balsam, Vancouver

    Lotus Eatery, 7th & Hemlock, Vancouver

    *Joes Grill on Fourth

    *Flying Swan on 4th

    The Diner 4556 W. 10th Ave., West Point Grey, 604-224-1912. This Point Grey staple has been doling out gravy-dressed shepherds pie and endless cups of sugary Joe for half a century. Kitschy décor full English fry-up ($7.85): bacon, sausage, egg, beans, tomato, and bread Breakfast is cheerfully offered until closing, around 11:30-6 or 7 p.m.

    *Paul's Place Restaurant & Omelettery South Granville breakfast haven featuring omelettes, corned beef hash and other specialties served all day. Paul ex- of Gladys 2211 Granville, 604-737-2857 7 am 3 pm 7 days

    **Sunshine Diner decent bennies, a bit expensive for what you get, décor is either quaint or too gaudy depending on how hungover you are, lineups after 9:30

    Flowers Café 337 E Hastings Street (604) 633-9987

    Uncle Henry's 547 E Hastings Street (604) 254-3629 Chinatown

    Roundel Cafe (Hastings at Nanaimo) 2465 East Hastings Street (604) 253-2522 Sorta similiar to Sebs May 2007

    Kings Cafe, Hastings, Vancouver

    Master Chef, E. Hastings, Vancouver

    Tom & Jerrys, Hastings and Kaslo, Vancouver

    Slocan Family Restaurant, Hastings & Slocan, Vancouver

    LT Cafe 1640 SE Kent Ave (604) 324-4828 below SE Marine just past Knight

    Ristys, 63rd & Granville, Vancouver

    Truck Stop Cafe 1046 Clark Street btwn Parker and Napier (604) 254-6331 East Van

    Teresas 1260 Commercial between William and Grant mondays 8-2pm, tuesdays - sundays 8-9pm (604) 676-1868 free-range eggs and our delicious baked home-fries; reasonably priced, breaky sandwiches, (wheat-free) pancakes, cream cheese French toast, organic porridge (note this is a coop owned and run by the workers)

    Renos, Broadway & Main, Vancouver

    Sunny Spot Café (on Main near Broadway) 872-1816

    Bert's Restaurant 2904 Main Street 604-876-1236 The problem with putting this place in a best-of list is that you might go there with inflated expectations. We're worried you'll sneer at the wood panelling, or snort at the single small television, or scoff at the unironic quaintness of the menu. It's just an old-timey diner, all right? There are no lattes here, no croissants, not even crazy crap on the walls. But oh my, the breakfast. Light, tender pancakes of satisfying size, appetizing colour, and pillowy texture. Perfectly poached eggs. Maple syrup. Crispy bacon. Mounds of hash browns. Best ethnic Canadian breakfast (GStraight 2007)

    Molly's on 2nd, right behind the CityTV studio

    Argo Cafe 1836 Ontario for a post-modern take on the diner (breakfast and lunch only -- be sure to check out the lunch specials like duck confit or seared tuna for like $12!?) weekdays only??

    Sebs 592 E Broadway (604) 228-4403 Great food, cool place, cheap, good veg options

    strawberry and Camembert omelette ($9.95) or the seared elk Benny ($9.95) served atop savoury biscuits with chipotle and wild berry hollandaise.

    Libby's Kitchen A recent change in ownership hasn't affected this homey little café one iota. From the charming antique stove in the entranceway, to the local artwork that hangs from saffron-coloured walls it's all warm. Big and cheerful patio hosts a munch of grilled panini with spicy capicollo, caramelized onion and sweet pepper mayo ($6.95); all-day breakfasts, and a daily soup and sandwich special for $5.95. A free WiFi connection that's as strong as the fair trade coffee lets you surf the net, with the help of those delicious triple chocolate brownies, of course. 3429 Porter St., East Side, 604-874-5547. $-$$

    Nice Café 154 East 8th (604) 874-4024, super cheap, fast, greasy spoon but nicer, lineups; 8-4 T-S 9:30-4 M 8-3

    Helen's Grill 874-4413 at Main & 25th I'm not so much a brunch person as I am a honkin' big breakfast person. For that I like Helen's Grill (Main & 25th) - very old-school, complete with little juke-boxes at each booth; breakfast served all day T-S 8-8 M8-5 Sun 8 am-7 depending how busy they are

    Bon's Off Broadway (2451 Nanaimo Street). Expect to wait up to half an hour weekend mornings. The seats are lumpy, the staff is sometimes surly, and the potatoes, though seasoned sublimely, are occasionally undercooked. this East Van institutionwith its battered booths, frayed carpets and poster-plastered yellow wallsis always full, serving its famous all-day breakfast for less than you'll find in your couch cushions. Just $3.95 gets you bottomless coffee, a heaping helping of eggs, sausage, hash browns and toast, plus a front-row seat to serious people watching-from Bon's motley crew of servers scurrying to handle the overflow to bleary-eyed patrons attempting to eat themselves out of a hangover. 2451 Nanaimo St., East Side, 604-253-7242. $

    Dona Cata 5076 Victoria drive (604) 436-2232‎ now serving breaky Tues to Sat 9-2

    Deacons Corner Monday to Friday 7am - 3pm Weekends 9am - 3pm 101 Main Street Vancouver BC (corner of Alexander St.) 604.684.1555email: info@deaconscorner.ca (Gastown/Railtown)

    Dockers Diner aka Dockers Grill 1869 Powell Street (604) 254-3732 (May 2007 Brand UD) plentiful booths, clean restaurant and immaculate bathroom, and the friendly attitude of owner Joanne and her regular waitresses. Food is standard diner fare, with some Greek specialties, but they are open to substituting salad for fries or hashbrowns. Dinehere Apr 2008 (Outer Railtown) liver and onions, pancakes, egg breakfasts

    Steveston Hotel Restaurant, Steveston, Richmond

    Net Shed, Steveston, Richmond

    Sandwich Tree, Cambie Road, Richmond

    Fishermans Boot, Steveston, Richmond

    Hilltop Cafe, 240th & Fraser Hwy., Aldergrove

    Poultry in Motion, Marine, White Rock

    Skyhawk Restaurant, Boundary Bay Airport

    Tommy's 1308 Ross Road 604-988-0053 NVan

    Corner Cafe, 15th & Pemberton, North Vancouver

    Lynnwood Hotel, Main & Mountain, North Vancouver

    Highboat Cafe, Mosquito Creek Marina, North Vancouver

    Whytecliffe Park canteen, West Vancouver

    Calvin's Café 2452 Marine Dr., West Vancouver, 604-922-4222 This tiny spot in West Van has an easygoing community feel during the week, but can quickly become an asylum of wet wool and Gore-Tex on Sunday mornings. Its the cheapest restaurant in Dundarave, and it offers standard daily quiches and consistently good omelettes that often lure walk-ins away from the excellent crêpes. But stick with your gut instinct and go for the Crêpe Princess: filled with spinach and Swiss cheese and served with real-deal hollandaise, its a steal for a measly $8.50 (all brunch items are the same price). Coffee refills are as timely as the service, which is breakneck at best and genuine at worst.

    The Moodyville (Lonsdale and 1st) $4.99

    Cosmos, Sperling & Hastings, Burnaby

    Parkcrest Diner, Broadway, Burnaby

    Big 6 Restaurant on Sixth Street just west of 10th Avenue, a handy pit stop before heading into town or over the Pattullo Bridge. seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends, Trucker's Special, a hearty plate of two eggs any style, buttered toast, four rashers of bacon, a pile of crisp panfried potatoes and coffee, for $3.75. family owned, busiest first thing in the morning Everything, says Kara, is homemade, including the pancakes, which are eggy and heavier than any mix you'll ever try and will keep you full until at least dinnertime, along with all the other robust fare, swimming in butter and calories, just as it should be, seats 60

    Pauls, Hastings St., North Burnaby

    Fraser Park Restaurant, Byrne Rd., Burnaby

    Amelias, two locations, New Westminster

    Rosies Country Cafe, King George Hwy., Surrey

    Round-up Cafe, King George Hwy., Surrey

    The Roadhouse, 160th & King George Hwy., Surrey

    Fresgo Inn, King George Hwy., Surrey

    Rockos, Lougheed Highway, Mission

    Kitchen on the Ridge, 224th & Lougheed, Mission

    Michaels, Lougheed Hwy., Mission

    Home Restaurant, Maple Ridge

    Bobby Sox 50s Diner, Maple Ridge

    Dots Cafe, Langley

    Willards (or Dayrunner), 200th & 96th, Langley

    Craigs Cafe, Austin Ave., Coquitlam

    Pocos Cafe, Shaughnessy, Port Coquitlam

    Hopewell Chinese Kitchen, Coquitlam

  11. Just thought I'd post a quick report on Chuan Xiang Ge. DylanK, grayelf, grayelf's SO - J, and I went there a couple of nights ago. Overall, the food was very polished and delicious. There were some subtle compromises made to appeal to the local palate (eg, a bit of Cantonizing, toning down of heat, etc).


    From the sounds of things (and DylanK can back me up), we can ask for a purely Sichuan meal from the chef and he can deliver it without compromises. The slight authenticities were most likely a result of a their misunderstanding of our expectations. This is my 4th time there (first 3 for lunch) and I would definitely recommend it....just make sure to be clear to them about your preferences.

    I'd also add that everyone at the table prefered S&W Pepperhouse (Burnaby) for its bustling ambiance, unmuted flavours and in-your-face Sichuaness.

    I would personally like to complete the snapshot of the current state of Sichuan here in town with a couple more visits to Chuan Xiang Ge and a couple more visits to Golden Spring (Xiao Sichuan).

    Are we missing any authentically Sichuan places that we should check out? I've discounted Golden Szechuan, Szechuan Restaurant on Saba, Szechuan House (two locations - Bby, and Cambie) for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have improved of late and deserve a second chance?


    Hey fmed -- sorry to contradict you just a trice, but I actually prefer both the grub and the atmosphere at CXG so far (having visited it twice and the two S&Ws once each, so a tiny sample). Not that I disliked either S&W, I just preferred CXG. I was in love with the water boiled fish at CXG which although deffo milder than the other two's versions, was I thought a better fish (not sure what kind).

  12. Thanks to nondual for some other ideas about what to order here -- I've been twice now and only just scratched the surface of the tome-like menu, not to mention what is likely a formidable off menu selection! I feel it is incumbent to try the chicken with chiles at every Sichuan resto and I haven't done that yet. We had the kidney flowers yesterday (along with the lapin morsels, the ma po doufu and the cold chicken with spicy... (that's what it's called on the menu) and while they were all tasty, that kidney was excellent. Smooth and creamy with a tiny bit of chew, it soaked up the sauce but retained a nice porky taste of its own. I can't believe I'm raving about an offal dish but there you are.

    Hey Dylan -- can you write out the westernized name of the dish you are describing at Xi'an? I just get little cubes where the Chinese

    characters are :biggrin:

  13. A Mexican sandwich place called 'Las Tortas' looks to be opening soon in the Cambie Village between 17th + 18th Avenues. They were having a private party yesterday when I walked by so the kitchen must be ready!

    Thanks for the new intel, Kentan. I saw it on Sunday and was informed it had been stuck at the paper on the windows stage since May -- perhaps they finally got all their permits?? Can't wait to try it though the idea of "gourmet" Mexican tortas per the signage strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron.

    Big time contractor and permit problems - they open to the public on Friday, I have eaten here twice the tortas are brilliant, they bake their own bread. I will be back for more.

    I'm sorry they had to go through development hell but glad it wasn't something more permanent like lack of funds. Thanks for the first hand report on the treats -- I wonder if I can make it over tomorrow. You don't happen to know the hours/phone number, Marcus? I'm wondering if they're a lunch only place...

  14. A Mexican sandwich place called 'Las Tortas' looks to be opening soon in the Cambie Village between 17th + 18th Avenues. They were having a private party yesterday when I walked by so the kitchen must be ready!

    Thanks for the new intel, Kentan. I saw it on Sunday and was informed it had been stuck at the paper on the windows stage since May -- perhaps they finally got all their permits?? Can't wait to try it though the idea of "gourmet" Mexican tortas per the signage strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron.

  15. I visited and I wonder if it was just a bad night.  Tried the chashu miso and the broth really tasted like the type that use the instant powder.  Soup was lukewarm, and the pork, corn, and bamboo were all cold to the touch.

    Off night?  Or permanent change?

    That's a drag. Ours didn't taste "bottled" at all, and there were deffo no heat (or lack of heat) issues. But keep in mind we are by no means ramen (or okonomiyaki) experts. Maybe we lucked out??

  16. Alan Richman, in his usual sardonic style, comments on Vancouver in the August 2009 Bon Appetit:
    Nobody in this southwest Canadian metropolis ever speaks badly of ingredients, unless the stuff comes from somewhere else. Vancouver is the heartland of every admirable (and sometimes infuriating) food cause you've ever encountered—local, sustainable, organic, and eco-gastronomical among them.

    Read the full article here.

    Thanks for the link, barolo, I really enjoyed the article, especially his description of Thomas Haas :laugh: but I was surprised that there was no mention of John Bishop who seems to have been the first to embrace this type of sourcing here. I hope you don't mind if I post this link elsewhere with credit to you for finding it of course.

  17. Seeing this thread again makes me just have to say that Menya has gone downhill since it opened.  They just aren't consistent sadly.

    It appears that, since ramen is such a work of the artisan, consistency has always been the issue. Who's the person standing in front of the stockpot makes all the difference.

    I remember first visiting Kintaro within weeks of its opening and fell in love with the place, it being so so so much better than Ezogiku, then the only other authentic ramen shop in Vancouver. It stayed good for several years, until the owner decided to venture out and be an investor rather than just a ramen-master, handing over the noodle-strainer to lesser and younger chaps. I have never been back since he could no longer be found behind the counter. The story seems to be repeating itself somewhat at Motomachi Shokudo. Benkei's quality, while remaining mostly acceptable, varies quite a bit. The broth is also a bit too rich for my taste -- but then I am on par to redeeming my fifth free bowl of ramen from them regardless! I have only been to Menya once when it first opened; I like some, but not all, of its offerings.

    Deli Nippon's okonomiyaki comes in three flavours: pork, beef (I think...) and Italian. Again very simply-prepared and not the over-done ones like some others. But since it is Hiroshima style, you'd better like ramen if you ordered it. Where else can one get respectable okonomiyaki in Vancouver anyway?

    But Deli Nippon's miso ramen is truly something to try.

    Thanks in part to your comments, we went to Deli Nippon last weekend and really enjoyed it. The ramen was indeed excellent (we had the syoyu and the miso) and the okonomiyaki was double brill. Almost as good as Modern Club in its heyday, which is the only other place in Vancouver I've had the Hiroshima style and liked it. Sadly, the service was so ridiculously slow that we finally gave up on it and haven't been back in ages. I especially liked that they would put your meat of choice on the outside of the 'cake so it would crisp up nicely... ah well, Deli Nippon is a very good substitute with almost no waiting! Thanks again. Oh and did I mention the okonomiyaki is dinner plate sized and a good inch tall? I took half home for my lunch the next day...

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