Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Cindy’s Palace, dim sum take out

Family gatherings are far and few in between now, but I make the effort to see my parents and share a meal of them regularly. Today dinner would be dim sum from one of my parent’s favourite Chinese restaurants. One that just so happens to be offering 20% off take out. You call ahead, place your order and are then good to go 30 minutes later.

The following is what we as a family enjoy and would order if able to dine out more freely. I really enjoyed the plastic containers they are using here, although at the same time feel we got less food because they are trying to accommodate its limited volume.

The Steamed pork Dumplings are a classic and as tasty as ever.

We definitely felt that we didn’t get enough Steamed Spareribs & Pumpkin with Black Bean Sauce for the price we paid. At least there were tender pieces of meat that you put into your mouth and with tongue and teeth, easily pull meat from bone.

I really liked the texture of the gelatine-like beef tendon and chewy beef tripe in their thick and juicy special brown sauce.

Another great one with an enjoyable chew is the Steamed Baby Squid in Curry Sauce. This was a mild curry with a little hint of sweetness.

The Steamed Sticky Rice Wrapped with Bamboo Leaf was definitely condensed. Three bites of rice with bits of pork, Chinese sausage, and mushroom. It could have used more filing and a salted egg for a better filling to rice ratio.

The Chicken feet with special sauce was exactly as expected. A great flavoured coupled with the need to eat tediously and precisely.

We also really liked the Deep fried tofu stuffed with shrimp and fish paste in black bean sauce. These were square blocks of tofu, topped with shrimp, all battered and deep fried. The tofu was perfectly soft, nothing over cooked.

And to be sure no one left the table hungry, we also ordered Beef rice noodles in soy sauce. It has a great flavour when the noodles weren’t sticking together, and each strand got a full coating in soy, dying it brown. This one hit the spot.

Dim sum is all about eating lots of smaller bites, with plenty of variety to go back and forth on. On that note, my mother had a great idea. In order to better serve dim sum during covid, she suggests offering split orders between four and have them delivered to you all packaged like a bento. Now to see which Chinese restaurant jumps on this idea!

1796 Nanaimo St, Vancouver BC

The Keg, Dine Out Vancouver 2021

I was gifted a Keg gift card, so figured the best way to maximize its sum was to visit during Dine Out Vancouver. “Dine Out” is the food focused event that invites patrons in to local restaurants to try their menus, for less. At The Keg it is 3 courses for $50. I came with a bubble buddy so was able to try both appetizer and dessert options, and 2/4 of the available entrees.

We visited during happy hour so indulged in a $6 1oz spicy and salty caesar and a glass of their house red on tap.

The Keg Caesar was pretty standard, your classic shredded romaine lettuce tossed with aged Parmesan cheese and the Keg’s creamy dressing. It could have used some bacon for texture and salty contrast.

I would recommend the Wild Mushroom Soup out of the two. This was a cream based broth with additional sour cream that you stirred in. It was a very hearty soup with plenty of large mushroom slices hidden within. It was very earthy, when I could have used more cream.

Oddly, we all preferred the complimentary loaf of warm bread and churned butter more as an appetizer. So much so that we filled up prematurely on second servings.

For entrees we skipped the pistachio crusted salmon and went for steak, considering this was The Keg. We also passed on the New York striploin for the Sirloin and Lobster Tail combination instead. This was a 6oz top sirloin accompanied by heirloom carrots, and an Atlantic lobster tail with plenty of melted butter. Plus your choice of side. The sides are all potato friendly options: fries, mashed, or twice baked. Here, the latter was a great pairing. With it, this was the right amount of food, all well prepared and harmonious with plenty of flavour.

If you are extra hungry, I suggest ordering the Prime Rib meal instead. A 14oz slab of red meat partnered with horseradish and a red wine au jus that you can adjust the amount of to your preference. Here, the mashed potato was the perfect accompaniment, as there was plenty of jus to drizzle over the fluffy mound of potato purée as well as prime rib. And the horseradish was a great way to kick up the flavour, adding contrast and interest.

For dessert, my pick is the popular Billy Miner Pie, for taste and size. This is a mocha ice cream cake on a chocolate crust, topped with hot fudge, caramel. and almonds slivers. A solid ice cream cake made less sweet with the hint of coffee. I especially liked the crumble crust and the crispy almonds for the texture they provided.

The other option is their cheesecake. A thick and creamy cheese with a cherry sauce that included whole cherries. I liked the butter in the graham cracker crust. But couldn’t get past being able to make out the texture of the coarse sugar within the cheese mixture. It was a graininess I was not partial too. Whereas the tart cherries were delightful in the contrast they provided, balancing out the sweetness.

This was a meal where you get what you expected, and leave with leftovers.

1499 Anderson St Granville Island, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R5

The Blind Rabbit

Looking for a spot before dinner, local food blogger @pickydiner and I found ourselves at a local bar on Hastings. Being a gin enthusiast, he has always wanted to visit this gin focused bar, so given that our restaurant reservations were a few blocks away, today was the day.

The decor was cozy with loungers and sofas accented with mirrors, for a modern Alice in Wonderland feel. We sat in one of these nooks, but the bar facing their collection of over 65 different gin bottles is where I would have preferred.

Seeing as they specialize in the stuff, we took the opportunity to build our own gin & tonic choosing our preferred gin, flavoured tonic, and garnishes. We both went for an ounce from a local BC distillery, over an international label.

@PickyDiner went with a hibiscus theme which came out with a more fruity berry flavour, than the florally one expected. The Tofino rose hibiscus gin with Barker and Quin’s tonic water in hibiscus, garnishing it with dried hibiscus flowers, mint, and lime. The gin is already over ice, within a handsome glass goblet. You then pour the tonic over it all yourself, choosing how much you want to add in. Here, I realize you are basically paying for reach individual item: the shot of gin and the bottle of tonic.

I went less sweet and more savoury with the Fermentorium Stump gin with cedar notes. Then pairing it with the Barker and Quin’s marula tonic water. Marula is a South African fruit similar to yuzu (that I learned on this day). And to finish, my garnishes were rosemary and lemon. I preferred my creating? liking how refreshing it came out.

And because I have never heard of pairing gin with charcuterie, let alone a bar dedicated to the pairing, we had to try one of their boards. But since this was the drink before dinner, we kept it light with their intro board, meant for 1, but enough for 2. 2 meats, 1 soft cheese, 1 hard cheese, and accoutrements: salty, nuts, fruit, crostini, focaccia. It was a nice mix to graze and nibble on as your chat and sip.

Overall, I really liked the idea and energy of the bar. Laidback, yet still a little dressy. A nice place to chill and one I would frequent if it was walking distance from my home.

The Blind Rabbit
2531 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z210
(604) 423-9463

Le Crocodile, Dine Out Vancouver 2021

2021 is a one of a kind time, where we are settling in to a second year of a world wide pandemic. As a result, we are seeing a lot of records broken and many more firsts. Like Dine Out Vancouver boasting the largest number of restaurants participating in event’s history. And seeing one of Vancouver’s longest standing, fine French dining restaurants participating. This is the first time that we are seeing Le Crocodile take part in Dine Out Vancouver. It is definitely a sign of the times. I am not going to question it, but instead take advantage of the situation by making reservations, taking the earliest day and the only time that I can, and trying their $54 three course menu.

$54 is the priciest of all the set menus offered during the event, but once again, this is one of the fanciest restaurants the city has got. Not to mention you get a several bonus plates with each course, and the service and ambience to feel like you can afford it.

Between us two my guest and I was able to try their entire Dine Out menu. Which in truth was like a bistro meal eaten on the corner of the street, instead of over white table cloths and folded napkins.

We ordered the wine that was recommended with the Dine Out menu, taking advantage of Le Crocodile’s in house sommelier through conversation and her recommendations.

To start we were presented with a delicate, two bite pear and goat cheese tart. There was lots of cheesy flavour in this, which reminded me more of a creamy brie. Although I felt the filling would be better suited on a hard and plain crostini, as I found things too rich with the buttery crust.

For appetizers it’s either soup or salad, so the choice is between a light or heavier start. I gravitated towards the soup, but prefer the flavours of the bright salad instead. Golden Beets and Arugula Salad, Bufala Cheese, Dijon and Honey Vinaigrette. It ate as expected.

Wild Mushroom Soup Scented with Truffle Oil and served with a Parmesan Twist. You smell the truffle, but don’t taste it. Instead, the soup was heavy handed on the pepper, but some what balanced by the saltiness of the cheese stick. Oddly the flavour of the white pepper used reminded my guest of horse stomach soup (a traditional Chinese intestine soup) and that threw us off of it as well.

Here, the complimentary basket of bread was helpful. We didn’t use it as a start with the slices of butter, but instead as a spoon to sop up soup with and to taste sauces using; as is the French purpose of the bread basket.

Our entree came with a side plate of julienned shoe string fries to share. They were light and crispy with a nice salty flavour. I found myself picking at it one strand at a time.

The Petrale Sole Quenelle, Lobster Beurre Blanc, and Vegetable Ragout was a pretty plate. These were football shaped fish paste dumpling. Their texture is like mashed potato, with a flavour that reminded me of a refined hot pot fish cake. Truth be told, I liked the firm vegetable in the ragout more, and especially the detailing in the flaky fish shaped pastry. But overall I didn’t find that the dish came with enough flavour, where I was left wanting more lobstery goodness.

The Duck Confit, Cointreau Réduction, Ricotta Cheese and Glazed Orange served in Vol au Vent was the heartier of the two mains. This was a warming dish, the duck was brightened and lighten by the citrus. It paired fabulously with the orange segments of the pastry side.

Before dessert we were given a palette cleanser in the form of a lychee vodka sorbet. With the sweetness of the tropical fruit it wasn’t like other tart and sharp sorbets. Although I don’t think it was actually made with vodka, but merely sitting in a pool of vodka. Overall it reminded me of the liquor: soho and would have been a great ingredient in a cocktail.

There is only one option for dessert, so we both got the Warm Chocolate Tart served with Caramel Ice Cream. I liked how it wasn’t too sweet and you could taste the quality of the chocolate, and the flavours of it and the caramel concisely.

And to further end on a sweet note, the billfold comes with a crocodile shaped chocolate in dark chocolate.

Overall, it was nice to have revisited this restaurant that I haven’t been to in a while. However, I don’t know if the Dine Out menu is necessarily worth trying, given that I wasn’t excited about the soup or salad, and didn’t get a choice in dessert. I would recommend ordering a la crate instead; and getting what you want at a somewhat similar price.

Le Crocodile
909 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 4T4

Mila, Dine Out 2021

We came to Mila for name alone. My friend’s daughter shares the name of this newer plant-based restaurant, so we figured it would be a fun treat to bring her out with us today. And with Dine Out Vancouver running, this was an ideal time to get a good look at what they bring to the table, literally. $40 gives you a choice between 3 options across 3 courses. Below are our picks and what we would recommend out of them all. But first drinks, cause we made it in time for Happy Hour and their $10 cocktails.

Isla Nublar is a show stopper with Havana Club 3, Ancho Reyes, mango juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup. This fun drink is as tropical and as tasty as it sounds. Island freshness with fun propping.

The Sakura is a whole lot stiffer with tart and smokey hints. Absolut Vodka, Giffards Crème de Violette, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon juice, lavender bitters, and Angostura Bitters.

We also ordered the half sushi roll. $6.50 for 3-4 pieces instead of the $14-15 for the whole roll for 6-8 pieces. The Mila Roll has a heart of palm mix, avocado, cucumber, black sesame, tempura crunch, and wasabi mango mayo. This was a great mix of textures and tastes, hard to describe and pinpoint, but one I fully endorse. It ate like a salad, but as easy as a sushi roll.

But the one that really blew my mind was the Aburi Lox Oshi. Made with carrot lox, aburi sauce, shiso, and serrano. I have had my fair share of the salmon version of aburi, and have even made my own from coho salmon that I caught all on my own. So trust me when I declare that this imitation salmon roll is amazing. If I didn’t know it was carrot I would have been fooled into believing it was fish. This was so unbelievably tasty, and super impressive as a vegan oshi option. After the first piece I wanted more of this spicy and smokey block, so found myself ordering a whole roll to end our meal on, and in order to share my findings with my friends as leftovers.

As for the actual Dine Out Menu, we ordered the other two starters, having already tried the sushi option above. I wasn’t a fan of the Wild Mushroom Toast with whipped ricotta, demi-glace, truffle, and micro herbs. I thought it would grow on me, but something about it put me off. I found it simply salty, whereas I wanted more depth of flavour. I didn’t get mushroom or anything close to ricotta. It fell flat, despite how delicious the presentation came out.

I would instead recommend the Bao Buns with hoisin tempeh, pickled onion + cucumber, sambal aioli, cilantro, and crispy shallots. This one got me back on the Mila bandwagon. The white dough bun was prepared perfectly, salted evenly and baked fluffy. The sauces were what I would expect from a vegan take on this Chinese fusion snack item. The tempeh also ate with some substance and I wasn’t missing meat here.

For mains we skipped on the Mushroom + Sausage Tagliatelle and instead went for something more unusual in their vegan take on fast food classics.

The Smash Burger is their interpretation of an American cheeseburger. Average by those standards, but aces as an all plant take. Double patties, cheddar, black garlic chive aioli, iceberg, onion, roma, and a pickle; on a brioche bun, served with smashed chips. The vegan patty was crumbly, but tasty with the smokey nacho sauce. I just wanted more tang from a sweet bbq sauce and/or more pickled vegetables. This was good, but the potatoes are what stole the show. Offered as sides to both our entrees, these were some of the best potatoes that I have ever had. Smashed creamy, yet firm with the skin. Plenty of seasonings as is, but made more familiar and comforting with ketchup.

If you only get to try one entree, make it the Fish + Chips with tempura celeriac, caramelized lemon, mango cabbage slaw, tartar, and smashed chips. Here Mila hits another home run with their take on white fish this time. The texture was unbelievable, they managed to get the celeriac to flake like fish would. And once under a thick coating of crispy airy battery, it was unrecognizable. Finished with perfect tartar sauce, I dare say that this was a better rendition than actual fish and chips. It was less greasy than ones that I have had, with the flavour to match. It was clean and refined, and I would go back just for their “fish and chips”. I just would edit the slaw to one more complimentary. It was a good crunchy julienned vegetable mix, but I didn’t think the Asian flavour matched with the tartar all that much, or the potatoes.

There are only two dessert options so we shared both. The Peanut Butter Cup Pie was rich and decadent featuring puffed crisps, chocolate ganache, and maldon. Satisfying with peanut butter and chocolate, this was exactly what you would expect given the name. We didn’t miss milk or egg here

Out of personal preference I recommend the Lemon Custard Bar with a salted oat crust and berry compote. It had the creamy and jello-like texture of panna cotta. Refreshing from the lemon and hearty with the crumble. It delivered on expectations and was a nice zesty note to end on.

O‍verall, this was fantastic meal and Mila is a fantastic restaurant. Not just under the category of vegan restaurants, but a restaurant I would return to and dine at when I want good food. I have already recommended this one and have recalled my favourites to many. I am hoping to dine with them again in the near feature, and try more of their clever take on meat-filled favourites.

MILA Plantbased
185 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3
(604) 844-8040

Manpuku Bento

Every Friday my gym buddy and I end our session with a meal to recoup our dispensed calories. Our goal, filling and comforting for cheap. Today we made that destination “Manpuku Bento”, knowing we would be in the area on another errand.

The down side, no dine in and it was far too cold to dine outdoors. But once we saw the menu, our hearts were set and we found our selves going in, ordering take out, and waiting in the cold for our order.

The shop is a small corridor. Only permitting room for one. You walk in, choose from their limited menu and order at the counter. For covid precaution sake, they ask you to wait outside. Shame, because there is much to see inside. A collection of premade Japanese sweets from local chefs, and plenty of sauces and sides to customize your meal to come.

The menu is very easy to navigate. Clear to read with plenty of photos, allowing you to let your eyes do the choosing. We got all our favourites below and was not disappointed. Even after devouring it cold. Cold, because I insistent on finding the perfect park for my picnic photo below, only to actually eat in the warmth of my car.

Each order comes with miso soup. Not your standard mix, but an extra savoury and salty broth with plenty of carrot and daikon slices, and onions lingering at the bottom. This was some of the most flavourful miso soup I have ever had.

The Chicken Karaage was declared the best in Vancouver and on earth, (by their own menu). Three large pieces of Japanese style deep fried chicken over rice with a little bit of cabbage slaw and a wedge of lemon. The chicken was surprisingly tasty. We did think it would be good, but was surprised by how good. I just wish it was cut down into smaller pieces for easier eating and sharing. I also would have liked some pickled vegetable or sauce on the side to rejuvenate the taste and add some depth after the first piece.

Although having said that this sort of food is best as one dish in a group, shared so that you can mix and match flavours and not get bored with just eating one item from start to finish.

My guest’s favourite of our three items was the Katsu Don. Pork cutlet, caramelized onion, egg, and their house made donburi sauce over rice. This ate more like a full meal with the sauce and sides I wanted above. The sweet sauce complimented the pork well, it wasn’t too heavy. It and the meat drippings were sopped but by the rice adding to the cohesion of the dish.

I found the Beef curry rice disappointing. It was the sweet sauce I was expecting, but flat. Salt would have helped, but the curry lacked depth. Eating it with the chicken above improved the situation. So if ordering this I advise adding on a pork cutlet or karaage piece.

Overall, for the cost and ease in ordering I can definitely see myself coming back and taking out more to go. Recommended for a quick lunch or for anyone looking for a home cooked-like meal.

288 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T7
(604) 687-0849

Nuba Yaletown, Dine Out Vancouver 2021

Local food blogger and cocktail enthusiast, @pickydiner and I found ourselves at the Davie location of Nuba. There, to try their $35 Dine Out Vancouver menu, available now until March 7th, 2021. Each course gives you a choice between a meat friendly or vegetarian option. Between us we were able to try both options, and the following are our picks.

Although before we start, I want to make note of how lovely their decor is. The smaller space with lush greenery and middle eastern nods pull you in to the experience of dining in. We were also seated at the nicest booth (in my opinion), a cozy nook by the door, with a mirrored mosaic to admire ourselves and our food, as we dined.

For appetizers I would recommend the Lahmajeen Manoushe over the mushroom, as it turned out to be the dish we both liked the most. In-house made flatbread topped with diced lamb confit, pomegranate molasses, tomato, green onion, and mint; like a pizza. Baked fresh to order, the dough was fluffy; a soft base for the tender lamb and flavourful toppings that gave it some freshness and tang. But what really sets this apart was the pomegranate molasses, it was a pleasant sweetness finished with cinnamon. I would go back just for another four slices of this. And if you do the same, just be sure to eat it quick, so it doesn’t get soggy.

The King Oyster mushroom mezze interestingly ate like smoked jerky, a little tough and a lot chewy. Pan seared king oyster mushrooms with a vegan truffle and harrisa compound butter, served with lemon and local micro greens. I would have liked this with more truffle and butter flavour, something rich to add moisture and a refined taste to an otherwise simple plate.

For entrees your choice is between bison or cauliflower. The Cauliflower Arnabiyeh is roasted cauliflower with ras el hanout, caramelized shallots, and a blood orange tahini sauce. Served over organic brown rice and salad. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the grainy cauliflower paired with the drier barley rice. Both were soft and grainy. Along with the leafy greens, there wasn’t enough crunch, only a boring mouth-feel that I didn’t enjoy all that much. As for the taste, it had warming spices reminiscent of Indian cuisine. Therefore, I wanted more of the sauce to help balance that pungent heat out. Instead, the tahini was muted, I was left wanting something tangier like a sour cream. And the side salad here did nothing to add to the plate, it was better suited to the meat and potatoes below.

I much more preferred the Grilled Bison Flatiron. A Halal Canadian bison rubbed with baharat, fleur de sel and pomegranate molasses. And served with turmeric mashed potatoes and salad. The bison was a little tough, but the spice rub was nice, I just wanted more flavour in the sauce to make it pop. The meat did pair well with the garlicky potatoes, and the side salad for brightness and freshness.

For dessert your choices are between a cake and a cookie, and if possible, it is worth trying both. The Turkish Coffee cheesecake was more memorable. A baked mascarpone cheesecake spiked with Amaretto and Turkish coffee, on a crust of crushed almonds, topped with espresso whipped cream. I couldn’t make out the individual flavours, but as a whole it was a well conceived dessert. I did want more coffee notes, as a fan of their Turkish coffee. And maybe a more traditional crust to better accentuate the cheesecake flavour. I found the almond flavour distracting, but that is a more personal preference thing.

Chocolate ma’amoul are almond and coconut flour cookies stuffed with dates and Belgium chocolate. What doesn’t look like much is a tasty treat. Not too sweet, not dried out. These were baked fresh and would be great with tea or coffee.

In short, another Dine Out Vancouver menu that gives you a good look at the restaurant’s offerings across 3 courses. With vegan and vegetarian options, everyone has a choice.

Nuba Yaletown, Dine Out Vancouver 2021
508 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3N9
(604) 661-4129

Arctic Voices at Science World

Science World is back with a new exhibition. Arctic Voices take visitors in an immersive journey into the Arctic, and I got a chance to relive my childhood and get a look into a land far far away when travelling isn’t an option.

Starting February 8, Science World will be open 7 days a week, 10 am to 5 pm with enhanced safety measures in place. And on February 11th, Science World debuted this 8,000 square foot exhibition featuring the tundra and the world’s northernmost biome.

As taken from the press release, “This interactive new gallery, presented by RBC with supporting partner Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, encourages visitors to explore the Arctic through the people, animals and plants that live there”.

Developed by Science North, in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature, Arctic Voices invites you to marvel at the sights and sounds of this tremendous and fragile region. Dance with auroras, hop on ice floes and learn just how deeply connected our everyday lives are to the Arctic through this feature exhibition that will leave you awestruck and inspired.


Arctic Voices will allow visitors to explore the impact of the changing climate in the far North through many lenses, including the land, sea, and ice. They will connect with the remarkable animals that live in the Arctic, the resilient people that inhabit this region, and the dedicated scientists who are helping to reveal what makes this place so unique.

“The Arctic may seem like an unfamiliar and distant place but it’s important to realize the impact our actions have on lands near and far,” said Tracy Redies, President & CEO of Science World. “The Arctic has terrestrial and marine ecosystems interdependent on one another, supporting both land and marine animals and plants, many of which are found nowhere else. They are feeling the direct effects of climate change. The Arctic is important to all of us and this exhibition makes the connection to help us understand the impact of our actions.”

Interactive elements of the exhibition include:
Relax and appreciate the wonder of Arctic whales in the Whales in the Arctic Theatre, and visit the interactive exhibit stations about each whale species.
Enjoy Arctic Animal Adaptations by participating in a multiplayer quiz where you take on the role of the researcher and interpret the behaviours of Arctic animals.
Participate in Bear Facts and study real skull and claw specimens to compare the paws, claws, and jaws of the three North American bears.

Worth noting is that a few tried and true exhibits have gotten upgrades and new features, so after you explore the new, revisit the old, don’t forget to re-experience your favourite.

SCIENCE WORLD at TELUS World of Science
1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 3Z7


Uli’s Restaurant

My guest has been talking about this one for a while now. A hot spot in White Rock, serving what he deems as the best place for cocktails, and home of his favourite: “Peate’s Dragon” (more on that later). So this snowy weekend, wanting to get out of the house and enjoy a drink, we made Uli’s by White Rock’s new pier, our destination. However the drive was long and not without peril as the weekend’s snow was sticking and many of the roads travelling downwards were treacherous with ice. So after much meandering were finally got to our destination. However, it being an eventful weekend with no reservations, our only seating option was outdoor in the covered, but not heated patio. Either that or wait for a table inside for 2 hours. So outside and immediate dining it was. Thankfully our server was considerate enough to offer us a fleece blanket each so we were warm outside; and inside, from the drinks below.

Our table turned out great. Past the plastic rain covering, we got a good view of the new White Rock boardwalk. Lovely lights and the people passing under them made for a great view, even in the dark.

My guest has been raving about this cocktail so started with it, reliving the memories accompanied with the smokey sipper. Peate’s Dragon is described as a smokey and effervescent cocktail made with laphroaig scotch, green chartreuse, citrus, simple syrup, bitters, and ginger beer. It drank like a smokey lemonade. A woodsy hickory scent that ends in a refreshing citrus punch.

I went for the Sir James, a more spirit forward beverage described by the menu as being a “Manhattan-esque cherry galore” with sazerac 6 year old rye, antica formula sweet vermouth, cherry cardamom shrub, and apothecary spitfire cherry cedar bitters. This was a rich and warming, classy drink with a dark cherry finish.

I liked the last cocktail so much that I got another one with Sazerac for round 2. It was actually named as such. What sold me was the menu’s mention of it being “renowned as the first cocktail”. Based out of New Orleans, it mixes sazerac 6 year old rye, peychauds creole bitters, demerara sugar, and lemon zest. This was a layered cocktails with the distinct flavour of absinthe to end on.

For his second, my guest went for a fun twist on a classic. The Trinidad Sour used Evan Williams bourbon, angostura bitters, fresh squeezed citrus, and simple syrup. It reminded me of a full bodied red wine, another tasty one to try.

For food, we considered the special Valentine’s Day menu, but decided to try their regular menu, given this was both our first time dining with them. On the same vein we decided to try Oyster Rockefeller for the very first time. Creamed spinach, grana padano, and hollandaise over a baked oyster. Served with garlicky focaccia and peppery watercress. The oyster was rich by itself, but well balanced by the bread base and the greens for freshness. This was one of the most luscious oyster dishes I have had to date. Not the quality or flavours I’d expect from such a casual restaurant.

We then moved on to a safer order, in their 8.0 Burger. Opting to split their blue cheese burger, seeing as we both enjoy its sharp flavour and you don’t find many that do. A beef patty with blue cheese blackened seasoning, barbecue sauce, pickled onion, garlic aioli, and arugula. We were further impressed by our server’s consideration, serving the burger sliced and the fries halved, each on our own board platter. Once again this thoughtfulness and level was not something that I expect from a casual, bar focused restaurant.

As for how the burger tasted, the patty could have been juicer. The texture was a little on the dry side, crumbly, but with a good amount of sweet sauce and creamier blue cheese to mask and overpower any other flavour. A standard burger, but it was the fries that I liked more. In retrospect, I wish we ordered the specials seeing as I liked what I didn’t expect to, and didn’t what I thought I should.

In conclusion, this is a great spot in White Rock for a drink and a bite. I would love to come back in summer to enjoy their patio, uncovered with that summer time blue sky and blue water view; all with another tasty drink in hand!

Uli’s Restaurant
15023 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1C3
(604) 538-9373

Chinatown BBQ

If you ask local food blogger and foodie with an impeccable palette: @pickydiner, this is his favourite place for Chinese style barbecue. Therefore, when given the opportunity, I was excited to stop by this Chinatown gem, to share a platter with him.

From the exterior, the restaurant doesn’t look like much, but inside the modern meets traditional decor speaks volumes. An eye catching merging of patterns and pops of colour sets the place apart. A checkerboard floor, red chairs, and green accents; given heritage with Chinese keepsakes and signs.

But the real show stopper is the hanging slabs of meat right as you enter. What is typically showcased in exterior windows at other Chinese bbq shops, is a welcoming sight as you enter through the door at Chinatown BBQ. You basically walk in and can make your decision on dinner through sight alone.

We decided to share a platter of three of their meats over rice. Although I wish they had an option of four over rice, so that we can have a taste of it all. We skipped on the honey glazed pork and opted for the combination of Roasted duck, Roasted pork, and Soy sauce chicken instead.

Here, presentation matters and it only adds to the experience. A fulsome offering of meat over blue and white porcelain, served on top of a floral tablecloth, with rounded bowls of rice. They were even kind enough to allow us to split a pint of beer into two separate steins.

As for the barbecue meat itself, I can immediately taste the quality. Each piece incredibly tender and juicy. The flavour not just on the skin, but saturated throughout. Honestly this is some of the best Chinese barbecue I have ever had. Even more so when I happened to have some for Chinese New Year eve days after and it didn’t even come close to the quantity here. Therefor, I full agree with Picky Diner’s assessment and can definitely see myself travelling down here when I have a craving. Highly recommend.

Chinatown BBQ
130 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T3
(604) 428-2626

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