VieAMaggi.com

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

BLND TGER Dumplings

Vancouver has a new dumpling spot, located in the home formerly held by Mamie Taylor’s, within the heart of Chinatown. Though this little store front hides a big secret.

BLND TGER is the love letter of a former British rugby player turned Canadian chef, who frequents China every chance he gets. His love of history and cultures that do well to preserve theirs have led him here today. He has taken all his learnings and experiences and poured it into traditional Asian style dumplings, given new life with modern influences. Think Wu Tang Clan and their admiration of Kung Fu and how they took it to help interpret their music.

Our chef/host revealed that through working in Hong Kong and China he appreciated how consistent the level of hospitality was, where it was only the recipes that would change based on region; so he found a way to showcase said various regions in his fusion dumplings.

In a similar fashion, the decor of this shop is modelled after the time he spent in the cities, watching the world go by. He admires history in furnishings so carried forward this concept in BLND TGER’s old frame structure, stained pine, worn brick, and collection of curios spoke to old walking cities that have been there for centuries passed down.

Today we were able to 5 out of the 6 dumplings on their limited menu. Number 1, the Single Malt Xiao Long Bao made with local Chinatown pork and scotch infused soup had sold out for the day. This made sense, as that was the one I wanted to try the most too. And Number 7 was a whole other thing, but more on that later…

Served in a set of three or four, in to go containers, the following are the remaining dumplings available on their menu. All the dumplings are hand rolled and made daily, the steamed to order. If them selling out the very first night is any indication, people are liking this take on dumpling. Don’t come in expecting the traditional, is a modern take with creative twist. Enjoy it for what it is and not what it should or could be. Afterall, when was the last time you had an traditional and authentic Chinese dumpling made with single malt or a plant-based meat alternative?

Speaking of, Dumpling Number 2 is the Vegetable Shaomai. It is inspired by the recipes from Inner Mongolia (as the menu proudly declares). It is vegan and features eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, and fermented tofu, in a spinach wrapper. It is heavy on the eggplant; which catches you off guard, as you don’t expect to have eggplant in a dumpling. But you keep eating and it grows on you, with the umami mushroom flavour coming forward. I didn’t get much of the fermentation in the tofu, but this was an all around great vegan dumpling that didn’t short changed you with its lack of meat.

Dumpling Number 3 is Bison Momos with Tibetan roots. Historically, this would have been made with yak meat, however that is hard to source in these parts, so they have used ground bison from Two Rivers instead. They are well stuffed within turmeric coloured and flavoured wrappers, and sit in a pool of peppercorn soy and house made sepen. “Sepen” is a Tibetan hot sauce prepared with chillies, although this wasn’t the least bit spicy. The bison meat gave it a different flavour: heaty and rich. The freshness was in the greens, and the kick in the sauce. It is different in a way that you have never had.

Their 4th dumpling is the Zhong Dumpling, it is modelled after the more common and familiar Sichuan pork dumplings. Like the momos, this too came pre-dressed in Sichuan chilli oil (that was a slow burn), and a house made soy. This is another change they have taken the liberty of making. You typically get the sauce on the side to self dipping, however they are about convenience and quick and easy dining in their limited seating bench, so the move to pre-dress for the guests makes sense.

The 5th dumpling was one of my favourites. Cumin Lamb Dumpling in a peppercorn soy from Xinjiang. There was so much punch in this one, with the peppercorn soy being the highlight. I just wished I felt more of the numbing effects of it.

And for dumpling Number 6, it is another vegan option. Given Vancouver’s demographic and the surrounding area, it is nice that BLND TGER offers two great vegan dumpling options on their menu. A win for those with a plant-based preference, as they can have a choice between their dumplings, or are able to try more than one. This is the Tmrw Foods & Cabbage Jiaozi, done in a western style. It features a Vancouver based meat alternative solution and nappa cabbage. They have gone with Tmrw’s alternate meat as they are doing great things to get the texture of their meat substitute down, and have been available at other widely popular vegan restaurants like Virtuous pie and Mila. As for how it tastes, I appreciated the levels to this dumpling. There was a nice herbaceous to it, and the ginger and garlic mix keeps you coming back for more as you wrap your head around it.

In conclusion this is not a dumpling stop for those seeking the traditional. This is intentionally new and different. Taking traditional techniques and applying new world views and preferences to the mix. Come in with no expectations and you will enjoy the experience.

And if not, come in and order the “Number 7” instead. This is actually a secret code that grants you access you to their secret bar. But more on that in another post, when I get to visit for their official launch.

Blnd Tger Dumplings
251 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6
instagram.com/blndtgerdumplings

Match On The Move Foodtruck

Today I was invited to the launch of Match’s mobile solution. Match is the chain of causal bar restaurants that are typically associated with Gateway casino properties. When you think of them you think, refreshing cocktails, frothy beers on tap, juicy burgers, crisp fries, and a good time. And now you need not drive all the way out to visit one, because it can come to you: roaming the tri-cities, and available for your next private event.

The goal was to expand Match’s food and beverages offerings from out of the casino and bring it mobile. And in celebration of their launch occasion, and in an effort to support economical development and charity initiatives, Match On The Move has a special burger on menu. The Hero Burger is working with Make a Wish Foundation, where proceeds from every Hero Burger sold will go to help to grant the wish of a child suffering from a critical illness. The hope is that their lives with be enriched by the experience adding joy to their lives. And I don’t know about you, but reads like reason enough to order a burger when you see the truck next. Not to mention it is a tasty tasty burger. I was able to grab one of the firsts to come from its mobile kitchen and dig in.

The Hero Burger is a 1/4 fresh Canadian beef smash patty with bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and American cheese. It sounds simple and is delicious. When you crave a classic beef burger, this is exactly the one you want. No complaints, it satisfied completely.

As for what else they have on menu, today we would get a sampling of their offerings in bite-sized format, so the following will not be the the intended portion sizes. Therefore take the photos with a grain of salt.

 

Something different would be The Spicy Bird. This is a slow roasted pulled chicken burger, served on Martin’s potato roll, with slaw, Nashville hot sauce, a chilli crunch mayo, and sweet pickles. I was able to ask, and learned that the “crunch mayo” gets its textured crunch from the addition of crushed potato chips. The burger was spicy, it tingled on your lips; as well as anywhere that the Nashville hot sauce was smeared on. Though if you wanted something hotter, be sure to ask for their “I can’t feel my face option”. However, the regular version this was plenty of heat for me, so thankfully the slaw and mayo do well to balance everything out; with the potato bun acting as a sponge to soak it all up.

And if you are getting a burger be sure to order some fries. They are some of the crispiest and well seasoned fries that I have had. They remained crispy well after they have cooled, and are so tasty that you don’t need a dip for them. Although there is the option to have it as a Traditional Poutine. The same crispy fries, but now topped with a Guinness gravy, cheese curds, and green onion. Or go one step further and make it a Hot Mess Chicken Fries. Same crispy fries with Nashville hot sauce, pulled chicken, slaw, cheese curds, Guinness gravy, chilli crunch mayo, and sweet pickles. So basically the same burger as above but trade bun for fries. Either way it a good time with these great fries as base.

For something a little lighter look to their Trucking Tacos. This is the Beef Birria with overnight braised beef, cotija cheese and green onion, topped with cilantro; all over flour tortillas. Clean and refreshing, you will be happy they come as four to an order.

And to drink, cool down with their Orange Creamsicle Float. Jarritos mandarin soda, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and rainbow sprinkles with a cherry on top. It is both nostalgic and fun for all ages.

In short when looking for classic eats, look out for Match On The Move.

Food Truck

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival 2021

The annual Chilliwack Sunflower Festival is back for another year. Guests are welcomed back to the fields for summer’s favourite photo op.

The event officially opens Monday, July 26th and has plans to run until early September, provided that the weather cooperates.

I got a sneak peak a day earlier and when the fields were free. This year they have changed the layout and now have spacious isles to stroll through on their 60 acre farm. Walk amongst 42 varieties of sunflowers, 50 varieties of dahlias, and 8 varieties of gladiolas.

 

As per their website, “In order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all guests, there will be limited hourly capacity, as well as hand-sanitizing stations positioned throughout the premises, and staff will frequently sanitize high-touch areas.”

For those planing to make a day of it, there is plenty to see and do. There is a playground with giant games and activities for the kids. The gift shop offers cold beverages, ice cream and snacks, on top of souvenirs and fresh-cut and potted sunflowers, sunflower seeds and bulbs (tulips, daffodils and hyacinths) for planting.

You can even have lunch on site with a local food truck parked and ready to serve. Expect one Monday to Friday and two on the weekends.

Continue scrolling through the photos below to help inspire your perfect sunflower moment, and to help pre-plan your photo shoot before you go. There are returning fan favourites like the old convertible, tractor, wooden clogs, and baby carriage. Plus more swings, bikes, and benches to avoid having to wait for a sit.

Chilliwack Sunflower Festival
41310 Yale Road, Chilliwack, BC V2R 4J1
https://chilliwacksunflowerfest.com/

Richmond Night Market, opening weekend 2021

With many restrictions lifted, the Richmond Night Market has once again decided to host the city for one of North America’s largest outdoor, Asian markets. Although after last year’s hiatus there are changes to make the scene more Covid friendly, or at least attempts to, for its 20th year celebration.

Here is my recap of the opening weekend, and what you can expect if you dare to visit.

First and foremost the lines to get in have only grown. People are aching for this summer time staple and it shows. Cars need to line up to enter, and with traffic backed up I waited 30 minutes to get in to park from No. 3 Road. And this was at 7pm, right when they open. So be sure to come early (if you do come). From there the lines to get in are massive (after 7pm). The general admission line, at the cost of $3.50 snaked all the way around the gated event scene, spilling out past the regular parking lot, then growing into the secondary gravel field. The Zoom Pass line, at the cost of $18 wasn’t much quicker. This too ran into the parking lot, and by the looks of it (if memory serves) resembles what the regular line used to look like pre-Covid. Thankfully I was able to by-pass them both, but for those who can’t be prepared to put in the time.

As for Covid safety protocols, there are no markings on the ground indicating the appropriate distance to stay apart, and as per BC’s mandate: masks are recommended, but optional. The only reminder that Covid exists is the announcements overhead urging people to stay apart as much as possible and that there are now hand washing stations, (more on that later). And the market’s popular coupon book is now paperless, and accessible online through a scannable code.

Out of respect for those I work with and see, I wore a mask and made an effort to not eat or touch anything. The following is a recap as told through distant photography.

There are definitely less vendor stalls for both boutique shopping and food. A few had signs saying they would be opening next weekend. Instead, there were 3 food trucks parked and ready to take up the space: Indian fusion street food, BBQ, and Japanese milk bread sandwiches.

You can expect classic night market staples like grilled meat on sticks, quick and easy dim sum and Chinese fast food, spiral potato on a stick and its typical line, takoyaki, and taiyaki. Drink favourites like virgin cocktails, milk cha (the pastel drink purveyors that serve their beverages out of split cups or baby bottles), and rainbulb (fruit juice served in a keepsake lightbulb bottles) are back.

You can once again have roasted pork hocs , poke served in tempura seaweed tacos from Nori Express, award winning tofu drinks and desserts from itofu, yogurt and rice based drinks from Chewgurt, and rolled gelato made before your eyes at Thai Affair.

I was actually surprised by how many new vendors there were. Here are a few that stood out and what I am predicting will be this year’s food trends/photo favourites at this year’s Richmond Night Market.

Happy Chicken Shop is turning up fried chicken with a truffle breading, a fried chicken burger made using a bolo (pineapple) bun, and fried chicken covered in 24k gold flake for $15.99.

Sugar Daddy has coconut pudding served in a young coconut and available with a variety of toppings.

Pancake has Chinese pizza with a history lesson. It is basically a green onion pancake filled, topping, and/or stuffed.

Yogurtology combines fresh yogurt with real fruit. It is served in a plastic jar with novelty straws that include moustaches and oversized lips you can pose with.

Aloha boys is serving up Hawaiian flare by way of Spam fries and Spam musubi. But the one sure to catch everyone’s gaze is their Garlic butter shrimp and rice served in a half hollowed out pineapple.

Crispy rice cake is a name that is self explanatory. Served on sticks with an assortment of flavours from pork floss to Oreo.

Hotate is mixing up curry, which might not be as popular on a hotter day, like today.

Dango House caught my attention with their traditional Japanese looking booth. They are selling Japanese rice balls, boiled and skewered in groups of 4, then topped with a flavour of your choosing.

Crepe is Chinese-style crepes made into savoury wraps. They are advertised as an effective handheld.

Taiwanese drink and dessert chain Blackball is making its first appearance with visually stunning iced beverages and a Vancouver specific one named “sea to sky”.

At Grilled Rice Paper you know what you are getting. Grilled rice paper topped and served like a pizza.

You can eat and explore as it wasn’t that busy inside when I visited (I came earlier and left earlier), but based on my lineup descriptions above, that probably wouldn’t be the case for long. Though the market still has their designated seating areas. The tables are spaced out to be socially distant. However, I didn’t see any staff on site cleaning and sanitizing the tables after one party got up, and before another sat down.

There are however several washing stations. Sinks with soap and running water to wash up and dry up with paper towels. Created for Covid spread prevention in mind, but an all around great idea in my books. Eating on the go gets messy and there really should be such washing stations for patrons going forward.

As for boutique vendors you can expect the usuals and some new ones. You can once again stock up on socks at the Richmond Night Market. Although there is just the booth, instead of a handful to choose from. However, there are at least 5 Korean jewelry stalls. You can once again find a new cell phone case, or try new gadgets. You can shop pet accessories and ladies brassiere, find a comfy character pillow to snuggle up with, or swords to reenact your favourite anime/video game battle with. There are macrame decor pieces, coloured contacts and air brush tattoos and sticker booth. There is even a cannabis vendor advertising their lifestyle wares, but selling the flower. And naturally there was a double booth selling a variety of mask types and styles.

For entertainment, the stage still hosts local talent, with audience seating not spaced out. They have retired many of their carnival games, only the hammer and ladder ones remain. Though you can still win a stuffed toy by way of one of the claw machines.

What’s new is the Japanese gold fish scooping game. You try to win a new pet by using a paper lined wand to scoop it up. The hiccup is you have to do this fast as the paper only weakens in water.

 

In conclusion there is still plenty to see, eat, and do at this year’s limited Richmond Night Market. Visit if you are comfortable in doing so; if not, I hope you were able to live vicariously through this post.

RICHMOND NIGHT MARKET
8351 River Road, Richmond BC
604-244-8448
richmondnightmarket.com

Patron Perfectionist Competition 2021-2022

Patron Perfectionist is a competition that seeks out the best cocktail in the world, and the desire to exalt and celebrate the talented bartender that created it.

Given the world’s pandemic landscape, this year’s competition has a fun twist. The goal is to craft a cocktail that is simple enough to be replicated by at home, by any bartender. A clever angle considering you local bars and/or watering holes are under the threat of closing or being shut down on a whim. This way, with these rules; the competing cocktails can be recreated at any bar, in any home, in any where in world, and tried there and then.

Voting is done by online at https://www.diffordsguide.com/competition/1090/patron-perfectionist. Competitors solicit votes from friends and fans. But you can also peruse their website like a cocktail cookbook and pick out the one that speaks to you. Once you choose your favourite, you need to register to vote. This is a multiple step process that requires you to verify your email. All necessary, as a way to filter out those trying to vote dishonestly. For more on how to vote, check out my saved stories on Instagram under “PatronPerfect”.

The cocktail I am getting behind is called the “ALCARAZ” BY bartender and whiskey aficionado: Reece Sims of Lavish Liquid, the event bar service.

The following is the list of ingredients for the cocktail and the method as she has dictated to craft it. I had the opportunity to create this in the comfort of a friend’s home. And in trying I was sold. This herbal citrus cocktail is perfect for any summer meal. Great to enjoy as is or paired with fish and chicken in a full course. It had depth and the ability to grow and evolve with each sip. So try the recipe for yourself and put in your vote for our hometown contestant.

With enough votes she advances and earns the ability to be 1 of 3 Canadians to represent Canada in the second half of the Patron Perfectionist competition. In this round the steaks are higher and the drinks are elevated. Here, competitors are given carte blanche to dress up their cocktail creations. To go from simple and easy, to complex with a no holds barred on ingredients and method. This is where the more talented bartenders show themselves. And at this level there is additional voting, with the finalists going to compete at Hacienda de Patron in January 2022 (if Covid restrictions need not apply).

So once again, recreate and try the following then vote for Reece as our Vancouver – Canada Patron Perfectionist finalist

INGREDIENTS:
45ml Patrón Silver Tequila
15 ml Manzanilla Sherry
10 ml Green Chartreuse
15 ml Celery Juice
15 ml Lemon Juice
15 ml Almond Syrup
2-3 sprigs of Dill
METHOD:
In a cocktail shaker add all ingredients (except 1 sprig of dill) with ice. Shake for 10-15 seconds until diluted and chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with expressed lemon oils and slapped dill sprig.

@REECESIMS
@PATRONPERFECTIONISTS
#DRINKALCARAZ

Ear Cleansing at Pacific Alternative Clinic

I have heard about the process of ear cleansing before, but until now have never actual done it. Although recently I had someone introduce me to Pacific Alternative Medical Clinic and vouch for the ear cleansing he had done there. This was enough for me to book an appointment with the only practitioner of Natural Health at the clinic.

A day before the appointment we were advised to pour kitchen oil into each of our ear canals, three times within the day: morning, noon, night. A teaspoon’s worth on each occasion, to wear the existing wax down, and ensure as much wax as possible is removed during the process.

I never thought I would pour olive oil into my ears, but I did as instructed, in order to best maximize the results. The task definitely requires additional hands. There is no way to accurately pour anything into your own ear, directly down a hole that you can’t see. And if you did it would be a mess. We did this as a two person team and there was still spillage. Oil down the chin, oil flooding the ear, and excess oil being absorbed by paper towel. I advise letting the oil pool and sit within your ear for a few minutes, because as soon as you sit up it all comes out. So be prepared with a cotton ball to plug up the canal, or as in our case paper towel wads.

Once again, this arduous process was repeated 2 more times within the same day, and once more before we left home for the actual procedure. This was the worse part. It was abrasive going in and clogged your ear, leaving you with the feeling of not having clear hearing, like your ears aren’t popping despite you trying. In hindsight this might have improved our perspective of the overall result of our ear cleansing: Making it worse before making it considerably better.

As for the actual appointment, it is one at a time and takes about 45 minutes between each ear and the time in between to set up. The clinic is hard to locate from the exterior. With no signs or advertisements you wouldn’t know where to go and that the place existed if you didn’t get a referral like we did.

The process begins with the typical waiver. Though truth be told it does make you weary wondering if you could be deafen by the procedure. And honestly having gone through it myself now, I don’t think the pressure can get strong enough to do any damage. (More on that later).

You are asked to lay on your side with one ear against the pillow and the other open to the ceiling. After peering into your ear and confirming the visual signs of ear wax, the practitioner drops a medicated serum down your ear canal to further loosen and soften the wax. You are asked to wait for 10 minutes as it begins to bubble within.

When ready, you are told to sit up on a stool and hold a specially shaped bucket against your ear. Do this close and tight or else you will get wet. The practitioner then uses a metal syringe to inject warm jets of water into your ear. The process floods and flushes out the loosen debris. Their process is repeated 3 times, and all the liquid and chunks that come out from it is collected in a measuring glass.

At the end you get to admire it all. You are gross to know it came out of you, yet happy that it did. It is both unappetizing, yet alluring at the same time.

To help dry out the ear the practitioner instructs you to lay down again as he uses a magnifying glass, cotton swabs, and a swirl tool to help dry any free drops. He goes about this very gently.

This process is then repeated with the other ear. I found the results of the cleanse similar from ear to ear. The darker the chunks the more toxins within your body. We were advise to repeat this process regularly to aid in good ear health. And that we want to avoid cotton swabbing that actually leads to wax build up. That the washing method is the only way to effectively dredge and clean. And in doing so we can help avoid a future of poor hearing.

The result of us removing build up from our ear drum, was the ability for it to better vertebrate and for our ears to pick up more sound. We were left feeling very light in the head, and our hearing for the day was noticeable acute. The volume of the music in the car was too loud, and we heard the detailed sounds of bumps and scrapes as we drove. Most notable was how loud I realized I was/am, enough so that I attempt to over corrected it.

Although how much I enjoyed my new hearing and listening powers, it does not last. The familiarity effect takes over and what you feel and sense becomes normalized. Although the feeling of knowing you have clean and empty ears is worth it enough. Like knowing you have something toxic in your body, but not removing it. In conclusion, I highly recommend this procedure for the experience if not the health benefits.

Pacific Alternative & Acupuncture Clinic
132 14th St E, North Vancouver, BC V7L 2N3
(604) 987-1808
pacificalternativeclinic.com

Taqueria Playa Tropical

Have you ever been so hungry, and yet so indecisive that you delay eating four hours, not knowing what you want? And then only to settle on something you didn’t really crave or set out for, but inevitably enjoyed because you were that hungry? Well this is that post.

We travelled from North Vancouver to Burnaby, only to land in New Westminster. We originally wanted ramen, and then sushi, only to go for tacos. This was our 10th choice, a Mexican restaurant in New Westminster that we have both been to. It had drinks, so checked off all my boxes.

The day was nice and the dining room full, so we grabbed a seat on their sidewalk patio for a late late lunch. And naturally I got the ball rolling with a couple of their lime margaritas, topped with a mini bottle of Corona, upside down. It was certainly eye catching, anyone passing by wanted one too. The combination of the two alcoholic beverages works, they help to balance one another, and gets you feeling it faster.

Instead of appetizers we opted for some tacos. Served as a trio we got the Camaron with shrimp, garlic, celery, onion, and cilantro; all topped with melted cheese. This ended up being my favourite as it had the most flavour. Who does love garlic and melted cheese? This was not traditional, but an easy win.

Not on the menu was the beef tongue taco. But upon hearing the unusual organ meat, I had to have it. If it weren’t for the visible tiny bumps called papillae on the chunks, you would not have been able to tell this was tongue flesh. The meat was on the fattier side, or at least felt like it on my tongue. The meat was only mildly spiced, with little salsa to contrast it in tang. Coming from such a flavourful taco before, this felt flat. It needed a sauce or salsa, or at minimum more salt.

I had a similar impression of the Carnitas, although this may be because they were seasoned similarly, with similar topping, just minus the delicious guacamole. Slow cooked pork, tomato, onion, cilantro and guacamole. The latter most was the taco’s saving grace, it was deliciously creamy and encompassed everything well.

For entrees I went with the Monster Burrito, seeing it before another patron and thinking it was a chimichanga. (I am still on the hunt for a chimichanga that rivals the one I crave for and deem the best, but is all the way in Squamish). Sadly, I compared that to this and it fell short. This Monster Burrito lacked flavour despite all the salsa and cream topping it. This was a 12 inch rolled tortilla stuffed with your choice of meat. I went for a pulled beef on top of the rice, beans, lettuce, guacamole, onion, and cilantro. And I exercised the option to have the burrito topped with both their salsa verde and salsa roja; before it is finished with melted cheese and sour cream. It was as hefty as promised, and at this point tasted exactly as what I expected it to coming from the restaurant. But yet again I found it lacking salt and the flavour to keep me coming back for more bite after bite. (I am starting to think I don’t like authentic Mexican cuisine, but instead am more partial to Tex-Mex).

Although I much more preferred my guest’s entree, and wished that I had ordered it instead; though lucky for me, we were sharing. Featured on the window, he saw it and wanted it. The Pescado Salteado was a deconstructed taco that you built yourself or ate just like a platter with a side of tortilla rounds. The fish was the highlight, crispy and light it was seasoned evenly and heavily. It was the star of the dish, allowing the diner to choose how much rice, beans, salsa and guacamole that they wanted with it. No complaints for this one, we ate it all.

In short a great spot in New Westminster for authentic Mexican cuisine and margaritas. Lesson learned, if/when I return I won’t be shy on the salt, they did give plenty of it on the rim of my margarita.

Taqueria Playa Tropical
334 6th St, New Westminster, BC V3L 3A8
(604) 544-5006
facebook.com/TaqueriaPlayaTropical

Michi Craft Kitchen

Today I was visiting Michi craft kitchen with Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld. This is the second location this Cantonese style cafe, specializing in stuffed wings (the first and original in the lower mainland is on Kingsway).

Immediately I was drawn in by the decor, even visible past the neon sign hanging at the front window. It reminded me of a spot you can find off a busy street in Asia. Live with its concrete walls, steel container counter, and display table decorated with mah jong pieces and a rotary phone. The traditional Cantonese music playing and the loud Cantonese conversations furthered the experience, lending to its authenticity.

The menus of the two locations differ slightly, with the downtown one offering additional items. However, today they were out of their original grilled michi wings, so we opted for the crispy version that is only available at this location instead.

Michi is how they refer to their rice stuffed chicken wings, grilled or crispy they are plump with similar ingredients. Except there is a cumin lamb rice and curry fried rice option only available with the grilled michi. And you can only add additional toppings to your deep fried michi.

The crispy michi comes in four flavours, we would try 3/4 due to Joyce’s dairy allergies, and needing to avoid the one stuffed with cheesy corn. Each wing is jammed packed to the size of a rotisserie chicken drum, with plenty of rice and meat within, to have it eating like a handheld meal. Although they do supply plastic disposable gloves for those who like eating with their hands, but not getting them dirty.

The Original fried rice michi is a chicken wing stuffed with a dense rice, speckled in corn kerenals and peas. It didn’t have much flavour as is; and would not have, if not for the additional toppings we added on. The pork floss, seaweed and bonito flakes gave bites a nice sweet and salty fishiness, but not much more to make it memorable.

I preferred the Spicy fried rice michi instead. The stuffed rice was the same as the above, but with the heat of a nice chilli to make it pop. That and the salty contrast of luncheon meat and a fluffy egg omelette added texture and taste as a topping. You definitely want to splurge and spend more to have your wings topped. Although it would have been nice if they provided a sauce to dip them into as well.

For our last michi we decided to leave it plain, to be able to best make out the Sausage, salted egg yolk, and sticky rice filling. This was a good idea, as it ate like a zhong zi with crispy chicken. The best out of the three, but it still left me wanting a sauce of some kind for a contrast and to change the flavour.

I wish I had the opportunity to try the fourth cheesy wing, because I have a feeling it would be the best out of the four. Or at least the one with the most comforting of ingredients.

Instead, we looked to the Crispy garlic HK style tiger prawns. Large prawns deep fried to perfection for a even crispiness and a shell that you can chew and swallow. It just could have been saltier, with more garlic salt. The flavour profile was all there with crispy garlic bits. And at $9.50 the price seemed fair for the quality you get and the amount of food for an appetizer.

For entrees we tried Satay beef noodle with spam with scrambled egg. This was simple and comforting, very typical of any HK cafe. I liked the beef noodle flavour and the stewed beef in this. Although with the use of instant ramen noodles, spam, and an omelette, I couldn’t help but feel I could have made this at home. And therefore it didn’t quite fit my expectations for restaurant quality food.

I preferred the Spicy fried noodle with beef rib. The noodles were on the dryer side, with a dull heat that creeped, and a large rib for you to maw on. However the meat was dry and the flavour of the noodle felt flat. It was spicy, but what else? It was missing depth of flavour.

And what is a Hong Kong style cafe without its quintessential drinks? Joyce had the House special iced lemon tea. Standard fare that proved to be a great palette refresher between all the above; renewing with lemon and citrus.

Seeing as I could have dairy, I indulged in the House special Hong Kong style milk tea. Served cold, it comes with a milk bear shaped ice cube. You pour the decanted tea over it and the regular shaped iced milk tea cubes, and watch things melt in your glass. Not only was this a fun visual, but a great beverage as well; having not been watered down my regular ice cubes.

As a whole, this is a fun spot I could definitely see myself recommending. Classic dishes and some interesting fusion ones to work through. If and when I return, I would like to try the curry omelette that all the other tables seemed to order. Or some of their lava toast for dessert. And perhaps have the above at the Kingsway location for the original michi experience with grilled michi (not to mention that it is so much closer to me).

Michi Craft Kitchen
3665 Kingsway #180, Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
(604) 336-9968
h5.auroratech.top

BC Blueberry Day at Krause Farms

Did you know that July 15th is #BCBlueberryDay? And in celebration the BC Blueberry Council (@BCBLUEBERRIES) kicked off their online #GoBlueBC campaign at GoBlueBC.ca. As taken from the press release, “This project is supported by the BC Government’s Buy BC Partnership Program; delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC with funding from the Government of British Columbia.”

At GoBlueBC.ca you can find blueberry focused recipes, interviews from chefs and growers, how-to tutorials; and contests with prizes from White Spot Restaurants, Triple O’s, and even BC Ferries. For example, they are giving out a $100 White Spot gift card each day from July 15th to August 2nd!

So to launch all the festivities, we gathered at Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery in Langley, BC to celebrate. There, we would get a first hand taste of what BC fresh blueberries are all about, featuring some of the roundest and plumpest berries from off the bushes of Krause (who also happens to host those wanting to pick their own berries that they get to take home after).

On this day Krause was topping their famous pancakes with fresh whipped cream, sweet syrup, and whole blueberries for brunch.

Gabi & Jules Cafe were on location handing out Earl Grey and blueberry scones and blueberry crostatas. Both of which have yet to appear in their shop for sale; so we got a sneak peak taste here.

And Beaucoup Bakery had their blueberry and cassis jam stuffed cheesecake croissant, boxed up and ready to be doled out. These were highly photogenic with edible flowers and whole blueberries topping each flakey pastry.

And seeing as I came all the way to Langley I decided to check out Krause’s fruit winery, as recommended by all those who have already visited at least once before. You literally saddle up on their stools and get acquainted with their wine tasting menu. The best way to learn more before you buy, is to try. I would focus on the wines featuring berries that I am less familiar with.

Arranged by the winery manager from tartest to sweetest I indulged in the following: Elderberry, BlackBerry, Tayberry (a scotch hybrid berry), Blackberry Port, and Cassis Dessert wine. With such a wide variety of vintages and fermentation styles at their arsenal, you are sure to find something for every palette. And worth noting is that if you decide to take a bottle home, the $5 tasting fee is waved.

Here, I wish I had more time to sip and savour, then stroll in and be tempted by Krause’s market and bakery next door. Or to spend the remaining afternoon picking a variety of berries that they grow on their land including raspberry, blackberry, and of course blueberry. But there was so much to do on property and not enough time to do it all. Guess that is reason enough to return and make a day of it.

To celebrate blueberry season in BC be sure to visit https://gobluebc.ca/ between July 15th to August 2nd be inspired, eat well, and win lots.

@BCBLUEBERRIES
#BCBlueberryDay
#GoBlueBC

The Keg Yaletown, #LobsterSummer

With dining-in back in full swing, what better way to celebrate than with The Keg’s summer lobster tradition? 30 years of christening sun and brighter days with the one seafood dish that evokes awe and wonder in most: the lobster, as featured on The Keg’s limited edition summer menu!

When deciding on which of the multiple Keg locations to visit, I went with my favourite out of all of the ones I have dined at. Not only has the food always been consistently good at the Yaletown location, but the the staff are some of the best I have encountered; and today was no exception. To our surprise and delight the The Keg Yaletown has a roof top patio, one that neither my guest or myself have ever been on. It curved around the landscape of building, allowing for intimate pockets, an elevated street view, and the cityscape of tower in the distant. All this made for an excellent backdrop for our dinner to follow.

We were here to indulge, so got a bottle of Stoneleigh’s Sauvignon Blanc for the table. Not only was it a nice clean and dry start, but it would also prove to be the ideal pairing for our Atlantic Lobster to come. The wine is kept chill at the table for self pouring, but truth be told, the staff are so at the ready that you never need to reach for it. Your glass will soon be full, and the bottle quickly empty.

With it came their famous bread. A crispy sourdough bun served with whipped butter. So good, that you have to remind yourself to not fill up on bread. Though it did come in handy for our appetizer.

The Lobster Gratinée is chunks of lobster baked in the oven along side garlic, herbs, monterey jack, and cheddar cheeses. It is served like escargot with the similar single scoop dish, and the small forks necessary to pick meat from shell. But here, it is only chunks of sweet lobster settled at the bottom of the individual pools of butter. Take that and pair it with cheese, and how can you go wrong? It is suggested that you enjoy it with the sweet rolls on the side, as base. And the buns also serve as sponges for the sauces left to congeal. Although as good as this was, it left me craving something fresh and raw as a break in all those strong flavours and seasonings. I would have loved to see this as the star of a great lobster roll with cucumber, celery, and dill for that freshness I hankered for.

For mains you have three choices. A lemon cream lobster sirloin, a whole lobster with butter, or lobster as a side to sirloin steak. We would go for the latter two, and this would be my first time going hands deep in a whole lobster. For the video footage, check out my saved stories under “LobsterSummer” on my IG feed: @magmei.

The Whole Atlantic lobster arrived ready to impress. It was plated in its entirety, only sharing the dish with a lemon wedge. The side of melted butter came before hand, and was kept warm and runny by the heat of a tea light.

The Keg actually has a tutorial video posted on the website, teaching you how to break apart a lobster with ease. However, we did not watch or follow it, and instead thought it more fun to go in and rip meat from exoskeleton. Carving with our hands and utilizing the provided nutcracker for cracking, and the small fork for gouging.

If you have never indulged in a whole lobster before, you must. For every dish that left you wanting more lobster, have it all here in its entirety and get it out of your system. Bite after bite of thick and chewy lobster chunks, generously coated in all the butter you could want. No complaints, just the suggestion to try this for yourself.

I also suggest getting a side to help balance out your feast. I went for the vegetable gnocchi medley to add both freshness and a starchy base. This served as a great help to round out the meal. It all came with a lovely pesto sauce that offered a nice tang on things, and helped to change the taste as needed.

My guest went half lobster and 8oz grilled top sirloin steak, adding the mushroom rice as a side. This was not the full fresh Atlantic lobster, but the half of one that had an especially large claw. The result, a large section of meat with a unique gaminess to it, accented by silken butter and lemon zest. In hindsight I should have ordered their lemon cream sauce for a whole different experience, one outside of the simplicity of simply melted butter.

However no complaints with the lobster here, there was plenty to gnaw on, so you can enjoy your surf and turf in uniform bites. As for the steak, despite my guest asking for medium rare, the steak came a tad on the dry side. Although our server did warned us about the potential discolouring of our medium rare steak in natural light.

And be sure to save room for dessert, because everyone knows that The Keg’s Billy Miner Pie is the one to get. A tall slice of mocha ice cream on a chocolate crust with hot fudge, caramel and almonds. Big enough to share, not that you would want to. This treat even satisfies the likes of me, one who admits that they are not a big fan of dessert. This wasn’t too sweet and with the firm crust and crisp almond to bite into, the dessert was not only interesting in taste, but texture as well. This was definitely a great way to end our meal.

In conclusion, what better way to celebrate or dress up a night than with lobster. So get yours before the occasion is over. And for those who don’t want to dine in, The Keg continues to offer their “Keg Celebration Kits”. Everything you need to prepare and enjoy a 3-course Keg dinner from home. And now you can add an uncooked, whole Atlantic Lobster to this set: all in celebration of Lobster Summer. I have always wanted to try cooking lobster for myself, but have never had the nerve to, but with one of The Keg’s kits, which includes instructions and tutorials, they take the guess work and uncertainty out of your meal. Guess I have convinced myself to get one!

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Yaletown
1011 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5P9
(604) 633-2534
kegsteakhouse.com

Page 1 of 215

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén