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

Anthem Pizza

With the second wave lockdown in effect, there is no better time to introduce a new pizza delivery company to the Lower Mainland: Anthem Pizza. Campy and fun, their packaging and motto sets them apart. That, and their charitable mission. Every slice you purchase has Anthem giving back to one of three worthy charities. One: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Two: Unison Benevolent Fund, which helps Canadian musicians in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties by providing counselling and emergency relief. And in time for the tail end of November: Movember, where Anthem will be donating 10% of its proceeds from each pizza sold, to Movember. Movember is charity dedicated to addressing and advancing men’s health issues like mental health, suicide prevention, and prostate and/or testicular cancer.

“Pizza with a purpose” aside, if you need even more reasons to purchase their pies, look no further than to their packaging. Each pie comes in a pink and white stripped box with punk rock and pop culture references. Artsy and fun they serve just as much as a statement as they do cardboard container. But if you are like me, you may want to Google some of the faces you don’t recognize, to learn a thing or two. And if you like what you see, they have put it on a tee, for sale. Available for ordering from their online store.

And as for the pizza, I was delivered two, contact-free. The first was “The Ace of Spades”. A simple margherita pizza made with tomato sauce, basil, fior di latte, and extra virgin olive oil. Simple and clean over a more bread-like dough. Here, what you see is what you get, pulled together with a sweeter tomato sauce. Mild and gentle is the best way to describe it.

Similarly, the “Hot Honey” we tried used the same sweeter tomato sauce base, and to it added hot soppressata calabrese, black olives, shredded mozzarella, and Mike’s Famous Hot Honey. Sadly I was most excited for the latter, so found myself missing it when I didn’t get much sweetness of spice. It would have been nice to have a container of it on the side for self drizzle. Other than that this was another play no games pizza, delivering on its ingredient list; all over a chewy, more bready crust. So bread-like that I wanted a dip with it and found myself reaching of the bottle of ranch in the fridge.

And if you are interesting in giving them a try, now is the time. To celebrate its official launch, Anthem will be offering its Motörhead-inspired ‘Ace of Spades’ (a.k.a. Margherita) pizzas for only $10 (regular $18); from‪ Friday, November 20 through to Monday, November 30.‬ This exclusive offer is only available when you use the promo code ‘ANTHEM’ when ordering online via anthempizza.ca for pickup at The Five Point Restaurant & Pub (‪3124 Main Street‬) and Park Drive (1815 Commercial Drive). Quantities are limited to one pizza, per customer nightly, while supplies last.

Anthem Pizza
604-425-1129
anthempizza.ca

Vancouver Island in the 2021 Nissan Rogue

Covid has set everyone back, from work to play it has changed plans and turned everyone on their axis. Plans I had of travelling internationally, became exploring my local province more intimately this past year. From the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan Valley, and as far as Grand Forks. And pass Whistler and further North to Lillooet. So for my last vacation of 2020, I decided to branch out to the island.

I have been to Vancouver Island a handful of times, so was now excited to visit during a different season. Fall for the changing colour of the wilderness, some fall fungi foraging, storm watching, and late season fishing. The plan was to go with the flow, allowing curiosity and the call of adventure to take us to all corners of the Island. Skipping the metropolis of Victoria, our travel started at the ferry terminal of Tsawwassen to Schwartz Bay. (This was before the non-essential lock down mind you).

Our vehicle of choice, the new 2021 Nissan Rogue. This would be our primary mode of transportation and place of rest. So the right vehicle was essential. And the Rogue fit the bill. We would be the first to set her through her paces; from a mere 555km on the odometer to more than quadruple that by week’s end. With the ever changing terrain and we travelled from muddy roads to steep watersides. From gravel paved and pothole filled pathways, to wet highways, and even snowy mountainsides. And for all of the above, the 2021 Nissan Rogue had a mode for that. Off-road, snow, eco, and sport. The ability to adjust with a twist of a knob as needed kept us comfortable and safe.

Upon landing earlier in the day, we swung by to the nearest city, and the closest breakfast spot. This happened to be Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe in Sydney BC. Across the way from BC’s aviation museum, Mary’s served as the cafe and bar for pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike. Decorated with historic newspaper clippings and artifacts, the restaurant doubled as a museum dating all the way back to WWII, in its own right.

Equipped with masks the restaurant sat us at our own socially distant table, within the dining area. Breakfast was a collection of classics egg scrambles and pancakes, sprinkled with more innovative options like breakfast crepes and a build your own omelette.

We shared a full order of their Westcoast Benny with smoked salmon, shrimp and lobster on an English muffin. Topped with a perfectly poached egg and their house made hollandaise sauce, enjoyed with crispy hashbrown potatoes on the side. Sadly, the salmon did overpower the other seafood, leaving me missing the lobster. Heck, I got more cocktail shrimp than lobster. It would have been nice to have lobster stock added to their hollandaise as a fun twist.

And despite being able to make such an assembly myself, I find that I still lean towards such breakfast platters when dining out. But more so today given the name was “breakfast of champions”, and boy did I sure did feel like one. Served on a glass fish plate this was bacon, ham, sausage, with three eggs done your way, hashbrowns, and toast. Definitely a classic for a reason. And maybe it was because I was on carefree vacation mode, but each individual ingredient tasted better: fresher than it would have in the big city.

Then it was off towards Campbell River, the capital of salmon fishing, in the world. With a pit stop in the larger city centre of Nanaimo first. There, I took in some local street art and grabbed a coffee and a treat at local hot spot: The Vault. Given the time, I would have found myself here for a meal.

We spent two days and two nights in Campbell, parked by one of the lakes in Elk Park. Our backdrop: warming clouds, thick greenery, and still waters.

We kept warm in the car thanks to a sleeping bag and multiple blankets piled high. The driver and passenger seat proved comfortable when driving upright with its lumbar support. Although the curvature of the seats less so when fully reclined in slumber. Night two was spent in the tailgate with back seats flattened, this proved more ergonomic.

 

There was so much to see just cruising around in the 2021 Nissan Rogue with its panoramic sun roof. We discovered pockets perfect for mushroom foraging. Mossy fields teeming with chanterelles, chicken of the woods, elm mushrooms, boletes, cremini, and hedgehog mushrooms. All of which we cooked and ate during our trip.

There were many more mushrooms that were just stunning, but not to be consumed.

Most amazing were the ones we found on the roadside. The bounty and their available was amazing. Especially considering how hard we have to hunt within the lower mainland for such treasures.

The most memorable moment for me during our time in Campbell was fishing with a mama bear and her two cubs. You could see them across the river way. She caught multiple chums with her paw and snout in the cold water, and I couldn’t even get a bite with my bait.

At Campbell we found comfort in the historic Ideal Cafe, established in 1940’s. One lunch was a soggy Monte Cristo with house roasted turkey breast, shaved ham, and mozzarella cheese. Sandwiched between two pieces of egg battered French toast. It was heavy and on the bland side. I ordered it confusing it with a French croque-monsieur. I hoped a dip in the side of tomato and turkey soup would help add some tang, but alas was disappointed by how bland this was too. In retrospect, I have gotten a bowl of their thick and tasty seafood chowder instead. The fish and chips proved tastier with the house made tartar sauce and fries that the server suggested we add a side of gravy for dipping to. This did not disappoint.

Another meal was spent at A&W. Chicken sandwiches and onion rings enjoyed across the spacious Nissan Rogue’s cabin and arm rest.

 

One dinner had us travelling to Courtenay to take in island night life. A couple flights of beer and a burger with fries at Gladstone Brewery. I fully enjoyed their garage theme that included the up cycled use of old licence plates to holster a flight of four.

Their unique collection of burgers included the “Chrome Dome” a ground pork burger that came in a “Egg in a Hole” Potato Bun. Fun to look at, but hard to eat. The house blended tannadice ground pork was seasoned sweet. It was the dominat flavour profile, whereas I could have used more saltiness from their Natural Pastures Courtenay cheddar cheese or some tang from the Hazy Pale Ale onion relish. But it was the poutine on the side that stole the show with its tasty gravy and meltEd cheese over chewy fries. I always recommend breweries or distilleries as points of interest to visit when travelling, their unique offerings are worth partaking in.

Although, my favourite meal was the one we prepared our self; dry, under the protective tailgate of the 2021 Nissan Rogue. Using propane and camping cookware we sautéed chanterelles with zucchini, pan fried cubes of spam, and boiled up three packets worth of mi goreng. All served up on a plastic plates along side a bottle of red wine.

The day after, our travels took us from Salmon and Kennedy River, to the Pacific Ocean. With a stop and a two night stay in the “Lazy bear cabin” Airbnb in Ucluelet. This was unfortunately amidst of a blackout, due to strong winds blowing down power lines. Luckily our stay coincided with the tail end of it, and power resumed later in the evening. Having been sleeping in the Rogue, we came equipped with our own torches and flashlights; and even had a lamp to keep us warm. Water ran, but it was cold. Therefore our long awaiting shower comprised of a damp rag and boiled water, much like what we were doing before this night.

Nonetheless we made the best out of the situation, keeping warm with layers and warm beverages. Specifically Tofino Distillery’s old growth cedar gin mixed with earl grey tea and ginger ale, for a warm you inside out sorta cocktail.

Dinner was made possible thanks to the barbecue outside and the town’s only grocery store still open. Without electricity they were unable to keep meat cool and therefore dinner compromised of canned corned beef, grilled vegetables and a mix of the chanterelles we collected, along side chicken of the wood. The latter is a type of mushroom, aptly named for its texture that resembles dried chicken. A little too rough for me, but a first experience worth trying nonetheless.

Eventually the power did come back, and we were able to have a late night snack prepared within the warmth of our Airbnb cabin. Snack was toast made with luncheon meat, cheese, and a chanterelle omelette in between two slices of garlic bread. Served along with French pressed coffee and a salted caramel cheesecake slice.

The next day, fresh off of the excitement of having electricity. I made an elm and chanterelle cream of mushroom soup, served along side a different garlic toast sandwich. This time with a sunny side up egg and sautéed elm mushroom filling.

Well fed, it was then off to explore the city of Ucluelet some. Starting with the first look of the Pacific for the week; and a light hike that included a loop around a light house, where winds carried waves and crashed them angrily against large rocks.

As per the locals we grabbed coffee and the Foggy Bean and snacks at Zoe’s Bakery.

And for our last sheltered night in the Airbnb I upcycled leftover mushroom soup into a Parmesan rich, wild mushroom, Alfredo pasta. The perfect side to medium rare steak, grilled tomato, and sautéed hedgehog mushrooms. To drink: wine, was the very same vintage used to make the soup/pasta.

Breakfast the next day was enjoyed on the damp porch outback. Our cabin included its own forest and redwood tree to take in as we ate what we had leftover from the days before.

After a speedy checkout it was off to Tofino and the tsunami hazard done for the last leg of our trip. Here, gentler waves creeping up sandy shores replaced violent ones. Surfers enjoyed the water under them and we the rain that fell above us.

And what is a visit to Tofino, with a stop at the original tacofino truck? There, I recommend their fish tacos for its freshness and the gringa for its lack of availability anywhere else. The chicken gringa, is a 6 inch flour tortilla stuffed with chicken, cheese, salsa, and sour cream; then grilled until gooey and crispy.

Then it was a safe and easy drive back to Nanaimo to catch the ferry home to Vancouver, safe and sound thanks to the 2021 Nissan Rogue. A solid SUV, with enough room to sleep in, even when you over pack. With plenty of comfort and modern features for extended driving. And an amazing fuel economy to get you further and faster than you expected. In short the 2021 Nissan Rogue is a great travel vehicle in our books, and one to consider if you live a similar lifestyle to the one I described above. Thank you Nissan for the loaner and the memories.

Bisou Bake House

With the most recent Covid 19 lockdown, due to the increase in cases in B.C., I have been finding myself outdoors even more. I have taken to fishing and the season for coho is fast approaching, so I have been dedicating my weekends out in the country. Rain or shine, cold and colder I have left the warm and connivence of home for the great outdoors. So this weekend, I was delighted to receive a care packaged from Bisou Bakehouse in North Vancouver.

They are well known of their pastries and cakes, so had packed me a selection of their post popular goods, and I happily took them with me to my latest excursion. Given the lack of heat or cooking source, I thought that these would make the perfect snacks for me and my companions. A box of goodie to bring some civility to the wild. And boy they and we appreciative.

Despite them being less then room temperature and a day old, they ate wonderfully. Each croissant and danish was just as flaky as I would expect it to be coming out of their glass showcase.

Most memorable was the cheese croissant that made into a sandwich, cutting it in half and filling it with a grilled smokey. It was cheese on cheese and oh so perfect.

As is, I particularly liked the peach danish with its sweet fruit and luscious cream, offering contrast to the buttery pastry. The blueberry one gave you some crunch with its pecans. The same crushed nuts also found its way into a moist muffin. Moisture that I wish the cinnamon roll had more of. But that would have been too messy to eat as a handheld.

Much like the whole blueberry pie Bisou also sent me, but I thought that would be better suited to dining at home. Fresh BC blueberries baked within a golden brown crust. Warmed up for a little gooeyness. If they ate this good in the wild, I can only imagine fresh out of the oven. This taster has inspired me to head into the actual store, the next time I am in their neck of the woods.

Bisou Bake House
1189 16th St W, North Vancouver, BC V7P 1R4
(604) 984-9478
bisoubakehouse.com

2020 Mercedes GLB250 Review

This week was my first time cruising around in a Mercedes, and thanks to this little test drive, I can fully understand the difference a badge makes. Not just luxury for luxury sake, the 2020 Mercedes GLB250 is equipped with enough bells and whistles to justify the price tag you’d expect.

For those reading for the first time, this is my real girl car reviews. I don’t claim to be an automotive expert or even enthusiast. I am just an ordinary, everyday girl. One with relatable questions and loud opinions. So here I put vehicles under the microscope of an every day, regular commuter, just like you.

So as far as SUVs go, I was imagining a behemoth, but walking up to this midsize 5 seater, I found it approachable. Set lower to the ground, with roundness at all its edges it felt compact. From appearance alone, a good size for every day driving. Taking you through narrow neighbourhoods with either sides of the street packed with parked cars, to wide lanes on a highway going 100km/hr. Which by the way, is my commute, and the gauntlet I put the 2020 GLB through. And thankfully the fuel economy was good, enough that I was able to enjoy the drive and afford to eat out that week.

It easy drivability, with multiple modes, and all the modern conveniences of lane assist and turn signal warning aside, the Mercedes comes with several fun features all unique to itself, or at least less common in other-like vehicles on the market. Starting off with the most noticeable and notable is the ambient lighting feature. You have the ability to custom colour code the interior of the GLB to your mood or liking. From a frosty blue to calm your nerves during rush hour, to a fiery red that match the stitching of the suede interior. If the swirling through a colour wheel proves too much, or you are overwhelmed with the possibilities, you can simply select one of their predetermined colour combinations. This includes gradient colour changes across the dash, air vents, and pipping along the driver and passenger door. With names like “jungle green” and “ocean blue”, it certainly add to the vibe.

And speaking of customizations, you can just as intricately customize your seat. From micro movements of it tilting, adjusting, and maneuvering. Worth mentioning is the lumbar, giving you the perfect protrusion to best align to your spine. I strongly suggest giving yourself 30 minutes at minimum to toggling between the above two. I spent 10 minutes alone on colour wheel. Overall the seats are comfy enough, I am just not a fan of the suede; and how it looks against this dressier cabin. It almost played everything around it down.

As for the functionality, it took a while to get use to churning the windshield wipers on the left hand side of the wheel. Whereas all the vehicles I have had before this, it has been a flicking of a handle on the right hand side. Instead, the Mercedes GLB250 has its gear shift on the right. With a flick up you are in reverse, a motion down puts you in drive, neutral is somewhere in between; and park has you pressing the end of the toggle. This definitely put a strain on my three point turn game, and increased anxiety when I had to do quick turns across four lanes of two way traffic. Although towards the end of the week it became habitual, and I was then stuck trying to adjust back to business as usual when I was forced to revert to my regular daily driver.

Similar in learned comfort was the position of my right hand on the arm rest. Built with an island for your wrists, the cushion served as a brace for your hand. You stationary hand, as you toggled through the infotainment system by means of touch pad. If it proves too difficult to use it and look down when driving, you can just as easily utilize the touch screen on the centre console. But with so many options and settings to rifle through, I once again suggest taking the time to read your manual and getting to know your Mercedes GLB250 a little better before hitting the road. And that says something, coming from a woman who is impatient and never reads instructions. A woman who prefers simply jumping it and learning through trial and error.

Sadly, my test drive didn’t happen during summer and I wasn’t able to enjoy ample sun and hot weather with the GLB250’s panoramic sun roof. Although there can be something said about watching the rain beat and bead off it. Similarly, I didn’t get to enjoy the spacious seats or get to invite others to. And it was a very spacious interior, much like the trunk. Extra space as such is great if you have lot to transport, and even better so with the trunk assist. Like placing your hand under an automatic paper towel dispenser, the trunk slowly rises with the motion of your foot under the SUV’s carriage. Great if you are alone and have your hands full, even better as a party trick.

Overall the vehicle certainly impressed, each person who saw me in it, or got the pleasure of riding within it was impressed. The experience was worth it, and now I have a better understanding of the brand and how it’s defined by such detailing as this. Thanks for the ride Mercedes Canada.

https://www.mercedes-benz.ca/en/home

#Mijune x Chez Christophe Collaboration 2020

For those who don’t know her, Mijune Pak is local Vancouverite food blogger turned TV judge, and now chocolatier.

Our very own television personality has teamed up with local favourite,
Swiss Chocolatier, Chez Christophe to release two limited edition chocolate centric treats. They are currently available on the shelves of Chez Christophe Patisserie in North Burnaby, until quantities last. Both scream Canadiana and speak to her home and native land with Canadian inspired packaging and flavour combinations.

The first is a Maple Syrup French Toast white chocolate bar. 34% white chocolate, 35% caramelized white chocolate, maple syrup, and French toast cookie to be exact. Unwrapping this is a treat in itself. With stunning packaging and a sweet (excuse the pun) message within. This heartfelt thanks is surrounded by linear drawings of Canada meets Switzerland (speaking to the heritage of the chocolate). A sketch of mountains to cityscapes and the farms and lakes in between.

The chocolate itself is segregated to align to the mountain peaks of the cardboard wrap. This gives you a stunning visual, but inconsistent prices to break off. But no matter, you are going to end up eating more than you anticipated any how. It’s that good. And then there is the sweet spray painted maple leaf outline detail. A fun homage. As for taste, the white chocolate isn’t too sweet (coming from a person who doesn’t like too many sweets). It is well balanced by the fragrant maple syrup notes. The cookie adds texture and crunch for some mouth interest. A delicious bar I would purchase again for myself, and as a gift for others. And this says a lot as I am not typically a fan of chocolate in general. Although if it has to be chocolate, it has to be white chocolate.

And if you are only going to get one of these two limited edition releases, it has to be the Neapolitan Baked Alaska Snowball. This show stopper is an activity and dessert all rolled into one (yes, I like puns). A gradient: red to pink, and to white round with black speckles dispersed throughout. The viral challenge attached to this, is finding clever and artistic ways to crack into the piñata ball of sorts.

Within, is a bevy of tiny chocolate balls, nuggets of chocolate covered marshmallows, and chunks of cookies and freeze dried strawberries. Once again the chocolate and flavours are well balanced. It isn’t too sweet and every element just sings in harmony. If half the fun is breaking into it, the other half is exploring its insides. This is a great reward for any kid or adult. And for a lucky few, if your ball contains a magic ticket, you win a dessert experience with Mijune herself!

Chez Christophe
4717 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2K8
(604) 428-4200
chez-christophe.ca

Mr. Japanese Curry

Ever since I had my first taste of curry in Japan, I have been obsessed. The mix of sweet and creamy with a little heat, is unlike any other of its kind. So when I learned of a new little spot in Vancouver offering Japanese curry, I wanted to not only try their offerings, but support this new restaurant venture as well. A restaurant trying to make a name for themselves in this unprecedented time. Opening just before the onset of Covid-19, in a shop that use to host donairs.

The name informs you of exactly what you will be getting. And if there is any doubt, you can smell what’s cooking a block away, or take a gander at the collection of detailed plastic curry on display, in the front window. During my visit their food was only available for take out. A soft opening and test run, accepting orders online, and opting for the delivery of them.

Mr. Japanese Curry is dedicated to providing authentic homemade curry in either beef, chicken, or vegan sauces. Each option also includes a bevy of toppings to choose from, to best customize each plate to your tastes. Every serving comes with their Super Premium Short Grain Koshihikari white rice and a sprinkle of fried onions. Having tried one in each category and being able to see and taste the difference between all three, I highly recommend doing the same. Trying all the different curry sauces to get the full experience, and finding the one you like the best is half the fun. Each is a recipe unique to the restaurant, learned from food technicians in Japan.

Ordering is easy off the overhead menu, with its coloured photos. And if and when dining in reopens, you are able to serve yourself at their cutlery and drink station.

The following is what we had, in the order they came up, starting with their vegan curry. They are proud to offer a tasty plant based curry, in collaboration with the popular and very local “Vegan Pudding Co.”. This was a rich and creamy curry despite the lack of milk products being used. Served wonderfully with fried mashed Japanese pumpkin patties. It was delicious, you couldn’t tell that this was made without cream or butter, nor did it have the overwhelming flavour of coconut milk. The sauce is so tasty that you need only to enjoy it with their perfectly prepared rice. And the fried onion sprinkle offers a nice little crunch in between. In actuality, you don’t want to fill up on rice, but it just goes so well with everything, that you don’t waste a single grain.

We continued to work our way up to heavier with a more flavourful curries with the “Tonkatsu Curry” next. This is their chicken based curry served with a breaded and deep fried pork cutlet, sliced up for easier consumption. This was a curry that was just as light as the vegan option above, but with very different savoury notes. In terms of flavour, this was my favourite of the three, the pork cutlet being the highlight. Each piece was tender and a little fatty for a juicer bite.

The heartiest of our three plates was their signature “Mr. Curry” platter. A beef curry that they referred to as “Stamina Curry”, served a piece of fried shrimp, thinly sliced pork belly in a homemade garlic sauce, a hard boiled egg, and melted cheese. There was plenty going on here to keep you interested. You could mix and match ingredients, curating the perfect bite. The crispy shrimp, the tender meat, the fragrant onions, and the creamy cheese sauce that pulled it all together. It has a stew-like quality to it: comforting and filling.

Overall, a great option for Japanese curry in a neighbourhood, offering something different in the area. Order all three because each is different and worth trying. Great as family food; or late night, drunk eating. This is a flavour I will crave again, and a hidden gem with nothing else like it in Vancouver.

Mr. Japanese Curry
446 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1N9
(604) 879-4400
mrjapanesecurry.com

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba, Lougheed Town Centre

The latest location of Kokoro has opened in Coquitlam, giving me easier access and more reasons to enjoy their unique saucy udons. Their physical seating area is still closed for dine in due to the pandemic. However, with the nicer weather and plenty of benches and ledges to sit on in their vicinity, you can easily take your order to go and perch up nearby to finish it, while it’s still warm. I found myself visiting twice in the span of a month, and here is that recap.

For first timers they recommend their best seller, the “Niku Mazesoba”. Slow braised pork chashu, spicy minced pork, half a soft boiled egg, minced garlic, green onion, seaweed flakes, ground Saba fish, chives, and sesame; all over their in-house made multi-grain noodles. Like all their other variations, this one is jam packed with flavour, strong garlics and seasonings that leave you with a rich bowl that I can never seem to finish, and a mouth in need of brushing. Although when the craving for something comforting like this hits, only this would do. But be warned, for those who don’t like the flavour of anything seafood related, the Saba fish flakes are pretty prominent. And I personally can do with less green onion and chives, (though they do make for a great presentation), and more of the noodles instead. You are often left with so much more toppings than chewy strands. They offer up complimentary scoops of white rice to sop up the excess with, but why not just give more noodles to begin with; so that way it wouldn’t be as rich?

The “Curry Mazesoba” has the same flavour base as the “Niku” above, but with the highlight of a spicy Japanese-style curry. A growing heat and plenty of garlic had me stopping 3/4 of the way. Spicy minced pork, half soft-boiled egg, seaweed flakes, spinach, minced garlic, ground Saba fish, green onion, onion, and sesame; with a healthy serving of Japanese curry over their house made multi-grain noodles. A different way to enjoy this flavour packed bowl, but once again I wanted less green onions and onions and a lot more noodle to help balance things out.

I find the best way to refresh your palette and elongate the meal is to accompany the above or the below with one of their “Tokyo iced milk teas”. Brewed with 100% organic black tea, and served in an easy to carry along, plastic, ziplock drink bag. A twisty straw aids in the drinking process. It offers a refreshing, cooling sip that makes for a perfect break in eating.

The “Cheese Mazesoba” is exactly the same as the curry, but exchange curry for a good amount of cheese. But be warned it does congeal quick, and when it does, it doesn’t add the same nuance of stringy pulled cheese. Although overall, you don’t really get much of the cheese’s flavour past everything else.

The “Tan Tan Mazesoba” I liked for its peanut butter flavour, otherwise it is once again just like all the other variations above with spicy minced pork, half soft-boiled egg, seaweed flakes, spinach, minced garlic, ground Saba fish, green onion, onion, and sesame; over their house made multi-grain noodles.

Overall a great addition to the Coquitlam area, offering something unique and specialized out of downtown. Plenty of parking, with delivery and takeout options a-plenty, they are making it easy for you to visit.

Kokoro
531 North Rd #109, Coquitlam, BC V3J 1N7
(604) 917-0719
menyakokoro.com

ChiMec Fried Chicken & Burger Vancouver

During these uncertain times, one thing remains the same: the need for comfort. And for many that includes food. Foods that delight, foods that bring back memories, and foods that never seem to fail you. And for most fried chicken ticks off all the boxes. So when I new fried chicken place opens up in Vancouver, and will not be left behind.

Located on Denman Street, this little corner restaurant isn’t the most convenient stop for me. Although if you live downtown and are in the area, I do recommend stopping by to give them a try. I walked in thinking they did Korean style fried chicken, but the menu and mural of iconic artists, song writers, and influential leaders spoke otherwise.

They are currently only offering take out, with a 10% discount if you do. The menu hangs above the counter; similar in look and feel to that of a concession stand. It lists their signature burger, chicken pieces, chicken tenders, wings, sides, and drink. We came on the right day, because starting today they are running a promotion where if you spend $20 before tax you get a $10 gift card. And if you spend $30 and get a $20 gift card. We ended up getting enough for a $10 gift certificate, that I will be using towards their burger in the future. And there is no rush to redeem because it expires in October of this year, and may be by the time I return, I get to enjoy it in their space as a dine in meal.

We ended up getting a good collection of their menu to enjoy in a nearby park. Our order included a choice of sauces, pre-poured into individual dipping cups.

We started with their 3 piece chicken tenders and fried chicken and leg, only to get 6 of the former and 4 for the latter. The fried chicken caught me off guard. I was impressed by how crispy and juicy they were. I found it comparable to popular fried chicken chain, Churches; but with a more fine gauge crispy skin, with some of the juiciest dark meat I have ever had. I had liquid dripping of my chin as I slurped tender and flavourful meat. I naturally clean the bone of my chicken, and it would be hard to not with theses.

The chicken tenders on the other hand were very disappointing. It tasted frozen and flashed fried. They were bland and dried; a sensation only worsen by how great the chicken above was.

And sadly our choice of sauces did nothing to help or remedy this. They all weren’t as expected. Instead, a sweeter version of each. The honey mustard was the best out of the three we had. If given a second chance I would have simply asked for regular ketchup.

The plum sauce was not tart and tangy, like you know plum sauce to be. It was sweet, with a soap-like quality, my guest chimed in.

I expected the Korean sauce to be a spicy little number, with plenty of punchy and loud flavours. This was chunky and sweet like a jam, not necessarily something I want to pair with meat.

Overall the sauces were more enjoyable with the onion rings. The rings I had, had a great onion to batter ratio, perfect for those like me, who don’t actually like the texture of onion. It was a nice airy batter that retained its crunch, even after they cooled.

In short, ChiMec is a great addition to the fried chicken game if you like dark meat.

ChiMec
835 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L7
(604) 331-0058
chimec-fried-chicken-burger.business.site

The Nomad Chef, Cannabis Spring Menu 2020

This week there are talks of restaurants reopening to the public. Customers are once again able to head out and grab a drink or dinner at their favourite establishment. Though now with new Covid sensitive rules in place.

In light of that I explored the private dining option with an intimate dinner for one, hosted by The Nomand Cook, also more commonly known as the “Cannabis Chef”. He is a self taught chef that stepped away from his suit and tie, management job in pursue of his passion: Cooking. And with his time on “Master Chef” Canada under his belt, he has climbed the culinary ladder and has found his niche with cannabis products, themed dinners, and even a cookbook in the works.

Starting mid May, when gathering restrictions loosen up, he will be hosting the follow four course dinner with cocktail and tea pairings Thursday to Sunday, every week. They will be held in a furnished apartment, redecorated to accommodate a small group of 6 or 3 parties of 2. An ideal size for an intimate party, or a creative new way to go back to date night. With each sitting running approximately 90 minutes in total.

And for those looking for a more safe and private environment, The Nomad Cook is available for private dinners prepared at your very own home as well. He will come in, set up and prepare a feast for you and your friends, to your specifications. Both this and the set dinner are being offered at prices barely above cost. A welcome back introduction to the dining scene, and a way to get our chef doing what he loves again. The following menu is available for the next three months, where he can accommodate any allergies with advance notice. And there is a plant base alternative menu as well. Given the season, this would include spot prawns.

Dinner is served on smaller tables covered in white cloth, they help set the mood for a causal dinner. From where you sit you get to enjoy the green of the indoor herb garden, and/or the green of the trees and grass below, from this 7th floor condo. The space makes the service more cozy and the conversation more intimate. You can’t help but chat up the chef or even the table next to yours. Given the lack of socializing thus far, I suspect people will be clamouring to converse with new faces and subsequently discuss the pandemic that has gotten us to this point.

The table is set with the necessary cutlery, a small stack of napkins, and a carafe for you to self serve. Everything within arm’s reach to minimize the need to have contact. Although our host/chef will be hosting in protective mask and glove to help further ease any uneasy-ness.

In the carafe is chilled tea from “Zteep”, a Toronto based tea company. The founder began making his mother tea with CBD in it to help with her injury and soreness, sustained in a car accident. But in this setting it helps to loosen the guests and their lips, apparently. It makes you more comfortable and chatty.

The food menu is spring and summer inspired, featuring lots of new techniques our chef has learned during his time in quarantine. All while still focusing on cannabis as a super food. Consuming it to rejuvenate the body, while maintaining its original flavour.

We started with the “Roasted Sesame & Wasabi Pea Crusted Lamb Lollipop”. My favourite dish of the entire night and a real bold start. This was a perfectly prepared New Zealand lamb served with a colourful rainbow carrot salad in a balsamic soy dressing. The salad had a stiffness to it that helped to further highlight the tender lamb meat that pulled off the bone. Dehydrated cannabis flower was used, but the THC does burn away. You weren’t able to make out any of its flavour here; the result, simply a really solid starter that you would expect at any casual dining establishment.

With it we sipped on a wonderful gin, and cucumber cannabis cocktail. Made with Hendricks gin, a simple syrup with lime and cucumber, and a mint foam topper. The presentation was spectacular and the flavour even more impressive. I could sip on these all night. I didn’t really taste any of the cannabis in this one, it was more refreshing as a classic cocktail.

We then moved on to a bright “Spot Prawn Ceviche”. In truth I thought this would have been a better start, as a lighter flavour palette. The dish spoke to spot prawn season with fresh seafood and sharp flavours: Grapefruit, Scallions, Pomegranate Seeds, Radish and toasted coconut for crunch. Made with olive oil infused with orange, lending itself to a citrusy cannabis oil. You get the freshness of the cannabis as a peekaboo; it doesn’t overpower, but ensures you don’t forget its there. Not to mention you can smell a faint hint of it in the dish.

Next on the docket was a “Crispy Skin Salmon”, with Asparagus, Shimeji Mushrooms and a Mint Pea Nage. Here, our cannabis flower found itself puréed in the latter. Its herbaceous flavour spiced up the greens well, a nice accent to the wonderfully pink fish. The plate as a whole was kept fresh and light with the crisp asparagus, earthy mushrooms, and peppery greens.

And for dessert The Nomad Cook didn’t pull any punches. A homemade pistachio and cannabis essence infused ice cream, made using the industrial Paco Jet ice cream maker. The impressive appliance sat atop his counter, offering the cream a final spin before serving. Its sweet and creamy consistency paired well with the white chocolate matcha cookie and blueberry gastrique. It acted like a sauce for the tougher and chewier, slightly bitter cookie.

In short this was a great dinner and a fun way to get better acquainted with cannabis, if you aren’t already. A comfortable setting with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. Four courses for $100 a person. A Covid discount of $50, to help us slowly acclimate to dining out again. Worth noting is that this is dine in only, so if you think you will need to doggy bag, bring your own containers.

Once again, for something more intimate, you can also hire The Nomad Chef to cater your next small, maximum 6 person soirée. An occasion that starts off with a charcuterie or canapés and leads into a menu you help create. For more details, visit the link below.

thenomadecook.ca

Kin’s Market Signature Farm Box

With the inability to dine out at a restaurant, and the need to stay at home; many like myself have looked to cooking to pass the time and feed ourselves.

Admittedly, before the pandemic, I ate out more than most. Therefore, when it came time to follow recipes and make new things, I struggled. I didn’t know where to start or what to buy. The possibilities were endless and daunting.

So I looked to Kin’s Market and their grocery box for $63 after tax. This is a collection of fresh produce that gave me the foundation of popular fruits and vegetables to help kickstart my cooking journey. I would use this as a catalyst in finding the perfect recipe to follow. Everything I made would utilize a great deal of what was before me.

A collection that included 2 broccoli crowns, 3 cooking onions, a 2lbs bag of carrots, 2 long English cucumbers, two hot house tomatoes, 6 Yukon potatoes, a bunch of asparagus tips, 1lb of jumbo white mushrooms, 6 bananas, 2 lemons, 5 blue jay oranges, a 2lb bag of snap dragon apples, a jumbo avocado, 5 orri mandarins, 2 Manila mangos, and a bunch of muscat grapes from Chile.

The following is a showcase of what I was able to make using the above.

I juiced the tomatoes, cucumber, oranges, apples, and grapes; along with other produce for a collection of colourful juices that fuelled me through my work week.

The grapes and mango played a part in topping a New York style cheese cake finished with raspberry syrup. Truthfully, the rest of the mango I enjoyed as is because it was delicious.

The potatoes found their way into a poutine and as mash for bangers and mash.

Apples, grapes, and cucumber became part of a healthy lunch for the week.

And the asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, and onion were featured in a hearty Irish stew of red wine and Guinness stout. Served warm in a homemade Irish soda bread bowl.

In short, I hope everyone is able to make the best of their quarantine, trying new things, eating well, and doing their part to keep themselves and others safe.

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