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

Month: November 2015 Page 2 of 3

Hiro Sushi


Almost a year later, I decided to give this place a second try, after a most disappointing first and a note to not return. All this only to get an upset stomach during my second attempt.


I have passed by and looked in on occasion. They are never full, but always have at least one table seated and someone coming in for take out. I have been here once before, but it was take out and the rolls didn’t travel well. So out of connivence now I came back for lunch. I attend physiotherapy in the neighbourhood and use the gap between it and work to enjoy a stop here. I thought this time would be different as I would avoid their specialty rolls and instead go for something more traditional.


The restaurant itself is most iconic with its out of place murals. The ceiling to floor paintings sandwiching the dining area have survived the various reincarnations of this space. On the right was a country side with stucco buildings, tall mountains, and green shrubbery. A female in red was steadily walking towards it all. Across from this was a scene of rolling hills and running waterways. All more fitting for a Italian restaurant or a Spanish tapas place.


The Japanese points in homage to the cuisine, were more prevalent with and surrounding their sushi bar. Red lanterns, bamboo shoots, cloth flag printed with patterns of fish, and a picture of a smiling geisha in the corner. The bar itself was plastered with high quality photos of the rolls they served and some of their more beautiful dishes to tempt you.

The menu was a page turner, 12 photo filled pages of Japanese appetizers, sushi, rice, noddles, etc. They had over 25 different specialty rolls. Most of which is quite typical in the Vancouver fusion sushi scene, if not by name, then by filling. They also had some pretty great sushi and bento box specials, but I am not a fan of California roll and both had it included with an extra charge for any substitutions.


I instead went for the “all day super special” on the second page and stopped flipping through the menu after I made up my mind. It was $9.25 for miso soup and the ability to choose any three items from a list of 88. If you wanted to make any of it spicy, you could add 25 cents to do so. There were so many possibilities to go through. I didn’t know where to start and what pattern to dine in so went for what I thought would be the most value in each category.


A very full bowl of miso soup came quick. I am sure it was pre-made. It was salty and made with plenty of seaweed and tofu.


I went for “small chicken teriyaki don” from the list of “appetizers”, but given its portion size, it was more like a smaller full entree. It came as quick as the soup. Odd, as you would think the cooked component of my meal would take the longest to make. All I could think was “that’s why I heard the microwave open and close after my order was registered”. Shame as they were slow enough, with hardly any customers to have the time to make it from scratch. It was pieces of tender chicken over a mound of steam rice and a handful of bean sprouts. The broccoli floret on the side was a little raw, as is typical. Overall okay and nothing varying from the expected standard.


From the list of “nigiri sushi” I choose “chopped scallop with tobiko”. The cream and tobiko hid my ability to taste and tell the freshness of the scallop. It was tasty though. But be warned it requires eating all in one bite, the seaweed was too tough to saw through with teeth.


And from the “cone/roll” category I had the “B.C. Roll”. This was filled with cooked BBQ salmon and its skin, lettuce, and cucumber. It was coated in a sticky sweet brown sauce. The roll was warm from the cooked fish. I didn’t hear any barbecuing so can safely assume this was premade and microwaved as well. The salmon’s pungent taste was overwhelming, you could also taste the char of the oil off the fish’s rough skin. This would have been a good option for those who don’t like their fish and sushi raw. But for me, I prefer the raw salmon and didn’t like this all that much. I learned never to order this again.

I chose one item from each of their three categories, but you can actually choose any three from any category.


Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Hopefully I keep the word of my post this time. They had a good variety of food, but nothing I would return for or want to take another crack at, an interesting deal or not. I felt full and within minutes later found myself clutching my abdomen in pain. My stomach was not happy with what I had and I am currently scared away from sushi, teriyaki sauce, and salmon. Don’t deny your cravings.


3701 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C2H6
Hiro Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

UYU ice cream

IMG_9143IMG_9178Social media friendly soft serve ice cream.
I finally tried the soft serve parfaits at “UYU”. “UYU” is Korean for milk, and it makes for a fitting name as it is the base for everything they make. They use only organic milk and fresh ingredients to make their soft serve. I have been seeing them grace the pages of my social media feeds since they opened and now I got to try them for myself. Though I couldn’t bear to post a picture of our treats in front of their white cut out wall of criss cross lines. At this point, it has already been done. But at the same time it is a good way to indicate where you were without saying it. Like a logo, a part of their branding.

The room felt sterile and neat. Still a newer space with clean lines and crisp furniture. A white counter without any nicks or dings, glossy signs, and stainless steel machines. I was impressed, I just wished there was more of a seating area to linger and enjoy it all in. All there was were two lengthy benches to sit and lick your treat at. Though I guess you don’t really need much more for a hand held dessert that takes 10 minutes to finish.


Your journey begins waiting in queue. They are fairly popular, so I can imagine a line at all times of the day. Plus their location makes them a great spot of an after dinner dessert or mid day snack. You follow the signs above their counter. The first asks you to choose your soft serve flavour. What was available was written in chalk on a little board by the cash desk. It even had a end date so you could coordinate a return if you wanted more. Organic milk, tiramisu, and black sesame.


You pay and your soft serve is swirled into a cup or a cone. We wanted toppings so the cup with a spoon made more sense.


Next you select your toppings. The price changes with how many toppings you want. A look past glass at tubes built into the counter tells you what is available. Each is labelled on a small card next to its corresponding bin. They didn’t have your regular sprinkles or candy. Instead they offered more wholesome options like fruit and nuts. Freeze drying the fruit allowed them to last longer: raspberry, orange, strawberry, and banana. There was also toasted coconut. And roasted and sugared coated nuts like pecan, roasted crushed peanuts, almond slivers, and pistachio bark. They did also offer something sweeter in the form of chocolate covering nuts and honey glazed granola. It was the pumpkin and sunflower seeds that threw me off. This was something I never thought of putting in my ice cream, but given the more health conscious demographic of Vancouver, its appearance made sense. What I found most interesting was their use of small spoons and long tweezers to gingerly place each topping piece by piece. Strategically placing topping by topping, as if for a photo (which is often the case, given how many folks took pictures of their ice cream). They really took care in delivering an optimal presentation and I appreciated them for it. Though I am not sure about the guests waiting after me in line.


Or you can forgo the selection process and simply have your soft serve drenched in real chocolate.


For that extra decadence, the last step is a drizzle of any sauce. There were squeeze bottles at the ready. Their flavours weren’t listed anywhere, but the employee behind the counter was more than happy to share what they had. Caramel, strawberry, chocolate, black currant, raspberry, passion fruit, and condense milk. With a shake of the bottle it is swirled round and round over your peaked iced cream.


The tiramisu soft serve included the cake’s icon lady fingers. One finger snapped into two and carefully placed in the cup. The fingers were dry and crusty, they needed a good soaking, but was helped along by the quickly melting soft serve. This one was with freeze dried raspberries, dark chocolate almond bark, toasted coconut, and a caramel drizzle. You definitely got the chocolate flavour of a traditional tiramisu, but unfortunately missed the coffee that should of accompanied it. The ice cream was smooth and creamy as expected. The raspberries were sweet and crispy, the chocolatey slightly bitter, and the coconut gave it all some texture. The caramel made the most sense with this assembly. And surprisingly, all together this dessert wasn’t too sweet, although it sure looked like it would be. Instead, it was the perfect light, after dinner palette cleanser.


The black sesame was with freeze dried orange and strawberry pieces, crushed peanuts, and a condense milk drizzle. I questioned my selection as the girls before us all got their black sesame soft serve with black sesame powder. I wish I went in this direction as a posed to the very tart orange segments. It had the texture of toffee sponge and took away from the sweetness of the ice cream. Seeing as the ice cream wasn’t all that flavourful it even masked the intended toasted sesame flavour. I liked the ice cream the best alone, but it also made a good base.


I liked what they offered and what they have done. I just wished you could sample the flavours before committing to one. We asked and were denied. It would also have be nice to have some pre-determined combos to order. No need to choose the topping or the drizzle, just point and call out a number. A good complimentary mix for a certain flavour. Though this would have to rotate along with their bi-monthly flavours. That’s a lot of signage and it would take a lot of work to update this time and time again. It would also be nice to have size options, a larger option to allow for five or more toppings, so you don’t have limit yourself to the hard decision of only three. I was also disappointed digging in to realize that my soft serve mound was hollow at its centre.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
We didn’t know want to expect from the taste, but was very happily surprised. Although there isn’t much soft serve ice cream around to compare them to, they definitely fare better than the likes of “Macdonald’s” and “Dairy Queen”. The only gourmet soft serve in town with unique flavours and a fun topping bar to enjoy it with. Don’t deny your cravings.


433 Abbott Street, Vancouver BC
UYU Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuc Craft Kitchen


I go into detail as to why I dislike a two table at any restaurant.
My guest recommended this one. I have heard that they do a great chicken and waffles brunch, but we were here for dinner.

I walked in at 6pm on a Wednesday without reservations. The room had only two tables sat, and they had plenty of seating across two floors. Though I was told that because our party was only two we couldn’t have a booth, or something not in the middle of the room. In retrospect the policy made sense seeing as how quickly the rest of the restaurant filled up after 7pm. This arrangement ensured no party was left standing, but I still hated hearing “no” when I asked for a booth seat against the wall. I really dislike an isle two top table and if I could, would always ask for anything else. Anything is better, except the bar when I am eating. I rather not have the bartender watching me wolf down my meal. On a two top, you feel like you are in everyone’s way, with no safe corner to put your back towards. These tables are often narrow to create ample isle space on either sides. Therefore there often isn’t enough space for all your dishes, yet you are often left leaning across it to speak with your guest. This is not an arrangement meant for a lingering stay. You want to just eat and leave because you are so uncomfortable, which very well may be the intention. But at least they were consistent with this messaging, they told the couple that came in after us the same thing, and everyone else the same after them.


The room had a worn factory feel to it: with cold concrete floors, worn paint planked walls, and rickety chairs. The creaky steps leading to the additional seats on the mezzanine and the slightly rusted chains across the bar added to this grit. Above the bar it continued with the overturned boxes and dusty jugs scattered on purpose. Altogether it matched well the general vibe of the Gastown area.

They boast a seasonally changing menu that takes inspiration from around the world. Though all the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers. They pride themselves on working with vendors who share their vision and beliefs: “a care for their harvest and the earth”. Scanning the menu, I am not ashamed to admit that many of the listed items beguiled me. For many I understood the feature ingredient, but what accompanied it would be a mystery. So I didn’t know what to expect with anything, and ended up ordering things because I liked the main ingredient or thought it interesting. Like oxtail, fish from Haida Gwaii, and pea meal. I was pleased with it all as I didn’t what to expect I was pleasantly surprised.


“Oxtail Rillettes” with fried panissa, za’atar, and olives. “Rillettes” is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. The meat is chopped, salted heavily, and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded. It is then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. This preparation is normally used as spreads on bread or toast. In this case the oxtail meat is meant to be spread over a chickpea stick. The whole is seasoned in Lebanese spices and salty from briny olives. I was however disappointed by the portion size, though given its flavour and its acquired taste, this was more than enough. The chick pea sticks were gritty, and with the stringy shredded beef I longed for some crunch. The former was a little dry and on the salty side, but seeing as I can’t compare it to anything I can only deem it good for what it was.


The “Pacific Ling Cod” was specifically Haida Gwaii Ling Cod. It was coated in a charmoula sauce with a chickpea confit, wilted pea shoots, and green garlic. “Charmoula” is a marinade used in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan, and Tunisian cooking. It is usually used to flavor fish or seafood, but can be used on other meats or vegetables as well. Given the description I was right to expect that the seasoning would be zesty and full of spice. The fish was cooked perfectly to a tender flaky finish. The skin was salty thanks to its crisp breaded coating. The bitter of the fresh greens really helped to balance everything all out.


The “Pea Meal Pork & Jam” was a surprising favourite. I didn’t know what to expect with ground peas, but all this just worked together. Gelderman farm pork loin breaded in a pea meal crust served with fingerling potatoes, a green pea puree, and quince bourbon jam. I usually shy away from pork because it often comes out dry. This pork was cooked well, juicy throughout, especially closer to pockets of fat within the pork steak. Potatoes are always a great accompaniment to a chunk of red meat. Both definitely needed sauce to moisten each bite. The green purée added some tang and lightened things up with some freshness. All together, all the elements complimented in colour, texture and taste. I was very impressed by how much I liked it.


For dessert we had the “Tuc Seasonal Galette”. This fall it was filled with blueberry and apple. The flat pastry was topped with a honey lavender sorbet and served with a spiced rum caramel sauce and ricotta cream drizzled in the shape of a heart. This presentation is certainly something worth writing about. It was like an open faced pie, freshly baked and flaky with real butter. I liked the lavender sorbet the most. It was fragrant and flowery, so good that I rather-ed it as was, separate. Also, it was stronger in flavour and really didn’t compliment the heavy pastry, in fact I found that it actually clashed with it.

Our server was very attentive. He checked in with us often. More than the standard first few bites after each course. He even took the time to make pleasant conversation and share insights through comments as he passed by. Though it was a struggle to keep our small glasses of water full especially, having to stop someone, anyone just to do a refill. I guess the food must had been salty, we downed over eight glasses of water each.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
The food isn’t something I would crave often, but it is definitely worth having a taste of. I suggest bringing a larger group in with you, so that you get to try a little of everything interesting they have to offer. Most of which you can’t find anywhere else. Don’t deny your cravings.


60 West Cordova Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1C9
Tuc Craft Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House


Some seriously good Happy Hour deals: $1 a slider!


I have heard great things about this place, so when looking for a happy hour spot, I jumped at trying their $6, $6, $6 offers. Wine, beer, and appetizers at $6 each.

Walking up to the building, the window read “beer, bacon, bourbon”, I thought, “this is promising”. The building was black in cast iron with their logo in red, a muscular forearm lifting a trident in the air. Though I guess it must be a pitch fork, because that is the devil’s weapon of choice.


When you walk inside, the scents made good on the promise the window declared. It smelled like malty liquor, cured meat, and salt. It made you thirsty and hungry at the same time. The interior was rugged like you would expect for a smoke house. The words “Devil’s Elbow” was stencilled on one of the bleached wood, alcove seating areas. Adjacent to it was a wooden canoe suspended from the ceiling. It held a place in the corridor separating the more rowdy bar area (especially with the hockey game on) from the more quite dining area, just before the kitchen pass. The canoe was certainly an eye catching conversation starter. The rustic theme continued on with their heavy bar in both look and stock, their open ceiling exposing wires and ducts, and the unfinished brick meets wood look on select walls. I liked the energy of the place, especially with the rotation of 90’s top charters. Like Alanis Morisette’s “ironic”, No Doubt walking on “spiderwebs”, and TLC taking about “scrubs”. It all certainly had our server dancing in the isles.

We went through the happy hour food menu with gusto, and thankfully our server was kind enough to warn us that we had asked for was a lot of food. She advised us to keep with the four dishes below, even though we wanted more. Like the fried catfish entree that they were sold out of, so early in the afternoon.

When one of the kitchen staff delivered our dishes one of the pork purses rolled off the plate. She simply said that we lost one. We didn’t move wondering what she would do. She insisted that the table was clean and suggested we just pick it off the table and place it back on to the plate. We complied and ate it, as I am not to fussy, but is that really the correct course of action when such a thing happens? I don’t know about you? But there have been many occasion where I have seen tables wiped down with a communal cloth, a rag that doesn’t get rinsed off or rung out between uses. Who is to say that this table is really clean after a wipe from one of those. Though I am highly sensitive to this sort of thing. That’s why I got out of the restaurant industry when I did.


“Pulled pork purses” with smoked pork butt, smoked bacon, cabbage, and zesty honey BBQ sauce. $6 between 3-6pm, regularly there are $11. These were my favourite of the night. They were surprisingly deep fried parcels stuffed full, I expected white steamed buns. They were crispy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The sauce and green onion gave each bite a sweet and salty Asian feel.


The “Brisket sliders” were filled with house smoked beef brisket, tangy coleslaw, and sesame seeds in a toasted brioche bun. We didn’t expect there to be six of them. Given the $6 price and it being happy hour , I expected the plate to only come with three. Especially since they are normally $10 for three. Or else we were given a bonus by mistake? These little bundles were a mouthful, full of tender barbecue meat and tangy coleslaw. It definitely highlighted the smokiness of the brisket.


The “Kettle chips with maque choux” was house made potato slices paired with southern style corn salsa. Salty chips and sweet corn. Some chips were too salty, but their great texture made up for it. They were the perfect base for the soft corn to be scooped up with.


The “Mac and cheese corn bread” side was not a part of the happy hour specials, but it was a side that we couldn’t pass up at $4. Especially with our server promoting it. And besides when you are going for southern fare you usually stop for corn bread. Though this was not what we were expecting. It was far too dense. Dense from all the carbs, dense from the combination of pasta and corn meal. The melty cheese sauce and fresh tomato chunk topping helped a little to add moisture, but I didn’t find both very complimentary to its base. I rather-ed a helping of regular corn bread and a small bowl of mac and cheese, separate.

Our several actually did the same with “orange crush”, she over sold it like the Mac and cheese corn bread. She made it seem like it was their own homemade batch of orange crush. Though in reality it was nothing special, just regular orange soda. Or else we wouldn’t have gotten a glass to try. At least she is good at her job and a great sales man. And/or we don’t have the same tastes.

We of course weren’t able to finish all the food, so had most of it packed to go, but sadly they didn’t have any bags to put the cardboard containers into, and the sauce and oil ended up leaking on to my car seats. It is also nice to note that although we were done eating, our food was packed to go, and we had paid in full; our server continued to tend to us, she stilled poured us water and check in on our welfare. In general she seemed really into her job. We watched her continuously dancing and singing along to the music as she checked on all the tables, one after the other like a circuit. She was in a great mood and had set the tone for ours.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Happy hour was so impressive that I want to come back to try the rest of their menu. My partner is a big fan of barbecue meats, and has asked that I bring him back after he had my leftovers and really enjoyed the beef in the sliders and the pork in the purses. I agreed having had my eye on their “smoked BBQ meat platter”. It comes with pulled pork, beef brisket, pork back ribs, and your choice of two sides. We would choose the IPA Mac and cheese and garlic mashed potatoes over the chilled potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, or creamed corn. And if this isn’t enough food, for $20 more you can get their larger meat platter that comes with A half smoked chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, pork back ribs, and your choice of four sides. Don’t deny your cravings.


562 Beatty Street, Vancouver BC
Devil's Elbow Ale And Smoke House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boba Cabana

IMG_8121 IMG_8088

Making it easier to take your drinks on the skytrain.
Location is such an important thing when you are a restaurant, or in this case, a cafe just starting out. And here they had a good one: right on the platform of New Westminster skytrain station. In the hub of an area that is under rejuvenation. What a great place to have a snack shop and drink stop. Perfect for a pause in between your commute, or the place to grab something for it.


They are seemingly a bubble tea shop, but offer so much more drinks in store. With vegan and dairy free options available; and heathy twists like chia seeds, hemp hearts, whey protein, and almond or coconut milk as add ons or substitutions. They also do “power smoothies” with the likes of kale and avocado.

The shop smelled like the browning dough of freshly made bubble waffles and was warmed from the heat the process gave off. This made sense given the entire operation of bubble waffle making was done behind the very counter you ordered from.

Their logo was a pineapple silhouette with bubbles at its base and a straw sticking out from its stem. The clever design was celebrated on the shop’s window, on its counter front, on the menu board above said counter, and again as a decal on the wall.


Your choices to drink were from their milk tea series, fruit teas, blended smoothies, and their power smoothies. I was impressed by their diversification of teas including Thai style ice tea, the Mexican horchata, Japanese premium matcha, fresh taro, and Spanish coldbrew.

I went with the “Thai iced tea”, having never seen one offered outside of a Thai restaurant. This would also be the first time I would have it with boba pearls. Though sadly it was bitter, and could have used more condense milk, but I was too timid to ask. At least the orange colour was spot on.

My guest went for the “Lychee slush” with boba pearls. You could taste that it was made with real fruit. Though there was not enough blended ice in the mix, so it kept separating from the syrup.


For edibles they had waffles. We requested the “Taro bubble waffle”, but I am sure it was just the regular version. I didn’t taste or see taro, there was no trademark powder purple hue. The waffle came with your choice of dipping sauce. We went for condense milk over cinnamon and butter, Nutella, or the “speculoos” brand of cookie butter. It gave the waffle its sweetness. The waffles themselves were heavy and chewy, more like pancake dough in look and texture. We felt they came from a boxed mix. The taste was there, but we wanted them and wished them to be lighter. This density wasn’t true to the “bubble” in its name. These were filled bobbles, not hollow bulbs like I expected. And they got harder the quicker it cooled out of the bag. Half way through, the dip they took in the condense milk becoming more and necessary.


We had to try the very seasonal, fall pumpkin spice Belgian waffle. This took a lot longer to craft, taking more time than the bubble waffles or both drinks combined. Though it was worth the wait. The waffle batter tasted the same as the bubbles above, but a bit more watered down. Though it was the toppings that set this apart and gave it its flavour anyways. It had everything: a crispy and buttery waffle base, creamy fresh whip, smooth pumpkin purée from a can, crunchy nuts, and sticky caramel. It was as decadent as it looked.

These thick bread-like waffles would definitely make great sandwich ends. Perfect for the savoury waffle combinations they also offered, like their spicy Cuban or the one with smoked turkey and pesto.


Your needed utensils are available on the counter top for self help. A caddy for straws, plastic cutlery, wooden stir sticks, and cup holders. There were also two bottles of syrup in arm’s reach, one for waffles and another for drinks. The two members of staff serving the front were ready to help at a whim. Both women were pleasant and chatty, and more importantly inviting.

As for seating it was limited across two small tables and a narrow counter. Luckily the cuisine caters to quick eating and quick leaving. So if you hover around long enough, a table will eventually clear for you to take.


Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked the space and what they offered, but I don’t think I would come to a skytrain for dessert, or return again just for this. It was definitely a great option for commuters, and I would come back if it were more convenient. Don’t deny your cravings.


Suite 360 – 800 Carvarvon Street, New Westminster BC
Boba Cabana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cockney Kings Fish & Chips


What happens when you are served spoiled food?


When my guest was younger, this was his after school stop, so we decided to reminisce and come here for lunch today. This family restaurant was dressed like a pub with its red brick exterior, black roof, and individual lamps spot lighting their sign written in Old English font. It was definitely handsome in comparison to its more worn interior.

Inside, the room was rowdy with young families, youths, extended families, and seniors out for an early dinner. It was basking in a yellow glow, from the still ceiling fans and decorative lighting fixtures that looked like they belonged on the set TV’s “Cheers”. On the left wall were photos in black and white, captures of sporting teams and military uniforms. On adjacent shelves stood various vintage knick knacks. A copper ships, a classic radio, a miniature red phone booth, the Union Jack on a Canterbury sign, and a pasta maker (they don’t sell pasta). Similarly out of place was the generic IKEA art, a piece with a wide eyed fish next to a bottle of red. Though I understood its point. All together it set a very casual tone.


You can see the kitchen and their back of house operations from anywhere you sat. A railed partition separated the room in to two halves. Tables lined it on each side, with more along the walls. Each table came with a plastic bin of condiments. Squeeze bottles of ketchup and tartar sauce, glass bottles with vinegar, and the usual salt and pepper shakers. I liked the idea of having unlimited tartar sauce at my disposal. It was a needed touch, but there was too much cream and not enough pickles for it to be a good tartar sauce. It would have also been nice to have extra napkins easily accessible in these bins. With all the grease and oil, we were constantly wiping our hands and in need of extra napkins.


As soon as you sit they set the table with a paper placemats and cutlery. Their menu is not only informative, but a good way to keep yourself entertained as you wait to order and for your food to arrive. It taught me that the term “cockney” refers to a person born in a specific area of London, they have adopted their own slang words. These words were scattered around the placemat. “Pig’s ear” refers to “beer”, “sauce pan lids” mean “kids”, “dinky doos” are “shoes”, and using “Shania Twain” meant “pain”. This is just to name a few, all were just as interesting. I would like to know how each slang actually came about.

You order using the paper accordion-folded, take out menus already at the table. It was splotched with the grease of all the fingerprints before ours. The food came fast and similarly to the menu, all the plates were oily to the touch. I guess that is to be expected when 80% of what we had took a dip into the deep fryer.


We started with buns. Cold buns and frozen cups of butter on warm plates. I had gingerale to drink, given the amount of deep fried foods I was to consume.


We went with the half order of onion rings for a taste. I didn’t like them with their thick slices. I don’t like biting into a gummy piece of onion. At least they seemed liked they were freshly made and battered, they just needed a dunk in a clean oil vat. They came out with an acrid taste.


The “Three tacos” came with your choice of fish or shrimp on a soft corn tortilla with cabbage, what-what sauce, and pico de gallo. We went with the fish and found it perfectly crispened to a golden brown, while maintaining a juicy and flaky middle. Their “what-what” sauce tasted like a blend of tartar sauce and taco mix, which was a clever idea given the filling and its packaging. Sadly the stale tortilla took away from this dish being any better. It was grainy and the way the shell easily broke apart, you could tell it sat out of the bag for too long. It could have help with some avocado for creaminess.


The “Seafood platter dinner” was a good way try a little bit of all they had to offer. It came with two fried oysters, three fried prawns, and your choice of fish. One piece of haddock, cod, or wild salmon. It all came with homemade chips, coleslaw, and rolls for side. These rolls were the ones we had earlier. We added a second, so we each could have our own.

The coleslaw was bland, it had the right creaminess, but none of that mayonnaise tang. Though it still made for a great break from all the greasy elements around it. The fries where pretty standard, your crispy and chewy potato sticks.

We went with the cod as our fish of choice, it was the typical selection. When the fish is that battered and that deep fried, you can’t really taste it much anyways. Plus with the amount of tartar sauce I use, that was all I tastes. The fish was a little oily, and as a result its breaded crust flaked off, but otherwise it was descent.

The prawns were juicy, but oddly had too much fishy prawn flavour to it. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but it just didn’t taste right. It got worse with the oysters. First they didn’t look that great, biting in you could see the meat was a dark black. From the smell and the excess liquid you could tell these were from frozen. Then with a taste you could tell they were spoiled. It was so bad that I had an immediate reaction and spat what I dared to eat out. I then had to ask for new plates and clean cutlery. We ended up telling two different servers our tale, but neither really seemed to be too shocked by our news. Instead they assumed we wanted more and dropped two new oysters into the fryer. After hearing this we instinctively shook our heads in fear saying “no”. Why would I want to take that gamble again? I would be put off of oysters for a while. They did end up taking 10% off the platter, but there was no way for us to know this. The servers were unapologetic, they said nothing about our experience, and when the bill was brought over there was no note on it. The 10% ended up knocking a couple of dollars off, but nothing worth the trauma of biting into a spoiled piece of seafood at a restaurant you should trust.


Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I think I am scared away from the one and will leave it at that. Don’t deny your cravings.


Unit 130-66 10th Street, New Westminster BC, V3M 1A6
Cockney Kings Fish & Chips Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oka-San Japanese Kitchen & Cafe


Just like how mom does it, in every way.


This is a newer restaurant to the Fraser neighbourhood, having first opened its doors just last September. My guest invited me here after his Japanese mother visited, and vouched for their authenticity to Japanese cuisine.

The exterior was glass and metal, book ended by brick columns. A few tables were positioned outside if you choose to dine out. Their logo is round doll with a ball of a button on the top of her head. It was fitting considering the name of the restaurant. The word, “okasan” means “mom” in Japanese. And that is the perfect word to describe the place, food, and service. Though in reality, the chef was more “dad” than “mom”.


Inside, the restaurant was quaint and comfortable, and had a homey quality to. It was full of life with greenery in planters and with colour sprouting from hung works of art. Lovely framed paper art, fragile cut outs of bouquets of yellow marigolds, purple and fuchsia irises, and pink lotus blossoms. It matched well with their “chin up buttercup” canvas quote.

Majority of the walls were painted in black chalkboard paint. This allowed for messaging written in rainbow coloured chalk. Like their menu, listing their “mom’s plate specials”, in case you didn’t want to read it off their laminated menu, but instead blown up on the wall. Though I did appreciate the little drawings, including a pair of shrimp tempura, a sunny side up egg, seaweed, and fish swimming.


The chalkboard paint stretched all the way to the back of the room. The segment across from the single stall washroom door was used as a place to “tag” yourself. Leaving your mark, as apposed to linking yourself to a photo of place online. People seem to enjoy the concept of leaving themselves wherever they go, and the wall quickly filled, spilling out past the curtain that separated washroom foyer from dining room. The theme was “momma always said”, so all the writing on the wall was nice. “Be nice to strangers”. “Stay humble”. “Wash your hands”. And “I love you.


We grabbed the picnic-like bench closest to the window. Little flat cushions softened the hard wood from your soft bottom. Majority of the seating, like ours, accommodated smaller parties and single diners at the counter. This was your Japanese style, quick stop lunch or dinner option. Behind the counter was their collection of teas, and past that, a cloth drape shielded the kitchen.

The woman who served us wasn’t “mom”, but definitely gave you the impression. She spoke with care, keeping glasses of water full and checking in often to see if we liked the food and/or hand enough to eat.

For lunch they are known for their “mom’s plates”. You create your own bento box of sorts by choosing from three lists. A “main”, something from the “raw bar”, and a “side”. Each order comes with complimentary miso soup, a side salad, and fruit. The price depends on your chosen main. We each had what was the least expensive at $12.95.

I was tempted to grab the $8 lunch special of the day. A pulled pork teriyaki don with two pieces of ebi mayo, two pieces of California roll, and miso soup. Though the California roll wasn’t very authentic in such a combo, so I passed on it altogether.


Each serving of miso comes without spoon, instead served in cup you sip from. Apparently this is the traditional way to have the soup, my only issue was not having anything to stir the broth up with, and to help take in all the pieces of tofu and segments of seaweed. This was the best miso soup I have ever had. It was rich in flavour and definitely made from scratch. They didn’t skim on this.

Everything you ordered came in one big bowl. I know some would appreciate the ease of having all the elements together, to have everything before you to pick at, but I would have preferred everything separated in its own dish. Especially when elements blurred together and it affected the taste, like when the salad dressing was absorbed by the chunk of cantaloupe. It wasn’t inedible, but it wasn’t great either. As I eluded to, each bowl came with the same small serving of tangy Japanese salad, and the piece of fruit listed was cantaloupe today. We all agreed that all together each bowl was a good portion of food and had the ability to fill our bellies. It was definitely home cooking.


A combo with “Oyakodon” as the main, “spicy tuna” as the raw element, and two pieces of “tempura ebi mayo” as the side. “Oyakodon” literally translates to “parent child” rice bowl, on account of the use of the chicken and its egg. It is a dish made with chicken and egg, simmered together in a thick sauce, then served on top of a large bowl of rice. It was standard, something that your mom would make at home for dinner. The tuna was fresh enough, but only a little bit spicy, we wanted more heat from it. The battered and fried shrimp could have used a little vinegar for acidity, or at least more mayo for flavour; it was a little bland.


My guest had his “Gyudon beef bowl” main, with the “Hawaiian poke” raw, and “chilled eggplant” side. “Gyūdon” literally means beef bowl, it is a Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of rice topped with beef and onion simmered in a mildly sweet sauce. The beef was a little cold, but the warm rice sort of made to for that. This was definitely authentic to what my guest remembered from Japan. “Poke” here is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer. Critic acid like lime and lemon juice is used to cure the raw fish, but there was not enough of it, and as a result it was very bland. The eggplant sticks were better. They were firm with a nice starchy texture, and well marinaded in a mild soy sauce.


I choose the “Kakuni don” as my main, “tuna tataki” as my raw element, and the “veggie croquettes” as my side. “Kakuni” is braised pork over rice, it literally means “square simmered” on account of how the meat is cut and prepared. The meat practically melts in your mouth with all its caramelized fat, it’s texture was complimentary to the tender chunks of daikon. Together with a half boiled egg, steamed rice, and plenty of sweet sauce over it all; this was a very fulfilling main. The tuna tataki had the perfect lightly seared texture, but was bland with the liberal use of sauce. The veggie croquettes were breaded and fired to crisp potato patties. It was like paste in the middle and crunchy on the outside. And the sauce drizzled over each one gave it some needed tang.


They had mochi for dessert, but after inquiring, we found out that only one of the two varieties offered was made in house. They probably got the ice cream filled ones from TNT. So instead we got the “Warabi mochi with ice cream”. “Warabimochi” is a jelly-like confection made from bracken starch. It is often covered or dipped in kinako, a sweet toasted soybean flour. Here the kinako is present in the ice cream and used as a sprinkle, along with green tea powder. Warabi is a softer type of mochi. It had the taste of a rice ball with the texture of soften grass jelly of beef tendon. This was a new textural experience, I enjoyed slurping the gummy-like jelly in between my lips and past my teeth. Even with the powders, the chunks of fruit and the simple syrup, it was a mild dessert. It made for a perfect palette cleanser.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This was some great home style cooking. And with so many combinations, you have just as many reasons to return. I would come back and pick my own bento just for the miso soup. All together: food, setting, and service gave you the feeling of safety and warmth, like that of a mother’s embrace and that which what they named themselves after. Don’t deny your cravings.


3578 Fraser Street, Vancouver BC
Oka-San Kitchen and Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Deacon’s Corner

IMG_7821 IMG_7802

All day country breakfast with gravy & grits.


After being declined breakfast 10 minutes to the 2pm cutoff at the “Urban Fare”, we were searching for an all day breakfast joint downtown. I recalled a previous trip here and now suggested this all day breakfast diner to meet my our needs now.

The entrance was a set of heavy double doors, made of wood and accented in cast iron. Past them was a warm diner with hardwood floors and faux leather booths. Although the sign instructed you to find a clean seat and help yourself, one of the staff is sure to greet you upon entry and repeat the same message.


The restaurant was exactly like how you expected a low key diner to look and feel. With the low twangs of classic rock setting the tone. On the yellow walls hung framed black and white photos. They showed a Vancouver long long ago. A developing city and a sparse landscape in shades of grey. They also had clippings of random things in the 50’s area? I recognized Albert Einstein, James dean, the Beatles, a curved automobile, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.


The bar was set against a bold red wall. It had a chalkboard menu of their specials and shelves for their alcoholic beverages. For lone diners it was a nice place to park yourself in front of.

I think a good indication of how well an establishment does is when they have apparel for sale. For customers who want to purchase a tee shirt with their logo and wear it with pride. Here they had branded tees and their logo on coffee mugs. Another good indication of how well a restaurant is doing is looking at how many locations they hold. This was their original in Gastown. They now have one in Kitsilano as well.

They had a very lax approach to service. They were friendly and hospitable without being too wound up. Based on the revolving conversations I deduced the place had a strong tie to the community. The staff knew their patrons and took the time to catch up with them. The three servers were also interchangeable between sections. As soon as you were noticed, you were helped. They also weren’t fussy about numbers of guests to a table. We were two and allowed to take a booth meant for four. Though they seemed back up as there was a need to bus it before we could sit. The same was said for the other patrons wanting seats after us. Aside for the wait, and all things considering, they did a fine job. Though at this time of mid day, with the diners on their day off, they didn’t seem to mind waiting. Coins in parking meters go a longer way here so we had the time to spare as well.

Best known for their southern breakfasts, there was a few things I wanted to try and a lot more I had to narrow down. Their fried steak with corn bread, pull pork and grits with caramelized onions, and an open faced jalapeño and bacon biscuit. They also covered the North American Classic like burgers and fries, Mac and cheese, BLTs, and chicken wings. And with a bar available, they made for a great greasy meal after a night of drinking.


I liked the sound of “southern fried chicken and grits”, I had to indulge. The fried chicken came with a fried grits cake, creamy mushrooms, shredded cheese, hash, and two eggs; all coated in a lumpy country gravy. I had the choice of eggs and went with my usual, sunny side. The presence of eggs can make anything more breakfast-like, even fried chicken and gravy. The chicken was however the feature of the dish. It earned your attention with its thick buttermilk breading hiding juicy white meat. It paired perfectly with the country gravy. Together with the mushrooms on the side, it reminded me of Campbell’s mushroom soup. The grits fitter was zesty with a Mexican-like spice. For texture it was mealy and fell apart into confetti like specks, as I tried to eat it with my fork. And salty cheese gave it all some kick. It was not only filling, but very satisfying. I left full and happy.


My guest had the “Two eggs breakfast” with hash browns, grilled tomato, toast, and your choice of bacon, ham, or sausage patty. He chose bacon. After 3pm his hash would have been automatically substituted for fries. Like the platter before, this was very filling. The tomato was an nice added touch, on this classic assembly. The hash was lightly browned to a crisp, and like the bacon it added a nice crunch to accompany the eggs.

When you are done and ready to go, you take your bill up to the till to pay. But without a percentage function on their interact machine, I kept them waiting with some mental math.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
There aren’t many all day breakfast options around town, so this being one of them, with a great inviting setting and an exciting menu, this would be the one I steer others to first. Don’t deny your cravings.


101 Main Street, Vancouver BC
Deacon's Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pizza Hut Hastings, delivery

Online ordering made more difficult, where we got suckered into getting a themed dinner box that turned out to be a rip off.

When craving pizza we typically order from “Pizza Hut” as we find its crust the best. Airy like cake and chewy like bread. For me I dip it in ranch and eat it like bread sticks. For my French Canadian partner their pizza crust is the best with real butter.


So this arduous ordering process began with a scroll through their company webpage. Immediately, we were drawn to the “Mcfly Movie Meal” in honour of “Back to the Future’s” 30th anniversary a few days ago. And at $14.99 it seemed like a good deal. A two topping medium pizza, bread sticks, a 2L bottle of cola, and your choice of chicken or dessert as a second side.

But first how to reach “Pizza Hut”? I tried googling their 1-800 number, but couldn’t get it to pop up. In hind sight I wished we could have remembered their television commercial with their catchy telephone jingle: “310-10-10”. So in the end we searched and just called our nearest “Pizza Hut” to place the order. We did this only to be told that what we wanted was an online only buy, and that the clerk couldn’t even select it on her screen. So we hung up and tried to order online. Later the confirmation email to our online order, said our meal would be delivered by our closest location, the one we originally called. In that case, why was ordering online necessary? Why couldn’t we have saved some time and verbally requested what we want, with a clerk to confirm our choices and answer our questions? Instead they insisted on inserting a middle man to slow the process down.


Back to the online ordering. If you have a login, the part where you type in your information is quite simple. It’s the actual placing your order that is more complex. With this combo you chose your pizza first. What kind of tomato sauce, what kind mozzarella cheese. The toppings are selected with a scroll though photos of meat and veggies. You are able to choose from all the options from the common pepperoni to chicken and even maple bacon bits. Similarly for vegetables your choices includes mushrooms, red onion, and green peppers. We went with ham and pineapple for Hawaiian. For extra you could get additional toppings.


Next you confirm the bread stick. It comes with marinara sauce for dipping, and for $1 more you can also have cheese with your sticks.

The next option is between another side or a dessert. The side was advertised as boneless chicken bites, but was actually five pieces of barbecue or hot wings. If you wanted dessert it was their cinnaparts, cinnamon pull a part bread. We went for their wings, knowing we were going to add on a different dessert.

The last choice was between a 2L bottle of Pepsi or diet Pepsi. We didn’t want either but had to choose one. This must be their intention, ordering online takes away the customer’s ability to make changes and ask for substitutions. You can only click what they let you, or else not be able to move on.

Fast forward, our delivery came on time, 4 minutes before the estimated time. However we were missing things and they got other things wrong. Something we noticed too late, after having paid a delivery fee and tipping the driver, then bringing in our boxed purchase. This taught us to check and confirm before you let the guy leave. First we got a bottle of “7-up” instead of Pepsi. We didn’t want that either, but it wasn’t even close to what we had selected online. And if they were going to give us a substitution they could have confirmed it with us prior to drop off. I mean they had my number on file and sent me an email confirmation, so are able to get a hold of me. Why not do so regarding the pop? Where they hoping that I wouldn’t care? For the record, we think coke is best with greasy pizza, and if we couldn’t get that, Pepsi would be the minimum. And more importantly we were missing our bread sticks. There were sticks in our combo box, but those were the chocolate ones we had ordered separately, at $4.95 more. I immediately checked the bill and saw that we paid in full for it and the Mcfly box, so we were due more than what we got.

Most people would drop it, and just eat the couple of dollars they lost. I on the other hand wanted to teach my partner the lesson of getting exactly what you paid for. Essentially we had to paid extra in fees for something that was not what we had asked for, or that was agreed upon?

So I called the store that delivered, I had the number in my confirmation email. I explained to them I had an issue with my order and wanted to complain. The women transferred me to customer service. After a lengthy wait another woman picked up. This was time that could have better spent eating hot pizza. This second clerk asked for my phone number too, then wanted to know if it was pick up or delivery. I explained again that I just had my order delivered and they forgot items and got others wrong. She said she didn’t have my order on her screen and will have to transfer me to the store. Back to the store I was originally transferred from? So here I waited on the phone again. The worst part was I had to listen to all their “Pizza Hut” adverts. How they were so great, this only made them more annoying, and I was already upset with the situation. I finally got through to the store again and explained everything for the third time, only to be told I now had to explain it all to the store manager.

So this was the third transfer and the fourth person I had to speak to on this issue. Luckily it went quicker. The manager spoke a rehearsed answer in monotone. I had two options. To have them drive back out to me with the correct order in full, or have $15 off towards my next purchase. At this point all the trouble I went through above was moot. I had got what I wanted and then some. Next time I order through this location I would have the $15 automatically taken off. And if my purchase did not exceed $15, it would be free. But I had to order over the phone and not online; good, that is what I preferred anyways. I took down the manager’s name and his promise. I wasn’t sure when I would want to take advantage of this next or if they would do their part and make a note on my account.


Now this is where I finally got to eat and this is where I actually speak to the food. This is our typical order, so I knew what to expect and got what I wanted. Our bread-like pizza crust topped with gooey cheese, sweet tomato sauce, and salty ham. The chicken wings were surprisingly large and full of meat and sauce. They were so flavourful that they didn’t need the container of ranch-like cheese sauce they came with. I instead used this with my pizza. The chocolate sticks were soft bread dusted in chocolate with an additional portion of chocolate to dip into. If you haven’t tried it, please do.


Ironically I took the time to memorialize my experience in the post, but when it came time to complete their online survey detailing the experience I just had, I passed. One click and needing to fill out the receipt information I just couldn’t will myself to do it, though I might still do it yet. My partner says I shouldn’t bother as they are such a large corporation and my lowly comments won’t affect much. But it’s that sort of thinking that will ensure improvements will ever happen. He said the same thing about this post, but I told him that this is for me. I write because I want to, I because I enjoy it, I write because I can.


Would I order again? – Yes.
I have a $15 credit waiting for me.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Who doesn’t like delivery pizza on a lazy day?
What this has taught me is, it is good to fight for what is right. Not only do you feel satisfaction, but might get a rewards for your troubles as well. Don’t deny your cravings.


4775 East Hastings, Burnaby BC, V5C 2K8

Bubble World


When the bubble tea craze started in Vancouver, I remember this one being one of the first and one of the most popular cafes for it. They saw lengthy lines that patrons were willing to wait in. They weren’t charging much, and offered something different to the market. For those who missed it in Taiwan, and a new demographic who enjoyed the novelty of teas and juice with something substantial to chew on.

It has been over ten years since my last visit and from what I remembered, it hasn’t changed. From the age of the diners to the drinks, and the tables and chairs. It all came back to me.

The awning was the same, a bold orange with their logo-ed character sipping from a straw. Though the window you could see a panel speckled in polka dots. Red, blue, green, and yellow to symbolize the “bubble” in their name and their drinks.

The room was kept in brown tones with the rocky stone walls, the the faux leather upholstered chairs and matching booths, and the tiled floor. Similar in theme was the drink bar with its chocolate coloured shelves, matching counter, and surrounding cupboards. The shelves were stocked with extra glass cups, backup blenders, tea pots, and well stocked on yellow bananas and blue boxes of Oreo cookies. There were just as many patrons ordering a beverage for take out as there were guests seated, waiting for service. The tempo of all of this is kept with loud Chinese rock and pop music.


I appreciated the way they had their menu laid out. Plenty of coloured photos in the background and sections well organized, making it easier to skim. The item’s name in Chinese, a description in english, and the price in bold. You choice between rice, noodles, deep fried foods, snacks, marinated meats and vegetables, hot pots, sandwiches and toast, waffles, and chef specials. There was plenty for everyone, guarantee to find something they’d like, and all under $9.

Drink options came on their own menu with a page just to highlight their “toppings”, also known as the chewy portion of your drink. This was a perfect list for those who didn’t like the chew of the tapioca “bubbles” in their drink. You can instead go for jellies like coconut, coffee, lemon, and passion fruit. Or other softer textures like “pudding” (which has a texture more close to soft tofu), taro, green or red bean, and mango stars.


Papaya milk tea with half pearls and half coconut jelly. Honey milk tea, cold. Tofu dessert with pearls. Heaven bird milk tea.


I once had a milk tea hot pot and it was delicious, so I was hoping the “Mountain yam milky hot pot” would be similar. The dish is called a hot pot because it is kept warm by the aid of a tea light. It is placed under the metal pedestal the iron pot balances on. As was the case with the other milk based hot pot, it doesn’t taste like how it looks. With the white colour you expect creamy. But the savoury, meaty broth was surprisingly light, with a sweet after note. It included various seafood and fish balls; along with the melon, daikon, tofu, and cabbage. It had a fishy taste to it. On top of this you also had your choice of beef, pork, or lamb to add into the mix. The soup was great to drink on its own, but it didn’t add much flavour to the ingredients bobbing around. Luckily the sauce on the side was there to give the meat and other ingredients their flavour. I had to order a second serving, I ran out so quick. It was a salty and garlicky paste.


The “Spicy beef noodle soup” is a staple at Taiwanese cafes. Despite its name, this one wasn’t actually too spicy. It was standard in taste with its meat a little tough and its noodles a lot chewy.


The “Meat sauce noodle with marinaded egg” was very descriptive in its title. Minced meat and a whole boiled egg seasoned in a salty brown sauce. Served over plain noodles as a base.


The “Deep fried chicken leg with rice” also came with two sides. A mix of whole peanuts, corn kernels, and carrot cubes; and a thick beef stew with carrot and potato. These were just tasters, the main was the chicken. Though sadly my guest found it a little bland, and not any better with the soy sauce it came with. So much so that she ended up ordering a dish of sauce that was included with my dish. It came at a steep $1 extra. Though if your dish is bland, I don’t think you should have to pay extra to rejuvenate it. It was dark meat with very crispy, but dry breading, it was mostly just salty batter and rice.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
An inexpensive and homey option in a pinch. I would consider this a staple for bubble tea and beef noodle, and with various locations around the lower mainland you can visit any one at your convenience. Don’t deny your cravings.


4300 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 1Z5
Bubble World Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén