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Month: February 2021 Page 1 of 2

Mila, Dine Out 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manpuku Bento

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nuba Yaletown, Dine Out Vancouver 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arctic Voices at Science World

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Today

Uli’s Restaurant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chinatown BBQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine

A while back I was so disappointed by a set of xiao long bao that I had, that I sought out the help and power of social media in finding the best in the city. From that poll, Wang’s made it to second place on the list. A small spot, easily identified as the neighbour to London Drugs, in a shopping plaza on Kingsway. They have been closed for a while due to the pandemic, but are now open again and serving customers with distancing between their narrowly packed tables.

What sets them apart is their house made dumplings. Made all through out the day, bundled by hand, by a lone chef behind a plexiglass window. There is no one else like this in the area: serving authentic Shanghai food to satisfy that greasy comfort craving that hits. And tonight that craving was heightened ,after failing to quell our craving on Wednesday, the only day that they are closed.

Truth be told I have been here a handful of times, with a couple of different friends and each time seem to order the same things, without even looking at the menu. So hence forth, let this be my list of top picks at Wang’s.

Of course the Xiao long bao always make it to the table. Six perfectly pinched dumplings carrying a pool of hot soup within each. Be warned this is steamed to order and served hot, therefore blowing is necessary here. They had a great texture, and a good amount of meat filling and soup to balance out the chewy dough. Although flavour-wise I could have used more salt or seasoning, but here is where condiments came in.

The garlic chilli sauce left at every table was the highlight and key to devouring our meal. I consumed a little under half of what was there myself, and the rest I took to go with my leftovers. Truth be told, I found everything to follow bland without it. Though the sauce doesn’t give much garlic or chilli flavour, despite the way it looks, so loading it on heavy is key.

I like xiao long bao, but do prefer their Pan fried pork steam buns when I want the same flavour of XLB, but in a chewier shell. These buns too should come with a caution: bite carefully cause they are known to pop and squirt from the most in opportune time and place, making a mess. Not to mention, you loose all that tasty soup. It is best to take a nibble and slurp the soup up, then eat the meat and bun with garlic chilli.

Similar in juicy and watery texture was the Shanghai spring rolls. A surprise to discover the first time I had it. A crispy fried, flaky shell hiding a saucy filling of vegetable. Don’t know how they get it like this, but it is the best of both textured worlds. Crispy and saucy all rolled into one.

And for some filling carbs we go for the Pan fried Shanghai noodles. Thick chewy noodles in a light soy sauce, stir fried with crispy vegetable, and a little bit of pork. Great as a filler and side, but needs more to be a main.

What was a little disappointing was the Chilli wontons, they came in a pool of watered down soy and red chilli flakes, but I didn’t get either of the flavours all that pronounced. Here our friend garlic and chilli came in handy again.

Overall, a great spot in East Vancouver for tasty and authentic dumplings, easy to get to and quick to take out. I can see why this one was highly recommend to me, and I know I will be back again in the foreseeable future. XLB when I crave it and don’t want to commute to Richmond.

Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine
110-3328 Kingsway, Vancouver BC V5R 5L1
604-428-6818

Han Ju, hot pot restaurant

This wasn’t our first option, it wasn’t even our second. The later in the night craving was for xiao long bao; however the usual go-to on Kingsway wasn’t open on Wednesdays, and the back up within Crystal Mall was also closed for the night. So instead of getting back into the car and driving around, we walked a few steps out, to the exterior of Crystal Mall, and right into Han Ju. They claim to be a hot pot restaurant from the exterior awning sign, but we would end up ordering rice instead.

I really appreciated the presentation and cohesive theme of their red and black dish ware. This is definitely the way to elevate a food court tray. Each of our rice sets came packed in a round plastic bowl that sort of reminded me of a dog dish, and paired with it was a serving of miso soup.

I liked the amount of meat you get from the Kimchi bbq pork on rice. A good ratio of meat and sides for all the rice underneath.

Whereas the Stewed beef and tomato on rice had less pieces of beef that you had to ration out for enough even bites.

We also ordered drinks to go, not pictured. My guest had a taro milk with no pearls, myself a coconut milk with pearls. Sadly, after the order was placed, the owner had to come back to inform me that they actually had no pearls, and instead she offered me coconut jelly. I wasn’t interesting in doubling up on the coconut, so opted for just the milk drink. And because of this, they were kind enough to take my drink off the receipt completely. A nice gesture they didn’t mention verbally, but it definitely did not go unnoticed on my end.

Overall, this wasn’t the most memorable meal, nor is it one that I would travel great distances for. But this hole in the wall is worth highlighting for how homely things felt, and how comforting the food was in a pinch. Not to mention their reasonable prices and easily accessible locale, making them an easy spot to catch a quick meal at.

Han Ju Tofu Hotpot
4500 Kingsway Suite 1218, Burnaby, BC, V5H 2A9

Spice 72 Indian Restaurant & Lounge

I have started going back to the gym, opting for a location closer to work. A gym in Surrey, heading down once a week. This has given my gym buddy and myself the opportunity to explore more of that city. I questioned a few of my coworkers, looking for a good spot for Indian food. Spice 72 came highly recommended, with subsequent responses agreeing to the referral.

It wasn’t close to the gym, but having the glowing review warranted giving them a chance. My expectations came as high as my hunger, when we walked in famished after a 2 hour weight focused workout.

The decor and restaurant/lounge set up reminded me of an Earls or Cactus Club, a nice spot to post up and claim a cocktail. Already this wasn’t the hole in the wall, mom and pop comfort cooking kitchen, as I was initially expecting. But we made the 20 minute trip down and was hinging on hangry.

I was recommended a handful of vegetarian appetizers from my coworkers, so chose the most interesting of the 5, and followed it up with two meatier entrees.

Golgappe was described as round, hollow puri filled with a mixture of flavored water and potatoes on the menu. Little puffs served with two vials. It was delivered with no instruction or explanation so we put two and two together. Pouring liquid awkwardly into the open hold of the round puff. Later I was told that I should have dipped each ball into urn or spoon out the water instead. You are also given so much liquid so we didn’t know how much to fill and with which one for which flavour. Later, when the server came to check in, we learned that the green was a mint based water; and the orange one: a tamarind. The result was an interesting one bite, juicy canapé, better with the tamarind than the mint, interesting with the two mixed together. This definitely served as a unique starter, refreshing to help rev up the appetite and balance out the heavier meal to follow.

I was craving for, so indulged in the basic Butter Chicken. A smaller serving of boneless chicken tikka cooked with a rich tomato cream sauce. The flavour was there, plenty of sauce to sop up with the naan and roti we ordered to accompany it with. It was just a shame that the chicken breast within was dry. Shame that I could tell this was made before hand and reheated to order. I originally ordered a second serving to go, only to negate it after trying and being disappointed by this.

When it came to the bread, I prefer the fluffier and chewier naan over the thinner and slightly crispy roti. The Garlic Naan is garnished with fresh garlic and herbs, and Tandoori Roti is leavened wheat bread baked in the tandoor oven. I was also happy to have ordered a serving of basmati rice that came with peas. Such carbohydrate based sides are ideal for fully enjoying all the sauces above and in the curry below.

The Goat/Lamb Curry was suggested by our server. The goat came a lot more tender than the chicken above. It appeared to be slower cooked and came served almost pulled, which definitely helped the texture. It was prepared in fragrant onion and authentic spices. This was a warmer curry with heated spices, but not spicy. It had a similar flavour profile to the butter chicken, but without the sweetness.

When asked by our server, we also indulged in some drinks. I questioned the authenticity of the “Indian Coffee”, trying to ask our server if the coffee beans used were any different than ones you get here in Canada. She was unable to confirm, so we ordered it anyways, only to try and learn it was just a medium roast coffee with milk and sugar.

Similarly the Masala Chai disappointed. It tasted similar to the coffee above, even served in the same tea pot and cup to match. Plus the colour was similar; as well as the taste as I barely got any chai spices.

Overall I was disappointed by my experience. I came in hungry and excited over the referral; however the restaurant didn’t deliver to the caliber I saw in the decor and marketing presence. The travel was out of the way for food I could have gotten similarly or even better, from a handful of restaurants that we passed by along the way. Not the worst, but I am still on the search for the best Indian restaurant in Surrey, but now focused on hole in the wall establishments.

Spice 72 Indian Restaurant & Lounge
12025 72 Ave, Surrey, BC V3W 2M1
(604) 503-1172
spice72.com

Wurst of Us, vegan hot dogs

I am always interested in trying the latest innovation for vegan meats. What are they using now and how are they getting the texture and taste as close to animal products as they can? Not to mention vegan food gets a bad reputation for being bland and dry I so always like to share what’s available in the market. And today that is the new gourmet vegan hot dog concept: Wurst of Us! Brought to the city by the team behind Aleph Eatery, the award winning Middle Eastern, vegan restaurant in East Vancouver.

Wurst of Us launched on February 1st and are current only offering delivery with DoorDash. At the moment their menu only includes 4 different types of hot dogs, and nachos to match each one. Below, we tried all their available dogs, minus the more traditional one with mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut.

Worth mentioning is their upcoming giveaway, to help bring awareness to their new venture. It is a giveaway they are titling “The Wurst Giveaway”. On February 14th (Valentine’s day) they will by be asking people to tag the person who brings out the “wurst in them”, in hopes of winning in a PS5, Scandinave Spa gift card, and/or two trays of our hotdogs and nachos. The details will be available on their Instagram, for those interested.

The El Perro Hotdog is a Mexican take on the classic dog, topped with pink onions, tomato, jalapeños, charred tajin spiced corn, lime crema, cilantro, and paprika. I was excited for this one, it was topped high with so much fresh and colourful toppings, adding the flavour and textural elements I expect from a gourmet dog. I just wanted more sauce or a dressing to add some moisture to an otherwise dry bite. This could have been due to the bun as a well. There was a lot of bread, and we could have done with a thinner slice or a different kind of bun all together.

Here, and with the other hot dogs below, I wished that I took the time to better suss out the actual wiener. To get a sense of how it fared as a meat substitute, but instead, I got more toppings than anything else; missing the vegan hot dog all together, if not for its “meatier” chew.

I did get the sauciness I wanted from the Inu Hotdog. This is their Japanese take on a vegan dog with pickled cabbage, wasabi mayo, nori, nigella seeds, and sesame seeds. Its combination and flavours reminded us of Japadog. Therefore, making it a nice way for vegans to be able to try one of the city’s most popular street foods. It was creamy with sweet mayo, crispy with the shredded seaweed, and the seeds added a bit of spice. Here, I would have also liked some pickled ginger to add some brightening tang to the serving. I found the pickled cabbage lacked in that arena.

I was surprised to discover celery made it onto their Bulldog Hotdog. This was a delightful way to add some juice and crunch to a spicier dog; built with Buffalo hot sauce, crumbled blue cheese, and parsley. Here, you like blue cheese, and for those (like me) that do, this is a tasty treat. This is the one I would recommend and order again.

Their nachos are also a good bet. We fully enjoyed the K9 Nachos, which is their Lebanese take on toasted tortilla chips. Chips topped with pickled cucumber, pickled cabbage, pickled turnip, tomato, tahini, mint, and cilantro. The chips were perfectly crisp, they had a flavour on their own, but was best enjoyed with a little of all the above. Here, I just wanted more of the same toppings and more layers to better balance out all the chips. I would also recommend giving this a quick bake in the oven for optimal dining, as it got cold by the time DoorDash delivered.

In short, a nice option for vegans craving something more casual. I don’t know if I would think to have hot dogs delivered, but if passing by them on a busy street, or when in search for a quick snack outdoors, I can definitely see them taking their stride then and there.

Wurst Of Us
889 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1H8
https://www.wurstofus.ca/

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