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Category: Langley

Adelicia’s Mexican Restaurante

We were out in Langley and my partner was craving Mexican for dinner. So after a quick google search we discovered a handful of options along the same street. We ended up driving past them all, settling on “Adelicia’s Mexican Restaurante”, based on its exterior.

The use of the Mexican flag and colours on their awning had us thinking it looked and felt more authentic than its competitors. And neon lights and the strung up palm trees grabbed our attention in the first place. Not to mention, the upbeat music audible from the sidewalk, had us expecting a similar vibe.

Inside, the restaurant was well themed. It took you to the tropics with the ceiling painted in a sky blue, and the orange walls mimicking the shade of sand on the beaches of Mexico. One wall was painted with palm trees and high cliffs looking out in to the ocean. Another, had fishing boats and a marlin splashing out over the waves. Colourful paper garlands lined the walls, piñatas dangled from the ceiling, inflatable pool toys hung in hammocks, and traditional Mexican apparel was repurposed as wall decor. All together, Mexican traditions and heritage spelled out in art and every day objects.

It wasn’t busy this Tuesday, despite the crowd of families gathered at the karate dojo in the same plaza. Especially surprising, given that it was “taco Tuesday” and at “Adelicia’s” it was $2 tacos all day, saving you 50 cents per taco. Naturally we would have to take advantage of this deal, only later to be charged regular price for them. When we brought it to the attention of the clerk, we only got back 50 cents in change (for one), but not the other. And we didn’t want to go back a second time to ask for a refund of 50 more cents.

Our dinner started with some complimentary chips and salsa. They were extra crunchy, hard corn chips paired with a tangy and slightly spiced, chilled tomato juice. My partner likes his salsa runny, whereas I prefer mine chunky, for an even chip to dip ratio.

We ordered the “Enchiladas”. These were corn tortillas filled with our choice of either chicken or beef, then cooked in our choice of either red chilli sauce or a green tomatillo sauce; all served with Mexican rice and beans. We went for chicken and the less spicy tomatillo sauce to go over it. What came before us felt like home cooking. A plate that was comforting with porridge-like rice, soften meats and a saucy chicken.

As for the tacos, you can get them as a combo with chips and salsa, plus a can of pop for $7.50. But you get the chips and salsa complimentary anyways, so we simply grabbed 4 $2 tacos. And for each soft corn tortilla we had our choice of filling. The following is what we decided on.

The “Carnitas”, slow braised chicken had a great sauce to it, but I found the meat over cooked.

The “Al pastor”, was grilled achiote marinated pork with grilled onion and pineapple. It was dry, the meat tasted grainy like it was reheated (plausible, considering how quickly these came out of the kitchen). The saving grace was the pop of sweetness from the caramelized onion and pineapple.

The “Fish” taco was listed as “grilled, sustainable, OceanWise caught rock fish with pico de gallo and avocado”. I didn’t get any grill flavour in this. No Smokey char that would have given this taco the kick it needed. This too felt warmed up, the breading was warmer and softer than the white fish under it. It was also missing the avocado that the menu mentioned, but I didn’t notice that until I finished not enjoying it.

The “Chicharron” was new for me and it sounded promising. Fried pork rind in a jalapeño and green tomatillo sauce. But the rind was soggy, soaked in sauce, further weighed down by the extra oils from the fryer. A few kernels were hard with impossible to chew through edges. Overall, this was a taco that was overwhelming tangy, with an awful wet sponge mouth-feel.

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.
A little out of the way for a specific visit. I would end up spending more on gas, than I would be saving on the taco special. Not to mention I wasn’t satisfied with any of them, but at $2 each (and even being short changed 50 cents), I didn’t find it worth my time to complain. A bit of a miss for me, but my partner wished it was located closer to his work place so he could frequent it. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ADELICIA’S
20505 Fraser Hwy, Langley City, BC V3A 4G3
(604) 510-4404
adeliciasmexican.ca

Ban Chok Dee, revisit

With this marking my 5th visit to Ban Chok Dee, I can safely conclude my appreciation for this authentic Thai restaurant. Not only do they have stellar staff, but the food is consistently delicious. Here is what we had on this latest visit.

Their limited edition old fashion cocktail is what brought us down in the first place. It was competing to be the best amongst 4 in Vancouver Foodster’s latest challenge. And you too can try the “Sweet Autumn” for $10. Cinnamon infused bourbon, palm sugar, pumpkin, citrus touch Grand Marnier, and fresh orange peel. It is finished off with a pumpkin chip topped with coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds with more cinnamon. Booze forward and one of a kind, this cocktail takes its influences from a Thai pumpkin dessert. It is thick like a soup and drinks like one too.

For food we started with the “Chok Dee Platter” to get a little bit of everything. 3 Spring Rolls, 4 Golden Wontons, 2 Chicken Satay, and 2 Pork Satay.

The “spring rolls” were crispy rolls made in-house with rice vermicelli noodles, carrots, cabbage, and black pepper. It is served with a sweet plum dipping sauce. Hearty and full of crispy vegetables, a classic done right.

The “golden wontons” were also made in-house. Wrapped like little bundles with garlic, cilantro, and ground pepper. This too was served with a plum sauce for dipping. They were little solid meat balls hiding under a crispy shell. Tasty, but a little on the saltier side.

The satay was best esteem warm so that the meat was soft and the chunky peanut sauce was easy to scoop up on to it. Tasty with the dip, but the chicken was a little dry. I preferred the fattier pieces of pork.

One of my favourite dishes is the “prawn in crunchy noodles”. 5 marinated shrimp wrapped in egg noodles then deep fried. The texture was like eating raw instant noodles. Fun to crunch now on, but messy, there was more noodle on the table than in my mouth when I was done. It would have been nicer with less noodles for an even bite, and where you can actually get the flavour of the shrimp.

The “Isan summer wrap” was their twist on the lettuce wrap, a street snack with a lot more salt and spice. Fresh leaves of lettuce are used as a base for the fried curried rice salad made with fresh ginger, mint, cilantro, red onion, roasted peanut, and cured and grilled ‘naem’ pork. The pork reminded me of spam with its texture and saltines. I liked it and the crunch from the raw peanuts. I just found the dish a little spicy for my tastes, thought the fresh herbs and crisp lettuce did help to cut into it and lend some freshness to the wrap.

“Sweet and sour snapper”. Deep fried pacific snapper, sautéed with pineapple, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, zucchini, and onions; all coated in a thick sweet & sour sauce, then topped with golden cashews and crunchy egg noodles. A completely satisfying combination of sweet and sour, perfectly highlighted by the white first. The vegetables added freshness and the cashew crunch. I would have preferred the cucumber and tomato raw, and the dish served with coconut rice instead of noodles, for better balance.

The “Shoo shee salmon” came with a bowl of steam rice, the ideal way to sop up all that delicious coconut milk curry sauce. Ocean-wise salmon fillets, broccoli, and red and green peppers, topped with red curry and lime leaves. I was happy that the distinct flavour of the salmon or the punchy peppers did not take away from fragrant curry.

I love a good pad thai and here they do the classic tamarind noodle dish with vermicelli instead of flat rice noodles. A nice idea, but it is hard to properly fry vermicelli, which ends up breaking easily and glopping together. Here, some more bean sprouts would have helped to give the noodles more structure. Instead it was crumbly much like the bits of egg, tofu, and ground peanuts that went into it. Nonetheless I would still eat this version any day, it tasted exactly what I wanted from a pad Thai.

Would I come back? – Yes.
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 would visit each time I craved Thai food, if only they weren’t such a far drive out for me. I would love to see them open a Vancouver location, or at least one in New Westminster.
Don’t deny your cravings.

Ban Chok Dee Thai
20563 Douglas Crescent, Langley BC
(778) 278-3088
banchokdee.com

Twilight Drive-In with the Honda CR-V

I have never been to a drive-in movie theatre before, so what better a time than during the last bit of dry season, to check out the “Twilight Drive-In” in Aldergrove. Although, regardless of weather, all movies scheduled for the day will still play: rain, shine, sleet, or snow.

Our vehicle of choice: to get us there and to sit and enjoy the movie in was the “2019 Honda CR-V”. With its best in class fuel economy, even though the drive was far, our wallets didn’t suffer too much. Which meant more money spent on movie-viewing snacks.

Your choice in movies are posted online, a few days before the start of the week. Originally we were planning on visiting during a Tuesday, when general admission is only $10, and you save $3.50 per person. But for fall, they are only open from Friday to Sunday. And this week it was a marathon of clowns. Either the new “Joker” movie at 7:30pm or “IT 2” at 9:40pm. But you needn’t choose, because admission allows you to watch both movies. It is worth noting that they only accept cash or debit at the box office, and cash at the concession. Although there is an ATM on location, so should you need it.

The box office opens 45minutes before the start of the movie. Ushers with reflective jackets and flashlights help guide your way. Each vehicle is given a plastic garbage bag, and encouraged to use it instead of littering. It is first come first serve, and you park where ever you want. We drove to the very front as to not have the view of any other cars in our foreground. Individual spaces are marked with a white pole, well aligned to ensure that each vehicle has plenty of room between one another. The overall ground is flat, but each “stall” has a little mound of dirt that you can use to perch your vehicle atop of.

Many of the SUVs present, reversed into their stall. With an opened tailgate, passengers bundled up to watch the movie, cozy with pillows and blankets surrounding them. Had we known this before arriving, we would have dressed warmer and done the same. After all our “Honda CR-V” came with plenty of cargo room, and two-level flat luggage compartment. A “full flat mode” and a “capacity max mode”, both designed to fit your storage needs, or in this case two grown adults.

For audio you need to tune into a specific FM station, within your car. Meaning you can set the volume to how loud you like it. I enjoyed being able to talk over the movie, to engage with my guest, snack loudly on our food, rustle with careless abandon when I wanted some candy, and turn on the light if we dropped anything. And not encouraged, but possible, is playing with your phone during the movie as well.

To access the audio it is recommended that you turn your key to the “Accessory” position, to consume as little power as possible. You also leave your headlights and brake lights off during the movie (as to not distract from other’s experience). Cars with daytime running lights usually can be turned off by applying the emergency brake.

For food, you get out of the car to purchase what ever you like from their indoor concession stand. This is also where the washrooms are. There are only 2 tills, and the clerk that takes your order is also the one that assembles it. Everything minus the burgers and fried food, which comes from the kitchen. So be warned and come early, as there is a wait to get in, let alone order. I didn’t mind the extra time, to look over the lengthy menu. I was delighted that they offer a lot more than most normal movie theatres do. Fountain drinks in plenty of flavours, bottled drinks, energy drinks, ice coffees, and hot beverages. If you are looking for something more substantial they have plenty of sweet snacks to munch on: a variety of chocolates, gummies, and candies; ice cream bars, and even sno cones. For savoury there was the classic buttered popcorn, corn dogs, burgers, hot dogs, fries, poutine, onion rings; and nachos.

We feasted in the comfort of our Honda CR-V cabin. Where we were able to sprawl everything across the central console. Convenient, as we stayed in the front seat for the duration movie, lowering our perforated leather seats back for the perfect recline. The only hiccup, not being able to run our vehicle fully meant no heated seats or rain sensing wipers. So with the gentle rain coming down, there was the need to turn on the car in order to clear the wind shield of moisture now and again. Had we watched from the tailgate, the above wouldn’t have been an issue.

As for the aforementioned food, the following is all that we shared and it was all better than we expected. The “Nachos supreme” came with some assembly required. A sealed bag of corn chips that you pour out into a cardboard box and top with sliced jalapeño. All to enjoy with a dip into hot nacho cheese and/or a scoop of juicy tomato salsa.

The large order of popcorn came with multiple pumps of butter. A couple mid way through, and more, once filled. The ideal snack for any movie goer.

The onion rings had a good crispiness to them, but I wanted more crunchy batter and less gummy onion.

I liked the use of actual cheese curds in the poutine, but not so much the gravy. It was flat and I could have used some more pepperiness to it.

The chicken bites came with your choice of sauce. We went for the honey garlic, which was two sauces combined in one dish. They did what I wanted, adding some salty and sweet to these breaded nuggets of white meat.

The hot dog was exactly as expected. A regular wiener in a plain bun, which you dress as you like at the condiment bar.

I was surprised by how much I liked the “Double burger”, I added cheese to this stack of burger patties, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and pickles. It just needed more ketchup for my taste.

And for dessert, our favourite candy to leave our meal on a sweet note. I thought about ice cream or a sno cone, but didn’t want to visit the concession stand mid movie or in the little time you have between movies.

Between the double feature there is an intermission, a video plays inviting your to visit the concession stand. It is basically food coming to life in games and dance. Gum and liquorice jumping rope, a popsicle leading cups of ice cream in a march, and a bag of popcorn juggling its fillings. And when the hot dog wiener takes the stage and eventually lands in the bun, everyone honks their car horn. The honk serves no other purpose, besides you acknowledging that you have been to the drive-in before and know of this ritual.

As for the movie, I don’t review cinema; although as a longtime Batman comics fan, I can say that this Joker’s origin story holds up and satisfies. And as for “IT 2” I am a notorious scaredy cat, so couldn’t stomach most of it without closing my eyes tight and plugging my ears with my finger tips.

Overall, I highly recommend this experience. This was a great way to enjoy a newly released movie, in the comfort of a car, with surprisingly tasty food to boot. And done even better if your vehicle of choice is the 2019 Honda CR-V.

HONDA
#HondaCRV
https://www.honda.ca/

TWILIGHT DRIVE-IN
3350 260 St, Aldergrove, BC V4W 2B1
(604) 856-5063
twilightdrivein.net

Match Langley, patio open & new menu

Today I was enjoying another patio, but this time in Langley. “Match” located in Langley’s “Cascades Casino” was the place to be tonight, with the NBA finals being broadcasted on all screens and “Ruffino” on location passing out samples of their sparkling Prosecco. We took advantage of both as we soaked in the sun and the warmth of the fireplace once it set.

They had a new fresh sheet, so we made sure to order from that. Including their new “Botanical summer cocktails”. Three flavours of low calorie, spritzer-type drinks to quench your thirst. Ketel One botanical peach and orange blossom, soda, fresh lemon, raspberry and mint. It was refreshing, but a little bland for a seasoned sipper like me.

My second cocktail offer more kick, but with a tropical feel. I ordered the “Hotline bling!” For its name and was not disappointed. Smirnoff vodka, peach schnapps, blue curaçao, lime, orange, and club soda. It’s the type of drink you enjoy at a resort by the water, or here at “Match Langley” pretending you are on vacation.

For food we started with the “Wok this way lettuce wraps”, something I normally wouldn’t order for myself, but glad we got because it ended up being my favourite dish of the night. This was the 2.0 version with wok fried chicken, crispy noodle, spicy xo sauce, carrots, celery, red peppers, green onion, and peanuts. Served with a stack of crisp ice berg lettuce that you use as cups to scoop up and eat the above with. There was so much good texture and flavours to sort through, with plenty of light crunch. It felt healthy and tasted satisfying, which was a similar tone to the rest of our meal to come. Though be warned, eating these do get messy, not cute for date night.

By comparison the “Squid pro quo” was lack lustre. It lacked seasoning, although I fully appreciated its name. Lightly breaded calamari, fried jalapeños, red pepper, diced red onion, and tzatziki. It needed salt which we self seasoned, but even then it was still flat. The vegetable offered little and the tzatziki fell flat, leaving us wanting more.

I really enjoyed my entree: the “Georgia peach and pecan chicken”, another more health conscious menu item that left you satisfied. Bourbon marinated chicken breast with grilled peach, beats, goat cheese, and candied pecans. Served with creole rice and roasted vegetable. I enjoyed the charred flavour of the chicken and the options on the plate you had to pair with it. Tangy goat cheese, sweet peach, and the freshness from all the steam vegetables.

My guest had the “Blackened halibut burger”. Long line caught blackened halibut, mango salsa, iceberg lettuce, coleslaw, tartar sauce, and crispy onion strings; in between a fresh brioche bun, served with fried to order thick cut fries. The fish was fully seasoned in Cajun spice, and it’s heat was balanced by the crunchy slaw and the zestiness of the tartare sauce, (which would have been great over the calamari above). A great burger I would order again, but another messy one with the amount of oil and drippings sopping off the burger after each bite.

 

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.
In short, “Match” is a great place for ambience and the game in Langley, with new food and drinks to try and a great patio to lounge in. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MATCH LANGLEY
Cascades Casino Resort
20393 Fraser Highway, Langley BC, V3A 7N2
604-530-2211
matchpub.com

Match Eatery + Public House, Cascades Langley

Today I was invited down to “Match Eatery” in Langley for the launch party of their newly renovated patio. A new space with extended seating and plenty of ways to soak in the sun, just in time for summer and all this hot weather that we have been getting lately.

The new patio is a convert-able space. Half of it is covered with glass ceilings and heat lamps for when it gets colder at night. The other half is out in the open with water proof cushions and large golf umbrellas for shade. We would grab a seat by the bar, to be near the drinks, and in order to be able to lay eyes on one of the handful of television screens.

The night was christen with a special cooking demo, followed by a three course meal presented by Celebrity Chef Spencer Watts. Spencer is the host of “Fish the Dish”, he is as energetic and engaging in person as he is on Gusto TV. He prepared a live demo of this favourite risotto recipe. Doing so while talking with his hands, and throwing in the odd onomatopoeias as needed. This was all done in front of a camera that was immediately broadcasted to all the television screens situated around the outdoor bar. His completed risotto would later be used in one of our three courses to come.

When it comes to a media tasting, plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and hello the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

Our night began with some alcoholic beverages. Given that it was National Caesar day, it seemed like a good place to start. Their “Classic caesar” is prepared with Smirnoff vodka, cilantro, Worcestershire Tabasco, blaze beans, pepperoncini pepper, green olive, and a pickled onion. The salty and spicy drink comes with a lot more garnishes here than at other bars.

Our group treated ourselves to a round of shots. A line up of colours for $6 a glass, all made sweet and easy to throw back.

I would later end my meal with a dessert-drink. I don’t normally like or drink coffee, but I make an exception if it is made with booze or excessive amounts of sugar. The “Black Gold” had both. Triple sec, amaretto, baileys, frangelico, and cinnamon. Though I will note that it felt a little odd to drink this coffee hot, out of a straw.

The following items are not available on the regular “Match” menu. They are some unique creations from our guest Chef of the evening. So, unfortunately you will not be able to go into your local “Match” and order any of the following.

The first course was a re-imagined salad with goat cheese, tomato vinaigrette, and beets. Immediately I thought this was dessert. The triangle of cheese looks and tastes like a slice of cheesecake with its creaminess. Taken in with the fresh greens, thin slices of yellow beets, and vinaigrette it was well balanced. As a whole it was an interesting concept, but despite the photogenic plate, I would have preferred this course as a salad with a whole lot more veg and the cheese as a featuring, instead of a main. The goat cheese as a crumble with its graham cracker base toasted and sprinkled over the serving as a dust for some crunch. Or at least served with some crostini or bread as a base, to spread the cheese over.

The mushroom risotto from the demo above made its appearance here. But re-imagined as the filling to a caked and deep fried croquette. It was rich with mushroom and therefore overwhelmed its plate mates. I would have enjoyed it just as is, the risotto at the end of Spenser’s demo. Or maybe as a smaller serving, fried into crispy balls for an easy to share starter. Similarly I would have preferred all the elements of the plate offered up separately, on its own plate. Alone, each element was prepared perfectly, but together they did eat all that cohesively. I translated the assembly as more of a taster, offering diners a sample some of the chef’s favourite dishes. Especially the fragrant squash that melted in your mouth, I could have had a bowl of this for our second course and I would been happy. Sadly the mild nature of the fish and its sweet pineapple salsa was lost on this plate. It couldn’t hope to stand out against the dominant risotto and squash, and therefore was bland by comparison.

Our third course was dessert and it came with a show. Chef Spenser travelled from table to table doling out scoops of his nitro caramel popcorn. Eating a kernel left you with “dragon’s breath”. The liquid nitrogen smoke would escape the caramel coated kernel and travel out your nostrils and/or your pursed lips like that of a dragon breathing smoke. I preferred this alone and not necessarily paired with the lemon curd with chocolate soil and macaron combo that it was served with. Once again everything was good enough on its own, but together they were combative, and unfortunately something/one always looses. Here it was the lemon curd. The sweetness of both the caramel corn and the macaron made the pudding-like dessert very tart by comparison. The dessert as a whole would have been better if the main was a lemon creme burlee with a torched sugar top, and the rest of the elements played a small part as edible garnishes.

 

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.
If it wasn’t so far out, you would find me here more often, especially on the patio above, with a drink a hand. But lucky for me there are a handful of “Match” restaurants in BC, and each is typically affiliated with a casino; making them the ideal destination for lunch between hands, or dinner after a successful day at the slots. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MATCH
Cascades Casino Resort
20393 Fraser Highway, Langley BC, V3A 7N2
604-530-2211
matchpub.com
Match Eatery and Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ban Chok Dee Thai Cuisine

I like novelty. If you have ever seen my Instagram page or heard me talk, you know I will spend good money to satisfy my need for novel. So I am happy to have discovered “Ban chok dee”, as this place gets me. They know food is more than just what you taste, but also about how your other sense experiences it before it hits your tongue. Taking all this into consideration has made “Ban chok dee” one of my favourite restaurants. However, sadly they aren’t a stone’s throw away.

I don’t often drive to Langley for a restaurant. But as one of the Vancouver Foodster caesar Challenge competitors, I was obligated to take the drive out as a judge for the month long competition. I strategically choose a statutory holiday day for my visit, to avoid the rush hour traffic driving into the city. However what I and the restaurant didn’t expect was the turn out they would get for the very same reason.

We had made reservations, but given the utter chaos of their dining room, due the unexpected number of patrons wanting to dine with them, and the fact that they were short staffed; we were given the entire patio to dine and photograph on, whilst being asked for our patience. With free parking and no where else to be, we took our time and enjoyed their hospitality.

As always, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

We started off with their caesar entry, however had to first wait for everything needed, to craft the most complicated caesar I have ever witnessed the making of, being moved from the kitchen and bar to a table on the patio. But it was well worth the trouble and the wait. To get the explanation behind the cocktail and watch it’s assembly, only made you appreciate it all the more. There was lots of work put into this and they certainly deserved to win the competition as first place for judge’s favourite.

I highly recommend watching the creation of their “TYG Caesar” by clicking the link below.

The “TYG Caesar” is a cocktail inspired by the heat and flavours of Thai style Tom Yum soup. They found a way to represent their culture and their cuisine in this Canadian classic.

There are a few elements to this offering. The first, a “Spiced Bacon Caesar Sphere” made using molecular gastronomy, sprinkled with dried spiced prawns and smoked bacon bits. The process includes taking a liquid and making it into a semi-solid jelly state, before popping it into your mouth to unleash the “bubble” like a wave of flavour and drink.

The drink itself is a mix of chilli and herb infused Absolute Vodka, Maekhong (Thai whiskey), tobacco, horseradish, Worcestershire, black pepper, thai chili sauce, lemongrass, galangal, lime juice, lime leaf, and mixed Caesar spices. The cocktail is mixed together then poured into a bottle, presented with the sphere and a fully garnished glass. This is so that you can fully see and appreciate all the green of the fresh celery and pickled bean, and note the frozen tomato juice sphere and the ice balls frozen with herbs; before covering it all with an emptying pour of the bottle.

And the finishing skewer is just as intricate. Lime, cornichons, chilli pepper, red pepper, green olive, and a crispy shrimp wrapped in noodle. The prawns are from one of their appetizers. Deep fried and marinated jumbo prawn wrapped in crispy yellow noodles.

You are immediately impressed by this show of labour, the amount of work needed just to set it up. Though when it came time to actually start drinking you didn’t know where to begin. The whole display left you feeling overwhelmed, but deliciously so.

Despite the caesar eating like a meal, we then followed it with a full six course meal.

Their “Stuffed chicken wings” are marinated with Thai spices and normally stuffed with sautéed shredded vegetables, vermercilli noodles, egg, ginger, and garlic. However the version we had utilized “rice berry”. A special ingredient they were doing a tasting of as part of their fresh sheet.

“Riceberry” is a newly registered rice variety from Thailand. A deep purple whole grain rice with a soft and palatable after taste. Riceberry has been the most popular brown rice known for health promoting properties. This and the molecular gastronomy in our drink above, was a good tell of the owner and head chef’s dedication to learning and expanding her culinary expertise. More on that later.

The rice was stuffed into a chicken wing, then steamed and deep fried to a golden brown. It is served with a sweet chilli peanut sauce on the side. The rice added substance and a starchy chew. A good contrast for the crispy skinned chicken. The sauce gave your bites a sweet, yet tart and garlicky add on.

The “Chor muang dumplings” came with it as a side. They were a visual treat, set in moulds to shape them like flowers. The colouring of green and purple were achieved through natural food dyes, however I could not taste from what, past their dominant filling. These are traditional Thai dumplings filled with palm sugar, chicken, onion, cilantro, pepper, garlic, roasted peanuts, and aromatic Thai spices. And then drizzled with garlic oil as a final touch. The flavour of the shrimp paste came through with onion as an after note. It wasn’t my favourite, given the chalky texture of the sugar and ground up peanuts married with the perfectly sticky dumpling shell.

“Gaeng kua batel leaf over rice berry”. Scallop with basil and rice berry in a yellow curry made with coconut milk. This was a sublimely creamy curry, but too salty for my liking. Shame, as the flavours were solid and this is the kind of curry you would normally lick your plate clean of. I even liked the texture of the stewed basil and I typically avoid wilted greens. But the scallop was the star of the dish. It was cooked perfectly and deserving of its crowning perch.

The “Tuna tatare” was a little too salty with the smear of soy, and a little too tangy with all the citrus used. Also the edges of the fish itself was a little dry, whereas I wanted more raw and refreshing from the cut.

My guest was most excited about the “Curried noodles (Kai soi chicken)”, under the street food category of their many. Apparently not many places make this and they do it very well here. Chiangmai style egg noodles and curry with tender chicken, cilantro, red onion, green onion, chilli oil and lime. Stacked like a tower with a chicken drum lollipop anchoring the noodles, its sauce is poured at your table, over the dish before you eat. This ensures that the noodles stay as crispy as possible for as long as possible. Although the sauce quickly moistens it, for a nice starchy chewy. The curry is slightly spicy and just a bit sweet.

For dessert we were treated to their tropical twist on a classic: “Coconut creme brûlée”. Tropical and extra creamy from the coconut milk used, and served with a caramelized Bosc pear for a nice soften texture. It was fairly sweet, so having the torched sugar topping was a little overkill.

Most of what we had above was either not on the menu or offered with a slight variation, prompting me to return the next time I was in Langley; for a more everyday look at this popular Thai restaurant. Once again the place was busy, line ups and a wait, even on a Monday. Which made sense, considering most of everything else was closed before 6pm. Luckily I made a reservation and got our group a table for six inside.

On this visit, they were once again competing in a “Vanfoodster” challenge, this time for best chicken wings in the city. However with their head chef having the day off, they were not offering it on the menu today. So we made due with more classic Thai dishes instead.

This time I tried their “Stuffed chicken wings”, the regular way. And I preferred them stuffed with sautéed shredded vegetables, vermicelli noodles, egg, ginger, and garlic instead. It offered the perfect chewy texture to contrast the crispness of the fried chicken skin. And it was even better with the sweet and tangy plum sauce for dipping.

Although my favourite sauce of the meal went to the thick and creamy dish of peanut sauce partnered with the order of “Chicken satay”. Grilled tender, marinated chicken in traditional Thai spices, broiled and served with peanuts and a peanut and cucumber plum sauce.

The “Seasoned lettuce wraps” was a build yourself scoop of minced chicken, beef or pork; stir fried with fresh lime leaves, onion, garlic, spices, and roasted cashews. The mix was a little watery and when brought together on a still wet from the wash leaf. It was a little too watery for what should be crisp from the lettuce and crunchy from the fried noodles and roasted cashews. My guest who ordered it found it just fine and tasty enough, I thought it too spicy for my liking.

The “Sweet and sour stir fry” was exactly as expected with your choice protein between beef, chicken, or pork; sautéed with sweet pineapple, juicy tomatoes, fresh zucchini, crunchy carrots, fragrant green onions, and crispy red and green bell peppers. All generously coated in their thick and syrupy, house made, sweet and sour sauce. I appreciated the larger serving of rice, for the ideal base to something so tasty.

“Gang gong pineapple curry” was a rich and creamy mix of large prawns, pineapples chunks, red and green bell peppers, and fresh basil leaves in a red curry with coconut milk

They of course had a traditional Pad Thai, pan fried rice noodles in a tamarind sauce, with chicken or prawn, egg, tofu, green onions, and bean sprouts, topped with ground peanuts. No complaints from the one who ordered it. It was as excepted; and as a large enough serving to take home leftovers for a second meal.

The “Pad si eu” is stir fried wide rice noodles in oyster sauce with egg, carrot, cabbage, and broccoli; with your choice of chicken, beef, or pork. Plenty of flavour and as expected.

The “Thai fried rice” is fried rice made using Thai spices, egg, onion, red and green bell pepper, and sweet basil. The rice had a texture more soft than crisp. With it I ordered beef, but found it a little dry. I also felt I needed a Main with the rice, as there wasn’t enough to keep me satisfied within. Better as a side than a main.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
There is not much food diversity in Langley compared to Vancouver. One of restaurants at this calibre are rare. So to find such a gem, but to have to drive great distances from Burnaby to it, puts me in a bind. I really appreciate all the work that goes into everything on the menu, the care and love shows. I can see why they are so popular in this community. Possibly my new favourite Thai place to recommend, if not for the commute. I wish they opened up a new location in Vancouver. Don’t deny your cravings

 

Ban Chok Dee
Douglas Plaza, 20563 Douglas Crescent, Langley BC, V3A4B6
778-278-3088
banchokdee.com
Ban Chok Dee Thai Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushico Japanese Restaurant

I was quickly learning that the food scene in Langley wasn’t as diverse as it is in Vancouver. However, what Langley has is a strong presence of chain restaurants, and speaking with many locals they concurred with my observations. I was on the Langley bypass around 200th, looking for lunch; and my choices included familiar names like “Whitespot”, “Quiznos”, “Montana’s”, and “Milestones”, just to name a few. But the blogger in me was craving something more unique to write about. Something without multiple locations, and that search led to “Sushi Co.”, ironically with a not so unique name, exterior or decor for that matter.

An all monochromatic building exterior with a dark interior to match. Though not that I needed more from my casual Japanese sushi restaurants. Black tiles underfoot , black chairs paired with brown tables, and white panels lined up on a black wall, with wave of led lights for interest.

I grabbed a table by the wall of glass, down the right side of the restaurant. There I enjoyed a playlist of Japanese slow jams that was used to set the tone and add to their authenticity, along with all the Japanese speaking servers.

There was trouble communicating with the staff. For a few of the rolls they listed using “egg paper”, and when I asked if this was in place of nori, I was responded with confusion. I guess my Japanese needed work, because she didn’t know that I was referred to seaweed. And then when I asked for suggestions it was hard for the same server to offer any. I wanted to know what their specialty was and what was one of their more unique rolls. It wasn’t happening she said it was all good, as if I should order one of everything?

So out of ease and to just end the conversation, I took advantage of their “Sushi Co” lunch special that ran from 11am to 3pm. It earned me a choice of one of their special rolls from a limited list, a starter from another list, and some miso soup for $12.

I went with the “crazy boy roll”. And appreciated that each of their specialty rolls listed what was “in” and “out” of each, on their menu. Inside of this one was avocado, cucumber, crabmeat, and cream cheese. And outside it was deep fried with a healthy drizzle of unagi sauce and spicy mayo. Therefore you didn’t need soy sauce, given how much flavour you had in both sauces combined. However you were still doled out a healthy smear of wasabi and a pickled ginger. The roll was good with a nice enough crisp, but at the end of the day it was just a tempura battered and fried California roll.

I got the “mix tempura” as my starter and was surprised that it was a full serving, more than enough for one. Two pieces of prawn, one green been, a piece of pumpkin, sweet potato, and a yam slice. It was a beautiful display, but I found them over breaded and fairly oily. The shrimp was too much, but at least the vegetable ones didn’t feel as oily to consume. I ended up peeling off the coating in silent protest and eating the core as is with the sauce.

And the Miso soup was pretty standard. A warm start and a nice way to cut into the grease.

I also ordered their signature self named roll, the “sushi co roll”, as a tell of the place. It was a spicy tuna, crabmeat, and asparagus roll; deep fried with spicy powder, and topped with real crab tobiko. Drizzled over with a wasabi sauce, a peanut sauce, and an unagi sauce.

Before I even tried the roll I was disappointed. I regretted not reading the menu properly, and ordering all this deep fried food without thinking. It was too much by the time this dish arrived. Although I did much more prefer this one to the first roll. It was fried to order and still warm, enough to show the contrast between the roll and the crab and roe that topped it. The salmon was cooked inside for a different taste, and the asparagus added some crisp freshness to the texture. Though it was really the three sauces that set the roll apart. Having them layered like this made each bite one of a kind. Although being overloaded with fried and saucy sushi, I was unable to finish my lunch and packed two thirds of it home.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
It was a good option for the area, and the only ethnic food type around, let alone only sushi place. And with rice and noodles also on the menu they have much of Asian cuisine covered. It wouldn’t be a destination for me, living in Burnaby, but certainly a decent one for those in Langley. Easy to get to with plenty of parking and other conveniences while you are here. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SUSHICO
102-20065 Langley Bypass, Langley BC, V3A 8R6
604-427-0202
sushicogo.com
Sushico Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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