Delicious Fusion Sushi Rolls from Sake Maki

After coming back from a long 2 month trip abroad, I knew one of my first meals back had to be at a Japanese restaurant. I *DIED* not being able to have good sushi… and I’m not exaggerating. I had dreams of cute little salmon sashimi and sushi rolls floating around… this is, of course, coming from the girl that almost ate sushi everyday for lunch at school for 2 years :P Anyways, my point is, I was craving sushi for so long that my friends knew they HAD to take me out. (yay!) I had previously found a social shopper voucher for Sake Maki where we could order $30 worth of food for only $15! FitnessFreak bought 2 so we could combine it, to be shared between the 4 of us. Coming back from Europe required celebration and having some good ol’ Vancouver sushi was the perfect way to do it. By the time SushiGirl, LeggingLover, FitnessFreak, and I arrived at Sake Maki, we were all famished!

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Armed with $60 worth of vouchers to use, we decided to go all out. At the time, they had a special going on where you could choose a Chef’s Special Roll, 2 appetizers from the selected list, and a salad for only $14.95. We thought this wasn’t a bad deal since a Chef’s Special Roll alone was $8.95 each. For our first special, we ordered the Spicy Girl Roll, Salmon Sashimi, and Spicy Salmon Sashimi. 

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The salad that they started us off with was nice, but definitely nothing special. There was cabbage with cucumbers and carrots, topped with a citrus sauce. Halfway through one of our salads, the waitress came over and just took it away without asking if we were done with it, despite it still being half full. However, she was apologetic and immediately gave us another bowl when we told her we weren’t finished with it.

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The Spicy Girl Roll consisted of bacon, avocado, and cream cheese, topped with smoked salmon, tobiko, and a special spicy-mayo sauce. The roll in general was delicious. All the flavours worked perfectly together, especially the spicy-mayo sauce, which added an extra kick to the roll which we all enjoyed. However, it was hard to really taste the bacon in some pieces while it was more prominent in others, which showed inconsistency throughout the roll.

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Both the Salmon Sashimi and the Spicy Salmon Sashimi were appetizer sizes, so they were considerably less in quantity than the full sized portions in the regular menu. With that in mind, the 4 slices of salmon sashimi only allowed us to each try a slice, and a thin one at that, so it wasn’t very memorable. The spicy salmon sashimi, on the other hand, was mixed with a spicy-mayo sauce that I assume was similar to the one found in the Spicy Girl Roll, but a lot spicer. This spicy salmon sashimi was really quite spicy, but not unpleasantly so.

Salmon sashimi is one of our favourite items to get at a sushi restaurant so one slice each was definitely not enough to satisfy our cravings. We went ahead and got a full order. :)

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The Salmon Sashimi ($9.95 for full order) came with 8 slices. The slices were cut on the thinner side. They tasted nice and fatty, but definitely weren’t that fresh. They were probably of the farmed kind also. Nothing more to say here other than we got our salmon sashimi fix.

 

For our second special, we ordered the Viagra Roll, and 2 orders of Chicken Karaage. 

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The Viagra Roll was definitely an interesting roll. The name itself definitely helped push us to order it (LOL) but the ingredients on the menu looked delicious as well. Consisted of deep fried oysters, cucumber, and topped with salmon tempura, tobiko, and mayo, the roll gave way to a nice crunch with every bit. I really enjoyed how the crispy fried oyster juxtaposed with the moist and crunchy cucumbers in a way that almost compliments each other. The salmon tempura on top might be an overkill for fried stuff, but in my opinion it worked, bringing the crunch factor up another notch. My only concern here is that the roll wasn’t the best constructed roll I’ve ever had, sometimes falling apart just as I was picking them up with my chopsticks. But then again, it could be due to the nature of the ingredients. Overall, I’d say this roll is a must try!

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The 2 orders of Chicken Karaage came with a decent portion and each piece was smaller sized than what I was used to, which was nice for sharing between more people. The karaage was not as crispy as I would’ve like, but the meat inside was moist, juicy, and flavourful. FitnessFreak mentioned that she had never tried this dish before and quite enjoyed it. This was a decent dish, but pales in comparison the the one I had here at Guu, which was better in all aspects in my opinion.

 

After our specials, we ordered some items from the Chef’s Recommendations page of the menu. We got an order of the Salmon Belly Tataki ($9.95) and the Avocado Toro with Yuzu Sauce ($11.95).

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The Salmon Belly Tataki was simply a gorgeous dish. The tataki was really well done and the salmon belly was paired perfectly with the vinaigrette sauce. The citrus flavours of the sauce provides the perfect balance to the high fatty content of the salmon belly. Overall, this was another must try dish. We simply could not get enough of this!

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The Avocado Toro with Yuzu Sauce was a nice dish. Again the citrus flavours of the yuzu sauce complimented the high fatty content of the toro perfectly. However, the toro wasn’t the best quality. It definitely tasted fatty, but it was not the buttery smooth, melt in your mouth type toro that I look for. Still, when paired with the avocado slice, the butteriness of the avocado mimicked the texture of what the toro should taste like. A creative and smart pairing in my opinion. Another concern was that it was quite difficult to pick up and keep the toro and avocado slice together. Each bit was a struggle to prevent either the toro or avocado slice from falling off.

 

By this point, the 4 of us were quite stuffed. Nevertheless, we couldn’t resist trying one of their desserts. As they say, a girl has a got a separate stomach for desserts ;) We ordered the Deep Fried Banana with Ice Cream ($5.95) which was on a special for only $4.95 that day.

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The order came with 4 pieces, which was perfect for the 4 of us. We were curious to try this dish as it is commonly known as a tasty dessert in south east Asian countries, but seldom done by Japanese restaurants. In the end, this was a disappointment. The fried banana was not crispy like I imagined it would be. Instead, it was soft and extremely oily. To top it off, it was completely bland. The only redeeming quality to this dish was the scoop of vanilla ice cream, which gave some sweetness to an otherwise tasteless dish. Don’t waste your money here.

 

Overall, I’d recommend Sake Maki. The creativity in their Chef’s Special Rolls is what makes them really stand out. The prices might be a bit high for your average sushi joint, but the specialty rolls are a steal for what you get. I’d highly recommend ordering their special deal to try their specialty rolls and get 2 other appys; a great price point to try more items. The service needs some work though, but I’d come again. In general, I quite like fusion food, so if you are an authentic nut then you might not like Sake Maki. 

 
Sake Maki 清酒 on Urbanspoon
 

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

A Bit on Travelling…

Hi readers, Jess here! So I  know this is a food blog but I’d like to share a quick little post on what I’ve been up to for the past 2 months. Yes, I’ve been away for quite a while now (sadly :() but I’ve been up to some fun mischief and great adventures, as all foodies should go on.   :D

Basically since the end of my exams in April, I embarked on a 2 month long travelling adventure. At the start of May, I road tripped with some friends to Calgary and attended AIESEC Canada‘s National Leadership Development Conference, which was a 5 day conference that brought together around 300 youths from all around Canada to develop their passion and leadership capacities. Not only was it amazing to develop myself professionally by learning new techniques from successful people to better myself at what I do, but I also got to develop myself personally, gaining invaluable skills and insight on becoming a better leader and self discovery. Most importantly though, I found myself being able to interact with other like-minded youths from coast to coast with similar values and passions. All in all, it was an amazing 5 days. I left with a heavy heart, already missing all the new friends I’ve made from across Canada, but also a renewed energy to start my own adventures.

Student leaders brainstorming ideas at NLDC 2013.

Student leaders brainstorming ideas at NLDC 2013.

Within a day of returning back to Vancouver, I had a flight to Wrocław, Poland. I had applied for the Global Community Development Programme (GCDP), an international volunteer opportunity within AIESEC, a little over a month ago. With over 113 different countries to choose from, you’re probably thinking why Poland, of all the places to go. Well, let me start off by saying that for me, the main reason for a GCDP was to go to a completely different country, experience their culture, and make an impact upon those that I meet and interact with. For me, eastern and central Europe was a completely new territory for me, and I wanted to just take a risk and spend a 6 week volunteer internship in Poland.

A shot of the market square in Wroclaw, Poland.

A shot of the market square in Wroclaw, Poland.

My volunteer internship was at a kindergarten called Academia Pippi, which was a bilingual kindergarten for children aged 2-5. My responsibilities included speaking English to the children, spreading Canadian culture through activities and presentations, as well as hoping to influence them to become more open to other cultures. Needless to say, the entire internship was a rewarding experience as I could actively see the children’s improvement in English throughout my stay.

Children trying some pancakes with Canadian maple syrup.

Polish children trying some pancakes with Canadian maple syrup.

Throughout my internship, I also had some extra time to travel around a bit and I managed to go to different cities around Europe. They included Krakow and Warsaw in Poland, Berlin and Frankfurt in Germany, as well as Prague in Czech Republic. Being able to meet like-minded individuals with similar passions from around the globe and to travel eastern and central Europe with them was one of the most incredible experiences ever. The memories shared will never be forgotten, and I know that despite the distances shared as we all come from different countries, we would remain good friends even after the end of our stay in Poland.

New best friends Kimberly from Singapore, Nikita from India, and I in Warsaw, Poland.

New best friends Kimberly from Singapore, Nikita from India, and I in Warsaw, Poland.

At the end of my 2 months away from home, I finally boarded my last plane to return to Vancouver. The children I met during my internship managed to touch my heart and all the great new friends that I made showed me that friendship transcends all barriers, whether it be ethnicity, nationality, language, or age. It was certainly a life changing 2 months. At the end of it all, I can definitely say I came out a bit more independent, with a better understanding of what it means to be a global citizen, as well as with a better international perspective. Of course, I also couldn’t be more appreciative of my parents now. 2 whole months without my mom’s awesome home-cooked Chinese meals… the horror!

Unexpectedly meeting an old friend in Frankfurt, Germany on one of my last days in Europe.

Unexpectedly meeting an old friend Esther in Frankfurt, Germany on one of my last days in Europe.

Well that’s a wrap! Hopefully you guys found this post slightly interesting. (I really hope you guys didn’t fall asleep while reading this LOL) Anyways, I would love to read about your own travel stories… comment below about your adventures or link your own travel posts below :)

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

Au Petit Cafe and Bon Cafe: Gaga for Banh Mi

During exams season, I pretty much locked myself up in the library, slaving away from morn to night trying to cram as much as I could. I find it incredibly distracting to study in my bedroom, as it is too comfortable and the temptations of social media is too high. That’s why I find going to the library a much more productive use of my time because it is a quiet environment that sets the mood for studying with facilities that help you. The problem, however, is that you have to come prepared because there usually isn’t food nearby so you can’t just buy lunch or a study snack when you get hungry.

On 2 occasions I dropped by 2 different Vietnamese restaurants near my local library to buy a banh mi to accompany my studies. The first day, I planned on dropping by Au Petit Cafe for a delicious banh mi. I’ve frequented Au Petit Cafe before as their banh mi are considered some of the best in town. I’d have to agree. However, good thing I checked Urbanspoon before leaving the house because turns out, they are closed on Wednesdays! It was SUCH a disappointment because I was craving a banh mi so bad. In the end, I settled for another Vietnamese restaurant, Bon Cafe, that also serves banh mi.

At Bon Cafe, I ordered a Banh Mi Dat Biet (around $4, CASH ONLY). The banh mi includes ham, pate, and the usual various veggies.

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I didn’t feel like they skimped out on the fillings, and the ingredients all tasted delicious! However, the meat inside had a lot of fat. I normally don’t mind fat if it is well proportioned to the meat but here I found big globs of it randomly in the banh mi which I had to pick out… gross. Unfortunately, the French bread was not nearly as good as the one from Au Petit Cafe. The bread here was perhaps toasted for too long or not as fresh as it was crunchy to the point where it was too hard. (LOL) After a while, the top of my mouth hurt from having the bread scraping against it.

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Overall, the banh mi is quite good, but if they could improve their bread then all the better. I would definitely come again if Au Petit Cafe is not open or the lines are too long.

 

The next day, I went to Au Petit Cafe since they were open and I couldn’t help but crave a better banh mi than the one I had yesterday at Bon Cafe.

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I ordered #1, the French Bread with Home Made Ham, House Meat Ball, Vegetable, and Hot Pepper ($4.50). I was also given the option to not have the hot pepper, which I appreciated since not everyone can stand the heat. While I believe the banh mi at Au Petit Cafe is slightly more expensive, I’d gladly pay the extra $0.50 for a more scrumptious banh mi.

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Upon first bite you can tell that the french bread here was fresh, aromatic, and toasted perfectly so that the outside was nice and crunchy but the inside remained warm and soft. The meats are all house made and oh-so-flavourful. In comparison, the fat in the meats were well distributed and enhanced the flavours of the meat, rather than accumulating into a blob and grossing me out.

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Overall, I’d say perfection nicely describes this banh mi. My stomach is literally growling as I type!

I think it’s safe to say that banh mi in general is delicious, but the crown winner here is Au Petit Cafe. The key to a perfect banh mi is in the bread and boy did Au Petit Cafe get that spot on. While not bad, the banh mi at Bon Cafe clearly still has some work to go. I’d love to try some of their phos next time as well. Readers, have you guys tried banh mi before?

Bon Cafe on Urbanspoon

Au Petit Cafe 小小咖啡屋 on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

La Taqueria: Going Crazy Over Tacos!

Happy almost end of exams! I apologize for the lack of posts this month, but that’s exam season for you. I’m lucky enough to be finished already, but best of luck to all of those still fighting. It’s no surprise here that I like tacos but it seems like recently I’ve gotten a craze over Mexican food in general. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no taco connoisseur and I sure as hell don’t pretend that I know what authentic Mexican food tastes like. All I can say is that I enjoy all the tastes and the flavours, especially the chipotle sauces!

It was VivienAvenue‘s last day in Vancouver before leaving for Taiwan for a GCDP internship through AIESEC UBC, so we thought we would have a little food date  before she left :) VivienAvenue and I had also just finished final exams, so a celebration was in order. PerfectPitch and AwkwardTurtle still had another exam left, but YOLO :D We had originally planned to go to Fairmont Hotel for their high tea, along with PerfectPitch, but when we called to reserve a table, they were already booked full. In a last minute decision, I decided we go to La Taqueria on Cambie after realizing that Phnom Penh would probably be packed full at 6:30pm on a Saturday night.

Let’s just say that heading out on 420, the smell of weed was everywhere and stoners walking out and about, it was all incredibly interesting and entertaining. La Taqueria is a little tiny eat-in or take-out shop located within a 2 minute walk from the Broadway-City Hall station on the Canada Line. The place had a lot of spunk, humour, and attitude, all the makings of an awesome food shop.

I ordered a soda to start while waiting for VivienAvenue to arrive.

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I’ve read alot about the Mexican Jarritos Sodas ($2.00) so I figured I’d get one. I got the Mandarin flavoured one. It was just like orange pop… nothing special, and super sweet. I’d gladly pass next time for water.

I ordered a total of 4 tacos: de Cachete (braised beef cheeks), de Lengua (braised beef tongue), Al Pastor (pork marinated in achiote chilli and pineapple), and Pescado (grilled seasonal fish with pico de gallo).

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Meat tacos are $2.50 each or $9.50 for 4, but veggie tacos go for cheaper. Each taco is made with two fragrant corn tortillas topped with the fillings with a slice of lime on the side. I know some people prefer their hard and crunchy taco shells, but I love my soft tacos. The extra tortilla makes the taco easier to hold as well because since the oil from all the delicious meat fillings will soak through the first one, you won’t have to touch it with the second tortilla.

Although they call your name for every order, I think they may have gotten the wrong order for me since the tacos were completely different from what I ordered. I can’t really tell between the meat tacos, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my fish taco, which was a bummer. Every taco I ate was delicious though. A added a dab of chipotle sauce and squeeze some lime juice on top of every taco. The meats were juicy and packed with flavour, each taco a joy to devour.

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We headed over to Menchies on cambie for dessert afterwards, only a few minutes walk. I love frozen yogurt but I swear the toppings will be the end of me, I can’t get enough of my toppings! I got a swirl of cheesecake frozen yogurt with a dabble of blueberry, topped with a million toppings. Needless to say it was delicious.

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Menchies is also having a contest where you can win free frozen yogurt for an entire year! Click here for more information.

Overall, the tacos from La Taqueria were absolutely delicious and I can honestly say I’m addicted, I can’t wait for my next visit! I’d love to try more tacos from them and hopefully this time I’ll get my Pescado =P

La Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading,

Jess

Midam Rice Cake House: Delicious Desserts!

As promised, here’s part 2 from my day at Suika. After dinner, we headed back to the Lougheed area for desserts. To everyone’s disbelief, I have never been to Midam Rice Cake House before. SushiGirl, LeggingLover, and FitnessFreak all decided that they had to take my “Midam Virginity.”

Midam is a traditional Korean style restaurant hidden within the same complex as Bikram Yoga Burnaby. While there is a variety of drinks, traditional Korean food, and desserts, it is most popular for its desserts. While the restaurant isn’t exactly small, it is located on the ground floor and tucked away in a corner, making it very hard to find. I’ve been told by others before that this is a restaurant where you should take a Korean with you, as the waitresses don’t speak fluent English and the menu is hard to understand. However, perhaps the menu has changed because when we looked at the menu, it was full of pictures with fine English translations, which made ordering very simple and easy. They even had a call button at every table for people to request the waitress, which is very common in restaurants in Korea.

After much deliberation, we finally decided on 2 dishes and a drink. We ordered a bottle of Yoghurt Soju to share first.

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This tasted delicious! Nice and cool, just like the Yakult Yoghurt drinks that I used to drink when I was little. There wasn’t a harsh alcoholic taste to it as well, so it’s perfect for girls. ;)

We also got some waffles with fruit and ice-cream which looks absolutely scrumptious!

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The waffles were great! They were nice and warm, slightly crispy on the outside while soft on the inside. Maple syrup was sparingly poured on top, and powdered sugar was dusted on top as well. To the left, there were some cut up pieces of banana and strawberry and 3 scoops of ice-cream: vanilla, chocolate, and green tea. Some chocolate syrup was also squirted on top. These were all simple ingredients, just done very well with excellent presentation that just made the dish incredibly enjoyable. We would definitely order this again!

We also ordered a fish stock soup with mussels.

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The fish stock soup is a common starter at most Korean alcohol establishes, which we’ve tried and loved before. This dish here is a step up from that with the inclusion of spring onions and clams. There were definitely plenty of clams for us all to share, and I personally LOVE spring onions, so that’s definitely a plus. Even though the soup is basically all MSG, it still tasted great, and the clams were tasty as well.

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On another visit to Midam with NiceGirl and AvocadoHater, we ordered some desserts to chat with each other since NiceGirl was having some relationship problems. While we continued our girl talk, the desserts were the perfect dishes to share.

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We ordered the green tea ice-cream with red bean shaved ice. This was a mind-blowing dish. There were red beans, along with some rice cake cubes coated with green tea powder, topped with a scoop of green tea ice-cream. Everything sat nicely on top of the shaved ice, and sprinkled with some almond bits. Everything tasted amazing together. The chewy textures of the rice cakes with the soft textures of the red bean and the crunchy texture of the shaved ice was a great mishmash of textures which worked great together.

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We also ordered the strawberry yoghurt parfait with mochi. This parfait came with plain yoghurt, strawberry yoghurt, strawberries, mochi, and cornflakes. Again, the chewiness of the mochi contrasted very well with the great crunch of the cornflakes, which made for an excellent bite. Altogether a good parfait.

Midam Rice Cake House is an exceptional place for desserts and long chats. They have a extensive drink menu as well. However, I haven’t tried any of their actual lunch or dinner dishes so I can’t really comment on those. Although the desserts are somewhat over-priced, most Japanese and Korean dessert places are  as well, and they are still affordable for the quality and the quantity. I apologize for the lack of actual dish names and prices though. I forgot the actual names and prices, and I can’t find them online since they don’t have a website and I can’t find a newer version of their menu. Hopefully my descriptions were helpful enough. Overall, this restaurant is definitely worth the hype. Just remember to look up the location before hand and have it on your phone because it is hard to find.
Midam Rice Cake House 美談餅家 on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

Original Joe’s – Eating with the Sun

Near the beginning of the month, I had a wonderful time planning a fun and educational event with my fellow team members: the AIESEC UBC March General Assembly . While there were a few sleepless nights, it was completely worth it in the end when multiple people came up to me and told me it was one of the best general assemblies that they’ve been to. I was so glad that everyone found the day fun and exciting. After some awesome but tiring dancing at the end, we were all very hungry. We headed over to Original Joe’s for an early dinner as part of the dinner social afterwards.

We arrived at around 4:30pm, and were seated at a large booth corner as we reserved previously for 20 people. Everyone was happy that it was finally a sunny and bright day in raincover, so the happiness spread on and everyone was quite chirpy the entire afternoon. At my table, most people ordered some drinks to start. I didn’t feel like ordering any drinks, but my awesome vice-president JudgingYou ordered a margaritas that looked cool and delicious.

XLB was super generous and ordered the Calamari ($10.50) for the entire table to share.

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The calamari wasn’t as crispy as I would’ve liked, and quite dry as well. You definitely need to dip the tzatziki and squeeze some lemon juice on top to add flavour to the calamari as it is nearly flavourless as well. There was plenty of calamari though, and it is a great starter to share with large groups.

The Red Tractor Nachos ($16.50) was also ordered and shared with everyone at our table.

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Let’s just say nachos are almost always a hit… especially with all those delicious toppings! There were olives, onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, and lots of melted cheesy goodness. There was also 3 dips, guacamole (my fav!), salsa, and sour cream, but I am not sure if there was an extra charge involved. This is just ol’ good comfort food, and super tasty with the cheese, toppings, and dips combined. Very pricey, but there is a lot of nachos.

Finally, I ordered the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich ($12.75) for myself.

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For the sandwich, you had the choice of choosing 2 sides with it – I got some fries with gravy and a bacon-egg salad. The bacon-egg salad was alright… the bacon bits weren’t really crispy and the salad itself was nothing to write home about. The fries were average, but the thick cut was nice. Now onto the sandwich itself, the pulled pork was marinated beautifully. It was nicely seasoned and slightly  sweet, oozing with peppered BBQ sauce and topped with honey slaw. This was a huge sandwich and it took great effort to eat it while making a big mess as well. The taste was great though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the portion was just too large and I only ate about two-thirds of the sandwich, a bit of the fries, and a bite of the salad before feeling completely full and bloated. 

After we received our dishes, everyone continued chatting while eating. Even after we finished eating, everyone just stayed continued to talk. The sun was still high in the sky when we began and as we progressed with our meal, the sun continued to set. When we finally left the restaurant, the sky was completely dark. We basically ate along with the sunset, which was an awesome experience since our the restaurant was on the second floor with enormous glass windows, so the view was spectacular.

Overall,  the food was fine, and the meal was made better with great service and great view along with great company. Although Original Joe’s is a chain restaurant, the food here wasn’t bad at all since usually the food at chain restaurants are not the best as quality control is not always guaranteed. The food wasn’t the best, especially for the price, but I definitely enjoyed my meal here. 

Original Joe's Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading!

- Jess

Being the minority in a Chinese restaurant…

A few weeks ago, VivienAvenue won 2 tickets to see the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean at the UBC Arts Last Lecture. As the former Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada as well as the current UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, I was very surprised when hardly anyone I talked to knew who she was. I was originally very interested to attend the Arts Last Lecture to hear her speak, but was put off by the highly priced tickets. Two days before the lecture, VivienAvenue generously asked if I wanted to be her plus-one. Here’s just another “thank you” to you, Viv!

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VivienAvenue had  a meeting after classes that day, but we decided to go eat together, along with LCP and XLB, after her meeting since we still had some time to kill before the event started. LCP is Filipino, and has shockingly never had Chinese dumplings before! VivienAvenue and I made it our mission to go to a Chinese restaurant so that he could try some delicious dumplings. However, as most of the good Chinese restaurants that we knew of were located in Richmond, we had to pick a Chinese restaurant in down town so that we could make it back to campus on time. We finally decided on Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House due to its proximity and good ratings on Urbanspoon.

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VivienAvenue, I, XLB, and LCP =]

We were thankful that LCP drove us to the restaurant since it was raining really hard that day. Upon being seated in the restaurant, we realized one thing… the entire restaurant was filled with Caucasians and non-Asians! I’m not trying to be racist or discriminate others, but how often do you find Chinese or even Asians as the minority in a Chinese restaurant? We were all getting a kick out of this, but also realized that the Chinese food here might not be the most authentic due to their location as the main clientèle were Westerners and the food would most likely cater best to Westerners.

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They were unfortunately out of dumplings at the moment, so we just ordered the xiaolongbaos to hopefully satisfy LCP for the time being. We received the xiaolongbaos ($4.99) first. These were alright, not the best by far, just average. The skin was dry on the outside and tore very easily. The art of getting the thinnest skin whilst not breaking is a hard skill for any chef to master. The soup inside wasn’t as hot as I’d like it to be either. Despite the critique, it was still a good comforting dish, although I may be biased since I love xiaolongbaos, even the frozen kind where you just steam them at home by yourself =P

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Next up is the beef sesame cake ($4.99). My mother had bought these once for me, and they’d tasted dry, cold, and greasy in general. However, these ones were completely different. The pastry part was crispy and flakey, while the inside beef filling was hot, moist, and full of flavours. These were pretty delicious.

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 We also got the beef with green onion ($13.99), which came piping hot in a big pot. I personally love green onions, so I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The beef was extremely tender (probably due to lots of starch) and the sauce was a great pairing. However, this dish was quite oily, which is my only complaint.

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For the Shanghai style rice cake ($9.99), I would say once again it was quite average. The rice cakes are nice and carby, so we ordered this basically as a filler dish. The sauce went very well with everything, but once again, the dish was way too oily.

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Last but not least is the house special fried rice ($10.99). XLB was still not completely full at this point, so we ordered this dish hoping everyone would be full. The fried rice was again average, but overly oily.

In the end, we all left with full and satisfied tummies with the 5 dishes that we ordered. The service was quite nice and friendly, but I expected it to be so, due to the Westerner clientèle. These dishes weren’t the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten, but they weren’t the worse as well. Expect westernised Chinese food, but definitely better than the fast food kinds like Manchu Wok. Overall, the food here was satisfying, but average and oily. Being with great company definitely enhanced my experience here though. Read VivienAvenue’s post on the same meal here.

Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House 林餐館 on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading!

- Jess