Monday, March 26, 2012

Gokudo Shabu Shabu

Gokudo Shabu Shabu is exactly like Pearl Hot Pot. Price is reasonable and you get your own little pot to cook in which I love. Service is a little slow considering only 2 people were responsible for serving the entire restaurant. The staff was very friendly and we all had a wonderful time cooking, especially J because it was her first time eating Hot Pot. What more is there to say? Well... don't over cook your meat and go early.

I think it's a definite YES that we will be back again considering A and L had a blast!
Pictures taken with instagram

*Some of my pictures were deleted/error occurred, I was not able to recover everything so therefore I deleted some of my posts, I am trying to restore as many posts as I can!- November 18 2012*

Gokudo Shabu Shabu Hot Pot 極道涮涮鍋 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Keg Yaletown

I had a lousy work week. I think the weather kind of got to me, so when the sun started to shine on Saturday I was excited for a night out.

I have been to The Keg many times, the location that I usually hit up is the one on Granville Island so when T suggested we grab some dinner at The Keg in Yaletown I didn't really think much of it. We called ahead to ask what the waiting time was because on most Saturdays its usually fairly busy so I was surprised that they told us it would only be about a 20 minute wait. It took some patience to try to find parking in Yaletown, but after several tries we got a good spot and the parking was free too. Surprisingly when we got to The Keg in Yaletown we were seated immediately and from then on I was amazed with our server! I always thought The Keg was pretty consistent with providing good customer service but our server (Neil) at the Yaletown location was fantastic, he gave us an excellent run-down of the specials for the night and then came back promptly to take our orders. We got the Cocktail Shrimp and the French Onion Soup to start, for our main course we told our server that we wanted to split the Keg-O-Mega which is a 24oz Prime Rib that isn't on the main menu. When our appetizers arrived I started to snap away and our server noticed my picture-taking and asked if I was doing a food blog, I said yes and he immediately came back with this delicious 3 cheese whipped butter and told T and I that we must try this spread with our warm bread. And what do you know, it was delicious!

Its not really the food that amazed me. I mean the meal was very good it definitely satisfied my taste-buds, but it was our server that made such a memorable impression for me. He was such a happy fellow and very attentive but not over bearing. Nearing the end of our meal he chatted with us for a bit and told me that I should check out The Keg's lunch-time menu which features the "Keg Dog" which is this amazing hot dog that is served with a garlic bread bun, avocados and other delicious ingredients. It sounded so good that it got me excited to visit The Keg again! We also found out that our server got an amazing job offer in management at the Fairmount Hotel and his background was in Hotel Management before he moved to Vancouver. I wish him the best of luck in his career and I hope the next time I visit The Keg in Yaletown that I will meet another excellent server with an interest story to tell.

We ended our night at Tunnel which was a little lounge with a small dance floor. We were there to visit T's friend and I wanted to go dancing. It was my first time at Tunnel, we arrived at 11:00pm the place was very quiet. The music was sub-par and once the clock struck midnight we were outta there pronto...

Keg Steakhouse and Bar - Yaletown on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thai Away Home

I figured since I live in an area that is quite literally surrounded by restaurants, I should at least try each of these restaurants at least once and hey, in the mean time, why not blog it? I will probably be more active on it after I finish my March Photo A Day on Instagram. Anyway.

Nestled between a Pub and a Bike Shop is Thai Away Home: a little take-out restaurant, with some seating, serving Thai cuisine. I am not a big Thai food person as I can't handle spice and heat too well, or I just don't know what to order. So I went for the safe route, which is the most obvious: Pad Thai. It was part of a lunch "special" for $8, but I don't see what is so special about it besides it coming with a green salad - which I was really disappointed with. There was little to no dressing on it which kind of sucked because from what I could have tasted, the dressing had a really good brightness too it and complemented the slightly bitter dark greens. The Pad Thai itself was mediocre as well. There was a good amount of beansprouts and tofu - and that was about it for toppings. There were also two small pieces of shrimp in an ocean of noodles. It was almost like finding a needle in a hay stack; a shrimp in the ocean. Ha. Tastewise - I can`t really be the judge on what is authentic Thai or not - but I was satisfied with it. It was a bit sweet, a bit sour, and the heat was present, but not overwhelming at all.

I probably won't be making any special trips to Thai Away, but if I needed something fast and quick - I would... consider it.

Thai Away Home on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Update: May 14 2012 @ 7:00pm - I can't believe I gave this place a second chance.
Theirry is overrated and I am not happy with their level of condescending service

I have tried going to Theirry a couple times, and each time it was overflowing with people. I would glance at their cakes and macarons longingly and almost tear upon leaving because I couldn't get a taste of those delicate treats. Yesterday night, after our movie and dinner at Save-On-Meats (oh the juxtaposition of the two), we stopped by at Theirry for dessert and was in luck! There were a couple of empty tables on their patio! I was so ecstatic and seriously wanted to go crazy and order everything. B would have probably encouraged me with the usual, "Get it if you want it", but this time I was strong and only grabbed two pastries: the exotic fruit tart and the opera cake, and a few macarons - as well as a sencha tea to share.
And after all that hype, I was quite disappointed with Theirry. The fruit tart was nicely decorated with all sorts of fruit, but bland. The pastry cream was almost tasteless. Granted that the fruits used were off-season, but it really tasted like the tart has been there for a while. The most off putting thing about the tart was that the pineapples on it tasted like dirty dish water. I can't find a better way to describe that rancid smell from the pineapples besides that. In contrast to the tart, my opera cake was so sweet it almost made me gag. I could barely detect any coffee or chocolate taste because it was that sweet. I couldn't even taste my sencha tea after one bite and that is a really strong green tea. Those coveted macarons were overly sweet and heavy just like my cake. I was only able to take one bite of my macaron before I had to pack up the rest in a box.

Albeit that the store and desserts itself are very visually appealing, I probably won't go back to Theirry, and B agrees. It seems like a lot of people really enjoy it, but I think it was just way too sweet for me.

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 18, 2012


On Friday, B and I were on our way to Tinseltown to watch a movie and decided to stop by and grab McDonalds for dinner (because I have been craving a filet-o-fish since what feels like forever), when we drove by Save-on-Meats. I actually didn't even notice the flashing neon sign with a giant pig on it, god knows why, until B muttered, "Oh, so that's where Save-on-Meats was". Upon those words, a flashback of reading 604Foodtography's post on Save-on-Meats popped into my head. So of course, we put the MickeyD plans aside. Sigh. The complications of wanting to eat everything and not having enough stomachs for it.

You are greeted first, not by the server, but by an old-school jukebox and a vintage candy machine; then comes the server telling you to write your name on the whiteboard. After a quick five minute-or-so wait, we were seated at the bar. Since Save-on was a last minute decision I didn't get a chance to scout the menu beforehand so I asked the server for a recommendation and boy, am I glad I did. I ordered the burger with a tossed salad and a root beer float and he got the clubhouse and slaw.

We had to wait a bit for our food, but it was a busy night. The burger is your standard burger; a nice thick and juicy patty, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese.  It is definitely not the most delicious burger out there, but it is definitely better than any fast food chain because the patty didn't taste like it was flash frozen and then defrosted - in other words, it was fresh and had a home-made kind of feel. My salad was a little under dressed even for my tastes but better under than over, in my opinion. I didn't get a chance to try B's sandwich, but he commented that there was a tone of bacon in it (his favourite) and the chicken was quite juicy.

I probably wouldn't go out of my way to come to Save-On-Meats, but if I was in the area I would. I would definitely order the burger again because you really do get more than you paid for. Six dollars for a fresh, homemade tasting burger? That's about the same price as a big mac but better than a big mac. Also, our experience there was really enjoyable. The server was friendly, and since we were at the bar, we had a really nice conversation with our neighbors. Everyone was really laid back and friendly - most memorable would be a granny who was there enjoying a slice of cake. She even shared a bite of her vanilla butter cream cake with strawberry filling with B before she dug in her self! I find that experiences like that, are rare, and definitely made a difference in our dining experience.

Oh, and by the way, Kevin, if you are reading this - they got their liquor license.

Save On Meats on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 16, 2012


I come across these type of videos quite often, usually on baking, and I love the style! It's video-graphed so clean and artistic, which makes the recipe they are cooking stand out even more. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Northern Delicacy

Oh what to eat! There is always a dilemma when it comes to picking a place to eat. There are times when I am craving for a certain meal and then there are times when I don't know what I want to eat! So the next best thing is I let T decided where to go, and usually his choices never disappoint me. R and F joined us for dinner at Northern Delicacy a restaurant located inside the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond.

I have been to Northern Delicacy plenty of times and I usually come out satisfied with the meal. This time was no different. We were seated promptly because the restaurant wasn't very busy so we didn't have to wait. Our tea was served and our waitress came back a few minutes later to take our order. One of my biggest pet peeve with eating at any restaurant is bad service. I have worked in customer service for a long time and I know what is excellent customer service and what is poor customer service. I have also worked at a restaurant and owned a boutique dessert shop for 3 years so I know how hectic it is for servers to keep everyone happy. Especially at Asian restaurants where there is usually one or two servers taking care of half the restaurant. So I am usually very patient when I go eat at an Asian restaurant and I usually do a count of how many servers are available.

The restaurant was not busy at all, there were probably 4 servers attending to 4 tables including us. Our server was eager to take our orders but she never smiled and gave no indication that she understood us because we first ordered in English and then gave up and started pointing to what we wanted on the menu because she looked very confused.

We started with 2 orders of Xiao Long Bao, Pork Shui Mai, Garlic Pea Shoots, Hot & Sour Soup, Green Onion Pancakes, Shanghai Noodle dish, Honey Garlic Ribs, and Peeled Shrimp covered in Salted Egg Yolks. This list of food we ordered would of been quite long if F didn't stop us. The food all came quite fast, I really enjoyed the garlic pea shoots its always one of my favourite dish to order at Northern Delicacy. The hot & sour soup was delicious and not too spicy but I think my favourite dish had to be the xiao long baos, they were so juicy and the meat was so very flavourful that after the first 2 orders we just had to get another order of it! R was super happy about that.

I don't think there was any dish I didn't like, I just wish they would step-up on their service, have the servers be a little bit more engaging at least a smile would be helpful. I walked away satisfied with the meal but in terms of service it could probably use some spicing up. I am sure I will be back again for the food!

And we cant forget about DESSERT!

This is a deep fried egg puff with red bean inside and a dusting of pink sugar, very cute!
All the pictures were taken with instagram this time.

Northern Delicacy 客滿庭 on Urbanspoon

Roasted Butternut Squash and Yam Soup

*Update - Sorry I lost the pictures to this post, so no visuals - November 18 2012*

When I make soup, I usually make it in a huge batch so I can freeze it into smaller portions. So this recipe is going to feed approximately 10 to 12 people, or you can just freeze the soup for next time. This soup does require some prepping and cooking time, so be prepared to be in the kitchen for at least an hour and a half or if your a fast dicer it might take you only an hour.

What you will need:
4 small to medium size yams
2 memium size butternut squashes
1 onion (optional, I really like the aroma of the onion)
1 medium size Hairy Gourd (or 2 small ones, or you can use a cucumber, this is optional)
4 gloves of garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Dried Parsley (for colour)


Fill a soup pot with 6 cups of water and bring it to a boil.

Pre-heat oven @ 350F - roast all the yams and the butternut squashes in a baking tray with tin-foil for 45 minutes or until the yam is soft when you poke it with a fork.

Dice the onions into bite size pieces.

Peel the Hairy Gourd - it's part of the squash family and it adds a nice refreshing bite to the soup. (this is optional or you could dice up a cucumber)
Cut the Gourd in half length-wise, cut each half into strips and then dice it up into bite size pieces, I find it easier to dice the Gourd this way.

Mince the garlic.

Throw the diced onions, hairy gourd and the minced garlic into the boiling water and let it cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat (your yams and butternut squashes should be ready).

Let the yams and butternut squashes cool down a bit, it should be fairly easy to get rid of the skin on the yams. Put the cooked yams into a big bowl, mash it up a little bit.

Cut the butternut squashes length-wise scoop out the seeds, and scoop all the meaty part into the bowl with the yams, mash it up a bit.

Put the yam/squash mixture into a blender add a bit of the broth from your soup pot so its easier to blend.

Blend the yam/squash mixture until smooth - add the mixture into your soup pot with the gourd and the onion.

Start seasoning it with salt and pepper to your liking and cook it for another 20 minutes or until everything is all incorporated together. You could also add a little green to your orange-y red soup with a sprinkly of dried parsley.

Add a little bit of cayenne pepper for a good kick to the soup - the soup should taste sweet and a little spicy/savoury and it should come out really creamy but not too thick.

Enjoy, because I know I will!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fisherman's Wharf

One of my fondest memories as a child was visiting the Fisherman's Wharf at Steveston in Richmond with my parents on the weekend. I remember walking through the docks and peering over boats and seeing fresh fish and shrimp flipping around. It was so exciting. But that was all very early in the day.

This time, I went with B a bit later - closer towards the evening. It was a bit quieter but the views were still just as stunning as I remembered and the calmness was all a bit more relaxing. There were a ton of boats gently rocking by the docks but only one seller remaining: Fresh Coho Salmon. A lot of the smaller stores were closed, but a few gift shops were open, as well as coffee shops. Even though it was a bit chilly and windy, there were still a few people strolling around.

After finding out that Pajo's was closed, we grabbed a light dinner at The Crab King, and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious everything was. When dinner was over, the sun was just starting to set, and despite the freezing wind we walked a bit more along the piers. During our walk, I spied a few places I want to come to to try, including a cupcake shop!

Ah, 'til we meet again in the summer, Fisherman Wharf!

The Crab King

I have been dying to go to Steveston Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond for a while, and when it seemed like the weather had finally let up a bit, I dragged B to take me. Read all about my visit, here. Anyway, moving on. We were looking for something to eat, and originally, my perfect meal would be having fish and chips at the infamous, Pajo's. Unfortunately for us, they were closed. But because they were closed, we discovered another little gem located right next to Pajo's: The Crab King.

The concept behind The Crab King reminds me a bit of the Crab Pot - at least from what I can see and tell from pictures online. They serve fresh seafood, specializing in crab, as well as miscellaneous items on their menu like caesar salad, fries, poutines, hot-dogs, chicken strips and etc. I absolutely adore seafood and my favorite way to eat it is exactly what The Crab King serves: steamed, minimal seasoning, a wedge of lemon and tons and tons of butter. Butter by the pounds, I say. Jokes. I wish.

B and I first ordered one and a half pounds of mixed seafood: clams, mussels, and shrimp. It also came with a choice of a side and we picked something light and refreshing: the Caesar Salad. After ordering, the server let us choose a table to eat at on their heated and covered patio. It was really nice to eat on a little deck right above the water and still feel amazingly warm. When we sat down, the server swiftly laid out some parchment paper and brought over a few utensils, including a wet napkin (to clean our hands) and explained to us that the paper is for our shells. While waiting for our food, we noticed that there was an empty box of crayons lying around and we had ourselves a little crab drawing contest. First and foremost, before we get to the food, I like to say I won.

When our food arrived, I almost swooned at the sight of it. It seems like I do that a lot, huh? It was fragrant, and piping hot. They steamed it with just a little bit of herbs and that made the aroma even more enticing then it already was. The seafood was steamed to perfection, so tender, so fresh - no shell left un-open. The Caesar salad was a typical Caesar salad. Nothing too spectacular in flavoring but the crisp romaine and tangy dressing provided a refreshing change in taste and texture.

When we finished with our mixed seafood platter, B and I both caved in and decided to order half a crab to share. After ordering, the server once again came to hand us some extra wet naps as well as a handy-dandy wooden mallet and some bibs! Like, the seafood platter, the crab was steamed with a small amount of herbs and served with a lemon wedges on the side. The crab order was so worth it. So, so, so worth it. Hammering the crab shells was a bit messy but oddly enough, extremely satisfying - especially when you get nice big chunks of fluffy crab meat waiting to be dunked into clarified butter. Since we were there closer towards the end of the day, the server asked us, as well as the other diners, if we would like a complimentary bowl of miso soup - since they didn't want to waste it. We said yes of course.

Not only was the seafood fresh and delicious, the service was friendly and quick. Our whole meal came to be around $38 - not bad considering the amount we had, as well as it being fresh seafood. A large order of fish and chips at Pajo's is already about $15. In the end, we were more than satisfied with The Crab King and would definitely go again. Now when I'm at Steveston, I am going to have a hard time deciding between the two.

The Crab King on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I know I rarely post, but I am fairly active on Instagram. Currently I am doing a March Photo a Day challenge - where I post a picture a day that follows a certain theme. In addition to that, I also post up pictures of restaurants and cafes I have been to, and just every day things I see as interesting and try to portray it in a different way. I have also started working at a coffee shop, so follow me as my latte art improves! If you are interested in keeping up with my day-to-day life, as well as photography, feel free to follow me @eva_yao and say "Hi"!

Red Wagon Cafe

And when it is raining, cold, and absolutely dreadful outside, what can be more satisfying than food? What can possibly be better than wholesome, comforting, diner food? Stepping into the Red Wagon feels like stepping into the Urban Outfitters version of a restaurant. It is definitely grungy with a very urban-hip kind of feel. It was quite busy when we went in around lunch time, so the place was buzzing with conversation. While we were waiting for our table, a group of four came in just as a larger table was leaving. The server was polite enough to ask us first if we would mind waiting for a smaller table - but it was okay if we didn't. Of course, we didn't mind waiting a bit longer since it would have been ridiculous for us to take such a big table, but the thought of asking us what we thought first was the first that I have experienced. Thumbs up.

Upon sitting down I knew what I was already going to order - since I looked at the menu before heading out. So right away, I claimed the DLT: Duck confit, tomato chutney, iceberg lettuce, in ciabatta, served with fries. B was in between the Crisp Pork Belly Sandwich and the Reuben - but we overheard the server talking about how her roommate talks about the Reuben in his sleep... so naturally we chose the Reuben which came with pickles and chips. We also ordered a pancake. I love pancakes, so we just had to.

You can see B sneaking food in the background. Hey! No touching the food before pictures!
When my DLT came, my eyes fell in love with what was put in front of me. When I took my first bite, I could have cried. It was so, so, so amazing. Your teeth just sinks into a softy, pillowy bun after piercing that slightly chewy ciabatta crust. The duck falls apart almost instantly and you get a delightful crisp from the skin mixed into every bite. Once you get to the lettuce and tomato chutney, you go to this place I like to call flavour heaven. You would think, that the duck, cooked in fat, would be too heavy. But no. The fresh, cool, crisp lettuce cuts through that fat instantly, as with that tangy, sweet chutney. It was beautiful.

B's Reuben was also delicious - albeit being really, really heavy. I can't imagine finishing both halves. The rye bread  was thin, and crisp. The perfect vehicle to hold in all that corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese. It was jammed packed with stuff. I couldn't really taste the sauerkraut, but you can feel that it is there. The thousand island sauce added a tang, but wasn't enough to bring in some kind of brightness. Luckily, it was served with small dill pickles to kind of refresh your palate after. I probably won't order the Reuben next time. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, just a bit heavy for me. The pancake was just scrumptious. Thick and perfectly fluffy.
Reuben Sandwich

At the end of our meal, we received two coke bottle gummies along with our bill. How sweet! Literally. Overall, I really enjoyed Red Wagon. It is on the more pricey-er side, but I think it is worth it. And I am proud to say, that I had the best food this time around! Ha! I can't wait to go back and try the Crisp Pork Belly Sandwich!