Friday, June 28, 2013

Damso Modern Korean Cuisine

TGIF at Damso.

I love Fridays, especially when I get to have a big dinner after a long day of work. On this particular Friday a bunch of us went to Damso - which I have never been to before so I was excited to go. The restaurant was quite busy when we arrived so it was a good thing that J made reservations. The server sat us down quickly and handed us the menus and immediately what caught my eye was their Korean Tacos. I adore tacos of any kind so of course it was a must-order and J said they were pretty good (he was right! I could of ate like 6 more).

Good thing I had a couple of Korean friends dining with me because they took care of all the ordering and the cooking! I am sure A was happy that she didn't have to do any cooking because she was too busy ordering bottles of soju and pouring it for everyone. That was smart of her - to do all the pouring, I think next time I am going to be the one who pours all the drinks.

The drinks came before the food. Which means I drank on an empty stomach. Not good. We had regular soju and Yogurt soju. The Yogurt soju was really yummy and very easy to drink. The regular soju was a little harder to get down. The next time I go to Damso I think I will just stick to the Yogurt soju and instead of several shots of it I will probably just drink one little glass. But knowing A, that probably wouldn't happen...

Besides the Korean Tacos we also ordered a second appetizer to share (since the boys are big eaters). The Ddok-Kalbee is basically a meatball made with beef and stuffed with a slice of oyster mushroom in the middle. This was really good, definitely a dish I will order again at Damso.

When there's soju there has to be some sort of salty greasy food to go with it! This is why we ordered the Pork Belly BBQ which came with lettuce and a variety of Korean side dishes - kimchi, marinated onion, beansprout and rice. I've never seen such thick cuts of pork belly before, and the best part about this whole meal was that I didn't have to do any of the cooking. J and P got that part handled!

J also ordered two soups which I've had before at other Korean restaurants. I could only remember one of the soups which was a Spicy Seafood and Tofu soup because by that time I've had one too many glasses of soju. I could hardly hold my camera steady to take anymore pictures. A was a little worried that I would drop my camera into the food. At least I wasn't the only one who looked a little red from the alcohol. G looked just as red as me and P could barley pour a glass of water for anyone. What a night. I think we can all agree that it was a good night at Damso and by the looks of it I think we will be back, but I'm going to pass on the soju and have more tacos instead. All-in-all the service was decent and the food was good (especially the Korean Tacos) but what made my night was the company I had.

Bye for now.

Damso Modern Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Presenting the Mr & Mrs.

Had a great time at 
V & W's beautiful wedding 

Loving the Photo booth
Wish you two all the best in the world - oh and go on your honeymoon!!!

See you, when I see you 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka 山頭火

Just a bit of history about Santouka - They're a chain with restaurants all over the world. Santouka opened its first restaurant in Hokkaido in 1988 by a Japanese family. So they have been around quite some time!

I have an on-going love affair with Japanese Ramen. There's so many Japanese ramen restaurants popping up everywhere in Vancouver that it's kind of hard to try them all and figure out which ones are worth visiting again. Well Santouka definitely made the list for me. I have a Japanese co-worker who adores Santouka and convinced me that it's worth lining up for because their bowl of ramen reminds him of home.

T and I went to Santouka with our two friends for dinner and they just got back from Japan not too long ago. T had the Tantanmen which was a peanut-base broth with chilly oil and ground pork (very similar to Chinese Dandan noodles). The Tantanmen was quite unique, not your average bowl of Japanese ramen. T quite liked it, but I found the broth to be a little bit too thick. I ordered the Miso Ramen, where the soup-base is made from a mixture of pork broth and miso paste. The broth was well seasoned and had just the right consistency and the noodles were fantastic!

I am quite picky when it comes to having noodles or pastas cooked perfectly. You can say it's kind of a pet-peeve of mine when the noodles/pastas are either over-cooked or under-cooked. Surprisingly Santouka did a great job cooking their noodles considering how busy they were that night. Now I totally understand why so many reviewers mentioned how yummy the noodles were! I think I can definitely add Santouka to my list of favourite ramen restaurants. They are a bit pricier then some of the other Japanese ramen restaurants in downtown and the place does get quite busy so do expect a bit of a wait. 

I would probably go back again, but I might try to go there for lunch instead of dinner. Any suggestions for other good Japanese Ramen places? 

Happy eating!

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka 山頭火 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

OOTD Take 2!

Trying to figure out what to wear every morning...

Here we go again!

Just a quick collection of our OOTD - something fun and quirky that E and I started doing. Were a little bit obsessed with taking pictures of our outfits and our shoes!

Follow us on Instagram @eva_yao and @minnieyao for more daily picture updates 

Bye for now.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Aki Japanese Restaurant

Happy Birthday Q!

A bunch of us went to Aki Japanese restaurant for Q's birthday dinner. I've been here once before and  from what I could remember this place had pretty good service. Q chose Aki because the place is reasonably big enough to accommodate a group of 12 comfortably. I was the last one to show up but lucky for me they only ordered drinks and a few sushi rolls.

It's really hard to share tapas, especially with such a large group of people. It's also really hard to take pictures of every dish because there's probably 20 plus dishes. So I decided to just share with the birthday girl, J and P, this way I also make sure I could have more then one bite of each dish.

The four of us shared the Hamachi sashimi (Yellowtail) and it was delicious. I was tempted to order another portion for myself, but Q reminded me that there's still a lot more food to come.

The Steamed Clams in White Wine was a crowd pleaser, it was so good that I had to order 2 more portions and P even drank all the sauce! Next came the Grilled Salmon Belly which was tiny, and P was the only one who was a fan of it. Well lucky for him, he got to eat it all.

I love oysters and I think Aki did an excellent job with their raw oysters. The oysters were served on a bed of ice with a Ponzu sauce and fresh green onions. My only complaint is that they should of given us more then one wedge of lemon, and maybe some Tabasco sauce too. J and I practically ate three dozen between the two of us. The Ebi Sunomono and the Grilled Squid was probably the least of my favourite dishes of the night. The squid was too rubbery for my liking and the shrimp in the sunomono was very mushy. I could of done without any of these dishes but at least now I know.

Overall, the service was friendly and our food came at a reasonable pace but they were slow at serving us our drinks. I enjoyed myself and I think Q had a great time at Aki too. I would probably dine at Aki again just for their raw menu, but I think their cooked food needs a little bit more work. Price-wise they are a tad bit expensive, I think it would be awesome if they had a happy-hour menu for all the oyster lovers out there!

The good thing about eating small plates is that there 
will always be room for dessert!

Anyways, Happy Eating!

Aki Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Kishimoto 岸本 by Munchzilla

Hi friends! Thanks for the support, hope everyone enjoys this article!

Chef Akira Kishimoto – The plate is my canvas, where I create delicious edible art.

Commercial Drive, or The “Drive” as it’s known to most Vancouverites, is a bustling and growing neighbourhood on the east side of Vancouver. It’s a cultural melting pot of unique restaurants and fun little shops. In the summer of 2011, Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen and Sushi Bar became one of the newest additions to this diverse neighbourhood.

Recently renovated to create more space for diners, the restaurant has lovely sliding windows that can be fully opened to let in the breeze on warm summer nights. Upon entering Kishimoto you’ll notice the different textures created from the wooden furnishings, the concrete walls and the giant rope mural. All of this adds to the character of this quaint little restaurant. The center piece of Kishimoto is the Sushi Bar, where you will find owner and Executive Chef, Akira Kishimoto, creating his delicious works of art.

Akira Kishimoto began his culinary journey in Osaka and Kyoto before moving to Vancouver to further pursue his career. After 16 years of mastering the art of Japanese cuisine, he finally opened up his very first restaurant. Chef Akira describes Kishimoto as his art studio, and the plates are the canvases on which he makes his creations come alive. His passion for cooking and beautiful presentation has made Kishimoto one of the best Japanese restaurants on The Drive. Chef Akira believes that taste and presentation is the key to a great meal and an enjoyable dining experience. Mukimono is the traditional Japanese art of decorative garnishing, which Chef Akira really brings alive in his plating presentations. It is evident after seeing Chef Akira’s plating style that he firmly believes you eat with your eyes first.

In order to ensure his creations are both visually appealing and delicious, Chef Akira is adamant on using the freshest ingredients and buying local produce. He wants his diners to experience traditional Japanese cuisine with a Western flare. He has taken a lot of care in creating his menu from the house-made specialty sauces right down to the edible garnishes. Kishimoto’s menu consists of seasonal specials such as the BC Spot Prawns served sashimi or nigiri style, along with the heads deep-fried. The deep-fried prawn heads are delicious, especially when paired with a bottle of ice cold Asahi beer. Right alongside the specialties are traditional nigiri sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls with a twist. One of their most popular specialty rolls is the HamaChili Roll, which consists of Hamachi, avocado and chilli mayo topped with slices of jalapeno and cilantro leaves. The cilantro adds a nice earthy freshness to the Hamachi, while the jalapeno kicks it up a notch! Another customer favourite is the Oshisushi, which is a pressed sushi. There is a bit of technique when it comes to making Oshisushi. You mustn’t pack or “press” the rice too hard or else it becomes too dense. Cutting the Oshisushi also requires a bit of deft knife work to ensure that the rice doesn’t fall apart. Customers love the Salmon Oshisushi. It consists of Sockeye Salmon topped with a house-made creamy sauce and a dash of Yuzu juice, then torched to perfection.

To top off an enjoyable dining experience at Kishimoto, one must try their house-made ice creams: Yuzu ice cream is a great palette cleanser, Matcha is a definite crowd pleaser, and Black Sesame is delicious and aromatic. No matter how you want to start or end your night, Chef Akira and his staff are more than happy to provide the best dining experience for you, your family and friends!

Bye for now.

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 岸本 on Urbanspoon