Archive for the ‘food’ Category


20 things you must eat in Vancouver

November 18, 2013

(Originally posted February 2, 2012. Updated in November 2013.)

I like food.

Honourable mention to Milestone’s california salad that I always eat at YVR. But there’s no way I’m putting a chain restaurant on my list.

Other than some ethical concerns with veal, I’ll pretty much try everything. I don’t like sea urchin, I don’t drink coffee and can’t handle diet pop.

In February, a friend is coming to town and I happen to be out of town! But I wanted to leave him a list of must-try foods in Vancouver.

Something absent on this list: Pho. Frankly, I have no idea what makes good Pho. I’ll pretty much eat it at any sketchy hole-in-the-wall. And I seem to like it all.

Also, the best breakfast under $3: Yummy Sushi. Wait, what?! I’ve never had sushi there. In fact, I don’t think they even do raw fish. But the hole-in-the wall has all day breakfast and is across the street from my home.

I’m not a big fan of breakfast, thus its relative absence on this list.  Same with sweets.  I’m a savory girl for the most part.

So far I haven’t been truly wowed by any Thai, Malaysian, Cambodian, etc. restaurants in Vancouver. That’s not to say there aren’t any really good ones. There are. I eat at Pad Thai regularly, though it is more cheap eats than authentic meal.

If there’s one thing you’ll notice about the list is that nothing is over $16. I’m not one to go for those $30 per plate meals.  So, this isn’t fine dining. I’m sure there is lots of very fine dining in Vancouver, but that’s not me.

Anyways, enough rambling, if you’re like me, you just want the list. These are restaurants I really like… not just the menu items below.

Top 20 things you must eat in Vancouver:

(Updated in November 2013 to reflect restaurant closures)

Banh Mi at Big Lou’s

Carnitas Taco at La Taqueria

Chicken Wings at Phnom Penh

Chili-Garlic Eggplant and blade sheared noodles at Peaceful Restaurant

Choriqueso Sandwich at Las Tortas

Fish and Chips at Go Fish

Garlic stubs with pork at Zakkushi

Grilled Cheese at Burgoo

Ice cream sandwiches at Chocolate Arts

Kimbap at HMart (Korean Grocery Store)

Le Grand Feast at Nuba

Peruvian Seafood Chowder at Mochikas

Pasta at Lombardo’s Ristorante

Pizza at Zaccary’s

Polenta Fries and mixed drinks at Cascade Room

Rib ends at Memphis Blues

Salted Caramel Blondie at Beaucoup Bakery

Steak Frites at Les Faux Bourgeois

Sushi and Okonomiyaki at Zipang

Tonkatsu at Suika

Waffles at Patisserie Lebeau

Five best sushi restaurants in Vancouver:

Honourable mentions: Kishimoto, Temaki, Clubhouse, Mazuya, Ro Sushi

5. Samurai Sushi House – ENORMOUS. Seriously. The fish is decent and the cuts are massive.

4. Toshi – The fish is superb, the lineup is annoying, but the fish is superb. If you know anything about the sushi scene in Vancouver, you’ve heard of it. But honestly, I’m just as happy going to my top three. (All surprisingly nearby.)

3. Sushiyama – How dare I place something ahead of the renowned and line-up oriented Toshi? Sushiyama never disappoints.

2. Shiro – Get ready to sit uncomfortably close to someone else, with bustling servers running past you. They jam everyone in, which is a good thing because otherwise you’d be waiting a long time. A great mix of price, quality, speed, and homemade wasabi – and you get pocky at the end.

1. Zipang Sushi – After recently taking out of town guests here over any other place in Vancouver, I realized it is my number one. The quality is always amazing, the menu is extensive and the prices totally reasonable. Plus I like the random decor.

Five more restaurants you should try:

Cafe Salade de Fruits



Edible Canada at the Market

Pizzeria Farina

Three places I wish I had gone to before I left:

Bao Bei


Best breakfast in Vancouver:
Yummy Restaurant – For $2.99 you can get two eggs, five pieces of bacon (or 4 sausages or ham), a plate of hashbrowns and toast.

Paul’s Omelettery – Repeat visits have proven no one makes a better omelet in town.

Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe – random things in or on a pancake

Red Wagon – Busy hipster spot, but for good reason. Go on a weekday to avoid waiting in line. Known for their giant pulled pork pancakes.

Swiss Bakery – Just get a loaf of bread here and have toast. Known for frissants.

Best deals in Vancouver:

(Previously mentioned) Yummy Restaurant for $2.99 breakfast

(Previously mentioned) Samurai Sushi House for the biggest pieces of sushi I’ve ever seen

Bistro 101 – The local cooking school does a three course lunch for $20, dinner for $25. Half price wine Wednesday means the bottle is as cheap (or cheaper than buying at the liquor store).

Kitsilano Daily Kitchen – Chef’s tasting menu for $65 – which doesn’t seem like a deal but for 6 fantastic courses of food, it’s worth it

Pad Thai Restaurant – Definitely not the most authentic thai restaurant, but their lunch deal of $6 is a huge plate of food.

The Patty Shop – Jamaican patties. That’s it.

Great Han Mongolian Barbecue – Throw food in bowl, they cook. Good deal! (Not by weight!)


The best liquor stores in Vancouver (and my new blog)

August 6, 2012

First of all, let me get this out of the way. I have a new blog: The West Cider

It’s a cider blog, because *surprise* I like cider.

In the past five years, craft beer brewing has taken off here in BC, following the lead (somewhat) of our friends down south (especially in Oregon). I think craft cider can’t be far behind.  I know it will never be to the extent of other beverages, but some variety would be appreciated by…well…me.

So, how about the best liquor stores in Vancouver? Sure, I got you here with that promise. The truth is, these are just my favourite liquor stores.

My favourites are those with a good cider and craft beer selection.  I like wine too, but you can find something decent in pretty much every store (even Newfoundland!).

Honourable mention (and probably better than #5 or #4 if I take the sentimentality out of it): Darby’s Liquor Store in Kitsilano

5. Lennox Liquor Store in City Square Mall – For the last five years, it’s been the closest liquor store to my work (and at times, my home) which means, it has been the source of many most of my drinks.  Your options for hard liquor aren’t wide-ranging, but it has a little bit of all the things I like.

4. Viti Liquor Store – I avoid downtown Vancouver. I only go there if I have to. (Now that I’m soon-to-be unemployed, that may change if an opportunity arises.)  Viti does a good job of bringing in lots of different stock in a small space.   Prices aren’t the best, but I’d rather pay a bit more for something different than less for the same old.

I didn’t really feel like putting these three in some arbitrary order, so they all are number one:

1. Firefly Fine Wines and Ales – (Not just for Vancouver! If you’re in Maple Ridge, there’s a location there!) It’s not a big back cold room, but I get lost in those two aisles of beer.  There’s only about one shelving unit that I need to ignore completely, and there’s a good choice of ciders as I walk in.  Note: It can be very cold in there.

1. Legacy Liquor Store in the Athletes’ Village – I talked about getting lost in the beer fridge at Firefly, but Legacy, if not for its high ceilings, you’d get lost in the store itself. It’s really big. I took a friend there last week. You could see her eyes light up as she walked in the doors. It was also the only place I could find Tempt Cider. It’s no longer there, but I hear it’s coming back. (Check my Cider blog for more info.)  Also, they host some cool events.

1. Brewery Creek on Main Street – Remember how I said I work by Lennox Liquor Store? Well for several years, this was the closest liquor store to my home.  Even before the renovations, they were bringing in lots of great craft beers, but since they expanded, the selection is just fantastic. It has had a great cider selection as long as I can remember.

Note: Government liquor stores are fine. I don’t like the hours. I don’t like the cider selection (which is none). I don’t like the fact that beer is not sold cold. However, the prices are decent.  But, like I mentioned, I’d rather pay an extra quarter or buck to support an independent store bringing in creative options.

Where do you pick up a brew? Are there Vancouver liquor stores I’m totally missing out on…


Newfoundland: Where the water is ice cold but the people are warm

July 23, 2012
Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Cape Spear, Newfoundland

For 10 days we explored an amazing amount of Newfoundland, from St. John’s all the way up to L’Anse aux Meadows.  We went to the furthest East and North that it could offer. We could see Labrador. It was a beautiful, rugged province with more history than the West of Canada could hope to offer. The people were kind and, while sometimes hard to understand, were always wanting to help.

Instead of a long post, I give you lists outlining some of our trip to The Rock.

(Also: Photos below)

Five things I will never forget from Newfoundland:

1. Icebergs

2. The fjord of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne Park

3. The tiny towns along every coast

4. Colourful row housing in St. John’s

5. Friendly Newfies


Five least memorable moments from the trip to Newfoundland:

1. Walking to the St. John’s airport

2. The steak and mushroom pie at Duke of Duckworth

3. Getting up to go to the Deer Lake airport at 4:30am (Midnight PT)

4. The water in the St. Anthony hotel

5. Starting to get seasick on the iceberg boat


Five things you must see in Newfoundland:

1. Icebergs

2. The UNESCO sites: Gros Morne Park and L’Anse aux Meadows

3. Tiny towns

4. St. John’s (with trips to Signal Hill and Cape Spear)

5. Wildlife (Moose, caribou, whales and one we never saw: Puffins)


Five things you must eat in Newfoundland:

1a. Icebergs (Seriously the water tasted amazing)

1. Cod tongues (We had them at The Daily Catch near L’Anse aux Meadows)

2. Scrunchions (Fried pieces of pork fat? Also at The Daily Catch)

3. Chowder (The best was at a grandparent-style restaurant in St. John’s)

4. Moose (we had sausages at a chip truck on the side of the road in Gros Morne)

5. Fish and Chips (we were tired of chips by day 10)

(Side note: Our best meal was probably at The Rooms in St. John’s.)


Five weird things they do in Newfoundland:

1. Personal gardens on the side of the road (this is because Newfoundland is a rock so there’s no soil in yards, but there is soil along highways)

2. Piles of wood and crab traps on the side of the road (crown land, go nuts!)

3. Have little bridges on the side of the road (they are for snowmobiles)

4. Serve fries with everything

5. Talk incomprehensibly.


Five things I won’t miss about Newfoundland:

1.  Fries (as mentioned above, they came with everything)

2. Wind

3. Foul-tasting tap water (boy are we spoiled in Vancouver)

4. Generic mass-produced beer

5. Our ridiculous rental cars (a Chrysler 200 and a Dodge mini-van/SUV)


Five things I already miss about Newfoundland:

1. How quiet it is

2. Being able to say hello to strangers and they don’t look at you like you’re crazy

3. Old buildings

4. Open countryside

5. Winners of “Tidy Towns


Five things that surprised me about Newfoundland:

1. Just how beautiful it was

2. How even at the northern tip (where we can see Labrador), it’s still further south than Calgary.

3. Lack of moose

4. Shorts-weather and icebergs co-exist

5. People are large


Five tiny towns with great names in Newfoundland:

1. Dildo

2. South Dildo

3. Heart’s Content

4. Heart’s Desire

5. Heart’s Delight


Five questions that I still have following Newfoundland:

1. How would North America have been different had the Vikings stayed in L’Anse aux Meadows and wherever Vinland was?

2. Where are all the moose?

3. Why are all the little houses in tidy towns white?

4. How come we saw so few drinking establishments?

5. If people in Newfoundland drink so much beer, how come there is no decent beer there?


St. John’s, Cape Spear and Signal Hill:

Tiny towns from the Avalon Peninsula:


320: Getting my bake on

November 20, 2011

iPhone 4 - November 16th

That’s carrot cake cheesecake.

It was a miserable rainy Wednesday. I decided to bake. But what?  I googled two of the Australian’s favourite desserts. Low and behold, there is such a mash up.

I did not put icing on what was already a calorie overload. I added raisins in some attempt to make it healthier.

A photo, every day, all year. We’re into final weeks here with Andrea Woo.


312: Looks like barf but I assure you it is not.

November 14, 2011


Mochikas Peruvian Cafe. Soooo good.

A photo, every day, all year. We’re into final weeks here with Andrea Woo.


296: Cans can have secrets too

October 25, 2011

Best cider can yet. (iPhone 4 - October 23rd)


I fancy myself a bit of a cider connoisseur. It’s my thing. I’ve tried many kinds. I prefer a dry, flavourful cider.

Tempt, shown above, has an amazing can. It also is the closest thing I’ve found to straight-up fizzy apple juice. Very tempting. Very dangerous.



270: I’ll start with la tarte alsacienne

September 28, 2011

My birthday. His birthday. Les Faux Bourgeois. (iPhone 4 - September 27th)


2011: Photos every single day here and at