Monday, September 27, 2010

Woo Me With a Beavertail and I'm Yours

Feeding off of my Lonsdale energy with the previous post, the Quay boasts some great foods like the homey Beavertails stand right smack in the middle of their food court. Run by an elderly Chinese couple (that my sister LC says hi to when she goes there, haha), they make the best deep fried dough in the business. I'm sure you've seen em' all. Squirrel tails, whale tails, mini doughnuts might even be in the same category, but my heart will always belong to the original cinnamon sugar Beavertail! Ask for it to be cut in half and there you have yourself a great afternoon snack. Entertainment Book coupon friendly too :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The King of All (Persian) Kabobs

It feels like I went on a wild goose chase to find the best Persian kabobs out there (minus the home made kind from my girl MA). After trying three different restaurants (there can't be TOO many more in the city), my vote goes for Cazba in Lonsdale, North Vancouver. The price was unbeatable, portions were ginormous and the tenderness and flavor of the meats was undeniably the best. For those of you who haven't tried these kabobs, I really encourage you to go out and get some. Kabobs have a way with me. For some strange reason, I can eat them all day, any day, and the problem is, I can't stop eating even when I'm full. I hate to admit it, but it's my crack. A definite PHAN FAVE!

The above two photos are from Cazba. I can't say I've tried too many items on these Persian menus but I don't think you can ever go wrong with my two choices of the Kabob Koobideh (two skewers of ground beef) or the Jujeh Kabob (one skewer of boneless chicken breast). Each are marinated to the tee with their herbs and spices and then bbq-ed to perfection on the grill and de-skewered on your plate. Always accompanied by a grilled tomato and a heaping amount of rice, this meal will have you wanting more. Something in the rice really gets me going as well, maybe it's the oil or butter that's soaked into each grain, I don't know, but it's scrumptious!!! Plus Cazba was the cheapest of the three ranging from $6.95-10.95 per dish! BEAT THAT!

And of course, you must order one or both of the yogurts to enjoy at first as an appetizer but then paired with your meats and rice with every spoonful. Above you will find the Mast-o Moosir (yogurt with shallots) and the Mas-o Khair (yogurt with cucumber). Both are divine and an absolute must when dining Persian. Now we've moved on to restaurant #2, Darcin. They used to be on Davie but I've recently heard that they've re-located to Pacific. I have yet to track this place down and give it a second whirl.

The one other dish I had a bite of was their heavily spiced and slow cooked lamb chops. I've looked for an alike dish like this at Daria and Cazba, no luck so I'll need to visit this place soon.

And again, the chicken and beef kabob skewers. Yummmmmm! Out of the 3 places I tried, Darcin was the most expensive ranging from about $11-$14 a dish. One thing to add, don't expect amazing service at these places, you go there strictly for the authentic food and for sticking out like a sore thumb amongst the posh Persian crowd!

And finally, I've learned to combine my cravings of both kabobs and order the combination of both! This time, I dined with LC at Daria on Denman. It was a take out food atmosphere and I expcted the food to come quick and come cheap but it was the opposite of that. So my fellow food lovers out there, take a lesson from my book and choose Cazba!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nuba - My Second Crack at Lebanese Dining

Nuba is a rising star. Now with three locations, this day I dined with my two lunch companions QN and DS at the Main street 'Cafe Nuba' and enjoyed me some authentic baba ghanooj and lamb kibbeh. With an array of healthy and cheap offerings, I was able to fill up with a variety of foods, spices and tastes and not pay a pretty penny for it. I would definitely recommend this place to all those healthy souls out there but if you're looking to get down and dirty with some hearty, greasy grub, this place is not for you.

In conclusion, I'm going to vouch for some better Lebanese home cooked food by my friend RHM (if you can recall reading a previous post on her delicious meal). Also, call me crazy but I much prefer the pre-packaged baba ghanouj and hummus you can get at your local supermarket. For example, Summer Fresh's pre-made baba ghanouj paired with Stacey's pita chips, are a killer combo!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Next Best Thing to Vietnamese Spring Rolls? Vietnamese Salad Rolls!!!

Feast your eyes on one of food's tastiest creations - my mom's Vietnamese salad rolls. Go on, get jealous because if I were you, without my mom's authentic home cooking, I would be sad too.

Being the good little helper I am, I helped to roll these together for our lunch meal. The process is quite tricky because that thin rice paper you see that holds it all together needs to be dipped into hot water, quickly snatched up with your bare fingers and then placed on that neat pink round tool that prevents it from sticking onto any surface. My fingers go through some burning torture but it's all worth it in the end. I'm just a wuss, really.

What you see here are the golden ingredients. Some rice vermicelli, lettuce mixed with fresh basil and parsley, and a meat mixture of shrimp, Vietnamese ham, shredded pork and thin slices of pig skin (I'm pretty sure that's what it is). YUM! Dipped in my dad's famous 'vinegar fish sauce', this makes for a nice, light and satisfying lunch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

La Boheme Buckwheat Crepes are BUCKKKK! (If ya know what I mean...)

Last weekend I got an invitation from my friend JS to hit up the Trout Lake Farmer's Market to shop for fresh produce and to taste what the hype was all about with these 'buckwheat crepes' from the La Boheme trailer.

When I first heard they were buckwheat and saw that the crepes were of a browny-tan color, I was immediately turned off. But I decided to give it a whirl anyway ... and thankfully I did! THEY WERE DELICIOUS! After standing in line for a good 15 minutes and perusing the menu over and over again, I settled for the above sweet crepe filled with at least 50 plump, sweet and juicy blueberries, ricotta cheese and lemon-honey. It was a delectable combination and the woman in front of me exclaimed 'I come back for that crepe every weekend!'. With a comment like that, I HAD to try it!

JS opted for the L'Artiche savoury crepe filled with bechamel sauce, artichoke hearts, tomato, parsley, sun dried black olives and fresh herbs. I had a bite of hers and it was amazing as well. The line up was well worth it and for the cheap price paid for these giant crepes, everyone should go before the end of October to taste these babies!

For your convenience and viewing pleasure, I also took photos of the menus! Check out their unique combinations and mouthwatering offerings. My 3 reasons for going back are 1) to try more crepes! 2) to see all the cute kiddies running around again and 3) try the Bratwurst wiener stand!

And so, the story ends with JS and I completing our date with some $1 fresh squeezed lemonade from a cute little stand nearby.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rootin' for Rangoli's

My fellow foodie companions CS, SC and I love to try out new restaurants and foods every time we get together. It's a must. I've been to the world renowned Vij's but had never been to their petite better-known-for-lunch spot Rangoli's. Although I still love Vij's 10x more, Rangoli's delivered with just as much flavor, selection, amazing service and good portions. My scrumptious lamb in cumin and light cream curry above with rice and naan (my two favorite carbs).

SC's tamarind and yogurt marinated chicken was bursting with flavor at every bite, also paired with a sprouts salad.

I remember my first experience at Vij's. A line up of people in the cold with Vij's staff walking around with trays of fresh chai and pakoras to warm their insides while they dreamt of the meal they were about to have. We luckily came at 5pm and got to sit down right away but were still served the freebies. This is my favorite warm chai of all time (and people who know me, know I despise warm drinks).

Last but not least, CS had the spicy pulled pork on sauteed greens which was nicely done with sour cream chutney on the side. The tastes were magnificent this lunch!

And of course, CS is the queen of knowing exactly which dishes to order from her insider knowledge of rave reviews. So, she insisted that we try their rice pudding with almonds and cardamom and boy did this dish ace my taste test of meeting her standards of the best rice pudding around. mMmm, I can't wait to come back!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brown Rice Sushi is A-Okay With Me!

Here we go with my healthy friends again this time introducing me to brown rice sushi from Mandala Iki Asian Bistro in Kitsilano. Having the option for brown rice sushi is becoming quite popular and is making its way around to all of the local spots. In my mind, once the sushi is drenched in soya sauce, you can't taste the difference anyway so why not go healthy and give it a whirl? This night we shared a combination of the yammy roll, tofu fibre roll (LOL, it was actually quite good), spicy tuna roll, inari, edamame and the papaya, mango and avocado salad. All were delicious and reasonably priced as well. Their menu is quite extensive so if you do give this place a try, let me know what else to order next time! :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

POSH Sukiyaki Hot Pot, A Definite Contender for Chubby Lamb

Well, there is one good thing about this disgustingly cold and miserable weather. HOT POT! There's nothing better than dining over a piping hot bowl of salty soup, throwing in all sorts of raw meats and veggies in a two hour time span wearing your best turkey pants. POSH sukiyaki is definitely a contender for one of the best hot pot places (if you can recall my earlier post on Chubby Lamb).

While the number of offerings on the menu is literally cut down in half, this Japanese hot pot spot is an entirely different experience. Starting with their signature sukiyaki sauce (you can add more flavor or water to the mixture depending on your taste), you can mix and match your fave noodles, veggies and meat. I'm always a sucker for mushrooms, taro, pumpkin and greens.

Yes readers, your eyes are not deceiving you. That IS a raw egg dip beside the steaming pot. Feel free to douse your hot food in the raw egg to coat for texture. :)

Yum, I love a variety of udon, instant and 'cognac' noodles. They are filling but I just can't get enough of them carbs!

And, feast your eyes on these thin slices of beef that just burst with flavor when cooked. The below picture is not a joke, this was our first order of beef when dining with just five girls. I think we placed an order for 15 trays. My friend AF is obsessed with beef and probably scarfed half of the trays to herself! She's my idol!

Oh and don't forget you can order an all-you-can-drink-pop with pumps of flavored fruit syrups like pineapple, mango, strawberry, etc. for 3.99! (Chubby Lamb has a better offer for $1 though)

Monday, September 13, 2010

All You Can Eat Coffee Jello?

One of the only ways I actually enjoy coffee is in this jello format. Topped off with a splash of condensed milk and in my tummy it goes! Shabusen is not the best all-you-can-eat Japanese food restaurant out there but it is rare in that they offer this delicious coffee jello as part of their dessert. It's so good that my cousin had 10 of them once.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Secret Ingredient to the Best Shepard's Pie? FISH SAUCE!

MmmMmmm, one of my favorite meals from LC and so easy to cook too! Don't ask me why I chose the hottest day in July to cook this meal but sweating in the 30+ degree weather with the oven on is a suicide mission. BUT, it was all worth it for the end result!! Fluffy mashed potatoes oozing with cheese over an amazing bed of ground beef and veggies. Yum! This hearty melt-in-your-mouth recipe will have all your friends begging you for more. Plus, pair it with a fresh summer salad topped with papaya and crispy tortilla chips and you'll be everyone's best friend. :)


Lean ground beef (about 1 pound or one package)
1 chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 & 1/2 cup veggie medley (corn, carrots, peas, mushrooms) - your choice!
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp ketchup
salt and pepper to your liking
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
3 potatoes - chopped, boiled and mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp butter

Cooking Instructions:

Ground beef mixture
Mix ground beef with steak seasoning, fish sauce, salt and pepper
- Saute onions until translucent
- Add garlic to beef and brown
- Add veggies and cook together
- In another pot, mix cornstarch with beef broth, slowly add to pan and stir often to thicken to gravy and add ketchup
- Spread beef mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan

- Mix together the mashed potatoes, sour cream, and cheddar cheese (can boil and mash the potatoes while cooking the beef mixture)
- Spread evenly over ground beef mixture in pan and top off with another 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pajo's Fish and Chips on a Sunny Steveston Day

Pajo's fish and chips on a sunny day in Steveston is the perfect way to spend a day off. This day I took a trip down to Richmond with two of my favorite gal pals SC and MA on the hunt to find Pajo's to see what the hype is all about. After our cute little stroll, we found the floating fortress of fried goodness.

Their menu is quite limited as I always like to have a sampler of fried oysters, calamari, shrimp and all that jazz but it only consisted of the usual cod, halibut and salmon. I opted for the 'cod bites' hoping they would be the size of McNuggets but they were more like cod strips, which was fine by me. They were delicious in flavor and perfectly battered. AND plentiful which is always a huge bonus for me. My other pals ordered the regular 2 pieces and we were stuffed. You can only take so much of the deep fried stuff. Note to self - share one order between two people next time.

Any chance I can get, I will poutine my fries. Gravy and cheese curds is like a cherry on top of a sundae. Give this place a whirl if you're in the neighborhood but definitely check out other fish and chip places to compare the variety on the menus first!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Mama's Shrimp Creations

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, my mom decided to fry up a storm. I have termed the dish above 'Shrimp Cookie'. I actually have no idea what they are called and if any of you know, please comment! Basically a crust of shoestring sweet potatoes are battered and fried with one whole shrimp on top. The taste is really hearty and divine and I don't see too many of these around town. The below 'shrimp chips' were packaged from Thailand and are essentially giant shrimp crackers that you can get at Chinese restaurants but with way more flavor and density. Mmmm, gotta love my mom!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

You Can Never Go Wrong with a DQ Ice Cream Cake

The best way to celebrate any occasion is with a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. A birthday, graduation, (heck - even an anniversary!) is appropriate for the appearance of this delicious frozen dessert ranging from a log to a sheet cake. The best is when you can digitally screen a picture on to the cake (I will dig up a hilarious picture we did for a cousins birthday get together)! With funny greeting salutations every time, the cake acts as a funny conversation piece and ends with a party in your mouth. The vanilla and chocolate ice cream mixed with heavy fudge and cookie crumbs is an irresistible combination. (I personally like to scrape off any icing, whipped cream and decorative edible gel - ew.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In DIRE Need of Another Mama Bev's Jamaican Beef Patty!!!

Can someone please tell me where I can get a Jamaican patty that looks and tastes just as good as the one from Mama Bev's? I guess I haven't searched THAT hard yet but I will be forever indebted to you if you reveal the secret Jamaican food hot spots to me! Mama Bev's is a popular food stand that can be found at summer festivals such as the Jazz Festival, Caribbean Festival, even the Folk Festival! However, I can't find the storefront! It must be in North Vancouver somewhere ... Anyhoo, the 'patties' from The Reef are a 1/10 compared to one above which I rate 20/10. Seriously. The moist, tender, spice induced ground beef filling embraced in a warm, buttery crust makes me salivate just thinking about it. I am in DIRE need of another one of these. HELP! A Phan fave, FOSHO!