gracecheung604 | write on time: August 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seven Steps to Change...

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This works for Toxic Emotions, Bad Habits, Unhealthy Cravings or Destructive Relationships.
  1. Take responsibility for your present response.
  2. Witness what you are feeling.
  3. Label your feeling.
  4. Express what you feel.
  5. Share what you feel.
  6. Release the toxic feeling through ritual.
  7. Celebrate the release and move on.

My mom's favourite spot...white

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ne weekend morning, my family decided to meet up at our local White Spot for brunch. There's a bit of confusion at first...I got a table for 8 but they did too, at opposing ends of the restaurant...good thing my mom called me to let me know she'd arrived. 
My usual go-to at White Spot is their Eggs Benedict, or if I'm feeling rather piggish, I go for the nat's Hearty. I've never ordered the Waffle, and now I know why. If you look closely at the menu..it's topped with real HIPPEd cream...is that a Freudian slip or what? I mean, a moment on the lips, forever on the hips, right?
We decided to share an entree...just their Beef Dip. A sandwich made with slices of roast beef, served with a side of hot au jus for dipping. The bread is amazing...perfectly grilled, it just makes a sandwich go from good to great. I don't know why every restaurant doesn't grilled their bread!? With a side Caesar, slightly dressed and topped with grated parmesan...i feel so "healthy"! 
My sister ordered the Blueberry Pie special, which is an awesome deal with a basic burger, salad and a blueberry pie. The burger was disappointing...plain, boring and undressed. No extras whatsoever. I know it's part of a special, but shouldn't they have made it LOOK special. After having a Nimby burger and a Five Guys burger recently...I was very disappointed. I'm glad that it was my sister's dish and not mine! Wooh!
With a few kids at the table, we had a plethora of Pirate Paks at the table. There was a serving of yummy macaroni and cheese (no veggies hidden here!) and a side of fries and the best drink to wash it all down with...apple juice! 
My mom went for the waffle...she askedfor her "hipped" cream on the side...with a smattering of blueberries and a serving of mapel syrup. I think it's a little sad looking...lonely, despondent somehow. Almost "eggo-like" and not in a good way, and certainly not for $7.49. 
As part of my sister's special, she got the blueberry pie...not a slice of pie, but a miniature pie! Gorgeous...definitely better than the burger earlier. The whole pie is filled with bluberries...whipped cream on the side and on top. No cheap fillers here...no custard, just all blueberries. 
White Spot is one of those places where you go for food, not great food, not exceptional food, but "it will fuel you up" food. That's why we keep going back. 
White Spot (Oakridge Mall) on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lunch at Town Hall - light!

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Ever have one of those days where you want to to go out for lunch for the foodie company but not the calories? Well, on one such occasion, I decided to go for it and try to eat light. I think we managed...you decide. 
We started off with the Chicken Wings...grilled, not fried, and served whole instead of truncated into wingettes (is that even a word?) and drummettes with the tips tossed aside. The result was amazing...you eat one of these babies and are satiated. I ate two and was done! Because the wings are grilled, you get the BBQ flavour right away, that hint of smokey goodness. And since they are not battered (and then fried), you get the skin as it should be. The dipping sauce is a sweet & sour concoction that neither adds or detracts from the dish. It reminds me of the sauce that you sometimes get at food courts when you get spring rolls, with a hint of spiciness.
The only other thing we ordered wer the pulled pork sliders. WOW - phenomenal! The bun is the kind you get from Chinese bakeries, the once they serve the baked barbecue pork buns with. THe pork is smothered in a light barbecue sauce and mixed with some onions. In fact, the best way to describe this slider is that it is a Western version of a dim-sum-style baked barbecue pork bun.
Our success at reducing calories while maintaining good taste was accomplished. Neither of us could finish the wings...
I do have one suggestion for Town Hall though. Leftovers come in an old-school Chinese takeout box...all white and very plain. Why don't they invest in some stickers and slap them on the box for some sort of brand recognition. I know getting the boxes printed might be costly, but c'mon...spend a few bucks and get a roll of stickers!

Town Hall on Urbanspoon

The best Burger!

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On our way to Seattle last month with my sister, we saw a sign for Five Guys...I'd heard about it earlier in the week via twitter, and it was all good commentary. I knew we had to detour! Shop at the outlets for a bit, and head back here for lunch. Any excuse to not eat at the Food Court in the outlet mall...
The restaurant is decked out in a very old-school diner style...red and white checkered walls, just like their cups! My sister ordered three burgers, and the girl at the counter yelled back to the kitchen...six patties. I was a little confused...hmmm...we'll see what that's about later...
They also have gigantic boxes of roasted peanuts...FREE for the taking. Just scoop, shell and swallow. Reminds me of Carlo's and Bud's back in Vancouver, back in the day. 
Though we are not huge peanut fans, we are huge FREE fans..we grabbed a small portion to share amongst all of us. It's a good time killer while you wait for your "made to order" burger to come...
After you place your order, they give you a number and yell it out when your food is ready. Mine was called "all the way" because I wanted everything on it... Everything is free and it includes: mayo, relish, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomtatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A-1 sauce, BBQ sauce and hot sauce...whew! I decided to add extra japalenos to it as well as bacon...mmm...bacon. B's burger was a little bit less loaded...just pickles, mustard, grilled onions and mushrooms, jalapenos and bacon...topped with A-1 and hot sauce.
Oh, and you can't really have a burger solo...so we ordered fries as well...cajun fries to be exact.
I thought I'd take a picture of the burger as I unveiled it...and at first glance...I didn't think it was going to be amazing...though I did appreciate the sesame bun and cheesiness...
Well, upon a closer look, I was very wrong...the burger was piled so high...with the two patties and enough toppings to choke a horse! Good thing I was hungry, and up for the challenge...
B's attempt to stuff his little burger into his mouth...
Tim's effort to put his burger into his mouth...his burger was the mini - which means "only" one patty!
Yeah, I had to tie my hair back for this one...juicy...ooey, and piled so darn high! I polished it off...ate some fries and waddled out of there. Good thing I had gotten my clothes shopping out of the way BEFORE we went there.
If you haven't tried Five Guys before...I highly recommend it...go with your favourite guy and he'll be SO appreciative. Remember ladies...the way to a man's heart is through his stomach (remember the Japadog incident?)...who cares how it gets there!


Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 20, 2010

A big lunch at Shanghai Village with everyone!

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Although my sister lives in HK, she doesn't get enough Shanghainese food as you would expect, since her hubby isn't really a fan. Knowing this, I arranged for a Shanghainese dim sum lunch on her first weekend here in Vancouver.
The above is a dish that I've had here once before...Marbled Preserved Egg, a mixture of a century egg and a duck egg. It's gelatinous, salty, and doesn't taste egg at all. It doesn't taste like century egg, and certainly has a more solid texture than traditional century egg. And because they only use the yolk from the duck egg, it's not as salty as you would expect, because the saltiness from duck eggs actually come from the egg white. Even if you don't think you like either of the two eggs, you should try this dish, because truly, the sum is greater that its parts.
Instead of a photo of a container of XLB with one missing (which I've been tempted to do both at Lin's and Ning Tu), I decided to take a picture of ONLY one XLB. I have to admit that it's way better than Lin's and probably not as good as Ning Tu's. But there is one thing that makes it just a bit better than Ning Tu's...it's FREE when your food order is over $20 (excluding the price of the XLBs, of course). And this deal is valid at both lunch AND dinner!
The next plate to come were Rice Cakes...not the kind you get from Quakers...oh, no, SO much better. It's a delicious stirfry of perfectly ergonomically correct noodles (perfect for chopsticks), cabbage and meat. I like to eat it one at a time, the same way I eat penne, rotini, ravioli, and in extreme cases...even spaghetti.
Because we had a little boy join us for lunch, one who hates all things green, we ordered the Noodles with Preserved Veggies and Minced Meat in soup, but with all the veggies on the side. If you've ordered this dish before, the first thing you'll notice is the abundance of "on the side" goodness. Perhaps they gave us more because the usual amount of veggies and meat they would have given us normally would look so dismal...but whatever the reason, it was awesome! I think I'm going to order all my noodle soups this way from now on!
My mom loves sticky rice, and this place had a dumpling filled with sticky rice. The beauty of this dumpling? It wasn't wrapped in regular dumpling skin...it was presented in an open envelope of thin layer of bread-like skin. And then steamed to perfection. It's filling, so best share with a loved one so that you can eat the rest of the dishes still to come!
A staple of Shanghainese dimsum is the sticky rice. It's a sushi-like roll, with sticky rice on the outside, and deep fried dough (chinese donut) with a bit of preserved veggies and pork floss on the inside. It doesn't sound like much, but it's SO much more!
My sister was craving dumplings...the kind you would get at a Japanese place...perfectly panfried. It was filled with meats and then wrapped with a thin wrapper. When you stuff it up right, and fry it up, the first bite you take is reminscent of XLBs....when it's done right, it is juicy and meaty. That's what this was.
The last dish we got were their gigantic chive dumpling...instead of 6 little dumplings filled with chives, we received one gigantic chive-filled dumpling...sliced into quarters. It is one of my mom's favourite dishes, and now, I know why. It's chock-full of chives, and slightly wet...fragrant and hot...it's almost healthy even though you know it's been fried.
This place is one f my favourite places for Shanghainese dimsum if you're on the west side. Since I'm on the east side more, I usually go to Ning Tu. But when I do venture away from my domain, I'd suggest this for sure.

Shanghai Village on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

reading...

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Reading Eat, Pray, Love and find myself Praying for someone who Loves to Eat as much as I do...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What to do pre-Stanley?

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A few weeks ago, we were in the Fairview area getting ready watch Glengarry Glen Ross at the Stanley. Needing to grab something to eat beforehand, but not so heavy that we fall asleep during the play, we were stumped. We thought of Joey's , Cactus and Earls, but none of those seemed pre-theatre dining. Another option was Bin, but I alwasy come out of Bin wanting to head home and continue chilling...good wine and good conversation does that to me. So in a moment of inspired awesomeness...Salade de Fruits was suggested.
We decided to order something light, although their nightly Table d'hôte was tempting. However, if neither of us were going to eat the last course of a 3-course meal, then really...what'st the point? So we started with their spring salad (Rouleau du Printemps) ...lightly dressed, as requested. A pleasant spring mix greens with some carrots thrown in for crunch, along with a few slices of tomatoes and mozzarella. No complaints here.
The next dish that arrived was a little less healthy...escargots (Escargot à l'aïl) baked and smothered in garlic butter and oil and cheese. It's true...the less healthy a food is for you, the better it tastes going down. Oh, and did I mention that they give you the freshest baguette to soak all that cheese up with?? Some places look down on you when you ask for extra gratis bread...this place monitors your basket and brings extra without having to be prompted!
One more thing we ordered were the mussels (Moules et frites)...lots of yummy good mussels and even more of the delicious broth that it was steamed in. And yes, the bread was great for soaking that up too. I'm a sticker for mussels matching the shells, and here, I really think they bring you the container they cook it in...because although we had empty shells as we were eating...all these shell-less mussels were waiting for us on the bottom!  
Each table is adorned with one of these plaques, just in case the French menu, the French speaking waiters and the yummy French food didn't drive the point home. Note...cash only.
Salade de Fruits Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 15, 2010

AYCE at Shabusen

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 have always liked AYCE places...sushi, K BBQ...with the exception of Posh. I guess I just never understood its concept of boiling meat in flavourless water...
I was delighted when some friends were heading to the Shabusen down by my work. I was only invited for my cooking abilities...what do you think? Did I lay the meat down right? 
The key is to spread each piece out as thinly as you can...and don't touch it for a while. Let it cook for a bit so that it stops sticking to the grill, I think. The two people I was cooking for didn't complain during the meal and didn't get sick afterwards...so I guess it was a job well done. 
They also have AYCE sushi too...which is where I was focuing my energy on. It's not the best sushi you can get, but for an AYCE place...it's better than what you'd expect!

Shabusen Yakiniku House (Burrard) on Urbanspoon

Stellas - not just for beer

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What to do on a sunny Sunday? A few weeks ago, on an unexpected afternoon off, we headed out in search of a patio...
We ended up at Stellas on Cambie, and had a beverage or two. Needing a few nibbles, we perused the menu and were delighted to find that they had oysters on the menu. Not that they were the buck a shucks that you find at Coast between 3-5, but at $8 for a half dozen, we couldn't go wrong.
They were super fresh, small and creamy. Just goes to show that a little exploring and going out of your usual routine does have its benefits. Can't wait to discover another little spot on our next excursion.
Stella’s on Cambie on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Samurai...Sakura

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On a sunny July day, we decided to have a picnic for dinner at Queen Elizabeth Park. Not in the mood to cook or even make sammies, we decided to get take-out. After seeing the babysitter's dinner from Samurai last month, I was eager for the treat! 
As you can see from above, we ordered TONS of food. We had the Scallop Roll, the Negihama roll, and the assorted sashimi. We also snuck in a ikura and a tobiko and a tamago...an egg box, as I guess, right? It was something for everyone, the Ikura for me, the toBiko for B and the Tamago for T.  
It's pretty apparent that there's something here that doesn't belong...of all the sushi joints I've been to...whether it's an AYCE or not, I've never seen them serve McNuggets (aka Buk Buk) and fries with a side of apple juice...
And another happy addition? The pink cup that holds grape juice...fermented grape juice, that is. 
Samurai Sushi House on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Fondue at MoRoCo

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After our huge meal at One, we decided to go for a stroll on the Yorkville area. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and the walk would do well to help with digestion!  Of course, all that is moot when your walk takes you into another restaurant. And not just any resturant, but a DESSERT venue. OMG - such decadence.  
Some of us decided to go the safe route and go for an espresso...which comes with a truffle, and it should! Way overpriced for a bad cup of espresso, and the chocolate didn't do much salvage it. 
I had a blueberry ice tea...and that was awful too...the only thing I thought was...do they have ANYTHING decent in this place?  
We decided to order the fondue. It arrived and looked fantastic. There were pineapple chunks, strawberries, bananas (yuck), homemade marshmallows and madeleines. The chocolate was nice and rich...good temperature and stayed heated throughout our stay. The fruits were fruity (and that is all I can say about them), fresh-ish, and not stellar in presentation. The homemade marshmallows were good, but the madeleins were uber disappointing...soggy, crumbly, and day-old. Yuck. I didn't know you could ruin a fondue, but they found a way. 
MoRoCo on Urbanspoon

Shaved Ice from Ululani's

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It's been pretty hot here in Vancouver...hot enough for one of these.
The guy that made us this asked us where we're from, and when we said "Vancouver", he nailed us both as Canucks fans...alas, we SHOULD be, but one of us is is a diehard Flames fan (misguided). He offered us his condolences on our short season. 
Given how much he knew about the NHL...there was no way this guy was from Hawaii. And we were right, he's from Detroit. Hawaii is a nice place to transplant yourself, don't you think!? 
This is the gigantic ball of ice we were served! It was a perfect globe of frozen goodness.
To give you a better sense of what size and scale, we grabbed their tip jar to show you a little bit better...and it's what I want right about now.
They then top this frozen dome with syrups...all types of syrups, flavours that will blow your mind (Hoku, Tamarind, Tiger's Blood, etc). And the best thing...they have Sugar-Free syrups! 
We took it to go and sat facing the beach...this is us...if we were shaved ices! 
We started in on these globes...do you drink it or sip it? Doesn't matter...you just get it in your belly! 
We ended up with a crater, then we devoured it too! The best way to cool off on a hot Maui day.  
Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice on Urbanspoon

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