gracecheung604 | write on time: February 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Zipang Sushi on Main

Back in October, I went to WE Day with Sherman and we decided to finish off the day with a bit of sushi. It's hard for two foodbloggers to go to a place neither of us has been, so thankfully, he was willing to do a "revisit" to a place that I hadn't visited before. This is what led us to Zipang Sushi. All photos are courtesy of Sherman. "Thanks!" Assorted Sashimi Given that this was midday (and they were about to close after lunch), and he had already had lunch, we wanted to order light (and quickly). We started with their Assorted Sashimi. The salmon was amazing, and I really enjoyed the tako. The slices were cleanly cut and care was taken with the presentation.  East Meets West and SSS We wanted to try their rolls too, so we gave two of them a try. On either side is their Triple S roll, made up of Salmon, Scallop and Shrimp. I enjoyed the rice to filling ratio on this and could taste the sweetness of the scallop and shrimp quite clearly. The other was the East Meets West, filled with unagi, avocado and topped with prosciutto. As with most fusion cuisine where they pair Western flavours or ingredients with Asian flavours, the result could be a hit or a miss. The prosciutto seemed a bit dry and out of place with the roll. However, this would be an excellent choice for those who are squeamish when it comes to raw fish. 
Salmon Kama
I love Salmon Kama and when I saw that they had it, we had to order it, and boy, I'm sure glad I did. The skin had a good crispy char to it, and the fleshy collar was juicy and flaky. They served it with some grated daikon. Add some soy sauce to it and make a paste to dip the salmon into. The sweetness of the fish and the saltiness of the soy is a great umami sensation.Assorted Tempura Although I wouldn't normally order Assorted Tempura, Sherman wanted to to give us another hot entrée to try. The prawns were really sweet and I loved the light coating. I normally have to peel apart some of the coating, but it was unnecessary here. The veggies were a bit heavy, more because of the thick portions they were cut into, rather than a heavy batter. Overall, this was a good place for a nice light lunch and I'd definitely come back if I was in the area again.

Take Note:

  • Closed on Mondays, and closes between 3-5pm.
  • Lots of options for non-raw fish lovers
  • Give the Okonomi a try, mini-pizzas. or the Takoyaki!

Zipang Sushi on Urbanspoon

Cravings at Cravings

There's a big of a hidden gem in the Marpole area that my parents discovered but I've been slow to try. If you live in the area, you probably know Cravings, but it's quite tucked away and barely any signs directing you towards the restaurant. Two servers and the chef actually purchased the restaurant from the original owner in September 2012. 
IMG_4893For a healthy starter, we opted for the Caesar Salad. This was a fairly classical rendition of the item, with romaine tossed in a homemade dressing and croutons. I could have used more of the Grana Pandano Parmesan and more bacon never hurt anyone. But if this was an ample portion and tasty. I added more pepper to some punch but otherwise, this was fairly good.  
IMG_4901 Another Salad option was their Roasted Squash Salad which actually had two large pieces of roasted squash. The spinach was topped with some candied pecans and Feta. The dressing was really light with a bit of honey vinaigrette and some balsamic vinegar. 
IMG_4896 For our appetizer, we tried their Chicken Wings with a salt and pepper crust and a bit of Hot Sauce on the side. These were not breaded which I appreciated. They were quite meaty and had a crisp exterior. The hot sauce wasn't overly spicy but had a good heat into it. We opted out of the celery and ranch but you could add it for just an  extra $1. 
IMG_4899For a bit of a comfort food feel, we decided to get the Macaroni & Cheese. The addition of bacon and jalapeño gave the dish some novelty. It could have been cheesier, but I say that about everything. A bit of panko topped the dish prior to baking, giving it a good crunch. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this dish and I really enjoyed the garlicky bread that accompanied the dish. 
IMG_4903 We had a child with us and the go-to is  the Grilled Cheese from the Kids Menu. I liked the use of the multigrain bread, making an otherwise nutritionally weak food just a bit better. The fries were really good though. I didn't actually try the sandwich, but considering it's a fairly simple dish, I would expect that it was average. 
IMG_4905 For the adult entrees, we started with a Fig & Chicken Linguine. The fig was barely noticeable, but the chicken was nice and juicy, though there could have been a bit more. The arugula was slightly wilted, after being tossed in with the hot linguine. The white wine butter sauce was really light, barely noticeable, but the goat cheese and cherry tomatoes really stood out as a result. 
IMG_4907 Our third chicken dish of the night, a Chicken & Portobello Wrap. It was essentially the same as the pasta dish, but with the addition of the portobello mushrooms. The arugula was replaced with spinach, but the same goat cheese and balsamic dressing was the same. It was a light entree, which was what I wanted but it seemed a bit like cafeteria food to me. There was nothing there that elevated it. 
IMG_4910 As I mentioned, we had a child with us and the default dessert is always Ice Cream, Chocolate ice cream to be exact. I thought this was a bit expensive, $5.50? And if you wanted a soy ice cream, it was $6.50! 
IMG_4911 Normally, we don't order dessert for the "grownups" but we did this time, two of them in fact. The first was their Vegan Brownie, with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce. This was a much better deal at $6 than that simply scoop of ice cream above.  
IMG_4914 And for me, I splurged on the Lemon Meringue Pie. It was a good version of the classic, with a lemon custard (rather on the sweet side though) and a thick layer of soft meringue. I prefer my custard on the tart side, but the description on the menu did say that it was a sweet lemon curd. 

Take Note: 

  • Similar ingredients used throughout the menu
  • Service in the lounge (versus dining room) can be a bit of a miss
  • 3-course menu available for $26 as well as a full Gluten Free menu

Cravings Restaurant + Lounge on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lunch at Hawksworth

I decided to head to Hawksworth for lunch with my boss last month. We usually go to Kirin but I wanted a change of pace. I am not a huge scallop fan, but when I saw this on the menu, I couldn't resist.2014-01-10 12.45.14 The Pan Seared Scallop caught my eye, not because of the scallops, but because of the accompaniments. It arrives on a bed of rice noodles, in a Vietnamese broth with some crispy pork. So, it's like Pho? Yes, this was super reminiscent of pho. Complete with a bit of sprouts and jalapenos. The crispy pork is really interesting, I haven't had anything like this before. When dipped into the broth, it softens and has a nice chew to it. There's plenty of scallops (about 8 in total) and they were seared to a perfect doneness. 2014-01-10 12.45.53 You are also presented with some chilies and limes to fully evoke the sense of Pho. I used a bit of the lime but all of the chilies. This was really fun and elegant version of pho. Loved it!2014-01-10 12.45.04 My boss went for another option of a high-end version of a "low brow" food He got the Hot Dog. It was a bison sausage in a poppy seed pretzel bun, topped with greens and fried onions. On the side was some tempura cauliflower. He throughly enjoyed it, although eating it was a bit messy. Better to knife and fork this baby.
Take Note:
Prices are higher than normal, but you are dining at the Georgia.
Bar menu's Beef Burger is huge and you could probably share it with a friend.
Brunch is served 10:30-2 on Saturdays and Sundays
Hawksworth Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Pairing Asian Flavours with Wine

A few weeks ago, just ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year, we descended upon Kaya Malay Bistro to learn how to pair Asian flavours with Wine. The winery we were sampling is Haywire Winery. 

2014-01-08 18.32.16-1

We are trying 5 wines, including the Haywire Gamay Noir Rose, followed by the Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, a Pinot Gris and their bubbly, the Bub.  
satays - Kaya & Haywire
Lovely Satays to start at the welcoming reception. This was also paired with the Bub, a refreshing bubbly that goes well with this chicken satay and its lemongrass flavours.  
Samosas - Kaya & Haywire 
Another starter was the Vegetarian Samosas, with a mild curry taste. We sipped more of the Bub and it seemed to heighten the cumin flavours.  
soft shelled crab - Kaya & Haywire 
For the Rose, we tried it first with the Soft Shell Crab. These were a bit greasy but were nice and meaty.
 lettuce wrap - Kaya & Haywire 
The second item that was paired with the Rose was the Lettuce Wrap with Duck. This was really good and was loaded with duck. There was also some spicy plum sauce to take away a bit of the gaminess.  
hot and sour soup - Kaya & Haywire 
The next wine was the Gewurztraminer, slightly sweet meant to pair with two spicy soups. Our first bowl was the Hot and Sour Soup, but unfortunately, the dish ended up more on the sweet side. When paired with the wine, it was just too much. 
seafood tom yum - Kaya & Haywire 
Our next soup was a Tom Yum (a Thai spicy soup) turned out a lot better. It was loaded with squid, prawns, mussels and some white fish as well. It had a good heat and the Gewurztraminer made a lot more sense. 
2014-01-08 20.18.07-1
For the Pinot Noir, we were served a Taiwanese Stir-fried Eggplant with some green beans. These were nicely spiced with a soft texture from the eggplant and crunchy beans.   grilled sablefish - Kaya & Haywire The second pairing with the Pinot Noir was a Korean-style Grilled Sablefish, along with some baby bok choy. This fish had a nice crispy skin but the fish seemed lost in a sauce that seemed quite heavy handed with the palm sugar. It was tasty but any fish could have been substituted for the sablefish. I would have expected a cleaner dish when using a delicate fish like sablefish.  kaya wok fried egg-noodles with shiitake & siuchoy - Kaya & Haywire We had a Pinot Gris with our carbs of the night. First up, Wok-fried Egg-Noodles with Shiitake and Siuchoy. The noodles had a good al dente bite to it, but overall, the flavours were a bit bland.   scallop & shrimp fried rice - kaya malay & haywire b Our other carb of the night was the Vietnamese Shrimp & Scallop Fried Rice. This was loaded with seafood, such as scallop & shrimp, but again...the flavours were very muted. We still had some hot sauce on the side, and that helped to perk up the rice.  berry & rice pudding/deep-fried banana & vanilla ice cream - Kaya Malay/Haywire For dessert, we had a Black Rice Pudding with Blueberries as well as a Deep Fried Banana with Vanilla Ice Cream. The banana was surprisingly good and the black rice pudding had a nice texture. We returned to the Rose for this parining, as well as some of the Bub! 
wines - Kaya & Haywire  
For 2014's Lunar New Year, a limited release (688 bottles) of the 2012 Haywire Pinot Noir was given a special label, showcasing the year of the Horse. Find these at BC Wine Shop.

Kaya Malay Bistro on Urbanspoon


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