Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ki-isu Restaurant - Yaletown

Long break from writing, but I am back and hopefully can keep this a regular thing. Just to warn you some of these pictures aren't the greatest but I hope to get better ones on our next visit. 

This is a combined review as we have visited this place twice in the past two weeks. On our first visit, Ki-isu was not our first choice. We had originally planned to dine at Hapa Izakaya in Yaletown because we had a gift card and I had never been. Not knowing how busy it was going to be, we didn't make a reservation, BIG MISTAKE! The place was hoppin' and we had to wait for a table. At this point we were really hungry so we figured we will just go back another day. Now we were hopelessly hungry and had no idea where to eat. So walking back towards our car, we pass Ki-isu. We figured what the hey... it had pretty good reviews on urbanspoon. 

I was a bit hesitant as we were in Yaletown and in my head it I thought it was going to be pricey. We sat down and when I opened the menu, it was more expensive than where I usually dine but I was starting to get desperate for food. I decided on the Dinner Box B selection which included the following: Gomae, Karaage, Choice of Chicken or Beef Teriyaki on rice, Appetizer Sashimi,  Tuna, Salmon and Prawn sushi, a Salmon Roll, and to top it off a Miso Soup.

Appetizer Sashimi and Gomae

Chicken Teriyaki on Rice, Salmon Roll, Salmon, Tuna and Ebi Sushi, Chicken Karaage

For $15.95 (August 2014) this was a good deal. On paper it sounded expensive but I got a lot of stuff. The sashimi was good and not chewy, I especially liked the tuna as it had a nice flavor to it, no fishyness here. The chicken teriyaki was good as well, and the chicken appeared to have had its skin removed which was a plus for PIC. Gomae was alright, would have liked more sauce on it but it was ok. Karaage was pretty good, a bit salty due to the sauce. The salmon roll had a decent amount of salmon in it compared to others I have seen.

Ki-isu style Spider Roll

PIC decided on the Ki-isu style Spider roll which comprised of Soft Shell Crab, Asparagus, Lettuce, Avocado, Mayo with Tobiko wrapped by Soy bean Paper. Again being plain and boring, I was a bit hesitant on trying this because of the Yellow Soy Bean Paper. It did contain Asparagus which I love but thought was weird to be in sushi. Nevertheless she offered me some and was I glad she did, the soft shell crab was quite crisp which I love, and at $9.25 (August 2014) it seemed like a good deal as it was 10 pcs of decent sized slices. Also they were not stingy on the Tobiko. 

Takoyaki


We also decided to share an order of Takoyaki. We thought it was good, it was drizzled with mayo and Tonkatsu sauce. It was well cooked and the octopus was not chewy. It was $4.00 (August 2014) for 5 pcs. We felt it was good enough to get a 2nd serving LOL!

The bill from our first visit.

On our second visit, we decided to order the Spider Roll again, but we wanted to sample some other stuff on their menu. Up first was PIC's Toro Stack that we saw someone order last time.

Toro Stack

The Toro Stack is made up of Black brown rice, toro, green onion, nori, quail egg, garlic, avocado with a drizzle of unagi Sauce. This was quite good, with the mix of black and brown rice providing a good base flavour underneath the creamy avocado and smooth toro. The unagi sauce added a sweetness to the taste of each bite. Price was $11.95 (August 2014)

Dragon Roll

I ordered a Dragon roll as I was craving some unagi. I was a bit let down but this choice because it appeared that only two pieces of this roll had unagi slices on top of them. Two of the other pieces had salmon on top, and two had avocado. It was alright as a roll but at $10.95 (August 2014) I think I could have ordered an unagi roll at $4.75 and had a better experience. This is 3 times the price of a regular California roll and nowhere is this close in value to what you get at Samurai Sushi on Davie for their dragon roll. I was quite disappointed.

Note: On our second visit, we had ordered the Dragon roll and Spider roll with brown rice. There was a charge of $.50 extra on the Dragon roll and $1.00 extra for the Spider roll. We were told this was due to the spider roll being larger than the normal rolls.

All in all it was good but I was disappointed in the Dragon Roll as it seemed they took a basic California roll and added a few things and charged 3 times the price, and it being nowhere close in size to the similarly priced Spider Roll. Also it would have been nice to know that the charge for brown rice was double for the Spider Roll ahead of time.

Score: 7.5/10
Ki-Isu Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kawawa - My parents review of a gathering gone bad

Now I must disclose that I did not eat there tonight and that my parents asked me to write a review about this restaurant since they are not very good with computers yet are so adamant that I write this because of their poor experience. I have eaten a couple of times at Kawawa myself however it is at the bottom of my list when it comes to AYCE sushi, so I myself can attest to how lacking the quality of food is here plus the service is something you would compare to what you would receive if you were being served by your worst enemy. As a family we always go to our regular haunt of Kingsway Sushi anytime we go for AYCE. Sure the food is not of the highest quality however for an AYCE japanese restaurant it is one of the better ones around.

So here is what my parents gave to me to write. They were with a large group for a gathering. My parents were invited by my mom's co-worker. They were seated together as the other tables were already full. They had mentioned that the restaurant was quite busy, but they did comment on how they didn't understand why? More on this later. Now at Kawawa, you have to write your order down on an order form, much like Tomokazu on Broadway. My parents tell me that when they got their order in, they were then moved to join another table from their group to make a table of 8 (joining a table of 6). A server or a manager (Kelvin) comes over to them and says something like you have ordered too much for the amount of people. I have to cut the order because this is too much food for you. Now I know my parents, they cannot order too much food. My family which includes me and my brother who are two bigger guys who can eat, have never been told at Kingsway Sushi that you order too much food. My parents were in SHOCK that this person would come over and say they ordered too much food for how many people they are. My mom in fact does not eat sushi and is the type to order a bowl of rice, and my father does not eat many raw items, which are usually the bigger ticket items during the dinner menu at these places and I would understand if they limit those items. Once the food came, there were many dishes missing, instead of cutting the portion size they cut out certain items completely. Upon asking where the missing dishes were, they were told that they must first finish the food they brought them, only then will they receive the other items. Now at this point I'm pretty pissed as my mom recaps it for me, as a part time food blogger I don't understand why a place that is supposed to be in the business of AYCE how they can do this plus do it during dinner time where they charge more money for things my parents don't even eat. They also complained that the quality of food was quite lacking compared to Kingsway Sushi (The only place my parents can compare to).

My dad said in Filipino "I don't understand why this place was packed, the food wasn't good, everything was lacking quality, even the mango pudding had no taste and was hard like they put flour in it." I explained "maybe it was for fathers day".

I have eaten here before, twice. Not by choice, but other people's decisions. With what my parents have told me tonight about their experience. I don't think I'll ever go back.


Kawawa Japanese Restaurant 味太郎日本料理 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sushi Loku - Mount Pleasant

Well I am behind in my writing an I apologize for that but I have been quite busy with other things going on that I have kinda put the blog on the back burner for a bit. Anywho, I am back at it writing today's review on Sushi Loku. Where Sushi Loku is now used to be a restaurant called Seb's which I wanted to try but I didn't get a chance to before it closed down. Oh well.... the must have closed down for a reason. This area on Broadway in Vancouver close to Fraser has always kinda seemed gloomy to me. It has a mix of a few restaurants along with other businesses and office buildings but it never seems to be bustling with people. I have wanted to try Pizzeria Barbarella but never get around to going because there's nothing really to do in the area afterward.

Anyways, onto what I am here to do which is talk about Sushi Loku. When you first walk in, you realize that this wasn't a sushi restaurant originally. It seems to have kept a the decor from the previously mentioned Seb's. It seems more like a coffee shop/bar feel more than a sushi restaurant. It was kinda dark inside as it didn't have many lights above the tables and PIC had to move closer to the window to have enough light to see the menu. After some time with the menu as it was both our first times at this establishment. We decided on 2 things each.

The first thing that came was PIC's Magma Roll, which had crab meat, avocado, topped with chopped scallops and served with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce.

Magma Roll

This had a really good mix of flavours, it had a kick with the spicy mayo, sweetness of the teriyaki sauce, but most surprising was that it had kind of a charred taste to it, not in a bad way but it's kind of hard for me to describe. It's kind like the taste that it has been bbq'd or smoked or something. I can't really explain but it was really really good and surprising to both of us.

The second dish that arrived was my Super Crispy Roll, it contained 2 pieces of prawn tempura, yam tempura, crunchy yam flakes, and bits of crispy tempura batter. 

Super Crispy Roll

This for someone who loves deep fried stuff was pretty good. Decent amount of sauce on it and had a lot of the crunchy yam flakes and bits of tempura batter on top. I would order this again but I want to try their simpler stuff next time.

Next was the Takoyaki, I really like Takoyaki and try to order it when it is reasonably priced. This was under $5 for 6 pieces so it was automatic for me to order.
Takoyaki

The takoyaki was crispy on the outside but kinda soft on the inside like it was lacking some structure. I kinda like a doughier bite when I bit into my takoyaki but some other may like it like this so it's probably personal preference. Still not bad at $5 but not my most favorite.

Okonomiyaki

Last item of the evening was the Okonomiyaki, decent sized portion arrived at our table and it was pretty good, had lots of contents, not much filler batter. Good amount of shrimp and squid. Can't complain about this one, I would rather have this over the Takoyaki.

All in all good experience, kinda weird ambiance but it may be to your taste. But I will return as the food was good and it's on the way home from work. 

Score: 7.5/10
Sushi Loku on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mi Mexico - Bellingham

Me and PIC went down to Bellingham to do some shopping, well I didn't intend on doing more than grocery shopping but as many of you know that changes quickly when you see the deals across the line. We were hungry as we left around 1pm and didn't have lunch yet and were trying to keep from eating at the mall again. So we looked up urbanspoon and settled on Mi Mexico. The restaurant is very colourful and the decor is quite festive. The menu for this place is HUGE! Lots of things we didn't quite know what they were since it's not your regular Tex-Mex options. We settled on a chicken Quesadilla and a dish called Pollo Con Crema but unfortunately we just missed the lunch specials by 30 minutes. Turns out they end at 3pm BOOOO!! Anywho, we figured what they hey lets just get the same in the regular portion. While the food was being prepared, they gave us warm tortilla chips and salsa. Sorry no picture of the salsa, but it was not too spicy, but it had some heat, especially if you got one of the seeds from a hot pepper on your chip. The food took a little longer than we thought and we sorta finished the chips before the main course came.

Onto the actual dishes, first off we have Pollo Con Crema ($13.99). This was a dish that consisted of Chicken, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Avocado, Onions, Cheese, and Rice. Served with tortillas on the side.

Pollo Con Crema

As you can see in the picture that it was really, really creamy and it was a really big serving. How I ate it was I scooped the contents of the dish into the tortilla and ate it like a soft taco. It was really rich and add the avocado and it pushes you to another level of richness. It took me a bit to realize there was actually rice in the middle, but at that point I pretty much tapped out and put down my cutlery in defeat. It was really good but maybe the next time I have this, it will be the lunch size portion as it was way to big for one person, thank goodness for take home containers.

PIC wanted the Quesadilla ($8.49) with chicken as the filling. It was served with Guacamole, Sour Cream, and Onions. It also comes with tomatoes, but PIC doesn't like raw tomatoes so we omitted that from our order.

Quesadilla with Chicken

It had alot of cheese and a decent amount of chicken. The outer edge had a nice crispy texture to it and the guacamole and sour cream were good but nothing really special. I wish they had put them on the side instead of serving it on top of the dish. We couldn't finish this either so we took it home, the problem is with having the condiments on top of the dish, when we got home it kinda got hard and wasn't really easy to spread anymore.

Mi Mexico will be a be a restaurant that I will return to try other things, they have such a big menu that I will have to go back a few more times to decide on a staple dish, especially if I make it before the 3pm cutoff for their lunch specials.

Score: 8/10
Mi Mexico on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Red Wagon Cafe

Well at my work, we like to eat. So we decided to hit up Red Wagon Cafe after work on a friday, the special of the day was the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich. The word buttermilk in the name struck me as meaning DEEP FRIED!!! So obviously I ordered it. It didn't seem like it was a regular menu item so why not???

Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich

The sandwich had a thick slab of fried chicken with a buttermilk coating which was really crispy and not dry. They used gravy as a sauce which helped keep the sandwich from being dry and had a combination of coleslaw and crispy bacon as toppings. The bacon was thin and very crispy. It was really really GOOD. As you can see in the photo it came with a side of fries which were crispy as well. What you don't see is the side of Spicy Ketchup, I wasn't sure how spicy the ketchup was going to be and I'm not a fan of very saucy spicy things.

Red Wagon is very consistent on the quality of food they dish out and coming on a Friday afterwork meant no line up. If you try to get in on a weekend morning, GOOD LUCK! The place is quite small and you'll be waiting a bit for a table. For $13 it was quite filling and very yummy especially if you like deep fried items. The only things I could nitpick about is the sandwich was quite thick and hard to take a good bite out of and it was quite warm inside and the front door was already open.

Score: 8.5/10
Red Wagon
The Red Wagon on Urbanspoon 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Faubourg Paris - Downtown Vancouver

Me and my PIC (Partner in Crime) were walking back to our car after visiting the mall and the new Victoria Secret store downtown. I must say the store is very grand and I can't believe that used to be the old Virgin/HMV store. Anyway, we walked by a bus shelter and it had a sign for this place that had french macaroons. The sign said across the art gallery so I assumed it was the place inside the Hotel Georgia. Then upon further reading the sign it said open August 2013 and it was on Hornby. We were already at Hornby and Robson and had not had any dessert so we decided to try this place. It was a bright cafe, with a patio, but since it was rainy we opted to sit inside. There was only one other group seated which we thought it was odd because everytime we go to Theirry's there's always a crowd. We browsed what was still available and the selection was not as a big as a place like Thierry's, but they looked really good. We were torn between a Mille Feuilles or a Lemon Tart.

Lemon Tart

As you can see, we settled on the Lemon Tart and we were very glad we did. I really found it refreshing and had a balance between sweet and sour. There was some rock sugar that went around the rim of the Lemon Curd top and underneath was a layer of what they call a Vanilla Milk Foam. The shell was quite buttery and yummy and broke apart when you used a fork. I've had tarts where I had to fight to get the fork through it just to get a bite.


The tart costs $5.60 with tax which may be a little steep for a pastry but we shared and it satisfied our dessert course for the evening. Faubourg also has an afternoon tea menu which doesn't seem too bad at $28.55/person. I think we have found our new dessert place! I just hope it doesn't get too crowded that we can't find a table.
Score: 9.5/10
Faubourg on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chiffon Patisserie - Lunch Special

I was looking for something easy, something quick, something that wouldn't break the bank and most of all, something not FRIED! Why you may ask...? As a personal challenge from time to time, I take a break from eating fried stuff and burgers for a week and try to eat other items. I LOVE FRIED FOOD! That's for sure but its good to go out and eat other things.

On today's menu is a Lemongrass Pork Sandwich from Chiffon. Chiffon is known at work as the go to place for yummy stuff. It also met all my criteria especially the on not breaking the bank. I had a gift certificate that covered most of the cost. As a lunch special, you get the sandwich and your choice with a soup or a salad.

Lunch Special

The sandwich comes with the lemongrass pork, carrots, lettuce, and some yummy sauce. on your choice of White, Brown, or Multigrain bread. I opted for no cilantro as I do not like it. Maybe one day I will share the story but anyways. The sandwich was good, the meat wasn't dry, and the carrots and lettuce added a good crunch. Something was a little wet in the sandwich, maybe too much sauce or something but it kinda dripped out the other side. No problem for me, but some may not like this.

Lemon Grass Pork Sandwich

For a soup, I had the choice between Cream of Mushroom and French Onion. I hear the french onion is really good, but I LOVE CREAM OF MUSHROOM! Chiffon's take on it is great. It is not too thick and not too runny. Just right.... I add crackers to it and no need for seasoning for me.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Chiffon has been a popular spot since they opened among those around work. They have really good sweets too. 


Score: 9/10
Chiffon Patisserie on Urbanspoon