Summer in Greece @ Kitsilano

Hi all! It’s been a while since this blog has seen any action.  I am hoping to brush off some of the dust and cobwebs and start the posts rolling again.

To start, I would like to introduce to everyone my favourite Greek place in Vancouver:  Summer in Greece.

Tucked away on Burrard Street between 7th and 8th Avenue is a small, family owned Greek restaurant run by owner and cook, Spiros. Don’t be deceived by the outside appearance though, their food is amazingly good and cooked to order so everything is fantastically fresh.

Unfortunately, all the photos I have are of my take-out order from today.

20140712_141437Above:  the Calamari entree is to die for.

20140712_141454Above:  Chicken Souvlaki is tender and juicy.


Pros:

  • Their Greek salad is not over-sauced.  I hate it when restaurants drench their salad with so much dressing that I question whether I am eating actual vegetables.
  • Everything is made to order so food is fresh.
  • Amazing calamari and avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken soup).  If you have never tried the soup, you really should…especially from this place.

Cons:

  • Only street parking, and street parking on Burrard is not always easy to find.
  • Because everything is made to order, the wait time might be a little long depending on the size of your order.

Note:

  • They are closed SUNDAYS!
  • If you’re ordering take-out, it might be best to call in your order and then go pick it up when it’s done.

Summer in Greece Souvlaki on Urbanspoon

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Sake Maki @ W. Broadway

Driving down W. Broadway on our way to the video store and debating on what to eat for a late lunch, we noticed that beside the newly-opened Strike restaurant there was a newly-opened Japanese restaurant by the name of Sake Maki. Apparently this is their second location, the first located on Commercial Drive. Being the adventurous people we are, we stopped in to see what this new place has to offer. There are many reviews for the Commercial Drive location of this restaurant, but not as many for the W. Broadway one. The first impression I had of the store was that it was nicely decorated, and after this experience I know this was a place that I could bring friends for a nice and affordable dinner out.

It was a neat little place with a very unique decor for a Japanese place. I say this because most Japanese places that I’ve been to, that have the nice, rustic decor, usually serve tapas (like Guu).

Looking through their menu, they seem to be focused more on individual dishes and rolls, rather than the usual bento boxes and individual meals. They do have a huge variety of rolls though, even some new ones that I have never heard of before (like the Viagra Roll, no joke!)

Left to Right: Sake Maki Roll, Dragon Roll, Kirin Roll

Agadashi Tofu

I thought the prices were really reasonable, with each plate of roll costing $8.95. Plus they had a really nice special going on: when you order two Chef Special Rolls, you get another for free! So our bill wasn’t too expensive, and my tummy was satisfied. The only thing I had a complaint about was the miso soup, which I found a little too sweet for my taste. Other than that, the service was good, the rolls were great for the price, and it’s definitely a place I would come back to for some affordable sushi.

Sake Maki on Urbanspoon

The Sandbar @ Granville Island

For our one year anniversary, I had the honor of choosing the restaurant for our evening out, and I chose to revisit the Sandbar Seafood Restaurant on Granville Island. Having not been there for 3 years, yet having fond memories of the place, I hoped that this place continued to be as good as the first time I was there…and I was not disappointed.

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After being asked if we preferred the dining area or the heated outdoor patio, we chose the latter. I was initially worried about the cold, seeing as it was the first of November and the temperature was starting to get a bit chilly. However, with the amount of heaters out there, plus an outdoor fireplace, PLUS blankets for each table, I felt like it was a good choice of seating. The view was also fantastic.

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We started off the evening with Pan Fried Oysters with chili lime aioli and tobiko.

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My boyfriend ordered the daily special, which was the Pork Chops with Mushroom Risotto. I stole a few pieces of his pork…and as someone who isn’t fond of huge slabs of meat (especially pork), this pork chop was super delicious! It was moist, tender, and pretty much melted in my mouth.

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I ordered from their daily fresh fish menu, and got the Arctic Char in a butter sauce. While it was lighter on the taste buds compared to the pork, I love how the fish has a mild sweetness to it, and combined with the creamy butter sauce, it was a good choice since I wasn’t looking for anything too heavy.

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Lastly, a dessert of Chocolate Mousse cake with vanilla ice-cream. Yum!

There were times where we waited around to flag down our waitress, so I can’t say the service was exceptional, but the waitress was friendly enough and there was no screw ups on our order. The food was great, and so was the view, and the next time I come I definitely want to try their $12 happy hour special! 

The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Strike @ Kitsilano

3217 W Broadway

Born in Taiwan, I’ve always been picky when it comes to Taiwanese cuisine. It’s not enough that a place has a big menu, but it also has to taste and feel like home. That’s why when I heard about the opening of Strike on West Broadway, I knew I had to come try it out and see if this will become my new favourite Taiwanese restaurant.

Their menu compared to many Taiwanese places is small, but it has all the favourites that one can find, such as the deep fried chicken nuggets. I was told that this is a temporary menu, and that they will be adding bubble tea and dessert once the store becomes more busy (they’ve only been open for 2 weeks!)

Five Spice Beef Wrap

Noodle Soup with Minced Pork Sauce and Veggies

Deep Fried Chicken Steak Rice Combo

House Special Beef Noodles (with meat) & thick noodles

The service was friendly, and servers seem to be fluent in both Mandarin and English. The food arrived fairly quickly…there was a little bit of a mix up with our order but the staff was apologetic and there was no fuss. In the end, we had a pleasant dining experience.

One of the menu items that stood out to me was their Beef Noodle (without meat), since most Taiwanese places only give you the option of having meat. For someone like me, who enjoy the broth of beef noodles over everything else, appreciate the option of having my noodles without meat. In addition, we were asked if we wanted thick noodles or thin noodles in our Beef Noodle. The beef wrap (pictured above) was another noteworthy item on the menu. I was told that they make the dough of the green onion pancake themselves, giving it more of a chewy texture instead of flaky. Judging from these items we ordered, I would say this is by far the most authentic tasting Taiwanese restaurant in the Vancouver area. Highly recommend it, and I look forward to going back and tasting some of the other items on the menu!

*Note: There is no back parking for this location, so for those who are interested…if you drive, there are paid street parking on W Broadway.

EDIT- Nov. 17, 2012: went back to try new things!

Soybean Paste Meat Sauce on Noodle

Deep Fried Chicken Nugget (M)

Taiwanese Style Steak w/ Black Pepper Sauce on Sizzling Plate (w/ Rice)

Strike on Urbanspoon

Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes you read it right, NUTELLA STUFFED chocolate chip cookies! After reading the blog by Monique I decided that I will make this fantastic sounding cookie and see how it turns out…

Above recipe taken from Monique’s blog: http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/09/nutella-stuffed-brown-butter-sea-salt-chocolate-chip-cookies-my-favorite-cookie-ever/

It tasted as good as its name sounds, especially right out of the oven. I followed the recipe exactly this time, but I think the next time I would make some changes…simply because I found the cookies a bit too sweet to eat without pairing it with coffee or milk. I would reduce the amount of butter and sugar slightly, probably go with 3/4 cup of butter instead of 1 cup, and 1 cup of dark brown sugar instead of 1 1/4 cup.

Also, make sure you start the cookie-making process four hours before the intended eating time. I made the mistake of making the dough, putting it in the fridge to cool, going out for a dinner date and then choosing to leave the dough refrigerated overnight. The following morning I found my dough to be super hard and crumbly (could not make a solid ball in my hands), and had to stick it in the oven to warm it up before filling it with Nutella…thus explaining why a lot of my chocolate chips were melted. Taste-wise though…fantastic. Highly recommend this recipe to those who aren’t afraid to get their hands a little messy…and trust me, it’s worth the mess!

Dai Jang Kum @ Richmond

After an intense night of board games, I woke up the following day with a huge craving for Korean food. Living on the west end of Vancouver, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of options for good Korean cuisine, so I took my newly acquired “N” license and drove down to Richmond to eat at Dai Jang Kum, located in a strip mall at the corner of Bridgeport Rd. and St. Edwards Drive. It’s not my first time here, but I feel like this place is review worthy.

Because I’m not a pro driver yet, the fact that the place is easy to find, located off a major road, and has a giant parking lot, was a big plus for me. The restaurant interior is big, with multiple barbecue booths in the vicinity along with private rooms that you can reserve for big groups. The two times I have been here was for lunch, and I love their lunch menu because it is affordable and the portions are quite large. Today however, we missed the lunch period (we arrived at around 3pm), so we ordered their beef short ribs (suwon galbi), which came with rice, salad, soy bean soup (daen jang chigae), and side dishes.

Beef short ribs and side dishes.

soy bean soup (daen jang chigae)

I don’t consider this place to be my favourite Korean bbq place, but their beef and cabbage soup (hae jang guk) is to die for. I would drive out to Richmond any day just to get some of this in my tummy, especially now that winter is coming.

Beef and cabbage soup (hae jang guk)

Since many Korean places are located in the Lougheed area, or in downtown, this place in Richmond is definitely worth trying out. The portions are big (at least for me), and the price is very reasonable. The service has always been friendly and fast in the times I went.

Water St. Cafe @ Gastown

The most recent restaurant I visited was Water St. Cafe on the corner of Water Street and Cambie Street in the beautiful district of Gastown. Despite living in Vancouver for so long, Gastown is the one place that I go to the least, probably because it’s all the way at Waterfront. However, every time that I’ve walked through the cobbled streets, between the beautiful historic buildings, I pass by the Water St. Cafe and thought, “I really want to try that place out.” I got my chance this past Thursday 🙂

After being greeted warmly by the owner of the establishment, we were seated by the corner windows so that we could enjoy the beautiful night scenery of Gastown while we dined.

We started off with the Roasted Golden Beet and Spinach Salad, with goat cheese, cherry tomato, and dill vinaigrette. The sweetness of the beets mixed with the creamy goat cheese and the vinaigrette dressing was a perfect combination of flavours.

The entree I ordered was the West Coast Crab Cakes. Filled with dungeness and blue crab, Pacific shrimp, with roasted corn salsa, garlic aioli, this dish was surprisingly filling. I’ve always thought that crab cakes worked better as an appetizer because of their deep fried nature, but this entree was relatively light and worked well with the rice and veggies. Justin ordered the Fresh Fish of the Day, but unfortunately we couldn’t remember what type of fish it was except that it was very good (silly me).

In summary, I enjoyed the restaurant very much and would definitely recommend it to my friends and family. For a “fancy restaurant” I thought the price was reasonable (~$25 for entree), and the food came fast and fresh.

Mwee!

First post! I have to apologize in advance for the potentially unexciting posts I will be making. Blogging is new to me, and I can’t say I’m much of a writer, so I will try to make things short and sweet so that you can look at pictures, feel hungry and maybe try out some of these places/recipes without the hassle of reading through so many words. Thanks everyone, and enjoy! 🙂