Saturday, 27 August 2016

Danbo on 4th: Rich broth, great ramen!

Azota Photography and her husband came up from the States to visit, so what other place to bring them than a ramen place in Vancouver!

Ramen Danbo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Ramen Danbo (visit their website here)
Location: 1833 W. 4th Avenue, Vancvouver
Cuisine: Ramen, Japanese
Price range: $10-$15

Date of visit: August 27, 2016
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 4/5
Food variety: 2/5
Food quality: 4.5/5
Buck worthy? 5/5

I ordered the Blazing Hot Rekka Ramen ($10.95) at level 5 spicy (I believe they have 5, 10, 15, 20). You get to customize your noodle thickness and firmness, as well as broth thickness, amount of lard, and spiciness. Like many traditional ramen joints, they offer Kaedama ($1.00 for half order, $2.00 for full order), which is an extra order of noodles. I got the thin noodles firm, and standard broth with a little lard. I like the rich flavor of the broth and how I can customize the amount of lard. The noodles were the perfect firmness I liked them at. The chashu pork had some bite to it but was still tender and so delicious! We even ordered an extra serving on the side ($2.25). I found the spiciness was at a good level for me, but did drown out some of the umame flavor of the broth itself.

I got the Classic Tonkotsu Ramen ($9.45) for Adorables, which comes in their signature tonkotsu pork broth. This was amazing! I could fully taste the richness of the pork broth, even though I only ordered standard thickness. It comes with a lot of scallions and two pieces of chashu pork. Thoroughly enjoyable!

AzotaPhotography's husband ordered an extra half order of noodles halfway through the ramen, and it came quickly-- and disappeared just as quickly! It was definitely a wonderful meal, although the wait is usually quite long since it's a small location. A little stuffy inside, especially because we're eating hot noodles!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Cactus Club: A Good Staple to Canada Place

Located conveniently near where we were shooting for Anime Revolution Summer and offering seating with reasonably-priced food for downtown, we found ourselves seated shortly in the outdoor patio area, ready to satisfy our growling tummies.

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Cactus Club Cafe (visit their website here)
Location: 1085 Canada Place, Vancouver
Cuisine: Gastropub, Canadian
Price range: $25+ per person

Date of visit: August 7, 2016
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 3/5
Food variety: 2/5
Food quality: 3.5/5
Buck worthy? 3.5/5

Since we were seated outside and it was a pretty chilly day, we grabbed a couple blankets draped over the chairs to keep warm. Unfortunately we were never supplied with one more blanket after I had asked for it, so I just froze :c Nevertheless, food was on the way, so I survived!

One of the staples I always try to order here is their Ceviche ($15.25). Composed of Louis Lake Steelhead, prawns, red onions, Thai basil, mint, cilantro, nuoc cham and limes on the side. I love the tart sauce intermingling with the salmon and prawns on a crispy tortilla shell. It's very appetizing and refreshing.

For my main I ordered a Short Rib Pappardelle ($22.50) because I had pasta cravings since forever for pappardelle (don't know why but I do). This totally hit the spot. Made with slow-braised short rib with porchini mushroom cream sauce topped with grana padano-- delish! The rib was moist and flavorful, it melted in my mouth. Pasta was cooked al dente and soaked up the sauce well. Began being delicious but does get a bit heavy after a couple more bites.

Thought I'd need to order more food for Adorables since I thought I could finish all that pasta by myself . . . so I got something "smaller" which was their Baja Fish Tacos ($14.50). Ocean wise lingcod was beer battered and topped with shredded cabbage, chipotle aioli, fire roasted tomato salsa, pickled red onions and guacamole wrapped in a soft tortilla shell. The cod was fresh and moist inside with a crispy exterior but the batter was too oily and dense. Guacamole didn't wow me either, rather bland and tasteless.

Overall it satisfied my starving tummy, and waitresses were friendly in general. I really wish I got that blanket though. Otherwise they were quite accommodating for us cosplayers and photographers with all our gear!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Legend Seafood: Third to the chain, looking great!

Hey everyone! Sorry I've been away for so long, finally got a job and life became so busy :( But here's a quick (kinda long) post! It's a double whammy, since I came here for dim sum AND dinner!

Legend Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Legend Seafood Restaurant (visit their website here)
Location: 6102- 2850 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam
Cuisine: Chinese, dim sum, Shanghai, Hunan
Price range: $10-20 (lunch); $15-25 (dinner)

Date of visit: June 2016
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 4/5
Food variety: 5/5
Food quality: 4.5/5
Buck worthy? 4/5

Legend Seafood is the third to the Legend restaurants in the Tri-Cities, owned by the same owner. I've been eyeing it since they started renovations for this new store, then saw some negative reviews but finally got the chance to go see for myself! Plus, they have a gold theme, and who doesn't appreciate gold?

First let's hit up the dim sum! We ordered Shanghai Wontons ($5.50) which were the same size as the dinner portions (dinner price is $7.95)! SCORE! Love the wrapping on these, nice and chewy while the meat inside is not full of fillers (feels like real pork in there!).

A great deal is their Pan Fried Rice Noodles with Beef ($6.95). The beef isn't overly processed/seasoned, and the noodles were soft and chewy. A bit on the oily side but nothing out of the norm for this dish. I like the flavors and you get quite a bit of noodle for that price (compared to other current dim sum places).

Of course we get Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce ($4.95) because my grandma loves it! These were fall-off-the-bone tender and the flavors of the sauce were soaked up by the chicken feet.

Steamed Pork Livers Dumplings ($4.95) isn't a common dish found on dim sum menus, so of course I'd order it! These came with three thick slices of liver and the meat in the "shiu mai" were chopped small cubes of pork and mushroom. I didn't see any chunks of lard in my piece, which is surprising, since most places use it as filler.

My aunt really enjoys Pan Fried Pork Buns ($5.50), but I found them kinda mushy. They were fluffy on top and seasoned well, but not as juicy as I'd like. Most of the juices had been soaked into the bun and felt a bit fattier than the other dishes.

We definitely got our fair share of iron this meal when we ordered Pork Liver Rice Rolls ($4.95) as well! Thick cubes of pork liver wrapped inside rice rolls with pea tip sprouts! Chinese parents approved of the portion size of these rice rolls. And it's rare for restaurants to use pea tip sprouts since they're a pricier veggie, so I was pleasantly surprised by this!

That ends the dim sum portion, but with inflation, this place is serving large, good quality dishes for the price. The atmosphere and decor of the restaurant also makes their pricing fair. I'm not sure what previous negative reviews were of, but currently, they're in my good books!

Onto dinner! The first time we came, we got Soy Braised Duck ($8.95). The meat was tender and flavors infused into the meat. The portion was tiny for the price though! We also did not get a lot of meaty pieces :c On the side were preserved carrots and radish, spicy and sour but helped appetite!

I couldn't resist getting Slow Braised Pork Hock ($18.95) and thought it would be easy to eat for my grandma. When it arrived, we were all taken aback, since it was such a large dish! A full hock braised beautifully with meat falling off the bone, the flavors soaked deep into the tender meat then bathed in a delicious rich sauce.

I actually ordered the Shanghai Wok Fried Prawns ($16.95) by accident since I messed up the menu number myself haha! This was too salty to eat on its own, flavors complimented the large prawns well. It looked like a tiny dish, but considering it was all prawns with no veggies to make it look larger, it wasn't bad!

Their service has been steadily improving and it shows in the number of customers that are at the restaurant (it used to be so empty!), so good for them!
Then it was father's day/Dad's birthday/my birthday dinner, so we went all out (or thought we did). Thanks to Adorables for letting me use his camera and also taking some shots himself! Leap Bull Frog ($16.95) was so good last time we also got it the second time! It's usually spicy, but we got it not spicy, which was very fragrant. There were more herbs the first time, though I did enjoy it without. The frog legs are tender, smooth, and meaty. It comes in a rich broth and veggies underneath-- so delicious!

Here's a picture of the first time with my hand next to it to show how big the bowl was!

For appies we got Chicken with Ginger Soy Sauce ($8.95). This was a cold dish and the chicken was well cooked. I enjoyed the texture and flavors of the chicken and the portion was decent too.

Another appie was their Shanghai Double Cooked Fish Fillet ($9.95). The dish was very traditionally made and although I felt it was a bit hard, the smokey flavor and texture were true to its roots.

Can't go without my dad's favorite: (fish!) Steamed Cod ($19.95) was suggested to us by the owner. She mentioned that it had just arrived today. There were four pieces of fish, and it wasn't soaked in soy sauce when it arrived. It indeed was super fresh and my dad loved this dish! I noted that this wasn't smothered in oil like other places.

Seems like we never get enough of liver... so...Fried Pork Liver Slices ($15.95) was ordered. This is regularly a spicy dish, but again, we got them to make it not spicy. A good amount of liver cooked just right in this dish-- it was so delicious! It was adorned with red and green bell peppers. Would love to try their mild/spicy version too!

Played around with the buns and liver slices!

My aunt suggested another traditional dish, Tea Smoked Duck ($16.95) + Chinese Buns ($3.00). Gosh this was so amazing I can't even really describe the flavor! There was a smokey and fragrant taste to the duck, which had crispy skin and tender meat. The flavors lasted for so long in my mouth-- it was just awesome with the soft moist buns!

I saw a lot of people order their Rice with Preserved Pork and Vegetable ($12.95). Presentation-wise, it's very appealing. Basically it was Shanghai bak choi diced with bacon pieces. The rice is fragrant and cooked perfectly. Everyone approved, but again, you can also get it during lunch for a cheaper price xD

Must have noodles for birthdays, so naturally the Shanghai Fried Noodles with Pork ($11.95) was chosen. You have an option of choosing pork or chicken with this dish. This was legit. Authentic Shanghai noodles pan fried to perfection with the right amount of seasoning. Great!

So they sometimes miss on some dishes, or they're just not to our tastes and liking, but overall I see great potential for this restaurant!! I feel one of the main reasons why we enjoy them is because our family prefers less salty foods than the average (you can tell them to put in less salt and oil in your dishes before you order!) Super excited to try all their dishes ^-^