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 ^-^

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Four Mile House: Delightful Wings Wednesday!

Wandered onto the island for a mini-vacation with my parents just for this! (Well one of the main reasons) It wasn't very packed, but we seated ourselves and were provided with menus after a little wait.
Four Mile House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Four Mile House Bar and Grill (visit their website here)
Location: 199 Island Highway, View Royal
Cuisine: Pub, American, Bar
Price range: $15-25

Date of visit: March 30, 2016
Atmosphere: 3/5
Staff/service: 4/5
Food variety: 3/5
Food quality: 4/5
Buck worthy? 5/5

So Wings Wednesdays meant-- YES half-priced wings! Super stoked, we ordered five pounds of them. But first, here's Elephant's Virgin Caesar ($2.95). Pretty good price for a drink! He says he always enjoys his caesars here every time!

Onto the main event: WINGS ($12.95/pound, half price on Wednesdays). All of them were cooked well, juicy inside and crispy outside.We ordered the BBQ wings, which I felt packed a strong smokey flavor. A little on the salty side, but sauce was just the right amount.

I chose the Lemon Pepper, which were dry wings. I didn't taste much of the lemon, but with the lemon wedges we got with another dish spritzed on them-- mm! There was some sweetness to the peppery sprinkles and although they were dry wings, the insides were still very juicy.

The Blue Moon was quite special, I'd never tasted anything quite like it. It's blue cheese with buffalo hot sauce, felt it was too salty and a bit spicy for me. However I liked the pairing of flavors as they literally burst in my mouth.

Fourth pound was Teriyaki wings, these were quite salty. Not very memorable to me as I felt they were a bit too saucy.

Last pound! Honey garlic! So much honey, not a lot of garlic. Although I thought it would be too saucy, it wasn't overly sweet and I quite liked these wings.

On top of that we ordered Cod Fish and Chips with an extra piece of fish ($16.65). The cod was flakey and moist, crispy outside. Didn't touch the fries much, but they were your average pub fries. Salad on the side was light and tangy, helped cut the fat feeling of all the wings we were having!

Had to try a pasta, so we got an Ocean Liner Linguini ($16.65). This had mussels, clams, wild salmon, cod, and shrimp in a white wine cream sauce. The seafood was very plentiful and fresh, the pasta was al dente. Sauce was a bit on the sweet side.

Overall our meal was very enjoyable, although it did take quite some time for our wings and food to finally arrive (probably cuz we ordered 5 pounds). Our server was cheerful and friendly. One thing I wish they could improve upon would be drink refills, our water was empty for about half the meal, but our server was not around for us to ask or offer us refills. I realize now that there's also other specials on Wednesdays (and every day of the week) but WINGS.

**Sorry for the poor photos, just got a new camera and adjusting to it xD**