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YVRChow's Profile

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New York style pizza

I'm too late on this one. But I have to add in Pizza Garden off of Granville Street for a NY Style option. But it has to be one of their fresh pies coming from the oven. They have ones sitting in the display case which are nowhere near as good. But their pies are one of the closest in taste to a typical NY slice for me. That said, I really like SOB's slices and pies. But they are slightly less NY style for me (but very close and I would still categorize them as a personal take on NY style).

Aug 07, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Where's the coffee, vancouver ?

The other spot to consider downtown is Musette Caffe. The one off of Burrard Street (in the alley east of Burrard) does a better espresso pull than the one in Chinatown. They use 49th parallel and weigh it digitally. They normally do not serve sparkling water though. I've found that almost all places that use 49th parallel tend to weigh electronically. I think 49th parallel pushes them to do so. That said, 49th parallel are not my favourite espresso blends. I think their blends are not really designed for espresso. But they can be decent.

If you can go a little out of downtown, then Elysian on 5th (just across the Burrard Bridge) does one of the better espressos in Vancouver for my tastes. I personally have found the best luck for espresso at Elysian on Ontario St. though (outside of downtown though). They will serve you a choice of sparkling or still with it as well.

One of the ones that has high variability (sometimes excellent, and sometimes really really REALLY bad) is the Buzz Cafe. I haven't figured out why it varies so much there. But I've given up on them after having been initially pretty happy with them on the first few visits. It has been sporadic after that. Perhaps if you chat them up you can get what you want there too though.

Of the larger chains I find JJ Bean does the best espresso normally. But it is a chain - so it can vary.

A new one (also outside of downtown though) is Loafe. They were serving Pallet's beans when I visited, and I was really surprised at how well they pulled the shot. I do find Pallet's blends to be one dimensional sometimes though when I've been to Pallet's shop off of Hastings, but in this case it had some nice complexity and was properly pulled. I've only been once to Loafe though, so I don't know if it was a lucky shot!

Generally at most of the cafes around town I find that I have to request a "ristretto stop" (I enjoy the darker stops) to get the type of espresso I like. The majority of places will accommodate that request.

Aug 07, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver food trucks

That sounds like a rough go at both, Grayelf! Was it the same guys cooking at Local Omnivore and they just had an off day?

On K&J was the Austrian chef there and cooking? Or was it the younger Asian guy? I find the Austrian guy does a much better job patting down the schnitzel after frying.

Jul 31, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

South Hill/Fraser St Changes

Good update, Sam.

I was saddened recently to see that Moon Cafe is also closed. It is becoming a Vietnamese place. I really enjoyed their tofu and vegetable hotpot. It was my favourite one in the city. Their baked pork chop rice will also be missed. They were one of the few that actually had a proper amount of wok hei in their cooking.

Jul 30, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Turkish Gourmet?

I visited Saray's last December and had both the beef pide ($3.99) and lahmacun ($2.50). Unfortunately everything was premade and sitting in a display fridge. After ordering they heated it up in a microwave.

As you would expect the textures were just not right.

Turkish Gourmet?

For what it is worth, I think the pide at AG in Burnaby are better than Sofra's. But Sofra's do have two nice things they do that AG should also offer as options: Egg topping and pomegranate sauce.

I agree they are under-rated and when not wanting to travel all the way out to AG they can scratch the pide itch.

Vancouver food trucks

The two that I find myself regularly patronizing are

The Local Omnivore: http://streetfoodapp.com/vancouver/th... Probably my favourite burger in Vancouver.

K&J: http://streetfoodapp.com/vancouver/k-j Great schnitzel sandwiches freshly prepared after ordering.

They are both consistently good.

Jul 30, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Kampong - New Malaysian Food Cart

I've not seen murtabak anyplace else in Vancouver unfortunately. I'm not sure why. It would be really popular if made correctly.

This is going to sound like a strange recommendation, but something with a nearby flavour profile is the lamb keema prata at Amay's House on Victoria. Definitely not a murtabak, but the flavour profile is similar.

Jul 24, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Kampong - New Malaysian Food Cart

Perhaps a north shore excursion is in order? :)

OH NO !!! Cartems coming to Main & 6th

I agree, Grayelf!

I love that deal at Lucky's too! When they switched the combo from $4.50 to $5.00 but included cold brew on the combo and allowed the choice of any donut instead of a single choice daily it was the best 50 cent upgrade to a combo I've seen in a while!

OH NO !!! Cartems coming to Main & 6th

I really don't get it. I first tried Cartems' donuts when they got started making them at the at Woodland Smokehouse commissary before the fire there. I didn't enjoy them then, and never bothered tracking them down when they opened near Gastown.

But they have continued to be popular and spread, so I had to try this new Main street location.

Service staff was really disorganized behind the counter - all sorts of confusion over a set of offerings that are fairly straightforward. It shouldn't be that hard to sell donuts and coffee to people.

I ordered the raspberry compote special donut of the day and an espresso. The donut ($3.00) looked good on the rack, but was a major disappointment. It was stale. I agree with LotusRapper that the donuts have likely been in the store for a while. As if it had been made a day before. Oh, and the raspberry wasn't raspberry. Unless raspberries have become strawberries in the alternative Cartems' universe. I mentioned it to the staff and they said, "Oh, they must have sent over strawberry instead." WTF? "They?" "Sent over?" No response to the staleness issue? WTF?!?!?!? No offer to make things better? Fail.

The espresso was no better. They had absolutely no shot pulling skill at all. I'm guessing they are grinding too fine and stopping the shot too late. It was extremely bitter, with almost no crema, and had black patches. Terrible shot.

So combining the premium pricing with the wrong donut flavour, it being stale, the espresso being poorly pulled, the confusion behind the counter, the terrible customer service follow-up, this all adds up to an overhyped poor value, and I don't see myself giving them another try anytime soon.

Jul 23, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Reasonabley Priced Food in Whistler?

They clearly take their pies quite seriously - it shows both in the quality of the product and their work ethic in the open kitchen.

Granted, the majority of Aussies coming in were ordering a single traditional pie in a bag to go and eat on the run, but this small cafe does have a few tables and a window bar to dine in.

I had the Chunky Pepper Steak pie ($6.95) and opted to have it "peaked" ($3.25 surcharge). So it was the most expensive meat pie I've ever had compared to the ones I've had in Australia. But it was a great version. The pie itself had a superbly flaky crust and was perfectly baked off. The beef filling was large generous chunks of very tender beef seasoned with a generous amount of pepper. The pepper may have been a bit heavy handed, but when combined with the "peak" of mushy peas, mashed potatoes, and gravy the pepper balanced out very nicely. The peas were coarsely mashed so they still had a nice texture, and the potato was creamy. The gravy pulled everything together without being overly salty. What a wonderful plate!

Quite the filling meal, instead of simply a snack. But it was a well balanced (there were peas and potatoes, no?) meal that I would definitely come back for next time I'm in Whistler.

Jul 23, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Kampong - New Malaysian Food Cart

I love Malaysian food. There are not as many Malaysian places around Vancouver as you might expect though, so I'm always up for trying a new one when I find it!

This food stand was set up in West Vancouver at the Farmer's Market, and based upon the smells coming out of the little cart I had to give it a try.

I ordered the beef murtabak ($8.95 - granted a bit high for murtabak from a food stand), which after ordering they heated on a grill. It was served with two sides for dipping - curry, and pickled cucumbers. The murtabak itself had a spot on flavour profile with the seasoning. The filling was superb - tender ground beef, onions, and egg properly seasoned. I'd love for them to do a lamb version though! The dough was slightly less crispy than I like, but I know that is a stylistic preference as some people really like it on the softer side. The pickled cucumbers were bright and fresh tasting - providing a nice palate cleanser in between bites. I would have perhaps liked them to be just a tad bit more acidic - but I'm nitpicking. The curry flavour was spot on. It brought back memories of some of the better Malaysian curries I've had.

I took the food to the "dining room" (aka the park near the Farmer's market) so that lunch had a nice view of the Lion's Gate Bridge and Stanley Park across the water with downtown Vancouver off in the distance.

I'll be keeping my eye on the Street Food App to see where else Kampong pops up so I can try more of their food soon!

Blue Smoke BBQ - Confusing

I'm always on the hunt for good BBQ. There are truly slim pickings around the Vancouver area for good BBQ. So I was excited to spot this food truck on the way out of Home Depot. Their website with current locations is here: http://www.bluesmokebbq.ca/

My first confusion was that I didn't smell any smoke - but I wrote it off to them probably prepping everything offsite and then simply serving it here.

My second confusion was the names of the sandwiches. Instead of classic BBQ descriptions they have cutesy names like the Loudmouth (their name for brisket), the Squealer (their name for pulled pork), the Clucker (their name for pulled chicken), Squealer Olè (their name for a pulled pork wrap), and Juicy Lucy (their name for "meatloaf with cheese nuggets" - still not sure what that is!). In any case, I ordered the brisket ($9).

My third confusion was watching the two people prepare the sandwich. They seemed to be a bit confused as to how to build a sandwich. It was a big production to make a single sandwich.

It was served on a brioche bun with a mound of coleslaw on the bun. The bun held up well to all of that moisture though. My next confusion was the flavour profile which was a bit unusual - lots of horseradish flavour. I noticed they had put a mound of white horseradish onto the bun. I was further confused when there was no taste of any type of traditional BBQ sauce. Everything was just horseradish flavoured. My confusion continued when there was also no taste of smoke at all when I pulled out some of the meat to try it on its own. For a place called blue smoke, you'd expect some of that good ol' smoke flavour common with good low and slow BBQ.

Confusion continued with no signs of smoke rings. I know some places use different methods, but call me a traditionalist. And the confusion continued even more as the meat was not exactly pulled, and not exactly sliced. There were some pulled shreds, and several big chunks that were not cut against the grain. Their slicing parallel to the grain made everything really tough and stringy.

My confusion continued as I sensed the temperature of the meat. I'm not sure it was held at proper temperature as it was bordering between lukewarm and room temp. Very disappointing overall.

And my final source of confusion was a few hours later when I realized I should have been more cautious when sensing the temperature of the meat. Let's just say I paid for it later.

I suppose my only lack of confusion is if I will return. Clearly not.

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Good/"best" pakoras in town ?

Agree with the Madras Dosa House recommendation. The vegetable pakoras are made with lots of chunks of yam - which is a version I don't see often. I really liked them. They came beautifully plated in a circle surrounding a small bowl of a tamarind and chili based dipping sauce. There were a few nice touches like fresh coriander diced to top the pakoras as well as some fennel seeds in the dipping sauce. The yams added a nice level of sweetness, making this a very nice version!

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Urbanspoon Becomes Zomato - implications for BC/Vanc and PNW users

I've switched to just using RSS feeds of the blogs I trust. Load them all using Feedly and I'm good to go. :)

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

In search of lunchtime wok hei

Great tips, LR. Thank you! The restaurants don't have to be in that general area though - I'm willing to travel for lunch! Richmond, Burnaby, etc. all ok too.

I've got to check out Golden House. Never thought to pop in, and it sounds pretty good. I've been to Golden Harvest on Main and had some decent meals there too.

Uncle Mings sounds very promising too - although the menu looks very Canadian. They do good wok hei?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

The rumours of my expertise are greatly exaggerated!

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

In search of lunchtime wok hei

I've been craving really good lunchtime Cantonese stir-fry lately served up as either beef chow fun or green beans. My primary criteria is good ingredients and excellent wok hei.

Ho Yuen Kee is doing a decent job on the green beans - although their preparation is a bit too salty, and could use a little more wok hei for my taste. I do appreciate their complimentary soup with the green beans - it makes for quite a satisfying and reasonable lunch.

Moon cafe does a decent job on the beef chow fun, but it isn't 100% there yet. Appreciate the milk tea served complimentary with it.

Where have you found the best lunchtime wok skills as signaled by excellent wok hei?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Big Lou's Shuts its doors - nooooooooooo!

I've never been to Big Lou's - had always meant to check it out, but hadn't yet. But for what it is worth, they are doing a pop-up on June 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19th at 337 East Hastings. The first two are lunchtime and the last three are late night dinner from what I understand.

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

Are bad puns a sign of too much doughnut consumption?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

LOL. What would make you ask that?

Jun 06, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

I'm definitely looking forward to trying more of their menu and seeing what else they add to the menu as they get fully going.....
For now it seems quite promising with really friendly people!

Jun 05, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

New Bruneian Restaurant - Angie's

This new Bruneian restaurant just recently opened at 7355 Edmonds Street in Burnaby, and has a very limited menu so far. Service was extremely friendly and welcoming - almost like going over to a friend's place - if they had several hole in the wall dining tables in their living room.

I spotted Seria Kolomee ($7.95) on the menu, so I had to order it! Right after ordering the waitress brought a nice clean placemat and chopsticks. The kolomee took only a few minutes to prepare even though the place was fairly crowded.

The pork was very tender and nicely prepared - both the ground pork and the char siu. The ground pork was cooked perfectly and well seasoned while being very balanced. The char siu was very homestyle and extremely tender. The fish cakes were thinly sliced, but with nice texture. The greens were cooked without being overly done so they still had a slight bit of crunch. The noodles were toothsome. They were a slightly flatter variety, and cooked absolutely perfectly. The broth was underneath the noodles, and when mixed in nicely coated everything. The vinegar jalapenos served on the side really added to the overall flavour of the dish and created the perfect balance. This was a very nice rendition of kolomee!

For a hole in the wall, the restaurant was pretty clean too. The overall feel was very welcoming and homey, and I'll be curious to see how the menu expands as they move through their early opening period. It definitely shows promise!

OH NO !!! Cartems coming to Main & 6th

The only school I knew of was one that helps train people to help people with issues and challenges. Perhaps there should be a CA group started there? :)

May 28, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Good hk style cafes in the city

It is old school, but sometimes old school hits the spot! Take your niece! :)

May 28, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

OH NO !!! Cartems coming to Main & 6th

LotusRapper, I bet you could find a good counselor to help you work through your Cartems "issues and challenges." :)

May 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Good hk style cafes in the city

With the numerous options for Chinese food all around the Metro Vancouver area, including areas like Richmond with all of the recent immigration, I have to confess that I frequently overlook the old Chinatown area of Vancouver when thinking of places to eat.

Goldstone (139 Keefer Street) is a classic old-school HK Cafe, and I'm disappointed that I hadn't stopped in before.

Granted it feels like going through a bit of a time warp - everything from the faded menus under the glass top of the table to the waitstaff uniforms. But somehow the time warp matches really well with the classic comfort food on offer.

I ordered my classic HK Cafe order of baked pork chop on rice ($8.25), and took the option to add borscht ($2) and a cold milk tea ($1 add-on for the ice - hot is included). Yes, they do the classic HK Cafe thing of charging for ice on the included coffee or tea. I'll never fully understand that other than "classic tradition."

The cold milk tea was first to arrive, and it was a nice strong classic flavour. It wasn't sweet at all (the way I like it), but they had sugar available if you want it. Good start!

Next came the borscht. This was overflowing the veggies and had the classic HK style flavours - slightly sweet and very tomatoey. It came with a complimentary roll that was SOOOO fresh. A bonus of them operating a bakery on-site, and based upon the freshness of the roll I made a mental note to come back for Chinese baked goods in the future.

Then the main course arrived - the pork chop rice. It was huge. Particularly considering it was lunch time and it was the lunch special. The rice was slightly stir-fried with bits of scrambled eggs. I like it normally with a bit more wok hei, but it was good. The pork chops were surprisingly tender. Lots of times in this dish the chops are tough or chewy and sometimes even overcooked. Not here. Nicely cooked, and tender. The sauce was a very classic simple tomato sauce. Overall a very simple but well executed version of this classic comfort dish.

Overall sometimes the classics are just the comforting treat you need! I'll be back!

Asian options on Commercial - blanking

FWIW my two meals at Kin Kao were both underwhelming. More details on the Thai thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9853...

May 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Smoked mackerel in GVRD?? also good seafood market in 'burbs? (Surrey, Burnaby, Langley, etc)?

Alenka European Foods on the corner of Kingsway and Fraser has a selection of whole smoked fish - their mackerel is very good when available. Good idea to call in advance to ask which ones they have available any given day.

As a side note they make their own pieroge too, and those are pretty good too!

May 27, 2015
YVRChow in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)